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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Doin' the Borrego

While we paid for a stay of 3 nights in the Quechan Casino RV parking lot, our intent was to stay just two nights giving ourselves a chance to somewhat recover from our dental surgeries on Friday and hopefully be up to rolling our wheels by Saturday, and that was the case.  I awoke Saturday with very little discomfort so decided no more pain pills were needed, which meant I was good to drive.

We were on our way out of the dirt parking lot by 0825, parked briefly on the pavement to insert the Beetle into the trailer, and then merged on to I-8 westbound by 0840......I set the cruise control to 60 mph and just held on to the steering wheel as we floated down the Interstate......our destination?  Borrego Springs Desert!  When we left Borrego back on January 13th we knew we had not had our fill of this beautiful setting, and were determined to return on our way back to Riverside for a few days.

Our 120 mile trek was without incident......we arrived at the Salton City ARCO around 1030 where we parked a few minutes whilst TLE went into the Dollar Store adjacent to the ARCO to pick up a few things, and were back on our way by 1040.  We arrived at the Rockhouse Road sign just before 1100, and were in our site by 1115......right next to our friends Steven, Linda and their daughter Tara (Tara is visiting them from her home in San Diego for the weekend) who arrived back here back on the 20th after leaving us at Quartzite.


Within an hour of our arrival the wind picked up so much so that we were chased inside for the rest of the afternoon......around 1530 I got a message from Linda suggesting we head into Borrego Springs around 1630 for Margaritas and Mexican cuisine.....you don't have to twist my arm too tightly to get a positive response to that suggestion!

Our restaurant of choice was Pablito's Mexican Bar & Grill on Palm Canyon Drive (590 to be precise).  They are open every day of the week, but close each day from 1430 to 1700 for siesta.....we (TLE, Steven, Tara and I.....Linda was a little under the weather) arrived just as they were reopening for the evening.


We promptly ordered Cadillac Maragaritas......TLE, Steven and I all ordered Chile Relleno's, and Tara a Burrito.  Their Chile Relleno is right up there in the top 10 I have ever had.....very, very good!  We were back 'home' by 1830 bidding adieu to each other for the evening as the wind continued to howl.....and howl it did for most of the night.  Ironically, it must have been a warm wind as when we awoke this morning (Sunday) our inside temperature was 72....that is the warmest inside morning temperature we have had since our stay at Rincon Parkway in Ventura!

On a side note......just before we left the Quechan Casino I had run the generator for about 45 minutes to use the block heater.......normally when I am ready to start the Detroit Diesel I walk back to the bedroom (where the block heater on/off switch is) and turn off the block heater, but this time I started the engine, then turned off the generator.....neglecting to turn off the block heater.  Why is this a big deal?  When we arrived at Borrego our batteries had just reached 100%.......after leveling the coach, and taking care of a few outside things I came in to dial in the satellite for our DirecTV, which necessitated turning on the inverter.......said inverter then supplied power to the still 'ON' block heater.....within the 45 minutes, before I discovered my error, our batteries were back down to 89%......doh!  I resisted the temptation to turn on the generator to recapture some of the lost electrons, but just decided to see how much we could get back with just the solar panels. By the time the sun was setting we were back to 96%.....with no plans to watch TV last night I felt comfortable with leaving it there.....this morning the batteries were down to only 85%.....pretty normal if we had watched TV, and started at 100%.  So, the lesson learned.....never skip a step in your routine thinking you will remember to turn something off, or on later.....YOU WILL FORGET......at least I will forget.....:-)

We spent the evening ready......well, TLE did....I got my book out to read around 1845, but apparently promptly fell asleep not awaking again until 2100!  I guess I needed a nap, or was it those two Cadillac Margaritas that sedated me?  I did end up reading for about an hour before going to bed at 2200 for the night.....the wind continued to jostle our coach as I drifted off to dreamland once again.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

"I appreciate your professionalism" parts 3, 4 and 5

The reason for our stopover in Winterhaven, CA as you know, was our dental appointments at Dr. Eva Urena's office in Los Algodones at 0800 hours Friday morning.....why did I agree to that ungodly time?  Naturally, I woke up way too early thinking about my first dental extraction, and after laying there for an hour decided to get up at O'Dark Thirty (0530).  Our plan was to leave the coach around 0715 and arrive at Dr. Urena's office by 0740.  The sun is not really up at 0715 Arizona time......I know, we're in California and technically it is 0615, but all our appointments with Dr. Urena are based on Arizona time, so we, as of 0715 had not yet changed our clocks not wanting to, inadvertently, arrive an hour late.

It was a short 5 minute drive to the border parking lot, and within 10 minutes we were in front of Dr. Urena's office, however, they don't open until 0800......doh.....so we walked across the street and sat in the nice park for about 20 minutes before Jorge and Dr. Urena arrived to open the office.  TLE was seen first.....this was to be the day her new crown would be installed, but Dr. Urena could not get the crown to properly 'seat', so she had to shave off some more jaw bone meaning the new crown will not be installed until our next visit on February 17th.  The nice thing is the cost of this additional work is all covered under the initial payment of $800 for the dental implant done last April.  Unlike a lot of folks TLE's age, she does not suffer from bone loss in her jaw, but bone growth.

Next it was my turn......I was not looking forward to this!  Not to get into too many gory details, but all my teeth have longer than normal roots.  It has never been an issue as I have never had to have any teeth extracted, but Friday it was now an issue.  Dr. Urena was able to remove the old crown, as well as the titanium post it was attached to quickly, but due to the length of the roots she had decided to have a periodontist do their extraction.....this involved 'opening up the gum' as she said.  Dr. Jose Barrera, the aforementioned periodontist, worked on those two roots for about an hour, and just when I was beginning to think it would never end, I heard him say......"Clarke, I got them out!  How are you feeling?" To which I mumbled......"Uh, fine.....I guess...".  It took about 5 stitches to close up the 'opened gum', but I was feeling no pain......the novocaine did not wear off for about 4 hours.  Okay, I don't care how good your dentist is, a tooth extraction of this sort is never fun, but it was over!  Included in the periodontal surgery was a bone graft bringing my bill for the day to $250.....frankly I was expecting it to be much larger.

After settling our bill we were on our way to the pharmacy to fill a prescription for pain killers for moi, and then to the U.S. Border station and then home by 1030 hours where we both spent the rest of the day licking our wounds, taking pain medication (me.....TLE is much tougher than I), reading and resting.

The reason for the title is I neglected in past posts to continue the tradition of using the title "I appreciate your professionalism" taken from the movie "Little Shop of Horrors".....since the second installment of this series I had neglected to use the title 3 times....part 3 was when we drove down to Los Algodones from Riverside to have her stitches removed and the dental implant checked last May; part 4 was this past December when we returned, again from Riverside, for my cleaning, and to have the molds made for TLE's crown, which had to be postponed.  It was also when it was discovered I had an abscess and had to have this tooth extracted; and part 5 was Friday.

 Went out to get a sunset picture and saw this big "S" in the sky


Well, part 5 is in the books.....we are no worse for the wear, and Saturday we will begin our 5 day journey back to Riverside.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 29, 2016

$1.67

(I'm late posting this blog entry about Thursday as our dental appointments were at 0800 this morning, so I opted to wait to write the blog until after we returned from our 3 hour journey across the border into Mexico)

Once again it came time to say our 'until next times' to our hosts  (Tom and Darlene) for the past 6 days and head westward to Winterhaven, CA for our dental appointments on Friday, and we began rolling our wheels at 1030 hours.  The weather was partly cloudy and cool all the way to our destination, and we made just two stops, one about 110 miles into the day at a Rest Area for a small lunch and potty break, and then a second in Yuma to top off our diesel tank with 105 gallons at $1.67/gallon.....the best price we have paid in 4 years on the road by 72 cents a gallon!  Our prior best was in Carson City the end of August 2015 when we paid $2.39/gallon and thought it couldn't get much better than that.  We parted with just $175 of our hard earned money and now, God willing and the river don't rise, we won't have to put diesel in our tank again until September.....why you might ask?  Well, we are just 1/2 tank from arriving in South Lake Tahoe for our summer job, so no need to fill up again until we begin our journey back south.

The fuel station we used was at a Fry's Supermarket (Kroger) just off I-8 at the Fortuna Road exit, and what a jungle it was.....since they boast one of the lowest prices in Arizona they were packed with RV's and passenger vehicles lined up out to the street.  Normally this would have given me the heebie jeebies, and I would have just gone to a less crowded station with a little higher price, but for some reason I was totally serene this day, and was able to get the Newell into position to fuel up, and out again without harming any small animals, children, or private property.  TLE, on the other hand, who although looked like a cat on a hot tin roof as she scampered in and out of the coach, and back and forth from one side of the coach to the other, managed to give me excellent directions via our walkie talkies and got me next to the diesel pump without a mishap.

Once we extricated ourselves from the station we were back on I-8 headed for the Quechan Casino just off I-8 at the Los Algodones Road exit near Winterhaven, CA.   They allow you to park your coach in their RV parking lot for $10 for three days.  There are numerous free dry camping, and boondocking opportunities around this exit, but we preferred the more secure environment of the casino parking lot......


 The RV 'ghetto'

The local scenery is not too bad

.....we arrived at the casino around 1500 hours, found a spot facing due west so we could tilt up our solar panels and get maximum benefit from the very sunny weather forecast for the next few days.

As soon as we had registered in the casino for our site we drove directly back into Arizona to Prison Hill Brewing, one of our favorite micro breweries for an early dinner, and a few pints.....


.....yup, I'm smiling now, but Friday I go to have my tooth pulled, and that is a story all by itself!

Deep fried avocados

One thing we love about Prison Hill Brewing (Yelp give them 4 stars on 121 reviews) is they change up their appetizers on a regular basis......this time they offered deep fried avocados.....something I have never had before, and were they ever delicious!  We also ordered a plate of their 'Yard Bird' chicken tenders. TLE and I both ordered a pint of their coffee stout, and then split a third.  One of our tests for judging a micro brewery is that their food must stand up to the quality of the brews, and the food here is exceptional......just like their beer!

We spent the evening watching some recorded programs, and were in bed by 2300 hours.....thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Zero.....

The only way I can take a picture that captures a big portion of the interior of Tom's Newell barn is get on top of the 'man cave' and take a panoramic shot to get it all from front to back, it is that big inside......the picture below gives you an idea of how big it is......it is at least 10' from the front of the Tom's 46' long coach to the roll up doors, and over 10' from the rear of the coach to the back of the barn.....

Tom's 2002 Newell - 46' with two slides (drivers side)

......we were on top of the 'man cave' Wednesday to wrap insulation around the air conditioning duct work which Tom recently installed himself.....Tom is one of those guys who can teach himself to do almost anything.....he researches online, talks to experts in the field, then does it himself.....every time I visit Tom I learn something new.....

 'Before'


  'After'

.....it took us about 3.5 hours from start to finish.........the victory picture.....one more item checked off Tom's list.

Finished!

The view out one of the upper windows....my coach looks like a 'Tonka' toy next to the barn

I spent part of the afternoon getting ready to roll our wheels once again on Thursday as we will be heading back to Los Algodones, Baja California, Mexico for the extraction of my 53 year old root canal on Friday.  From there we will make our way north back to Riverside, CA and the birth of our youngest daughter's first child.  Since we will be dry camping and/or boondocking all of the succeeding days until we arrive back in Riverside I first topped off our fresh water tank by adding 70 gallons, then dumped our black tank.  

So, to turn back the page a few days, we only used 70 gallons out of our fresh water tank while boondocking in Quartizte over a 10 day period for a total usage per day of 7 gallons.....while we used only 60 gallons at our Borrego Springs Desert encampment over 10 days.  Previously when boondocking we would buy a lot of bottled water for personal consumption and just use the water in our fresh water tank for flushing the toilet, washing dishes, taking showers, etc.  We averaged about 2-3 gallons of water consumption per day.  This time around we decided to utilize our 'Zero Water' purifier to produce drinking water resulting in the increase of water usage from our fresh water tank.  The result is less refuse (plastic 1 gallon water containers) to find a place to dump, which leads to more independence.....over a two week period we would typically add 12-13 one gallon water containers to the local municipal landfill.  Our cost for one Zero Water filter, which lasts 2-3 weeks depending on the water quality where we fill up, is about $16 (4 for $65 from Amazon), and our cost for a gallon of bottled water is about $1......so it costs us from $12-13 for bottled water compared to $16 for a Zero water filter.



.....it does cost us more to use the 'Zero Water' system as the filters are somewhat expensive, but we think the small extra cost is worth having a smaller impact on the environment. To be fair, we could probably have reduced our water consumption below the 70, and 60 gallons at each location, but we knew we would only be there 7-10 days so we splurged a little.  Ultimately how long we can stay disconnected depends on how we manage our water supply, and we do manage it differently depending on how long we plan to be disconnected from utilities.

As always we've had a wonderful time visiting with our friends, and parting on Friday will be bitter sweet as always as we say our 'until next times'.....

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dynamic tension........



There are two sides to our nomadic life, which create this sort of 'dynamic tension' in our nomadic life.  One side being the 'plugged in' side where we have 50 amp electrical, city water and sewer.  We don't spend any time thinking about what electrical items are running, and how many amp hours they might be consuming.......we don't worry about how much of our fresh water supply we are using when we take a shower, or how much waste water will be added to our 120 gallon gray tank as we can just open the valve and drain it in seconds whenever it is needed......we don't worry about how much propane we might be using when we run the generator and gas heaters.  If it's cold in the morning we just turn on our three electric heaters.  We are usually quite close to services such as supermarkets, thrift stores, restaurants, and home improvement stores, so many of our 'plugged in' days are spent acquiring materials for projects around the coach, resupplying our food supplies, browsing through thrift store inventories, perhaps visiting a local micro brewery.

Essentially our daily ' plugged inlife looks completely different from the 'unplugged' version of our nomadic existence.  When we are 'unplugged' we are usually boondocking in some spectacular remote area pretty much devoid of man made structures where the unobstructed views are endless, and outdoor opportunities present themselves in great abundance.  We begin each day wondering if it will be sufficiently sunny for our solar array to replace the amp hours we consumed the previous night.......we check our fresh water supply to see how frugal we have been the day before, and then we turn our attention to exploring our surroundings.  We spend more time reading.....well, I should say 'I' spend more time reading.....TLE spends the same amount of time reading under both scenarios.  

Personally I prefer the 'unplugged' version of our nomadic life more and more as we make the effort to dry camp and/or boondock at every opportunity.  I like the effect it has on my checking account.....we spend way less money while boondocking.....we generate less refuse, consume less water, which leads to less waste water, and we generate our own electricity......we enjoy amazing scenery, often at no daily cost, or at a very reasonable cost when we must pay......in short I like the feeling of autonomous living more than the kind of living involving an 'umbilical cord'.



 One of Tom's toys....the scissor lift


I spent the morning helping my friend Tom hang some of the compressed air pipe and assemble the various quick connect stations in his large Newell garage.....we didn't get it all hung as we had hoped, but we should finish on Wednesday.......in the afternoon I pressure washed my radiator again as it had been exposed to a lot of dust over the past month.  I also refilled my two 40 weight oil containers with some more Chevron Delo 100 from my 15 gallon reserve which I keep here at Tom's home......you may recall that I was able to purchase three 5 gallon containers of this oil at a greatly discounted price last winter when we were here in Wittmann.  When we left Wittmann last year my oil reservoir  had 3 gallons in it, plus I had the two 1 gallon containers......in all I only had to replace 6 quarts of oil over the last 8,000 miles, or about 1 quart every 1300 miles, or 21 hours of operation.  These are good numbers for a series 92 Detroit Diesel, which has a reputation for oil consumption under normal operating conditions.......when we first bought our Newell I was adding a quart of oil about every 8-10 hours of operation.  Of course, then it only had 103,000 miles on the odometer, which is now over 150,000.....by Detroit Diesel standards the engine is considered barely 'broken in' at 150,000 miles at which point you should see less oil consumption, and better mileage per gallon of diesel, both of which have been my experience.


Chevron Delo 100 40 wt. oil

Tom and Darlene had some church business to attend to Tuesday afternoon/evening so TLE and I had that time to ourselves........I took two, or three naps and did some reading.....I have been missing my naps the last couple of weeks with all the socializing and whirlwind pace of the RV show, so it's time to catch up a tad!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Under pressure.....

Whenever we visit our friends Tom and Darlene in Wittmann I inevitably spend time with Tom in his Newell garage helping him do some of the 'finish' work he is doing himself.  Last year I helped him run a lot of electrical wire, and this time he is installing the compressed air system.  Our job Monday was to install all the pipe hangers to hold 170' of compressed air lines in place 14 feet above the floor.

 Up on the scissors lift....everyone needs a scissor lift, right?

Air line hangers as far as the eye can see.....the ceiling is 20.5' above the floor!

We started out at ground level finding all the studs and marking them with masking tape......as can be expected each pipe hanger needs to be screwed into a wood stud to be sure they can support the weight......we essentially spaced the hangers 6' apart with a  couple of minor exceptions along the north, west and south walls.  Once the all studs were located we headed into Wickenburg to buy the necessary wood screws.

Of course we arrived just before 1300 hours so Tom suggested we head to a local deli located in the convenience store at a Union Oil 76 fuel station......their specialty is Tenderloin sandwiches......yummy!  From there we headed further up HWY 60 to the local Tractor Supply where Tom bought the necessary screws, washers, etc. and were back home before 1500 hours and proceed to get 90% of the pipe hangers installed.  The pipe installation will be the easy part of this job, and we should have most of the pipe hung by the end of the day Tuesday.  I don't know about you, but I love going into Tractor Supply....it is not your typical hardware store, and I almost always end up buying something, and Monday was no exception....I was just about out of self taping screws so I picked up a new supply while we were there.

 Broncos flag still flying proudly

As is our custom, we had dinner with our hosts then headed outside to enjoy a fire in their outdoor fireplace until 2030 before heading in for the evening......of course there were marshmallows and all the makings for s'mores if you were so inclined....


......thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Wild horses.......

BRONCOS WIN!!!

My new Denver Broncos flag flying for good luck

Sunday was championship Sunday in the NFL......if you have read my blog for a while you know I'm a Denver Broncos fan, and on this Sunday the New England Patriots were playing the Broncos in Denver for the AFC championship.  Denver, as has been the case for most of the season, was the 'underdog'.  Broncos are, by definition, wild, untrained horses, and Sunday the Broncos' defense looked like a bunch of wild horses as they ran at Tom Brady (Patriot quarterback)  from every direction knocking him to the ground some 23 times.....an NFL record.  Ultimately the game came down to a missed extra point by the Patriot place kicker on their first touchdown, leaving them down by 8 points before they scored their final touchdown with seconds remaining in the game necessitating they go for a 2 point conversion to tie the game, which is much harder than a 1 point conversion.  The Denver defense was able to bat the game tying pass away and break up the attempt to tie the game, and thereby winning the game.

For me this was the game of the day, and I'm glad it was the first game of the day.....the second game pitting the Arizona Cardinals verses the Carolina Panthers for the NFC championship game in Charlotte, North Carolina.  I expected this game to be a close game, but in the end the Panthers were just too much for the Cardinals forcing 7 turnovers and whipping them 49-15.....it was over early in the 3rd quarter.  So, now we have Super Bowl 50's matchups.  The game will be played in Santa Clara, CA at the home stadium of the San Francisco 49'ers on February 7th.......and I will be there front row center watching the game!

I know.....enough football, right?  What did we do the rest of the day?  Well, I spent part of the morning deploying our patio awning, putting down our awning mat, deploying our new outdoor LED solar lights, having TLE back the VW out of the trailer, raising the Brocos' plag on my new flag pole, and then cleaning the sand out of the trailer after 3+ weeks in the desert.

Around 1100 TLE and I drove over to the Wittmann Flea Market where I rarely ever leave without finding at least one thing I cannot live without, and Sunday was no exception.....


My new pipe clamp - $4

......there are times when I wish I had a clamp with greater reach than my "C" clamps and Sunday I found that clamp for a very good price at $4.  We were back home by 1200 hours getting ready to watch the Broncos vs. Patriots game, and beginning at 1300 were both glued to the TV watching the game.

Laura, Tom and Darlene's daughter, and her husband Jon invited us over to their home to watch the Cardinals vs. Panthers game and for dinner.  Laura prepared Tri-tip and shrimp with several sides which were all delicious......unfortunately the football game did not live up to the quality of the food.

We were home by 1930.......thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Out of Quartzite....

We arrived in Quartzite thinking we would only be there 4 to 5 days, but ended up staying 10 days.  Our time spent there with good friends Steven, Linda, Michael and Liz was so comfortable.....we essentially all went our ways during the day, but would convene for our semi regular (some evenings the wind cancelled our fire) sunset fire.....just as we did at Ocotillo and Borrego Springs.

I spent early morning putting what little stuff we had deployed away, then around 1100 hours drove to our friends, Chris and Cherie's (Technomadia) encampment to give them a short tutorial on bicycle tire repair....Cherie's front bicycle tire had sprung a leak and needed patching.  I left them with a short list of essential bike maintenance tools (patch kit, crank puller, pedal wrench, multi tool, bike pump) they should acquire, and a complimentary patch kit for future puncture repairs.  As always, parting is bitter sweet, but we know we will see them again on the road.....it is inevitable!

I was back at our encampment by 1300 and finished getting the trailer ready for the VW insertion, and stowing the solar panels for travel, then we said our 'until next times' to Mike and Liz before rolling our wheels just before 1400.  I drove very slowly over 3, or 4 dips in the dirt road as we made our way back to pavement not wanting to undo the excellent windshield replacement done by Nomad Glass with any unnecessary torquing of the frame.....as instructed we waited a full 24 hours before rolling our wheels.

We had a shortish 130 mile drive to make to Wittmann, AZ where we spend anywhere from a week, to several weeks each winter visiting our good friends Tom and Darlene.  Tom has built a large 'garage' to park his 2002 Newell in when not in use, and has added 50 amp electrical service, water and sewer for visiting Newell friends.  He and Darlene had just finished spreading crushed granite around the 'garage' to make everything more level in anticipation of our arrival.  Tom is doing most of the finish work on the inside and outside himself to keep the final cost down.  As a result he is still a few months away from having everything finished, but he is slowly getting there.  Just since we were here last year he has made a lot of progress!

We arrived around 1630 hours and were quickly escorted by Tom to our site for the next week.......

The new windshields stood up to our first drive


The building behind our Newell is the garage Tom built for his 2002 Newell....it is enormous!

First Wittman sunrise Sunday morning

.....we had dinner with, and spent the evening with Tom and Darlene before heading back to our coach for the evening just before 2200 hours.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Through the looking glass.....

I have been dreaming of new windshields for about 4 years now.....ever since I first noticed the lower left corner began to 'pop' out and noticed how old and brittle the glass was.  I'm pretty sure the left half of our two piece windshield is an original piece of glass as it had begun to 'fog' up along the bottom edge.  When we got hit by that cascade of rocks thrown up by a truck as we rolled through Indio on our way to Octotillo on December 30th, and then the spider web of cracks developing the next morning I realized my dreaming days were over.....it was time for action!  The right half of the two piece window had been replaced by the prior owner about 9 years ago, but it was also damaged by the rocks, so it was time to replace both sides.  

The second day we were in Quartzite Michael and I went driving to explore Quartzite, and on our way back saw this glass truck driving along one of the dirt roads which led to our encampment.  We flagged him down and asked him to follow us to our coaches as we both needed windshields replaced.  Jim inspected the windshields on both coaches, and confirmed the glass needed to be replaced so we he called our insurance carriers and helped us file our claims advising he could order the glass and have it by Tuesday (January 19th) and probably have them installed by Thursday, or Friday.  Well, as I reported two days ago we received the phone call setting our installation date for Friday between 0900 and 1300.

Marty and A.J. from Nomad Glass arrived shortly after 0900 and went directly to Michael's coach to begin installation of his glass....his windshield is much larger than mine so they had to install his first so they could get to my glass which was behind Michael's on the truck.

 The boys from Nomad Glass working on Michael's coach.....the glass is already out!


While Marty and A.J. were working on Michael's coach I got busy removing my air operated windshield wipers.....I'm glad I did, because it took me about 30 minutes to get them off.....I had to spray some penetrating oil on to the shaft of each to get them loose, and within 20 minutes they came off easily!

 The wipers are off!

They were finished with Michael's installation a little after 1100 and promptly moved their truck over to the front of my coach.  Below you see they have already removed the driver's side windshield and are carefully cleaning the rubber gasket before re-gluing it to the frame in preparation for the new glass.


Below the old battered and cracked driver's side glass..........


.......in my workaday life I was a property and casualty insurance broker for over 40 years so I have seen a lot of windshields replaced, so I must say that Marty and A.J. are both extremely patient and knowledgeable about installing RV glass.  One risk with the type of windshields I have is it is easy to be impatient and force the glass in causing it to crack......they took their time and working as a team gently 'massaged' each piece into place, made sure both were properly centered and then glued them.

 Marty and A.J. gluing the gasket back to the window frame

 On to the passenger side windshield

The passenger side glass is removed!

Both pieces are installed and now it's time to clean off the excess glue and clean both the windshields inside and out

It did take longer than I was expecting to install both pieces of glass, but in the end it was done professionally without damaging the glass.  Unfortunately it was closing in on 1330 hours by this time and we had planned to do some shopping over at the BIG WHITE tent and also meet our new friends Russ and Debbie for lunch at Mountain Quail Cafe.  Since we were running so late we went directly to lunch to meet Russ and Debbie just before 1400 hours.  I love places that serve breakfast all day, so when I found out Mountain Quail Cafe did I had to order Bacon and Eggs with hash browns.......the food was delicious!  Yelp gives them a 3.5 star rating, and based on everyone's comments I would have to agree.....not the best every, but very solid!  Just as the day before we had a lovely time getting better acquainted over lunch, and then followed them back to their 1996 Newell for their 10 cent tour.  By the time we finished it was closing in on 1600 hours and knowing the various vendors would begin to close up for the day at 1700 said our 'until next times' and headed quickly back to the BIG WHITE tent.

We had two things more to buy, but had been waiting till the end of the RV show to see if prices might drop a little.  First up we wanted to buy some new camping chairs and had found some we liked.  Originally they were selling 2 for $85, but this Friday the price had dropped, as we hoped, to 2 for $75!  We quickly bought to new red camping chairs with side tables.....

One of the two new camp chairs

....we also wanted to buy some new outdoor solar LED 'Malibu' style lights and had seen some at another booth we liked so we next headed there to get the lights (no price drop here) and then head for home home before it got dark.....one of the things we like about these new lights is they have an 'ON/OFF' switch so you don't have to remove the batteries when you stow them away.....our old ones had no such switch.

These new lights just sit on the ground.....love them!


We gathered with Mike and Liz for our last sunset fire together.....the 9th of this series.....around 1700 and talked until close to 1900 hours before heading inside for the night.....as always it was a tad bitter sweet knowing we will be parting ways Saturday for about 10 months before we meet again in Texas next November.



Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 22, 2016

New friends......

Our 8th day at Quartzite began like all the others......slightly overcast with temps in the low 40's.  My plans for the day were modest, which is another way of saying I had no plans.  There was a possibility I might drive over to Chris and Cherie's to show them how to fix a bicycle tire flat, but that did not materialize.  I was thinking about driving over to the BIG WHITE tent to see if any of the prices on things we were interested in had dropped, and maybe pick up some fire wood, but then I got a call from a fellow Newell owner, Russ Davis, asking if we were interested in meeting he and his wife Debby for lunch at Silly Al's Pizza (Yelp gives them 4 stars on 101 reviews).....we have been trying to hook up since we are both at Quartzite, although separated by several miles, but the stars had not yet aligned.  I agreed to meet he and his wife Debby at 1230.  As it turned out TLE opted to stay off her foot (broken toe) since she had walked several miles around Los Algodones the day before.

It is not quite as crowded around the 'Q' as the RV show is beginning to wind down (the last day is Sunday), but there was still a lot of traffic as I made my way over to Silly Al's.....the parking lot was packed when I arrived, and still packed when we left two hours later.  I had a delightful 2 hour lunch with Russ and Debby talking about the fulltime lifestyle, our Newells, family, etc., and the time just seemed to melt away.  Although Silly Al's specialty is pizza, due to the SRO conditions it was a 45 minute wait for a pizza, so I opted for their Hot Pastrami which was quite good (chased with  a Shock Top).

Since they had not had a chance to meet TLE I suggested they follow me back to our coach to meet her, and take the 10 cent tour of our Newell.  We talked for another hour, but around 1530 they bid their adieus....we will try to make a run over to see their 1986 Newell on Friday after we get our new windshields installed.

Shortly after Russ and Debby left (I forgot to take pictures) Mike and Liz returned from picking up their 'new' Winegard Carryout satellite dish and asked if I could help them set it up since we have the same one.  Within 30 minutes we had everything hooked up, and a few minutes later they were watching DirecTV.

We agreed to meet for our 8th Quartzite sunset (accompanied by a fire) at 1740.....we only had one box of wood left, so I figured we could stretch the fire for at least an hour, but the wood burned slowly and was still smoldering when we headed back inside just before 2000 hours.  We had a lovely time listening to Liz regale us with stories of Hoboken, NJ, where she grew up......
 Here comes the sunset!

.....we managed to burn the last of the cardboard from the boxes holding the wood, and now after over 3 weeks we have finally burned all the firewood we had accumulated, and had been hauling around from Riverside to Ocotillo to Borrego to Quartzite.....

The last cardboard box goes up in flames

.....TLE and I watched this weeks 'Blacklist' episode, and were in bed by 2300 hours.....for those interested in our battery situation we managed to get back to 98% (started at 84%) by sundown......there was just too much overcast to get fully charged, but 98% is pretty good considering how overcast it was.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Cotton Bolls....

Wednesday was the day we returned to our dentist in Los Algodones (means 'the cotton bolls' in Spanish, which is raw cotton) for TLE's rescheduled appointment with Dr. Urena, and my appointment with an 'endodontics' dentist (root canal specialist).  I wrote about an issue Dr. Urena discovered while cleaning my teeth in December with an old root canal dating back to when I was 13.  At any rate Michael decided to accompany us to meet Dr. Urena and to get a consultation for some dental work he needs done in the near future, so the three of us set off at 0830 hours for the 93 mile drive south to Los Algodones and our 1100 hours appointment.

The drive south on HWY 95 was totally pleasant, although there was one small construction zone which slowed us just a little, nevertheless, we arrived at Dr. Urena's office at 1030.  TLE's appointment this day was to make the molds for the crown that will be attached on the 29th of this month to her dental implant.....that last part of her process.  On the other hand my appointment with Dr. Jose Armando Hernandez (endodontics) was just the beginning of my odyssey.  As it turns out my 53 year old root canal tooth has cracked, which is what caused the abscess.....it will have to be extracted, then I will begin my year long process of getting a dental implant just like TLE, and ultimately a new crown.  In addition to that the tooth next to it which has a very old and large filling has also cracked, and will need a root canal, plus a crown to restore it.....so begins my journey.  I will return on the 29th to Dr. Urena's office to have the bad root canal tooth extracted, then I will return to Dr. Hernandez on February 17th to have my root canal done......oh joy!  Ironically this will be my first extraction in my 66 years of life, and only my second root canal.

While I was having my consultation with Dr. Hernandez Michael walked TLE down to the optometrist (Best Optical) Dr. Urena's office had recommended where she proceeded to order three pairs of glasses (distance, reading, and tri-focals) at a total cost of $77.......she was told to return in 3 hours to pick up the glasses.  These three pairs would have cost us close to $400 in SoCal!

After I finished with my consultation and had all my immediate near future appointments set Michael and I walked down to Best Optical to retrieve TLE and go to lunch....we had a couple of hours to kill at this point so walked around and found a restaurant that served cerveza and fish/shrimp tacos.....I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant, but they had wonderful fish and shrimp tacos.....I had one of each, as did Michael, and TLE had one fish taco.  I chased my tacos with an Amber Dos Equis, and Michael chased his with a large Margarita.  There was a band playing music, and the atmosphere was splendid......just what I was looking for.....total cost for lunch....$14!



 My fish and shrimp tacos

 The garnish plate

We finished up around 1500 and walked back to Best Optical to retrieve TLE's three pairs of glasses, and after clearing US Customs were in the car and on our way home by 1600 hours.  On the way back to Quartzite you must pass through a Border Patrol check point, and for the first time ever we were asked to pull to the side for further inspection, which included a drug sniffing dog......after about 10 minutes we were allowed to continue our trip home.....very, very interesting.  We were home just after 1730 hours......just in time to catch our 7th Quartzite sunset, which is memorialized below......

 A little more muted and subtle than our 6th sunset, but quite beautiful just the same.....

Of course, while we were gone all day our batteries where efficiently recharged back to 100% by our solar panels.  Also, also......on our way home we received a phone call from Nomad Glass advising they had our new windshields in, and they set our appointment for installation for this Friday.....we will have to remain stationary for at least 24 hours, so our departure from Quartzite will most likely be Sunday, if not Saturday afternoon.....we shall see......looking forward to windshields with no pitting, chips, or cracks!

Thanks for stopping by!