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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!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Integration

I admire people who have this effortless way of integrating themselves into a local community, and Tom McCloud is one of those people.  Every time we come to visit Tom and Darlene we are introduced to new people in the community that he has met, and befriended.   He reminds me an awful lot of my father, who was the same way with people.  I have tried to emulate my father over the years, and have found when I get outside my comfort zone that I meet some amazing people......and that is actually how I met Tom originally.

The large barn Tom is building revolves around his love of Newell Motorcoaches and their owners.  When it is finished up to 5, or 6 Newells, or large Class A coaches could be parked here on his property with access to 30 amp, 50 amp, water and sewer.  He has unofficially named the structure "Newell House".  I spent part of the morning with Tom helping him place the outdoor sewer connections for those who will come to visit him in the future.

Around 11:30 TLE and I decided to take a 40 minute walk into the surrounding desert......there is a lot of open land here.....

We found a 'horse track' to follow into the desert

Even a mile out the 'Newell House' serves as a landmark to guide us back

We ended up walking just over 2 miles in 40 minutes.....we needed to be back by 12:30 to take a ride with Tom up to a rental property he owns to check on repairs to the master bath shower........it was about an hour drive across the 'Valley of the Sun' to the property, and in all we were gone for 4 hours.  We picked up a very interesting guy named Chuck who is a new friend of Tom's who is an expert in tile and its installation who offered to give Tom some advice on installing new tile in the rental property master bath shower, which involved a stop off at a ginormous warehouse that sells only tile.  

By the the time we returned 'home' it was after 5:30, and we only had about 40 minutes until we were to leave to go to dinner with more friends of Tom......Ron and Bridgette, who live just a few 'blocks' from Tom.  Our destination?  The Road Runner Steakhouse and Bar over in New River.....I had no idea it was half way to Prescott......:-)  Every Friday night is "All You Can Eat Fish Fry" night.  We arrived a little after 7 pm, and within minutes we had our first plate of fish and chips before us......and it was very, very good (he said whilst wiping drool away from the corner of his mouth).  Frankly, I was stuffed after the first plate so did not order anymore, but a few people at our table did.  It is a very funky, rustic place out in the middle of no where, but definitely worth the drive.  Yelp, Trip Advisor and Urban Spoon give them ratings from 3.5 to 4 stars, and I think that is about right.  On Friday nights they have a live band out on the heated patio, and during the day on the weekends you have access to 'beach volleyball' courts, and horseshoe pits, so it is an interesting place.

'Road Runner' at night (picture courtesy of Yelp)

We were home by 9:30 and spent the rest of the evening sitting around an outdoor fire roasting marshmallows (me) and making 'smores'.

 A nice way to end the day of 'driving'

Another day well lived, and more interesting people met......thank you Tom, and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Enjoying the fruits of a nomadic life..........

One of the bonuses to living a nomadic life is the people you meet along the way.....people you would probably never have met otherwise due to many reasons, primary among them being geography.  Living in a fixed location in a 'sticks 'n bricks' home most likely means most of your friends will come from that general geographical region.  When one becomes nomadic, which by definition means you are no longer living in a fixed location, you will meet new people from all over your area of travel and beyond.

When we began our nomadic travels almost 3 years ago we planned to visit existing friends and family around the country, and we have done just that.  We have been able to reconnect with friends we made in college, as well as relatives we have not seen in a few decades.  What we were not expecting to find was a whole sub-culture of like minded folks living their lives on the road.....a community comprised of people from all walks of life, backgrounds, and age groups......many of whom still work while pursuing the nomadic lifestyle.  A number of these people have become good friends whom we have hooked up with multiple times as we crisscross this great country of ours.  I have oft said that it is this nomadic community that makes life on the road so much more attractive, if that is possible, than it was when we started.  This community is so important in providing continuity and support, just like the community surrounding your 'sticks 'n bricks' home provides the same.

One couple we met, Tom and Darlene, we met because we both belonged to the same users group that provided support to those who own Newell Motorcoaches.  Tom and Darlene don't travel year round, but they have that nomadic spirit.  The first time we met was while they were on an extended 3 month trip to the Pacific Northwest in their 1990 Newell.  They were passing through SoCal, and staying a few days in Newport Beach with other Newell owners, so TLE and I drove down to Newport Beach one weekend afternoon to meet them (summer of 2008).  Over the successive years we have traveled with them three times (home from Austin, TX, home from Creede, CO, and for two months in South Dakota, Montana and Alberta, Canada), and visited them at their homes in Arizona 4 times now.

Over the past 6 years we have become very good friends......Tom has called me at least once a week over the past couple of years as we travel to see how we are doing.  So, as you can see, if not for our decision years ago to, firstly to embark upon this nomadic life, and secondly, to buy the particular brand name coach we bought, we would never in a million years have crossed paths with Tom and Darlene, and our lives would have been the poorer for it. 

When we were in Arizona last year visiting them at their new home northwest of Phoenix out in the high desert Tom was getting ready to have a large garage/barn built on the property.


 What the 'back 40' looked like when we left 10 months ago.

What we found when we returned a few days ago 

So, this is why we find ourselves once again visiting Tom and Darlene.  When we left in late March last year their backyard was empty.  Tom was still in the planning stages to build a large garage/'mancave' that would hold his 46' long 2002 Newell.  At the time I really had no idea how big this 'garage' was going to be.......4,000 square feet of ground area, and 20' 6" high!

Thursday the wind came up, and we were getting sustained winds in the high teens......plus it was quite cold, so we stayed inside most of the morning.  Around 1 pm we drove with Tom, Darlene, and their married daughter, Laura, into Wickenberg for lunch at Nana's Sandwich Saloon.  Yelp gives them a solid 4 stars, and we would agree.  I had the 'Westerner' (bacon, green chiles, and cheese on toasted sourdough bread).....I cherished every single bite!

 Nana's (pictures courtesy Yelp)


We were home by 3:30......where did the day go?  I have been noticing lately that the days seem to go by so quickly.  It feels like I have just seen the sun rise in the east, and all of a sudden it is going down in the west.

We had a nice dinner with our friends......watched a little prime time TV on their 80" LED TV with theater type sound, and then headed back to our 'home' for the evening.  I have been sleeping with my window open, enjoying the crisp night air and sleeping like the 'dead'!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Altered State.....

I was awake just before 6 am Wednesday having gone to bed just after 10 Tuesday......Wednesday was moving day for us....a day we would leave the Pacific Time Zone for the first time since last May.  Initially we had a little ground fog, so we decided to wait until 8 am to roll.

Since we only plugged in the electrical when we arrived Monday night, that was all that we had to disconnect Wednesday morning before rolling our wheels.  We were out the gate to Rancho Jurupa by 7:50 am, and on the onramp to the 60 freeway at exactly 8, and headed east.  Once the ground fog had dissipated the day turned out to be a perfect day to travel.

Our first big climb of the day came just past Indio when we began the 10 mile 6% climb that I always dread, but this day the DD 6V92 purred like a contented kitten, and the coolant temperatures never got above 195 degrees....mute testimony to the pressure washing I did a few weeks ago to the rear facing radiator.  We took a break at the Cactus City Rest Area on I-10 around 10 am just under 100 miles into the day.  Our next stop was Ehrenberg, AZ at the Texaco fuel station where we took on 126 gallons of diesel at $2.53 per gallon.......the best price we have paid by $1.06/gallon since February of 2012! We saved close to $130 over what we were paying just 6 months ago.....only 120 miles to go on the 307 mile driving day.

We exited I-10 about 20 miles east of Quartzite at HWY 60 which took us ever eastward thru Brenda, Hope, Aguila, Wickenberg and on to Wittmann where we arrived around 3:30 pm Pacific Time (4:30 pm Mountain Time).  For the first time since May we have left the Pacific Time Zone.  After spending the past month in a densely urban area it is nice to be back in the middle of rural America.  We stopped one more time in the small town of Aguila, AZ for about a 10 minute break before finishing the last 47 miles to our destination.


Camped under the 'Pirate Flag'

It took us about an hour to set up at our friend's home where we will spend the next couple of weeks (maybe a little more) before we continue our rambling ways.......


Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hangin' with the lady.....

Once it became clear to me that the earliest we could depart Riverside if the repair to the VW was finished by Noon, would be 1 pm I made an executive decision to just hang here in Riverside with Miss Serendipity (and TLE, of course) another day, and leave early Wednesday morning.  Besides all that I had a few things that needed my attention, and they would take the better part of the morning, if not into the afternoon to finish, so why put any artificial pressure on myself?

TLE opted to make one final run to the local TJ's* to stock up on wine and scotch, and I got out the awning mat we had hastily folded up Monday morning, while it was still damp and quite dirty, to clean it.  The concrete pads here in Rancho Jurupa are quite long.....almost 90 feet....so I just unfolded it on the pad in front of the coach, got out the hose, and did a thorough cleaning.  The sun was out from behind the bank of clouds that greeted us first thing in the morning by the time I finished, so I just let the sun do the drying.

Next up was to pour the two extra gallons of Delo 100 40 wt. oil left over from the oil change on Monday (it took 21 quarts.....7 gallons.....to refill the engine) into the oil reservoir which was down to a little over a gallon.  This reservoir is very handy, because when I do need to add oil to the DD 6V92 all I have to do it open a 'gate valve' on the reservoir and let the oil flow into the engine as needed.

Then it was time to rearrange a couple of things in the trailer so TLE could open the VW door more easily when she is egressing from the VW.  She is one skinny girl, but it appears I was asking too much of her......:-)

Around Noon I got a text from my mechanic that VW was ready for pick up, so we hopped in my daughter's extra car (Kate's Nissan Versa) that she had kindly dropped off at the RV park the night before so we could use it to fetch the VW when it was done.  We were there in 30 minutes, paid the damages, and then headed over to Rancho Cucamonga to say 'until next time' to our oldest son, Chris.  I was so glad I got to see him one more time, especially to talk with him about the Seahawk vs. Packer game Sunday.  That is one of the things I miss by being a full time nomad.  If there was a big game on the day before we would sit in his office and talk about it exhaustively the next day, or anything else going on in the world for that matter......I do miss that a lot.

Of course, being so close to a Rubio's we had to stop off for one more plate of their amazing fish tacos, so we did.  We were home by 2:30 to find the awning mat finally dry, so while I did a couple of things in the trailer, TLE put it away, then we inserted the VW into the trailer.....there is so much room in there once again....WOW!

We hope to be on the road early Wednesday, and on our way into Arizona.....thanks for stopping by!

*TJ's = Trader Joe's

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Let me introduce you to.......

Miss Serendipity.......she is a funky, whimsical lady who comes and goes as she pleases with nary a 'by your leave'.  Then one morning you open the door and there she is with that wry, all knowing smile on her lips.....at first you feel a little edgy, even a little wary......you start looking over your shoulder wondering what she has in mind for you this visit....

It all started off innocently enough......

I was up at 5:30 am Monday to get a cup of coffee in me before heading out into the cold, damp morning air to stow the Winegard Carryout, take down the lights, unhook all the plumbing and electrical connections, fold up the awning mat, and hook up the trailer.....it took all of two hours to get it done, but shortly after 8 am we were rolling down the long driveway to the street and on our way.   TLE followed me in the VW as we drove up to Joel's Automotive to get previously scheduled work done on the coach.  The night before Miss Serendipity had gifted us another 'check engine' light on the VW......I was so dismayed as I drove over to Smart and Final to buy some firewood when that dang light appeared once again.  I was hoping it was still something to do with the 'knock sensor' code we had gotten a couple of times previously.......the operative word is 'hoped'.

We arrived at Joel's just after 8:30, dropped the trailer on the street, and pulled the coach into the shop driveway.  On tap for Monday was a new 'pair of shoes' for the Newell (4 rear drive tires), an oil change (21 quarts of Delo 100 40 wt), new fuel filters, and recharge the dash A/C (1 pound of freon)......but, first up was to hook up the code reader to the VW to see what that bright yellow 'check engine' light foretold.......it wasn't the knock sensor.....drat!  They had to let the VW completely cool down before running some tests so there went at least 3 hours.

Next up the 4 tires Joel ordered were sent to a shop out in San Bernardino in error, and could not be retrieved until almost 4 pm, and that was not acceptable.  We found 4 other tires that could be delivered by 1 pm......sound of grinding teeth can be faintly heard by the discerning listener.  So, our Jello plans to be in Quartzite before sundown evaporated before my very eyes.

While Miss Serendipity was running circles around my jello plans throwing all kinds of 'serendipity dust' into the air we decided to meet up with Meredith, Tim and Laila at Rabi's Cafe (just a block up the street) for breakfast.  Tim and I had their amazing 'Chicken Fried Steak'......OMG!  We spent about 2 hours together and it was a fitting an 'until next time' breakfast as I will ever have.  We parted ways with hugs and kisses and headed back to Joel's.



My arm wasn't long enough to get everyone in the picture

Just after we returned to Joel's the mechanic assigned to the VW called me over to show me what the problem was......a pvc valve had cracked (why are those things made out of plastic?) which was causing the engine to misfire resulting in the 'check engine' light.....a $68 part and an hour of labor.....seems simple, no?  Well, they did not expect to get the part until late Tuesday morning, and could not promise to have the car ready to roll until early afternoon.......grrrrr!  Now getting to Quartzite before sundown Tuesday was going out the window.  You may wonder why sundown is such an obstacle to me.....I don't like arriving in an unfamiliar area at, or after sundown......especially a place like Quartzite where trying to find someone in a maze of hundreds and hundreds of RV's is difficult in broad daylight.

The 4 new drive tires arrived about 1 pm, and were installed on the coach within 90 minutes.......they look great!  I checked the date codes and they were made in October of 2014....perfect.  I discovered, however, that the old tires had date codes for December of 2007.....that means they were 7 years old, not 6 like I thought.....note to self.....check the date codes before the tires are installed.  Thankfully we had no catastrophic failures.

Since we were going to be at Joel's until after 5 I suggested to Sharon and Rod that they meet us for a late lunch at the local In 'N Out Burger, so they came by the shop about 2:20 to pick us up and we were off to In 'N Out and a Cheese Burger combo for me.   This particular store has a large outdoor dining area, which worked perfectly for us.

We were back at the coach a little after 3:30......finally around 4:30 they got to work changing the oil and filters, then charged up the dash A/C.....so nice to have 40 degree air blowing out of those vents once again.....YAY!  We'll be glad we have the A/C when we visit Texas in late February and March.

So, what to do?  We're not leaving town, and I don't want to re-insert the coach in Kate's backyard, so we fell back to plan B.....Rancho Jurupa.  TLE called and got a site for one night, plus the gate code as we knew we would be arriving close to 6 pm, which we did.  I quickly plugged in, cranked up the satellite dish, took a much needed shower, and sat down to relax.

So, you might wonder, what was the upside of Miss Serendipity's visit this time around?  Here is my take.....we got to spend several more hours with 3 of our kids, our new son-in-law who we just adore, and Tim's girlfriend, Laila.  Plus I had plenty of time while at Joel's to reconnect the cables to the satellite dish, which I hadn't done earlier due to to lack of time, and clean the crap off the roof that had dropped on to it from the tree we were under for a month.

It was a good day......not the day I had in mind, but it was a good day and I would not trade one second of it for anything.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The last Sunday

We slept in until almost 8 am Sunday.......I know the kids probably didn't get to sleep until then.....there was a lot of post marriage celebration that continued well into the early morning hours, as well as cleanup.  We planned to have lunch with TLE's relatives at Tio's Tacos in downtown Riverside at Noon, so at 11:40 we began our .8 mile walk over to Tio's.  This is one of favorite, funky places in SoCal, Mexican, or otherwise, and we had not yet had the chance to catch a meal there, so meeting the relatives there worked perfectly for us and them.

We ate, and talked until after 2 pm before it was time to bid adieu to everyone as there were planes to catch, and 6 hour drives back to Arizona.  It was the perfect way to see everyone off, and get a few last hugs.

By the time we got home the Packers vs. Seahawks game was into the 4th quarter, and it looked like the season was over for Seattle as they were down 19-7, and had just given up an interception (the fourth of the day for Seattle).  Then the improbable happened.....Seattle got the ball back with just under 5 minutes to go, and drove down the field for a touchdown.....now it was 19-14 with a little over 2 minutes to go.  Then Seattle attempted and successfully recovered the ball on an 'onside kick' at the 49 of Greenbay.  In just about 2, or 3 plays they scored a touchdown again to go ahead 20-19, then successfully completed a 2 point conversion the hard way to go up by 3 points with a tad over 1 minute to play.  Greenbay then got close enough to kick a field go with just a few seconds remaining to tie the game.  Seattle won the coin toss to start overtime, and drove the length of the field to score a touchdown and win the game by 6 points......21 points scored in just a few minutes.....it was an amazing finish, and now the Super Bowl matchup has been set......Seahawks vs. Patriots......should be a great game!

Seahawks up by 3....amazing comeback!

The night cap between the Colts and Patriots was very one sided with the Patriots winning 49-7.....and it wasn't really that close.

We sat around Nick and Kate's outdoor fireplace talking and enjoying the evening until almost 9 pm.....a great way to wind down, and say our 'until next times'.  A few of their friends stopped by (Manny, Shonda and Kevin) to share the fire, and say goodbye....we're still training them that it is 'until next time'....:-)

Monday we will be up early getting the last few things put away, and then hope to be off driving up to Joel's Automotive to have the Newell oil changed, and the four rear tires replaced.  

Thanks for stopping by!

Whirlwind

Sunday was a whirlwind of 'until next times', and I will write about that a little later on today (Monday).  In the mean time TLE and I are well into 'getting ready to roll' mode this morning, and we need to be up to my mechanic's shop by 8 am to get the oil changed and the rear drive tires changed out........I'll be back in a few hours when things settle down a little!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Father of the Bride

My cup is full and running over this morning as I reflect back on Saturday, January 17th......today's blog entry will be told with pictures.......

 Getting ready to 'walk'

Down the isle

Tom Carrozzo makes it official

The deal is done

Mr. and Mrs. Garcia.....'All You Need is Love' by the Beatles playing in the background during the recessional. 

 The 5 kids....left to right: Meredith, Kate, Sharon, Chris and Tim

Father-daughter dance.....Van Morrison's 'Days Like This' playing in the background.

The wedding cake prepared by my daughter, Meredith.

Elaine's side of the family....left to right: Glenn/Laureen, Phyllis, TLE and moi

Chris, Rochelle, TLE and little 'D.C.'

 My 'baby' brother, Philip, and his wife Jeannie

 My sister Jill and I

I love Philip's laugh

My sisters (Hilary and Jill)

Happy Mom and Dad

I think you will agree.....the pictures tell the story.....it was a perfect day.....crystal clear blue skies.....about 75 degrees, and not a breath of wind......a picture perfect day for an al fresco wedding.  It was, as it should be, a time of celebration, happiness, and fulfilled dreams spent with dear family and wonderful friends.  We are so grateful for all those who were able to attend.  If you weren't able to make it to this one, I've got another coming up in October (17th) when my daughter Kate, and her fiance (Nick) will walk down the aisle right here in Riverside.  And, not to forget, my brother (Philip) will be giving away his daughter (Danielle) on July 18th of this year........

This is a special time of our lives......we have done our job......our kids have grown into happy, successful, mature adults and are making their mark upon the world.....we spent 32 years of our lives raising 5 kids to adulthood, and now we are reaping a bountiful harvest.  We could not be happier, or feel more blessed than we do right now.

Thank you so much for stopping by today!