Friday, January 27, 2023

A milestone is coming.....

7:28 am - Bacon Friday - January 27th - GNHS - 45° F, humidity 50%, wind 4 mph out of the north....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 66° F.  On this date in 2012 we were watching one of our last sunrises at Rancho Jurupa Regional Park near Riverside, CA before we began our fulltime travels on 2/1/2012......↴


You just never know from where your next walkup rental will come, and Thursday we had a new one.  A single guy from Alberta was traveling north through Niland and stopped to eat lunch at Buckshot Deli and Diner (we've eaten there before).  As he was paying his check a local with whom he was talking told him about our UTV rental operation, so he decided to drop by and rent one for 2 hours. It was about 11:30 when he arrived, and we had him out in one of the KRXs by 12 pm.  Our office is open Thursday through Sunday from 9 am to at least 1 pm  whether we have a booking, or not, so it is always nice when we do get a rental to cover COA's costs of staffing the office.

Before he arrived I had spent about 90 minutes washing 2 KRX's, and 1 RZR left over from a few days ago.  The #9 KRX I washed had barely dried when we rented it out once again.  The gentleman returned just shy of 2 pm, right on time, with no incidents, and a big smile upon his face.  We were smiling, too, because it was another day without a rescue, crash, or breakdown....it has been almost 1 month since our last rescue, and about 3 weeks since our last accident.

Speaking of accidents, we are still awaiting the arrival of all of the replacement parts for the KRX (#8) which was rolled over 3 weeks ago.  The guy who rolled it should feel lucky we only charged him for 3 days loss of use, and that we have not been that busy, so we've been able to live without #8's services.  Additionally, we have not received all of the parts needed to rebuild the primary clutch on RZR #2, so it has been out of service as long as the #8 KRX.

The latest Santa Ana wind event ended around 3 pm, just as forecast.  Typically a Santa Ana will last 1-3 days, but most of the ones we've had the last 6 weeks have lasted less than 24 hours, which is nice.  As I write there is not a single breath of wind, and the temp is rising quickly toward the forecast high of 66° F.

There will be fewer than 20 RV arrivals this weekend, so we do not expect to be too busy with just one booking on Saturday, and one on Sunday, but who knows from where the next walkup customer will come?

In just a few days, on February 1st, TLE and I will have been living fulltime in our 1982 Newell Classic for 12 years, and we will begin our 11th year of nomadic meanderings.  In some respects it seems like a lifetime ago that we took the first tentative steps in our never ending journey, but in another way it feels like we have barely scratched the surface of what is possible.  Where will the next decade find us?  We have no idea, but we will continue to live as nomads one day at a time, living in the present, not dwelling on the past, and expecting serendipity to be woven into every twist and turn of our journey for as long as it lasts.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Behind the '8 ball'......update

 8:26 am - Thursday - January 26th - GNHS - 55° F, 27% humidity, wind 21 mph out of the north by northeast.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today courtesy another Santa Ana wind event.....forecast high for today is 66° F.  On this date in 2018 TLE and I were riding on the Grand Canyon Rail Road from Williams, AZ into Grand Canyon NP with our daughter Meredith....↴



I'm running a little behind the '8 ball' today, so I will not be posting today's blog installment until later today.  Have to go and open the COA office with TLE, then wash three UTVs, then fuel them.  Thank you for your patience!

6:57 pm - Thursday - January 26th - GNHS - 

Okay, finally back at my Lenovo laptop finishing my post about Wednesday. We had no walkup business Wednesday, and no bookings, so we just took at easy.  I still had 2 KRXs and 1 RZR to wash, but I wasn't into it, and since we still had no bookings for Thursday, as of noon, I decided to wait until Thursday, when I would be working anyway.  On days when we have no advance bookings we don't open the office until 9 am, or if there are walkups earlier than 9 am, we open then.  I knew I would have time first thing Thursday to get them done.

As it turned out there was no walkup business Wednesday, because there really is no one in the park right now.  We do have advance bookings now for Saturday and Sunday, so we'll be busy over the weekend for sure.

TLE and I convened to the 'lido deck' around 6 pm to play 'Phase 10'.  The cards ran TLE's way this night, and there was really nothing I could do strategically to stop her.  I had my chances, but the cards just did not favor me in those critical moments.  I like games of chance like this as luck, in the case of 'Phase 10', accounts for about 80-85% of your success, or failure.  If you lose it is nothing personal, like you're a bad player.  As TLE pulled ahead I could see plainly there was nothing more I could have done strategically to have changed the outcome.  The whole point of playing these games of chance is to spend time together interacting, and being silly, and we have become quite expert at doing that...lol.

We watched a Netflix movie called 'Triple Frontier', starring Ben Affleck, and Oscar Isaac, which was actually interesting, but not a movie I would have paid $16 at a movie theater to see.

We continue to love, and enjoy our jobs.  In 12 years of workamping this is the easiest , and most satisfying job we have had, and we get paid nicely at $15/hour.  Our bosses are extremely happy with our performance, and pretty much leave us to our own devices, so it is the best of both worlds.....we work for someone else, but we are actually our own bosses....pretty cool.  They do call us at least once a week to see how we're doing, and and if we need anything. We average around 25 hours per week, and probably net (combined) around $1,600 every other Wednesday.....certainly better than a "poke in the eye with a sharp stick".

Well, that's it for Wednesday.  Thank you for your patience....by the way we had a walkup today (Thursday), so I got to wash one KRX twice....lol!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Misfire.....

 7:40 am - Wednesday - January 25th - GNHS - 42° F, humidity 52%, wind 3 mph out of the northwest.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 69° F.  On this date in 2018 our daughter Meredith came to visit us at the Grand Canyon....↴


Last week when two of the four ignition coils on the VW failed we were on our way into Mecca to have lunch at 'The Tacos Taqueria', and to do a small shopping, but that trip was aborted.  Well, here we are a little over a week later, and we decided to attempt the drive once again.  Since I replaced the two coils I have only driven the VW Beetle about 15 miles (to Bombay Beach and back), so we also wanted to get in a longer drive to be sure all is well, plus we really needed some Mexican food in the worst kind of way.

We began the 27 mile drive into Mecca around 11:30 am and reached 'The Tacos Taqueria' just after 12 pm without incident.  These folks get 4 stars on 69 reviews....the 69th being my review.  We have come to love these little 'hole in the wall' Mexican places, and have rarely, if ever, been disappointed.....


....we quickly made our meal choices, and placed our orders....


.....'The Giant Taco for me......



....and for TLE the 'Huevos Divorciados', of which I did not get a picture.  Both entrees were made with very fresh ingredients.  The carne asada in my 'The Giant Taco' was seasoned, and cooked to perfection, and TLE loved hers so much she literally cleaned the plate.  The tortillas were hand made to order.

After a very satisfying lunch we headed over to Family Dollar to buy a few things, then over to 'El Super Toro Loco #4' to buy some produce.  This is really a great local super market, and the produce is second to none.  We were able to complete all of our shopping within 25 minutes and were back in the VW for the return drive to GNHS by 1:10 pm.

While we were eating I received a call from Casey at COA advising there were some people who wanted to rent a 4 seater and a 2 seater if we could be back by 2 pm.  We, of course, agreed, and managed to make it back by 1:40 pm.  While TLE changed clothes I staged a RZR and a KRX.  Within minutes the customers arrived, completed their paperwork, and were on their way for a 2 hour tour shortly thereafter, with a scheduled return of 4:30 pm.  

As it turned out the folks driving the RZR pushed it a little too hard, and got a check engine light.  We noticed around 4:30 pm that they were still quite a way out, so TLE called them to remind them they were supposed to be back already.  The RZR driver advised he had a check engine light, and were in 'limp mode' so I gave him the instructions of how to clear the check engine light, and within a few minutes it had cleared.  They finally got back around 5:10 pm.....not too bad.

Some may wonder how you might clear a check engine light on a RZR, so I will tell you.  I learned this procedure during my first rescue back in November from Kyle.  You put the RZR in LOW, then run it for about 4 minutes at 3500-4000 RPMs.  It works every time. Of course, if it comes back again, then you've got a problem.  Sometimes the RZR computer interprets unusual vibration in the clutch housing (when being pushed too hard) as a misfire, and initiates a check engine light.  If it comes back a second time then there is probably a problem with the drive belt.

Because of the late return TLE and I ended up working 3.5 hours each.  On the plus side no rescue was needed, and we got them put away before dark.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Prescient......

 8:18 am - Tuesday - January 24th - GNHS - 44° F, humidity 4-0%, wind 4 mph out of the west.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 68° F.  On this date in 2019 TLE and I were visiting the Petrified Forest National Park for the first time......↴


.....the 'Painted Desert' is part of Petrified Forest National Park.......

The wind blew all night Sunday night,  was still blowing over 20 mph as the sun crested the Chocolate Mountains to the east Monday morning, and would continue that way until after 3 pm.  As Sana Ana wind events go, this one was rather short lived lasting less than 24 hours. The wind was directly out of the north most of the time, and was it ever cold.  How cold was it you ask?  We turned on all three gas furnaces, and all three electric heaters first thing to take the chill of the Newell interior.  Within 20 minutes we were turning off the gas furnaces, but we left two of the electric heaters on for the entire day, and into the night.

With all of the window awnings, and the patio awning stowed we did not notice the wind too much during the night, but the wind gusts increased dramatically after sunrise making the coach rock back forth at times.  As I write now (Tuesday morning) there is hardly a breath of wind.....it is so quiet I can hear those proverbial pins dropping.

As is our habit during wind events in the SoCal desert we stayed inside for 99% of the day.  I did spend a few minutes outside first thing retrieving items which had been blown from the 'lido deck' into the UTV parking area, but that was the extent of my ambition for the day.  

TLE and I watched the entire British Premier soccer match between Fulham and Tottenham, which was won 1-nil by Tottenham on a beautiful goal by Harry Kane in 'added time' at the end of the first half.  Our boys had lost two games in succession, so it was good to see them back in the 'W' column with a clean sheet (no goals allowed).

Whenever our pantry and fridge begin to get a little empty TLE begins to gather food items together she has saved from other meals and put them together in soup form.  For dinner she prepared what she now calls chicken/cabbage soup, and it was the perfect wintery day fare.  To be sure there was a lot more in that soup than just chicken and cabbage, and it all tasted wonderful.

I mentioned previously that we watched the first episode of 'Utopia' on BritBox the other night.  There are just two seasons, each containing 6 episodes.  We watched a few more episodes Sunday night, and sat down after dinner to watch just a few more, but ended up watching the final two episodes of Season 1, and all 6 of Season 2.  Wow!  The series description was very cryptic, and we had no idea what it was really about.  Knowing what we now know about the Wuhan flu, and all of the vaccination controversy the past 3 years, it was almost surrealistic to watch 'Utopia', which bears a striking resemblance to what we were all put through since January of 2020.  I'll leave it at that, except to say this.....this series ran from 2013 to 2014, and there are just the two seasons....it is kind of chilling how prescient this series was and is.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 23, 2023

Laid back Sunday.....

 7:59 am - Monday - January 23rd - GNHS - 48° F, humidity 25%, wind 17 mph out of the northwest....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 62° F.....Santa Ana winds blowing fiercely....was windy all night long.  We had to stow our patio awning for the first time in almost 2 months.  On this date in 2019 we overnighted at the Route 66 Casino and Hotel just off I-40, 21 miles west of Albuquerque, NM....first time back in Mountain Time since April of 2018......↴


Our two KRX 1/2 day rentals were not scheduled to begin until 11:30 am Sunday, but I was outside Sunday around 9 am to refuel one RZR, and wash three RZRs from Saturday's 3 all day rentals.  Since I had time, I took my time to thoroughly detail RZRs #1, 4 and 5, and was finished around 10:30 am.

Our customers arrived just before 11:30 am to complete their paperwork.....




.....and they were off in a cloud of dust just before 12 pm.  I was pretty sure we would have no issues with them, but one just never knows for sure....lol.

While I was walking around KRX #8, the one that was in the rollover two weeks ago, I noticed something neither Kyle, TLE, nor I had seen when inspecting the unit for damage at the time of the accident.....the fiber glass flag pole was cracked in the accident......


....so I took a picture and texted it to Casey to add to the repair bill, then removed it to cut off the bad part, and reinstall it.

Next, for the first time since I bought it, I set up my golf driving net......



.....and hit a few balls just to see how much my skills have degraded since October.  I got out my 3 wood, and hit about a dozen balls.  Overall I was hitting them pretty straight, but I could already feel it in my lower back after just a dozen swings. I next got out my pitching wedge to practice chipping, and and really like it for that.  There is a target with a bullseye on it, and I was able to hit the bullseye 7 out of 10 tries.  Setting it up was kind of like setting up a tent, and didn't take that long.

Our customers returned just before 4 pm, with no damage, and with large smiles upon their collective faces, so another weekend without any rescues, or accidents.

The weather forecast was for Santa Ana winds to begin early evening, and they arrived just as predicted.  I caught a couple of pictures of our sunset......





....then collapsed my golf driving net and put an orange cone on it to keep it from blowing away in the night (it was still there this morning).  Around 8 pm TLE and I stowed the patio and window awnings as it was getting quite blustery out of the northwest, which is not a good direction of wind for our location.  As I write the coach is rocking in the wind, and will continue to do so for the next 6.5 hours (it is 8:30 am right now), so we'll be spending that time inside....glad we don't have any rentals today!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 22, 2023

The photo shoot.....

 7:48 am - Sunday - January 22nd - GNHS - 36° F, humidity 57%, wind 3 mph out of the southeast....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 62° F.  On this date in 2013 TLE and I were watching our 26th sunset at Cedar Key, FL.....we were there for 5 weeks, and loved every single minute of it.....↴


Overnight we got a 3rd all day booking for a 4 seat RZR, which is all the RZRs we can rent in one day right now since #2 is awaiting parts to rebuild the clutch.  The first two were on their way by 8:30 am, but the 3rd party did not arrive until around 9:30 am.  This is the customer for whom I spent a lot of time detailing #4 RZR.  The owners of COA hired them to take video, and stills of our operation, and the various trail destinations in the area for a brochure they will produce for the California operation next season....


Left to right: Nara, Nadia and Roland.....Nicole is just out of frame.  Roland is using our compressed air to blow the dust off Nadia

.....the photo shoot group consisted of Nara who was the primary photographer, Roland, Nadia and Nicole.....Nicole was the driver.  Since they were here to get as many shots of the surrounding area as possible we suggested they finish their day with a sunset drive out to the bat caves to catch the sun setting over the Salton Sea, which they did, and they loved it.  They returned around 5:30 pm just as it was beginning to get dark....as you can see above, it was still pretty light outside as they blew dust off each other.

When we have all day rentals there is a lot of activity on our part at the beginning of the day, and then a lot of waiting around before they return, at which time there is another flurry of activity as we check them in, and I drive down to the shop area to fuel them up one by one.  I managed to get 2 of the 3 RZRs refueled, and will take care of the 3rd Sunday morning when I wash it.  We only have KRXs going out Sunday, but it is possible we could have a walkup for one of the RZRs.

It was nice to get through another weekend without any accidents, or rescues....it has almost been one month since our last rescue, and two weeks since our last accident....knocking hard on wood right now.

We utilized the 'lido deck' after dinner for 6 games of Yahtzee....we each won 3 games....always nice when it comes out 'even Steven'.  We began watching a series on BritBox called Utopia last night, and are kind of intrigued by it.  We only watched one episode before it got too late, so we'll continue the journey Sunday evening. I'll be sure to let you know how we like it....it is still too early to tell, but we are hopeful.

Our Starlink, and the one COA has here are both working flawlessly.  I'm still in awe of how easy it is to set up, and use.  The download speeds continue to be between 50 and 100 mbps.  We continue to be asymptomatic to you know what

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Easy Friday......

6:49 am - Saturday - January 21st - GNHS - 42° F, humidity 61%, wind 7 mph out of the north by northeast.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 64° F.  On this date in 2013 TLE and I were picking up our 2002 Thunderbird from a Ford dealership in Chiefland, FL where they replaced two ignition coils....sound familiar?  I had forgotten about this.....they charged close to $800 to do the repair....I replaced two on the VW myself for under $100......↴


Friday was an easy rental day for us.  We had just one rental scheduled at 10 am for a 2 seater (KRX) for a 2 hour tour to two ladies, who happened to be twins.  They are vacationing here from upstate NY (Livingston).  They drove in from Yucca Valley around 9:30 am, and by 9:45 am they were on their way.  All we had to do was be available if they needed rescuing, and when they returned....the perfect, non-stressful rental day!

I'm going to have to pause here as I need to get dressed for work (Saturday)....we have three all day rentals (3 RZRs) going out at potentially 8 am, and need to be ready for the arrival of our customers. I'll finish later this morning after they've left on their tours.

9:45 pm: Well, I obviously did not get back to writing my blog today, and I apologize.  The day just kind of got away from me.  Anyway, there was not much to Friday, other than the fact that I managed to get in another soak at the hot springs.  I utilized one of the individual tubs, and spent about 45 minutes mellowing out quite nicely, and then spent about 15 minutes air drying in one of the pool side chairs before walking home.

Of course, it was Bacon Friday, and TLE made salsa scrambled eggs for dinner to accompany the peppered bacon, and there was a side of sourdough toast and honey.  To chase everything she made me a batch of Margaritas.

Thanks for stopping by!