Saturday, December 31, 2022

6 out of 7.......

 6:28 am - Saturday - New Years Eve - GNHS - 49° F, 100% humidity, wind 6 mph out of the southeast......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 63° F.....chance of rain this evening.  On this date in 2015 TLE and I joined our kids out at Ocotillo Wells to ring in the New Year....that's us in the red circle......↴


What a day Friday was.....we began the day with 4 bookings....not a bad day....and then added two 'walkups' for a total of 6 rentals.....4 RZRs and 2 KRXs.....3 were all day rentals, 2 were half day, and one for 2 hours.  We opened the office at 7:30 am, and I don't think either of us stopped to take a break until after 11 am.  The 2 hour rental returned just after 12 pm, and we were once again busy for the rest of the afternoon. 

I stayed busy staging one UTV after another, and when I wasn't doing that I was reinstalling the drive belt on RZR #4 so we could rent it, too.  It takes about 12-15 minutes to stage each UTV...it must be driven to the departure area, where I check the oil levels, adding oil as needed, air pressure levels in all 5 tires, adding air when needed, make sure the dust has been blown out of each air filter, and then check to be sure each satellite tracker is working properly.  Once that is done then I must review the safety instructions with each driver, which takes another 4-5 minutes.  

On installing the new drive belt in RZR #4, I had to call Kyle for assistance after struggling for 20 minutes to do the job.  A special tool is required, which is included in the tools we were given by Bob and Casey, but it doesn't work very well.  Kyle has a tool he bought, which does the same thing, but is easier to use.  Once Kyle arrived with his tool it took less than 2 minutes to install the belt.  I went on Amazon and found the tool he has for $9, so I ordered it.  I need to be able to install those belts myself, as Kyle is not always available.

Once all 6 UTVs were out in the field TLE and I spent much of our time answering questions from more 'walkup' folks, and I think TLE ended up booking two of them for Saturday and Sunday.  

By 3 pm three of the rentals had returned, and by 4:30 pm all had returned.  I had the final 3 washed, fueled and put away by 5:30 pm....while I washed, TLE drove them down to the fuel station, otherwise I would not have finished until closer to 6....thank you TLE!

As I type I know that all 7 of our UTVs are booked for today, Saturday, and we both know it will be another very busy day.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 30, 2022

Running behind......

 6:31 am - Friday - December 30th - GNHS - 47° F, humidity 90%, wind 5 mph out of the southeast......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 65°F.  On this date in 2012 we had just arrived at Cedar Key, FL for the second time in less than a year....the beginnings of my yard light fetish are becoming evident......↴


.....the view this morning.......



I'm running late this morning, and we've got 5 rentals going out by 8 am, so I will return later this morning to finish the blog.

Okay, we've got six rentals out this morning (Friday), and now I'm able to get back to finishing today's installment of our life, such as it is.  Thursday we had no rental reservations to begin the day, but by the end of the morning we had two RZRs rented to 'walkup' customers.  Casey (who left for the airport Thursday morning with Torri) called me mid morning and asked me to remove the clutch housing cover on #4 and check out the belt, advising the customer who rented it Wednesday said a check engine light came on while they were out.  Upon removal of the clutch cover it became apparent why the check engine light came on......

The section of the belt to the left is how the outside of the belt should look, and the section on the right is ¡no bueno!

....the belt was beginning to come apart, as you can see above.  I next removed the bad belt by cutting it out, and then called Kyle to let him know we needed to install a new belt....he has a  special tool which makes the process 100% easier......

New Polaris drive belt ready for installation

......once that was done I went back to detailing some of the RZRs which had gone out Wednesday.

The weather was pretty overcast much of the day, and it looked like it might rain at some point, but no moisture was forthcoming......



.....by late afternoon the sun came out lighting up the Chocolate Mountains to the north....


....both RZRs were back by 4 pm, and by 4:30 pm they were both washed and refueled for Friday.

TLE and I watched the final 4 episodes of 'Jack Ryan' on Amazon (8 episodes in all for Season 3), and thoroughly enjoyed them.  If you are looking for something to 'binge watch' over New Years, or any time for that matter, check out 'Jack Ryan' on Amazon Prime.  There are thee season in all now.

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, December 29, 2022

Walkin', ridin' and soakin'..........

6:30 am - Thursday - December 29th - GNHS - 54° F, humidity 100%, wind 5 mph out of the south by southeast.....cloudy today with a forecast high of 64° F.  On this date in 2011 TLE and I were riding our Tadpole Recumbent Trikes (Terratrikes) on the Pacific Electric Trail near Rialto, CA....we were just a block from the Fontana/Rialto Elks Lodge, which we would join years later.......↴ 



.....and the view this morning....... 


So weird to wake up to rain soaked ground here at GNHS.  The rain overnight was long enough, and steady enough that the VW was still wet, so I went outside to wipe her down before the sun came up, and turned the moisture into water spots.  It was surprisingly warm at 7 am, which portended a pleasant, balmy day, which it was.

Even though Wednesday was not a work day for us, we are, obviously, within 20 feet of all the action, and there was a lot of action Wednesday for Casey and Torrie.....4 RZRs went out, and one KRX.  On the maintenance front, Kyle replaced the clutch in RZR #10, and all five tires on KRX #5.  It had become difficult to put RZR #10 into park, which is a sign of a clutch going bad.  Additionally, as you know, we've had an inordinate number of flat tires on the KRXs, so when Casey drove down to COYNE in El Centro on Tuesday he bought 5 new tires to see if they would do a better job surviving the local terrain.  The old tires were 6 ply, and the new ones are 10 ply, which we are hoping will make the difference.  In the mean time, all the tires Kyle removed from #5 can now be used to replace any irreparable tires on the other two KRXs

About mid morning TLE and I took a walk around the park....

The view from the top of 'snob hill'

.....and around 11 am I decided, for the first time since we arrived at GNHS, to take a ride on my Haibike SDURO down Mineral Hot Spa Road to Highway 111 and back.  It is exactly 3.76 miles from my trailer to the turn around at Highway 111, so I rode 7.52 miles in about 31 minutes.  I would have preferred to ride my Cannondale Bad Boy, but Mineral Hot Spa Road is extremely rough....emphasis on the word EXTRMELY.....so I chose to ride the full suspension bike to smooth out the ride.

After my return TLE and I sat down with Casey and Torrie for some chips, salsa and conversation.  We wanted to know what their future plans are for GNHS, and much to our delight we found out they definitely plan to return next year with all brand new UTVs!  We told them if they came back we would definitely come back, too.  So, at least tentatively, we will plan to return next winter, and if all the stars align as we hope, we will leave from here to finally make the drive to Alaska in the spring and summer of 2024.  There is still a lot water to pass under the proverbial bridge, but that is our long term plan.

After such great news I headed down to the hot pools to take a nice, long soak.  The large hot pool was the perfect temperature, and it was devoid of other homo sapiens, so it was the obvious choice.  I like the individual tubs, but it takes about 10 minutes to get one filled, and at the right temperature, so if the large hot pool is available, and hot enough I can get to soaking much more quickly.

TLE created some amazing hot pastrami sandwiches on marble rye for our dinner fare, and then we watched the first 4 episodes of the 3rd season of Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime.....by the bye.....it is very good, and so were the hot pastrami sandwiches!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Tooling along.....

7:24 am - Wednesday - December 28th - GNHS - 55° F, 87% humidity, wind 6 mph out of the south.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 70° F......rained on and off most of last night, but beautiful today!  On this date in 2018 TLE and I were stopped at a Rest Area south of Atlanta in the rain......the absolute worst driving day we have ever had in almost 11 years.....torrential rain, and extremely (worse than normal, which is horrible on any day) bad Atlanta traffic......↴


Tuesday I was still tired from the Christmas weekend, and actually took two long naps during the day.  The entire day was heavily overcast, which was in line with the forecat rain later in the evening.  One thing we have noticed since we arrived at GNHS is that if the weather forecast shows anything over 24% chance of rain it will most likely rain, but on days when the likelihood of rain is guessed to be over 50% it will not rain....weird.  Anyway, the forecast called for 24% chance of rain Tuesday evening, and we got rain just after we went to bed.  The cloud cover was so heavy it looked like dusk at 2 pm, when, in fact, dusk was still 2.5 hours in the future.

When I wasn't napping I was puttering around in the trailer with my tool bags, and specifically the large tool bag, which is supposed to be for LARGE tools.  It is quite large, and there is so much in there I forget what is actually in there, so I removed all the tools, and then separated out all non large tool items....

Now there is plenty of room in the large tool bag for the large tools

This is some of the stuff I removed from the large tool tool bag

....and this is the rest

.....surprisingly this kept me busy for quite a long time.  Now I need to sort through the other two smaller tool bags to get all the non-tool stuff out of them, too....



.....and then I will need to find some other place for that stuff....lol.

When we were at Stater Brothers on Monday we bought some marinated chicken kabobs to grill, and TLE decided Tuesday evening was the time for that so around 5 pm I lit the Sea-B-Que and grilled 5 kabobs....no we didn't eat all 5 kabobs Tuesday night....there are almost two left, so there will be another meal out of what is left over.

We still have recorded Hallmark Christmas movies in the DVR queue, so we watched a couple more to close out the evening festivities.  We'll have one more day off before we go back to work on Thursday.  This is the first time we've had 3-4 days off in a row since we began working for COA, and we owe a debt of thanks to Casey and Torrie for flying down from Durango over Christmas to give us a break.  Not that this job is hard, it really isn't most of the time except when I have to go out on a rescue, but even that is not too hard....so far.  It's just nice to have 4 days off work in a row....we really got used to that this past summer at Likely Place Golf and RV Resort.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The day after.....

 7:53 am - Tuesday - December 27th - GNHS - 55° F, humidity 51% wind 3 mph out of the south by southeast......cloudy today with a forecast high of 68° F.  On this date in 2017 TLE and I hiked the Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon 5 miles down to Indian Garden with our good friend Art Young.....I didn't know it at the time, but I had had a stroke earlier that morning.....↴

Lunch at Indian Gardens

On the way back to the rim

Often TLE and I do not sleep well in strange beds, but we did sleep well in the guest room bed at Sharon and Rod's home.  We were up around 7 am the day after Christmas, and spent a few hours visiting with Sharon and her son Brayden (Rod had to work) before loading the VW with our clothes bags to begin the 2+ hour drive home, which would include stops in La Quinta to do some grocery shopping at the local Stater Brothers (the home of the wonderful pepper bacon), then Trader Joe's, and finally the COSTCO fuel station to top off our tank.  

We arrived at Stater Brothers in a little over an hour.  While TLE was acquiring more produce I headed over to the meat counter to buy a few pounds of the aforemetnioned pepper bacon, and this is what I found.....


.....a brief moment of fear gripped me when I saw there was barely a pound in the tray.  I asked the nice buther man if that was all, to which he replied "no, there is more in the back"....whew!  Disaster averted....lol!

From Staters we headed across Highway 111 to Trader Joe's, and then back east on 111 to Supercuts where I had planned to get a post Christmas haircut, but it would be a 45+ minute wait, and I just wanted to get home as soon as possible, so I forewent a haircut for another week.  

Next stop was the COSTCO fuel station where we took on around 8 gallons of Premium Unleaded at $4.09/gallon.....not too bad.  Once we were back on our way it was around 12:20 pm, and we knew we would be home in about 45 minutes.

There were rentals on Monday, however, we did not have to worry about them as one of our bosses and his girlfriend flew down from Denver Xmas Eve to take over for us from 12/25 to 12/28 to give us a break so we could spend Christmas with our kids.  As we arrived home they were sending out two RZRs for the afternoon.  Knowing we did not have to worry about any rescues, or wash them in the dark was a nice feeling.

We both spent time with Casey and Torrie (boss and girlfriend) going over the COA operation here at GNHS, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing.  We closed out the day after Christmas with an evening fire....a nice way to end a busy weekend.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 26, 2022

Merry Christmas!

 7:49 pm - Monday - December 26th - GNHS - 61° F, humidity 47%, wind 3 mph out of the northeast....it is dark now, but it was a clear, blue, sunny kind of day....the high was 74° F.  On this date in 2019 we were at the home of my odest child, Chris, and his amazing wife, Rochelle clelebrating Christmas that year.  There are 19 people in this picture from 3 years ago, and and adding in Elijah (Kate's oldest child), and Jameson (granddaughter Cynthia's youngest) who were not present, there were 21 as of Xmas 2019.   As of this Christmas my grandson Christoper is in a long term relationship with a wonderful woman, Zoey, a lady if you will, daughter, Kate, has a added new son, Levy, and daughter-in-law, Laila has added another daughter, Bowie, brings the total to 24.  Twenty-four people who would not be related to each other, or in this picture except for Elaine accepting my proposal 51 years ago......a concept which is difficult for me to wrap my 73 year old brain around, but it is reality, nonetheless.......↴


.....unfortunately, this Christmas Kate and her family (6 people) were not able to be present at Chris' home as Nick (her husband) tested positive for the Wuhan flu, and Tim, Laila, Crosby and Bowie moved to Georgia this year (4 more people), but here are random pictures taken at  from the 2022 edition of the Hockwald Christmas at Chris and Rochelle's home.....


Left to Right: Chris, Chris, moi, Rod and Daniel


The Amazing Rochelle (TAR) and I.....she reads my blog faithfully each and every day

Left to right: TLE, Meredith, Zoey, Cynthia, Sharon and Rochelle

Left to right, back row: Chris, Rochelle, Zoey (a great pcture of her), Chris, Daniel and Cynthia


.....TLE began our drive north and west to Chris and Rochelle's home Christmas morning around 7 am, and arrived without event around 9 am.  The roads were deserted, and the air was so, so clear on this Christmas morning.....


.....we spent around 6 hours at Chris and Rochelle's home eating great food, opening presents, and taking many pictures.  Soon it was time to head to the home of Rod and Sharon (daughter) where we would spend a lovely evening watching Christmas movies.....A Christmas Story, Elf, and Christmas Vacation before heading off to dreamland around 10 pm.  Needless to say TLE and I were very happy, and very tired.

Merry Christmas to all of you, and yours, and thank you so much for stopping by!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Not sorry.....

 5:28 am - Christmas - December 25th - Glamis North Hot Springs, CA - 55° F, humidity 56%, wind 4 mph out of the west by northwest......still dark, so I have no idea if it is clear, or cloudy, but the forecast indicates it will be a crystal clear, blue, sunny day with a high of 75° F.  I'm right on the edge of feeling guilty when I realize that most of the country is in the 'deep freeze', and thousands are stuck at airports trying to get home for Christmas, while dealing with thousands of cancelled flights.  Like I said, I'm on the edge of feeling guilty enjoying balmy 70+ degree days, and night time lows in the mid 50's, but I don't really think I'll get there....'there' meaning I will feel guilty, and I'm not sorry....lol!  I have the blessing of choosing where to spend my winters, and summers, and the weather we have right now is why we are spending the winter here at Glamis North Hot Springs.

Oh, by the way, we're up so early because we will be driving into the Pomona Valley to spend Christmas day with family and friends, and we will be leaving to make the drive around 7 am.  We'll be back at GNHS sometime Monday, and I will write about our Christmas experience then.

On this date in 2018 we flew back to SoCal from Nashville and were spending Christmas with our kids at the home of our son, Chris, which is where we will be in a few hours from now......↴


We only had 5 bookings for Christmas Eve.....4 RZRs, and 1 KRX....basically to the same group we had on Friday.  After two rescues for broken drive belts on Friday we were both a little gun shy about Saturday, however, as it turned out Saturday was the complete opposite of Friday....not one peep from any of our customers, and they all returned on time with no damage whatsoever.

In between the morning, and when they returned in the afternoon I kept busy washing one left over KRX from Friday, plus TLE and I had to drive the 5 UTV's which we had rented down to the fuel station at 7 am to get them ready for departure at 8 am for all day excursions.  I actually got to sit down at 12 pm for lunch, and even took a nap.  Just before the rentals began to return I captured a picture of the Chocolate Mountains being lit up by the late afternoon sun.....


.....I was able to get the 4 RZRs and 1 KRX washed and fueled up by 5:30 pm, once again finishing the last one in the dark, and was inside the Newell relaxing by 5:45 pm.  After a shower, and dinner TLE and I sat down to watch one of our favorite Christmas movies, Christmas in Connnecticut starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan and Sydney Greenstreet made in 1945, right at the end of WW2.  We were in bed before 10 pm in anticipation of our early day today.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Doh!

6:42 am - Christmas Eve - December 24th - GNHS - 50° F, humidity 64%, wind 4 mph out of the south......crystal clear, blue, sunny skies this morning with a forecast high of 74° F.  On this date in 2013 Rod proposed to our daughter, Sharon.  He is a good man, and I am proud to call him son......↴ 


Friday was our biggest rental day yet with all seven UTV's going out in the morning.....

They're all gone!

As I told TLE, the more rentals you have in the field the greater the odds are that it is not if, but when will you get a call for a resecue.  Our first call came around 11:40 am from one of the RZR customers......their engine would start, and run, but the RZR (#5) would not move.  Not knowing what the problem was I headed out in the Kawasaki Mule to tow the RZR back.  It took me about 20 minutes to reach them as they were almost to the Bat Caves.  Upon arrival it became clear that the problem was a broken drive belt, so I hooked up our tow strap and towed them back to the office where Kyle met me, and confirmed my diagnosis.  He was able to replace the drive belt in about 20 minutes, and they were back on their way.

By this time it was around 1 pm, and I had not had lunch.  I was just telling TLE I was going to get a bite to eat when the rescue phone rang again.....doh!  Another broken belt....this time on RZR #4.  This time I called Kyle and he made his way over to the office where both jumped in the Mule and headed out to the train trestle, which is about 15 miles away.  It took us about 30 minutes to arrive, and within 20 minutes Kyle had the belt replaced on #4.....they continued on their tour, and we returned to the office, arriving there just after 3 pm.  

Once again I told TLE I was going inside to get a bite, and just as I turned to head into the Newell the two Kawasaki KRX rentals returned.....they had a flat tire, which they changed out in the field, but I needed to check the flat tire to see if it could be plugged, or if we had to charge them for a ruined tire.  By the time I made that determination (it could not be plugged....the hole was way too big), the RZR group began to return, so instead of getting a bite to eat I just began to wash each unit, and put them away.  By the time I finished with all 7 UTVs it was 5:30 pm, and pitch black.

I worked 9.5 hours straight Friday without a break, or anything to eat.....what a crazy, fun, perplexing day it was!  We've now had 4 flats on the KRXs, and none on the RZRs, but we've had 3 belts fail on the RZRs.  According to Kyle they've only had one RZR belt fail in 3 years, and now we've had 3 in two months.

Needless to say, I was one tired puppy when TLE and I stepped back inside our Newell sanctuary.  I took a very hot shower, put on some pajamas, and sat down to enjoy and adult beverage.  TLE served peppered bacon and scrambled eggs with some sourdough toast for dinner (I forgot it was bacon Friday), watched a few of my favorite YouTube channels, and was in bed before 10 pm.  What will Christmas Eve bring?

Thank for stopping by!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Here comes the Christmas weekend!

6:31 am - Friday - December 23rd - GNHS - 42° F, humidity 60%, wind 4 mph out of the southeast......crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 70° F.  On this date in 2016 we were attempting to leave our friend's home (Tom and Darlene McCloud) in Wittmann, AZ to drive back to SoCal for a funeral when we found our way back to pavement blocked by flooding......↴


We had one unpaid booking for Thursday, plus we had a call from another prospective customer, but neither of them showed up.  It would have been nice if they had called to advise they changed their minds as we opened the office at 8 am just for them.  In spite of that I was kept busy by washing three of the RZR's including #2, which Kyle was able to repair with the parts I picked up from COYNE on Wednesday, plus changing a tire on one of the Kawasakis.  Kyle, by the way, is a certified Polaris mechanaic, and he knows his stuff.  He had to remove 2/3's of the roll cage to replace the right front fender and mud flap, and the 'B' pillar portion of the roll cage itself.  He also replaced the passenger side doors, the entire roof, and the right rear mud flap, and he did it all in less than 5 hours......


.....he began working on the RZR around 9 am, and I took this picture around 11:30 am.....within another 2 hours he was finished.....I am impressed.

With the roof off I was able to get a picture of the 'C' pillar showing damage almost on top of the RZR, which adds further credence to our theory that the customer rollled the RZR....those dents were not visible with the roof in place....


.....once we had RZR #2 back I took time to blow out all seven air filters as they are all rented, and paid for Friday.  This will be the first time since we began running the rental operation that all 7 units will be out on the same day.  Essentially all 7 are rented for 'all day' excursions.  With all of them rented the odds increase dramatically that one will have a breakdown, a crash, a flat tire, or whatever, and I will be out in the Kawasaki Mule to the rescue. If not for the honor I'd just as soon pass....fingers crossed, and loud knocking on wood as I write.

I finished my work around 3 pm.  TLE only worked 3 hours Thursday tending to office stuff, but I was kept busy for 5 hours by the necessary grunt work required to get all 7 units ready for Friday.  The park is filling quickly, and should be at, or near maximum capacity by Friday evening.....one can hear the noise level slowly rising, and soon no dropping pins will be heard for a few days.  I managed to go for a soak in one of the hot tubs for about 40 minutes between 3 and 4 pm.....soaking in mineral water heated to106° F temp virtually eliminates any aches and pains I may have, and I love that I have access to those healing waters whenever I need it.  As I continue to add years to my life those aches and pains become more persistent.

For dinner TLE added a new entrĂ©e to her repetoir......grits and shrimp.  WOW!  That girl can cook!  I wish I had taken a picture of the plate she placed before me.  I guess grits and shrimp is very popular in the south, and I loved it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Coincidence, or destiny?

 7:24 am - Thursday - December 22nd - GNHS - 44° F, humidity 57%, wind 2 mph out of the south by southeast......high, whispy clouds today with a forecast high of 69° F.  On this date in 2018 TLE and I were visiting the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY......↴


Suits her, doesn't it?

My favorite one

As you will recall I've been waiting for the delivery of the 3rd suction cup to stabilize the new flag pole.  It, along with 4 new 3" stainles steel hose clamps, arrived Tuesday afternoon while we were on our way home from San Diego.  Once that one was installed it was my intent to move the Starlink dishy from its present location on the front of the trailer to the flag pole at the rear of the trailer to mitigate the obstruction by the large tree right next to the front of the trailer, which was causing momentary internet outages when streaming TV.  After I installed the new suction cup, and then added a cargo strap as an extra precaution I completely changed my mind on the placement of the Starlink dishy, and installed it on the roof of the office where the COA Starlink is currently situatted......


....I do plan to eventually install the dish on the flag pole, but I want more time to be sure the suction cups won't fail.  Instead I moved my pirate flag to the new flag pole, and added our Christmas flag, which I had forgotten to fly earlier in December as I usually do.....



.....we'll see how the pole does when it gets windy, but in the mean time the dishy is now free from obstructions, and works great!

Also, upon our return to GNHS from our trip to San Diego Tuesay, I found a box of new trackers had arrived from the Durango office of COA.  We've been short a couple of trackers for a few weeks, so I spent part of the morning installng two of the three trackers in #2, and in the Mule.  Now we have one extra tracker should one disappear.  Previously, all the trackers were affixed to each UTV utilizing industrial grade VELCRO, but that was not fool proof as we lost one.  To alleviate this problem I installed eah one permanently.....



.....using a clip which comes with each tracker, and then drilling 4 holes, and affixing it to the UTV with 4 stainless steel screws.....you can see the old VELCRO in the first picture in the foreground.

For a non-work day Wednesday was a very busy day.  I washed two of the KRX's we rented on Sunday, I fueled up another KRX, and I left to drive down to El Centro around 3 pm to pick up the new parts at COYNE, which will be used to fix the damage to #2 RZR caused by the roll over a couple of weeks ago.  I didn't get back from El Centro until after 5:30 pm.

If you love serendipty, you'll love this little story!  Back on December 17th of 2020 when we were traveling with Glenn and Laureen (brother and sister-in-law) during the first stages of the Wuhan Flu we were in Durango, CO looking for a restaurant at which to have lunch.  As you will recall, very few restaurants were open then, and those that were open were only serving takeout......no 'dining in' was allowed.  We found an open restaurant called the Balcony Bar and Grill where we purchased hamburgers and beer, but we still had no place to eat them other than the car.....that was a non-starter.  I had noticed when we parked our cars down the street that there was some sort of sports equipment rental kiosk, which was closed due to the Wuhan Flu, which had a table and four chairs so we walked back down there and sat at that table......


.....I took this 'usie' of us eating lunch.  The building to my left is a Thai restaurant, and to my right, though you cannot see it, was the kiosk.....as it turns out that kiosk belongs to Colorado Outback Adventures.....our employers, and that is their table!  You can see the VW Beetle in the background.  Is that cool, or what?  Coincidence, or destiny?

Well, anyway that was our Wednesday, and now begins the Christmas rush.  We have two rentals going out Thursday, then 6 on Friday, and Saturday, so we will be busy for sure!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The heart of the matter.....

7:42 am - Wednesday - December 21st - GNHS - 39° F, 55% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the southwest....crystal clear, blue, chilly, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 69° F.  On this date in 2017 TLE and I awoke to snow on the ground during our stint at the Grand Canyon.....↴


My cardiology appointment was scheduled for 9:45 am Tuesday.  Of course, sleeping in a strange place is never a formula for sound sleep, plus that strange place was in the middle of Poway, CA with all the attendant city noises.  Where we live (GNHS) you can hear a pin drop at night it is so quiet.  The more time we spend in extremely rural America the more difficult it is to return to to urban America, and quality of sleep is just one of the things to which we must adjust.  There is also the mind numbing traffic on local freeways, and streets.  Most of the streets in Poway are at least six lanes wide (3 in each direction), and when you come to any intersection there are usually 2-3 left turn lanes.....crazy! Anyway, excuse the digression, my point is we were awake early....over three hours before my appointment.  We don't eat breakfast as you know, and it was way TOO cold to take a walk to pass the time, so I did something I haven't done for a while.....sat and read a book....lol.

Our hotel room was very nice, but we were glad to be on our way around 9 am, and arrived at Palomar Health around 9:10 am....way, way early for my 9:45 am appointment.  For the first time since we drove down to Reno last April to get lab work done for my cardiologist, we were required to wear masks inside a facility......weird feeling!  I was called by the nurse to move from the waiting room to the small room around 9:40 am, and by 9:50 am Dr. Mulvihill made his entrance.  He went over my labs, remarked that my cholesterol was perfect, checked my heart with his stethescope, and then pronounced me fit for another year.  It has been just over 3.5 years since my heart attack, and frankly I've never felt better....something for which to be extremely grateful.

We were back in the VW by a few minutes after 10 am, and on our way to the local COSTCO to fill up our tank.  We were surprised to find premium unleaded selling for 4.25/gallon....not bad!  That, however, is not the best price we've paid recently.  When TLE drove down to Brawley last Friday to have her wounded finger checked she filled up in Calipatria on the way back for $3.99/gallon.

Once our tank was full again we began the drive back to GNHS.  We decided to drive back on Highway 78 through Ramona, Santa Ysabel, Ranchita, and Borrego Springs, and are really glad we chose that route as there was NO traffic at all.  On the way through Ramona we stopped off at Ramona Oaks RV Resort just out of curiosity to see how it looked after 3 years, and were very pleased to find the park being well maintained by the new owners, and at about 95% occupancy (it is mostly full of full time occupants)....the fullest we've ever seen it.

From there it was a little over an hour to Borrego Springs.....we stopped briefly at the top of Montezuma Grade and took a picture of the valley where Borrego Springs is located.....



....then it was a race down the 8% grade to Borrego Springs and the Red Ocotillo for lunch....it was just 12 pm, so perfect timing.....



.....we were able to order breakfast for lunch, so we did.....we love breakfast for lunch!  By the time we finished and made a quick stop at the Frugal Coyote thrift store it was 1:30 pm and we had 81 miles to go.  We figured we would be home by 3 pm, and we were!  Nothing like a completely uneventful overnight trip, and almost 400 miles traveled with no issues.

We were only gone around 29 hours, but it seemed like three days....lol....nice to be home and sleep in our own bed where pins can be heard dropping.....I wish they'd stop dropping those pins, though....lol!

Thanks for stopping by!