Tuesday, February 28, 2023

No more Sun......

7:18 am - Tuesday - February 28th - GNHS - 43° F, humidity 60%, wind 4 mph out of the south by southwest.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 63° F.  On this date in 2013 TLE and I were in St. Augustine, FL dry camping at a local RV resort......↴

Here comes the sun - Beatles

I find myself in a holding pattern once again. I can't swing a golf club until I get the stitches removed from my latest outpatient surgery, and I cannot workout, either, for the same reason.  If fact, there area  lot of activities that must be put on hold awaiting suture removal.  Nurse TLE, following close examination of the wound,  informs me that I am 24-48 hours away from suture removal, and, therefore, being free to be active once again.

The LED light over the sink recently decided to begin its death spiral, which is disappointing since we've only had it a couple of years, so I checked Amazon to order a replacement, but the ETA for delivery was sometime in mid March, so I sourced a different manufacturer for something similar, and received it in 4 days.  It was significantly smaller, and not quite as bright as the failing one, but that's okay, because we both thought the failing one was a tad too bright.  TLE's nickname for it was 'THE SUN'....lol.  It was perfect if you were doing micro surgery and needed lots of light, but too bright to leave on all the time.  Here is a picture of that light.....

.....now, here is the new one.....

....as you can see, it is not as bright, and about 1/3 the size.  For the first time in a couple of years we don't feel compelled to turn it off when we are done using it.  We've had the new light for over a week, but I have been dragging my feet to remove the old one, and install the new one.  Why?  Well, originally there was a fluorescent fixture which left a large hole when it was removed.  The old light perfectly covered that hole, but I knew the new one would not, so I would need to cover that hole before installing the much smaller fixture....

.....I knew I had a piece of 1/8" plywood that was about the right size to cover the hole, and provide a good mounting surface for the new light, but I've had it hanging around the trailer for a decade, and it was a little rough, and, therefore, would need some work to improve its appearance.  All that aside, TLE began to press me a couple of days ago about replacing the old, occasionally flickering LED fixture, and this is something I could do without a lot of exertion, so I decided to do the project mid morning Monday.

I have a Makita vibrating sander so I got it out of 'mothballs', and sanded the plywood surface, then applied a coat of clear urethane (spray can) to seal it, then installed it using 6 brass, Phillips head screws.  I drilled a hole for the wiring, then installed the light.  In all it took about 2 hours beginning to end, but turned out nicely.  What's more important is TLE likes the new installation.  On my part, I got use some tools I haven't used for a while.

I've got four more projects which need my attention: 1) Finish cleaning the rear, and passenger side of the Newell, 2) Remove the sewer dump valve on the passenger side and install the new gasket and paddle, 3) Finish the replacement of the 3/4" plywood flooring in the bathroom, and, finally, 4) Install the new vinyl plank flooring throughout the Newell.  We've got about 5-6 weeks before we depart GNHS, and that is when I want to be finished with those four projects.

We headed back out to the 'lido deck' Monday evening to play a game of 'Phase 10'.  It was a back and forth affair, and we were tied 'Phase wise' entering the last Phase, where TLE won going away.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 27, 2023

Sunday vacuum.....

 7:41 am - Monday - February 27th - GNHS - 40° F, humidity 69%, wind 3 mph out of the south.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 65° F.  On this date in 2020 TLE and I were hiking with good friends Rich and Marnie Aaron (former bosses at Ramona Oaks RV Resort) up to see the famous rock snake sculpture near Borrego Springs, CA (just off Rock House Road)......↴

You can see part of the rock snake sculpture in the background

We had no advanced bookings for Sunday, and as we opened the COA office at 9 am we saw one RV after another exiting GNHS to head back to their workaday lives....the 'Sunday vacuum effect'.  There were not many RV's in the park to begin with this weekend, and the few that were here were leaving in droves, so the odds of a 'walkup' customer became less and less likely with each departing RV.  The view looking down the Salton Sink to the Salton Sea was beautiful Sunday morning.....

.....lots of snow on the mountains in the distance.   

Since it had sprinkled and rained most of Saturday the once clean UTV's we did not rent Saturday were dirty once again, so I spent about an hour wiping them all down....even KRX #8 (bad electric fan).  I then drove the one RZR we did rent on Saturday down to the fuel station to top off its half empty fuel tank.  Once that was done I was out of things to do for COA, so I turned my attention to the sad condition of our Newell exterior.  

I think I cleaned the passenger side a few months ago, but have never gotten to the driver side, plus the front windshield had a couple of months of windblown desert dust upon it, and that is where I began.  I managed to get the passenger side window, and siding below it done, plus the front, including the windshield, and the left siding done to the back of the driver window.  By then it was getting warm, so I decided to defer the balance of the driver side back to the left rear corner until it was back in the shade.  By 3 pm the drive side was completely in the shade so I returned to my task finishing back to the left rear corner a little after 4 pm.....

I took this picture this morning (Monday)

....in between the morning and afternoon cleaning session I watched some of round 4 of the Honda Classic PGA tour event in Florida.  There was a two way tie for first at the end of 72 holes, which led to a one hole playoff in which the eventual winner, Charles Kirk, made a birdie put to win.  It's always fun when a tournament goes into overtime.

We had a windless evening so TLE and headed out to the 'lido deck' for the first time in over a week to play 6 games of Yahtzee.  We turned on the Pandora channel on our garage Roku TV and listened to the 'Etta James' channel whilst we played.  I was ahead 3 games to 2 beginning the 6th game, which ended in a dead heat.....114 to 114......we each rolled a single 'die' to break the tie....she rolled '1' and I a '4'.  Like I've said repeatedly, Yahtzee involves over 90% luck, and 10%, or less, skill.  By the time we finished it was 7 pm, so we headed inside to watch another episode of 'Vera' on BritBox.  Each season has four 90 minute episodes, and we are now into season 7 of 12 total seasons.    We are totally captivated with this series, and highly recommend it to you if you happen to like murder mysteries, which actually make you think.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 26, 2023

'All Day....."

 6:56 am - Sunday - February 26th - GNHS - 37° F, humidity 84%, wind 2 mph out of the west.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 62° F.  On this date in 2015 TLE and I were in Pasadena, CA at Dog Haus Biergarten having dinner with family.....↴

Left to right:  Moi, my brother Philip, his wife Jeannie, Glenn (brother-in-law), Laureen (TLE's sister), TLE, and TLE's other sister, Phyllis

The weather Saturday was forecast to be rainy, and rainy it was.  Most of the time it was just a heavy sprinkle, but for about an hour it actually rained with puddles forming on the ground.  Not exactly a day conducive to UTV operation, but we did have one 'All Day' rental for one of our 4 seat RZRs.  Our 'All Day' customers arrived just before 8 am to complete the extensive paperwork, and by 8:20 am they were on their way. We warned them about the forecast, and to be observant of rain in the mountains to the north of us.  Most of their morning tour would be up Bradshaw wash, and a wash is not were one wants to be if it is raining where you are, or in the mountains that rim the wash....think 'flash flood'.

By 9 am it began to sprinkle, sometimes lightly, and sometimes harder, but mostly sprinkling.  The sound made by the sprinkles can sound more like rain on our riveted aircraft aluminum roof, but it was just sprinkling.  The customers made it all the way to 'Annie's Cabin', which is about 15 miles away from the COA office, where they hung out for 30-40 minutes while it rained.

Mean time I had time on my hands so I decided to test out my new oscillating saw.....


......the blade vibrates (oscillates) at very high speed enabling one to cut through wood, or metal in tight places, such as under the bathroom sink.  I was able to cut out about 2" of bad wood in the picture below, but I need to go another 2" into the cabinet to get all the bad wood....

....I was able to square up the cuts outside the cabinet (below)......

....and cut out the bad wood along the passenger side wall below the window....

......next I'll have to remove the carpet (see below) to get at the bad wood under the toilet.....

 .....I worked for about an hour to get that much done, and will continue working at it until I am satisfied I have removed all of the cancerous wood.  Once that is done I'll cut a new piece of 3/4" plywood to fit the space, then we can begin to remove the rest of the vinyl flooring in the living area in preparation for the new vinyl planks!

Our customers returned to GNHS around 1 pm for about 90 minutes before heading out to the 'Bat Caves', and then returning to the COA office around 5 pm....right on time.  They had a great time in spite of the less than optimal conditions.  Once we had bid our adieus I drove RZR #4 over to the wash station, blasted all the mud off of it, and had it back in the parking area by 5:20 pm.  It was a cold, blustery, winter day, and within minutes I was taking a long, hot shower.  

Sunday promises to be the opposite of Saturday with lots of sun, and no wind.  Hoping we get a walkup on Sunday, but we shall see.  North and west of us it has been raining for days now, and yesterday it snowed below 1,000' elevation over much of the Pomona Valley, so what little rain we have had is quite minor by comparison, and we continue to be thankful for our winter location.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 25, 2023


 6:39 am - Real Saturday - February 25th - GNHS - 53° F, humidity 74%, wind 11 mph out of the east by southeast......partly cloudy skies today with a forecast high of 57° F.....possible rain this afternoon.  On this date in 2022 I was getting ready to replace the two thermostats on the big Detroit Diesel 6v92......↴

There were 'nada' advance bookings for Friday, so we did not open the office until 9 am.  There is always something to keep me busy, and Friday was no exception.  I drove the COA van over to the wash station and spent the better part of an hour washing, and detailing it, then using Lysol wipes I cleaned the table upon which all of my COA gear rests each rental day, using the same wipes I cleaned the Sea-B-Que table, and the picnic table on the 'lido deck', I blew all the wind driven debris from the recent wind event off the artificial turf, and surrounding patio areas, and talked to a couple of folks about future rentals.  If we have no rentals by 12 pm we close the office for the day, which we did this day, and 12 pm rolls around pretty quickly if you stay busy, which I managed to do.  

The winds continued to blow most of the day Friday, but never got over 17 mph, plus they continued to be mostly out of the west.  We found out that south of us between Niland and Brawley the wind gusts got up to 100 mph at times downing about 72 power poles, so the folks who live down that way have been running generators for a few days now.  All things being equal we got off pretty lightly from that wind event.

We have an all day RZR rental scheduled for Saturday, but nothing for Sunday so far.  Maybe we'll get some walkups Saturday to add to the mix.  It's about 7 am Saturday morning as I write, and we need to open the office at 7:30 am to be sure we are ready for our all day customers, so I will bid you adieu for now.

On a side note, I received a call from Dr. Jou's office advising the lab results showed they had excised all of the Basil Cell Carcinoma from from left upper arm.....always good news.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 24, 2023

That little voice......

 7:05 am - Bacon Friday - February 24th - GNHS - 40° F, humidity 44%, wind 6 mph out of the south by southeast.....partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 65° F. The view this morning.....↴

....and on this date in 2020 I had successfully reinstalled our Leece-Neville shaft driven alternator.......

We had just one booking for Thursday, and that was not until 12 pm, so we had a leisurely morning.  Our 12 pm customers arrived around 11:30 am to complete their paperwork.  They were off on their four hour tour a little before 12 pm, and I settled in to clean three of our UTVs (2 RZRs and 1 KRX).  I was just getting ready to put away the final UTV (#10 KRX) when TLE received a call on our 'RESCUE' line....whenever that phone rings my heart kind of skips a beat, because I know it means I'm going to be heading out to first find our customer in the vast BLM land which borders GNHS, and then solve whatever problem has occurred.

TLE came out of the office to tell me that the customers had gotten a 'check engine' light, and a high temperature light....uh oh! I quickly put my tools in the Kawasaki MULE, retrieved one of the GPS tablets to help guide me to their location, grabbed a gallon of coolant, donned a helmet, and headed out.  Rain had been forecast for late Thursday morning, and it finally arrived as I was entering the Canal trail, and continued for about 20 minutes.  I had to keep wiping rain drops off my goggles to see where I was going.

The customers location appeared to be somewhere on the Bradshaw trail, about 8 miles out.  After stopping a couple of times to call TLE to see how close I was to their position I found them on the side of the trail right about where we expected.  

It had been about 35 minutes since their initial call, so the KRX had cooled down.  I removed the radiator cap to find it full of coolant.....hmmmm.  Then I removed the cap to the overflow tank and found it completely empty.  In all I poured about 3/4 of a gallon of coolant into the overflow tank while the KRX was running.  Once full I looked under the KRX to see if there was any coolant leaking, and there was not.  The customers wanted to continue their tour, so I suggested I follow them for about 10 minutes as they made their way north to the old train trestle.  After 10 minutes the engine temp was holding at 172° F, which is normal, so I bid them adieu, and headed back to the COA office.  It took me about 40 minutes to return.

I had been back for about 10 minutes, and was in the middle of getting something to eat for lunch when the 'RESCUE' line rang again....doh!  They were now at the Pinnacles, and the KRX had overheated again.....what is going on????  On my way back from the 1st rescue I had this nagging thought....you know, that little voice in your head, that you sometimes ignore, to your own peril....that I should have just had them follow me back to the office, and given them the KRX I had just cleaned before their initial call, but everything seemed fine, so I ignored the little voice.

So, here is it about 2:10 pm, and I'm heading out for the second time to find them.  This time they are another 8-10 miles up the trail at the Pinnacles.  There is little to no cell phone reception up there, so it was a miracle they were able to call us the second time.  It took me about 40 minutes to reach their position.  This time I decided to tow them back as it was getting too late to take any more chances.  I attached a tow strap to the front of their KRX and began the long tow home.  

By the time we arrived back at the COA office it was 4:20 pm, and was getting quite chilly.  After apologizing to our customers for the problems, and promising to get them a refund, I called Kyle to come over and check out the overheating issue with the KRX....

The mess caused by the radiator boiling over

Kyle arrived in about 8 minutes, and decided to refill KRX radiator and overflow tank, with water this time, and then take it for a drive to try and figure out why it was overheating.  He returned in about 15 minutes to advise he had found the problem....the electric fan was not working, and that was why it was overheating.  Well, at least it was a minor problem in the overall scheme of things, but it still means we have to order a new one, wait for it to arrive, then install it, which will reduce our fleet of 2 seat KRXs to just one.  The transmission for the other KRX down at COYNE is on 'back order', and we don't know when it will be fixed. 

And thus ended another day in the UTV rental life of TLE and I.  We had two successful rescues....well, successful in the sense that I found them both times, and got them home successfully the second time.  I should have listened to that little voice, and brought them back the first time. Oh well, lesson learned, and no great harm was done.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 23, 2023

The dressing.....

 6:59 am - Thursday - February 23rd - GNHS - 46° F, humidity 64%, wind 10 mph out of the south by southeast......partly cloudy skies today with a forecast high of 56° F.  On this date in 2021 I had just picked up my rebuilt Leece-Neville shaft driven alternator, and was getting to reinstall it.....↴

Following another whirlwind out and back drive to Poway it was nice to sleep in Wednesday.  The wind event to which we returned home on Tuesday was still blowing in the low 20's, and gusting into the 30's Wednesday, plus it was a cold wind, so I attempted to remain inside as much as possible, only venturing outdoors to secure things threatening to blow away if not secured better (that seems like a 'run on sentence').  The wind was out of the southwest the better part of the day, which is really a good wind direction for our encampment, because we have that big tree, and a couple of buildings blocking the worst of it.

Wednesday was also the 48 hour mark since my excision, so around noon time TLE pulled off the rather large dressing applied by Dr. Jou's nurse to reveal a vertical scar and 10 running stitches....not as big as the last one (14 running stitches, plus 5 internal stitches), but big enough......

....TLE will have fun with those in about 8 days.  I was nice to get that big dressing off my arm as it was irritating the daylights out of moi.  Now I've got a much smaller one, and it doesn't bother my skin at all....

The old...:-(

The new.....:-)

.....on a side note, when Dr. Jou began the surgery I advised him I would not be watching, to which he chuckled, and then said "Clarke, I'm a little creeped out when people do want to watch", to which I, in turn, chuckled....lol.

I did spent about 30 minutes outside cleaning the #8 KRX as it is booked for Thursday afternoon.  I opted to use compressed air to clean it as I didn't want to get wet washing it on a cold, blustery, winter's day.

I neglected to mention that one of our bosses, Bob, arrived here Sunday evening for a few days, and was kind enough to handle two bookings we had on Monday whilst we were in Poway for my surgery.  He'll be flying back to Artic Durango on Thursday.  They are looking at buying a bunch of CanAms for next season as they will be selling all the RZRs and KRXs we have here right now.

We're going to see a lot of temps over the next two weeks down in the 50's again.  In my experience February and March are sometimes the coldest months of the year in SoCal, and it looks like this will be one of those years.  A lot more rain is forecast from northern California down to the L.A. Basin, and we may even get a few drops down here in Imperial County.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023


 7:37 am - Wednesday - February 22nd - GNHS - 49° F, humidity 43%, wind 22 mph out of the west......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 59° F.  On this date in 2013 TLE and I were in Very Beach, FL visiting the old 'Dodger Town', where the L.A. Dodgers held Spring Training each Spring (of course) for decades....here I am standing at home plate in Holman Stadium waiting for a pitch from Sandy Koufax, or Don Drysdale......↴

I apologize for not blogging about Monday when we got home Tuesday afternoon...I have no excuse, other than a faulty memory....lol.  At any rate, today's missive will cover both Monday and Tuesday, so here goes.


As planned we were in the VW and on our way by 6 am Monday morning for my final excision....a smallish 'basil cell carcinoma' on my upper left arm.  It is a three hour drive to Poway involving four separate highways....Highway 111, 86, S-22 and 79, and is about 150 miles.  I wanted to arrive in Poway by 9 am, and we arrived at 8:55 am with a bathroom break in Borrego Springs.....

Sun rise over the Salton Sea around 6:30 am

....we stopped off at a local Starbucks for some coffee, and were at Palomar Health Center by 9:30 am......

.....I was called into the little room around 9:50 am, and by 10:30 am the outpatient surgery on my upper left arm was complete.  We headed over to the local COSTCO to top off our half empty tank for the drive home, and were on our way from there by 11 am.  Previously we've spent the night in Poway before, or after my doctor appointments, but since this surgery was early in the day we decided to drive half way home to Borrego Springs and spend the night at The Palms at Indian Head, which is a cool 'Mid Century Modern' hotel located on the outskirts of town.  We stayed there once before back in 2006, or 7, and have wanted to return ever since.....

Our suite.....decorated in 'Mid Century Modern' everythiong

.....most of the 12 rooms are on the second floor over the lobby and restaurant....yes there is a great restaurant there, also, but it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.....bummer!  We had a great view of the very large pool, and there is also a Jacuzzi......

Our room.....#1

One of the largest collections of mid century modern furniture we have seen

Cool propeller fan over the bed

.....we checked in around 1 pm, but headed back into town around 4 pm to buy some wine, and snacks for 'dinner'.  We had planned to dine at the onsite restaurant, The Coyote Steakhouse (Yelp give them 4 stars on 115 reviews, and we would agree....we ate there the first time we stayed at the hotel), but since they were closed we opted for a casual affair instead.....

.....there was a nice 'Mid Century Modern' table with chairs outside our room, so that is where we had our sunset wine, and snacks.  A perfect ending to a whirlwind day!


We planned to sleep in until after 7 am, but there was this sunrise happening, and I had to capture it.....

....each room has a 'Nespresso' machine, which we've never tried before.  We've seen the commercials for years, but never had the opportunity to try it.  It uses a small cup type system like Keurig does, but the cups are not the same.  It does, however, make a very good, strong cup of expresso......

Enjoying our Nespressos, and enjoying our 2nd story view

.....this hotel is a gem, and our second time around was even better than the first, if that is possible!

In our past boondocking stays in the Anza Borrego Desert we've had breakfast a couple of times at Kendall's (Yelp give them 4 stars on 171 reviews...right on the money!), which is located in 'The Mall' in Borrego Springs.  It's been a few years since we've dined there, so we decided to have a late breakfast there before beginning our 90 minute drive home......

.....we enjoyed a very leisurely breakfast before hopping in the VW around 10:30 am for the final leg of our journey.  We made a quick stop in Mecca to buy some produce, and were home a tad after 12 pm.

If our absence another wind event began, and continues as I write this morning.  We had a beautiful sunset Tuesday evening......

.....as always, thanks for stopping by!