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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Plan B

Both TLE and I checked our various weather sources first thing Friday, and did not see this coming....the hourly forecast for Friday indicated we would have a few clouds in the morning, but then mostly sunny in the afternoon.  Based on that we began getting dressed to ride our bikes into Riverside to have coffee and a bagel at Simple Simon's....a popular local breakfast/lunch place (Yelp gives them 4 stars).  I had just finished dressing and was about to walk out the door to check on the bikes when I began to hear drops of rain on the roof.....wait, what?  I looked out the front window to see rain drops hitting the glass with ever increasing frequency and intensity.....we rechecked the same weather sources we had just checked 30 minutes before and now they were all saying it was raining.....duh!  Not only did it rain then, it continued to rain on and off until mid afternoon putting the kaibosh on our plans.....hmmmm, I haven't used that word in a long, long time.  We have a rule for bike riding that we abide by pretty religiously....we never start a ride when it is already raining.  It's one thing to get caught in the middle of a ride in the rain, and just make the best of it, but starting out in the rain is a definite "No,No".

Okay, I get it, we're not riding, so what is "Plan B"?  Well, TLE's "Plan B" was to go shopping.  My "Plan B" was to work in the trailer, and watch college football.  I began going over the mountain bike I bought off Craigslist to put a value on each component before I list each of them on Ebay.  Based on my preliminary estimates I think I should easily double my money, so we'll see.




This has turned out to be a pretty well behaved group we have here in RJRP for the  long Thanksgiving weekend.....considering that the park is at 100% capacity it is very quiet during the day and night.....no loud blaring stereos, or loud talking.  Everyone is being respectful and considerate of those around them. Whenever you bring this many people into this small geographical space you never know what you are going to get.  The Rangers, of course, do their job to shut down those who are inconsiderate, but it's always more pleasant when you don't have to get the "law" involved.

I spent part of the afternoon beginning to clean up some of the bike parts so I can take pictures prior to listing them.  Working in my "garage" I have the best of all worlds.....I keep the TV on mute, and have 60's music playing at the appropriate volume level on XM Radio......no need to have the football announcers telling me what I already know, and can see.....the best way to watch football!

Later that evening we watched a couple of DVD movies my daughter Meredith had given us a few weeks ago to watch.......World War "Z", and then "Man of Steel".....before heading off to bed around 11 pm.....it was a nice day, and Plan "B" didn't turn out too bad!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Day of Thanks

This time last year we were sharing our first nomadic Thanksgiving with new friends we met at Amazon.com in Campbellsville, KY at a local eatery.....it was special for us, and we enjoyed spending those hours with our new friends, but we also missed sharing the traditional turkey with our kids around the family Duncan Phyfe dinning table.  When we leased our home out to begin our nomadic life we passed on this table on to the 3rd generation of Hockwald's.....to my daughter Kate specifically.  She has had the table three years now, and I have to say she is taking very good care of it!

 
Three of the beautiful women in my life....left to right: Meredith, Katharine and Sharon


Three generations of Hockwald women.....Kate's daughter, Charlise (Charlie) in the forefront


Sharon and Rod

  
The Hockwald Duncan Phyfe table now passed on to the 3rd generation

This is the dichotomy of the nomadic existence.......you have the love of the road, serendipity, adventure, new scenery, new friends on the one hand, and then you have the family you love and miss, plus your entire circle of life long friends on the other.  Finding the delicate balance between the two often pulls at our heart strings.  Those whose proclaim "you can have it all" are wrong......you can have most all of it, but not all of it......life is about choices, and trade offs.  There are consequences to every choice we make.  Of necessity, choosing to live your life as a nomad, or vagabond means you will be separated from your "sticks and bricks"  family and friends for long periods of time, and in turn means you will not see some of the life events in your kids, and grand kids lives.  We are extremely blessed in that our children have been our biggest cheerleaders as we take on this continuing adventure, but they are also quite human, and miss us terribly when we are gone.  Now that we will be spending the next 18-24 months west of the Mississippi we will be able to swing through SoCal more often, and we will be back here for sure next Christmas and New Years.  There is an old oft used expression that I have come to realize is quite true....."absence makes the heart fonder"......put another way, absence increases the intensity of feelings and emotions when you are reunited.

TLE headed over to Kate's home about mid morning while I puttered around in the trailer cleaning up the Craigslist MTB, and fixing the cyclocomputer on my mountain bike.....well, actually replacing it.  I have this orange Home Depot bucket I keep in the trailer full of all my extra bike parts, accessories, etc.  I forgot I had an extra wireless cyclocomputer in there, so I bought a new one on Ebay just the other day...just exactly like the extra one I already had......hmmmmm....I've got to go through that bucket more often, or make up an inventory....I just spent $26 I didn't need to spend.....:D

There used to be one NFL game on Thankging Day for years, and years....then there were two for many years......now there three NFL games played on Thanksging....how cool is that?  So, anyway, the entire time I'm working in the trailer I have football on in the background.

Around 2:30 we headed over to Kate's home for Thanksgiving dinner, and while the girls worked on the finishing touches of dinner we stood around talking.....you have to understand that when Hockwald's are present "talking" involves keeping up with 3, or 4 simultaneous discussions, and trying to "squeeze a word in edgewise", as my Dad would often say, when the ever so brief moment in time arises when there is an almost imperceptable lull in the conversationS. .

The dinner itself was replete with all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes, and the conversationS continued unabated. I spent time giving each my kids long hugs, and just enjoying having my arms around them.  I think, from my own perspective, that being away 21 months has helped me transition from seeing my kids as just "my kids" to the point where I now see them as autonomous adults.....I like that.

We headed back home around 6:30 stuffed with great food and sweet memories knowing we will have more time with them...next up....Saturday afternoon/evening with all the kids here in RJRP for dinner, a fire and another acoustical guitar session, and next weekend my son Chris and his family will come into the park for the weekend....YAY!

Thank you, and I do mean that in the most sincere manner possible, for stopping by!

P.S. - By the way if you read my "Being Thankful" post, and didn't see your name mentioned, I have edited and updated it to reflect more serendipitous encounters.  If I left you out, please let me know!

Catchup

I was so involved this morning composing my Thanksgiving blog that I forgot to write about what happened Wednesday.

When last I left off we were going to have to move our "home" three sites over to site  261 to make way for Thanksgiving folks who had reserved our site (258) back in July......however, we couldn't move until after 12 noon as the person who had a trailer there did not arrive to move his trailer until then. So, until then we played a waiting game hoping the people who had reserved our site did not arrive before we could move.  In the interim I took care of a couple of repair projects.....one was the light in the water bay wasn't working....turned out the ground wire had come loose.....a simple fix, but that light is very hard to get at....I had to practically stand on my head to get it out, and then in again.

Finally the gentleman in site 261 arrived, and moved his trailer out so we could finish moving into his vacated spot.....moving was actually the easy part......it took the rest of the afternoon to set everything back up for our 4 day stay.....then we'll do it all over again to move back to our permanent site on Sunday.

I finally finished  around 4 and was ready for a beer.....we had heard there was a new place in downtown Riverside called Heroes, so we decided to head over and see what beers they had on tap......we were a little disappointed in their selection which consisted mainly of IPA's and assorted Lite beers (no Porters, or Stouts)........not my favorites, so we ended up ordering two 22 ounce Rogue Chocolate Stouts.  There are 2, or 3 new micro breweries in town so we'll check them out over the next couple of weeks.


Hero's - Rogue Brewery Chocolate Stout

That was pretty much our Wednesday........of course RJRP started filling up early Wednesday afternoon, and was 90% occupied by the time the gates closed at 10 pm.

We'll be having Thanksgiving dinner Thursday at my daughter Kate's home, just a few miles away, right here in Riverside where we will be joined by Sharon, Meredith and Tim, as well as Sharon's boyfriend Rod.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Being Thankful...

I was thinking this morning (Thanksgiving) about how thankful I am for all the people we have connected with since we became full time nomads.  Our first stop after leaving California on this journey for what would ultimately be over 21 months, was Mesa, AZ where spent 12 days parked on the street in front of the home of our good friends, Tom and Darlene.  Tom helped me over that time with several electrical and air suspension issues mostly at night after he had put in a long day at the office.  Darlene helped us fix an issue with our awning that required the use of one of her heavy duty sewing machines.  We left Mesa reluctantly 12 days later with a deeper friendship, and a more road worthy Newell.  With Tom's help and encouragement I became much more confident in my ability to fix things as they broke.  Since our initial visit with them we spent over a month traveling with them in South Dakota, Montana and Alberta.

From there we headed directly to Tyler, TX to spend time with in-laws on TLE's side of the family.  Just after we finished parking our coach and trailer in TLE's sister's (Phyllis) gravel driveway our water pump failed.  Although I spent portions of the next 8 days fixing the pump we had a wonderful time visiting with Phyllis, with Gary (TLE's brother-in-law), and with Read and Shannon (TLE's brother and sister-in-law).   I like all of TLE's siblings, and it was so nice to spend time with them with no time constraints for a change.

We next headed to Austin, TX where TLE's sister Laureen lives with her husband Glenn and their two adult children, plus our very good friends Michael and Georgia Day (Newell Owners).  We spent about 8 days in Michael and Georgia's driveway with a view of Lake Travis having wonderful evening meals together, and just running around town.  We hung out with Laureen and Glen wandering around Austin, and getting to know the city better....it is now one of our favorite cities.

From there we spent a few weeks by ourselves exploring new territory along the Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi all the way to Stuart Beach, FL.  Along the way we stopped off in Cedar Key, FL for the first NuRVer convergence.   We met so many interesting people in just a short 3 days.......Chris and Cherie, Dennis and Jeanette, Maria and Brian, Bill and Debby, Pat and Cindy.....and the list goes on.  Our connection with these people, and the wonderful community of Cedar Key brought us back just after Christmas of the same year to spend 5 weeks at the second NuRver convergence where we got to know these folks better, and met many more amazing, interesting people from all walks of life, and backgrounds.  Our lives were forever changed, and enriched.  Since then we have hooked up on the road with many of these people, some more than once, and look forward to meeting up again.

Then we traveled across Florida to the east coast and spent about 10 days with our good friend from College, Ernie and his wife Carol.   We had such a great time reconnecting with them that we went back again the next year for another week.  On our second visit to Florida we hooked up with TLE's cousin Gail, and her husband Jimmy in Ft. Meyer, as well as TLE's aunt Evelyn, and spent a wonderful 3, or 4 days with them.  Then on to Biscayne Bay to reconnect with a high school friend, Patty, and her husband Phil for a few days....we had a fantastic time reconnecting with them, and meeting their neighbors.  While we were in the Florida Keys we reconnected with Maria and Brian, who we had just seen a few short weeks earlier in Cedar Key.....I helped them with a few electrical issues they were having in their Class C RV, and we shared a couple of meals together.....great conversation, great food, and a couple of great sunsets.  On our way north to see Ernie and Carol again we stopped off to visit another of TLE's former workaday friends, Lilliana, her husband Todd and their two daughters in Boca Raton.

When we left Florida the first time back in March of 2012 we headed north to spend a week with my sister Jill, with whom I had just reconnected after years of estrangement.....we stopped off in Heflin, Alabama to visit with Diane, a college friend, and her husband, Paul for 3 days, then as we were heading north we were invited for an overnight stay with  Larry and Vanessa (Newell owners) who provided a 50 amp hookup, and showed us the town, and local eateries.  Our time with my sister and her husband, Elliott, was magical, and a great time of healing, and reconciling our relationship.  Things went so well that I traveled back up there after the INDY 500 to spend a few days with her while TLE was in Oregon.  While we were visiting my sister Jill in Michigan the first time we met, and became great friends with Krash and Karen, who had been following our blog.  We would stay in touch over the next months and reconnect with them in Cedar Key, FL where our friendship was really cemented over many meals, walks, campfires, etc.

After another couple of weeks of being by ourselves we landed in South Jordan, UT where we spent a fun week with my brother Dwyer, his wife Lori, and their two adult children Ingrid and Arthur.  Lori took us all over creation, and as always, we had a wonderful time with them.

Next up was a 5 week stay in Spokane at the home of my sister Hilary visiting with her, her husband Bob, and two daughters Stephanie and Caroline, plus time with my mother Virginia.  Our time there still stands out in my memory as a highlight of our travels. We also spent 5 days with old college friends George and Brenda.

From there we traveled into over to Whidbey Island where we spent 2 weeks at the home of Bob and Karen, old college friends, then on to Oregon to visit with TLE's good friend from her workaday life, Cathie where we parked on her property for over 2 weeks, then on to Vancouver, WA where we reconnected with a college friend, Lee, for a week.  Wherever we have gone we have been treated like visiting royalty, and Lee and his wife were no exception.

As we continued our trek east to Campbellsville, KY (Amazon.com) we stopped off in Rawlins, WY to visit college friends Ben and Mary Pat for a few days.....we hadn't seen them in almost 40 years, but it was like no time had passed.

As we continued eastward we were blessed to hook up with Matt and Connie (Newell owners) at Flaming Gorge NP....we had a great time getting to know them better, and count them as good friends now.  Then on south into Colorado where we hooked up with college friends, Tom and Jeanette near Lakewood, CO, and then David and Denise (former Newell owners) in Denver, CO.....we first met David and Denise in Austin, TX at a Newell Rally back in April of 2009, and quickly became friends.  We extended that friendship again when we met up with them at the next Newell Rally in Creede, CO, and then again a a year later in Santa Fe, NM.

Of course there was another visit near Muskogee, OK where we met, and became good friends with Jeff and Pam (Newell owners) who provided full hookups right next to their swimming pool, and then on to Arkansas to visit with another college friend, John, his wife Cathy, and son Dakota for a few days....while there we had the honor of meeting Jack MacCauliffe, the father of modern day micro-brewing.  Next we stopped in St. Louis to visit TLE's brother, Creig and his wife Kay, as well as TLE's niece Heather (daughter of TLE's sister Phyllis), her husband Ron and their kids.

When we arrived in Campbellsville, KY to work at Amazon we never imagined we would connect so completely with new friends, Jim and Sharon, Rich and Pat, Michael and Liz, and Jim and Jacque....without them the experience would not have been the same.  Since we left Amazon we have visited the homes of Jim and Sharon, and Rich and Pat down on the west coast of Florida.  We also were able to visit Jim and Jacque......we loved our time with all of our Amazon friends, and continue to remain in contact with all of them.  We are still trying to hookup with Michael and Liz....I know lady serendipity will make that happen someday.

Of course, as I have mentioned, we returned to Cedar Key, FL in late December to meet up with Krash and Karen, Chris and Cherie, Bill and Debby, Forrest and Mary, Sam and Tracy, Pat and Cindy, Shaun and Erica, Forest and Cindy, Pace and Kylie, Jay, Ann, Elliott and  and probably a few whose names escape me right now.  On our way north from our second visit with Ernie and Carol, we stopped off in Melbourse, FL to have lunch with Chris and Cherie who were visiting family in the area.....they were on hand to support us when we had our gasoline instead of diesel incident....we were so thankful they were able to drop what they were doing and come over while we figured out what had happened.   We next stopped off for a few days in St. Augustine, FL and hooked up for dinner and some brews with Sam and Tracy who were in the area. When we headed north out of Florida we spent a week with Elliott and Ann at their home in Southern Georgia...we first met them in Cedar Key....we are proud, and pleased to count them as friends.  Next on our list was Savannah, GA where we spent 12 days.....during that time we visited with Katie, our niece, and the daughter of TLE's sister, Laureen....she is attending a local arts school...this was our second time through Savannah, and spending time with  Katie...she is an exceptional young woman, and we always get a kick out of our time with her.  And as serendipity would have it, Krash and Karen stopped off for two nights in Savannah on their way home from Cedar Key.   From there we stopped off in Huntington, WV to visit with long time Newell friends Richard and Rhonda, plus their son Tyler.  Richard spent some time helping me with my tachometer problem, took me mountain biking, and both of us on a day of hiking in Kentucky.  We shared many meals with them, and had a wonderful time.

Our next stop was Washington D.C. where we spent time with our nephew Jonathan, and his long time girl friend, Shari.  Once again, except for this nomadic lifestyle, this visit probably would not have happened, and we would be the poorer for that.  And thanks to Miss Serendipity, we hooked up with friends John, Cathy and Dakota while there were in town for a few days.

As you know we spent a month in Indianapolis working at the INDY 500....we met and became friends with several people....most notably, Rick, Deb, Joe, and Linus.....we still maintain contact with Rick and Deb, and hope to see them again when we return to the INDY 500.  Additionally while we were there we had the pleasure of meeting Chris and Jeanne who had been following our blog, and had recently become nomads themselves, and are traveling the country from job to job in their Prevost.  After we left the Sugar Beet harvest in late October we stopped off in Bozeman, MT for two days to spend more time with them.

On our way to a Newell Mini Rally in Spearfish, SD we stopped off in Sioux Falls, SD to meet, for the first time, Todd and Dawn, who had just bought a 1984 Newell less than a year before.....Todd and I had become friends through the Newell Gurus website, and made plans to hookup when we came through Sioux Falls.  We had a few meals with them, and spent time working with Todd on his Newell getting it ready for the mini rally.  Tom and Darlene eventually joined us there to help work on Todd's Newell.  From there we traveled to the mini rally with Tom and Darlene.


This past June we attended the aforementioned Newell Mini Rally, which we helped organize, getting the opportunity to reconnect with those we were already friends with already (Tom and Darlene, David and Denise, Forest and Cindy, Jeff and Pam, Michael and Georgia, Richard and Rhonda, Todd and Dawn), and making many new friends.  We left there traveling with Tom and Darlene, and Forest and Cindy for over 4 weeks through South Dakota, Montana and Alberta, Canada.  Over that time we ate almost every dinner together, and saw some amazing scenery.  While in Alberta we spent a week in Cochrane, at the invitation of fellow Newell owners Jim and Gail, who were camphosts at the RV park we stayed at....what a delightful couple....we ate almost every dinner with them over the week we were there, and look so forward to meeting up with them again when they continue their travels in the lower 48.  Those 5 weeks together were an amazing time of bonding, and they will remain in our memories forever.  As we passed through Billings, MT on our way to Alberta, we spent an afternoon with Chris and Cherie at the diesel shop where their Detroit Diesel was being rebuilt, and later that summer serendipity arranged 4 days with them in Polson, MT on the shores of Flathead Lake.

While we were in Montana we parked the Newell at the fairgrounds in Missoula for four days and drove down to Salt Lake City to the wedding of our niece, Ingrid....of course it was wonderful spending time with family....Philip (my brother), his wife Jeannie, daughter Danielle, and her boyfriend Miguel were there....the first time we had seen them in almost 19 months.  Of course my Mother was there.  My son Tim, flew up from Ontario, CA to surprise us, and what a surprise it was!

Once again we were able to spend a month in the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area visiting with my sister Hilary, her family, visiting our friends Bob and Karen again, and spend time with my mother before heading to our job at the Sugar Beet Harvest....we were able to connect with Brian and Heidi there.....I've been following Brian's blog for years now, and really enjoyed getting to know him better.  While we were in Coeur d'Alene we reconnected with George and Brenda (college friends) a second time.   We also flew down to Dallas, TX to a college reunion and spent four days visiting with a hundred or so old college friends.

On our way to the sugar beet harvest we were able to cross paths once again with Tom and Darlene (Fairmont Hot Springs) as they were heading south to their Arizona home....even though it was a short two days, we had a great time, as always.

As we made our way south we stopped off once again at my brother Dwyer's home for about a week where we had wonderful evening meals with him, Lori, Arthur, Ingrid, and her new husband Randy.

As we passed southward through Carson City, NV we were able to hookup with my Uncle Bob (my Mom's brother), his wife Jane, as well as my cousin Lois, and her husband John.  I hadn't seen Uncle Bob for over 10 years, and hadn't seen Lois for probably 45 years. We also were able to hookup with another old college friend, Terri, a couple of times.

Finally, as you know, we finally landed back where it all started.....Riverside, CA, and spent a few intense days hugging our kids and grand kids....there will be a lot more of that over the next 6-7 weeks before we hit the road again.

My point in all of this is to reconfirm that our journey has really been more about the people, and less about the scenery.  We feel so much richer for all the time we have spent with friends and family over the past 21 months, and it is what we are most thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day, 2013.  Thank you to all of you who had us into your homes, who spent countless hours sharing amazing times, amazing food, amazing sunsets, and a few sunrises all over this country......none of what I have related happens if we are not living this amazing nomadic life.  A special thanks to Chris and Cherie who have helped us in learning to find, and embrace serendipity, who helped us enormously in finding a lifestyle on the road that works for us, and for accepting us unconditionally into their nomadic community.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of these amazing people we have spent time with.....thank you for making our lives so much richer, and complete!  If we had never embarked upon this never ending journey many of the people who have become friends we would NEVER have met.....many of them if not for meeting Chris and Cherie who brought us all together.

Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

God of Single Combat.....

 Have you ever wondered what "Tuesday" means?   What its origin is?  Okay....me neither, but on a day when I'm working harder than usual to seem clever.....you notice I use the word "seem".....it occurred to me that I could lead off with that.  According to Wikipedia the English version of the name for the 2nd day (or for some 3rd day) of the week comes from the Old English word Tiwesdaeg meaning Tiw's Day, or the day of Tiw, the God of Single Combat.....hmmmm, I'm not sure I feel any more enlightened, or clever, how about you?

Tuesday was a low humidity, scattered clouds, high 70's kind of day.....a short pants, t-shirt and flip flops kind of day.......yeah......my kind of day.....the kind of day that has been in extremely short supply the past few months.

Due to a reservations "snafu", we must move our "home" on Wednesday 3 sites to the northeast to make room for the Thanksgiving weekend folks. This inconvenience has accrued to our benefit on the work schedule front......as an inducement for us to move we have been relieved of our Kiosk duty on Wednesday.  As a result of that Tuesday is our last work day until next Monday when we will clean our two cabins again.  TLE volunteered me to work  the first half of our 5 hour shift....6:30 am to 9 am.  Even though she did not have to be at work at 6:30 like moi she graciously got up and made me breakfast and wished me luck in "storming the castle" (a gratuitous quote taken from "Princess Bride") as I exited the coach into the cool morning air.

My 2.5 hours seemed to pass by quickly, and suddenly there she was, TLE, coming in the door at 8:50 am to take over.  I headed back to the coach to do some insurance work, and then take a bike ride.....my favorite local ride.....to the top of Mt. Rubidoux.  On my last foray up the mountain I did the climb in 32 minutes.....this time it took me just over 30 minutes...a noticeable improvement.

Looking northeast from the top

Looking southwest....you can see RJRP right in the middle of the picture

I got back from my ride just after TLE arrived back from her 2.5 hour share of our shift.  We had some lunch then headed into my son's office to pick up our mail, and a few Amazon.com packages.  From there we continued on into Azusa to test drive a 1998 Jeep Wrangler we are thinking of trading the T-Bird in on......we have come to the conclusion over the 21 months we have been traveling that the 2 seater 'Bird just does not fit our lifestyle as much as we love her.


This is the one we test drove....it has brand new tires, a new soft top, the A/C works, has a straight 6 cylinder engine with a 5 speed stick, and is one owner with a clean CarFax.  She drove nice,  and only has 108,000 miles on her.  We've just started looking, but this one may be the one!

We got home around 4, but I was not done for the day.  Before we left on our travels I used to buy used mountain bikes on Craigslist that I thought were priced under the market, then take them apart and sell each component separately on Ebay.  Typically I would double my money, and sometimes triple it.  Well, I found another bike Tuesday and went to pick it up in Montclair last night around 7:30.  This bike was even better in person, but I was able to talk the young man down about $25 off of his top price.....I think I can easily double my money.....


By the time I got back it was time for the season finale of NCIS L.A., and then the season finale for Person of Interest......a lot of surprises in both episodes.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Life Actually....

There are days, like Monday for instance....or even the last few days, when it seems like there is not much to write about.  It seems I could just write "I got up, the sun came up, I spent a few hours in the Kiosk, I came home and dumped the black tank, took a nap, cleaned one of the rental cabins, washed the trailer, watched Monday Night Football, went to bed", and that would sum up my day.  On the other hand, who would want to read that? ....well, okay, I guess two of my sisters-in-law would.....:D

Or, I guess I could write about what I didn't do......I didn't have to spend 90 minutes crawling through endless rush hour traffic trying to get to my workaday job only 30 miles away just so I could turn around in a few hours and do the same trying to get home.......I didn't have every hour of my day claimed by schedules and activities proscribed by others.....I didn't have to be anywhere I didn't choose to be.....I didn't have to mow the lawn.....I didn't have to take the trash cans out to the street to be picked up by the trash man......I didn't have to get dressed up in a suit and tie......I didn't have to shave........all I had to do was wake up in parkland like I do every day in Rancho Jurupa Regional Park, and walk a few hundred feet to my volunteer job and spend time with my wife, and other nice people for a few hours.

I guess that is the essence of our nomadic life.....we do what we choose to do and when we want to do it.....right now we choose to be here in RJRP for 2 months.....at the end of our commitment, and time with our kids and grand kids we'll choose to roll our wheels, and change our view once again.  We will not have had to go through escrow, or sign any papers to move.  We have no long term leases to honor, no long term jobs to honor.....what we do have is time to spend doing whatever strikes our fancy.  We have all the time we need......

So, for those of you who like details,here are the details......the weather, once again, was spectacular......high 60's.....almost balmy......no wind!  On Monday we had Kiosk duty beginning at 6:30 am.  We knew that since both lakes had been stocked the prior Friday there would be fishermen lined up outside the gate, and sure enough there were!  There was about 45 minutes of one car after another, but between TLE, Terri and I we handled it just fine.  After that there was a car every 5-10 minutes, which kept us hopping for most of our 5 hour shift.

During our down times on our shift we enjoyed conversing with Terri, Ranger Kim, Supervising Ranger Robyn, Vera and Rick.....all fun, interesting people....what a great collection of people to work with.....not a sour note in the bunch.

By the time 11:30 rolled around I was ready for a nap....I just don't do too well on 6 hours sleep anymore.....so after having a sandwich for lunch I lay down for an hour.  Around 1 we headed over to clean cabin #2....we'll finish cabin #1 Tuesday.  TLE headed into Rancho Cucamonga to babysit two of our grandkids, and I set about dumping the black tank......one thing I have found is it goes much faster when you have adquate water pressure!  I dump the tank the first time I refill it with fresh water and dump it again at least two times, sometimes 3 times, just to be sure all the debris is gone.  Being somewhat "religious" about flushing the tank has kept us free of unpleasant odors over the years.

Next I tackled the job of washing the trailer, which hasn't had any attention on its exterior for at least a month....that took the better part of 90 minutes, but she cleaned up quite nicely.

TLE returned home from her babysitting job about 5;30, and we settled in for the night....I watched MNF, while TLE read.....the 49'ers handled the Redskins pretty handily....then it was time for bed.

Speaking of time.....here is a great YouTube video of the Chambers Brothers from 1967..."Time Has Come Today"....one of my favorites from the 60's......enjoy!


Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Finishing Touches...

Ahhhhh......no wind......just clear skies and sunshine!  A nice change, indeed!  I was up at my usual 6:30 am time slot to greet the new day after laying in bed planning my day out in my head.  There were a number of small things I needed to do to put the finishing touches on our remodel.....mostly some molding here and there that we did not have time to complete in Utah.  If you had seen the salon/kitchen area before I installed some quarter round, and other molding, and then seen it again last night you might not have noticed any difference, and that's fine with me.....but I noticed those little things left undone, and after a while it begins to bother me a lot.  I spent the better part of the morning working at a nice leisurely pace measuring, and making my cuts.  TLE thinks it turned out well, and so do I.

We had a couple of cabins being vacated Sunday afternoon, and needed to get one of them cleaned right away as we had another renter coming in late afternoon.  TLE sweetly offered to clean it by herself since I had been working all morning doing the finish work.  We'll have to clean that cabin again Monday afternoon, plus the second one for the crowd coming in for the Thanksgiving holiday.

I was able to watch several NFL game during the day, and enjoyed being able to watch without interruption.  They were all interesting games, including the nightcap between the Patriots and Broncos, which was marred by numerous turnovers, the final by the Broncos resulting in the victory for the Patriots in overtime.



The high temperature for the day was 67, which felt quite balmy compared to the weather of the previous 4 days, and as the daylight waned we were treated to another beautiful sunset.

Surprising to us was the fact that many weekenders did not leave the park Sunday afternoon.....as of sundown Sunday about half the park was still occupied.....maybe people are just going to hang around through the Thanksgiving weekend?

We stayed up until 11 pm to watch another episode of the Mentalist mostly to see if "Red John" was finally identified, and received his just desserts.....just in case you are a fan of the show and haven't watched last night's episode yet, I'll refrain from any further observations about it for now.  Since we have to get up by 5:30 to be at the Kiosk by 6:30 it will be a short night's sleep......sigh....

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sticks and Bricks.......

As many of our readers know we still own our sticks and bricks home in Ontario, CA.....we have owned this property since April of 1986, and we had planned to sell it prior to transforming ourselves into nomads, but the real estate market crashed in early 2008 (nationwide....as we all painfully remember), and is just now beginning to come back.  We have been leasing it to two of our children since we began living in our coach back in February of 2011, and will probably continue to own it at least another year.  In the mean time there are a few things that need to be fixed before we head out on the road again.  Saturday I decided to tackle the first of 4, or 5 of those things......the roll up garage door.  As it turned out the fix was easy....two of the rollers had broken, so I bought two new hinges, and rollers and had them installed within 20 minutes, and the door was working once again. I replaced a few light bulbs, and took stock of the other things that need fixing.

The "sticks and bricks"


The hinges
The rollers

Before I got to the house I returned to  the Lowe's in Rancho Cucamonga where I bought a few items a few days ago.  I didn't realize until we got home that I left one item, a 12" X 24" piece of aluminum diamond plate, at the  "do it yourself" checkout stand.  I called them right after we got home, but it was already gone from the check stand.  At any rate I went directly into customer service, showed them my receipt, and told them my sob story.  The lady, Jayne, called their security department and had them review the video for the time I was there, and they were able to verify that I left the diamond plate at the check stand, so they gave me a replacement at no cost......how cool is that?

From their I headed home where TLE was awaiting my return so she could go shopping.  I worked on one project I had started while we were at my brother's home in South Jordan, but had not finished.  Back then I had cut a corner off the old table.....the same one I made the other shelf from......to use as a small wall shelf for any particular beverage I may be drinking while sitting in the recliner......here is the finished product.


T

I think it turned out rather nicely......how about you?  Yes, I even use it to hold my coffee cup when I'm at the computer first thing in the morning.

The weather most of Saturday continued to be cold, blustery and cloudy, but NO more rain.  Hoping for a nice sunny day Sunday to we can take a bike ride.

Later that evening we met our very, very good friends Paul and Kayre at a new local Italian place....Brio Tuscan Grille.  Yelp gives them a solid 4 stars, and it is very good....we would give them 4.5.  Paul and I first met back in the mid 90's on a group mountain bike sponsored by a local bike shop, and became good friends.  Together we have logged a couple thousand miles of mountain bike trails locally, and at Mammoth Mountain.  Nothing like a lot of pain, suffering and blood to bond two guys together.  Over the years we have each helped the other after serious crashes.....they say there are two types of mountain bikers.....those who have crashed, and those who will....it's not a matter of "if", but WHEN it will happen.  We enjoyed a leisurely 2 hour dinner with non-stop conversation.  It is located in the Victoria Gardens shopping center if you are interested in trying it out....I understand this is a chain, but this is the first one in California.


Internet photo of Brio

On our way home we dropped off the turkey TLE had bought earlier in the day at our "sticks and bricks" home for my oldest daughter to put in their refrigerator.....we just do not have room for a 17.5 pound turkey in our small refrigerator.....:D

By the time we got home there was only one late NCAA Football game on between Oregon State and Washington.....I watched part of the UCLA game before dinner (UCLA lost), and part of the Texas A&M vs. LSU game, but considering it was Saturday I did not get a chance to watch much football....believe me when I say.....this will not be the case on NFL Sunday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Santanas.......

One of my least favorite things about Southern California are the Santana Winds that swoop down out of the high desert and down through Cajon Pass at random times during the Fall and Winter months.  After rain all day Thursday the Santana Winds struck about 3 am Friday morning, and continued on all day Friday sometimes gusting up to 40 mph.....not too bad by Santana standards, but bad enough to make us finally get up around 5 am and put the patio and window awnings in. When we still lived in our sticks and bricks home the high winds, sometime up into the 70-80 mph range, would cause our home to shake as if there were an earthquake in progress.  I went back to bed, but I don't think I really slept.....I just lay there refusing to get up too early.

The forecasters (guessers) said we would have wind until 10 pm Friday evening, and that is we got, mixed in with a little rain toward late afternoon.  This was the first wintery day we've had since we arrived in RJRP, and it was cold!  I had some plans to do some work outside, but I quickly decided to work on some projects inside the coach instead.  The wind continued to buffet the coach all day causing it to rock quite a bit from time to time, but we were "as snug as two bugs in a rug" inside our dry, heated environment.

Friday's, of course, mean the weekenders will be coming back into the park.....it's like someone flipping the vacuum switch back on, but in reverse, as you watch RV after RV arrive in the park .  With a few hours our secluded, lightly populated community turns into a small teaming city with all the urban sounds......loud radios blasting, lots of vehicles going hither and yon, little kids riding every sort of human powered conveyance you can imagine.  Normally, in the past, on the weekend before Thanksgiving RJRP has been relatively quiet, but since we have been gone the past 21 months that has changed.  The park has become so popular that it is pretty much full 52 weekends out of the year now....just more so on the big holiday weekends....summer, or winter.

Our neighborhood is filling up again

Because of the inclement weather we did not do much else Friday....TLE read, and I puttered around....hoping for better weather Saturday and Sunday so I can get to those outdoor projects!

Around 4:40 I looked out the window to see this amazing sunset that my small phone camera tried hard to capture properly, but it was way better in person.


Not much else to report for Friday......we watched an episode of "Bones" and were in bed before 10 pm......just a couple of old fogies I guess....:D

Thanks for stopping by!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

It never rains in California......

From the 1972 Albert Hammond song......"Seems it never rains in southern California.......Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before.....It never rains in California....But girl don't they warn ya.....It pours, man it pours...."....and that is precisely what it did Thursday......and what it is still doing as I write this entry Thursday evening.

It's funny....we haven't had rain since the day we left Sidney, MT..... sure we had snow up in South Jordan, UT, but no rain.  Of course, the rainy season in SoCal officially starts in October.  Of course, you know I love the sound of rain on the riveted aluminum roof of our Newell.....that thin sheet of aluminum separates us from the elements so effectively, but allows us to be closer to them without the exposure.

Every time I woke up during the night I heard the rain pitter pattering on the roof....sometimes ferociously, most of the time gently.  Each time I drifted back off to sleep with a smile on my face.

Around 6 am I heard the coffee maker start, and within a few minutes I could smell the seductive aroma of coffee wafting back into the bedroom....that's one of the cool things about living in a small space....you're not far from anything, including the coffee. Once I heard the familiar "beep...beep" signifying the coffee maker was done with its task, I lay there thinking I only had to walk a few feet to have some of that coffee.  Of course, that didn't last long before I was actually walking those few feet to have some of that coffee....so much for sleeping in, huh?

While TLE was busy cleaning up after breakfast I headed out to the garage to do some more sifting of stuff I don't need anymore.   As I was standing at the work bench I was looking at the hydraulic brake assembly I had removed from my Intense 5.5 mountain bike over the weekend.  I had been unable to properly adjust the front brake, and thought the problem was air in the hydraulic line, so I had taken it off and planned to take it in to a local bike shop to have the line bled.  As I looked it over again, I noticed the brake pads looked very thin....almost paper thin...so I replaced them with a new pair I had on hand, and what do you know?  That solved the problem!  Waiting a few days saved me $20 bux!

 We decided to head into Rancho Cucamonga around 11:15 to drop some stuff off at the local Goodwill, and while we were there we found a few clothing items we couldn't live without.  From there we headed to Rubio's for some fish tacos, then on to Radio Shack, and Lowe's for some home improvement stuff.




After Lowe's we headed over to my son's insurance office to drop off some stuff we want to store as we are not ready to get rid of it yet.  In addition to finding my son, Chris, there, we found his wife, Rochelle, and daughter, Cynthina, there.  Rochelle and Cynthia recently passed the test for their insurance licenses, so now it is a total family operation.

After that we headed over to the local Walmart where TLE found the toaster oven she has been wanting for some time, and then headed home arriving just after 3:15.....I headed immediately for the garage to work on a few things, and TLE set about installing her new Black and Decker toaster oven.

 

In keeping with the Mexican food theme of the day TLE made taco salad for dinner, which included the unveiling of a new craft beer we bought back in Park City at Squatters.....Outer Darkness Russian Style Imperial Stout Ale which comes in an enormous bottle holding 1 pint, 9 fluid ounces of 10.5% ABV.  To my brother, Dwyer, who recommended I buy it.....thank you!!


It rained on and off most of the evening, and was still sprinkling when we went to bed at 11.  About 3 am the wind came up....yep those famous Santana winds that sweep through SoCal on a regular basis.  When the gusts started hitting 35-40 mph we grudgingly got up and put in the awnings.  The guessers are saying we'll have wind all day, with another storm system coming in tonight.

Life is good!  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hump Day

I know I usually start my posts with the weather report.....so here goes.....we woke up to heavy cloud cover, and based on the weather forecast for rain Wednesday night, and most of the day on Thursday, what we saw made sense.  Once again it was nice to step out of the coach into temperatures in the mid 50's.  The overnight temps inside the coach with NO heaters on hasn't gotten below 71 so far......just a couple of weeks ago it would get into the mid 50's inside with the heaters on low.  When it gets that cold it seems as if your feet will stick to the cold floor when you get up in the middle of the to use the bathroom.

Wednesday was our third consecutive day on Kiosk duty.  Frankly, we like opening up more than closing, especially on days when it has been 12 days since the fishing lakes were restocked.  Riverside County stocks the lakes with trout every other Friday.  On days just after the lakes have been stocked the cars filled with fisherman wind around the block before the park gates are opened, and it gets rather hectic at the Kiosk for about an hour as they flood into the park.

The view towards the park entrance

 Mt. Rubidoux lurking in the distance

 The park store......there is a miniature golf course next to the store, hence the name "The Gopher Hole"

On the job

TLE stayed with me until 9 am when Carolyn arrived.....she is one of the paid full time staff members with whom we work, and one of our favorite people.  The rest of my 5 hour shift went smoothly, and I am getting more comfortable every day with being there on my own without any backup.  Now we are "off" for four days, and get to sleep in again....well, maybe TLE will sleep in....I don't seem to get much past 6:30 no matter what time I go to bed.

I spent a big part of the afternoon working in the trailer sorting through more stuff, and adding to my discard pile.  It will probably take a couple of more days to finish sorting through things.  I also decided to permanently mount one of the old Panasonic LCD TV's I removed from the coach in the trailer, so I will no longer have to carry my outside TV out out there anymore when I want to watch sports while I work.  I've got a few coach projects I'll be working on while we are here including fixing the speedometer, and tachometer, so now my work space is set up just like it used to be at my sticks and bricks home....bring on the projects!


Near sunset we took a long walk around the perimeter walking path here at the park making circuits for a little over one mile, then headed inside for the evening.  The forecast for Thursday is 60% chance of rain, and, in fact, the rain really began around 10 pm Wednesday night.  Before heading off to dreamland we watched Revolution, then Survivor, which recorded while we watched Revolution.

We are gradually getting settled in here at RJRP, and looking forward to doing some riding of the local bike paths, which will include, of course, some of our favorite eateries along the way.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A little of this and a little of that....

One of the challenges in writing this blog every day is on days when we are stationary as we will be for at least 8 weeks is writing about nothing and making it sound like something.  I know many tune in every day because you are interested in the nomadic lifestyle, and how we deal with every day life on the road, or every day life living in a recreational vehicle....whether moving, or not.  I've come to learn that what may seem like nothing to me.....from my perspective.......can still be interesting to others, so on those "nothing days" I must endeavor to see it from you're perspective.  Tuesday was one of those "nothing days", so let's see what it might look like to you.


On Tuesday, as we did on Monday, we arose at 5:30 am in order to help open the Kiosk by 7 am.  We are required to be at the Kiosk by 6:30 for the 7 am opening.  Thank goodness we only have to get up that early 3 times this week, and twice next week.  I try to keep the early rising in perspective.....sure we have to get up 3 straight days, but then we can sleep in the next 4 days.  On the days we work we are not working 12 hour shifts, which is always a positive.....plus the temperature starts out in the high 40's, or low 50's instead of the low 20's.....a very big positive.  More positives.....we are parked on concrete, we walk to work, no hard hats are involved, no loud farm machinery, no flying sugar beets.....it just gets better and better, huh?

Since Tuesday was our second day we predetermined TLE would work the entire 5 hour shift, while I would be there one hour until I was sure everything was going to be calm, which  it was.  On Wednesday I will work the 5 hour shift, and TLE will leave after an hour.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, or not, but the day we were leaving Baker, NV TLE was doing a couple of loads of wash that morning.  Near the end of the second load the Splendide would not go into its spin cycle, the drum stopped turning, and was making funny noises, as well as emitting a smell like burning rubber, so we shut it off, and haven't used it since.  We both were sure the belt had slipped, or broken.  Well, Tuesday was the magic day for me to pull it out of its cabinet and get a firm diagnosis.  A little bit of  "dis-assembly" is required.....part of the cabinet face must be unscrewed and removed so the Splendide can slide out.  I was able to get that done pretty easily, and as I began to wrestle the machine out of it's cubby hole it occurred to me that I should first turn it on and see if it was still doing the same thing.

I switched the machine to dry mode and turned it on.....what do you know?  The drum began to turn immediately, there was no funny sound, and no bad odor.  Okay, now let's put it into spin mode and see what happens......surprise, surprise.....it immediately went into spin mode, and began to accelerate as it should.....I let it go through its entire spin cycle and then switch back into dry mode, and it worked flawlessly, just as it has for the past 5+ years we have owned the coach.   So, now the question is was the malfunction in Baker a one time event, or a real problem.....I don't know right now.  I'm going to take the attitude for now that if  "it's not broken don't try to fix it.  At least I know how to get it out, and what screws must be removed to accomplish that end.

I had expected the Splendide affair to take 4-5 hours, but since it took only 40 minutes I decided to take a bike ride.  21+ months ago I would ride my bike from RJRP (750' elevation) up to the summit of Mt Rubidoux (1,329' elevation) 4.5 miles distant in about 24 minutes.  The entire 8.5 mile circuit would take me 38 minutes.  Since my conditioning is a little the worse for wear, and neglect I was interested to see how long it would take me now.  

The entrance

The view

As you climb up the asphalt paved walk/bikeway the view continues expanding with every foot gained in elevation.  There are usually a lot of people walking to the top, and as you pass them they exchange greetings, and and in some cases shout an encouraging word.  As I neared the summit I looked at my timer.....32 minutes......wow, I am out of shape.  I used to average about 10 mph climbing that hill, but my average Tuesday was around 7.5.  At least I made it too the top without throwing up, but I've got a lot of work to get back in decent shape!

As I was finishing my ride back into RJRP TLE came out of the Kiosk to let me know someone in Reservations had slipped up and rented our site out for the Thanksgiving weekend, so we will have to move to another site for four days.....ugggh!  I've got more stuff out right now than I've had at any time since we worked at Amazon.com for 11 weeks a year ago....that's a lot of stuff to put away for a 4 day move.....while it's a little upsetting, it's not like I have a lot to do.  As compensation for the inconvenience the Ranger has given us two days off from Kiosk work next week as it will take part of two days for us to move out of site #258, and then back into site #258.  After TLE got off work we drove over to the new site and found it will fit us with no problem, so come next Wednesday we'll be rolling the wheels again, if only for a few minutes.

Around 12:30 pm we decided we should head over to clean our cabins (1 & 2) for the coming weekend.  I'm amazed at how quickly we fell back into a routine we had not performed for almost two years.......when we were here 21 months ago we could clean a cabin in about 40 minutes.....our time Tuesday was 45 minutes per cabin.....not too bad.  With Thanksgiving coming up next week the cabins will be turning over several times, so we'll be cleaning our two cabins at least twice next week, and I think one of them 3 times, but it's all good.

Later in the afternoon I set up the EZ-UP canopy for the T-Bird to at least keep part of it our of the weather while we are here, but that is one more thing we'll have to take down in a week.

Around 6 pm our daughter, Kate, and her daughter Charlie came over for  a short visit on their way home.....always good to spend more time with one of our kids and grand kids!

That was pretty much a description of what seemed like "nothing" from my perspective.....I hope some of you found it somewhat interesting.......oh, we did watch the usual NCIS, NCIS L.A., and Person of Interest.....if you watch Person of Interest were you completely surprised by the last 3 minutes of last night's episode?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

As if......

 It's as if 21 months of water had not passed beneath the proverbial bridge......it's as if we have passed through a time warp........it's as if we have entered the "wardrobe" and are back to the time before we became nomads.....only we are not in Narnia, we are in RJRP.  Not much has changed......it's as if time has stood still.....many of the same people still work here at RJRP as we affectionately refer to Rancho Jurupa Regional Park, and everything still looks the same.....except we are not the same people who left 21 months ago.....we are now nomads.  We are not here for a year, or two years.    We are here for 60 days....maybe a little more.
  
Monday was our first volunteer work day here in Narnia....I mean RJRP.  Our day started at 5:30 am.......yes, that's what I said.....5:30 since we had to be at the Kiosk by 6:30 am to open the park for the day's business at 7 am.....what is that all about?  We're retired.....why are we getting up so early?  Well, by volunteering a mere 10 hours a week per person we get to stay here for FREE!  If we had to pay to stay here it would cost close to $1,000 per month for the water, electricity, sewer, laundry, cable TV, and WiFi connections, so I am willing to get up early 2, or 3 days a week to save that kind of money, and to be able to be here 2+ months visiting our kids and grand kids.


That's the Kiosk in the background (on the left)

We met our good friend Mike (we became good friends with Mike and his wife Terrie when we were here for a year.....Mike and Terrie are going on 5 years here at the park) at the Kiosk at exactly 6:30 and began opening everything up for the day.....first thing to do is raise the U.S., California and Riverside Parks flags to the top of their respective flag poles.  From there Mike gave TLE and I a refresher course in the Kiosk operations, computer software, etc.  Within a few hours we were back in the saddle, feeling comfortable once again.


Cabins 1 & 2

In addition to our weekly Kiosk duties we will also be cleaning a couple of cabins each week.  There are six cabins in all, and we'll be responsible for just #1 and #2 each week.  After we finished our 5 hour Kiosk shift.......by the way, in the future only one of us will be at the Kiosk on any given day.....we both went to today to get our training out of the way......we headed back to the coach.  TLE decided to go shopping, and I decided to take a nap.....I only got 6.5 hours of sleep Sunday night, and by Noon I was tired.  I was awakened about 1:30 when TLE returned.....I guess I was tired.

Once TLE had the groceries put away we decided to walk over and inspect our cabins to see how they looked after a weekend of use, and they don't look too bad. We'll tackle them tomorrow after TLE works the Kiosk....then we'll have just one more day in the Kiosk and we're done for the week.....not a bad gig.  And, it's nice to be back on familiar ground, of only for a couple of months.  It feels as if we never left.......well just a little bit....:D

It's good to be home......it's good to get caught up with the many people who work here on a daily basis, and to find out how their lives have progressed since we left 21 months ago.

Thanks for stopping by!