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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Conway, Bridgeport, Walker, Coleville, Topaz, Gardnerville, Minden.....

We awoke to a mostly sunny day Friday, and were rolling our wheels by 9:30 am headed north on US HWY 395 towards our first summit of the day.....Conway Summit, elevation 8,143' above the level of the sea.....the highest point on all of US HWY 395.  In all there would be three passes for us to conquer....Conway (8,143'), Devil's Gateway (7,519') and Simee Dimeh (5,987').  Last year as we passed the Conway Summit sign snow was piled up around the sign........

May 8, 2015

.....this time last year there had hardly been any snowfall in the Eastern Sierras, but as luck would have it a lot of snow fell in early May......this year the snowfall has been significant all winter, but there was no snow on the ground as we passed by the summit sign once again (I forgot to have TLE take a picture, but you can use your imagination).

From Conway summit it was an 18 mile slide down to Bridgeport, and then we were on our way up to the second summit of the day (Devi's Gate).  The scenery was just idyllic all day long.  

As we skirted along the banks of the Walker River towards Walker, CA we decided to take a rest stop next to the river......



I tried to convince TLE it wasn't cold outside, but I was unsuccessful

....it has been a long time since we took a rest stop along the Walker River.

Just past Walker a few miles we pass through Coleville, then Topaz, and finally Topaz Lake where we cross into Nevada......our first state line in 3 months.....then the long climb to our final summit for Friday.....Simee Dimeh.  From that summit it is a long, leisurely downhill run into Gardnerville, then Minden, then Carson City where we called a halt to our day's travels after covering just 99.9 miles.

Lee Vining to Bridgeport

  Bridgeport to Topaz

Topaz to Silver City RV Resort

Since this weekend is the beginning of the fishing season in the Eastern Sierras we did something we do not normally do...we made reservations at Silver City RV Resort, and it is a good thing we did......we usually stay here on our way south in November and it is usually pretty empty, but when we arrived at their doorstep Friday morning about 11:15 the park was quite full....our reservation had secured one of the last 70' sites!

Once we were in our site we headed out in the VW to have lunch at the local In 'N Out Burger........


Now I ask you....is that a look of contentment, or what?

.....next up was a drive over to one of our favorite Goodwill Thrift stores....I was hunting for a couple more flannel long sleeve shirts, and maybe another pair of cargo shorts.....most of current pairs of cargo shorts I wear on a regular basis have been purchased at this store.  As it turned out I found one flannel shirt, one L.L. Bean wool long sleeved shirt and another nice pair of cargo shorts.....total for the day...$18....TLE looked up the L.L. Bean shirt on their site and it was listed at over $100....I paid $6.49....virtually brand new!

On our way back to Silver City we made one last stop at Trader Joe's to top off our vino supply....we won't be back down in Carson City until late May.....we love their Blue Fin Pinot Noir ($4.99/bottle) and their Coastal Zinfandel ($3.99/bottle).....it's pretty easy to be wino at those prices.....lol!

Early evening the forecast rain arrived, and it rained for a few hours before abating.....it appears that simultaneously it was snowing in South Lake Tahoe, so we will have to see what Saturday brings.....we are pretty sure we will be able to get over our final summit of this trip....Spooner (7,146') and slip into the Tahoe Basin by noon time....we'll see.

Just 31.3 miles more to South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe Valley Campground where we will drop anchor for the summer months at a cool, and pleasant 6,300' elevation.....every time we drop into the Tahoe Basin over Spooner Summit we feel as if we have 'come home', and we have come to love the South Lake Tahoe vibe.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bishop, Sherwin, Dead Man, and Mono....

Technically the southern end of the vaunted Eastern Sierras begins near Kennedy Meadows, south of Lone Pine, but for TLE and I they begin at Lone Pine.....it is where the spectacular views of the Eastern Sierras begin.  After about 20 hours in Lone Pine it was time to continue our four day, 440 mile journey to SLT*.

Since winds out of the north were predicted (18-20 mph) later in the morning we were on the road by 8 am heading north on US HWY 395.....within an hour we are passing through Bishop, CA (where my maternal grandmother was born and raised) and headed for the base of Sherwin Grade....from the base of Sherwin Grade to the top of Dead Man Summit you gain some 4,000' elevation in just 20+ miles.....the Sherwin grade is 7-8% for 13 miles.....it is a grinder.  We normally run 25-30 mph in 2nd gear going up this grade.  The whole time I am focusing on coolant, oil and transmission temperatures trying to keep them under 200 degrees.  On this particular day they ran about 198 degrees which is about as good as it is going to get with a Detroit Diesel 6V92.  Redline on these 2 stroke diesel engines is 2100, and I try to keep my RPM's on grades like this at, or near 2100. 

Nearing Big Pine

As we passed Crowley Lake, south of Mammoth Mountain, we decided, for the first time ever in our lives, to stop at the Vista Point....I was noticing my oil pressure had decreased about 10 psi.....normally I see consistent readings of 60 psi all the time, but when I begin to see the oil pressure decrease I know it's time to add oil....so this was the perfect spot (in between steep grades) to check the oil.  While we were stopped I braved the low 40's temps (lower with wind chill factor) to take a few pictures......




....we spent about 15 minutes at the Vista Point before rolling our wheels once again to cover the final 25 miles to Lee Vining, our destination, for the day.  I know....I know....only 125 miles for the day?  That's right....we've been sitting in one place, with the 4+ week exception of our desert sojourn during January, since the middle of November.  While this current trip to SLT* is less than 500 miles we are going to pull every ounce of enjoyment out of that distance.  The only way is to take it in small chunks, and that is exactly what we are doing.

We arrived in Lee Vining directly across from Mono Vista RV Park around 10:30 am....way too early to check in so we decided to walk back up the street to Nicely's for an early lunch, which turned out to be a late breakfast....I love breakfast for lunch!


As we walked down the street we could see signs everywhere of the snowfall form the night before....a reminder that winter is never very far away at 8,000' elevation in the Eastern Sierras.

We finished our late breakfast just after noon time, and walked back to the coach......they have about 7, or 8 long pull sites at Mono Vista RV Park that will fit our rig.  The pads themselves are gravel surrounded by grass.  We've stayed here several times over the years, but often our travel brings us through when they are not open.  They are only open 7 months out of the year (April 1st through October 31st).  They only accept cash, and checks in payment for sites.

By the time we got settled into our spot the wind had picked up to the mid 20's, and with the wind chill factor  made it feel like the mid 30's, so we turned up the heaters and just stayed inside the rest of the afternoon enjoying the splendid views of Mono Lake and surrounds through our front windows.

Friday we continue on to Carson City....a whopping 99 miles away!

Thanks for stopping by!

*SLT - South Lake Tahoe

Thursday, April 28, 2016

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.........LIFT OFF!

I was personally up by 5 am anticipating turning over the big Detroit 6V92 at 7 am, and being on the road no later than 8.  We didn't have a lot to do except unplug, and dump our tanks.   I wrote the blog and then got busy with a few tasks as the sun was peeking over the for what passes for the eastern horizon in Fontana......TLE was up 6 and preparations for lift off were in full motion!

Precisely at 7 I fired up the 6V92.....I love to hear her purring first thing in the morning because that means we are rolling our wheels once again!  I pulled the coach over to the dump station where TLE (who was finishing one last load of wash) joined me.  We were done dumping by 7:30 and rolling our wheels by 7:37.

As we edged up Ayala Ave. towards the 210 FWY I once again turned to TLE and said...."It's good to be moving again", to which she replied as she always does....."Yeah.....".  We crested Cajon Pass about 35 minutes later and within minutes were exiting to US HWY 395 northbound......ahhhh...back on the 'Mother Road'!

We took a break at Kramer Junction (aka: Four Corners) and were back on our way in about 10 minutes.........


......we had less than 200 miles to our first overnight stop at Boulder Creek in Lone Pine, CA so our early start meant we should arrive in Lone Pine near noon time.  The drive northward was completely uneventful....we had a slight tail wind which  is always nice......


......soon we were taking our second rest stop at Coso Junction....a tradition for us......I remember stopping here often with my parents back in the 60's when Coso Junction was called "Gil's Oasis".........



.....next up was a quick stop at the Post Office in Olancha where TLE put a letter in the mail.....


......as expected we arrived at Boulder Creek RV Park just before noon, and were in our site by 12:15.  Boulder Creek is another tradition we have......whenever we are north, or southbound on US HWY 395 we almost always (last year was the exception) overnight at this park....virtually all of their sites are pull through, and at least 60 feet in length.


.....after a brief rest and snack we headed into Lone Pine to take a tour of the Lone Pine Museum of Film History.....in all our years of driving through Lone Pine we had never taken the time to visit this local institution......



 Made a couple of new friends at the museum....

Of course, when in Lone Pine there must be the pictures of Mt. Whitney....highest mountain in the Continental USA....14,505'

After touring the museum (which we thoroughly loved) and watching a 10 minute film on the extensive history of film making in, and around Lone Pine we headed off for a walk around town, ultimately ending up at the 'Pizza Factory' where we ordered a pizza for dinner later.  Yelp gives them (we found out later) a 2.5 out of 5 stars based on over 140 reviews, and we would have to agree.....not the best pizza ever, but passable.

We spent the evening relaxing, reading, and watching the latest episode of 'Survivor'.....tomorrow (Thursday) we push further north to the Eastern Sierra mountain town of Lee Vining.

We both felt like excited 'school girls' as we cruised north.....we have spent a lot of time this year in a stationary position, and, in fact, we will be sitting still once again for over 4 months when we reach SLT, but after that we will be changing it up dramatically.....stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

T minus 1 - The last 'until next time'

Tuesday promised to be a busy day, and it did not disappoint.  My job was to get the trailer ready for Beetle insertion first thing Wednesday morning (a lot to do there) and give the coach a once over for road worthiness.....check the oil, check and adjust air pressure on all 10 tires (coach and trailer), check coolant levels, pull off wheel covers and stow, secure patio awning for travel, clean the windshield......and on it went.

Meanwhile, TLE had a hair appointment in Claremont, a BIG, BIG shopping to do (that pantry was looking pretty bare!), and a stop at the local tire shop to get a slow leak in the right rear tire fixed......yep, the same one I plugged a few weeks ago after I found it flat in the driveway.  

While TLE was gone I plugged away at my tasks.....I got a text from her about 1 pm saying 'they' were going to have to replace the tire.....uggggh!  Apparently it didn't go flat in the driveway.....we must have driven on it the day before not realizing it was going flat.....oh well.

TLE was home by 3 pm with a Beetle full......I mean really FULL......of groceries and sundries.  It took her the rest of the afternoon to stow all that food away.....meanwhile I continued finishing my tasks, and finally got around to getting the final 10 gallons of diesel poured into our tank.  We should arrive at SLT* with just over 1/2 tank, which is my goal.

Mariscos Del Pacifico.....muy magnifico!!!

We had arranged to meet Tim and TBL** at Marisco Del Pacifico at 7 pm for dinner.....you may recall we just ate there a few days ago with Meredith.  Well, we were so impressed we went back for an encore.....this time I joined TLE in ordering the medium shrimp cocktail......wow that was amazing.....I never thought I would hear myself say this, but there was almost tooo much shrimp!  I can't even imagine ordering the large portion!

Until next time TBL** and Tim

I have to say one more time that our extended visit to SoCal this year has been wonderful,  satisfying, heart warming, and way exceeded our expectations.  We were able to spend a lot of time with family and friends, and a lot of time with our new grandchild, Brayden James.  In just a few weeks our daughter Kate will be giving birth to our sixth grandchild, Jolene.......we saw Kate, Nick and Charlise move into, and take over our family home completely remodeling it.......life is good!

Thanks for stopping by!

*SLT = South Lake Tahoe
**TBL = The Beautiful Laila

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

T minus 2

Monday was a mixed bag.....we had rain during the night so the VW was wet first thing in the morning, and, as is my habit when presented with moisture on the car in the morning, I wiped her down.  The day began cloudy and pretty much remained cloudy all day long with another rain storm hitting early evening about 6:30.  We ran both heaters Monday for the first time in several months.....in fact, we had not run any heaters for almost a week.

Next up, after caressing the VW for about 20 minutes, was a return to the 'scanning station' in the trailer to do another couple of hours of scanning.  It seems that every time we go out there the pile of pictures to be scanned remains about the same....I know we've scanned hundreds, if not over a thousand pictures in the last few days, but it seems like we are digging a hole in a sand pit....with every shovel of sand we dig out a half shovel of sand slides back into the pit.  Around noon TLE declared we had gone as far as we were going to go on this round, and the remaining pile of photos was now manageable as far as taking them with us.  We are hoping we can finish the mammoth task of scanning 30 years of pictures into the digital age sometime this summer.

After taking down the 'scanning station' and putting away the tables I took two of my fuel containers up to the local 'Food For Less' fuel station to take on 10 gallons of diesel at $2.09/gallon (diesel is running close to $2.50 and higher locally).  My reason for this is I would like to arrive at SLT with about 1/2 tank (or more) of fuel (90 gallons) and I don't want to have to actually drive the rig into a local station to top off my tank.....most of the local stations in this area are quite claustrophobic when it comes to maneuvering a 62' rig in and out of them. I'll pick up 10 more gallons Tuesday and pour them into my tank and then we are ready to go.

We headed back into Rancho Cucamonga for one last mail check, and then to down to the house in Ontario to say our 'until next times' to Nick, Kate and Charlise, then up to my son Chris' home in Rancho Cucamonga to bid adieu to Chris, TAR*, Christopher, Cynthia and D.C. (great grandson).  As it turned out Cynthia and D.C. were out shopping, but I did see Cynthia at the office so we only missed D.C.  On the way up to Chris' house the skies opened up as I mentioned earlier, so we were slogging through rush hour traffic and a heavy down pour replete with thunder and lightning....we even spied snow on the local San Bernardino Mountains.

We were home just before 8 pm and ready to just relax......just two more nights in Fontana before we fire up the Detroit Diesel 6V92 once again and roll our wheels!

Thanks for stopping by!

*TAR = The Amazing Rochelle

Monday, April 25, 2016

T minus 3 - Photo journey through our life

Once again Sunday we headed back out to the 'scanning station' in the trailer about 10 am to continue the daunting task of scanning 30+ years of photo prints into into a digital format.....some may think "...well, you've been married 44 years, why not 44 years of photo prints?", and that would be a valid query, but with the advent of the digital age about 14 years ago we stopped using film, and began storing all our pictures on our computer hard drives.  We are both thankful we got into the digital age quickly as trying to scan more than 30 years of pictures would take a week, or two.  We are now (after Sunday) 2 days into this scanning odyssey and I think we are half done.....maybe.

Our HP Envy printer/scanner

As we sat there for our second 5 hour day scanning picture after picture it suddenly occurred to me that we were basically treating ourselves to a review of our life.....30 years of raising children, soccer games, school pictures, vacations, dance performances, etc.  Sometimes as I think back on our life it almost seems like it was somebody else's life, but seeing the picture evidence of that life brings back all the emotions and experiences of seeing our children born, watching them each crawl for the first time, walk for the first time, talk for the first time.....these two intense days of essentially reliving 30 years of our life in about 10 hours has had a sort of surreal feel.  I see a given picture and memories come flooding back about that time in space.....and it is just a moment....a split second in time that is captured by any picture.

I realize now that any picture only tells the truth of that split second in time when life was frozen in time......you see a child smiling....in fact you mostly see people all smiling.....no one deliberately decides to look unhappy when posing for a picture, right? Pictures don't really tell the entire truth of a life.....the highs, the lows.....they show a split second in time when everyone appeared to be happy.  No one who has lived a long life believes that everyone is happy all the time, although as individuals we make the mistake of judging the quality of other people's lives, relationships, etc. through brief encounters.  If they seem happy when you are interacting with them you tend to believe, mistakenly, that they must be happy all the time.  Of course, everyone has one, two, or three really good friends who they know like the back of their hand, but in general we don't know many people that well....that deeply.  A wise man once said, "....the only happy people I 'know' are people I don't know very well".  You have no way of knowing from just looking at someone else's pictures whether they have had a happy life, or a miserable life.  You only see the staged moments in time.  For me, looking at our pictures yesterday, I know the back story.....I know we had a happy life, a good life because my mind can fill in the 99.999% that is not shown by the picture.  As we scanned the pictures I would look at a picture of our daughter Katie in a dance uniform and fill in with my mind all the experiences that made her in the woman she is today.....I see a picture of Sharon on her first bicycle, of Chris playing soccer (he was very good), of Meredith hugging TLE around the neck when she was 3, or 4 years old, of Tim playing with his older sisters.......I know what they have become.....good men and women.....I know how they started out and everything in between......I know in my heart we did a good job.....needless to say I spent a lot of time smiling.

Fortunately the weather has cooled off significantly, which made working in the trailer quite comfortable, but around 3 pm TLE called an end to Sunday's scanning festivities and we began to clean up our work station for the day.  We had plans to meet Rod, Sharon and Brayden James at Zendeja's Mexican Bar and Grill in Rancho Cucamonga for dinner at 5 so around 4 we got ready to make the 10 mile drive, and were in the car by 4:30 arriving just before 5 at the restaurant.

We know we will not be seeing our kids, and grand kids for a number of months now and are making the rounds getting hugs and kisses which will have to hold us until we come back through SoCal in September.....by that time Brayden should be crawling, sitting up, teething, etc.....he will be a totally different child when we return in four and a half months, but that is the lot of us who are nomadic in nature.....

Blessed grandma....TLE

His future is bright....what kind of a man will he become?  I'm pretty sure he will be a good one!

.....and by the time we return there will be another grand kid, and the cycle begins one more time....thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

T minus 4 - The tale of Rubbermaid

When we began the traveling part of our full time life in the Newell our plan was to spend time the first year scanning all of our family photo albums.  With the advent of the digital age in photography we now store our pictureS on external hard drives as I am sure many out there do.  We wanted to convert all our pictures dating from before that time to digital.  For 2 years we carried all of those photographs around in a large Rubbermaid tub.....in those two years we managed (I should say TLE managed) to scan just one of the multiple family albums.  That Rubbermaid tub was taking up a lot of our precious storage space under our bed, so when we returned to the west coast for the first time in 2 years we left all the pictures at our daughter's home in Riverside.  She was going to try to get the rest scanned, but life intervened and it never got done.

Fast forward to this January when our daughter's basement became flooded due to a burst pipe and we thought the pictures had been destroyed.  We were out in the desert at the time, as you will recall, and thinking we had lost all of those pictures we went through a brief grieving period, however, when we returned back to her home from the desert we found out the Rubbermaid tub had done its job and the pictures were kept dry!  Right then we resolved to get the job done, and took possession of the Rubbermaid tub once again.

Well, we had good intentions over the past three months, and talked often about setting up one of our tables in the trailer, and taking my laptop and printer/scanner out there to 'gang tackle' the job, but it just never happened.  Well, here we are just days from leaving SoCal once again for an extended period of time and those pictures just lay there in that Rubbermaid tub kind of mocking our inaction.  There was always a good excuse.....it was too cold, or too hot, or too windy, or we were too busy, or too something.  Finally I told TLE we had a two day window this weekend to get the job done, and if she was willing to spearhead the project  we could get 'er done.....she agreed.  So Saturday I set everything up (the Rubbermaid tub was already in trailer) in the trailer, and we dove head first into the project about mid morning.


TLE would take all the pictures out of a given album, sort them, remove duplicates, and just scan the really important ones.  We worked together steadily all day long taking short breaks here and there, but by 4 pm we had made a real dent in the Rubbermaid tub's contents.  I don't think we'll get them all finished by Sunday evening, but we will have made a significant dent, which will enable us to reduce the mass of pictures we will still be carrying with us by over half.

Last night as I watched a couple of NBA playoff games TLE continued removing pictures from photo albums, sorting them, and getting them ready to scan....with all this advance work on her part we should be able to get a lot done Sunday.


TLE at work even this morning

Well, suffice it to say, that was essentially our entire Saturday.  Around 4 pm we shut down the scanning operation for the night, and TLE made cocktails so we could sit and relax until dinner.  I got out the BBQ to grill some carne asada, and around 6:30 we had a lovely taco salad as the sun slowly slipped over the western horizon one more time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

T minus five

As of Friday we have 5 days until we haul anchor and make our way north to South Lake Tahoe for the summer......you can tell, I know, that we are getting more eager by the day to be rolling our wheels once again.  As you can see from the weather snapshot below rain and snow are forecast for Wednesay, Thursday and Friday at SLT, and that is pretty much what the entire Eastern Sierra looks like for those three days......


......but it is still 5 days away so we'll just have to adjust based on what is happening at the time.

I finally received TLE's new bike stem I wrote about about weeks ago.  For some time she has been wishing she could ride her bike sitting more upright.  Short of buying a new bike with different geometry I suggested we try to find an adjustable stem for her bike so we could tilt it upward moving the handlebars upward, and closer to her riding position at the same time.  I have been looking for this stem for over a year, and finally found one on eBay out of Taiwan for $52......

Out with the old.....

.....on with the new

....I was not sure if this seemingly minor change would solve the problem, but thought it would be less expensive to try the stem first.  I spent about 30 minutes installing the new stem Friday morning and then we took an inaugural 15 mile round trip bike ride west on the PET* around 10 am.  After 15 miles TLE's initial impression is that she is able to sit more upright and take pressure off her wrists.  It will probably take a few more rides before the final verdict is in, but the preliminary results are very encouraging....by the way the weather has cooled off about 10 degrees barely got into the 80's Friday....much nicer!

We were back before noon time from our ride, and then TLE decided to go shopping while I puttered around.  I spent some time transferring files from my old Western Digital 300 gigabyte drive to my new 1 terabyte drive.....the old one was about full.  I remember not many years ago (late 80's) when our office got a new IBM PC for accounting which had a then 'massive' 20 megabyte drive and we wondered how we would ever need that much space.....today that drive could not handle the current windows programs.

We went to our last Friday night dinner in the Elks Lodge at 5 pm and enjoyed a wonderful taco salad dinner with our friends Steve and Candy (Steve was my sponsor to join this Lodge).

Just a few days to go....a few more days to hug the kids, grand kids, etc......thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Seconds from disaster!

Thursday was Brayden James day for TLE and I remained behind to do some minor repairs to our patio awning......I didn't write yesterday about what we came home to after dinner out with our daughter Meredith as I wanted time to really examine the awning before writing about what happened.......apparently while we were gone a gust of wind caught our awning resulting in it being essentially fold up over the roof.  Frankly it looked worse than it was, but it did require about 3 hours of my time Thursday to fix it.  Fortunately none of the hardware was broken, bent, or damaged in anyway.....everything was fixable by moi.  The part that took the longest for me to repair was the upper left portion of the fabric that had pulled out of the aluminum track (see picture below).....


.....fortunately I have had to reinsert this exact corner back in the aluminum track previously (not because of wind damage) and knew what had to be done, and that I had to take my time.  Ultimately I got it back together and, as you can see in the picture above it passes the 5, 10 and 15 foot test.  

So, what happened?  How did this happen?  In the 8 years we have owned the Newell we have never had a patio awning caught by the wind and damaged.  Many folks we know have had their awnings destroyed in seconds.  Normally we always anchor each corner of the awning to the ground, which has worked well all these years, but for right now we find ourselves on asphalt with no way to screw the anchors into the ground.  Usually when we are not able to anchor the awning we never leave it deployed when we leave the coach for any period of time.....it only takes seconds for a disaster to occur.  Well, this time I got lazy, and almost paid the ultimate price.  It is not often you make a mistake like this and not have it cost you a couple thousand dollars to repair.  All I can say is "Lesson Learned!".  If you are new to RVing and want to deploy your awning (unless you have one of those expensive automatic awnings that automatically retract if the wind gets beyond a certain point) always anchor each corner to the ground, and if you cannot do that then always stow it away if you leave the premises!

Once I had the patio awning repaired and stowed it away I got on my bike riding clothes and took a 12 mile ride on the Pacific Electric Trail into Rancho Cucamonga to my son's office to pick up some mail, and then ride south a few blocks to Sharon's apartment to visit the baby.  I hung out with Sharon, Brayden and TLE for about an hour before we put my bike on the bike rack and headed for home.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

DEAL Alert!!!

We got another earlyish start on our now resumed daily walk around 10 am....we decided to extend our circuit a couple of blocks west to put our total back over 3 miles again....we managed 3.3 miles at 3.7 mph which was a big improvement over Tuesday's anemic 2.4 miles at 3.5 mph.

Around 11:30 we drove over to the Rialto 'old town' area on Riverside Avenue to see if there were any thrift shops, and did find one, but there was nothing we could not live without so we pushed on to the Salavation Army thrift store down near I-10 and Sierra where I came across one of my best thrift shops finds ever.....a 25 foot 50 amp extension cord.....brand new for $49.....but wait, it gets better!  Wednesday they were having a store wide 40% off listed price sale so I got it for $29!  These extension cords routinely cost anywhere from $80 to $120.  SUWEEEET.....

50 amp Nu-Cord extension cord

.....of course there are those who would say "You already have a 25 foot 50 amp extension cord", and you would be right, but my feeling is this......you can never have too many extension cords.....that's my theory and I'm sticking to it! Besides, how could any self respecting RV owner walk away from a deal like that?

TLE managed to find a few more articles of clothing at the nearby Goodwill she could not live without, and we were home by 3 pm....that's probably the most amount of time in a day we have spent 'junking' in a long, long time, but time well spent!

We received a call from our daughter Meredith on our way out to go junking asking if she could come 'hang out' with us, and we, naturally, answered we were, so she arrived at our coach around 5 pm, and around 5:30 we headed out to check out a local Mexican seafood restaurant called 'Mariscos Del Pacifico' (5 stars on 74 reviews - Yelp) up on Foothill about 2 miles away. Wow....talk about an accurate rating!  We would all agree that 5 stars is the appropriate rating.  TLE had their famous shrimp cocktail, and Meredith and I each had one fish taco and one shrimp taco.....very large portions at reasonable prices, good service, and ambiance.....an amazing dining experience!


We were home by 7 and bidding adieu to our daughter who still had a longish drive home......we always enjoying hanging out with our kids, and our time with Meredith was no exception.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

BPOE*

We are in the middle of a minor heatwave once again with relief just a couple of days away.  Whenever it gets into the high 80's, or into the 90's our thinking changes.....we begin to think in terms of getting out much earlier to walk, or ride.  Since we changed our view last Thursday we have not really walked, or exercised a lick due to all the usual things....helping the kids move, going to Los Algodones, the heat, engagement parties, etc.  We were determined to get out and walk around our new neighborhood Tuesday, and we finally did around 9:30 am.

We started off walking east on Rialto Ave. past the local middle and elementary schools all the way to Cactus, then north a block to the PCT** trailhead, then west all the way back to Linden then back a block south to Rialto......a perfect rectangle......in all we covered just 2.5 miles averaging just 3.5 mph.....how quickly the conditioning declines......:-/  By the time we were back at the coach we had to turn on the A/C, and it remained on the remainder of the day until just after 6 pm.

Turning on the A/C reminded me that I had not changed the air filters in at least a year so I decided to take care of that on the spot.....as it turns out we have not had to use our A/C that much in the last 12 months.  The filter for the front A/C still looked pristine, while the filter for the rear A/C was dirty due to the fact that is the one we run the most.  Both of our A/C's are the original A/C's which came with the coach making them 34 years old.  We are blessed that they both still work so well, and blow such cold air that often we cannot have them on at the same time as it gets toooo cold inside.

My only appointment for the day was my Elks Lodge #2013 (*Benevolent Protective Order of Elks) initiation at 7 pm.....this particular lodge meets every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month to conduct general business, which also includes initiations.  Their traditional initiation service, and that is the term I would use, lasts about 45-50 minutes, but in the last decade, or so they have adopted a more abbreviated service lasting just 20 minutes, and that is the one they used to initiate me Tuesday evening.  Spouses (unless they are also members) are not allowed to view the initiation, or any of the Elks' meeting, but are allowed to come in afterwards for a drink, which TLE did.  At any rate, it was an interesting initiation whose content I am not allowed to share.  Nevertheless, I am now, as of this moment a card carrying member of BPOE  Lodge # 2013.

We were back at the coach before 9 pm trying to catch up on a few recorded shows which have been accumulating since late last week due to all of extraneous activities.

My recovery from the implant surgery continues to go well.....I took 3 pain pills in all the first 18 hours, but have been medication free since yesterday morning....I'm still mostly drinking my meals, but I am sure I will be back to masticating my food once again in the very near future.

Thanks for stopping by!

*BPOE - Benevolent Protective Order of Elks
**PCT - Pacific Electric Trail

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"I appreciate your professionalism" - Part 8

As is often the case when we stay in hotels neither of us slept well Sunday night, but the upside was we didn't have to leave to drive to the dentist until 9 am, so it all evens out I guess.  Before we got on I-8 to head west to Los Algodones we stopped off at the local ARCO to fill up our tank for the drive home.  We arrived at the border parking lot by 9:30, and after our short 4 block walk were at Dr. Urena's office by 9:45.  I have not been looking forward to this day......the day when my gums are 'opened up' again, a hole drilled in my jaw bone, and an 'implant' screwed into the hole.  Let's face it.....none of that sounds like much fun, and seems to portend a lot of post surgical pain an discomfort, right?  Forget about the actual procedure!

I was led into the first of two rooms about 10:10 am to get an Xray to be sure the bone had healed from the January 29th surgery to remove the old tooth, and once it was determined it had was taken to the surgical room for the procedure.  Once again Dr. Jose Barrera had the honors.  I'm not sure why, but I expected this to be a drawn out affair with a certain amount of discomfort, but it only took about 30 minutes beginning to end, and there was NO discomfort.....at least not on the level my mind was anticipating.  When I heard him say the implant was in I was surprised it was already over....within minutes he had me stitched up and I was at the front desk writing a check for that day's charges.  

Originally, drawing conclusions from TLE's implant process, I had expected to have to return to have my stitches removed, and have the implant inspected, but I was advised by Dr. Barrera that I would not have to come back for a few months.....my stitches will begin dissolving after about 3 weeks.  So we do not have to drive back down to Los Algondones on the 27th after all meaning we will probably leave for South Lake Tahoe a day earlier than expected!

We were back in the border parking lot starting the VW (TLE's turn to drive) by 11:30.....TLE drove while I reclined my passenger seat and took a nap.  By the time we arrived at the ARCO Travel Center in Salton City I was still feeling a little punk from the massive amounts of novocaine I had received, but I took over driving nonetheless......about 20 miles later we stopped at the ARCO Travel Center in Mecca, CA to visit the Starbucks for some Frappuccino's (vanilla bean for TLE, and, of course, mocha for moi)......after ingesting the grande mocha frappuccino I perked up a lot and was ready for the final 93 miles home.

We were cruising at 70 mph westbound on I-10 just coming even with Palm Springs when the westbound traffic came to an abrupt halt, and for the next 25 miles it was stop and go.  Why this was we still do not know......there was no accident.  Instead of our original arrival home at 3:30 we didn't get home until 5:15......almost two hours behind schedule.....WOW...that was a very, very long day!

I spent the evening drinking my dinner, and watching more NBA playoff basketball, and was in bed by 11....TLE hit the sack by 8 pm....I guess she got way less sleep than I did Sunday night.....:-).

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Where do you belong?

On the spur of the moment Saturday night we decided to travel down to Yuma for my Monday dental implant surgical appointment on Sunday, spend the night at Shilo Inn, go to the dentist and then return on Monday afternoon......there is nothing much worse than driving into the rising sun in a 2001 VW Beetle with sun visors which give marginal sun visoring coverage.  According to my brother-in-law, Elliott, this design flaw was corrected in a later model.  

At any rate we went to bed Saturday evening with the knowledge we had secured a reservation at The Shilo Inn and slept in Sunday morning until close to 7:30.....nice!  We went out to do some shopping and run the car through a car wash around 11, and were home by noon.  We departed Fontana around 2 pm with temps in the low 90's which we saw climb as high as 98 as we passed through Indio.  The drive south was completely uneventful.....I drove the first 110 miles to the ARCO Travel Center in Salton City, and TLE the final 108 to Yuma.....we arrived just before 5:30, and were on our way over to Prison Hill Brewing by 6......

PHB* - This is where I belong!

.....we had planned to sit outside, but the outdoor temps were still a little warm when we arrived at 6:15, so we found a secluded table inside and had barely touched butt to seat when our server arrived to take our drink orders.  We immediately ordered a couple of brews.....TLE a double cappuccino, and for me a harvest amber....once I took that first sip I felt at home.  Prison Hill is one of our favorite micro breweries....it has above average brews made on site, and a great selection of local draft brews, and some of the best micro brewery food we have ever had.  I ordered the deep fried avocado appetizer, then their fish and chips for dinner.....TLE ordered some kind of grilled sausage.....I especially love their coleslaw! We sat talking, sipping and eating for about an hour before heading back to our room for the evening.  

To cap off the evening I watched the L.A. Dodgers defeat the San Francisco Giants 3-1, and the L.A. Clippers defeat the Portland Trailblazers in game one of the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Thanks for stopping by!

* PHB = Prison Hill Brewing

Sunday, April 17, 2016

"Full plate....."

The Santa Ana winds blew all night Friday night and were still blowing Saturday for most of the day, and with the Santa Ana's come warmer temperatures.  We had two events scheduled for Saturday which would take up the majority of the day.....first up was to help Kate and Nick move their furniture over to the 'new' house (our former home) to be stored in the garage until the remodel is done in a couple of weeks.  Simultaneously, we had to get all the of debris resulting from essentially gutting the house hauled away so there would be room for the furniture.  TLE and I were tasked with meeting the junk hauler at the house (our old home) by 7 am (had to get up a little after 5, and leave the coach by 6:40)......of course, the junk guy did not arrive until close to 8 am, but all went well....it took him two loads to remove all the refuse from the garage, and just as he was finishing loading up the truck for the second load the UHaul truck arrived with Kate and Nick's furniture, etc......great timing!

We were done unloading the UHaul truck by 1:30 pm, and on our way back home to get showers, change clothes and then return to Ontario at 4 pm for Tim and TBL's* official engagement party at the home of her grand parents, Mark and Cathy.

Tim and TBL*

The groomsmen.......

The future bride's court



TBL* and I

We had a wonderful celebration accompanied by much drink and wonderful food....we were on our way home by 9 pm......that was a long day!

Thanks for stopping by!

TBL = The Beautiful Laila

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fontana living....

I spent part of Friday morning fixing the driver's side fender on the trailer......apparently as we were exiting Nick and Kate's driveway the rear portion of the fender (over the tires) caught the fence and was bent.  No problem, I just removed the 7 screws that secure the fender to the trailer, straightened out the fender and reattached it.....well, you have to believe it wasn't quite that easy, right?  There is the 'Hockwald Way' after all.  Three of the screws were so tight that I stripped the heads out trying to remove them so I had to drill them out.  All in all it took me about 2 hours to do a 45 minute job, but I got it done.

We had planned to drive over to my son's office to pick up our mail, have lunch at Rubio's, browse through the local Goodwill, then do some grocery shopping on the way home.  We left around 11:30 am for the drive.  One disadvantage to staying at the Fontana Elks Lodge is we are about 10-12 minutes from any freeway if we drive down Cedar.....if we drive down Sierra as we did Friday it takes about 25 minutes......a lot more traffic.....lesson learned.  In Riverside we were 2 minutes from the freeway, and walking distance to everything......in Fontana we are not walking distance to anything besides the local Stater Brothers supermarket.

After picking up our mail we spent about 40 minutes at the local Goodwill where TLE found a black sleeveless blouse she couldn't live without, and I found a .99 cent shot glass I couldn't live without.  Next up was a stop at Trader Joe's, then Costco where we fueled up the VW at $2.83/gallon......once again gasoline and diesel are getting more expensive in California....then went into the store and bought a few things.  We were home by 3:30 pm, and I was ready for a nap....shopping wears me out!  

Apparently sometime during the past few days I lifted something too heavy, or incorrectly because my lower back has been bothering me.....by the time we arrived home it was bothering me a lot so TLE prepared an ice pack for me, then after about 30 minutes she rubbed some Tigers Balm into the sore area.....by the time we went to bed my back was feeling a lot better.....now to avoid lifting anything too heavy Saturday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.......

This may be unique to me, but when we sit in one place for extended periods of time I stop thinking of the Newell as motorized vehicle......it just feels like home.  When I first turned over the big 6V92 Thursday morning it took me a while to get into 'driving mode' again.  Additionally, when we sit for this long I always wonder/worry if it will start, if it will 'air up', etcetera, etcetera, etcetera........of course, it always does.  Nonetheless, I awoke early Thursday thinking of the things that could go wrong.....by early I mean 4 am....and didn't really get back to sleep.  I was up shortly after 6 am writing the blog, and thinking about the dozen, or so things that must be done before we can roll our wheels.......stow the crank up satellite dish, stow the Winegard Carryout dish, drop the trailer on the hitch, pull the tire covers, unhook the water, the electric, the gray water hose, clean the windshield and mirrors, make sure the tail lights work, stow the trailer and coach step stools, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Finally about 9:45 we were ready to roll.....the driveway, as one might imagine, is quite narrow, so I kind of creep down the driveway with TLE giving me advice on how close I am to the fence on one side, and the house on the other........


 It is tight!

Finally, out to the street!

Something is missing!

.....at last we have extricated ourselves from the backyard.....I'm so used to seeing our coach in that space that it seems weird to see the space empty now.

We only had 23 miles to drive and we picked the perfect time to travel on the local freeways.....as is often the case in SoCal we had to travel on 3 different freeways to get to Fontana.......CA-90 to I-215 to I-10......the traffic was light, and we were pulling into the Elks Lodge by 10:45.  We chose site #5 and backed in......the hook ups are at the very back of the site so I had to use all my extensions to hook up the water and electric......there is no sewer, but there is a dump station.

We spent the rest of the day getting setup again, shopping and then attending a weekly 'Backyard' (that is what they call the RV sites here) get together at 5 pm....there are about 7 rigs here right now, and Ron and Donna invited us over to meet some of the gang.  Ron had been smoking ribs all day and that was the main course....everyone else brought some sides.  We sat eating and talking until after 7 pm....what an interesting group!

Site #5 - Fontana Elks #2013 

So, for the first time in 2.5 months we will be waking up in a different neighborhood with a different view.......I'm already missing seeing Nick, Kate and Charlise every day, but we will see them again Saturday when we help them move out of their house.

Our time in SoCal is fast coming to a conclusion.....Monday we'll journey, once again, down to Los Algodones for my dental implant, then return 9 days later for my checkup, then we head north to Tahoe on the 28th!

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. - The WiFi here at the Fontana Elks Lodge is fantastic!