Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Involuntary confinement.....

7:55 am - Tuesday - October 31st - GNHS - 47° F, humidity 40%, wind 4 mph out of the north by northeast......crystal clear, blue, sunny skies once again with a forecast high of 79° F.  Nice...no wind, and temps in the 70's....this is that for which we came!  On this date in 2016 TLE and I were boondocking next to Tuttle Creek (Alabama Hills, just south of Lone Pine, CA),.....↴

.....and I mean, right NEXT to Tuttle Creek......

Having lived in SoCal for the first 62 years of my life I am well acquainted with Santa Ana winds.  I grew up in Pasadena, CA where they got quite bad at times, but then in 1986 TLE and I moved our family out to Ontario, CA, which is just below Cajon Pass, the gateway to the high desert communities of the Antelope Valley, from which the Santa Anas originate.  I remember all those years growing up hearing the weather forecasters speak of 'winds below the pass', and never quite knew that that meant until 1986, when I realized the pass to which they were referring was Cajon Pass, and now we lived directly below it.  The Santa Anas would blow so hard in Ontario our two story home would shake, just like we were having an earthquake....another one of those things you get used to growing up in SoCal.

Anyway, this most recent edition of the Santa Anas was one of the worst I can remember in many years, and certainly was worse than any of the Santa Anas from last winter here at GNHS.  This one lasted 2.5 days (no wind this morning, thank goodness!), and during that interval we spent 99% of our time indoors while 40+ mph winds howled incessantly outside.  It wasn't until Monday afternoon that I ventured outdoors to do anything of consequence.  During that time I finally finished setting up our sewer line so it will flow properly to the sewer connection, I put a few screws in the fence which borders our site, which the wind had loosened, using the electrically powered Toro blower I blew the accumulated dust, and detritus off the artificial turf, and just generally tried to bring order out of the wind caused chaos on our 'lido deck'.

We lost one of the tire covers off the drivers side of the trailer in the winds, and despite an intensive 'search and rescue' effort on our part it remains in the 'lost' column.  It's okay, though, they were over two years old and showing their age so I'll just order new ones off Amazon.  The Newell wheel covers remained in place, and continue to do their job despite the ferocious winds.

Usually on our days off work we try not to get out of bed until after 7 am.  We're usually awake by then, but just knowing you don't have to get up is enough motivation to stay put, and awaken slowly as the sun slowly crests the Chocolate Mountains to the east.  However, when your bedroom feels like the front car on a rollercoaster, it is hard to stay in bed for long once you are awake.

Due to our 2+ day involuntary confinement there is not much else about which to write, so I will bid you all adieu for another day, and thank you, as always, for stopping by!

Monday, October 30, 2023

Windy....I know the title is kind of obvious, but it is!

7:04 am - Monday - October 30th - GNHS - 57° F, humidity 34%, wind 18 mph out of the north by northwest..,...clear, blue skies today with a forecast high of 81° F. Wind continued through another night, and is still blowing as I write, and the coach is a rockin' and a rollin'.  Not supposed to begin abating until around 2 pm today.  On this date in 2015 TLE and I were in John Day, OR enjoying beautiful fall weather.....↴ 

The original weather forecast had this Santa Ana wind event abating around 5 pm Sunday, but it did not.  It is a good thing TLE and I don't get sea sick, as our Newell sits broadside to the north wind, and she was rocking and rolling all Saturday night, and into Sunday morning.  As I write she is still rocking and rolling.  I think this first wind event of the 2023 season is worse than any of the wind events we had here last year by a factor of two.  Having our coach oriented with the passenger side facing south is wonderful when there is no wind, but quite the opposite when it is windy.   The Santa Ana winds always come out of the north from the high desert.

In spite of the wind we had two rentals scheduled for Sunday....one all day beginning at 9 am, and a short 2 hour one beginning at 2 pm....so TLE and I were dressed, and out the door before 8:30 am.  Hunter  joined us for about 30 minutes, but we really didn't need 3 people for 1 rental.  We're all getting used to using the iPad tablets provided by Polaris for checking in customers, and checking them out at the end of their rental time, and using them sure speeds up the process, as well as reducing the amount of paperwork to an extreme minimum.  Once our 9 am, all day rental had departed Hunter and I clocked out, and headed home, and out of the wind.  TLE remained behind at the office to man the phone, and the tracking system.

The Santa Ana winds have reeked havoc with our 'lido deck', and it is currently in disarray, as one might imagine.  We had to lower the Ozark Trail canopy as low as it would go, and remove the canopy.  Both umbrellas are stowed, and our camp chairs are inside the trailer along with the piece of turf we use for the 'viewing deck'.  We're just kind of hunkered down waiting for the end of the wind event, and waiting to get back to regular programming....lol.  

Our 2 pm rental arrived around 1:30 pm to check in, and by 2 pm they were on their way.  Once that was taken care of I once again retreated to the friendly confines of our Newell to get out of the incessant wind.

Both rentals returned on time, and without incident....nice!  I decided not to wash either unit in the wind, and dust, so I just parked them for the night, and will probably wash and fuel them Monday, or Tuesday, or whenever it is not windy any longer.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Full disclosure......

 6:58 am - Sunday - October 29th - GNHS - 65° F, humidity 23%, wind 30 mph....yup, we're having our first wind event/Santa Ana of the season.  Began blowing last night around 10 pm, will continue all day, and into the evening before it begins to abate.  The forecast high for today is 77° F with clear, windblown skies today.  On this date in 2019 TLE and I were working at Romona Oaks RV Resort at which time we were recovering from another 'wind event' of the Santa Ana variety......many leaves to pickup.....↴

In all we had 4 rentals Saturday.....3 all day, and one half day.  When I washed the returning RZRs Friday evening we only had 3 all rentals, so I made sure we had three clean ones for Saturday morning, however, overnight the 1/2 day rental showed up in the system, so I had to wash another one first thing Saturday morning.  While washing it I discovered significant damage to the roll cage, roof, and right rear quarter panel which had gone undetected due to the heavy layer of dust......

Broken internal parts

....it was obvious this unit had rolled onto its right side, perhaps at low speed, and the customer had not reported it, which he/she is required by contract to do.  In fact, upon their return, when asked if they had hit anything they said 'no'.  As we began to disassemble the right rear quarter panel we found more broken parts, so it appears this will cost in the neighborhood of $3,000 to fix....not horrible, but significant, nonetheless.  When confronted an hour later he/she still didn't tell us the whole truth....they said they hit the canyon wall, but hadn't rolled it.  When we opened up the air box we found copious amounts of engine oil, which was the clincher.....the only way for oil to get into the airbox is if it is lying on its right side.  When shown this he/she finally admitted they had rolled it.  Under our deal with Polaris the customer, by contract, is required to report damage immediately.  By that I mean they are required to return to the office immediately and file an incident report.   At the very least, when returning at the of their rental they are supposed to do so, but they lied, an denied until confronted will proof they could not deny.  Additionally, if you fail to report damage that nullifies the contractual limitation of financial exposure the customer to $3,000, and makes them responsible for 100% of the damage.  Anyway, that was our excitement for the day, we thought.

About noon time our half day rental, which had gone out at 10 am, returned to report they had a flat tire.  They did buy tire and belt insurance, but the flat was caused by them hitting a large rock and damaging the rim/wheel, which caused the tire bead to break, and let all the air out.  The wheel/rim is not covered by tire and belt insurance, so they will have to pay the for new rim.  Nevertheless, they followed the contract and did what they should do....a stark contrast to the other folks.

The rest of the day was completely uneventful, with our three all day rentals returning on time with NO damage.  We've only got two rentals Sunday....one all day, and one afternoon 2 hour ride.....not sure if they will want to ride with 30-40 mph winds blowing all day, but we'll see. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Let the noise begin.....

6:28 am - Saturday - October 28th - GNHS - 59° F, humidity 72%, wind 4 mph out of the south by southeast......crystal clear, blue sunny skies today with a forecast high of 84° F.  On this date in 2017 TLE and I were enjoying another sunset at Lone Rock, UT......↴ 

Friday was our first multi unit rental day.  The new tablet based check-in system worked wonderfully and we had all three units rented and on their way with 15 minutes, at which time I began to ferry one RZR after another over to our wash station to wash them for the first time since they were assembled.  Around 11:30 am I had finished washing the 5th RZR, and decided to leave the rest, including the company van, for Saturday, and took off until around 3:30 pm.  TLE continued to 'track' the rentals, and was available for emergency phone calls during that time.  Hunter was out breaking in the final RZR.  

All three rentals were of the 'all day' variety, so we were not expecting them to return until sometime between 4 and 5 pm.  Around 4:50 pm they began to roll in one at a time, and shortly thereafter I began to wash them, then top off their fuel tanks before putting them away for the night.  By the time I finished the last RZR it was 6 pm, the sun was down, and I was ready for a shower.  

It was a nice, uneventful rental day with no breakdowns, or emergency phone calls....uneventful is that for which we strive in the rental business.  Everyone returned with smiles upon their faces, and nothing but praise for how well the machines performed.  Saturday will see another 3 RZRs going out all day, and Sunday will have two, so it has been a good Halloween weekend rental wise.  Of course, with the first big weekend of the winter season comes the attendant rise in noise level going into all hours of the night.  Thankfully, it is so quiet the other four days you can 'hear a pin drop', which makes up for the noisy weekends.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 27, 2023

The Good Life.....

6:31 am - Friday - October 27th - GNHS - 59° F, humidity 76%, wind 5 mph out of the south by southeast......crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 85° F.  On this date in 2013 TLE and I were having morning coffee in Ogden, UT.....↴ 

The Lovely Elaine

TLE and I had our first official rental Thursday morning.  It was an 'ALL DAY' one to three older gentlemen.....

.....our all day rentals begin at 9 am, but these guys didn't show up until 10 am, but they still had more than enough time to ride the Chiriaco Summit loop, which takes you in a big loop up to I-10 where there is a restaurant, and the General George Patton Museum.  Once they were on their way Hunter and I turned our attention to readying the rest of the 'RZRs' for rental.  While Hunter installed the Polaris trackers I went to each unit and downloaded the maps and trails for this area.  My job didn't take long, so once I was done I clocked out, letting Hunter get the hours.  Someone needs to be on duty while customers are in the field, so having an extra person this year means we don't have to always be on duty on rental days....nice.

So, what to do with my time?  Well, there is that pesky 'lido deck' setup, which has still not been completed, so I changed clothes and went to work.  The Adirondack chairs made their first appearance of the season (notice that our portable firepit has also been deployed), we moved the popup canopy, and Sea-B-Que to the area in between the office and the trailer to give us more privacy, setup both umbrellas, laid out our winter putting courses.....

.....and put out our camp chairs to watch sunsets when the weather is conducive.....

.....on all day rentals our customers are instructed to return by 5 pm, or sunset, whichever comes first.....right now 5 pm comes first, but in a week, or so we will be flipping back to standard time, thereby regaining that hour that was taken from us back in April, which means the sun will then set at around 4:50 pm instead of the current 5:50 pm.  As we near the 'winter solstice' the sunset will be closer to 4 pm.

Our customers returned around 4:30 pm with smiles upon their faces, and our RZR intact.  Their ride was uneventful, and they had a great time.  Once the RZR was cleaned, and fueled I headed into the Newell to take a shower, and then spend some time on the 'viewing deck' with TLE.  So, in our new 'lido deck' setup we have a number of 'sub-decks'......the 'viewing deck', the 'firepit deck', and the 'dining deck'.....

On the 'viewing deck' for the first time

Moon rise....almost a full moon

...we love how the sun lights up the Chocolate Mountains just before sunset.  TLE and I sat and talked about our day, and our new setup, concluding we liked how our day went, and how all the 'decks' came together......

.....life is good....thanks for stopping by!

'The Good Life' - Tony Bennett

Thursday, October 26, 2023

A week already?

6:30 am - Thursday - October 26th - GNHS - 60° F, humidity 76%, wind 5 mph out of the south.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 83° F. On this date in 2017 TLE and I were boondocking on the shores of Lake Powell at Lone Rock.....three guesses why they call it 'Lone Rock' and the first two don't count......↴

Lone Rock, UT

As of Wednesday we've been back at GNHS for a week, and it was time for a big shopping in La Quinta, plus it's been a month since my last haircut, and it was becoming quite obvious, so we were in the VW heading north on Highway 111 by 9:30 am, and arriving at the Supercuts around 10:25 am.  There were a couple of people ahead of me, but within 20 minutes I was seated, and getting my ears lowered.  We were back in the Beetle within 20 minutes, and heading to the local Rubio's Coastal Grill for an early lunch.  I haven't had Rubio's fish tacos for a long, long time....probably since last winter...so it was time.....

Awaiting our orders

.....the temp was in the high 70's by then, but still perfect for alfresco dining.  While TLE likes to try different menu items each time we visit Rubio's I have only ever ordered one menu item.....Original 2 Fish Taco plate....I know what I like, and I'm sticking with it.  We've visited a number of Rubio's over the years, and never been disappointed in the consistency, or quality of their food.  Once in a long while the service is a tad slow, but who is in a hurry?  Good food is worth the wait.....within reason.

Our next stop was the COSTCO fuel station as our tank was down to 1/4, and the trip meter was reading 310 miles.  Before I replaced the ignition coils last summer the low fuel warning light would have been flashing at 310 miles, but now it usually reads just over 1/4 tank, like this time.  The last time we filled our tank was in Medford, Oregon back on October 8th, also at a COSTCO fuel station.  The price per gallon for premium at the La Quinta COSTCO is $5.09.....outrageous to be sure, but the best price in the area by far.  Apart from the need for gasoline, our main reason for visiting COSTCO was for me to transfer my prescriptions from the Rite Aid in Alturas, and for TLE to have new prescription lenses installed in her existing frames that reflect her post cataract surgery prescription needs.

From there it was across the street to Home Depot for a few hardware related items, and then south on Jefferson to the local Ralph's supermarket to do the BIG shopping.  By the time we returned to GNHS it was close to 2:30 pm, and we had been gone 5 hours.  A trip into La Quinta is never a quick affair for us.

By the time TLE had put away the groceries it was after 4 pm, and the day was quickly waning.  Thursday TLE and I will do our first official rental using the new software system provided by  Polaris with the assistance of Hunter, who is familiar with it.  The new system is virtually paperless, and it takes way less time to process each rental, and get customers on their way to having fun.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The 'lido deck', the trailer and other things......

 7:46 am - Wednesday - October 25th - GNHS - 62° F, humidity 62%, wind 7 mph out of the southeast....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 87° F.  On this date in 2020 TLE were enjoying a spectacular sunset at Seal Rocks RV Cove....one of the things I miss about our time on the Oregon Coast.......↴

The rain, the park, and other things...Cowsills

At last!  The day when I would begin to really focus on getting our 'lido deck' set up, and the trailer interior organized for the next six months arrived!  We are off until Thursday when we have our first rental of the season, and it was only going to be 85° F, so no excuses.  There was one minor work related item that I did take care of first thing....install a new LED light in the office.  The old fluorescent light fixture ballast (powers the fluorescent tubes) gave up the ghost right at the end of last season, and we didn't have time to deal with it then, so we made do with less light, but this season it needed to be fixed.  I talked with Kyle on Monday, and he said he thought they had a couple of unused LED fixtures, so he brought one over late Monday.  It took me about an hour Tuesday morning to wire it up, and install it.....

...once that task was done I was free to get down to business, and spent the next 3-4 hours, first setting up the two tables upon which my tool bags, and our overflow pantry items reside whilst we are stationary, then pulling the bicycles out of their stowed positions, attaching their front wheels, and moving them to the back of the trailer interior.  I'm about 98% done with the trailer interior now.....

....I still need to pull out the Adirondack chairs, and a couple of other things, but for now it is much less chaotic.

Kyle also delivered a picnic table for us to use, and I set up our third folding table upon which resides our Sea-B-Que BBQ.  TLE wanted me to grill a London Broil for dinner, so I was more than eager to get the grilling station ready for that.  Additionally, TLE pulled out all of our 'lido deck' rope lights.  I managed to get three strings deployed before the temps got a little too warm for my liking....we are surrounded by asphalt, and it absorbs, and holds a lot of heat making it feel much warmer in and around our 'lido deck' than the forecast 85° F....

.....we're still not sure about the placement of the Ozark Trails canopy, but for now it will remain in its current location.

That is as far as I got with the 'lido deck', but our picnic table is full of reminders of the things I still need to deploy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The final two.....

7:18 am - Tuesday - October 24th - GNHS - 59° F, humidity 68%, wind 4 mph out of the south by southeast.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 86° F.  On this date in 2022 TLE and I had just 'finished' setting up what we thought was our site for the next 6 months at Glamis North Hot Springs.....little did we know that we would be moving sites within a few days, and changing jobs.....↴

Awakening Monday morning to temps in the low 60's, and knowing it would not get warmer than 82° F Monday was delightful.  For a change we were not turning on the A/C by 7 am, and closing the windows.  Instead the windows were left fully open, allowing cool zephyrs to filter in through the openings.  

Monday was also the day Hunter and I would finish 'building' the last two "RZRs".  Hunter pretty much built the first 8 by himself, so he was pretty familiar with the process, which helped a lot, and with two people working in concert it goes much faster, as one might imagine.  We managed to get the last 4 seater built by 1 pm, and after a lunch break came back to build the final 2 seater, of which we have two.  The 'building' process involves installing the roll cage (comes in 6 pieces), the wiring, and speakers for the sound system, the seats (comes in two pieces), windshield, and roof (3 pieces).  To be clear, while they are all made by Polaris, and we call them all RZRs, there are only 8 RZRs, plus two 4 seat Generals, and two 2 seat Generals.  The Generals, are a little classier, a little heavier at over 2,000 lbs, have a much 'softer' ride, have winches, receiver hitches, and a 'dump bed' on the back.  The picture I posted yesterday of the 4 seater we built was a General.....

4 seat General

2 seat General

Receiver hitch


Dump bed

The final 4 seater under construction

.....we began our work day around 9 am, and finished around 5:40 pm just as the sun was setting.  Now that all the "RZRs" are built, and broken in (Kyle and Hunter took the final two out for an hour run right after we finished) we'll have to complete their outfit with fire extinguishers, spare tires, and jacks.  All 12 units have what they call 'Ride Command', which is a GPS system with trail maps, as well as stereo/blue tooth sound systems.  All of the doors are full doors.  The units we rented last year only had half doors, and allowed a lot of dust to enter the cockpit.  Essentially all 12 units are 2-3 levels above base model....pretty cool!

While I worked with Hunter TLE put the finishing touches on the office space, and reorganized the helmets, of which there are many.  With ten 4 seaters, and two 2 seaters we have the potential of handing out 44 helmets if we rent everything on a given day.

After working my first 8 hour day in about 3 weeks I was ready for a long, hot shower, and some recliner time.  I managed to snag another sunset photo just after the sun had dipped behind the San Jacinto Mountains....

......I'm hoping to spend a good portion of Tuesday deploying all of our 'lido deck' stuff, and lights, as well as bringing order to my currently chaotic trailer interior.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 23, 2023

Worth living again......

 7:55 am - Monday - October 23rd - GNHS - 66° F, humidity 63%,, wind 12 mph out of the west......crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 82° F.  On this date in 2017 TLE and I were hiking in Bryce Canyon.....↴

Alas, we had a break in the hot weather Sunday.  The high temp was 94° F, and what a difference 7° F can make, especially when accompanied by a light, refreshing breeze!  We had no rentals, so Bob told us to take the day off assembling RZRs, and resume it on Monday when it will be in the LOW 80's....sweet!  It is nice to be composing this missive without the whirring of A/C fans in the background.  In fact, all I can hear right now at 8:04 am (Monday) is the faint, almost inaudible hum of our Fantastic Fan in the distant background.  There is a faint breeze entering the window by my computer desk, and it is only 68° F.  Okay, enough of the lower temperature revelry....lol!

Since we arrived at GNHS last Thursday morning we have done very little to set up our 'lido deck' for the winter, or organize the trailer interior for our 6 month stay.  It has just been too hot!  All we have managed to do is deploy our main artificial turf piece, and the Ozark Trails popup canopy.....

....we only put up the canopy up to keep the sun off the back of the office until the temperatures drop.  You can see the umbrella, and other turf pieces propped against the back of the office.

While I didn't do anything to further the setup of our 'lido deck' I did kind of straighten up around our site, and organized the work area out front of the office as it was kind of chaotic from the assembly of RZRs for the past week, and with the exception of a few other tasks that is all I did all day long.  While I spent most of the day inside watching football, something I haven't done for a long time, I did venture outside periodically to just walk around, and enjoy the much cooler temperatures, and did work on a couple of projects for TLE.  The cooling fan on her induction burner needed cleaning, and the new broom she bought for the Newell interior needed its stick shortened about 5 inches to fit in the spot where the old one was stored.  Other than that it was a laid back, delightful Sunday.

As is almost always the case on Sundays, the vacuum cleaner did its job, and by the end of the day GNHS had returned to its ghost town like ambiance, and with the promise of temps in the 80's, and eventually into the 70's order has been restored, and life is worth living again....lol!

Thanks for stopping by!