Sunday, March 3, 2024

Not what we thought.....

7:10 am - Sunday - March 3rd - GNHS - 57° F, humidity 59%, wind 9 mph out of the west by southwest.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 69° F.  On this date in 2018 TLE and I met good friends Roscoe and Geni, whom we met while working in one of the General Stores at Yellowstone NP, for dinner at the Arizona Room in Grand Canyon Village.....

I previously wrote that we had a bachelor party group all day rental of four 4 seat RZRs on Saturday, however, that was not a long shot.  I'm not sure how the person who set the reservation got that soooo wrong, but they did.  Instead, they were actually a group (8) of middle aged guys who work for a large, national window/door manufacturer at various locations around the USA, and were here for a company team building exercise.  A much different, and actually more preferable scenario.  It was an all day rental beginning at 9 am so TLE, Hunter and I were on the job by 8:15 am getting the four RZRs ready.  The customers arrived around 8:45 am, and by 9:15 am they were on their way.  Then it was a matter of awaiting their return sometime between 3 and 5 pm.  

You can cover a lot of ground in 4, or 5 hours here at GNHS, and we have noticed that many people renting a RZR all day only use it 4, or 5 hours of the 8 hour rental.  When we have gone out taking family and friends on rides we have typically been out anywhere from 2-5 hours, and by that time everyone is ready to be done.  

A while back TLE and I bought a 2000 watt solar charger from Bluetti via eBay.  The battery can be charged via cigarette lighter socket, via plugging into 120 VAC, or via portable solar panels, which was what interested us.  Initially we ordered just one portable 120 watt portable solar panel (folds down to one fourth is full size), but found out that we needed two 120 watt portable panels to charge it that way, so we ordered a second panel.  This was a refurbished unit fully warranted by Bluetti International. Once we got the second panel we connected the panels to the Bluetti solar charger, and found it would not charge that way.  Something was wrong with the control board.  Ultimately we returned the defective unit to Bluetti, and they sent us a replacement unit, which arrived Saturday just after our all day customers left the barn.

TLE and I quickly unpacked the Bluetti AC2000P unit, then connected the solar panels to the 'new' unit, and are quite pleased to report that it works!  We now have two ways in which to charge the Bluetti 2000 watt, lithium battery when boondocking now....via the portable solar panels, or by plugging it into the cigarette lighter 12 volt plug in the through bay of the Newell, using the solar panels on its roof.  Now, when we boondock, we will not have to run our small Honda 2000 watt generator as much, saving gallons of gasoline.  We can now power the trailer, and any power tools using the Bluetti, and not have to plug it (the trailer) into the coach, or the Honda generator to power it, plus I can now power the 12 volt ceiling exhaust fan (Fantastic fan), which I could not do before when we disconnect the trailer from the Newell.

Other than playing with the Bluetti, TLE and I spent most of the day reading while Hunter inventoried the new parts we received last week, so we can begin to repair a lot of the cosmetic damage our RZRs and Generals have sustained over the winter.

Our all day customers returned around 3:30 pm without flat tires, and no damage, cosmetic, or otherwise...perfect.  We checked them in, and closed the office about 10 minutes later.  A great rental day with no

The winds we were expecting arrived around noon time, and lasted until after 6 pm, but they were all out of the west by southwest, which is perfect for us as we have the Bombay Beach Bungalow, a large tree, and the Roadrunner building shielding us from the worst of the wind.  It appears we will get those same winds again Sunday afternoon, and then things will return to normal for the next week, or so.  We have just one 2 hour rental on Sunday, so it will end up being a nice, kick back kind of weekend after all.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 2, 2024

March, already?

6:52 am - Saturday - March 2nd - GNHS - 58° F, humidity 69%, wind 12 mph out of the south by southeast....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 71° F.  On this date in 2014 TLE and I were at a family party with our son Tim, and his, then, future wife, Laila.....

.....I was still recovering from double hernia surgery three weeks earlier.

Once again we slept in until after 7 am before throwing the curtains back to reveal another beautiful GNHS day....March 1st to be exact.....

....I know it may seem trite to mention that it was just New Years day a few days ago, right?  And it is just 4 years until the next Leap Year!

The temps are steadily rising, and TLE and I determined it had been too warm when we took our walk Thursday at 10 am, so we headed out for another 2 mile out and back walk at 9 am Friday averaging a whopping 3.5 mph....nothing like being back on asphalt!  After returning home I repeated the toning workout from Thursday, then retired to my recliner to read....

Standing in front of site #21 where Charles and Phyllis will be parking their 5th wheel for a week beginning Sunday

....when you are deeply engrossed in a book the time seems to melt away, and suddenly it is 4 pm.  I did spent part of the day outdoors in my anti gravity chair reading, but didn't really do anything else of a productive nature.  The weather guessers are forecasting another wind event this weekend, only the winds are completely out of the west, southwest, and north winds.  Nevertheless, around 5 pm TLE and I began lowering our sail shades, putting away the market umbrellas, then lowering the flag pole, and the dining canopy in preparation for the winds.  Better to do it before the winds arrive, and not at 2 am in the morning, if you get my drift.

While we were in Arizona a significant portion of the many replacement parts for our various damaged RZRs and Generals arrived.  There are still a lot of parts in the proverbial pipeline, but at least they are finally arriving, and can be installed in preparation for the time, which is fast approaching, when we return everything to Polaris.  At any rate, there is a large pile of large boxes in front of the COA office, which need to be dealt with before our Saturday customers arrive.  Time to get dressed, and begin moving boxes!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 1, 2024

The count down begins.....

 7:39 am - Friday - March 1st - GNHS - 59° F, humidity 59%, wind 7 mph out of the west by northwest....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 73° F.  On this date in 2023 TLE and I awoke to rain, and then a rainbow at GNHS......

Our first full day back home was a deservedly laid back day after a week and a half of non-stop socializing, and driving.  We haven't had to turn on any of our heaters since late last week, so we are officially in that vague, nebulous 'shoulder season' between winter and spring where the temps and weather are quite idyllic.  We stayed in bed until after 7 am, then spent a leisurely couple of hours sipping coffee, and watching the weather forecast for the next week before taking a 2 mile out and back walk, our 16th since December 26th.....

....after a brief cool down period we both did our toning workouts, and then settled into reading.  It is so quiet here at GNHS right now that it is almost spooky.  Pretty much everyone in the park is either a permanent winter resident, or working.  

Speaking of weather forecasts.....there is a large winter storm about to hit southern Oregon and northern California which is forecast to dump 8-10 feet of snow at the higher elevations all along the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  LPG&RVR will be getting snow for the next week solid.

Around mid day I took care of a couple of minor projects around the 'lido deck' area, then returned to reading with  a nap, or two thrown in for good measure.  As things stand right now we only have rentals on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday is a group of 8 guys out on a bachelor party adventure.  We're renting them four 4 seat RZRs for the adventure for four hours, and I'm a little nervous about this whole thing.  I can just see them flipping one, or two of the RZRs....hope I'm wrong.  On Sunday we have just one 2 hour rental in one of the General 2 seaters, and that is it.

TLE and I have just 4 weeks left in our final go around here at GNHS before heading back north to LPG&RVR, so we're kind of on autopilot for the next two weeks, but then we begin to pack things away in preparation for lift off April 1st, which is a Monday.  We'd like to be back at LPG&RVR by the 7th, or 8th as opening day for the golf course, and RV park is the 13th. 

Also, during the next few weeks we'll be getting new 'shoes' for the VW, and the trailer....that is 8 tires in all.  They will all be Michelins, which we are buying through National Tire Concierge, just as we did last year when we had 4 new Michelins installed as drive tires on the Newell.  Needless to say, these tires will be significantly less expensive than the Newell tires which cost around $2,500 last year.  These 8 tires will run about $150 each, or around $1,200 + tax.  Once these 8 tires are installed we'll be set tire wise on all our rolling stock for around 6-8 years.  As a comparison, the last time I replaced the tires on the trailer back in the summer of 2015 it cost us around $125/tire through Amazon.  The current Amazon price per tire for the same tires is now $241, so National Tire Concierge has really come through once again.  With the final 8 tires we will have bought 14 tires through them....all Michelins for a tad more than the other popular brands (Bridgestone, Firestone, Toyo, Uniroyal, General, etc.).  While the trailer tires will be 9 years old this summer, they still look brand new, and we have not had one tread separation.  When we bought the trailer it had some off brand Chinese trailer tires on it, and over the first 2 years of our travels we had to replace a tire every few months due to tread separation.  Switching to the Michelin light truck tires has been a game changer for us!

We're only expecting around 25 RVs coming into the park this weekend, so we're not sure if we will get any walk up business, or not.  We'll see.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 29, 2024


8:04 am - Thursday - February 29th - GNHS - 59° F, humidity 63%, wind 6 mph out of the southeast.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 75° F.  On this date in 2012 TLE and I were courtesy parking at the home of Michael and Georgia Day near Austin, TX on the shores of Lake Travis.....

Our view out the front windows of our 1982 Newell Classic on this date in 2012

We had another great night of sleep Tuesday night, and were up around 7 am Wednesday, which was our getaway day.....getaway in the sense that we would be driving back to GNHS to begin the final 4 weeks of our stint there.  All the carpet which got wet in the 'flash flood' has dried in just a few days, which is amazing, but not unexpected in the ultra dry climate in which Wittmann, AZ is geographically located. Parting ways with Tom and Darlene is always bittersweet.  By 9:45 am we had packed the car, and were saying our 'until next times to Tom, Darlene, and Wade.  Five minutes later we were cruising north on US-60 toward Wickenburg where we took on 11 gallons of premium unleaded, and then continued on US-60 through the small towns of Aguila, Wendon, Salome and Brenda before hitting I-10 westbound around 11:50 am (Arizona time).

We crossed back into California around 12:10 pm, regained the hour we gave up 3 day earlier making it 11:10 am, and made a quick stop in Blythe at the local Albertsons to get some Frappuccinos at the Starbucks in the store.....a Tall vanilla bean for TLE and a Venti Mocha for moi.  We were back in the car in 10 minutes, and merging onto westbound I-10 shortly thereafter.

The drive west on I-10 was mostly uneventful.  Traffic did stop one time for about 5 minutes near Desert Center, but we were back up to speed within seconds after the traffic began to move again.  We exited I-10 at Box Canyon Road, and began our 20 mile descent down Box Canyon into Mecca where we stopped at the Mexican Market for some produce and in 15 minutes we were resuming our drive southeast on US-111.  We arrived back in GNHS around 1:40 pm California time without further incident.  Needless to day, but I will anyway, I am done driving for a!  Starting with our trip to Poway last Monday (19th), until arriving back home Wednesday (28th) we have driven 850 miles....I'm getting tired all over again just thinking about it.  All that being said, I must say we are so pleased at how well the VW has run these past few months compared to last year at this time.

Within 30 minutes we had unpacked our clothes, put them away, and TLE had put away the produce.  I sat down in my recliner around 2:15 pm, and continued reading the current post apocalyptic series.  As I sat in there reading, I thought how wonderful it is to be back with TLE in our tiny 220 sq ft home on wheels!

We'll have a few days to recuperate from all of our social interaction this past week before Charles and Phyllis arrive Sunday afternoon for a week stay here at GNHS.  Again, no pictures were taken Wednesday, but that's cool because I know all of you have great imaginations!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

RZRing in Wittmann.....

7:53 am - Wednesday - February 28th - Newell House - Wittmann, AZ - 53° F, humidity 57%, wind 5 mph out of the northeast.....partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 73° F.  On this date in  2013 TLE and I were in St. Augustine, FL dry camping at a local RV park.....

I slept like the proverbial log Monday logs really sleep?  I just thought they laid there on the ground, in the forest, slowly turning into compost for decades.  I don't feel like I'm doing that when I'm  I guess the characteristics of a log are where the saying came know, they just lay there, unmoving, for decades.  Anyway, we didn't get up until almost 8 am Tuesday morning, but at least we both felt like we had recovered from early Monday morning's festivities (the 'flash flood'), and the sun was actually peeking through the heavy cloud cover we've had the last few days.

We took a 1.5 mile walk around 9:30 am averaging, once again, 3.3 mph.  It is a little different walking on a gravel/sandy road than on pavement.  It feels like we are walking faster than 3.3 mph, but we are obviously not.....

....since I am apparently considered somewhat of a very minor RZR expert nowadays, Tom asked me to take their four seat 2018 RZR 1000 XP for a drive Tuesday and let him know what I thought of its performance (he now has over 5,000 miles on her), and how the clutch felt.  Around 12:30 pm TLE did just that....we needed to go to the local mini market to buy some coffee for Wednesday morning, so we combined some road, and off road driving on the way there.  Tom really takes good care of all of his rolling stock, and the RZR is no exception.  It ran, and drove nicely over the 4-5 miles we drove her.....

....I don't see anything wrong with her at all.  It appeared it had been a while since she was last given a spa treatment, so not being able to help myself, I gave her one after we returned from our short jaunt.  By the way, Tom's RZR is street is licensed, and has brakes, rear and sideview mirrors, and turn signals.

We both spent a lot of time reading Tuesday as Tom and Darlene had appointments.  We did take a second 1.5 mile out and back walk averaging, once again, 3.3 mph.....just can't break that barrier on

.....Tom and Darlene erected a street sign in front of Newell House, a few years ago (2020 I think)....the street coming into the compound is Wildcat Drive, and the road in front of Newell House is called Newell Parkway.  Tom's son, Scott, was able to add Newell Parkway into Google Maps so you can actually look up that street in Google Maps, and it will take you right there.....pretty cool, huh?

Tom and Darlene returned home mid afternoon, and TLE and I continued to read, with conversations thrown in here and there.  I'm reading another post apocalyptic series, and have now finished the 2nd of 3 books in that series.  

As always, we had a communal dinner with Tom, Darlene, Wade, TLE and I.  By the way, Wade is a long time friend of Tom and Darlene who lives in Alberta, Canada, and flies down each winter for a few weeks to visit, and get out of the cold Albertan winter.  I think this is the 4th, or 5th time we have been here at Newell House at the same time

Our interlude here at Newell House is coming to and end after just 3 days.  It is time for us to return to GNHS, and our final 4 weeks there before we head north for the summer.  TLE's sister, Phyllis, and Charles are coming in their 5th wheel to visit us for a week beginning March we go again, from one social engagement to another!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

A drama less day.....

 7:22 am - Tuesday - February 27th - Newell House - Wittmann, AZ - 55° F, humidity 48%, wind 2 mph out of the south by southwest....mostly cloudy today with a forecast high of 72° F.  On this date in 2021 I had just finished polishing the ALCOA aluminum rims on the Newell..... that is a 'mirror finish' if I ever saw one!

When I last left off writing about Sunday we had just gone back to bed around 5 am Monday morning following the unexpected 'flash flood' in the bathroom next to our bedroom.  We managed to sleep until after 8 am, but the sun got too bright, and it was time to begin the day, albeit, feeling like I had a hangover without the benefit of

After typing my latest missive, and drinking a precious cup of 'joe' TLE and I took an out and back walk which was about 1.50 miles round trip.  We averaged a leisurely 3.2 mph.....

.....after that I headed out to the Jacuzzi for an hour soak.....

.....then took a long nap to kind of catch up on the lost sleep from the night before, then took a long shower in Tom's mancave shower, which has one of the 'rain' showerheads, plus unlimited hot water (think tankless, on demand water heater).

We had dinner around 5:30 pm, after which we played team 'Phase 10' pitting TLE and I against Darlene and Wade (Tom was at another board meeting).  I failed to mention in yesterday's post that we played Sunday night, also, and at one point TLE and I were up 2 phases, plus ahead by 300 points.  We thought we had the win in the bag, but then the cards stopped favoring us, and we ended up coming from ahead to lose by just a few points at the end...doh!  Anyway, we were playing Monday night to redeem ourselves, but the cards continued to favor Darlene, and Wade.  At one point we were behind 3 phases and down by over 100 points.  We did manage to rally and found ourselves with a chance to win on the 10th and final phase, but we had to win the phase outright to win the game, and we did not.  At least we gave ourselves a chance, and at least it became another close game!

Tom returned home around 7:10 pm, and after finishing our 'Phase 10' game we sat and talked for a few hours again in the living room before heading off to dreamland once again.  This time there was no early morning drama, and no fans whirring in the background (drying out the carpet)....just the normal, extremely quiet Wittmann night.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 26, 2024

Flash flood?

 8:33 am - Monday - February 26th - Newell House - Wittmann, AZ - 58° F, humidity 76%, wind 3 mph out of the northeast.....cloudy today with a forecast high of 74° F.  On this date in 2013 TLE and I were dining at Manatee Island Grill near Stuart, of my favorite pictures of TLE and I......

Sunday morning around 11 am we bid adieu to Tom and Claire after 3 days of conversation, which was sometimes intense/deep, sometimes light, but always interesting.  Our hearts were full, and we really didn't want to say our 'until next times', but life continues to roll, so we did.

By 12 pm TLE and I were in the VW to begin a 4 hour drive to Wittmann, AZ to visit good friends Tom and Darlene.  You may recall our last visit here was in the Spring of 2021 when I replaced the shocks, and air bags on our 1982 Newell Classic.  Since we have Hunter to take over the rental operation Sunday we were able to leave early enough to get to Wittmann by 5 pm, and before sunset....we, of course, lost an hour to the Mountain Time Zone.

We took a different route than we have in the past, mainly because of our location on the east side of the Salton Sea.  There is no direct route to I-10, so the fastest route had us taking HWY-111 west to Mecca, which is 20 miles in the opposite direction from where we wanted to go, but it was the fastest route available by 25 minutes.  We then turned up a highway called Box Canyon Road which took up 20 miles back east where we connected with I-10 eastbound....

Box Canyon Road photos courtesy TLE

....the drive up Box Canyon Road was really quite scenic, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

We made a rest stop, after two hours of driving, at the Flying 'J' truck stop in Ehrenberg, AZ (just over the Colorado River which is the border between California and Arizona) to use their bathrooms, and just walk around to stretch our legs.  From there we we continued on I-10 eastbound to the US-60 exit toward Wickenburg, then south to Wittmann, arriving at Tom and Darlene's around 5:10 pm....without incident....nice!

We were just in time for dinner, so we hauled our bags into the guest room, and sat down to a great dinner, and conversation.  Tom was at a board meeting of a local business when we arrived, but he was home by 8:20 pm, and he and I talked until pretty late before we both headed for slumberland.

Around 2:30 am I heard Tom and Wade (a friend visiting from Alberta, Canada) talking excitedly in the hallway outside our room.  I got up, and as I approached the door to our room noticed the carpet was very squishy, and WET!  Wait, what?  Apparently the rubber flapper in the water tank of the toilet had failed when last flushed, and the water had been running into the toilet for a couple of hours flooding the hallway outside or room, the bathroom (of course), the foyer, and the the long hallway leading to the living room and kitchen.  There was at least an inch of water covering the tile flooring in these areas, and the water was quickly seeping into the carpeted areas bordering both hallways, and the dining room.  I would estimate the water in the long hallway was about 1 inch deep....that is a lot of water!

Wade vacuuming up water in the long hallway

Needless to say, we all sprang into action to get rid of all the water.  Tom brought a 15 gallon Shop Vac to begin vacuuming up the water, Darlene pulled out her carpet shampooing machine, and I used a large squeegee to push the water down the hallway, through the foyer, and over the threshold of the front door onto the front porch.  TLE and I then began mopping up what water was left with old towels.  Finally, around 5 am we had done as much as we could do, and went back to bed....what a night!

As I sit here typing this morning (Monday) I am still a little groggy, and wishing I hadn't lost those 2.5 hours of sleep, but it is what it is.  At least everything is drying out, and we can walk around, and I'm enjoying a wonderful cup of coffee.

Thanks for stopping by!