Thursday, November 30, 2023


6:56 am - Thursday - November 30th - GHNS - 55° F, humidity 64%, wind 3 mph out of the north by northeast....partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 67° F.  On this date in 2021 TLE and I were near Borrego Springs, CA enjoying a sunset fire......↴ 

As I wrote yesterday we had plans to drive down to Brawley to do a small shopping Wednesday, and I was going to play a round of golf before we did that at Del Rio Country Club, which is just on the outskirts of Brawley before you cross US-86....

....we left around 9 am to make the 35 minute drive south to the country club, arriving there just after 9:30 am.  I hadn't really checked to see how busy they are on a Wednesday, and was surprised to find their tee times all booked for a couple of hours, so I decided to hit a bucket of balls to judge the status of my swing, which has not been employed for over 2 months now.  I'm glad I chose to do that before I play a round, because my swing needs a little refresher course.  After hitting 40 balls, or so I was satisfied I was getting back on course, and headed over to the putting green with TLE where I found my putting stroke is in fine shape.  I guess I am too used to the golf course at LPG&RVR being not super busy, so next time I'll book a tee time.  In the mean time I need to swing the clubs, so I'll set up my driving net from last winter, and get my swing and lower back in shape to play 18 holes.

From there we headed to the local ACE Hardware store on Main Street where I bought  a single 1" x 3.5" x 8' board to use to frame the window on the COA office.  When they installed the window years ago they never finished it, so I wanted to do that myself. From there we drove over to the local Walmart Supercenter to pick up a few things.  While we were there we stopped in at the Subway inside the store for an early lunch.....we love their footlong Subway Club sandwiches!  We were on our way home before 1 pm, and home by 1:40 pm, at which time I helped TLE unload the car, and put away my golf clubs.  Once that was done I turned my attention to the window project.

The window measures 35" x 35" so I cut two boards at that length for the top and bottom, then the other two slightly longer to add a little visual character to the window...... the way, I failed to mention I've been carrying around another plank of the same dimensions for a year or so, which I bought for another project, which I never completed, so I decided to to use it to frame the window, but I needed two of them to do the job.  I think it turned out well, now I'll paint it white and call it good.  Now I'll have to frame the A/C wall unit to the left....doh!  Didn't even think about that, or I could have bought two boards Wednesday.

By the time I finished the window project I was almost 4 pm, and time to move to the 'viewing deck' to watch the Chocolate mountains light up once again, and when the light on them began to wane I walked into the parking lot to capture the inevitable sunset.....

....and once it was dark enough I snapped a few pictures of the Christmas wall hangers all lit up..... is good, and the weather is wonderful!  This is the reason people come to the SoCal desert in the winter.  As I write there is not a breath of wind, and you can literally hear a pin drop....nice!  Right now we have no RZR rentals booked for this weekend (Thursday through Sunday), and the park is pretty fact the few that were here are leaving as I continue to write.  It may be a quiet weekend....we'll see.

On another note, here is the current Likely, CA weather, and forecast.....

.....this is why we head south in the winter.  Snow right now, the rest of the day, and tomorrow, with rain on Saturday...won't that be fun?!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Christmas is in the air......

 7:02 am - Wednesday - November 29th - GNHS - 51° F, humidity 79%, wind 4 mph out of the east by northeast......cloudy today with a forecast high of 69° F, and NO wind.  On this date in 2021 TLE and I arrived at our favorite Anza Borrego Desert boondock site....spent almost two months there......↴

....many days were spent reading and lounging outdoors!

Tuesday I began the long process of sifting through stuff in the trailer, and creating keep, and discard piles.  No doubt some things which made it to the 'keep' pile, will get a second look, and may end up in the 'discard' pile.  At least I hope so, because the discard pile is not nearly big enough yet to make any difference.  

Before all that fun began I headed down to the hot pools to get in a soak before I began sorting through the trailer stuff.....

.....I had the place all to myself.  I even swam a couple of laps in the actual swimming pool to cool down before the two minute walk home.

Next up was the deployment of a few 'wall hanger' Christmas decorations, some of which were recently purchased at Walmart......

On the passenger side of the trailer

On the back of the trailer

.....most of my time was spent running electrical cords to power the three wall hanger displays.  I like how the front door came out.  Last year we only had the bells, but have added a kind of wreath in the middle.  Combined with the Xmas lights I have already deployed it is beginning to look like Christmas is on the way.  We still have to deploy our 3' Christmas tree somewhere within the 'lido deck' area, and that will probably happen Wednesday, or Thursday.

I stayed busy with the Christmas decorations for most of the afternoon, and soon it was 4 pm, and time to retire to the 'viewing deck' to watch the Chocolate Mountains get lit by the setting sun to the west.......

....that was followed by dinner, which consisted of a 'winter soup' TLE had lovingly been preparing over the course of the day (potatoes, celery, onions with a chicken broth and heavy cream base with croutons on top)....that soup blew off my  Next up was game night at the 'dining/gaming deck'.  Backgammon was the featured game, and although all five games were decided right at the end, TLE prevailed in four of the five games.....her smile betrays her pleasure at besting me....the dice favored her this night.....

....around 6:40 pm we had a moon was supposed to be a full moon, but I'm not quite sure it is there yet......

Cresting the Chocolate Mountains

Doesn't look completely full as of yet....maybe Wednesday evening

....and with that another GNHS day was in the books.  Wednesday we'll drive down to Brawley where I intend to play a round of golf at Del Rio Country Club, and then we'll do a small shopping before returning home.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Preparations are being made.....

6:46 am - Tuesday - November 28th - GNHS - 52° F, humidity 61%, wind 5 mph out of the north by northeast.....cloudy today with a forecast high of 69° F.  Tomorrow, 11/29/2012, I wrote the following in a Facebook post.....

.....well,  two days from now will mark 11 years, and 10 months since we began our full time travels, and 12 years, and 10 months since we began living full time in our Newell Classic 36' Class A motorhome.  However, today it feels like we have always lived and traveled in our Newell.  That life we lived before, though still seeming vaguely familiar, feels more like someone else's life than ours. 

The winds which began 3+ days prior, finally abated around 1 pm Monday, and for the first time in that period of time we went to bed Monday evening, and woke up Tuesday morning to the sounds of silence.....

....but I get ahead of myself.

As you know, we have a reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration system under the sink in our coach, which we have had for over 13 years now.  We usually have it serviced once a year when we return to SoCal by Ruben Miranda of Kook Filtration, with whom we have dealt since the late 80's.  We weren't in Fontana long enough this time to set an appointment with Ruben, so we figured we'd get it done in April when we return to Fontana on our way back to LPG&RVR, however, our primary sediment filters, of which there are two, had other plans.  About a week ago the water flow out of our RO spigot began to slow significantly to the point where a few days ago it virtually stopped.  These are the first of 4 filters within the system, with each successive filter filtering much smaller stuff, such as microbes.  I figured, or should I say HOPED, it was just the primary sediment filters, so I bought the pack of two at Home Depot when we were in La Quinta last week.  I haven't had time to install them, and knew I wouldn't when I bought them, until after the busy Thanksgiving week, so we bought two cases of bottled water from COSTCO to tide us over.  Well, Monday that day arrived.  As I removed the two filters I was really, really hoping it would be that simple, and as soon as I removed them I was positive they were the problem.....mind you now, they are pure white when brand new.......

Our 'RO' system

The quite dirty sediment filters

.....Houston I think we found the  Yup, those filters are way past due for replacement....WOW, am I ever glad it was that simple!  Once I had installed the new, pure white, filters, I turned the system back on, and within an hour the holding tank was full, and full water pressure had been restored to the system!  I wish everything was that simple.

Over the past few months TLE and I have been discussing the need to be more prepared for if, or when our massive infrastructure, upon which we all depend, breaks down due to civil unrest, natural disaster, etc.  We've begun to stockpile, in moderation, basic foodstuffs like rice, flour, beans, canned goods, etc., and we have acquired a month's supply of dehydrated food.  Combined with our staples, should keep us eating for up to two months. In addition to that we have acquired solar water heaters.....

....with which to heat, and purify water.  This thing, and we have tested it, gets water to over 120° F (the temp which you need to kill anything harmful in the water) in about 10-20 minutes, and to a full boil not much longer after that.  We also are keeping our 160 gallon fresh water tank full all the time now, and are looking into a water generating system, which removes water from the air around us in quantities of up to 50 gallons a day, depending on how big a system you build.  Without water  we can die in 3 days, and without clean water we can become quite ill, and die, so having a reliable, clean water supply, which does not rely upon our water and electrical grids, is imperative.  While we have a Honda 2000 watt gas generator, what happens if gasoline supplies disappear?  All we have left is the sun, which leads me to our next acquisition....a solar generator....

we bought a Bluetti 2000 watt solar generator (model AC200P) complete with solar panels to recharge it.  We already have 620 watts of solar panels on the roof of our Newell, so we can live indefinitely without being plugged into the electrical grid.  We've already plugged our Newell into the generator, and it runs all our basic systems quite easily, as well as our induction burner, and we can use it at night to augment our large 8d house batteries, if need be to keep all of our systems powered.  We do, however, keep on hand about 12 gallons of unleaded gasoline to run our Honda generator, which, if we ran it continuously (which we never do), would cover us about a week.  Currently our 60 gallon propane tank will last us about a year since we mostly only use it for our tankless water heater now.  We've just started acquiring what we need, but we are well on our way to water, and energy independence, should the worst happen.

I spent a good bit of time in the trailer moving things around to make more room, and making hard decisions about what we don't need anymore to make room for things we do need now, and into the future.  I'm not sure TLE and I would fit into the 'Prepper' category, but we are definitely trying to be modestly prepared in the event we lose access to water and electricity for a short, or much longer duration.  We think it is just prudent to be prepared, what are your thoughts on this?

Before we knew it the sun was setting once again in the west....

....and another GNHS day has come to a conclusion.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 27, 2023


7:46 am - Monday - November 27th - GNHS - 52° F, humidity 48%, wind 9 mph out of the north.....windy, blustery, cool, cloudy day today with a forecast high of 70° F.  On this date in 2013 TLE and I were having dinner at Hero's Restaurant and Brewery in Riverside, CA.....I only had one↴

Since last Sunday (November 19th), and I include last Sunday and this Sunday in these numbers, we rented 28 RZRs.  That beat last Thanksgiving week by three times, plus one.  Sunday became another very busy day with two advance bookings, and 4 walkup bookings.  We were kept hopping all day long.  My day began just before 8 am when I headed out to the wash station to finish cleaning the muddy RZR from Saturday.  It took me another 45 minutes to get it presentable for our Sunday customers, so 1 hour and 45 minutes to clean one RZR....that is also a record, and a record I do not wish to break in the near future.  Our day ended around 5:10 pm when we turned off the lights, and locked the office door.  We also worked portions of 7 days in a row (another record....only a couple of hours on two of those days), with the last two days (Saturday and Sunday) being the longest.

Along with the rental fees we charge we also offer tire and belt (drive belt) insurance for $110 per RZR.  The insurance covers you for two flat tires, and one drive belt.  Considering the tires cost $350 each, and the belts around $200 each, that is a pretty good deal if you have to use it.  For the first time this year we had a customer who had TWO flat tires in about 90 minutes, and he had taken the tire insurance, which saved him $700.  Thankfully, that was as exciting as Sunday got.  In all I washed 6 RZRs Sunday, and there are still 2, or 3 to wash, but I'll take care of them Wednesday, or Thursday.  Right now, as is often the case out here the weekend after Thanksgiving, there are zero bookings for next Thursday through Sunday (our work days), so it will probably be Thursday when I get to them.

Other than that the wind continues to blow (three days in row now).  It's not too bad during the day....probably under 15 mph, but at night it gets ferocious.  Although winds are coming out of the northeast, I do not know if they are Santa Anas.  What I do know it is gets extremely irritating to wake up to wind every day.  As I write, we are entering our fourth day of wind.

As I was driving the last RZR to the fuel station Sunday I stopped to snap a couple of pictures of the setting sun.....

....and with that a long rental weekend comes to an end.  Time to hit the hot pools! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 26, 2023

A Saturday not to remember.....

6:56 am - Sunday - November 26th - GNHS - 51° F, humidity 51%, wind 8 mph out of the north.....crystal clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 68° F.  On this date in 2021 TLE and I were boondocking at Octotillo Wells (across the Salta Sea from our present location) with our kids, and extended families.....↴ 

That's our trailer in the foreground

Saturday was one of those days.  To begin the day we had 5 bookings in hand, and by 10 am we had rented 7 units (5 RZRs, and 2 two seat Generals).  Getting them checked out was the easy part.  The rest of the day was one for the books, ending with one of our customers rolling over one of the 2 seat Generals around 4:30 pm, when they should have already returned the unit.  They were about 5 miles out towards the bat caves.  Finding someone in broad daylight in the broad expanse of the this BLM acreage is difficult, but at night it becomes almost impossible.  BUT, I get ahead of myself.

Around noon time TLE came out of the office to tell Hunter and I that one of our RZR rentals had shown up at Slab City, about 20 miles from here.  Anything to the southeast of us is expressly off limits.  Sometimes the trackers take a while to update, and the previous time this RZR had updated it was where it should be, but it didn't update for about 40 minutes, and suddenly they were way down at Slab City.  TLE called them, and advised them they needed to return immediately.  I don't know why people think they're going to get over on us.  We tell them right up front not to go to certain places, and that we will know if they do.  At any rate, within 40 minutes they had returned to the BLM harm, no foul so far.

Around 4 pm one of our RZRs returned completely, and I mean completely, covered in mud about an inch, or more thick....the kind of clay rich mud that will turn to concrete if you don't wash it immediately, so that is what I got busy doing.  It took me until after 5 pm to get all the heavy mud off, and just before I finished TLE walked over to the wash station with the final bit of bad news.....the news about the rolled General 2 seater.....  

This is after I spent an hour last night cleaning off the mud in the is still filthy, and I'll have to wash it again!

......Hunter was down at the fuel station when the news came in so TLE called him to let him know he would be going out on a rescue just as the light had gone out of the sky.  He and Kyle were on their way in about 15 minutes.  To add to the difficulty the tracker in the unit was not transmitting, so the customer took a picture of the area he was in, and we were able to extract the co-ordinates of his location from the picture, which gave us some help.  While Hunter and Kyle were searching the dark reaches of the BLM land between us and the Bat Caves the lone driver managed to utilize the onboard winch of the General attached to a nearby boulder to put it back on its tires, and he then began the long, slow drive back to the park.  In the mean time Hunter and Kyle had still not found him.  By the time he returned, uninjured, thankfully, the boys were almost to the bat caves looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.  We were able to contact them with the news, and they began their drive back to the park.  Fortunately, the roll over was a very low speed affair, and in soft sand, so the damage to the unit was strictly cosmetic, at least it appeared to be in the darkness that enveloped our staging area.  We'll know more Sunday when I take it over to wash it, and assess the damage more completely with Hunter and Kyle.

The best possible outcome for a roll over....very minor, cosmetic damage...nothing broken, just scratches

We didn't finish closing the office until almost 6:30 pm...that was a long, long day.  Thankfully, nothing terrible happened, and it looks like the General repair will not be too extensive!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Busier than expected.....

 6:55 am - Saturday - November 25th - GNHS - 54° F, humidity 39%, wind 5 mph out of the north......I would say the wind speed be reported is highly inaccurate.....I would say it is closer to 20 mph, and has been for several hours.  The wind direction seems more northeast.  At any rate is is clear, albeit there is a lot of dust in the air, and the forecast high is 71° F.  On this date in 2020 TLE and I were waiting for our Americano coffee orders at Espresso 101 in Waldport, OR....↴

Friday began with three confirmed all day bookings, and by the end of the day we had done a total of 4 all day rentals, and two 2 hour was a great day for Colorado Outback Adventures with three walkup rentals.

When we've got 6 units out in the field it is all hands on deck.  Between TLE, Hunter and I we got the four all day rentals out the door and on the road by 9:05 am, and then it was time to sit and enjoy the ever changing view of the Chocolate Mountains....

....around 2 pm we got a call from one of our all day rentals that they were 'lost' and couldn't seem to find their way home, so we advised them to sit still, and I would drive out, find them, and lead them back to the park.  Of course, you know, this scenario does not work well when the customer does not 'SIT STILL' in one place.   Apparently, right after I left they began moving again, so by the time I got to where I thought they would be, they were no longer there.  The satellite trackers update every 5-10 minutes, so the program was still showing them where they were before the began moving again.  Thinking maybe I had not driven far enough out I continued heading further west.  After still no sighting I stopped and looked at the tracking program on my phone again to find them behind me now, and further north now....almost to the canal road.....doh!  Anyway, to make a long story shorter, I headed north to the canal trail surmising they would eventually make the canal trail and take it back to the park.  It took me about 10 minutes of driving to get to the canal trail, and within another 10 minutes I had caught up with them.  Apparently they had hooked up with a group of Jeeps who were heading back to the park, so they just tagged along, never calling us to tell us they where on their way back.  I guess the long and the short of it is everything turned out well, and I got to spend about an hour racing around the

While I was gone TLE and Hunter sent the two 2 hour rentals out to complete our rental day, and by 4 pm all six began to return.  I began washing RZRs as fast as I could as we have 5 rentals (3 RZRs, and 2 two seat Generals) on Saturday already booked, and needed to have at least three of our rentals cleaned, and fueled for first thing Saturday morning.  I finished the 3rd RZR just at 5 pm, and by then it was too dark to have washed another.

Hunter and I quickly staged the 3 clean RZRs for Saturday morning, and closed the office.  In all I worked almost 9 hours Friday, and Saturday promises to be even busier.  No doubt there will be a couple of walkups then, too.  As I write the winds have returned after just a three day respite.  The weather forecast is still not acknowledging that the winds are over 20 mph....they still show them around 5-6 mph.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 24, 2023

You can't always get what you want.....

6:53 am - Friday - November 24th - GNHS - 57° F, humidity 64%, wind 4 mph out of the northeast......partly cloudy skies today with a forecast high of 73° F.  On this date in 2020 I was working a 3 hour shift at Seal Rocks RV Cove in Coastal Oregon.....face diapers were still in vogue then....↴ 

Thursday (Thanksgiving) was to be a day off work for us as we were driving into the Pomona Valley to partake in Thanksgiving festivities with three of our kids.  There was only one 1/4 day (2 hour) rental Thursday so Hunter was tasked with handling that.  We planned to be on the road for the 2 hour drive around 11 am, when we got a call from Casey, one of our bosses, advising that the 2 hour rentals guys had broken the RZR...literally.  They had managed to sheer off the right front steering arm, and had to be rescued.....doh!  This meant we would not be driving into town for Thanksgiving with our kids.  While Hunter headed out to retrieve the customers, and access the damage to our RZR TLE and I remained at the office to provide Hunter with logistical other words, help him find the customers the the vast BLM expanse which surrounds us.

Hunter found them within 45 minutes, and returned with the 3 guys round 12:45 pm, leaving the broken RZR for later retrieval.  Around 1:15 pm he and Kyle began the drive out to retrieve the RZR, and by 2:30 pm they had returned dragging the broken RZR.....the right wheel would not track straight with a broken steering arm, so it spent most of the return trip toed inward, and kind of dragging through the sand...

That doesn't look!

Those two shiny metal pieces are supposed to be connected

......the steering rod is easy to replace, if you have one in stock, which we do not, so we'll have to order a replacement, and that will take 10-14 days, so now we're down to 9 operating RZRs, two of which will be repaired and back in service soon.  The 3rd one, the one that was totaled back in early October, is still down at COYNE waiting to be seen by the Polaris guys.

At any rate, with that accident our plans for Thanksgiving with our kids were dashed, and we had to come up with a plan 'B'.....TLE pulled out a London Broil from the freezer for me to grill for our Thanksgiving dinner.  In the interim TLE and I celebrated the end of another GNHS day by sitting on the 'viewing deck' for about 45 minutes, then moved to the 'firepit deck' for a Thanksgiving fire, then to the 'dining/gaming deck' for dinner and game night.  TLE provided sides of a baked potato, and spinach, and a bottle of Catena Malbec......

.....while it was not turkey with all the fixins, it was our impromptu Thanksgiving meal....that London Broil was absolutely amazing!

We closed out our Thanksgiving celebration with a spirited, mindless game of Yahtzee.  TLE and I both won 3 games, but TLE won the tie breaker with the most total points, beating me by 20.  To cap off the evening we retired into the Newell interior around 7:45 pm to watch recorded episodes of 'Survivor' and 'The Amazing Race'.

In closing, a thoughtful song from the Rolling Stones.....

Thanks for stopping by!