Saturday, January 31, 2015

Postdiluvian

The rain fell for about 22 continuous hours stretching from early evening Thursday until about 4 pm Saturday......if not for the stark landscape surrounding our courtesy parking location I could not be faulted for momentarily thinking we were back on the Oregon coast in late October.  Usually when it rains out here in the desert the downpours drop an inch in a short period of time resulting in flash floods, and raging flood channels, but this was a gentle, steady rain that was eagerly soaked up by the local flora and fauna.

We spent the day indoors reading to the never ending pitter patter of rain while the rain water began to pool around our coach, and that was pretty much how Friday played out.

I got a message from Tom asking if we wanted to head back over to the Road Runner for their Fish Fry Friday to celebrate his son-in-law, Jon's 33rd birthday, and we answered in the affirmative.....of course!  We left around 5:15 with no rain, arriving just before 6 pm at the restaurant.

The birthday boy....Jon....seated at the head of the table

We were home by 8, just before the rains came once again, and it rained on and off all night, sometimes quite hard, finally stopping just before 7 am Saturday morning......the skies are beginning to clear.....maybe we'll see the sun soon....

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Black gold.......Texas Tea......

Before I write about fourth Saturday (Thursday) I feel compelled to let you know we currently find ourselves in the middle of 16 straight hours of rain here in Wittmann, AZ.  Not complaining one bit......love the variety.......who wants sunshine every single day?


A month, or so, ago a fellow Newell owner posted on our user group site (NewellGurus.com) that he had three 5 gallon buckets of unused, never opened Delo 100 40wt oil for sale at $200.  I just paid $224 for 8 gallons of this oil when I had my oil changed 11 days ago.  To be able to get 15 gallons for $200 sounded like a good deal to me.  The catch, if you could call it a catch, was we had to pick it up in Prescott, AZ.  Well, we knew we were going to be spending a few weeks in Wittmann, and it is only an 88 mile drive up to Prescott so we decided to take Brian up on his offer, and Thursday was the agreed upon day to exchange dinero for oil.

 The Delo 100

We departed Wittmann around 10 am for the drive up to Prescott.....we have never been to Prescott previously, so this was a great opportunity to visit this community we have heard much about, and get a small taste of it, which, in turn, may lead us to return in the future for a longer stay.  We arrived at Brian's home a little after 11:30, picked up the oil, and were headed to Old Town Prescott before Noon.

  Old Town Prescott....right across from the 115 year old courthouse

Courthouse

While I drove, TLE checked Yelp for local dining opportunities and settled in on a 'hot dog' place called Nastee Dogs on S. Montezuma St......just a block from the old courthouse.


Yelp gives them 4.5 stars on just 15 reviews, but they have only been in business 3 months so that is pretty good.  We would heartily agree with that rating.  They make everything on site (buns, bacon, hot dogs....everything except two or three dairy products).  We would definitely eat there again.

There was a Salvation Army directly across the street from Nastee Dogs so we took a walk around the courthouse before ending up there to browse.  TLE came away with a sleeveless shirt she could not live without for $1.00, but I found nothing.  Then we stopped off at another thrift store on HWY 69 on our way back down to I-17, but once again came away empty handed.....then we, as an after thought, stopped off at Hope's Attic to see what they had....well, we hit the jackpot!  I came away with 16 golf balls for $2, 8 whiffle golf balls for practice for $1, and a very cool Gary Player suede jacket for $3.50.  I have been looking for a dressy jacket for a while, and when I saw this barely worn jacket I jumped on it for the tag price of $6.99.....when we checked out I found out all clothing was 50% off this day, hence the $3.50 final price.....cool!  TLE found a few paperbacks to add to her burgeoning collection......



 We arrived home around 4:30........just ahead of the forecast rain.....by 5 the rain was coming down steadily, which continued all night long, and continues Friday as I write at 11 am.

Since we have arrived in Arizona our TV 'prime time' now starts at 9 pm since we are still on the west coast feed from DirecTV, so we watched 'Elementary' at 11 pm, and were in bed by midnight listening to the sound of rain on the roof.......sweet!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rock Bottom

Usually when you get a 'red sky in the morning' (sailor take warning) you should be concerned, but Wednesday morning's red sky forebode no ill wind.  There is rain, however, coming this Friday and Saturday and if the weather guessers are to believed it will approach 'toad strangler' proportions out here in the desert.

Since our hosts were going to be gone all day we decided we would drive into Glendale to check out some local micro breweries and maybe a junk shop, or two, but first there were a few things to do before we left at 1 pm, and one of them was wipe the dew off the VW, and to vacuum it out for the first time in a couple of months.

In this area Bell Road is a major arterial road, the traffic can be mind numbing most days, and we were not disappointed.  Even though it was only about 25 miles to Glendale it took us close to an hour to drive that distance.  On the way the fuel light came on reminding us we needed to fill the tank, so I checked 'Gas Buddy' on my phone and found a Costco just 2 miles away from our position that had premium for $1.91/gallon......that is less than half what we paid last summer on a couple of occasions.

There are two micro breweries relatively close to each other in this area of Glendale....Rock Bottom Brewing Company and Dubina Brewing Company.  I checked them both out on Yelp and saw that Rock Bottom only had a 3.5 star rating, whereas Dubina had a solid 4.0 rating.  Most of the recent reviews on Rock Bottom complained about slow service, but it appeared they had good brews and food.  Initially, based on the reviews, we decided upon Dubina, and that is where we headed.  

On the way to Dubina we passed by Rock Bottom, which is right off Bell Road.....I saw they had al fresco dining and was almost tempted to turn in, but just continued on to Dubina as planned.  We arrived there around 2 pm to find they were not open until 3 pm.......doh!!  There was no way I was going to wait another hour to have lunch, so we defaulted immediately to 'plan B' and headed back to Rock Bottom.  

One thing I have come to learn since I retired is to, as our friend Karen says, 'put my patience in my pocket'.  We found a nice table out on the patio, and took our seats with no expectations about prompt service, but were pleasantly surprised.  Not only was the service quite good, the brews and food were exceptional......you just never know.  We opted for a 'flight' of their micro brews, which normally would include samples of 6 brews, however, there was one recently released brew not included that we wanted to sample (Milk Stout) so our server gave us a 7th gratis.  The flight included Kolsch, White Ale, India Pale Ale, Red Ale, Porter, Scotch Ale, and the aforementioned Milk Stout. After sampling all 7 we both settled in on the Milk Stout.


For lunch I had their Blackened Salmon Caesar salad, and TLE had their Seared Ahi salad.....both of them were memorable, and paired with the Milk Stout were exceptional.  How would we rate our experience at Rock Bottom on Yelp......4.5 stars.


On our way home we stopped off at the Goodwill in Surprise to see what they had.....no books were purchased, but TLE did find a couple of wine glasses to replace a couple she had recently broken......$1.98.

We were home by 5......just ahead of the sunset.....thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The appointed time....


Hard to believe it is 7:03 am, and all I am seeing is a dull red glow in the eastern sky as I sit here writing about Tuesday.....it seems much earlier than 7:03 am.

It rained most of Monday night/Tuesday morning, and as a result I slept all the way to 8:30......there were no big plans for the day.....our hosts would be gone all day......TLE went inside to do a wash, while I took advantage of the overnight rain to wipe down the VW after which I worked on ordering a replacement air filter for the Detroit Diesel 6V92 from Filter Barn.  This filter is quite large.....

The large Fleet Guard canister air filter

It has been three years since I replaced this filter, and frankly I should have replaced it a year ago, but I had not noticed any decrease in performance, so I just kept it on the future 'to do list' until now.  The first time I replaced this filter was shortly after I bought the Newell, and it cost close to $400 to buy it locally.  The next time, 3 years later (January of 2012), my friend Tom McCloud suggested I check out Filter Barn.  The same filter there cost me $122 shipped from Filter Barn (free shipping if your order is over $100)......quite a savings.  I also order my fuel filters from them.......they have every imaginable automotive type filter you might imagine.

Once that task was complete I moved to the next thing on my 'to do list', which was to call the dentist our friend Nina Fussing (Wheeling it) recommended in Los Algodones, Mexico (just over the border from Yuma, AZ).  Both TLE and I need a general examination, and our teeth cleaned, plus TLE has a crown that has come loose which needs to be re-seated.  My regular dentist back in Chino, CA where I have been going for over 20 years charges $160 to clean my teeth (most of that was covered by dental insurance when we still carried it)......Nina's dentist (Dr. Urena) charges $35......WOW!  Our appointment is for next Wednesay at 11 am so we will drive down to Yuma Tuesday afternoon, spend the night at a local hotel, keep our appointment and drive back Wednesday afternoon.

Once all that 'heavy lifting' was done I took the rest of the day off to finish reading a book, take a nap, and just generally enjoy a nice day outside....the smell of the rain soaked sage hung in the air all day long......TLE interrupted my interlude briefly to get out her sewing machine from the trailer so she do some mending, after which I went back to reading.


Around 5:30 we drove over to Laura and Jon's (Tom and Darlene's daughter and son-in-law) for dinner......as the 'crow flies' their home is probably a few hundred yards from Tom and Darlene's home, but about a mile if you can't fly and choose to drive.  We had a lovely evening.....Laura is becoming quite the home chef......for dinner she prepared French Onion soup, and pork chops with this amazing Cherry Port wine sauce poured over them.  We talked non-stop until almost 8 pm when we bid them adieu to head home.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

As it should be......

First Saturday.......ooooh, I just love saying that......was a perfect day for doing some routine maintenance on our bicycles.  It's been a while since I pulled the rear wheels off, removed the cassettes and did a deep cleaning, including using my 'chain cleaner' contraption to really clean the chain.  

Since my Intense 5.5 was already on the bike rack I started on it by first cleaning the chain, then removing the rear wheel to clean the cassette, then remove the cassette and clean the rear hub completely.  It's been over a year since I did a deep cleaning on the Intense and there was a lot of 'gunk' to remove.  I think it had been 2 years since TLE's F-600 had been deep cleaned, and it was probably the gunkiest of all three bikes.

 Clean cassette

 Clean 9 speed chain

 Chain cleaner contraption

The 'chain cleaner contraption' has a clip that you unfasten to remove the lid, and then you just lay the still mounted chain on the open top, then replace the lid.  I use WD-40 in the 'contraption' to de-gunk the chain, and it works pretty well.  I spin the cranks in reverse to move the chain through the 'chain cleaner contraption'......it takes about three times through the 'cleaner' to get the chain clean.

I methodically worked through each bike with 50's music playing in the background......by the time I finished the Intense, Cannondale Bad Boy and Cannondale F-600 almost 4 hours had melted into the ether, but it seemed like much less, and that is as it should be when you are doing something you enjoy.

Around 6 pm I got out the BBQ and prepared to grill hamburgers for our community dinner with Tom and Darlene......other than our first night here we have been eating dinner with To and Darlene every night.

First Saturday (Monday) was another movie night (Tom has quite a collection of recent movies on his hard drive that we have not yet seen) and the movie we chose to watch was 'Maze Runner' which had an intriguing premise, but the ending left me totally cold.  All that being said, there are four books in this series, and there is to be a sequel which will be released later this year, so we'll see how it progresses.  If they left it where the movie ended that would be so uncool.

Rain had been forecast by the weather 'guessers' for mid day, but it finally came around 8 pm....when we exited the front door of Tom and Darlene's home to walk back to the coach it was sprinkling gently, and it continued to rain most of the night....a perfect way to end first Saturday.....just as it should be....

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Courtesy Parking

I was thinking this morning.......yes I do that on occasion......that for 10 months in 2014 (we did pay for spots 25 days this year, excluding Tahoe Valley Campground....see #5) we have been 'courtesy parking' our home on wheels.  'Courtesy parking' is a loosely defined term (depends with whom are are talking), but essentially involves the provision of some form of hookups by a host at no cost to the owner of the RV being 'hooked up'.  More often than not it involves electrical and water, but can be just an electrical connection, or, on rare occasions, full hookups.  As it is living full time in one's RV home tends to be less expensive overall than living in a 'sticks and bricks' home, but when you throw in 'courtesy parking' the cost can decrease significantly.  The following is a list of 'courtesy parking' opportunities as I define them:

1) Parking your RV on the property of a friend, or acquaintance.....can involve, on rare occasions, full hookups, but usually involves at least a 20 amp electrical connection (sometimes 30 amp), and often a water connection.

2) Parking your RV in an RV park with full hookups provided by a temporary employer (Amazon).

3) Parking your RV in a location where temporary power pedestals have been installed (fairgrounds in the case of the sugar beet harvest, or in a grass field in the case of the INDY 500) where you are provided a 30 amp electrical hookup with access to water to refill your fresh water tank, and a means to dump your black and gray tanks as needed.

4) Parking your RV in an RV park, or some sort of state, or national park campground when doing volunteer work (in our case Rancho Jurupa Regional Park and Cape Blanco State Park) with full hookups provided. 

5) Parking your RV in an RV park/campground where the employer steeply discounts the monthly rate (Tahoe Valley Campground).

6) Parking your RV in a city park (Nebraska and Colorado for us this past year) where you are provided hookups courtesy of the local township for up to 3 days.

In our case we have, on occasion, provided a 30 amp boxes to our hosts to install (at our cost) for our use when we visit.  We have these boxes in Florida, Oregon, Washington, and California with the prospect of a few more being installed in the future.  When we visit my sister-in-law in east Texas we provide a temporary 50 amp receptacle which my brother-in-law wires up when we are there.  In our present 'courtesy parking' situation our host has provided a 30 amp receptacle, water, and access to their sewer cleanout to dump our tanks when needed.  When we return next winter they will have full hookups (50 amp, water and sewer) for us, and the many others who visit them over the course of the year.  

Example of a 30 amp box....the kind I buy

When we began 2014 we did not anticipate that we would engage in some form of 'courtesy parking' for over 10 months......it just kind of evolved that way.

Now, what happened Sunday?  For starters it was time to empty our black tank once again, so I got out the portable macerator pump, ran the various hoses required and got 'er dumped.

 Portable macerator pump I built 5 years ago

After taking care of the black tank I spent time repairing the wind chimes I had dropped the other day breaking the little 'tiki god' the spoons and forks hang from.  I used a two part epoxy to put the base back together, then had to re-string the beads at the top, which had come apart when the fishing line that we hang them from snapped, which is why I dropped it in the first place.

wind chimes repaired and back in use


Then it was time for us to take a walk.....this time our goal was to walk into the desert for 30 minutes, and then back.  We had planned to leave earlier, but didn't get walking until just after noon time.  Sunday was probably the hottest day since we have been here in Wittmann at 75 degrees, which by most objective standards is not 'hot', but the sun here in the desert is quite intense with the very clear skies.

By the time we returned from our one hour walk we had covered just under 3.3 miles and were ready to cool down.  By that time Tom and Darlene had returned from church so we went inside to visit for a while, then for me it was time to get out the recliners and read my book for a while.


We spent the evening with Tom and Darlene watching Marvel's  2014 "Guardians of the Galaxy", which we had wanted to see, but never got around to it while it was in the theaters.......and I'm glad we waited......it was funny, funky and full of cool 80's tunes, but I don't think I would want to pay $9/person to see it on the big screen.

By 10:30 we were saying 'good night' an walking out the front door to our coach....I love how it looks when it is lit up by all our lights.....yeah, it takes a lot of work to put those lights out, but it makes me happy.......:-)


Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Flea Market Saturday

One of our favorite things about Wittmann is the 'Wittmann Flea Market' held every weekend at the intersection of HWY 60 and Center in 'downtown' Wittmann.  We have been to this flea market several times and rarely ever come away empty handed.

 A perfect day!

There are a lot of used, and vintage tools for sale usually and a number of people selling jewelry, and on this day no one was disappointed.  I picked up a used hand ax, a filter wrench, a case hardened, stainless steel lock (for the Kuat bike carrier), and two more license plates (Kentucky & Mississippi) for my collection, and TLE picked up some very cool peacock earrings. 

 Peacock earrings - $6

Hand ax - $5, lock - $4, filter wrench - $1

 Mississippi & Kentucky plates - $9 each

We spent about an hour browsing through all the 'junk' and had a blast......our friend Tom came away with some vintage Craftsman ratchet wrenches (3/8 and 1/2 drive) for about $6.50 each.......a fraction of their actual worth....so it was a good day for all concerned.

My current license plate collection....still need Maryland, Ohio, Washington D.C. and Louisiana


I spent part of the afternoon putting out the awning mat, malibu lights, and xmas lights to 'glam' up our site, and it came out pretty nice.

Saturday night was movie night at the McCloud house, and on tap was a movie we never got around to seeing when it was in the theater.....'Divergent'.  It has a similar theme to 'Hunger Games', but had a different enough concept that we were intrigued, and hoping they make a sequel, which I am sure is coming.

Thanks for stopping by!