Monday, February 28, 2011

Much farther North

We have less than no band width tonight.  We are stopped along the interstate at South Haven, Kansas.  This is at the 2 mile marker just over the boarder with Oklahoma.  We drove about 300 miles to get here, and it was 4:30 as we arrived.

This RV park is called the Oasis RV park, and it is named appropriately, as there is nothing but farm fields and the Kansas wind out here tonight.  We have stayed here numerous times before, as it is 200 miles from home, which turns out to be a nice distance to drive in one day.

The water hydrants are turned off tonight and have been all winter in this park, but the owner has installed frost free farm hydrants along the road to fill up your on board tank.  Of course the sewer and electric still work.

We hope to string enough hose in the morning to wash out our holding tanks several times for storage, and then not use the facilities in the rig for the final drive home.  Also we will winterize the plumbing and drain the hot water heater as well.

The weather took a turn for the worst, as we drove into Kansas.  The wind picked up and the temperature fell about 20 degrees all at once.  We are to be below freezing and the wind gusts are to be in the 30s, with blowing snow tonight and tomorrow.

The good in all of this is that snow accumulations are scheduled to be less than a half inch.  Still that is a burr!!!!  Especially when you have been in Arizona all winter.

Retired Rod

Sunday, February 27, 2011

No Sleet here!

We have one day to take in all of Dallas!  And see our son at the same time.  We need to be back in KC by mid week, so we are watching the storms up there as we sit down here.  We are 500 miles South of our KC home here in Arlington, and that is enough that we have completely different weather.

Our daughter in law reported a freezing rain that has coated everything with ice, and nothing nice!  My son Ben reported that he is hoping for the warmer weather that is forecast for later in the week.

But my oldest son is working here in Dallas at a job for the federal folks, that can't be disclosed here on a public blog.  He came to see us this morning at the campground.  We had an enjoyable visit for most of the morning and into the afternoon.

He had plans to go with a friend to Austin this weekend, that had been made weeks ago, so he finally left to go get the friend and start that way.

We had the rest of the afternoon free, but did not know what to do.  We agreed upon going to the Dealy Plaza where Kennedy was shot so many years ago.  It was over 30 miles from here to downtown.  We didn't get off until 3, once we were finally organized.  It would be one of our drive by visits that we are famous for.

The GPS took us directly to the center of town, but I didn't know how to find Dealy Plaza.  We drove thru the newer parts of downtown, but I surmised that it must be in the older section.  Then I remembered that the Texas Book Depository building had a museum on the 6th floor where Oswald had fired his shots.

Looking under Museum, the GPS offered a museum named sixth floor.  It was on Elm street, so I decided that there could only be one, and selected to go there.  Within minutes we drove right past the grassy knoll.  I was on it before I could take it all in.

There were folks all over the place!  A memorial has been built on the top of the hill, and the grass is mostly trampled.  Folks were around the memorial and out on the grass.  We drove under the overpass where the train tracks go overhead.  That leads right to the interstate.

I hauled around in a U turn and went back for a second pass.  This time I came from the South and was able to wait at the light in front of the Book building and take it all in.  Of course there is no parking anywhere close, and folks were arriving on foot.  Loyce saw one man on the grass bending down and kissing the ground in front of him.  He was at least our age, so he is old enough to remember how that event played out on our TVs for that frightful weekend and the funeral the following week.

I put Parkland Hospital into the GPS to see how far away that was, and it was about 3 miles to the North.  So under the underpass I went following the track spelled out by the machine.  That drive seemed eerie at best, as we pulled up behind the hospital to the emergency entrance.  The building seems newer in many sections now, but the oldest part is definitely the same.

I turned 16 the day after Kennedy was shot, and within the week got my first drivers license.  But that normally happy event, will always bring back memories of the president being shot in late November.

Tonight we went to a Cracker Barrel up North of the ball stadiums and Six Flags over Texas.  The food was good like usual, but to my opinion, all of those stores are much the same.  We ate in one in Alabama when we were having warranty work done on the motor home.  They could have easily been the same store, because you couldn't tell any difference.  Maybe the Texas accent is a little different than the Alabama twang, but to a Northerner like me, it is all just Southern!

Oh go ahead and flame me for a comment like that!!!!!!!  LOL

Retired Rod

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Its much colder here!  Where is here?  Well we are in Arlington at the KOA in the center of town.  And it really is in the center of a very heavy business district.  Usually we can't find campgrounds in business districts, but this is an anomaly.

Getting here, was almost routine, as we were off all loaded and ready by 9:30, but not so fast.  We wanted to get some fuel before we left the Abilene area, since it is quite near the Fina refinery over by Big Spring.  The local price seems to be a bit better than anywhere else around.  Today it was $3.49 as compared to $3.64 in most of the other towns.

We only have an 80 gallon tank in the coach, and it needed 44 gallons.  I spotted what looked to be a nice big truck lane in a quick trip style  station, and back tracked an interchange to go use it.  Then after finding that it worked well, proceeded to realize that this same station was at almost every interchange around the North side of the town.  I felt kind of stupid to have backtracked to a specific station, but I saved 14 cents a gallon in the town of Abilene.

Next we went to Wal Mart, for a few more groceries and a medicine that we were out of.  I also purchased some diesel additive that increases the cetane rating of the fuel.  This stuff costs $7 a quart, and probably negates any savings from purchasing inexpensive fuel.  But, it increases mileage and makes the engine run soooo much nicer.

Well there went our early start, as it was 11 when we left town for real.  We only had 155 miles into the Dallas area from Abilene, so it didn't matter what time we left.  We stopped along the road in a Texas roadside park and made lunch.  It was still quite chilly, and we fired up the propane heater for a while as we ate.  It had been in the 40s as we drove but sunny and bright made up for it.

But while we were sitting stopped, the heater felt quite nice.  As we came into town the Dallas traffic is still the same zoo that it always is.  Other than Boston, I think this is one of the worst areas for traffic overload.

After stopping at the local Sam's Club to use the parking lot for a stopping place while I looked up the local KOA address and dialed up the address in the GPS, we made it here to the park.  This is the typical city park, where we wouldn't have more than 10 feet between rigs.  And for only a mere $40 a night after the discount for club membership, it is a real steal!  Not sure, but perhaps I was the stealee!

Retired Rod

Friday, February 25, 2011

The great wall of wind!

Remember a few days ago when I was teasing about the winds of Arizona being like Texas winds?  Well they are not like Texas winds, I can now tell you for sure.  Today we had West Texas wind, and it almost rocked us off of the highway.

It picks up the dirt from the landscape and blows a big dust storm across the road.  We were on the interstate so I wasn't worried that we would run into anybody, but the thought did pass thru my mind that if someone stopped in the road, you might not know it until too late.

West Texas is oil and gas country, and the drilling rigs are all over the place.  A neighbor said they are drilling new gas wells out here, and it is a bonanza hey day.  And so it is.  Almost every third vehicle is some sort of oil support equipment.  Frac tanks and mud tanks coming into the wells.  Flat beds with pipe and so forth.

I am not an oil well specialist, so I only recognize the equipment as it is at the drilling sites.  At Odesa, this equipment seems to be stockpiled at the many companies that provide the work.  I'm not sure there were many other forms of businesses in Odesa.  Well that is how it seems from the road.

We thought about stopping for a Wal Mart there, but didn't find it right away so we passes until we reached Midland.  Midland is huge, with about 100,000 residents, so I reverted to the GPS to find the Wal Mart for me.  And it was good that I did, as it was as far away from the Interstate as you could get and still be in town.

We drove on farther, and decided to make a day of it in Abilene.  I pulled off at the exit for the KOA camp, and ran into a grass fire along the side of the road.  A fire truck was blocking the frontage road, and I was too far off the interstate to go back.  OOhh I had to stop and wait it out while they put the fire out.  I tried to back up with the trailer on the back, but wasn't making much progress.

They finally allowed us thru, after the fire was mostly out.  Smelly.....  And the camp was only another 100 yards down the road.  So tonight, we can still smell the nasty grass fire smell as we sit here in the park.  We ran the A/C until it got dark to kill the smell some, but it is to be 34 tonight, so the A/C won't be in the picture during the night.

We are 150 miles West of Fort Worth.  This is where I 35 heads North toward KC and our home.  We are running out of options on staying South of the storm that is up there right now.  Our daughter in law texted me that it was sleeting starting at 9 AM.  Something to look forward to.

Retired Rod

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Where is Pecos?

We made 311 miles today and are camped in yet another SKP rainbow park in Pecos, Texas.  Pecos is still West of Odesa and Midland, Texas where President Bush heralds from.  You might be able to see civilization from here if you look really hard to the East.

We were up stirring around before light, because Biscuit wakes up and has to go potty!  But then she wants to come to bed with us.  But she doesn't go back to sleep, and that will have us up in no time.  Putting her back in her crate just causes more yelping to let me outa here!

Anyway we were having coffee and corn Chex at 7:30 and we were rolling by 9.  But......we are headed East, and into the Central time zone, so we changed our watches to 10 right off the bat.  After paying our camping bill of $18 and change with the electric, we rolled to Las Cruces.

Once we arrived there, we talked on the radio how we sometimes hang around there for a day or so because we like the community a great deal.  But the conversation died, and we were headed for El Paso.

Stopping for only a potty break at the Texas welcome center, we headed right thru town.  I needed fuel and started driving a frontage road along the highway.  I spotted a sign for diesel for $3.49, but the station looked really tight.  And it was, but with determination and asking a fellow to move his car, by pulling up really close to him with the clattering diesel motorhome until he got the picture, we made it to the pump.

Only $110 later, we had 31 more gallons of the liquid gold. Next we got off again at a McDonalds for a burger.  Never did spot a Wendy's, but I need a break anyway.  Of course you couldn't pull into the parking lot with the MH and trailer, so we parked in a dusty lot along side.  The West Texas wind had the dust flying as we ate in the coach.

It was already 1:30 as we rolled out into the desert South of town.  Miles and miles of miles and miles! There are a few mountains and things and curves and hills.  But it seems to go on forever!

We made the turn onto I 20 to head for Dallas/Ft Worth.  This intersection is miles from nowhere, and has a mountain in the middle of the Y.  Left for Dallas, and right for San Antonio.  We were tired and stopped along a roadside picnic ground.  No buildings or bathroom, but sheltered tables 50 feet from the highway.

I don't know how some of my RV brothers can boondock in these places, as the noise of passing traffic is overwhelming.  We pressed on to the next RV park.

That was here in Pecos, Tx, and we learned as we pulled up that we had inadvertently found the next SKP park up the road.  Checkin here was $15 and that includes electricity. I paid ahead.  But they trust you to pay in the morning if you want.  As a SKP member, they know all about you from your member number.

Tonight we are parked next to some campers that had a big party out by their rigs.  Complete with barbcueing and Boom Box Country Music, and a lot of hootin and hollarin.  As the party broke up, the big diesel pickups with loud pipes all roared into action and tires screeched as they hit the pavement.

This is a dusty place to say the least!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On the road once more.

We spent the morning poking stuff inside of stuff and under stuff, so we could bring in the slides. How did we bring all this stuff with us in the first place?

Once I had the front of the coach looking like a truck seat and steering wheel again, I opened the curtains and we were ready to head outside.  Hoses away, and trailer moved out onto the street with the Camry, we retracted jacks and slides.

Our site must have been more desirable than we realized, because we hadn't even pulled away, when some Canadian folks came over in their pickup writing down the number and the lady claiming it while the husband headed off to the office. Too funny!  I had to remind them that I had paid until the 3rd of March and didn't have any checkout time!  They were concerned that we would be gone by checkout time.  Go figure.

I did go put a deposit on another site for next year, more over by the bath house and two blocks further away from the interstate highway.  Think much quieter.

We immediately got onto the freeway just outside of the park, and have not been off all day.  Well except once to top off the diesel tank and eat some lunch.  The fuel station was for cars and pickups, so it was a real jockey session to get into the pump and I turned around out in the desert behind the station  in order to get back out of the place.  The price on fuel was $3.40 as compared to $3.77  most of the other places.  They had a driveway that was really steep and then thru a curb and onto the flat street.  Had I gone down that, we would have needed a tow truck to get the back of the rig off of the hill.  You have to see this stuff and understand what is about to happen!  So we used the car drive out the front.  It had really tight corners, but we didn't do any curbs.

We drove right thru Tucson at about 60.  It was early afternoon, and folks were not out of work yet.  We never slowed down except to make the turn at I 19 where it goes off to Nogales.  We of course went East toward Benson.

At Benson, we decided to keep on keeping on!  So tonight, we are in Deming, New Mexico.  That made our day be 320 miles, which is farther than we usually drive, but we were on a roll so to speak.

We are at the SKP park called Dream Catcher.  Skp parks are such a breath of fresh air.  That is Escapees for those that don't know.  Everyone knows about the Escapees don't they?

With my membership card on the counter, I filled out the check in sheet, and was assigned the largest site in the park.  Because I was towing a trailer.  I don't have to pay until I leave, and I don't have to know how long I will stay.  But if I stay longer than a month I will have to pay the rent then.  Electric is 11 cents a click, which is a bit high, but with the site only costing $12.50 a night, what's not to like?

A special thanks goes out to our neighbors Keith and Andy for helping us get all hooked up this morning and watching over us as we got organized. Keith was out in the street directing me and had me under the hitch in the first try.  That is healthy for husband and wife relations!  Enough said!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Packing out

When you sit in one place for weeks on end, things get all spread out!  Nothing is in its place for travel, and today was the day to put it all back away.  We spent the morning buzzing all over the place getting last minute supplies and things we need.

Loyce went over to the sewing room to deliver her fleece blankets that she has been making for the charity hospital drive here in the park.  They were appreciative of her efforts and several of the ladies were inquisitive as to how she makes the holes in the fleece in order to crochet the boarders.

The answer is that she has a special cutter wheel that has prongs on it that only cuts the little holes and not all the way across the piece.  They are available from the project Linus web site, but I didn't google it for a link.

I was out on the scooter getting gas and the other things necessary to go traveling.  I like to keep the scooter tank fairly full as I trailer it.  I hope I never have to use it to go after something but if the motorhome was broken down, it would be the final possibility to go for help. Of course we have the car too, so that shouldn't come about.

Also we had to check out with the main office, as they come and read the electric meter and make up the final billing.  That took two trips up there, first to tell them we're leaving and then to go pay.

I was under the coach in the dirt and gravel on my hands and knees with a jar.  I was draining the water from the fuel separator back along the frame.  I didn't have more than about a tablespoon in there, but that is still enough to do damage if it makes it to the injectors.

About as I was climbing out from under the coach all dirty, low and behold John and Brenda showed up to send us off on our trip home.  Ever cordial, they wanted to make sure we didn't get away without the proper send off.  And of course Brenda needed to see Biscuit one more time.

She was sooooo excited to see Brenda too.  She danced and piddled on the floor, because she was sooooooooo excited.  John was holding her leash, and she ran around and around him, while he tried to keep up switching the lead from hand to hand.  As John would say, " she isn't quite lead broke yet."

Loyce did finally come back from the sewing group, and got in a short visit as well.  We wish them well with their new Dogpound South Ranch over in Maricopa.  They will have a bunch of work to whip it into shape for keeping horses next year, but I think they are up to the task.

Then our neighbors next door Keith and Andy came back home, and we spent some time with them later in the day.  We were invited over to their HitchHiker II fifth wheel tonight, and they have a beautiful rig.  The wood work inside sets it apart from some of the others we have been in.  (Like our old Jayco!)

Somewhere in there I got cleaned up from rooting in the dirt under the coach too.  The tire pressures are all up to speed now to head on out as well.

The scooter is back inside the trailer and all our stuff is loaded in around it.  We purchased a new memory foam mattress while we were here, so the pieces of the select comfort mattress and air bladders had to fit in along side the bike as well.

Just because we don't really like the mattress, other folks that will buy this coach when we are done with it will want the original equipment.

So tonight is the lull before the storm of travel, but I think we are ready anyway!

Retired Rod

Monday, February 21, 2011

Making plans to go!

I thought the sun was out when I looked outside this morning, and it was off toward the South, but the clouds were still broken at best.  And it was somewhat cool too, but I didn't realize that the clouds would congeal within a couple of hours and we would not see the sun again.  The rains came back by noon.

Well we did see the sun for a while in the afternoon, as I was waiting in the car over at the swap meet. Loyce has become addicted to some seasoned crackers that one of the specialty booths sells over there, and she wanted to get some for the longer haul.

But it did take her about an hour and a half to go and find the booth where they sell them.  Not that she doesn't know the way, but rather her shopaholic nature takes over every time she nears a mall or some other retail megaplex.

I sat patiently, after I ran over to the local hamburger stand looking for a 99 cent value meal offering.  Biscuit was in the car with me and she was fighting fiercely to snatch it away from me.  But I prevailed.  

She is easily twice the size now of the dogie that we brought out here last fall.  She can put her paw on the top of your knee standing up on her back legs, and be head and shoulders above your lap.  Our last dog was not that big.

This means that she can jump up on the sofa in one swift leap, and she jumps down by leaping out into the room half way across the floor before she lands.  She has learned to low crawl up under the driver's seat up under the pedals on the motorhome and gets into the stuff we have stored up there.

I have a recliner from home positioned between the coach seats with my back to the windshield that effectively block her entrance to the front.  Well it did anyway until she became so much more mobile.

I know they say not to put them in their crate to punish them, but sometimes we thankfully put her in there just to contain her for a while, as we need to rest from the nonstop play!!  We did buy the full sized crate for her breed, and it looked so large back then, but she fills it now quite nicely.

We spent the rest of the afternoon after the all day rain came to an end, scurrying around the campsite packing up much of our outdoor stuff.  We think we will pull out of here on Tuesday and head South in the direction of Tucson.  The old adage that South is warmer, but that is not necessarily the case here, as it is also higher in elevation which gives up your warmth fairly quickly here in Arizona.

Retired Rod

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The South Winds of Tex........Arizona!!

Is this South Texas?  The wind here is blowing a gale, with the palm trees leaning over and the fronds all headed North in a straight out fashion.

I remember Rick over in Desert Hot Springs carping about the wind blowing his hat off a couple of days ago, so perhaps he sent all that over here!!

The slide toppers flap and flop. Especially the ones over the big slide on the drivers side of the coach.  There is a half gallon of milk on the kitchen counter, and I am watching the liquid slosh back and forth inside the container.  The big mat outside on the ground has blown up over the lawn chairs and table.  The motorscooter is parked on top of it so it can't blow away.

The sky is an eerie green color and nasty overcast looking darker up toward the mountains.  The garbage buckets are all out along the road as this is garbage day, but the wind has blown many of them over. It won't be too long before we have bags all over the place.

If you want to come up with an invention for the RV industry, I would think a replacement slide topper that doesn't flop in the wind, would be an instant success.

Mid afternoon, and the rains came.  At first wind driven, but then as the rain picked up, the wind died.  I am not sure the official amount of rain, but it had to be an inch or more.  The streets turn into rivers here in the RV park.

Since it never rains very much here in the desert, these places seem to never have storm sewers.  Or even much of  a curb along the streets as well.  The rain runs down the center of the street toward the West.  There is a large drainage ditch on the East side of the 202 expressway.  At that end of the park, the streets become rivers.  I drove around some learning where water is a problem.

If we come back here next year, we need to know where not to take a site.   January can become rainy in some years here in the desert, and last year was almost an all time record for rain.  This year I think it has rained hard maybe twice.

We are thinking of possible heading out of here next week.  Our rent is paid until March 3rd but we are booth really tired of this location.  Not that there is anything wrong with this park, because there isn't, but we have worn it all out now.

We'll see how that works out!

Retired Rod

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bad weather causes us to hang around home.

The weather started overcast and the clouds boiled at about 2500 feet above the ground.  It was cooler but not cold by the rest of the countries standards.  It was in the mid 60s most of the day, and the weather bureau claimed we reached 70 but it never seemed that warm.

We didn't have any plans for the day, but Loyce went to a ladies clothing store.  I wisely hung back at the motorhome.  It was spitting rain while she was gone, and I never pulled off the cover from the bike.  A day on the computer was in order.

I must admit there was a nap in the middle of the day as well.   Not much to report from here.  Another slow one for sure.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Another day with the Docs

Another of those medical days that take me out of commission for most of the day, so I don't have much to report other than preparing for and making a trip to the doctor's office, and heading over to Wal Mart to get yet again different meds.

That wipes out much of the day, and I never even took the cover off of the motorscooter all day.

Loyce spent most of the morning with her quilters group, at the quilt activity room.  They have a show and tell every Thursday, and that took most of here day until mid afternoon.

In the morning, I noted that the latest watch was out for delivery in KC.  My son Ben was notified and sprang into action.  He went over to our house ahead of when the Fed Ex truck arrives in the neighborhood, and waited for the fellow to ring the door.  The package needs to be signed for, and he was waiting with pen in hand.

One of these packages will be his, for spending his time taking care of his dad this way. And as the winter is coming to a close, I am doing my best not to order things for him to have to pick up.  Famous last words.  LOL.

Without much more to report tonight, I will not ramble on and waste your time.

Retired Rod

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Croonin up a tune and cookin dogs.

I was having a very peaceful morning with the door open right at 9 AM.  The weather was mild and the overcast that was forecast hadn't arrived.  Yet anyway.

Loyce was off over to the quilt room for an hour or so while I cleaned up and drained the tanks.  I like to drain the tanks and flush several times and then go inside and take a shower. The soapy water from the shower goes on thru the hose after the black water cleaning things up.  Well in theory anyway.

About noon, I began hearing folks talking sort of loud, like they were talking on a microphone system.  What's up with that?  Then I heard music again over the loud speakers.  What's going on here.

Remember we are backed up against the new park model row of rigs for sale.  And it didn't take long to realize that we were having some sort of a sales day.  They had two gas grills out with dogs and brats going.  They had easy ups set up and a singer was warming up his voice on the PA.  He was questionable at best.

About that time a friend called from Des Moines on Skype, and Loyce left again for the quilt room.  This time she took the car.  I lasted about an hour on skype, but then had to beg off in order to go get a sandwich.  I explained that I needed to get away from this nice music and my friend from Iowa readily agreed.  Even over the computer he could here the wonderful loud entertainment.

As I left on the motorscooter, I went around the block and in front of the tables set up and saw maybe 40 folks eating the dogs and enjoying the music.  People were walking down the street, coming to get the free food.  Say free food in an RV park, and see what happenes next.

For me it was a signal that I needed to split from here really fast.  I went and paid for lunch and rode the scooter for about 2 hours total.  Couldn't come home to that wonderful entertainment!

I rode all the way over to Queen Creek and Alma School.  That is half way to Maricopa where JB and Brenda bought their new Dogpatch South.  The sky got really cloudy, and I decided that being so far away on the bike with skies that could present rain was not a wise thing, so I turned around.

By the time I got back here at almost 5 PM, hot dog eating and bad western singin had come mercifully to a close.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Slow Tuesday

We only made 78 or so this afternoon, and as usual when it is less than 80 outside, we didn't need the A/C.  I'm sure that will be short lived here in the Phoenix area, as it gets quite warm in March.  But for now, we have another cool front going thru for the next several days.

Thursday and Friday are to be days with a high of 69 and some chances of rain.  If you can believe the National Weather Service.  Of course they miss a bunch of the time, and it never rains here in Phoenix, so I won't hold out much hope.  A good shower would wash down a lot of dust though.

Just in case, I put the cover over the motorscooter after I got back home this afternoon.  I didn't do any RV park scouting today, and mostly hung around the house.  Its just so peaceful here in the park, and everyone is out walking and having parties at their sites.  But I'm not into that much.

Mid afternoon, we got another couple moved in on our drivers side, and I've lost count how many neighbors that makes.  They seem to stay about a week and then move on.

Mid morning we lost our neighbors across the street from Ontario.  They had an Allegro Bus that got broadsided on the way here from Canada.  I think it was in Louisville, which caused them to defer to Red Bay, Al for massive repairs.  He kept leaving his site here and then returning a few days later.  I learned yesterday that they were going to the Cumins dealer to have repairs done to their engine.  He felt it was due to the accident.  But the Cumins warranty was picking up the Tab.  A new turbo charger would have cost $4K.

They left today for the FMCA Rally to be held in Perry, Ga.  But he felt that they needed Red Bay to go over their coach again as things are failing.  How do you prove that is was because of an accident, when your Hydro Hot suddenly decides to quit?  He was also losing transmission fluid and antifreeze.  Or they were mixing together and ending up in the wrong equipment.  Something is still broken.  Our heart went out to them, as they left for points East of here.  Lets hope they make it.

Loyce was off to a sewing class tonight, and she said it was very crowded.  They were making bags from fat quarters, and some of the ladies had to rip out their work to get it right.  She came home after a while, because it was too crowded to get a sewing machine.  But then the class only cost 50 cents, so it is hard to think it was bad.

Other than watch TV that was about all we did today, other than watch the birds fly overhead!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another way to stay here in the valley!

I know it may sound a bit like we are bragging, but really we are just reporting that it was hot enough this afternoon, that we caved in and started the A/C for the last 4 hours before sunset.  That seems so wrong, as we will have to resort to some heat after midnight tonight, but such is the desert.

We had a wonderful morning hanging around the motor home with the door open and Loyce working on her charity blankets.  I was hemming up the legs of a new pair of light weight warm up pants by hand.  I usually don't like too much sewing by hand, but with the fragile cloth of the pants, it had to be hemmed by hand.  Loyce knows that I can sew, so she said have at it.

It was after noon, when I finally got cleaned up and out on my scooter.  I was headed to an ownership RV park to check it out.  In this mecca of RV parks there is almost every kind of  park you can imagine, and here is another kind to be interested in.  It looks just the same from the road and while you are driving around inside. don't rent from the office.

Everyone has a deeded lot.  They own their little 36 by 48 feet of ground, and their resultant share of the common area too.  But that is deeded to the management corporation.   And you still have to pay $110 a month for common expenses.  It is operated by the HOA or home owners association.  

The surprise is that a lot cost between 50 and 65 thousand.  Wow!  and you still have the $110 a month to pay to the HOA.  And that goes up every year too.  I wonder what principal interest taxes and insurance will be on the 55K lot.  Maybe that $550 a month rent here in the RV park isn't so bad after all.  I'm beginning to understand why folks just rent here in the park!!!  

It would take years and years to come out any better with this ownership thing.  And do you really want to own a postage stamp sized lot, so many miles away from home?  Now I'm really confused by the many options to live here in the desert Southwest city of Mesa, and of course Apache Junction.

If you invest 50K in a lot, and forego the interest it would earn, even at 5 percent it would be $2,500 a year. Then add the $1,200 of HOA dues, and your up to 3,700  now pay the real estate taxes, and suddenly the $4,700 here at the park doesn't seem so out of line.  And that's why people do the park rental bit!

So I guess I'm still in the no buy zone.  I'm not convinced you should own anything as an investment here because it simply would not be anything but an expense.  Even a normal house here is horribly depressed in value.  It would be a nice thing to purchase at the current values, but since we would not be here for months, that isn't realistic either.

Now we know why we have an RV and just come down in the winter!!!  

As the sun set, I was able to turn off the A/C and head out on the scooter again for a late sandwich over at my favorite restaurant.  W.......

Usually I don't ride after dark, but tonight it seemed fine, as I had changed my helmet face shield to the clear one.  Still I came back almost immediately.  The last time I rode at night, was back in KC in the rain storm after the ham club meeting.  I was really wet that night!

Retired Rod

Monday, February 14, 2011

Inside out of the Sun!

With my legs burned to medium well, I decided that it must be an inside day.  Now mind you it was 79 this afternoon, and we had all the doors and windows open and the inside oscillating fan running on high.  By mid morning, all of it was running as the inside of the motorhome became quite warm.

It was a computer day for me, as I determined that I had exceeded the storage space on my email providers web server.  That meant that emails were being returned as undeliverable.  Since I query the server with several computers and a blackberry, I maintain the messages on the providers server and manually remove them when I have them all downloaded.

But since I have been here in Arizona, I have not been able to check into the server over the internet to clear the cache.  I worked on getting in for over an hour, and then backed away to think about what my problem could be.

In the meantime, we had another watch sale running on the Invicta web site.  And it wasn't running too well, as they seem to still have problems with their servers.  The problem seems to be load balancing.  They change to a new item for sale, and everyone clamors to be first to see the new watch, and then record their purchase before quantities run out.  So the race is on once an item is released.

That creates unbelievable loads on the company's servers.  I am certain that they use a provider, and possibly a new provider that had no idea what they were in for.  While the servers went down during peak loads, it causes malfunctions in the point of sale software, and multiple charges to credit cards occur.  So far I haven't had that problem.

So while putting up with that fun time, and trying to get onto the email server, my mind was quite challenged most of the afternoon.  Finally I decided that I had been barred from the email system for too many log on attempts.  So I called the customer service at the email company in KC.

That fellow reset my password, and I still couldn't get in.  He asked what browser I was using, and when I answered Chrome, he said that's your problem. Google doesn't honor all of the java calls that are necessary, use Firefox or Internet Explorer.  Well I had been trying Firefox also without luck.  What version?  4.08 I think.  Well you can't make that work either!

It seems that you have to use 3.8 or something older, that I didn't even have on my computer anymore. So I had to resort to Internet Explorer, that I never ever even start up.  It had to update itself for about a half an hour once I started the program.

After that, I was in, and spent another hour managing emails.  A nice way to say deleting them!  So the day got away from me, and I wasn't out in the sun.  That is until I couldn't stand it any longer, and went for another sandwich, on the motorscooter.  And then to Wal Mart for an item to keep me out of the dog house, since tomorrow is Valentines Day.

Hey its after midnight right now, so HAPPY Valentines Day!!!!

Retired Rod

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Too much sun!

We were up again almost before it was light outside because Biscuit had to go outside,,, right now!!  It was cool, but not cold even before the sun was up this morning.  The day was beautiful!

We have been working on having Biscuit go outside on a long airplane cable by herself.  She is scared to just run outside without one of us guiding her.  And if she isn't hooked up to something, she will RUN and RUN.  She is all puppy, and would be lost almost immediately.

While we were doing all of this inside then outside stuff, we began to socialize her with the little dog next door.  A Chihuahua named Misty.  Misty kind of barks and doesn't want another dog near her, and Biscuit doesn't understand that anybody could be unfriendly.

Misty growls and shows her teeth, and Biscuit lays down on the ground and submits.  Then yaps at her to be her friend.  It was a hoot.  We have been friends with Misty's owners, Kieth and Andy since they arrived next door several weeks ago.

We kind of got to talking and the girls took the dogs and went to the dog park while us guys sat outside and enjoyed the noon time weather.  As the sun worked its way to the West side it was almost 2 before we decided to go back in.  I was showing some effects of too much sun on my legs, as I hadn't worn shorts for several months.

After a while, I went out and rode the scooter over for some lunch and some errands with the motorcycle overpants on over my shorts.  I got back about 5:30, and when I took the pants off, my legs were bright red with sunburn.

So I am sitting here tonight with the Lidocaine Aloe Vera ointment greasing myself up every now and then wondering why I didn't change into long pants!  Sooner!  I am burned from the tops of my socks all the way up over my knees.   On February 13th no less!

I guess I didn't give it much thought at the time, so I will pay the price while the burn dims itself over the next few days.

Oh and Biscuit was so dirty after her walk and stint in the gravelly dog park, that she had to endure another bath tonight.  She was one big dirt ball, as the blacktop street sealer had again come off all over her.  We can't keep her inside all the time, because she needs to run.  But everyone around here has to clean their dogs up when they get back home from walks.

We are using the mildest expensive puppy shampoo we could buy, and then waiting at least a week, but by then you can't stand her, because she is sooooo dirty.

It did make sunny and 80 today, so that was what bar be cued my legs.  Someone has to do it!

Retired Rod

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Warmer but still a relaxed day!

No I didn't go back over to the Harley dealer, or over to the La Mesa RV dealer. I am certain that I need  the deals of the century to make me serious about either opportunity!

The sun was out bright and it warmed the coach quickly this morning.  We kind of just basked in the warmth.   The door was open and I made myself a truckers breakfast.  Loyce is still dieting so she passed.

We're talking hash browns and eggs over firm but not hard.  Sausage patties and a hand full of shredded cheese on the browns.  Toast from hand sliced Italian bread, and black berry jelly.  Took a while to cook, but I gobbled it in a heart beat.

But then I got to wash the griddle and the dishes I had used.  Since Loyce was passing, so I thought I had better clean it myself.

Loyce was off to the sewing room around noon and I didn't see her for several hours. So that was the key to go off on the scooter.  But is wasn't anything romantic, Wal-Mart!!  I had to take a prescription bottle over and see if they could get it filled from the bottle.  I didn't hold out much hope.

But to my surprise, the lady at the window made a quick check on the computer and a phone call to the KCWal Mart, and she said the prescription would be transferred in a little while.  Come back at 5:30 and it will be filled.

I stopped by the swap meet, and picked up the little suction cup holder for the small flags that I purchased a couple of weeks ago.  The suction cups stick onto the front of the motor home and hold the flags.  Once I got back to the coach, the flags went up in an instant.

So with some groceries brought home on the scooter and a second trip over in the car to get the pills that were ready when I got there for a change, the day became darkness.

Man these days are going fast!  It was warm enough that I needed to peel off my sweatshirt even when riding the scoot!  That is a welcome sign, and we are supposed to reach 80 sometime this weekend.  It usually is a lot slower to warm up here in Arizona than over in California.  But once we get there, it seems to get hotter here rather quickly.

Loyce came back with an arm load of projects for her charity blankets that she makes for project Linus.  So she is happy and headed off to Wal Mart to get some more yarn that matches her projects.

So we still hang out here in Mesa, watching the cold and snow back in Kansas, and all the way down to Southern Texas feeling lucky as heck to be here.

Retired Rod

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thursday Country Store Day

We had the make up watch sale today since on Sunday the programs all crashed.  And true to form, there were so many folks waiting all at once that the servers immediately crashed again as folks requested the sale page all at once.

There were 700 people on the Watch Geeks forum and it became slow as well.  People have to post their negative thoughts about all this slowness and crashing of the sites, which makes things even slower.  This was at midnight Wednesday night.  I watched for a while, didn't want anything that was presented for sale and went to bed.

This morning I didn't get up early, and Loyce let Biscuit out at about 7 AM.  I did begin to watch the sale by about 9 AM, and weakened about 11 and purchased a watch that had been presented the last two weeks but couldn't be purchased due to computer program failure.

At first I wasn't going after it but the price had dropped to almost crazy, so it became collectible.  This hobby is nutsoooo.

Mid morning I decided to head up to the, in park swap meet.  I haven't gone for the last several weeks, but today I felt the need for a bag of pop corn.  Or something like that.   We have a much bigger meet here at Valle Del Oro that we had at the old park last year, and today they had an RV dealer that brought in several used and one new RV as well.  They were parked in the overflow parking next to the wood shop.  The Country Store as they call it, is around the pool and in the dance hall, but spills out the front door into the parking lot along the wall of the building.

The RVs were at the end of the line of easy up tent stores, and became an integral part of the whole deal.  Folks were parked in all available spaces and up the streets in all directions.  I squeezed the scooter in along with some golf carts and bicycles.

I'm not sure where the morning went, but everyone talks to everyone, and I ended up buying raffle tickets to the wood shop project tables they are giving away as a fund raiser.  And I got that popcorn for fifty cents too.  I sat at a table in the dining room with some folks and solved the worlds problems as well.

Loyce however, went with the neighbor lady next door to our RV, to the sewing room for their weekly show and tell session.  Everyone explains their latest project, and plans are made for the next weeks sessions.  Loyce has new plans for activities next week now.

Then later in the afternoon, I ended up at the Harley Davidson dealer here in Apache Junction.  As it turned out, my salesman was the owner of the facility.  He was top notch, and it is a wonder I am not riding a new Harley tonight.  I didn't find out the fellow was the boss until he gave me his card.  I kind of felt like a fool at that point, as I should have known this fellow was way too knowledgeable.

He has my name and number, so I will bet I haven't heard the last of that one.  I get myself into so much trouble at times.

I did get a call back from the salesman at the motorhome store saying that they did have Phaetons available over in California and wanting me to come back and see their floor plans and pictures.  He was the fellow with the pony tail that rode a Harley.  Remember no one else wanted anything to do with me when I arrived on the scooter.   Be careful about judging a book by its cover, as some of us try really hard not to be predictable.

Retired Rod

Thursday, February 10, 2011

70 degrees again!

Another really nice day here if you ignore the wind gusts to 15 mph.  The sun is warmer now, as the earth tips back toward it.  Even though it is trying to be cold, down here in Arizona it is not getting the job done as well.

They are forecasting the mid to low thirties at night, but it only lasts an hour or so in the early morning.  But with that said, it is still quite cool on the motorscooter.  I had to wear a sweat shirt under the protection jacket, and the wind still went right thru.  That didn't stop me though!

I did crawl back under the coach with my extension cord and battery charger.  I hooked it up on the new batteries since I am not starting and using the motor everyday.  Mike McFall sent me the website for a charger that connects the house battery inverter to the starting batteries, but I haven't made the purchase order yet.  Will probably wait until I get back to KC on that one.  I have all my tools and electrical wiring stuff there.

In the mean time the charger is set on 10 Amps to bring them up slowly, and it has a 2 amp setting to float them once we get there.  Actually the charger will shut itself down when they are charged.

I was back out at Sam's Club, where I got into a big discussion on the Verizon phone and tethering to replace the air card and router.  But I wasn't convinced that the salesman knew what he was trying to tell me.  I will not try to report anything until I am confident about what I think I know.

Today is my oldest son Chris' birthday, it seems like only yesterday but he is now old like a tree.  What does that say about me?

Happy Birthday Chris!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fun with the park Post Office and Motorhome shopping

Today was the normal day with a slow warm up in the morning, and as it warmed up the wind came up. Not overwhelming wind or nasty wind, just well beyond breezy.  So as the day did warm up, the wind kept it feeling like it was still cold outside.

I was busy wondering where the second package of mail went to that my son had mailed me from KC.  Loyce went out on her walk and returned with a slip to pick up another package, but that was for the package we picked up yesterday.  Obviously we got the wrong one then and they still had the one I should have received.

So armed with the slip, I went up to the office to argue my plight.  Somewhere between the rig and the office, I lost the slip out of my pocket while riding the scooter.  I turned around and retraced my steps, but it was windy and the slip was gone.

Well a lot of things are done right here in this park, but mail is not one of their long suits.  So in I went without anything but my story. I explained and they didn't believe me.  I told them what the missing package looked like and that it contained my medicine.  Pills that rattle in a priority envelope.  They found the package and it did rattle, but without a slip I couldn't pick it up.  I told them I gave them the slip yesterday.  They looked and found the slip.

Finally after about 20 minutes and the supervisor, I managed to sign the lost slip register for a slip that they already had, and relinquished the package.  I was so upset when I got back home that I just sat here for about a half an hour regaining my composure.  If we don't come back here next year, it would be largely because of the nasty treatment we have received at the post office.

Much later in the day, I went out for another extended motorscooter ride.  I went to La Mesa RV to see what they had in Tifin Motorhomes.  Out of curiosity more than anything else.  They had hundreds of coaches, but had exactly one Allegro Bus.  It was a brother to the one we looked at in Quartzsite.  Loyce didn't like the color scheme over there, so I knew that there was no need to bring her here.

But the attitude of the folks was somewhat bazaar.  They wanted to know what they could do to sell me the coach this afternoon.  Or the implied attitude was for me to quit bothering them.  Close the sale within 30 minutes or move on.  I showed up on the scooter, and I could see that they were arguing among themselves as to who would come talk to me.

They sent a fellow that had a pony tail and told me he rode a Harley.  I asked questions that this fellow couldn't come close to answering.  He called in backup, and the second salesman was the fellow that determined that I couldn't purchase it in 30 minutes, so he was out of there.

Well since they didn't really have what I wanted, we walked back over to the scooter, and the fellow with the pony tail had to know all about the scoot.  He had never seen such a product and was amazed by what it could do.  Or else he was a good salesman, an d will call me if he gets something we would like.

Out of the discussion I did learn that Tiffin is still backlogged in Phaeton deliveries and that almost every coach that is made is sold before it is started on the line.  It is a sellers market, and they can name their own price, since there aren't any.  At least here in the West, they bring almost retail MSRP.  La Mesa and I will never do any business at that rate, so we parted friends, sort of.

Oh, North of Tucson a giant dealer went broke two years ago named Beaudry RV.  It was forced to shut down in the summer of 2010 as bankruptcy proceedings came to a head.  I did learn today that Lazy Daze of Florida has purchased the huge facility and will reopen the center in the near future.

But La Mesa was smug that they have the dealership for Tiffin and there was nothing that Lazy Daze could do about it.  Well now let me see,  Lazy Daze sells more coaches for Bob Tiffin than any other dealer by 4 to 1.  At what point wouldn't he just forfeit his prior agreements and let the law suits begin. If it doubles his sales out here, the suit would only be a small cost.  Am I missing something?  Or is La Mesa missing something?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Batteries

The older I get, the more things have to happen early in the morning in order for me to get them done correctly.  The trouble is that with all the medical stuff since last fall, my mornings have become later and later.

I never was an early riser, but having Biscuit come to live with us changed things to be more early.  She sometimes wakes up at 4:30 or 5:00.  But as she gets a little older, she is beginning to sleep in a little more.  This morning, she was awake at about 6:30, and had us up as well.

So since we are up, its time to repair the batteries that have been on my agenda since last fall.   They are under the coach along the frame.  When the big wall slide is deployed on a front engine motorhome, the bins move out with it.  That leaves a large empty space behind the bins along the frame.  So that is where I needed to crawl with my tools to change the batteries.

Since I had never changed any truck sized batteries, it took a while to understand how it was wired.  Since it is a 12 volt system, the batteries are in parallel, but there are several wires that bolt together and relays that connect the house batteries back to the starting batteries.  Added to that, I didn't want to take both batteries out at the same time.  That would have taken the electricity off of the engine control module, essentially shutting it down.

But in order to get the front battery out with the cables, it was necessary to remove the back battery first.  I took the back battery and headed for Sam's Club.  I purchased both new batteries, even though I only had one old battery to trade back in.  I'll bring back the other one later.

Back home, I crawled underneath and decided how to use my power pack jumper battery to power the system while both batteries were out.  From there, it was put it all back together.  It seemed like each battery weighed in at 60 pounds.  That was just a guess, but sitting on a small stool doing arm curls with batteries was never my strong point.

By noon, it was ready to test.  It started right up without any help from the coach batteries.  I had been using the emergency switch to tie all the batteries into the starting cycle.  I let the motor run for about half an hour.

Eventually we got cleaned back up and returned the second core battery to the store.  I was quoted $135 for each battery plus tax and installation.  Around $350 total.  Today I spent $179 total.  I always like to save half of the cost by doing things myself, and today we did exactly that.

Later in the afternoon, I rode off on the scooter way up into the foot hills of the superstition mountains East of Apache Junction.  The roads run out of black top, and are not maintained by the city once you get part way up the mountain.  I rode a little of the gravel, but my riding skills are only about half of what that requires, so I turned around and returned to safer roads.

Back home the darkness over took the day,  that's happening about a half hour later now that we are a month away from winter's shortest day.  But the weather man says were in for cooler weather for the rest of the week.  That's OK though because that set of batteries is now off my mind!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The super bowl and other time wasting activities

We like so many other folks in the Western world, watched the Super Bowl all afternoon and evening. Well not completely, as I had the other TV on the watch show that was going on at the same time.  But the sound was turned down.  Our center TV is back on the wall in the middle of the coach. My chair faces away from the windshield and thus away from the front TV.

So when I wanted to see the watch show, I had look over my shoulder. Which I did quite often!  I really had no horse in the super bowl race.  But I did think that Pittsburgh was the underdog.  So I decided to root for them.  Loyce on the other hand told me flat out that Greenbay was going to win,  and rooted for them the entire way.

She was like see, I told you so at the end!  But what she doesn't know, is that I have always rooted for the Pack all my life, and there is something neat about the Lombardi trophy returning to Green Bay, so I am not sad one bit.  Enough of the the sports talk.  Most readers are not interested in football anyway.

And I did not buy any watches this weekend either.  Well we didn't have any chance to purchase one from the Invicta Sunday Run, as they have been redesigning their computer programs, and have failed rather soundly.

Last week, they cancelled the entire event, when no one could sign up for the registration.  Or if they did get signed up, it was because they used Internet Explorer 8.  The programmers evidentially never checked that any other program worked.  And they didn't!

Well this week, it was to be all better.  And it was, somewhat better, as most folks could see the watch on sale, but depending on which browser you used, it came up with a different sales price.  It led you thru the purchase process, and at the end failed to accept your credit card.  Stating a fraud exception.  But what folks didn't know, was that it had indeed charged their credit card.  So folks would try a second time, and fail again.  Then they would use a different card, and a third and so forth.

I understand that some people have as many as ten charges on various charge cards, thinking they had never successfully purchased anything.  At some point Invicta had realized the gigantic problem they were creating and closed down the entire process.  So for week number two, the entire sale was called off.  I didn't attempt to purchase anything, more because I didn't like the watch that was offered for sale, than any wisdom to not use the new system.

I can't help but wonder how long it will take to reverse all of those purchases  for those brave souls.  For once I am happy to not have purchased a watch over the weekend.

We were over 70 degrees here today for the first time in the last week, and I went out on the scooter for lunch, and stopped over at the swap meet for a walk thru the shops.  I never purchased anything, but I did have about 30 minutes of a nice walk around the shops.

Oh, and we did loose the motorhome next to us on the drivers side.  They had never said one word to us in over a week, so we only know they were from New Mexico because they had license plates that said so.  Tonight the spot remains empty.

Man, overwhelming excitement from the desert.  But at least we have water and no broken pipes, like the folks South of here!

Retired Rod

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Biscuit wasn't really hurt! Well not much anyway.

Biscuit is glad all of her supporters are concerned for her well being, but had to admit to daddy that an awful lot of black sand and gravel did come out of her off white fur, as she was being sprayed down in the shower stall.  Daddy adjusted the shower so it was nicely warm but not hot, and put the sprayer on a fine spray that didn't seem to scare her.

The part that she really doesn't like comes after the bath when she was air dried and combed out with the slicker brush.  The brush has little plastic balls on the end of each of its bristles and doesn't scratch her skin, but it still tends to pull out the snags, and that causes great discomfort and concern to her sense of well being.

As her photographer, I had to take numerous pictures of her on her pink pillow, until she finally gave me that kind of sneering look that provided the attitude she had about the whole affair.  But mommy took all of her bedding and went over to the laundry and washed up the entire lot.  Including all of her stuffy toys and her very favorite pink lamb.  Wow a clean lambie!

And as usual, she was very happy to jump into mommy's bed in the morning and snuggle, now that she was all clean and was allowed back.  So maybe this bath thing turned out all right after all.

We had a much warmer day today with temperatures in the mid 60's and wall to wall sun.  Loyce was off on her shopping trip, and since Biscuit was now clean, she got to go along.  Of course she had to stay in her car crate when mommy went into the stores.  It is still cool enough here that she can do that.  But once the temps get into the 70s, that will be out of the question.

I rode off on the motorscooter, and went to the South toward the San Tan Shopping Center.  Remember the other day, when trips to two Sam's Clubs revealed both to be closed?  Well the one in the San Tan area is brand new and very much open for business.

I was looking for commercial truck batteries that would fit the motorhome.  And they do carry them.  I will need to remove batteries here at the coach in order to match them exactly, but as of now it appears that they are group 31s.  That is the one with the stud connections.

The batteries are mounted along the frame on the drivers side, back behind the front wheel.  I will need to crawl under the coach in order to remove one of them to be sure.  Batteries are reasonably cheap, and there is no reason to put up weak ones.

On the way home, it became a bit chilly.  I rode thru the country, at 50 or more mph, and that caused the wind to penetrate my jacket and sweat shirt.  Remember I took the liner out quite a while back, and today it should have been returned.

I rode around inside the park, once I returned, since the speed limit here is 15 and that allowed me to warm up.  Loyce wasn't back yet and I still needed to be outside of the confines of the coach.

As darkness fell, the temperature fell with it, and now we are back into the lower 40s.  It seems quite cool when we leave the coach, but still well above freezing, and that is much better than earlier this week.  Tonight has been a TV night, so nothing really worth reporting there.

Retired Rod

Saturday, February 5, 2011

They made me take another BATH!!

What's a puppy to do?

Biscuit Dog, for Retired Rod

This didn't post again today, gotta wonder about blogger sometimes.  Anyway I just caught it at 10:30 AM when there weren't any comments!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cold and more thoughts on the manufactured houses.

We woke to 28 degrees and the water sprinkler made ice over on the grass next to the entrance booth.  I had casually tossed the ice from my drink cup on the ground next to the car when we got home yesterday, and it was still there on the ground this morning.

We aren't used to that kind of thing here in the desert.  The wind had died, and at first we didn't think it was that cold, but the temperature gage on the Camry confirmed the reading.

I had the hoses rolled up, and nothing froze underneath, but the water from the tank seemed like pancake syrup when we ran the faucet.  I didn't hook up the hose until noon, when I was sure it was above freezing.

It was another medical day for me today, so I had to be at the Doctor's office by 8:30. Unlike previous times, the Dr. was there and ready to go.  It was still 10 AM before I was back home.

That causes me to have to stay home for the rest of the day, so I was out of commission today.

I see that I generated some interest and advice with my talk of the park model.  We know not to purchase a standard park model here in the RV park.  The resale is way off, but this year the park models have picked up in popularity.  Almost every thing in this park has sold in the last two months.  We have a few that are less desirable for various reasons, but even most of them have sold too.

We had eight new rigs behind us here in sales row, and all but two are now sold in the last two months.  The stock market rebound has empowered the senior group's purchase power!

What we were looking at was manufactured homes, that are mounted directly on slabs.  They are in parks that do not have any RV's or RV spaces.  You still lease the ground on a monthly basis, and have
RV park style activities.  They take care of the landscaping and the park maintenance.  But mostly it is inside of a gated community.  The guards don't even like letting us prospective customers in.  They make you go get a signature from the sales people.  Which we don't always do.

Prices are still listed at reasonable retail amounts, but I understand that offers are well back of listing prices.  There are a lot of places offered for sale, and some are more desperate than others.  But we are very weary, because we think ownership would be forever!!  Either that or you would be forced to give it away.  Kind of a buy low sell lower kind of thing.

Loyce was telling me where she wants to make a reservation for next year here in Valle Del Oro, so she isn't overly impressed by the offers to be taken advantage of.

It is to freeze again tonight, with the same overnight temps again, so we will have to go turn on the underside light bulb again.  I may just drain and drop the hoses, rather than roll everything up tonight.

I always seem to error on the side of conservatism.  It's the old auditor accountant in me. I can't help it.

Retired Rod

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cold and thinking way too much.

The weather gurus are forecasting that we will reach 26 degrees tonight here in the desert.  Often we do not reach the lows that are forecast, but what has my attention, is the fact that they think it will be below freezing for 5 to 6 hours.  That requires that we take some evasive measures.

I plan to at least roll up the hoses and drain them.  If the faucets freeze here in the park, at least it won't be because we left a hose on the hydrant.  We also leave a 100 watt light bulb running in the water locker where the hoses connect to the coach.  This locker has a heat hose from the rear heater in our bedroom.  But we use electric heaters most of the time, and they limit the forced air  heaters run times.  So adding the light bulb adds some amount of heat in the underneath locker.

We don't think for a minute that the light bulb will heat the underside of the coach, but if it raises the temperature only 5 degrees, it will be enough to keep things from freezing in the few short hours that are necessary.

Today we were held in the motorhome captive by temperatures that finally reached 40 by 1 in the afternoon.  Our high was 43 by 5 PM.  We were going nuts and left the coach at 3.

We drove around over in the older part of Mesa.  We wanted to drive thru the Las Palmas park over in Mesa.  That is the manufactured housing park that is affiliated with Las Palmas Grand park that is right South of us here in Valle Del Oro.

Sandra, our blogger friend up in Ontario asked in a comment, if we are thinking of hanging up the RV keys.  The answer is not exactly.  We have wintered in the RV for the last four years, and each year we tend to stay in one place for a couple of months at a time.  Mainly because we have picked what is supposed to be the warmest spot available and parked there.

But what we find happening, is that the trailer, or motorhome begins to close in on us after about 8 to 10 weeks.   We are home owners by nature and are used to larger spaces.  We seem to be junk collectors as well, and have stuff crammed into every empty space.  We haven't learned how to be full timers.

We therefore become restless at the end of several weeks and begin to think we need bigger quarters.  These thoughts cause us to look at the park models and especially those with Arizona rooms with increased yearning.  If only we had 700 ft  instead of 350.

Also, Loyce likes to have her washer.  She keeps the one at home running every day.  She will go to the laundry here in the park at least twice a week, and more if I can't keep her busy with other activities.  This coach does have a closet that can be used for a combo machine like a Splendide.  But everyone that I have read about that owns these carps about how they are broken.  Even today Jessie and Ginger were showing the burned out heating element from theirs.

Since we can't be here to take care of a free standing house, we have become interested in the manufactured home on leased land concept.  You don't have to purchase the lot in the beginning, which saves you about 40 or 50 K up front, but at 5 K a year, after ten years the park is ahead.  But you get the common amenities and the security of a gated community.

We haven't even talked to a real estate person or selected anything we think will work, but are just studying the concept and learning about options.  The first question we have to answer is will we be happy coming back to Mesa year after year?  On the surface we say "NO" but then call up and make the reservation in August, when we can't come up with a plan that sounds better.

What we have found out is that once you own one of these places, it is extremly hard to sell on the secondary market.  That might just be the nature of the housing market here in Arizona right now.  But it is the reality of the beast right now!

See what happens when the day is too cold to do anything else that is fun?

Retired Rod

I see that Kansas City has 1 degree, as I post this tonight.  Heck we have 37, what am I complaining about???

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What we are missing by being here in Arizona!

We'll let Melissa, my daughter in law provide us with today's blog.  This is from her front door in KC.

8:45 AM

10:30 AM

11:45 AM

1:15 PM

3:20 PM

4:10 PM

I responded that it was time to warm the truck up and go Four Wheelin!!!

She was less than enthused with my idea!!

The wind started to really blow here in Arizona in the middle of the afternoon, but by then we had made 64 degrees.  While that isn't overly warm, the sun was out and I was out on the scooter.  So whats not to like about that?   Beats the alternative at home anyway.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quite Cool here!

Swiped from Al over at the Bayfield Bunch, "Could be in for a few mighty boring days until this storm front moves out of the area." 

That about sums up the activity here in Mesa today! We struggled to get to 60 degrees and it kept raining ever little bit. I did turn off the heat, but went and put on my long pants and a long sleeve T shirt when the heat was gone.

Loyce headed out to do her errands and Wal Mart run, and I was still involved with the computer stuff. But then after a while, I got hungry. I changed into a sweatshirt and my motor cycle overpants and jacket to head over to the Wendy's. I did notice that it was quite black off to the West, but reasoned that I would make it back before it rained.

Once I had the lunch all spread out on the table, I noticed that it was raining quite heavily outside. Ug, wet motor scooter seat! It turned out worse than that, as it never stopped for the next half hour. And now it was 55 outside.

So riding back in the rain, without rain gear, makes for wet clothes. I parked and came inside and stripped the wet stuff. Of course in the next half hour, the sun came back out and it warmed back up into the 60s. That's just how things go sometimes.

Spent the next half hour with the chamois drying all the water off of the bike.  Makes for a nasty mess.  And the rain has messed up all the work I did with the solution  on the motorhome as well.

So we have watched some TV, and waited for the really big box from my son in Kansas from the UPS man. And kept ourselves busy digging thru the mail and working with a computer picture frame that he sent as a present.  Thanks Ben!

Also, he sent the replacement watch that I received from the last sunday run. So I had to set that all up and size the bracelet with the jewelers tools, that I barely know how to use.  It will add to the collection quite nicely.

Now its after 10 PM, and we have to get some heat on in here because the temps are dropping quickly outside. We are headed to 39 tonight and even colder tomorrow night. Will winter give up one of these days?

Retired Rod