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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ocotillo.....

I awoke about 0500 thinking, as I always do, about what needed to be done before we hauled anchor at 1000 hours......thankfully there was not much, but I worry nevertheless about 'not much'.  The overnight temp got down to 30 degrees, and there was frost on every outdoor surface.   By 0900 it was time to turn over the Detroit 6V92, and drop the trailer on the hitch.  It took a few minutes to maneuver the coach back, but with TLE's help we got her done, and then it was time to pull out of the backyard of my daughter's home for the first time in 5 weeks.

We stopped just down the street to put the VW in the trailer and were merging on to I-215 at precisely 0942.  Our first climb of the day was over Pigeon Pass......you will recall that I spent several hours about a month ago pressure washing the radiator so this was when I would see the results of that cleaning.  On our trip home from our 10 day stay at Ventura the engine temps were running over 200 all the way home.....that was my signal it was time to clean the radiator.  On the climb over Pigeon Pass they never got above 190.....excellent.

We made great time and arrived at the ARCO travel center at the intersection of SR-86 and S-22 in just under 2 hours.  Our plan was to wait for our son, Chris, and his friend Keith in their motorhomes, and they arrived within 30 minutes.  While we were there we decided to fill up our 5 gallon propane bottle.  I went inside to ask for an attendant to come out and pump the propane and asked what their price was.....the nice young lady replied "$1.99/gallon".....I'm no fool, so I decided on the spot to fill up the coach propane tank too.....the last time I saw propane under $2/gallon was in Medord, OR this past August.  As luck would have it they ran out of propane shortly after they finished filling up my two tanks....whew!  In all we added 3.5 gallons to the 5 gallon bottle, and just under 30 to the coach tank, so we are topped off for the foreseeable future.


While we were sitting waiting for my son's entourage to arrive I looked up at the altimeter to see we were 76' below sea level......Bad Water in Death Valley is only a couple hundred feet lower than where we are.

We arrived at our boondocking site just off S-22 around 1230 and began to set up.......the views out here at Octotillo Wells are spectacular!  In case you might be wondering what the meaning of Ocotillo is I looked it up.....it is described as "a thorny scarlet-flowered candlewood tree (Fouquieria splendens of the family Fouquieriaceae) of the southwestern United States and Mexico" by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary......

Picture courtesy Michael Vaccari

......and if I am not mistaken this is what they look like (see above). We settled in awaiting the arrival of our friends Mike and Liz (we spent a month with them at Cape Blanco Lighthouse this past September) and began to enjoy the view......it's good to be back in the desert!


.....Mike and Liz arrived about 1400 hours, and by 1500 hours 'Happy Hour' had begun!  They immediately hit it off with everyone and were the center of attention most of the evening....YAY!

Left to right: Rochelle (my amazing daughter-in-law), TLE and Liz

Moi and Michael.......we were having way tooo much fun!

This is the first time we have been camping with Chris and Rochelle in almost 4 years, and it is one of the things we both dearly miss as a result of our nomadic wanderings.  Knowing we have their 100% support in what we are doing makes it an easier burden to bear.  We had a wonderful evening  with everyone, including Keith and Laura.  More folks will be arriving on New Year's Eve, and it promises to be one heck of a party Thursday night!

Our first Ocotillo sunrise!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Marathon Man.....

Tuesday, December 29, 2015........what a busy day!  I was operating simultaneously on two different tracks most of the day.......1st track - get the bike frame, suspension fork and front wheel from the Tomac 98 Special boxed up and shipped.......2nd track - put all the stuff away that had exploded out of our storage areas over the 5 weeks we have been here in Riverside. The first one was very well defined and I knew the packing part would take an hour, or two, but the second was gnawing at me all day Monday, and Tuesday morning as I surveyed what must be done so we can roll our wheels by 1000 hours Wednesday to head for the lower desert.  The trailer was a complete disaster, and to a reasonable person looked like it might take all day if I had nothing else to do.

So, the only way to begin a marathon is to take the first step, and by 0900 I headed out to the trailer to box up the aforementioned items for shipping.  I've boxed up quite a few bike frames over the years, and know what needs to be done to keep the frame from getting damaged in transit.   Next was the wheel, and that took just a few minutes......the hard one was the suspension fork.....I had to essentially make a box from scratch starting with a much larger box, and  then cutting it down to size.  By 1030 the items were packed, addressed and ready for delivery to the USPS and FedEx.  In the case of the fork the USPS had the best price using Priority Mail.  FedEx had the best shipping price for the frame and wheel.

While all this was going on TLE was out making a BIG shopping run for supplies we need for the next 3-4 weeks of boondocking.....before she left she helped me pull up the somewhat damp awning mat (remember Monday's rain) and lay it over some patio chairs to dry out in the sun.  By the time I finished boxing up the bike stuff the mat was dry and ready to be swept off....I waited for TLE to return to fold it up.

Next up I had to tackle the trailer......by the time TLE returned around 1230 I had the trailer under control, and it was time for me to deliver the boxes to the shippers.  I stopped at the downtown Riverside USPS first to drop off the fork box, then headed south on Market to the local FedEx retail outlet to drop off the frame and wheel boxes.....by the way, FedEx has really streamlined the process to ship a box, and with Daisy's help I got the final two boxes shipped in just a few minutes....you used to have to fill out a 3 part form with a lot of information, but now all they need is your name and address, and the name and address of the person to whom you are shipping the item.....if the information is already on the box you don't even have to do that now.  As it happens there is a Subway in the same building, and I had not had lunch yet, so I stopped in for a Club, then headed back home to finish my marathon day.

One thing I was looking forward to was using my new macerator pump to dump the black tank one last time before we depart.....it worked quite well, and with the addition of the short section of clear hose I can now tell when the water is running clear, and the tank is clean, plus it pumps so much faster than the old tired one that was giving up the ghost.  Just as the sun was setting in the west I finished putting the various hoses away, and locked up the trailer.......it's a miracle!


She cleans up nice!

I spent the evening watching a couple of college bowl games, and relaxed after a very long day........the Tuesday marathon is finished, and we are ready to roll.....hoping to depart by 1000 hours Wednesday for Ocotillo Wells....thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Boxing Day....

The downside to selling 40+ items on eBay in one week is the day comes when you must put all that stuff in boxes, apply postage and get them to the Post Office, and Monday, for me, was that day.  In my mind I had dedicated the entire day, if need be, to this endeavor hoping it would not take that long.  TLE graciously 'cleared the decks' for me in the kitchen and salon area so I could spread my operation out and pound out the packing.  I started around 0930 and finished just after 1230......now that did not include the packing of the frame, the suspension fork, or the wheelsets as I still needed to acquire the appropriate boxes.

Once I was done packing up the eBay stuff TLE and I got dressed and headed into Rancho Cucamonga to drop off some stuff at my son's office where he allows us to store stuff we don't want to get rid of just yet, drop off my packages at the Post Office just across the street from his office, drop off some clothing donations at the Goodwill just a couple blocks away (TLE even donated about 20 paperback books....that's the first time I've seen books leave the Newell in quite a while), and then visit one of my favorite bike shops (Cyclery USA) where they always have the boxes I need.  All that took the better part of 90 minutes, and then we were on our way back home with a stop at the local Costco thrown in for good measure......we needed to stock up on coffee beans for boondocking over the next few weeks, and get something to eat.....it was now after 1430 and I hadn't had lunch yet.  Costco has these 'ballpark dogs' for $1.50 each, which includes a drink......killer deal!

As walked out of Costco we became aware immediately that it was raining.....wait, what?  There was no forecast of rain!  But raining it was, and it continued into the early evening.  

Of course being it was Monday, it was MNF night which pitted the Cincinnati Bengals against the Denver Broncos in Denver.....two good teams, and hopefully a good game.  There were really two games in one....the first half was essentially almost all Bengals....Denver only had the ball for just a few minutes out of the first 30, but managed to go into half time down only 14-3.  The second half was essentially all Broncos and the regulation time expired with the scored tied 17-17.  Denver won in OT 20-17 on a snap fumble by the Bengal Quarterback.  A very exciting game that even had TLE cheering along with moi at the end....that is rare.

Tuesday will be spent getting ready to roll our wheels Wednesday morning.....thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Aftermath.....

I didn't write about the Santa Ana winds we had Saturday in my post yesterday, but pretty much all day Saturday and well into the night we had our first dose of Santa Ana winds this visit to SoCal.  Usually they are a phenomenon of the Fall, but we do get them in SoCal during the winter on occasion.  We had sustained winds into the high 20's with gusts into the 30's.  The reason I bring this up is we dealt with the aftermath of those winds Sunday morning.  

I already knew I was going to have to disconnect the coach from the 30 amp electrical box at some point during the morning as Nick (son-in-law) needed to disconnect the box and remove the cable he had run to it while the home inspectors (the house was listed and sold in 2 days) did their inspection for escrow from 1000 to 1200 hours.  I went in the house about 0800 to find out when he planned to disconnect the power when he told me the wind had knocked the fence in their side yard down, and he would need my help to repair it before the inspectors arrived.  As it turned out the two 4 X 4 posts holding the fence erect had snapped off at the ground, so he had already been to Home Depot to buy two new posts, and other related hardware to fix the fence.  I haven't used a post hole digger since last summer, but I got to it while Nick hooked up the power tools.  I actually only had to dig one post hole as you can see from the picture below......


.....since we were not going to rebuild the fence, which really needs to be done at some point in the future by the folks buying the house, I suggested we use one new 4 X 4 post and brace the rest of the fence using a 2 X 4 anchored to the house.  It worked well, and stabilized the fence.

We had the fence repair completed by 0900, and then Nick disconnected the power.  I switched the coach over to the 2000 watt inverter, and for about 4 hours we pretended we were  boondocking.  We were getting enough sun into the solar panels in spite of them not being tilted, and a tree casting shadows on them, to run the TV while I watched the morning NFL games.  The big morning game had the Carolina Panthers at the Atlanta Falcons.  The Panthers were going for their 15 win of the year to remain undefeated, but they were upset by the Falcons 20-13.  So the 1972 Miami Dolphins remain the only NFL team to ever go undefeated and win the Super Bowl.

I spent the rest of the day watching lackluster NFL games, and answering questions of potential eBay buyers for items I had closing later Sunday, and getting many items ready to be packed and shipped Monday.....Monday will be a very busy day!

As is typical when we get winter Santa Ana winds the overnight temperatures get quite cold.....we've been getting low temps in the mid to low 30's each night....when I got up this morning there was frost on the awning mat.  Fortunately, we will be heading to the lower desert in a few days where day and night time temps are much more moderate.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Force to be reckoned with.....

The day, November 10th,  advance ticket sales began for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' my daughter, Meredith, had already taken a survey of family and friends who wanted to attend our annual family Christmas movie adventure and knew she needed 18 tickets!  She went on 'Fandango' at the magic hour and managed to get all 18 tickets just before their website crashed.  We chose the 10 am showing at the AMC Theaters at the Ontario Mills in Ontario on December 26th, and I am glad we did.....that was the first showing of the day, and if we had chosen a slightly later time we would have been hard pressed to find a parking spot.  It was, after all, the day AFTER Christmas and the hoards were out shopping for great AFTER Christmas deals.


First of all, we ALL loved the movie!  Let's just get that out of the way.....and apparently a lot of people around the world love it too as Disney has pulled in almost $1 billion in just the first week.  We loved how they hardly changed anything from the original that was released back in 1977......they even got the entire original cast back for this relaunch.  I'll stop there in my description of the movie so as not to spoil it for anyone who has not yet seen it......suffice it to say we would all give a 5 star rating (1-5 scale) to this movie....it far exceeded our expectations. Here we are almost 40 years later and this franchise is still going strong.  By the way, I did not know this until yesterday, but Disney paid George Lucas $4.05 billion for the Star Wars franchise with plans to make the current trilogy of which 'The Force Awakens is the first, plus a few other installments.

It's 0920 and the gang is starting to arrive for the 1000 show....you can't tell from the picture, but two of our gang came in Star Wars 'onsies'....Tony (sitting next to Nick) as the 'Wookie', and Amy as 'Princess Leia'

TLE and I arrived around 0920 to find our daughter Meredith, our son Tim, and his girl friend Laila saving 18 seats.....we took up the better part of one row!  The movie ended about 1230 hours (it's about 2.5 hours long), and we headed off to Graziano's Pizza for lunch, and to continue our discussion about the movie.  I was surprised how many Star Wars oficionados there were in our group.....most of these folks were not alive in 1977, yet they knew more than I.

At Graziano's for the post movie discussion

Of course, in order to have a proper Star Wars discussion at a pizza place I had to order a pizza with Anchovies, and a pitcher of Shock Top brew.  By the time we finished the pizza and beer, and had come close to exhausting our discussion of the topic it was after 1400 hours and time to head for home and a nap.....lol!

I spent the rest of the afternoon watching the first wave of eBay bike items I listed a week ago closing on eBay.....out of the first 20 things I listed 19 sold!  I've got about 20 more to go over the next two days.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Ho Ho Ho Ho......What a Christmas!!!!

As has been our family tradition for at least a dozen years now we gathered at the home of my oldest son, Chris, and his wife Rochelle around 0900 hours for Christmas breakfast, the official 'Secret Santa' gift ceremony, and finally our annual family Christmas pictures. 

Chris loves to cook, and he is a very good cook.....no, I would say he is a very good chef.....this year he made Green Chicken Posole (chicken soup with hominy, limes, verde sauce, etc.), a couple of quiches, bacon, hot tortillas, mimosas......and, of course, there were the usual Christmas pastries that were all too tempting....I'm trying to recall the last time I was hungry.....:-)

Meredith, my oldest daughter, seems to have won the Secret Santa Sweepstakes scoring to large gifts.....a complete set of new luggage from my daughter-in-law Rochelle, and a folding bike by Dahon from moi......she had mentioned a couple of years ago that she would like a folding bike, and this year while cruising Craigslist for a bike to part out I found the virtually brand new Dahon folding bike for a price so good I could not pass it up.  Now she can take her bike with her in the trunk of her car as she travels on business all around Southern California.

Meredith scored big in the 'Secret Santa' sweepstakes......new luggage from Macey's from Rochelle, and a folding Dahon bike from moi!

Finally it was time for the annual pictures.....we are becoming quite a large group......now 16 and growing (two in the oven)......next year there will be at least 18 in this picture!

Wow.....16 strong now!

 We call them the 'Hockwald Women'......left to right: Sharon, TLE, Meredith, Kate, Cynthia, Laila, Rochelle.....and Charlise front and center.

 The kids in age order:  Left to right - Chris, Meredith, Kate, Sharon and Tim

Chris' family: left to right - Chris, Rochelle, Christopher, Cynthia and D.C.

Shaon and Rod, with one in the oven

 Kate's family: left to right - Nick, Kate, Elijah, Charlise with one in the oven

 Tim with the future Laila Hockwald

 TLE caught this great picture of the kids laughing

This was the first of two family Christmas meals this day.......we were home relaxing from Christmas Breakfast by 1130 hours, and back on our way to Christmas Dinner by 1330 at the home of our future in-laws, Mark and Cathy (Laila's grandparents).  We had, as we always do, a wonderful time visiting with current and future in-laws until close to 1700 when we called it a day and headed for the barn.

Christmas dinner with the kids

Christmas 2015 is now in the books, and what a day it was.......this is, as I oft repeat, the best time of life!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Two Faces of Eve

With the dawning of December 24th we had acquired the last large box for a special gift for one of my children.  Every year our family draws names to buy a gift for one family member.....all of the adults buy gifts for all the grand children under 18.  This year I drew my oldest son's name......I never know what to get Chris he usually gets whatever he wants when he wants it, so I usually send a message to Rochelle, his wife, and she immediately responds with an idea.  On occasion I will get a second gift for one of my other kids if I come across something I know they will like, and this year I found something I know my oldest daughter will like, but it required a very large box.  Now that we have found that box, and all the presents we bought online for our grandchildren and the one TLE got for our youngest son's girl friend, Laila, it was just a matter of getting everything wrapped.

 Most of the gifts.....a couple of the large ones were in the trailer when I took these pictures

That was the first face of Christmas Eve......

The rest of the day I devoted to doing some shopping for myself......not necessarily of the Christmas variety.  The last couple of times I used my portable macerator pump I had noticed it making a funny sound, and at times it would overheat and shut down.  Since we are in a place were the use of the pump is a requirement I decided to order a replacement pump and not wait for the 8 year old Jabsco to fail.....I got a text message notifying me that the new macerator pump had been delivered, so I walked out to the front of the house and picked got it from the front porch.  Next I headed over to ACE Hardware to pick up some of their 'rope' lights (on sale for 1/2 price.....these things have a life span....over the course of the past year 2 of my four 18' lengths of rope lights had failed), and some additional supplies for the new macerator pump.....2 feet of clear 5/8" hose, plus male and female hose fittings.  The clear hose will enable to me to know when the tank has been properly flushed.....the clear section of hose will allow me to know when the discharged water is running clear.

Then it was off to Autozone to pick up a 20 amp switch to wire into the pump so I can turn it on and off without disconnecting the power wire, and a new gas shock support from the VW engine hood......it recently failed.....how did I know you might ask?  Well, the hood fell on my head!

I was home before noon, and deep into my projects.....by 1400 I was finished, and decided to take another 20 mile bike ride to round out the afternoon.  When I left I was thinking I might have dressed to lightly, and usually within 10 minutes I've heated up from the exertion, but the temperature was dropping, and by the time I returned about 90 minutes later it was very cold, and so was I........I took a nice, long hot shower as my reward for burning another 1300 calories......that was the second face of Christmas Eve....

We've been kind of in the movie watching mood lately and decided to watch a couple more we had not seen on the big screen when they were realeased......'American Ultra' (2015, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, 3 stars on IMBD), and 'Elysium' (2013, Matt Damon, Jody Foster, 3.5 stars on IMDB).  We actually enjoyed both of them quite a bit!

We were in bed by 2300.......we'll be up early Christmas to head over to my oldest son's home for Christmas breakfast and our family gift exchange.......Merry Christmas to all!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The edge of Christmas Eve

As Christmas quickly approaches we find ourselves in familiar territory......waiting for last minute gifts to arrive via USPS, UPS, or FedEx.  TLE is running around town looking for boxes to fit some of the larger gifts.  The slight downside to all of this is until the presents are presented to the designated 'giftees' the Newell and trailer are a little crowded.  

Whilst TLE was out dodging traffic all over Riverside I remained home to dump the black tank, and thoroughly flush it....that is one of the downsides to dumping your black tank using a macerator pump......it is very difficult to get all the gunk out unless you repeatedly fill the tank up with fresh water and pump it back out maybe 5, or 6 times.  Typically I can get our tank flushed and running clear water in just two fill ups with the regular sewer hose we use.  While the tank was filling, then being pumped empty I was busying myself with getting some of the bike items being sold on eBay that have 'sold' by virtue of having bids on them in their boxes so all I have to do is insert a packing slip, then apply the USPS postage label.  Being able to use the USPS flat rate boxes enables me to buy the postage through eBay, and really speeds up the process.  Typically about 80% of the parts I ship fit in the Small Flat Rate Box.


All of the foregoing took me into the afternoon, and by that time TLE had returned empty handed on the box front, but there is always Christmas Eve, right?  Around 1400 I decided it was time for a long bike ride, so I suited up and headed out to ride the SART trail northeast to its terminus in San Bernardino....just over 10 miles each way.  This is the first time I've done a 20+ mile ride since my aborted ride around Lake Tahoe last June (aborted due to my serious finger injury, which you can read about here).  The weather was in the high 50's....actually quite chilly as I began the ride, and being late in the afternoon would only get chillier.  I reached the terminus at Waterman Ave. in about 55 minutes averaging just over 14 mph, but that was with with a slight wind at my back....the 10+ mile home would be mostly into the light wind.  I arrived back home about 1620 having averaged 13.5 mph for the entire 20.05 miles incinerating some 1270 calories in the process.  I've missed those 20 mile rides, and am looking forward to a few more over the time we remain in Riverside.

The evening was spent reading until about 2030 when I turned on the TV and watched the 1982 Rambo: First Blood on Netflix.....not exactly a Christmas Movie, but one of my favorites.  I was in bed by 2230 and off to dreamland shortly thereafter.....

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Suburban living.....

I spent most of Tuesday morning and into the afternoon troubleshooting a problem with one of our Suburban gas furnaces.  We first realized we had a problem about 5 weeks ago when we camped overnight at Mono Lake.  As you may recall it got down to 17 degrees overnight and I turned on all three of the gas heaters when I got up.....the front heater that provides heat to the kitchen and salon area would not put out hot air.  It looked like it was lighting.....there is a 'site glass' that allows you to see inside the burner compartment to see if it is igniting......but it would go out after just 10 seconds.  Eventually it did come on and worked fine until it was time for us to leave, but since then it has not worked.  In fact, since then I could not even get it to 'light'.

So, using 'Troubleshooting 101' logic I started by removing the burner and the electrode ignitor hoping it was as simple as a clogged burner, or gas orifice.  I cleaned the burner making sure all the 'vents' in the burner were clear, the orifice, and the electrode, then reinstalled them and turned on the heater.  Within 10 seconds I heard the electronic ignition and could see that it had lit, and was burning a nice blue flame, but then the burner shut down in about 10 seconds.  I turned it off, then turned it back on again...same result.  I have the original owners manuals for each of the heaters and have now determined through a thorough reading of same that it is either the 'flame sensor' part of the electrode  that is not 'sensing' the flame, which causes the module board to shut off the gas, or the module board itself.  So, I have ordered the new electrode.

It was raining on an off during all of this, and once I had the heater put back together TLE and I decided to stay inside and spend the rest of the afternoon watching 'Insurgent', which is the second movie in a series from the book called 'Divergent'.  Around 1530, just as we were finishing the movie, my daughter Meredith dropped by to go to 'Taco Tuesday' at Tio's Tacos.   We left a little after 1600 hours to walk the 1 mile over to Tio's.  My other daughter, Kate, her husband Nick, and daughter Charlise drove over a little later to meet us.  By the way, their Asada Tacos are amazing.....there is a lot of 'Asada' on those tacos, and I was wishing as I finished the second of three that two would have been enough!  By the way, we ordered 5 tacos between us, plus a Negra Modelo beer....all for $13.45....the 5 tacos were $9.45, or $1.89 each.

My grand daughter, Charlise, wanted to walk home with TLE, Meredith and I so we headed out about 1730 for our walk home, which passed directly by the annual Riverside 'FOL' (Festival of Lights) along Mission Inn Ave.......


......and no walk down Mission Inn after dark is complete without stopping off at the 'Swiss Chalet' for the 'best hot chocolate on the planet' as their sign advises.....at $3 per it had better be.  Is it the 'best on the planet'....probably not, but it is very good.

Just as we hit the railroad crossing a blocks from Kate's home we got stopped by a long freight train.......it took about 10 minutes for it to pass as it was going quite slow.....just as it was finally passing another came right on it's heals, and this one stopped right at the crossing....ugh!  We ended up walking back a block so we could cross over to University, which passes under the tracks and finally get home.  We finally arrived home about 1630 hours.....an hour after we left Tio's.....it is normally a 20 minute walk.....at most!  We said our goodbyes to Meredith, and headed to the backyard and our coach for the evening.....

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

First Saturday recap

First Saturday (Monday) was a good example of the routine we are settling into here in Riverside, CA.  I wrote my blog entry for the day, we had a latish breakfast, I made a run over to the Riverside Main USPS to drop off a Priority Mail Flat Rate Box containing a bike component I sold the very first day I listed it, and to pick up a bunch of the free Flat Rate Boxes (small, medium, large), then over to a Pedal's Bike Shop  (Yelp gives them 5 stars on 31 reviews, and I would concur) to have them remove the splined bottom bracket from the Tomac 98 Special frame.  I don't come across a lot of splined bottom brackets so I have never bought the tool you need to remove one.  They had it out in 2 minutes and I was on my way back 'home'.

Pedal's Bike Shop on Jurupa

Once I was home TLE and I headed out on a walk, which ended up totaling 3.5 miles round trip.  We made the 3.5 miles in 59 minutes flat.  Once we were back I headed out to the trailer to begin the final cleaning of the Tomac frame now that the bottom bracket was removed.  You may be wondering why I removed it.....well, it is an integrated piece that belongs with the TruVativ crankset, and I am including it in my eBay auction.  The frame really cleaned up nicely, and now that all the grime is off of it I can see that it has hardly been ridden.....the paint is virtually pristine!

Once that was done I headed inside to finish listing the last 10 items, including the bike frame, as well as wheelset.  Now it's time to sit back and watch the magic occur as people begin to bid on my stuff.  Within a week all that stuff now sitting in my trailer will be in boxes and on it's way to people who use and appreciate it.

Of course, first Saturday is MNF day, and the game of the week pitted the Detroit Lions against the N.O. Saints......both teams have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, so it was a 'nothing' game, and for much of the game it was very lopsided.....at one point it was 28-3....then the Saints began their comeback only to come up short losing 35-27.

While I was watching the MNF game a commercial for a new movie came on (The Hateful Eight) which has Kurt Russell in it.....seeing him got me to thinking about my favorite Kurt Russell movie......Captain Ron (a 1992 movie starring Kurt Russell, Mary Kay Place, and Martin Short), so I decided to watch it.  I don't have the DVD, but I am a subscriber to Netflix, Hulu and VUDU on our Phillips LCD TV, and I eventually found it on VUDU, so we sat down to watch it.....the time was 2230.  Even though we have seen this movie 7, or 8 times we still laughed all the way through it like we usually do.  The movie finished just before midnight.  That is still one of the cool things about being retired.......you can stay up way late, and midnight is way late for us, and just get up later the next day....where to we have to be?

The forecast for Monday evening was rain most of the night, and as I write it is still raining.....very gently, but raining nonetheless.  SoCal needs rain, so no complaint here.


Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Day of rest.....

It seems that Sundays are becoming a day to vegetate for us......once again we did nothing productive the entire day.  I watched NFL football all day, and into the evening.  It was not a good day for teams for which I was rooting.......the Giants came back from a 35-7 deficit only to lose on a last second field goal.  The Broncos came from ahead to lose by 7 to Pittsburgh.  On the other hand the Cardinals beat the Eagles handily 40-17, and the Seahawks also won easily 30-17 over the Browns.

So there you have it.....the summation of my entire Sunday in just one paragraph.  Is that all I have? Well, I did list another 12 bike items on eBay, so I've got about 10 more to go.  When I get the last 10 in Monday it will mean potentially I will have close to 42 items to package up and ship early next week.  Hopefully they won't all sell the first time around.

On another note we are changing up our New Years plans......last year we stayed in town (Riverside), but this year we are planning to head out to the low desert area near Octotillo Wells/Anza Borrego to meet up with family and friends.  We'll make up the rest of our time away from Riverside as we go.  We also found out that our daughter Kate's baby is definitely going to be a girl.....it's now 100% sure.

Yup, I guess that is just about it......this is about as shallow as it gets, right?

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

More than a guess?

They're on a roll right now......I'm talking about the 'weather guessers'.......lately when rain has been predicted it rains.....maybe not very long, but it rains nonetheless.....and that is what is even more impressive to me.  It's one thing to predict rain when it's 100% chance all day long for two, or three days......that's a big storm, right?  But predicting accurately when a smallish storm cell is passing through, and that it will actually produce rain at a specific time is quite impressive.  On Real Saturday the guessers predicted a 60% of rainfall at 1800 hours and that is precisely what we got.....just like clockwork.

Yet again, naturally, I get slightly ahead of myself chronologically......Real Saturday dawned mostly clear, and balmy.  It was difficult to accept the forecast for rain by early evening, but it did arrive as I reported above.   While I busied myself with finishing the cleaning of multitudinous bicycle components TLE advised she was going shopping at Target and would be back shortly.....I looked at my watch and observed it was a little after 1000 hours......now let's be clear.....when TLE says she is going shopping at Target 'shortly' is not the proper term to describe her trip.  I replied back....."....right.....I'll see you later this afternoon....".....:-)

By noon time I had just about finished cleaning all the parts I will be selling with the lone exception of the Tomac 98 Special frameset, which I will clean Sunday, and it was time for a bike ride.  It was still quite sunny (it did not look like rain later in the day, or even the rest of the weekend) when I departed on my 10.23 mile ride, which, true to form, included a climb to the top of Mt. Rubidoux.  Each time I tackle the summit I can feel myself getting stronger, and riding a little bit faster.  I managed to average over 8 mph climbing the 3-4% paved grade to the top.....that's the first time I've surpassed 8 mph for the entire climb this time around.

Upon my return a little after 1300 hours to the coach I found that TLE had also returned.....hmmmmm......that was a fast trip by TLE standards, but she was not back until the afternoon, so I got that right!

The rest of the afternoon was spent (by moi) photographing each bike component to be listed for sale on eBay.  In all I ended up with 42 items to list......this total, as I wrote yesterday, includes a number of items from my personal inventory......I would say about half the items fall into that category.  I, apparently, had squirreled away enough parts to build another bike.....well, almost.

Page 2 of 4 pages of items to be listed

Once the picture taking was complete I began the task if listing the first 20 items on my list on eBay.  It took me until well into the second half of the NFL Saturday night game between the Jet and the Cowboys (won by the Jets with a last second field goal) to finish listing the 20 items.

By the way, on a side note.......I feel bad for the Cowboys.  They were expected to have a very good season this year, but since Tony Romo went down with his broken collarbone they have only won 2 games and lost 8, or 9.  They're not that bad, even without Tony, but they just keep losing.  They are down to their 3rd string quarterback now, and their hopes of getting into the playoffs have just about evaporated.

Other than her 'shortish' trip to Target, TLE spent virtually the entire day culling through her wardrobe, and getting rid of a lot of stuff we had been storing under the pedestal bed.  At one point I was unable to enter the bedroom there was so much stuff scattered everywhere.  I had forgotten we had half the stuff she pulled out from under the bed, so the choice to donate it along with the discarded items from TLE's wardrobe was easy.  I got so inspired by her efforts I thoroughly re-organized my underwear drawer.....okay, it's not much, but it's a start!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Fifth Saturday - I know, right?

Friday marked one week until Christmas......it was the first day of Christmas Vacation for school kids.......yeah, I know, "they" (the PC patrol) call it 'winter break' now, but 'Christmas Vacation' just has a little more cache for me, so I'm sticking with it.  Christmas Vacation means there are fewer vehicles on the roads and it was definitely noticeable as we drove up and over to Rancho Cucamonga to fetch our dwindling supply of Christmas wrapping supplies from my son's office in order to prepare our Christmas present offerings for delivery by Santa.

From there we headed over to 'Active Ride Shop', just a couple of blocks away, to acquire the final present for my oldest grandson.....wouldn't you know what we wanted for him is on back order, but it should be in by Tuesday, or Wednesday next week......yep, cutting it close!

We were back home just before noon time dropping off the wrapping supplies, and then we drove over to 'Smart and Final' to pick up a few things, and I to 'Office Max' (right next door) to pick up a few packing supplies for the bike parts I will be mailing out in about 10 days, then over to the Riverside Main USPS to pick up some 'Flat Rate Boxes' which will be used religiously in this endeavor.

I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning and preparing bike parts for photography, sale and shipment, and what an enjoyable afternoon it was.  While cleaning the parts from the Tomac 98 Special I decided to go through my own personal stockpile of bike parts start culling out what I will probably not personally use.....time to get those parts into the hands of someone who will use and appreciate them, so my eBay auction just grew exponentially in size and scope.  I have forgotten how much I have been carrying around.

A reasonable facsimile of the one I bought on Craigslist

Interestingly, about 9 years ago when we were beginning to think about becoming nomads TLE suggested I start thinning out my bike parts inventory.  At the time I had never sold anything on eBay, but she suggested I list a few things and see if I could sell them instead of just tossing them out......you see, most of my inventory was considered 'old technology' in the mountain bike world.  I was always upgrading the components on my 'bikes', and assumed the old stuff I had removed had no value anymore, but was I ever wrong.  I had about 4 milk crates full of 'old technology', and ultimately realized about $5,000 in eBay sales over the next year.  It was then I realized I could buy older bikes on Craigslist at under market prices and part out their old technology piece by piece on eBay, and I have been doing just that, when I have the time, ever since.

As I have have written before, when I am in the trailer working on bikes, or cleaning bike parts the time just melts away, and before I knew it the sun was setting in the western sky, and it was time wrap it up for the day.

My son, Tim, and his girl friend, Laila, invited us out to dinner at the Salted Pig (one of my favorite local eateries) at 1930 hours, but when we arrived there was an hour wait (they don't take reservations), so we had to come up with a 'Plan B'.......Plan B was to drive down to Pepito's Mexican Restaurant, which we did.  We arrived just before 2000 hours and were promptly seated at the last available table.....cool.  Yelp gives them 3.5 stars, but TLE and I would fall solidly in the 4+ star range.....the food, drinks and service were exceptional.   We laughed and talked for 2 hours, and by the time we paid our check and walked out the door it was after 2200......

 Waiting for our GIANT Cadillac Margaritas....big anticipation smiles

My traditional 'usie' shot

......Tim and Laila are old souls.....they love to talk about music, movies, etc. that TLE and I grew up with so many years ago.  We always have such a great time with them, and the time just melts away.  Thank you guys for spending time with the 'young at heart old farts.....:-)

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Parting.....

Once it warmed up above 40 degrees I went out to reinstall the passenger door panel on the VW, which took just a few minutes because I am becoming an expert after having done this now three, or four times.   However, when TLE and I drove over to hike to the top of Mt. Rubidoux again, she discovered I had forgotten to reattach the cable that when pulled by the inside door pull handle  opens the door......I had to open the door from the outside for her.  Yes, the Hockwald way rears its ugly head once again.....I had to take the panel off one more time to reattach the cable when we got home....yup, I am becoming an expert for all the wrong reasons.....:-)

We left around 1130 to take our 3.4 mile roundtrip hike to the top of Rubidoux averaging 3.7 mph for the entire walk and finished in just 55 minutes.  


The 35' tall steel and concrete cross at the summit....erected to honor Father Junipero Serra

From there we drove over to the bank so I could get some cash out to buy a mountain bike off Craigslist to "part out" on eBay.  If you have been following my blog for a few years you know that on occasion, in the past, I have done this to make some extra money.  I can usually double my money spent on a bike bought on Craigslist by taking it completely apart and selling it piece by piece on eBay.....plus it makes me happy.

I headed over to meet the guy I was buying the bike from around 1340, and was home a littel after 1400 with the bike and began to dismantle it.  Within 3 hours it was in pieces......now I will clean each component, take pictures, and put them up for sale on eBay.

 The frame is stripped

All the 'pieces/parts'

This bike really appealed to me because it came with three wheels, 4 tires, disc brakes, and rim brakes.  I'll spend part of Friday cleaning everything up, take pictures and then list them on eBay.

TNF featured the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the St. Louis Rams.....the game was won by the Rams 31-23.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hump day.....

Another cold day was Wednesday.....we had planned to take a ride on the Santa Ana River Trail from Anaheim down to Newport Beach, but it is just too cold, so we postponed it for a couple of days......neither of us do 'COLD' very well anymore, and since there is always another day, theoretically, why ride when it's too cold, right?  Instead I spent some more time cutting up the debris I had trimmed off the pomegranate bush a couple of weeks ago....after filling yet another waste barrel I still have enough left to fill one more.....some jobs are never done.......I'll leave that for another day.

Around noon time I drove over to the local Lowe's to pick up a few things including some more wet/dry sandpaper so I could work on the passenger door panel on the VW and get it repainted, and cross that item off my 'TO DO' list.

I was back by 1330......yeah, I know, it shouldn't take two hours to go to Lowe's and back, but it is Lowe's after all......and got to work removing the door panel so I could strip the bad paint off, sand it, and then paint it.  While the paint on the passenger door was more intact than that of the driver side door, it was much easier to remove.  I didn't even have to use the heat gun to remove 80% of it.....just a putty knife.  For whatever reason when those door panels were painted at VW they were not prepared properly, because it appears the paint never adhered to the surface.

After all the paint removal, sanding and masking off the areas I didn't want painted, the panel was ready for application of the glossy black Rustoleum spray paint around 1530.  Of course, spray painting the panel took less than 5 minutes and it was just a matter of letting it sit for 6 hours before reinstalling the panel Friday.  Let's face it, neither paint job I did is factory quality, but they both pass the 'five foot' test.....they look good from 5 feet away....and they look so, so much better.

Lookin' good!

There are now only two items left on my 'TO DO' list......1) Remove and 2) Repair the Suburban gas heater and remove and replace some damaged floor panels......easy peezy!  Well, at least the flooring part should be easy peezy.....I'm a little uncertain, as I always am, with the gas heater project, but I shall proceed with style.

Wednesday was also the night of the  3 hour 'Survivor' finale.....this season has been one of our favorites because nothing was predictable until it got down to the final three......to me it was obvious the winner would be Jeremy, and he was....he got all 10 votes of the jury.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Walkin'....shoppin'.....packin'

One thing we have been trying to do is to walk consistently......maybe not every day, but a majority of days each week.  One of our favorite walks is walking west on Mission Inn Ave. past the Mission Inn all the way to the Mt. Rubidoux Road bridge that spans Mission Inn Ave. on the western boundary of the city.  It is exactly 1.5 miles to the foot of the bridge.....

Mt. Rubidoux Road bridge over Mission Inn Ave.


.....sometimes we walk over the bridge to University Ave. and back east to our 'home'.   We left for our Tuesday walk about 1015 hours and averaged close to 4 mph all the way to the bridge.....how,  you might ask?  Well, sometimes we hit all the street lights perfectly, and that was the case Tuesday.....not so much on the way back when we hit 3, or 4 red lights.

We were back home before 1130, and TLE got ready to drive over to Claremont for her hair appointment with Amanda at Forte Salon on 2nd Street, as well as to do some Xmas shopping.  While she was gone I went about getting the leather Harley Davidson jacket I had sold on eBay for my son-in-law, Nick, box up for shipping to the buyer.  Nick used to have a Harley, but now that he is a family man (married to my daughter, Katie) he sold it.  Since he no longer has the motorcycle he decided to sell the $400 jacket, which he had only worn a handful of times.  I had listed it on a 'Buy It Now' auction for $300 with the option to 'Make An Offer'.  Nick's lowest price he would accept was $200, but I got an offer for $250 within 24 hours and we sold it.  


TLE was back a little after 1500 hours, so we traded places and I ran over the USPS to drop off the box containing the jacket, and was back by 1545 (rush hour traffic, even street traffic, is no fun in Riverside......:-)

We have pretty much finished our Christmas shopping.....most of it done via Amazon.com Prime.....I think we have maybe one more gift to acquire and we are done for another year....whew!

We spent the rest of the afternoon reading, then around 1800 we began watching a few recorded shows and were heading for bed by 2230......

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Local Resources

Yesterday I wrote extensively about my 'fears' of catastrophic failure keeping me closer to home base in our travels......the flip side of spending a lot of time in one geographical area year after year is to continue accessing local resources you have already discovered, and exploring new ones.  When you spend a lot of time in one place it can become easy to take local resources for granted, and to stop exploring.  The trick is to keep exploring......continue to use the resources you have discovered, and keep looking for new things to explore/experience even when you return to that same locale again and again.  

One of the local resources TLE and I both love about Riverside is Mt. Rubidoux......you, no doubt, remember I have written often about riding my bike to the top of Mt. Rubidoux.....it is one of the joys of my life is to ride over the crest of the north trail at the top of Mt. Rubidoux and begin the 1.25 mile descent.....the views are spectacular whether it is cloudy, or clear.  TLE has ridden to the top with me once, and hiked with me to the top a few times with yesterday included.

The same Frank A. Miller who built the Mission Inn

There are two trails to the top which I have dubbed the 'North Trail' and 'South Trail'.  I usually take the 'North Trail' when riding, or hiking to the top and the 'South Trail' down....total round trip distance is 3.1 miles gate to gate.

Testimonial Peace Tower honoring Frank A. Miller

Satellite screenshot of our walk taken off my Strava mobile app

Since the weather Monday was quite cold (high was 56) we waited until early afternoon to take our hike.  We had thought about walking to the trailhead from the coach, but that would have made our hike closer to 6 miles round trip and I don't think we are quite up to that walking distance yet.  As it was the total round trip (from our car) was 3.3 miles and we averaged 3.5 mph......no bad considering we were going uphill.

We were back home by 1400........join us over the next days as we access more local resources!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 14, 2015

The unspoken thing.....

Sunday can be summed up this way........NFL.  We pretty much stayed inside all day as it was cold and cloudy.....never got above 57 degrees.....we never turned off the electric heater in the salon.  So, I apologize for being rather shallow this morning in describing Sunday, but that is just the way it happened.  We were basically slugs the entire day.....so what do I write about?  I can't just end the blog after writing a shortish paragraph, can I?  Of course not!

I've been thinking about the last year and how few miles we have traveled, how we really haven't seen too much that is new to us, other than our brief jaunt down US 395 from Spokane, WA to Susanville, CA in November.  Are we getting set in our ways?  To some degree I guess......the past two years we have done pretty much the same thing.......spent time in northern Arizona, and southern Utah, spent the summer at South Lake Tahoe and fall at Cape Blanco, then home for the holidays.

There is a kind of yearning in my soul to get back out there and do something different, especially now with diesel prices at 8 year lows.....I'm seeing diesel prices under $2/gallon around the country, which means the cost per mile has never been this low for us since we began our nomadic wanderings almost four years ago now.  Our first full fill up back in February of 2012 cost us $3.59/gallon, and we thought that was a great price, which it was at the time.  That was the lowest price per gallon we paid until we filled up just after our Amazon gig last December for $2.29/gallon......that's a $234 savings per tank (180 gallon tank)!  So, why aren't we out there piling the miles on taking advantage of low diesel prices?

There are several reasons, which I have written about, why we have confined our travels to California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.......dental needs, family weddings, pregnancies, but there is another reason, for me anyway, that I haven't written about, that makes it easy for me to stick to our 6 state circuit.

I know I'm not the only one who thinks about this......no, a better word is 'worries' about this.  When you buy a large Class A motorhome you worry about the worst case scenario.......covering the cost of an engine, or transmission failure.  The first 2+ years I kind of pushed that scenario to the back of my mind, but the longer we have gone without a major problem....forget that.....without even a significant minor problem, the more the odds seem to favor something big going wrong.  One of the reasons this fear has come more to the forefront of my mind is we have nomadic friends who have faced this kind of catastrophic failure in the recent past.  Here's the thing.....I know they were meticulous about maintenance on their Class A's, but suffered catastrophic failure nonetheless.  We have had just two significant, to us, issues since we hit the road early in 2012......the engine water pump failed, and then a year, or so later we filled our diesel tank with medium grade unleaded by accident.  Compared to a blown engine ($25-30,000), or blown transmission ($5-10,000) replacing a water pump (I did it myself) at a cost of $87, or having your fuel tank pumped out at a cost of $150 are extremely minor.

In the case of the water pump failing, it did not happen on the side of the Interstate in West Texas in the middle of no where.....it happened in the backyard of my sister-in-law.  In the case of the diesel fuel mishap it happened in a convenient place where we had friends nearby who came over to provide moral support, as well as solutions.......those same friends, by the way, suffered one of the catastrophic engine failures I alluded to to earlier a few months later in the middle of no where with no cell phone coverage.  When something like that happens to a friend it is no longer theoretical.....it is right there in the forefront of your mind.  I find myself struggling with thinking it's safer to stay close to home base in case anything of a big nature goes wrong.  That all these other things have come up (grand babies, weddings, dental issues) makes it easier to give in to the fear.  This is one thing that so many are concerned about......being broken down on the side of the road for hours and hours and being at the mercy of mechanics you know nothing about charging you 10 times what it should cost.

The $87 gear driven water pump

The longer our streak continues with no major problems the more I think about 'what if?'......it is only natural, and I know I'm not the only one who worries about 'it'.  I guess just writing about it, and putting it out there helps.  In the end I know intellectually that it's not IF 'stuff happens', but WHEN.  All one can do is to take care of periodic maintenance, replace those tires when they get to 6 years old, and check your engine/transmission on a regular basis looking for potential problems, or warning signs hoping to nip potential problems in the bud.  

When I think about it I realize when I lived in a 'sticks and bricks' home I worried about catastrophic failure a lot.....what if my HVAC bites the dust?  What if the ubiquitous Santa Ana winds blow my roof off?  What if a toilet decides to back up while we are gone on vacation and floods our home?  All those things are possibilities, of course, just like there are big things which can and do go wrong in an RV.  The question is do you let that worry/concern paralyze you, or do you get on with your life?  I choose to get on with my life and stop worrying about it........most of the time.

Well, that's what has been on my mind, and I know I'm not the only one......it' part of the nomadic life style.......

Thanks for stopping by!