Saturday, December 24, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
About 9 years ago we had no RV of any kind. We did, however, own a 26' Columbia Sailboat we kept in the water near Belmont Shores, CA. We became the owners of that vessel in 1992 quite by accident. A long time friend of ours, who lived aboard his 38' Scandia double ender sailboat in the Long Beach Downtown Marina at the time, called one day to tell us there was this sailboat for sale for $800, and that if I didn't buy it I was stupid. Well......no one likes an intelligence challenge more than I. Anyway, the long and short of it is we drove down to see the boat, and bought it on the spot. It was an amazing deal. The economy at that time was in the tank, and the market for boats of any kind was also in the tank. The fellow who owned that sailboat had health issues, and needed to sell it as he was moving to Colorado, and had run out of time. The lease on his slip had run out, and the boat was moored on an "end tie" on a day to day rental. In just a few more days he would be forced to donate it to the Sea Scouts to be scrapped. We were in the right place at the right time. It was well equipped, and presented an opportunity to us to expand our horizons. We had visions of our children really getting into sailing with us....trips to Catalina Island, and eventually the other Channel Islands danced around in our heads. The kids never really got into sailing, however, we did make numerous trips to Catalina Island with and without our kids over the 10+ years we owned the Columbia, however, we mostly did "dock" sailing. We would drive down on a Saturday afternoon every few weeks, spend the night on the sailboat, and drive back the next afternoon. Elaine and I used it as a getaway place where we could spend 24 hours every few weeks by ourselves (we had 5 children living at home at the time).
1973 Columbia 26'
In 1992 our oldest son had purchased his first RV...a Fleetwood Gear Box trailer. I would hear stories each Monday I came into the office of their adventures with their in-laws that weekend camping at Glamis, Dumont Dunes, El Mirage (a dry lake in the upper desert not to far from where we are now). Eventually my daughter-in-law came to me one day saying her mother and father were selling their Fleetwood Tioga Class C motorhome and were we interested? We had been talking about selling the Columbia and buying a trailer so we could spend more time with our son and grandkids, so it didn't take us long to sell the sailboat, and buy the 1987 Class C motorhome!
Our first trip with my son and his in-laws was to Lake Tahoe. I had been going to Lake Tahoe since the early '50's with my parents, and every other summer with my wife since we were married....we, in fact, spent our honeymoon at Lake Tahoe. Well, after 10 days on the road in that Class C were were hooked on the life style, and even began to talk about living full time in an RV when we retired. Over the next 4 years we put around 15,000 miles on that Class C mostly in the western half of the USA, and fell more and more in love with the lifestyle.
After returning from our longest trip yet (over 3 weeks) to Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes (in the Eastern Sierra) we came to the conclusion that if we were serious about fulltiming we were going to need a bigger motorhome. About that same time, my son, who had progressed from the 30' Gear Box to a 42' Road Warrior 5th wheel, and then to a 38' Fleetwood Class A diesel pusher (with 4 slides) suggested that we look at something like he had. Well, the one thing we knew for sure was that we did not want a loan payment, and if we went that route we would have to finance....I think his cost around $100,000. We decided we would try and find something around 10 years old that we could afford to purchase free and clear.
The time was late 2007, and I spent a few hours a week cruising the RV for sale sites looking at used rigs. We had decided we didn't want slides...one more thing to break. We were looking for a "low tech" coach that had systems I could work on myself. In early 2008 we went to the big RV show at the Pomona Fairplex and spent the better part of a weekend going from RV to RV. Nothing really struck my fancy....they all looked the same inside, no matter the manufacturer. The benefit of spending those two days looking at new coaches is that it helped us narrow down what we were looking for, and from which manufacturers. The key was to find something durable, well made, in good condition, in our price range. We found a number of coaches that interested us (Safari's, Monaco's, Rexhaul's, etc.), but the rigs in our price range, between 5 and 10 years old were just threadbare, and in most cases needed to have the carpet replaced, upholstery redone, wood floors refinished, had prior water damage, etc.
Then, in late February I was cruising Craigslist....just typed in diesel pusher in the search window.....one of the first items that popped up that day was a 1982 Newell. The picture in the ad looked like a bus conversion. I had never heard of Newell, but I showed the picture to Elaine. The coach was listed as being in the Thousand Palms area near Palm Springs. Well, as luck would have it we were going to Indio (also near Palm Springs) for a wedding that very weekend, so she says "Why don't you contact the people and see if we can take a look at it while we are down there". What could it hurt? We were going to be there anyway, so I e-mailed the person suggesting a rendezvouz that weekend, and within just a few minutes I received a call from Fred, and older gentleman. We set the time and made our plans. We were planning to drive our Class C down to Lake Cahuilla and camp that weekend while attending the wedding and reception. We drove down Friday afternoon (Elaine following in the T-Bird), and met with Fred the next morning at the storage facility where the Newell was kept. We walked up to the coach, and knocked on the door. Fred greeted us and invited us in....Elaine entered first, and before I got to the top of the stairs, following her, she had already fallen in love......with the Newell. I kid you not! In her mind it was already ours. I'm thinking, "What on earth! This thing is 26 years old, and I've never heard of a Newell before! Are they even in business anymore? What the hell is a 2 stroke Detroit Diesel?".....I'm seeing visions of a money pit.....but Elaine has already moved beyond that, and now I'm playing catchup. My good friend, whose wedding we were attending, told me he knew about Newells, and that they were still in business, and they were very well built. Fred gave me a 2 hour tour of every basement area of the coach, and every system inside and out. The coach was in immaculate condition, and we found out later, had been stored inside a warehouse for 22 of its 26 years of life. He invited us back on Sunday to look at it a second time...that afternoon, and evening after the wedding, I spent several hours on the computer reading about Newell, and Detroit Diesel 2 strokes, etc. By the next afternoon when we returned to visit Fred it was just a matter of discussing the details of the purchase. The price was right, and by March 1st she was ours.
Original Craigslist picture of our 1982 Newell
We love serendipity, and that moment in time when I stumbled across the Craigslist ad so smacked of serendipity, and the subsequent days as everything fell into place, were truly serendipitous! We have never looked back, and now, coming up on our 4th anniversary of being Newell owners, we are so THANKFUL we again were in the right place at the right time back in February of 2008! We had planned on our next RV being a transitional one, but, instead, found our future home. We can't imagine owning another RV.
So, now you know the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey often said in his weekly broadcast. On this day of National Thanksgiving we have much to be thankful for.....our children, grandchildren, health, retirement, and yet untold adventures to come.
Thank you for stopping by, and may God Bless each of you on this special day!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Saturday I had 4 soccer matches at the San Bernardino Soccer Complex in Highland, CA. The weather was cool...for a change, and the day was uneventful. Sunday was a different matter....I had 4 matches scheduled at U.C. Irvine (Irvine, CA), and the weather forecast told of rain starting that morning and lasting most of the day. My first match was at 7:30am, which means I had to leave Riverside around 6am in order to be there 45 minutes before match time. The match got underway to threatening skies, but it was NOT raining yet. We managed to get in 70 minutes of an 80 minute match before it started drizzling, then raining.....that was my match as center referee. The remaining 3 matches I would be an assistant referee. The second match began at 9:15am, and within 20 minutes my sideline was a 50 yard mud path. By the end of that game (a 90 minute match) I was muddy from the knees down, and my shoes resembled large mud clods than shoes. My next match was not until 1:15pm so I decided to take my wet stuff back to the parking structure, and my car, to change into some dryer clothes, and shoes, and steel myself for the next game, and more mud. While I was at the car I got a phone call from the center referee assigned to the 11:15am match saying the replacement assistant referee had not arrived, and would I come back and take his place until he arrived? OK, fine.....I walked back to the field munching on a half sandwich, and arrived a few minutes after game time. The missing referee arrived at half time and graciously offered me half the game fee for filling in for him, which I gladly accepted. It was then I found out this was the last game of the day.....the organizers had decided to cancel the rest of the games that Sunday as the fields were in horrible condition after 3 hours of heavy rain.....so I got to go home 4 hours early!
The rest of the week saw Elaine and I reorganizing some of our basement storage areas in the coach. We had discovered on our trip to Ventura that some things we use when dry camping were left in the trailer, and there were many things that we rarely use. So, we spent the better part of the day pulling things out of several of the storage areas to be sure only the things we need for short trips are there. Amazingly, we have a lot of room left. Somethings went up to my office warehouse where they will remain until we depart. One of the storage areas had room for a shelf, and so we installed a shelf thereby increasing it's capacity by almost twice....very nice! Pictures to follow.
We are now working on how to transport our two Terra Tadpole Trikes, and my mountain bike. We already have the tandem and two road bikes figured out, and now I think we've figured out the final three "bikes"....I know, I know.....who needs that many bikes? At any rate, once I get the necessary hardware I will share with you have we have solved that mystery. For those of you who wonder what a Terra Trike is, here is a picture taken at the top of Towne Pass (between Death Valley and Panamint Springs) on a 465 mile trip I took with a friend a few years ago. The one in front is mine (with a trailer). Elaine's is the same. We call them "rolling lawnchairs". We rode from Furnace Creek (272' below sea level) to the top of Towne Pass (4,956' above sea level) on one leg of this 9 day trip.
Anyway, that's what's new in our neighborhood. Thanks for stopping by!
Friday, November 4, 2011
Elaine enjoying the view on Wednesday afternoon.
Feeling mellow after the 36 mile bike ride........
Cloud cover getting heavy...
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The last time we drove the Newell up to Ventura was last February....almost 9 months! Every time we are here I tell Elaine, "Why don't we come here every month?". The weather in November is always nice, and there are no crowds with which we must compete for a parking spot on the "Parkway". There are 127 50' spots end to end on the Parkway. Rincon Parkway stretches about 5 miles from the Sea Cliff exit on the north to the State Beaches exit on the south. It is what is left of the old Highway 1 in this area, which was replaced years ago by Highway 101. The County of Ventura has converted 1 mile of the Parkway to dry camping to the 127 dry camping spots. At either end of this section of the Parkway are two County Parks....Hobson on the north, and Faria on the south. Each of these parks offer a dozen, or so full hookup spots including cable TV. Most the spots in these two parks are just a dozen feet from the surf at high tide.
A little Zin' to wind down the day....
We'll be here two more days, and head back to Rancho Jurupa on Friday afternoon. Tomorrow we're thinking of riding up the Ventura River bike path to Ojai for lunch.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
The new Dometic 310!
Our coach came to us in 2008 with a Thetford Aqua Magic pedal flush toilet which was a year, or two old. It has worked well these 3 1/2 years, but all plastic toilets just get harder and harder to clean with hard water deposits, staining, etc. Plus plastic tends to hold odors. So, when our Newell friend, Steve Ward, who also has a 1982 Newell, decided to replace his Thetford with a Dometic 310, which has a PORCELAIN bowl we decided to check his out. Elaine loved the look of it much more, and the porcelain bowl sold her. These toilets run around $125-141 on sale. We got our for $141 including shipping. I ordered it on Wednesday, and it was at my office the next morning....WOW!!!
My friend's motivation for replacing the toilet was that his seals were shot, and the bowl would no longer hold water. Our motivation was just to improve our toilet....we thought. It seems Mr. Murphy was peekin' over my shoulder, but this time he didn't have the last laugh!
Since we are rolling the coach up to Ventura on Monday I decided Friday (yesterday) was the day to do this "1 hour" job. Our toilet sits on a 1.5 inch plywood platform (1.5" above the bathroom floor grade), and when we had the carpeting replaced with wood flooring 3 years ago we decided to leave the carpeting on the platform as it would have been a pain to remove the toilet and then put it back in again. Nevertheless, Elaine really did not like that carpeting, so we decided that when we removed the Thetford we would replace the carpeting at the same time. So, while I removed the toilet and the old carpeting she went to Lowe's and Home Depot in search of a suitable carpet remnant. The theory was that by the time she returned I would have the old toilet out and the carpet removed, and everything prepared for the new carpet and toilet.
It took me about 10 minutes to remove the toilet....that was the easy part. What I was greeted with made my heart skip a beat....just a beat. The carpet behind the toilet was saturated with water. Visions of major wood removal taunted me as I pulled out the 82 staples holding a 2' square piece of carpeting in place (why do they use so many staples?). It turned out the entire piece was damp due to a leak in the water supply line to the toilet. I'm sitting there looking at wet wood and thinking I'll have to remove it all, but how the hell am I going to remove that flange without damaging it? Is it screwed on to the stand pipe, or glued......well, it's been 29 years since it was all installed, so even if it is threaded, how will I get it loose without damaging everything? It's starting to look like a 1 week job, not a 1 hour job.
Before I caused any damage I decided to call Steve.....we have basically the same setup. He didn't know if the flange was glued, or threaded, and said I might have to cut it off....NO!! Then he asked about the condition of the wood....was there any visible rot? Were there any soft spots in the wood? Is there any warping? I replied that the wood was just wet, but looked fine. Good, he says, that means the leak is pretty recent. Just put a ceramic heater in the bathroom, and close the door for a few hours and see if the wood dries out, so I did. Within a couple of hours the wood was dry, and there were still no soft spots. It's obvious that this plywood must be marine grade, as regular plywood would begin to warp and delaminate pretty quickly.
Anyway, we decided to postpone the installation of the carpet allowing the wood to finish drying completely, and just install the toilet. When we get back from Ventura we'll install the carpet around the installed toilet.
With the wood floor installed
Bare wood raised platform
Since today is Saturday it must mean I have soccer matches that need attention. Today I have a "late" start....11:45am down at U.C. Irvine at the Premier league. Three Boys U-17 matches with my center being the last game of the day. Tomorrow it's back to my schedule from last Sunday....5 League Cup matches starting at 8am, with two centers. I'll be gone all day, and will be very tired Sunday evening.
Here is the view I am greeted with most every day (that it's sunny), and here is what the park looks like when it is pretty full. Surprising how many families camp on Holloween!!! There are a lot of creative Holloween displays here in the park this weekend!
Looking out salon window
Have a great week, and thank you for reading!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
On Rincon Parkway a couple of years ago.As I am writing it has started raining again.....well, more like a drizzle. Looks like our daily bike ride may occur later in the day. Oh well, now that Elaine is retired it doesn't really matter. As long as it's not 100 degrees outside, or raining we can ride at our leisure!
Elaine is really enjoying her iPad. She's reading books on it, taking care of e-mail, surfing the "net".
That brings you up to date....thanks for reading!!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Woke up this morning to as heavy a fog as I have seen in years. Could not see Mt. Rubidoux, or any of the other hills surrounding the park. Could barely see the cabins. When I checked weather.com and saw that the fog would "hang" around until almost 1p I knew we weren't going to get our early morning bike ride in today. We decided to clean the last 3 cabins first thing, and hope the fog lifted enough by 11am to take our ride. That plan worked out perfectly, and we were able to start our ride about 11:30am.
So far, there are only 3 cabins being rented this weekend, so Monday will be an easy day for cleaning them. The next weekend only 2 are rented, which will make it easy for us to get on the road Monday, 10/31, up to Ventura. As we suspected, the rental rate has begun to decrease as we get further into the Fall season, and temperatures cool.
Today, Wednesday, is also "mow" day....this is the day each week when the county mows and edges the grass in Cottonwood, where we are staying. It takes 5 people all day to manicure the grass just to give you an idea of how much grass there is. It is one of my weekly pleasures to watch someone else mow the lawn, and it doesn't cost me a dime!
Heading out in about an hour to referee an adult soccer league I do once a month.
The park is pretty empty right now.....a few "snow" birds, and a few campers who move from local park to local park living in their RV's....a symptom of our economy. They range from young families with small children trying to make ends meet, to groups of 2, or 3 adults who have banded together to keep costs down. As I have said before, you are only allowed to camp here in Rancho Jurupa Regional Park 14 days out of every 30 days. Most of the County parks in the area, including Yucapia Regional Park, and Prado Regional Park have this same limitation.
Well, that's it for today. I am hoping to begin posting now on a more regular basis, so check back to see what we're doing tomorrow!
Thanks for reading!!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Hangman Valley Road - my brother-in-law and the Lovely Elaine
On September 30th Elaine worked her last day for her employer of 20 years. We went out for an amazing Italian dinner at Mario's Place in Riverside to celebrate.
We slept in until after 8am almost every day. Since we had our own coffee maker in our suite we didn't have to run upstairs for our morning dose of that wonderful elixir! We had a wonderful trip, and thoroughly enjoyed visiting with my sister and her family. We loved hearing the rain during the night, and taking walks in the gentle rain that fell 5 out of the 7 days we were there. We watched several movies with our hosts in their media room, and many college and NFL football games over the weekend. We did a 13 mile bike ride on the one clear day along Hangman Valley Road. What a great way to celebrate Elaine's retirement.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Two weekends ago we did a shorter 10 mile ride to a local Starbucks for breakfast.
One weekend ago I spent 2 days at Mammoth Mtn. riding in their mountain bike park doing about 54 miles of downhill riding over two days.
This weekend Elaine and I got out our recumbent tadpole trikes and headed up to the Pacific Electric Rails to Trails bike path in Rancho Cucamonga. Normally we start our ride at the eastern most trailhead in Rancho Cucamonga on East Ave. just above Baseline (a few hundred feet west of Interstate 15). When this rails to trails bike path is finished it will run from Rialto, CA all the way to Claremont Colleges in Claremont. This path follows the right of way for the old Pacific Electric railway, which, in its day, was one of the best mass transit systems in the Western U.S. There were literally hundreds of miles of track running all over Southern California on which the Electric Red Trolley Cars carried citizens at very little cost. When this amazingly efficient mass transit system was replaced by buses the right of way sat dormant for decades, and was, frankly, an eyesore. Now the cities of Claremont, Upland Rancho Cucamonga, and Fontana have joined together to repurpose this right of way providing a wonderful local resource for recreation for thousands. Our intent this day (Saturday, 8/13/2011) was to ride west to Vineyard where the trail temporarily ends as "they" construct a new bridge over Foothill Blvd. We did not realize that in the past few months Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga had connected their two sections under the I-15 freeway making the trail virtually complete now....just awaiting the one small section on the one short stretch over Foothill connecting the Rancho Cucamonga and Upland sections. As we were riding westbound an older gentleman (like we're not older, too....haha!) pulled up along side us as we pedaled and informed us that the Fontana section was now connected! After making our turn at the Vineyard closure we decided we would head all the way back into Fontana and see how far the trail went. The ride we had planned was about 13 miles round trip, but with the addition of the Fontana section we ended up riding 27 miles total. Below is a video of our ride.
The weather has been very moderate the past 5 weeks....maybe one day over 100, but mostly high 80's, low 90's with a lot of heavy overcast many mornings, aka: marine layer. The campground has been 90% full each weekend.
So, that't it from Rancho Jurupa Regional Park for now. Thanks for reading!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Work table folded up along side the screws and small parts cabinet
Wall mounted TEAC CD/am-fm stereo....a guy has to have his music to work by!!