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Saturday, March 31, 2018

A tale of two meals....

7:29 am - Saturday - March 31st - SoCal - 56º F, 64% humidity, wind - CALM.....ahhhh....CALM.  Forecast high for today is 81º F with partly cloudy skies.

Once again, we did not have much planned for Friday except a hair appointment for TLE at Forte Salon in Claremont where Amanda, long time family friend, has worked for several years.  Whenever we are in town TLE has Amanda tune up her coiffure.  The appointment was for 11 am so we left the Elks Lodge around 10:15.....Google maps thinks it should take 40-45 minutes to make the drive, but we arrived there at 10:45 in spite of 'slow and go' traffic on I-10.

While TLE got her 'do' done I sat outside on a bench enjoying the late morning air.....why be inside when it is so nice outside?  Within 30 minutes Amanda had TLE's coif looking great again, and we were on our way over a few blocks to one of our favorite local gastro pubs in the area.....The Back Abbey (also in Claremont)....Yelp gives them 4 stars on over 1,700 reviews, and we would agree.....maybe even a 4.5 for us......


.....we quickly ordered two glasses of their Kasteel Winter Porter, which we have had before.....it has this obvious chocolate aftertaste with a hint of smokiness.....very, very unique.  For my entree I ordered the Back Abbey Burger (aged gouda, mustard aioli, and caramelized onions).....OMG.....what tasty burger!  TLE ordered their Bistro Frisee Salad (frisee lettuce tossed with apples, toasted pecans, grapes, bacon lardons, fourme d'ambert cheese, a soft poached egg and dressed with apple cider vinaigrette.....I don't usually list the ingredients of our entrees, but come on....don't these descriptions just make you want to order them?)


Once again, because we can, we ate and drank al fresco......such a lovely day to be outside!  By 1 pm we were on our way home......no stops in between.....just home.  Now, normally, if we eat one meal out that is pretty much it for the day....we may snack late in the day, but usually we are still full when dinner rolls around.  However, we forgot we had promised to meet our fellow Elks, and good friends, Steve and Candy for dinner at our Elks Lodge at 5 pm.  Hmmmmm, maybe I should have ordered a Bistro Frisee Salad, too.

Nonetheless, there we were at 5 pm walking into the Elks Lodge for our second meal out of the day....Tempura Shrimp, rice, green beans, and a few more beers, of course.  We had a lovely time with Steve and Candy, but oh were we ever full when we walked back to the Newell around 8 pm! (I am still full as I write this morning's missive).

So, that was our Friday, and so comes to an end our first week back in lovely, balmy SoCal.  Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Breakfast and stuff......

8:01 am - Friday - March 30th - SoCal - 58º F, 55% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the north by northeast.....clear blue skies with a forecast high today of 88º F!

Thursday we only had one appointment.....a 9 am breakfast appointment with two of our daughter's, Sharon and Katie at Nancy's 50's Cafe in Rancho Cucamonga which gets 4 stars on 251 reviews on Yelp.  It's about a 25 minute drive from the Fontana Elks Lodge so we left around 8:30 and actually arrived there at 8:55....life is good when you hit all the green lights!



The girls arrived within minutes, and for the next 90 minutes we talked non-stop as we always do.  The coffee and food were exceptional, and the conversation was superb.  It seems just like yesterday that Sharon and Kate were in grade school and now they have families.  Where has the time gone?

By 10:30 we were back in the VW headed for the local COSTCO to pick up a few things.  As is almost always the case when we shop at COSTCO we come away with a few things not on our shopping list.  I needed some new shorts, and a new 100' hose to replace the one I use when we must use our macerator pump to dump the black tank such as we do whenever we are here at the Fontana Elks Lodge where we only have water and electric and the dump station is almost exactly 150's away from the coach.  In order to reach it with the macerator pump I need a 50' hose and a 100' hose.....the 50' foot contractor grade hose we have had for close to 10 years is still going strong, but the old 100' one has developed a lot of kinks over the last 5 years, and needed replacement.....we bought it originally when we were at the INDY 500 back in 2012 for the same purpose, but it was very cheap, and I have regretted buying it from the very beginning.  I wasn't expecting to find the hose I wanted at COSTCO (had planned to stop by Home Depot on the way home), but fortunately they were selling a contractor grade 100' non-kink hose for $24, so I snatched it up......killer deal!  

You never know what COSTCO will have clothing wise on any given visit, but on this day they had exactly the type of shorts for which I was looking, so I grabbed a couple of pairs for $12 per pair....score!

Our route home from COSTCO took us directly by the local Fontana Salvation Army and Goodwill stores, so we stopped off to do a little junking.  TLE found a nice dress, but I came away with nothing once again.....that's fine.....I need to get rid of a few articles of clothing anyway.

We were home by 12 pm, and settled in for the afternoon.  I had a few small projects out in the trailer which I worked at for a couple of hours including getting my Cannondale Bad Boy bicycle put together to do some rides on the local Pacific Electric bike path which stretches from Rialto to Claremont...about 25 miles with no street riding.

That about wraps us our Thursday.....thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Truckin'............

7:38 am - Thursday - March 29th - SoCal - 54º F, 60% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the north by northwest.....clear blue skies with a forecast high of 83º F!  I love sitting by the open window first thing with bare feet in the morning typing the blog instead of having all the windows closed, rocking 4 electric heaters, wearing slippers and wishing I could type with gloves on my hands.......quite a reversal of fortunes from 13 days ago.  It feels like we have been gone from Desert View longer than 13 days.

Wednesday was my scheduled doctor appointment with my primary care physician in Rancho Cucamonga.  I had signed releases on Monday to have my medical records transferred from my doctors in Arizona and he had received them by the time I arrived for my appointment at 11:30 am.  Usually when I get my blood pressure checked at a doctor's office my readings are higher.....maybe because I hate going to the doctor.....on this day my reading came in at 127/72.....just like my readings at home!

At any rate my doctor was pleased with my progress, and extended my blood pressure medication prescription for 15 months.....yay, no more doctor's appointments for over a year!

I stopped by my son's office to pick up some more mail, and was on my way home by 1 pm with no more obligations for the day.  I spent some time setting up my new Garmin Trucker GPS.  You might ask.....'Why the Trucker, and not the RV version?'....well, the Trucker was $100 less, plus it already has maps for Canada included......



.....it is really quite intuitive to use, and within 5 minutes I felt ready to 'Navigate'.  This will replace a small HP mini netbook which used to sit on our center console taking up most of the space on said console.  Now that I have the Garmin and can attach it to my driver's window using a suction cup, we have the use of our center console while underway once again.  It, the Garmin, has a 7 inch screen, which is only slightly smaller than the screen on the HP, and with the suction cup I can place it virtually at eye level enabling me to keep my eyes more on the road.  With the HP I had to look to the right, and down.....I'm sure TLE will like me keeping my eyes on the road.....😊

That was pretty much our Wednesday.....I puttered around the trailer putting away recent purchases, and then spent the afternoon reading, and then watching 'Fixer Upper'.  TLE had me grill a filet mignon for dinner to which she added sides of artichokes and cauliflower rice.....all very, very yummy.....


.....thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Installation day.....

7:41 am - Wednesday - March 28th - SoCal - 51º F, 45% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the north with a forecast high of 79º F......just another loverly SoCal day!

Tuesday was the dedicated installation day for the 'new' Splendide 2000 'S'.  Knowing how relatively simple things like installing a new washer/dryer can consume enormous, unexpected amounts of time I dedicated the entire day to that enterprise.  I did not want any time constraints pressuring me to rush the process.

My plan was to drive the VW over to my son's office in Rancho Cucamonga about 9 am to join him in loading the 'new' Splendide into the back of his Chevy truck and then drive with him back to the Elks Lodge to load it into the Newell, and then put the 36 year old Splendide into the back of his truck for the ride back to Rancho Cucamonga where we will store it temporarily.

Everything went smoothly and according to plan.  By 10:25 am the 'new' Splendide was sitting on the floor at the top of the entry steps.  To make it easy Chris backed his truck right up to the door.  I then brought out a 2.5' x 5' piece of 3/4" plywood to bridge the gap (TLE's idea) between the tailgate and the steps into the Newell.  Then it was just a matter of Chris and I carrying it into the Newell....."easy peasy"!

I then helped Chris load the old Splendide into the truck bed, and we were off back to Rancho to drop it off, and retrieve the VW.  I was back home about 11:30 am and then off to Home Depot to buy new stainless steel braided fill hoses to replace the 36 year old fill hoses, as well as a new dryer vent hose.  Once this thing is in its cubbyhole I do not want to have to pull it back out for any reason the rest of my life!

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By 12:30 I was installing the new fill and vent hoses and then inching the 'new' Splendide into its cubbyhole, hopefully for the last time.....wishful thinking, huh?  Moving the 'new' Splendide that last 5 feet into its final resting place took about 2 hours, but by 2:30 pm the deed was done.........


Is that tight, or what?

.......there she is......everything works, and there are no leaks.....order is restored in our Newell world........suweet!  Before I put the pantry back together we ran the Splendide through one cycle still looking for leaks, but all was well.  By the time I put the pantry shelving and doors back in place it was after 3 pm, and I was tired......pleasantly tired.  

I took some time to relax and take a short nap before heading outside to set up the Sea-B-Que in order to grill some pollo asado for the street tacos TLE had promised earlier in the afternoon......and that was our Tuesday.....thanks for stopping by!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

R.I.P splendid Splendide......

7:31 am - Tuesday - March 27th - Fontana, CA - 57º F, 24% humidity, wind 14 mph out of the north by northeast......feels totally calm at this time....sunny skies with a forecast high of 74º F.

Monday was errand day.   We needed to pick up several packages at my son Chris' office (new Garmin GPS, an air purifier and a replacement filter for that purifier), as well as our mail, have lunch at Rubio's, drop off some donations at Goodwill, shop at Goodwill, stop by my primary care physician's office to make an appointment, get my medical records transferred from the Grand Canyon Clinic to my primary care physician, be at TLE's optometrist appointment by 2 pm, and then head home to remove the old Splendide washer/dryer from the Newell to make way for the installation of the 'new' Splendide washer/dryer (also at my son's office) on Tuesday.

We were on our way into Rancho Cucamonga by 11:10 am and at my son's office by 11:30 am.  Our oldest grand daughter, Cynthia works for Chris in the family insurance business and is now pregnant with our second great grand child......can you believe that?  She is due in September and looks great!  We spent about 30 minutes visiting with Cynthia and Chris before gathering up our mail and packages and heading to lunch at Rubio's Coastal Grill.....this is a southwestern U.S. franchise, so whenever we are back in SoCal a lunch there is a must.

From there we headed over to Goodwill where we donated a few things, but found nothing without which we could not live.  Next it was over to TLE's appointment where we were in and out within 20 minutes, then it was over to my primary care physician's office to make an appointment for Wednesday, and sign a release so they can get my medical records.  We were headed home by 3 pm, and within minutes were getting ready to remove the aforementioned old Splendide.

I have to say, I was a little concerned about removing the old Splendide as it has not been outside the Newell since it was installed over 36 years ago.  It is quite heavy, plus that compartment where it has spent its life is very tight, and then getting it down the entry stairs would surely be 'fun', right?  I knew it would be difficult inching 150 lbs. of metal out of its cubbyhole, but I had it to do.

It took me about an hour in all to remove the shelving, the pantry doors and then the Splendide itself.    It took a while to 'inch' it out, and then there were the stairs with which to contend, however, with TLE's help we muscled it down the stairs and on to the artificial turf without mishap.....


R.I.P. splendid 'Splendide'

.....by the time we had the Splendide compartment cleaned up for the new Splendide,  and reinstalled the pantry doors and shelving it was after 5 pm and I was exhausted!  Time for a nap and an adult beverage.....not necessarily in that order.  

We got a lot of use out of our old Splendide over the 10 years we have had the Newell, and when the dryer stopped working we never even gave replacing it immediately a second thought.  Some people don't like these small washer/dryer combos, but we have learned how to use it, and it makes our life on the road more pleasant......we rarely, if ever, spend time sitting in a laundromat, which is one of my least favorite things to do!

We watched some recorded TV programs ('Timeless', 'Designated Surviror', 'Chopped' and 'Beat Bobby Flay') and were in bed by 11 pm.....what a day!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Settling into SoCal.......

7:42 am - Monday - March 26th - Fontana, CA - 43º F, 66% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the north......clear blue skies.  Forecast high for today is 68º F.

I haven't remarked much lately about the NCAA March Madness tournament, but I have been watching almost every game!  Sunday saw the final two games of the 'Elite Eight' being played between Texas Tech and Villanova, and between Duke and Kansas.  Villanova won their game over Texas Tech pretty handily, but the Duke vs. Kansas game was a nail biter right down to the last seconds of the 5 minute overtime with Kansas prevailing at the end.  So, the Final Four is set.......Loyola Chicago vs. Michigan and Villanova vs. Kansas.....Loyola is this year's Cinderella team, and they are good!

Nevertheless, I did not spend all day in front of the television....I had a few tasks to accomplish, the main one being installing and activating our new XM Radio receiver in the Newell.  I've had the receiver for several months, but decided to wait to make the switch from our long time Panasonic XM Radio receiver until we were where there was a strong cell phone signal in case I was not able to complete the transfer online.  When I installed our new radio in the VW a couple of years ago I had issues and had to be on the phone for about 30 minutes to get it done.  The new receiver is about half the size of the old receiver enabling me to install it in a different location freeing up room on our center console, which is always jammed with too much stuff when we are under way.

As it turned out the online transfer went off without a hitch and I didn't need to be on the phone one second to get it done, but you know, if I had tried to do it while we were at the Grand Canyon I just know I would have had to be on the phone!  At any rate the install went smoothly, and we both love the new location of the receiver.

The only other thing we had going on Sunday was dinner at Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ in Chino Hills around 5 pm to celebrate the birthday of our son-in-law, Nick (married to Katie, and father of Jolene Rose) who just turned 32.  We arrived about 5:10 pm just in time to be seated at our long table.....

 Brayden James and Jolene Rose

 The birthday boy, Nick (on the right, of course)

 Rod, Brayden James, Meredith (oldest daughter) and Sharon (youngest daughter)

.....we had a lovely dinner garnering many hugs from our grand kiddies, and kids.  TLE and I split the 'Back Porch' entree which had BBQ'd chicken, St. Louis Ribs and Tri-tip with sides of french fried sweet potatoes and coleslaw....I'm glad we split it as I would never have been able to finish the plate by myself!

TLE and I with three of our grand kiddies......Brayden, Charlie and Jolene

We were on our way back to Fontana by 6:40 looking forward to more hugs and kisses to come.  The nice thing about this time home is the babies remember us now, and they have most of their teeth......lol.  Not much teething going on right now which makes them much more pleasant to be around!

So, day two in SoCal is now in the books.  We've got much to do over the next 3 weeks including the installation of our 'new' Spendide 2000 washer/dryer sometime this week, as well as doctor and dentist appointments.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

SoCal sojourn........

8:04 am - Sunday - March 25th - Fontana, CA - 48º F, 76% humidity, wind is 2 mph out of the east.....partly cloudy with a forecast high of 61º F.....wait, what?  Where did the warm weather go?

I was up by 6:30 am in anticipation of our 79 mile drive 'home'.....there was not much for me to do other than disconnect the water and electric, then roll our wheels, but I am what I am, and on any departure morning I am up early thinking about what could go wrong.  Nothing ever goes wrong, and maybe nothing goes wrong because I spend so much time thinking about what could go wrong.....I'm not sure, but I will still keep getting up early, nonetheless.

We were out of our site by 8:30, and over at the other end of the parking lot dropping the trailer on the Newell hitch.  Once the trailer was secured we walked over to Steven and Linda's Travel Supreme to exchange 'until next times' with them as well as Bill and Kelly, and then we were off in a cloud of dust.  Our desired departure time was 9 am, and by 9:07 am we were heading north on Madison Street, and eventually I-10 westbound, which would take us all the way to Cedar Ave., and the Fontana/Rialto Elks Lodge......


......we arrived at the lodge around 10:50 am to find our favorite site #7 available.  Within minutes we had backed into our site and were setting things up for a 3 weeks stay....


......our concrete piers we bought 18 months ago when we were last here were still there for us to use to anchor our patio awning against the periodic Santa Ana winds which can be a problem.  The Fontana/Rialto Elks Lodge is our home lodge, and we are so glad we chose this lodge.  Everybody knows us and treats us like family whenever we are in town.

By 5:30 pm we were on our way over to our son's home in Ontario for an engagement party for good friends Tony and Amy.  A bonus was four of our five children where able to be there to welcome us home once again......


.....whenever these guys get together there is always a 'jam' session in progress.....

 Left to right: Mike, Tim (our son) and Tony....Laila, Tim's wife, is in the right background taking a picture

.......I am surrounded by so many gorgeous women in my family......moi, Laila (daughter-in-law), and daughter Katie.....I'm a lucky guy!


We lingered at the engagement party until almost 9 pm when we headed for home.  There will be many more hugs over the next three weeks!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Walk around the block......

6:54 am - Saturday - March 24th - Indio, CA - 62º F, 46% humidity, wind 9 mph out of the northwest.....partly cloudy with a forecast high of 81º F.  We roll our wheels in about 2 hours!  Homeward bound....

Being here in Indio for three days has really been a tonic.   The weather has been magnificent.  Each time I walk around outside I cannot help but comment to whomever may be listening how wonderful the balmy air feels.  I have worn flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt almost exclusively, and am gradually getting some color back on my forearms and legs.

TLE and I decided to take a long walk Friday morning 'around the block'....well, the 'block' turned out to be 1 mile square, and our walk turned out to be 4.1 miles in all.    We walked north along Madison Street to Miles Avenue where we turned left walking all the way to Jefferson Street turning left once again and proceeding south to HWY 111, and then back east along HWY 111 to complete the 1 mile square walk.  Not quite what I had in mind for our first walk in about three weeks, but it was mostly flat, or so it felt.  My Strava GPS program tells me we had a total elevation gain over the course of the 4.1 miles of 103'......

Looking westward along Miles Avenue

......in all our 4.1 mile walk took us 1 hour and 16 minutes, and we averaged 3.3 mph....not too bad.  We made one stop during our walk at a local produce stand to pick up some artichokes, strawberries, and spinach.....haven't had artichokes for over a year!

Just as we were walking back to the Newell through the Elks Lodge parking lot I spied a vintage Silver Streak trailer....apparently these beautiful trailers were only in production from 1946 to 1949......this one looked great for its age!


Shortly after getting back to the Newell we headed out in the VW to visit the local Goodwill.....I came home with nothing new, but TLE found a couple of clothing items without which she believed she could not live.

Around 5 pm we headed over to Bill and Kelly's 5th wheel for cocktails and 'wings' courtesy of Bill.....OMG, where they ever delicious!  As is our habit we talked non-stop until just before 7 pm at which time we headed into the Elks Lodge bar to listen to music and talk some more.  By 8:30 pm we were talked out, so bid our adieus to one another.....our last night together for a while.

The wind blew all night, and it was delightful to feel it coming in through our OPEN windows all night long.....life is good!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, March 23, 2018

A day for guys and gals stuff......

7:09 am - Friday - March 23rd - Indio, CA - 63º F, 65% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the north by northwest (sounds like a good movie title).....clear blue skies with a forecast high of 83º F.  Sunrise was at 6:44 am this morning, and sunset will be at 6:58 pm.....my how things have changed from two months ago!

The temperature and humidity plunged Thursday, and the day turned out quite pleasantly.  We had all the windows open and no air conditioning running......I don't think I mentioned in yesterday's offering that we ran our A/C for the first time since August in Gardiner, MT....it was not so hot as quite humid when we arrived at the Indio Elks Lodge.....




......the Indio Elks Lodge has about 40 RV sites....all appear to be water/electric only (30 amp electric), but there is an on site dump station.  It is a very cozy RV park, but we had not problem backing our Newell into site 27.....of course the trailer had to be dropped in their parking lot.  If you have a car you can usually park it right behind your rig......

 The VW parked behind the Newell



.....they have a very cool entrance to their lodge........


......the ladies (Linda, Kelly and TLE) left the Lodge about 10 am to go shopping (Trader Joe's, Costco, Walmart, etc.), and the guys (moi, Steven and Bill) left in Bill's car to visit some of our favorite guy places.....Harbor Freight, Lowe's, etc.  As is often the case I didn't know I needed anything from any of these places until I began walking up and down the aisles.....I then discovered I needed new sets of SAE and METRIC hex key ball end sets.....


.....I have always wanted some of these...........


......and a package of 1" #2 Phillips insert bits......I'm down to my last one, but had forgotten until I saw them at Harbor Freight.....


.....once again at Lowe's I came across these great knee pads.....I have needed new knee pads for a couple of years, but kept forgetting when I was shopping for other things.....well, I got them Thursday.......


.....of course, any guys only shopping trip must involve some Mexican food for lunch, so we took a break and stopped in at El Ranchito Taco Shop in La Quinta.....Yelp gives them 3 stars out of 5, and I would agree.  One of the things I love about SoCal is that you never seem to be more than a block away from a good Mexican restaurant.  We were back home by 1:30 pm showing off our manly purchases to our wives.  We all agreed to reconvene at Steven and Linda's coach around 6 pm to go out for dinner at Billy Q's Pizza.  When we arrived at their coach a rainbow had appeared in the eastern sky so I snapped a quick picture before getting in the car......


......we arrived at Billy Q's around 6:30 and were seated right away at the last table which could accommodate our large group.  Yelp gives Billy Q's a 4.5 star rating on 468 reviews.....pretty solid, and we would totally agree.......we all ordered individual small pizza's....I got my favorite toppings on mine.....anchovies, black olives, onions and mushrooms.....


.....we were back home by 8 pm with smiles on our faces....a great day in Indio!

In the two days we have been in Indio we have not closed our windows except one time when we ran the A/C....otherwise they have been open the entire time.

Thanks for stopping by!


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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Good friends......

7:26 am - Thursday - March 22nd - Indio, CA - 67º F, 50% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the north by northeast.....heavy cloud cover with a forecast high of 79º F.  Yup, we're back in California!

Our modest Jello goal for Wednesday was to be on the road by 9 am.  In the back of my mind (yes, there is a 'back') I'm thinking about that 30 mile grade to the top of Chiriaco Summit that begins just west of Blythe, CA.  Blythe sits at 272' feet above sea level, and Chiriaco Summit sits at 1,706' above sea level.  While we have climbed steeper grades in the past this one sits in the middle of the Mojave Desert and knowing the forecast high for the area was going to be in the mid 80's I wanted to climb that grade when it was still in the 70's.

It's always a little bitter sweet bidding adieu to good friends, especially when is has been 15 months since the last time we were here, and knowing that it will probably be that long, or longer until we return.  Nevertheless, we exchanged 'until next time' hugs with Tom and Darlene and began our egress from their property about 8:45 am....15 minutes ahead of our Jello plan.

AZ-303

We turned on to AZ-60 going west for about 8 miles, then merged on to AZ-303 southbound to connect with I-10 which would take us, eventually, all the way to Redlands, CA where we will, on Saturday, transition to CA-210 into Fontana and the Fontana/Rialto Elks Lodge.

We had plans to take a break in Quartzite, AZ about 100 miles into our day to top off our 180 gallon diesel tank at the local ARCO station for $2.73/gallon, and that is what we did.  We last topped off our tank in Page, AZ back in late October, and had traveled some 480 miles since that time.....most of it in the last week.  We took on 64 gallons at a cost of $175.49.  This ARCO has those high speed diesel pumps, and it took less than 10 minutes to pump the diesel.....usually it takes 15-20 minutes.

We were back on the Interstate in less than 20 minutes heading ever westward.......the Colorado River is just 18 miles from Quartzite, and we were crossing her and back in California for the first time since June 10th when we departed South Lake Tahoe for a summer in Yellowstone.


The California Agricultural Check point......"....no, we have no children, pets, or any produce in our trailer"....they never ask if they are in the RV, just the trailer....who keeps their pets and/or children in an enclosed car hauler?

As we began the long ascent to the Chiriaco Summit the temp was in the low 70's still.  I was able to climb the grade in 4th gear keeping the rpm's close to 2,000 (the redline on these Detroit Diesel series 92 engines is 2,100 rpm's, and hovering around 2,000 rpm's spins the rear facing radiator fan faster, and keeps the engine temp down under 200º). We made the summit without incident.  We re-entered the People's Republic of California just after noon time, and were descending the long grade from Chiriaco Summit into Indio just before 2 pm....our destination for three days was the Indio Elks Lodge where we had made reservations a week prior.  

Most Elks Lodges are 'first come, first served', but some are so popular you must make reservations to be sure you have a site when you arrive.....Indio is one of those Lodges.  Our reason for stopping in Indio and not just covering the final 100 miles home was to hook up with good friends Steven and Linda Dempsey.  It has been 2 years since we have seen them, so when the stars aligned and we knew our paths were going to cross we decided to hang out with them for 3 days in Indio.......

Left to right: Moi, TLE, Steven, Kelly, Linda and Bill (I have that same exact Maker's Mark t-shirt that Steven is wearing)

.....as we were checking in at the kiosk Steven and Linda walked over from their rig and we were once again reunited with long hugs with our very good friends.  An added bonus was they were with their very good friends Bill and Kelly whom we met later at the Elks Lodge happy hour.  As I have said often, there are just some people whom you meet along the way with whom you immediately connect, and that was the case with Steven and Linda, and now Bill and Kelly.  We sat talking at Happy Hour as if we had known each other for 20 years.

There was an Elks Lodge meeting that night which began at 6:30 pm, so after talking non-stop for 2.5 hours we had to vacate the bar area....we bid adieu to each other until Thursday morning and headed for our respective RV's (Bill and Kelly have a 5th wheel, and Steven and Linda a Class A Travel Supreme) for the evening.  More than the places we visit on our never ending journey it is the people and the ensuing friendships that make this lifestyle so rewarding.  It is the reconnecting with friends after long periods of time as if we had last seen each other yesterday that fills my heart with peace, joy and contentment.

It was another good, uneventful day of travel and we are just 100 miles from our kids, grand kids and great grand child......we will see them on Saturday, and for 3 weeks thereafter when we pull up anchor once again and begin our journey to Maine for the summer!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Okay......enough with the numbering!

6:56 am - Wednesday - March 20th - Wittmann, AZ - 50º F (yeah, baby!), 31% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the east by northeast......clear blue skies with a forecast high of 82º F (yeah, baby!).  We roll our wheels in 2 hours for Indio, CA where the high today will be 88º F (yeah, baby!).  As I sat down this morning to compose my latest missive I decided I was done with numbering my days in a particular location.  I numbered our days at Desert View for 127 days, and then continued numbering them here in Wittmann for 3 additional days.  I need to re-engage my imagination and start generating original titles again.

Tuesday was our last day in Wittmann, AZ this year.  I spent most of the day when I wasn't reading (and I read a LOT), working in the trailer to discard a few things, as well as find new storage places for others, and by the end of the day I had things pretty much under control for the first time in months.  

About 9 am our over night Newell visitors, George and Phyllis, fired up their Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine and made their way slowly out of the McCloud Compound.  We will be following their example on Wednesday......


.....it has been a wonderful 5 days in Wittmann spent visiting with Tom and Darlene, and re-acclimating to lower elevations and much warmer weather.  I was thinking the other day about how long we had been living in cold temperatures before we departed Desert View, and it seems it has been since late September in Montana.  Other than our two trips to SoCal for weddings in that interim, and then a our 1 week stay at Lone Rock (Lake Powell) just before we arrived at Desert View, we have been living in cold temps for 6 months.....that's enough for one lifetime, right?

Around 4:30 we decided to go ahead and insert the VW into the trailer, and then we were pretty much done getting ready for our current departure.  All that remains to do Wednesday is to disconnect the utilities and stow the patio awning.

Our plan Wednesday is to drive to Indio, CA where we will meet up with good friends Steven and Linda for three days at the Indio Elks Lodge.  We stayed there with them 2 years ago for 2 days in January of 2016.  During a span of time from New Year's Eve 2015 to late January 2016 we traveled with them from Octotillo Wells, to Borrego Springs, to Indio, to Quartzite.  It was a great three weeks!  We haven't seen them since then, and are really looking forward to spending a few days with them again.

Tuesday felt like a reading day, and that is what I spent most of my time Tuesday doing.  I actually started and finished a book on Tuesday.  Haven't done that for a long time!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Decompression - Day 3

7:11 am - Tuesday - March 20th - Wittmann, AZ - 43º F, 34% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the north by northeast.......clear blue skies with a forecast high today of 77º F.

It's interesting how the human mind adapts and adjusts so quickly......we've only been gone from Desert View for three days + days, but it seems like much longer than that.....seems like a month has passed.  I got used to seeing early morning temperatures in the teens and 20's at Desert View, but now, just 240 miles south of that location I think nothing of seeing an early morning temperature in the mid 40's every single day.  I'm beginning to stow away my winter wear in favor of more shorts, t-shirts and flip flops.....I spend more time outside each day than I do inside.

I had three things I wanted to accomplish Monday......completely detail the VW......thoroughly vacuum all the sand and gravel out of the interior, put some leather dressing on the seats, and then wash and detail the exterior.  Secondly I needed to refill my oil reservoir, which was down to about 1 gallon of Dello 400, 40 wt. oil.....the reservoir holds 3 gallons total.    I think the last time I topped it off was about 14 months ago when we were in Wittmann the last time.  Then, after emptying the two 1 gallon jugs of oil which I store in the left engine bay into the reservoir I would need to refill them out of my 5 gallon bucket of the same oil, which had 4 gallons left.  Finally, I needed to dump the black tank as it has been a week since the last dump.


She looks 'purty' again

I began the VW detailing project about 10 am and finished just before noon at which time I took a nice break  in Tom's man cave talking with him, then it was on to topping off the oil reservoir......


 The 3 gallon oil reservoir

 The sight tub has a black line drawn for every quart....you just move the white zip tie down 1, 2, or 3 quarts and then turn on the gate valve to let the oil drain into the engine until the oil level falls to the zip tie level, then turn off the gate valve

The gate valve that controls the oil flow into the engine

......I have to get out my short step ladder to to stand on while pouring the oil into the reservoir.....I use a large funnel an 18" flex tube......40 weight oil is quite thick and it takes a while to pour in two gallons without it overflowing the funnel.  It took me about 30 minutes in all to get that done, and yes, there were a few spills.

I was in the middle of topping off the oil reservoir when another Newell owner arrived at the McCloud Compound for an overnight stay.  We've never met an Newell owner we did not like and we immediately took a liking to George and Phyllis.  I stopped what I was doing and got out my 10' b50 amp extension cord so George could plug into the second 50 amp plug.  After our introductions I went back to the oil reservoir project finishing it about 30 minutes later.  Then I had to refill the two 1 gallon jugs so I will have 5 gallons of oil with me when we leave Wittmann on Wednesday.  Just for the record, Detroit Diesels series 92 engines typically use about 1 quart of oil every 8 hours of operation, and that was the case when we first bought our 1982 Newell, but over the 60,000 miles we have put on the coach since then the oil usage has decreased to 1 quart every 12-14 hours of operation, so we're adding about 1 quart every 800 miles driven.

George and Phyllis' 1995 Newell, 46'

Finally, I was down to my last task of the day.....dump the black tank, which was done in short order.....so much nicer dumping the black tank when it is in the 70's outside.....so much nicer!

TLE spent the afternoon preparing lasagna for dinner, and it turned out wonderfully.  We had a nice group dinner in Tom and Darlene's dinning room.  I was tired after a long day of physical work, which I haven't done for a long time, so after dinner I retired to the Newell, took a nap, and then watched some TV before heading to bed around 10:30 pm after awaking from a second nap!  TLE spend time inside playing cards with Darlene.  So, Day 3 of 'Decompression' is complete!

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