Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Finally I got a mocha!
I went to a discussion group around the campfire pit at 13:00 where boondocking was discussed. I don't think I learned much but it was good to participate with others and I am sure that I must have heard something I hadn't heard before.
Yesterday morning friends D & S B left Boomerville. They teach classes at Life on Wheels and at various things like Escapees Escapades & Family Motor Coach Assoc. rallies. Annie & I met them at our first Life on Wheels conference in 2002. J plans to leave on Thursday. I still plan to stay until next Monday & will go to the car show here on Saturday, then watch the Superbowl (Go Seahawks!) on Sunday. I'll leave before too late in the day on Monday to drive the 80 or so miles south to Yuma.
One thing a long term RVer has to learn is that this lifestyle isn't just like being on a vacation. When you are on vacation you tend to schedule every minute with activities. While I am off on one of these trips the RV is my house and it is really about like sitting at home. If I want to just sit in my easy chair & read for an hour or so, that is fine. That takes some learning and I find that I still need to remind myself of that as I will find myself slipping into that vacation mode at times. It is nice to just sit and watch the world go by. I will do some of that over the next few days, with Huggy on my lap.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Desert Oasis Bookstore & owner, Paul
When I left there I drove to Paul Winer's Desert Oasis Bookstore. It is a large store, with something like 80,000 titles, in an un-likiely place like Quartzsite. When we were here last year this was the number one place we wanted to visit as we knew of the store from a DVD we had purchased about Q. Paul works where it gets very hot, so he dresses accordingly. The picture I took last year, with Paul & Annie, is better but it was a cool day, with rain the night before & still threatening and with a temp in the mid-60s, so Paul was wearing his jacket. This year it was warm, so he is in his regular work clothes. Here is Paul Winer at work:
Paul remembered Annie, probably partially because we had a chance to visit with him when the store was closed & he had time to talk and probably because Annie was a memorable person, in her wheelchair. By the way, his store is not easy for a person in a wheelchair to get around in, so Paul was moving ahead of Annie, moving things off the floor so the chair would fit. Annie commented later that the view from her level of Paul doing all that was fascinating! Paul lost his 8-year old daughter, Celia, to heart disease some years ago, so he knows personally the pain caused by a person dying out of their time. There is a beautiful Memorial Garden in the City park that is well worth your time to visit. Paul's store will be moving to another location in town soon and then will no longer have to close when it rains.
I used the free cell phone time in the afternoon to talk with my friend, R, who also retired from Metro and now lives east of the Cascade Mountains in Manson (where it was snowing) and my brother, L, in Spokane. Shortly before dark I walked up to the rig of D & S B who are instructors at the Life on Wheels conferences that Annie & I attended for four years at the U of Idaho in Moscow, ID. They will be leaving today but I'll see them again in Tucson in a month & a half when I attend the new conference there & they will be instructing.
Then I fixed a TV dinner for my dinner & read, checked the Internet & watched TV until bedtime.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
I went over to visit with J in his rig, then we headed for the campfire ring area for a noon discussion group about the Elks clubs. Many of these fraternal groups that have lodges also have small campgrounds attached, or at least allow overnight boondocking in their parking lots. This can be a good alternative to staying at Walmart when you are on the road & just looking for a stopping spot for one night.
After that I spent some time on the Internet & reading in my RV, until the Happy Hour started at 16:00, with the Jeraldine contest & a skit put on by the first timers at a Q-Rang. Here is a photo from each and there are more on my Flickr site. Just click on one of these photos to be taken there, then click on "Dick Phillip's Photostream" to see all of the photos. Click on any of them that you want to see in a larger size.
After these programs I drove into town with my book for a nice dinner of prime rib at Mark's Family Restaurant. When I left the restaurant there was another beautiful sunset so I hustled back home (I forgot to take my camera along!) to get a photo of it before it was all gone. It was even more spectacular than the photo shows, earlier. I also didn't take time to get my tripod so I was hand holding it at about a 1 second exposure so it isn't as sharp as I like to get them, but here it is:
There was a program with a good singer named Sally who is from Alberta, Canada, at 19:00 around the bonfire. I stayed for most of it but it did start getting cold. The temp drops fast after the sun sets. I spent the rest of the evening in the RV reading, watching TV and on the Internet.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Two days worth of activities
The traffic around there is bad when everyone leaves at once, so I went the oposite direction from where we wanted to go as most traffic wanted to go where we also did. We decided to stop for dinner & let traffic settle down, so we found the Texas Barbeque which turned out to be a good choice. Then back to our RVs for the rest of the evening.
This morning the men in Boomerville went to The Bakery for breakfast. I had a Texas cinnemon roll to go with my cup of coffee. This bakery is small but makes a good variety of excellent baked goods. Here is a photo of the ultralite aircraft that flew over us as we started out for The Bakery.
Here is a photo of four of us eating. The fifth one at our table was taking the photo with my small camera while his Nikon D50 rested on the table. (Edit: Names, left to right, are Barry, John, me & Brooks with Padraic taking the photo.)
After breakfast we returned to Boomerville for the rest of the day. I puttered around with the computers & talked with people until time for Happy Hour. I took some photos there and afterwards, including this one which is similar to one taken last year in about the same location. The difference between the one this year
and the one taken last year (same cactus)
You can see how much greener the desert was last year when there was quite a bit of rain down here.
The Quartzsite area is well known for it's rocks & gems. I found this one on the ground as I walked back to my RV after Happy Hour. I don't know what it is - perhaps some of you may know and can let the rest of us know by entering a comment.
I don't know what I will do tomorrow. It is a Saturday & I will have free phone calls all weekend so I will probably take advantage of the strong phone signal here & use it.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Boomerville & some photos
This morning I went on a walk with three others. It was good as I really need to get more exercise. I spotted some places in the desert where I'd like to go to take photos. When back home I got up on the roof to clean & tilt the solar panels. I couldn't believe how dirty they were! Between cleaning & tilting my amperage from them went from below five to about fifteen. I got the desktop PC setup on the table & moved some photos into Photoshop's album, then reduced five of them & moved them to Flickr. I do not have the broadband connection, only the NationalAccess connection that is a little faster than dialup but no comparison to broadband speeds. So, it took a loooong time to transfer them but the system didn't time out on me.
Here is the first one. There are two nice stained glass windows at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Bullhead City and this is one of them:
These are two of the photos of cactus' in the cactus garden at Riverside Adventure Trails RV Park in Ft. Mohave, AZ. I do not know the name of either of these:
Here are a couple of photos taken here in Quartzsite at Boomerville. The first one shows some of the rigs here at Boomerville, with the group gathering area & fire ring in the background. You can also see the town of Q in the background, three miles away over the top of the foliage behind the fire ring.
The second photo was taken from the fire ring area looking the opposite direction from the first one. When Annie & I were here last year we parked near the fire ring, about where the yellow truck is parked in this photo. This year I am further up in about the center of the photo. Here is that second photo:
The desert last year was green, with flowers all over the place. This year it has been dry for nearly 100 days and all is brown and dry. Some of my other pictures will show this.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Hi from Boomerville at Quartzsite
The weather here is warmer and no where near as windy, so it is short sleeve weather. Tomorrow may be the day to get the shorts out. The sun just set behind the mountains to the west about 17:58 & there is still a strong orange glow there. I am facing west which is good as tomorrow I will tilt my solar panels to the south. I learned last year that adds about 50% more amperage from them in the winter. I expect I'll be running the inverter quite a bit to keep the computers up & running & I do like to watch TV, too. I think it will get cold over night so I may want to get up & start the catyletic heater before I get up in the morning.
The drive down was easy, 137 miles from the campground in Ft. Mohave (Bullhead City) to here. I didn't stop anywhere in Lake Havasu City except almost every traffic signal (red lights) but I did stop in Parker at the drive up mocha stand we frequented last year while here, for my daily mocha. D, the El Serape Mexican restaurant is still there, across the highway & down the block from the mocha stand. There is a new building being built around the corner a half mile or so away that also has a El Serape sign. I don't know if the old one will close when that opens or not. They seem too close together to both be in business. Anyway, it is waiting for you in a week or so.
I am going to eat the second half of the Safeway sub sandwich I intended to have for lunch, for dinner. I seem to have forgotten to eat lunch which probably explains why I am kind of hungry. I will try to get a couple of photos of Boomerville posted tomorrow. Time now for TV news & a sub sandwich. I'll probably go out for the bonfire later tonight.
Off to Quartzsite today
I then returned to the RV park & took some photos here of the cactus garden, something Annie & I were going to do in both of our previous trips here but never found the time to do. After that, I got clothes washed at the laundry and started putting more things away to be ready to hit the road.
After watching the news on TV I took my shopping list across the street to Safeway and shopped, after filling the car's gas tank even though it was only down to half a tank. The current price there, with the 3 cent discount for Safeway card holders, is $2.329/gal, up ten cents a gallon from when I arrived in town two weeks ago. For the first time in a long while I bought over $50 worth of groceries so my next Safeway gas purchase will have a 6-cent per gallon discount. There are no large stores in Quartzsite - the nearest is 23 miles away in Blythe, CA.
Home for dinner, then I washed dishes and put more things away. To bed after the evening news. This morning I've had breakfast and am now posting my last blog note from Bullhead City. I still have to empty my holding tanks and drop off the last of the garbage, then leave the park before the check out time at 10. I have about a 130 mile drive to the Boomer parking area in the desert east of Quartzsite called Boomerville. I expect my next post to be from there, later today.
Monday, January 23, 2006
That worked! Now for two photos.
A test posting of a photo from Flickr
Sunday, January 22, 2006
A windy day here in Bullhead City, AZ
I attended church again this morning at Church of the Holy Spirit in Bullhead City. Today was their annual meeting with a brunch after the service, that I was invited to. I really like this church and it's people, and the food was very good.
I took advantage of good phone service while in town to call both sons M and B. It is also a good day to do that since we all three have free cell phone minutes on weekends, so it doesn't count against any of our paid minutes. Then off to Starbucks for a Sunday mocha. Annie & I started going on a weekly mocha date in the early 1990s and later expanded it to include Sunday after church. I have been continuing these "dates," sometimes alone, sometimes with others. I enjoy it even alone as I am a reader & always take a book and I also like to people watch.
After Starbucks I headed home, with another stop at the Dollar General store. I got home in time to watch the last quarter of the AFL championship game that the Pitsburg Steelers won, putting them into this year's Superbowl. The winner of the game that is on now will be the other team. So far it looks good for Seattle, with them ahead 27 to 7 a few minutes into the second half of the game.
I'll go ahead and post this so I can check the link. It is now dark, 18:53 hours, so I will probably add another post later, but I think I will go out for pizza for dinner when the football game is over, so it might be pretty late.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Inside Kims Deli in Ft Mohave, AZ
Route 66 in Oatman, AZ
Brown baby burro
Baby burro in Oatman, AZ
Lady fedding a burro
Desert Christmas tree closeup
A better image of the hotel description
If you go back (use your "Back" button in the top control bar), then click on "Dick's Photostream" to the right side of the screen. This will take you to all my photos that are on Flickr. I have a lot more I have taken on this trip but hsve not moved them to Flickr. I may put up more from this set, at least onto the Flickr site.
It was cold this morning here in the desert, only about 34 degrees outside about 08:00. It looks like it is going to warm up to be a warmer day than over the last few days. I don't know what I will do today - I have no specific plans. Maybe I'll go do some shopping, just for fun. There is a good Hastings bookstore in town.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Yesterday and Today
Today I went to the old gold mining town of Oatman, AZ. I have posted some photos, one from the car show at the Riverside Casino, the others taken today in & on the way there. I reduced them from 3008 by 2000 pixels to 600 x 399 so they will upload & download quicker and I am thinking I don't want to reduce them that much. One photo in particular is of the back of the menu in the hotel dining room and I am afraid that it will not be readable, even if you click on the photo to go to my site on Flickr. By the way, if you do that you can then click on "Dick's Photostream" on the right side of the screen and see all the photos I have uploaded there.
After my mocha at Kim's Deli when back from Oatman I have been home working on getting photos into Photoshop Album and resizing the ones I uploaded to Flickr, then transfering them to the blog. I now need to check the link I included here to the Oatman site and, if it works okay, then see about fixing something for dinner. It is almost midnight here!
Typical Oatman, AZ business
D's dollar at the Oatman Hotel
Oatman Hotel diningroom
Oatman Hotel description
Oatman, AZ gunfighters
Arizona girls in Oatman, AZ
Desert Christmas tree
Woody at Riverside Casino
Thursday, January 19, 2006
A rare cloudy day in Arizona
Escapees RV Club has sent my mail and it may arrive today, but I really think it is more likely that it will be tomorrow. It left Livingston, Texas Tue since Mon was a holiday. It has been two weeks since I got mail but this won't be two weeks worth. The post office at home forwards it to Escapees which takes a few days. Then there is two or three days for it to get to me, wherever I am, when I ask to have it sent. If I have it sent to me at General Delivery at a post office, I think there is a one day delay before the receiving post office has it ready for me to pick up. This campground, Riverside Adventure Trails, will accept camper's mail so this time it is coming here. Some campgrounds don't want to be bothered doing this and in those places you have to use General Delivery.
The sun has been shining for awhile now, so maybe these clouds will go away. I think I will still go to Laughlin and go to Oatman tomorrow. I'll post this now & test my link to make sure I put it in correctly. The link will take you to the casino web page and you can learn a lot about what they offer in the way of entertainment & activities in addition to gambling. I do very little gambling but do find them a fun place to visit. I'll write more later now that I can easily do it from home, again.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
It works with the PC card, too!
I now have the antennae
When I got up this morning I had no idea when the installer would arrive. He didn't come until after 15:30 & it only took about an hour.
But I should start earlier in the day. I needed to wash clothes so did that this morning. Most campgrounds have laundromats & this one is no exception, with two of them. The washers cost $1 per load, dryers 75 cents. I also got my holding tanks emptied, after going two weeks. They were not yet full, so I think I'll be fine in Quartzsite for 13 days, going there with empty tanks. My domesticated work continued when I washed most of the windows in the RV.
Today is Wed so it was the day for lunch at the RV park clubhouse - $2.50 for a cheese burger with potato chips & coffee. Then I made reservations for RV parks for the time after Life on Wheels in Tucson, covering Mar 18th to Apr 15th in Indio, CA. I talked with the folks in Yuma who I'll be renting space from for a month & I'll arrive there Feb 6th, driving down from Quartzsite. I will need to cover the time from Mar 6th to the start of Life on Wheels on the 14th. I need to find out when we can get into our parking spots on the college campus before the start of LoW but will be in the Tucson area. I will also need to cover the time from Apr 15th to home but will probably go to Escapees Escapade in Chico, CA on Apr 23 - 28. That should get me home in early May & by then the weather in the northwest should be pretty good.
Now back to the new antennae. When I hooked up the voice phone earlier I saw a 5-bar signal strength. But when I tried to place a call it still tried to connect, then after about 20 seconds I got the message that the call failed. I talked with the people at Verizon Wireless tonight & it sounds like this is just an area where their signal doesn't work well. To connect to their towers it has to connect in Nevada. From here in the RV park the local wireless provider has a stronger signal than the one from Verizon. This provider is also an extended service provider for Verizon. Perhaps this strange combination of "available" service providers confuses the phone enough that it just doesn't work well. I just talked with son, M, & it worked fine! Maybe that re-programing the Verizon people did, along with the stronger signal, has solved my problem! I will walk to a pay phone & send this Pocketmail update, then come back & try the card in the laptop.
Installers - ugh!
(Tuesday, Jan. 17th) The Wilson Trucker/RV Antennae arrived, I picked it up just after 13:00 & told Mohave RV Repair I had it so they could come by anytime after that to install it. They called at 16:20 & told me they were not going to make it here today. Kind of frustrating but what can I do about it? I asked to please have them here in the morning so I can still do something with the day & they said they would try, but no promises.
I did take the antennae out of it's packaging & stand it up in a corner of the RV windshield. It doesn't have the ground plane rods installed but when hooked up to the voice phone it seems to connect with a signal strength of 4-bars. It should work better when up higher on the rig & with the ground plane rods installed. I won't try it with the PC card until it is properly installed but it looks at this first try like the phone at least will work a lot better with the antennae. To celebrate I went to Vito's Pizza tonight for their pizza buffet, a place Annie & I went for dinner once last year.
I will spend tonight in the RV watching TV, reading & holding Huggy. Then we will see what time they get here tomorrow to finish the job & get this thing properly installed. I have figured out where I want it to go on the rig & should not need to buy an extension cord to hook up to it there.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Is today the antennae day?
I got the desktop computer setup over the weekend so had access to Photoshop & was able to reduce the size of a couple of photos and get them uploaded to Flickr today, so they have been posted just below this update. One is of the sunset Sat night when there were clouds to the west, the other is of Church of the Holy Spirit, where I attended services on Sunday. I also emailed three photos of the Triumph Bonneville motorcycle at the casino display to son M. They are each over 2mb in size so I need to reduce them before I try to upload them. I have the Nikon along now and really will try to get more photos taken and uploaded. At least this is a start!
Yesterday I did go to the north part of town where I was able to connect to the Internet with my wireless card. I have a hard time remembering whether I posted from Pocketmail or on this system, unless there are photos involved. Maybe after that antennae is installed today (how is that for being positive!) I will be able to do it this way from home without having to go to the library or the north part of town. It is almost noon here and I have to keep track of time as I sure don't want to miss out by being too late myself.
Ft Mohave, AZ sunset,jpg
Church of the Holy Spirit
Monday, January 16, 2006
Finally, a trip to Laughlin, Nevada
Church yesterday was a good experience. The people there are as nice as I remembered them to be. I enjoyed my visit & the coffee hour after the service.
I drove by the library, which is closed on Sunday. I tried to connect by WiFi from the parking lot but although my system detected an unprotected hotspot, it wouldn't connect. I probably could have gotten out of the car & moved closer to the building but would then have been dependant again on the time my 4 year old battery in the laptop would last. Instead, I drove north of town to where I was just across the river from the Riverside Casino where my voice phone indicated a strong Verizon signal. I parked in the Home Depot parking lot & connected via my wireless PCMIAA card.
After some time on the Internet I drove across the bridge over the Colorado River to Laughlin, NV and the Riverside Casino, owned by Don Laughlin, founder of the town. First order was getting lunch, then I went up to the 3rd floor to view the cars on display there. Most are not owned by Don but are on loan from various owners from around the country. My son, M, got a new Triumph Bonneville motorcycle from his wife, J, for Christmas. There is a restored 1966 Triumph Bonneville in the display! I took photos of it & will send them to M. In 1966 the engine size was 650cc while the new one is 860cc, but they still have the original look.
My next stop, after a quick look at the Watchman store, was the Cinnebon store where I got a 20oz mocha made with Seattle's Best Coffee, for $4.75. It was a bit on the expensive side but I didn't get a cinnimon roll!
I next looked at the smaller car display that is on the way out to where I had parked the car. They have a beautiful 1949 right hand drive MG TF there, as well as a few Corvettes, a Delorian & some others. There is also a large display of antique slot machines that are owned by Don Laughlin. I spent no entertainment money on slot machines. The theaters there are showing "Munich" which is one I'd like to see so I may go back sometime for that.
While having a good, strong cell phone signal I made a couple of phone calls from my car in the parking lot. By then it was starting to get dark, about 18:00, so I started home, this time using Bullhead Parkway which is a shorter route to the campground & it avoids a lot of traffic & stop lights.
I spent the rest of the evening writing some email notes with my Pocketmail device, watching TV, reading & snuggling with Huggy. She is sure shedding! No rain overnight but it was pretty windy most of the night and it still is at 9am.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
I attended church this morning
Yesterday I went to the library again to connect to the Internet through their computer system rather than trying WiFi connections. The library is closed Sundays and tomorrow due to the holiday. I stopped there today to try connecting through their WiFi from outside in the parking lot but it didn't want to connect, so I drove north through Bullhead City almost to the Laughlin bridge and stopped in a Home Depot parking lot. There is a strong Verizon signal here so I am again online with my laptop card.
Yesterday after the library I went to a late lunch at a favorite restaurant of Ann's & mine, the Black Bear Diner. There are others in their chain and we have visited three of them that I can remember - here, in Lake Havasu and in Yreka, CA. The food is good and reasonably priced. D, I just ordered the Volcano breakfast but not with blue berries so I don't know what their current pricing policy on them is. You two need to come down here & we will find out! After lunch I went to Starbucks for a mocha, then home where I got out the desktop PC and got it setup on the table. There was a great sunset due to the clouds to the west so I got a couple of photos and was going to upload one but forgot to bring the thumb drive with it along today so will have to do that later or tomorrow.
We had no rain overnight here and I didn't notice any wind. I woke up expecting overcast but it is clear and calm. It is now 12:50 here and I'd guess it is in the mid-60s temperature wise. M called & left a voice mail saying that a little before 9 this morning in Arlington, WA it was raining hard with a heavy overcast. I think I like the weather here better.
As long as I am this close to Laughlin I will probably stow my laptop in the trunk when I leave here and drive over there for lunch. I always enjoy browsing through the casinos and people watching. There is a Seattle's Best Coffee place (with cinnimon rolls too!) in the Riverside casino which would be good for a mocha today and I know I can find a good lunch there, too. I like looking at the cars he has in an exhibit in the place so will check them out. I don't know if they rotate them but will find out this afternoon. If I get home in time I will probably take the Nikon out to see about getting some photos.
All you folks in the northwest, keep working on breaking that 50 year old record of 33 consecutive days of rain! I'll be thinking about you growing webbed feet.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Are those clouds in the sky?
I woke up a little before 8, looked outside and discovered there are some clouds in the sky. The sun is now up (9am) & shining but there are some clouds. I have the TV on with news from Phoenix & they are saying today should be pretty good with a high around 73 at Lake Havasu, just south of me, but more clouds are expected this evening with showers possible overnight. I guess all of Arizona is in a draught condition so most people want some rain.
I guess I can live with a shower - the folks at home are enjoying their 27th straight day with measurable rain & we won't have anything like that. They have Seattle on the TV news now. The 50 year old record is 33 straight days of rain & it looks like it may be broken this year. My son's fiancee & her 3 sons moved to the NW in Oct from Gulfport, MS, and they are not used to this much rain. D, at least we don't have hurricanes up there!
Yesterday after the library for my Internet fix, I went to Starbucks for my mocha, then back home. I took my bike off the roof of the car so now I can ride it. I had thought about going to Laughlin for dinner but that is 15 or so miles away so I just went to the Avi casino which is in Nevada but only about 3 miles away. The lines for the real restaurants were long so I just bought a slice of pizza & a salad. There were not any movies playing there I really wanted to see so I headed home. I did stop at Hollywood Video across the street from the campground but didn't find any there I really wanted to watch, either. So I just came home & read until bedtime.
I think I will go to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants here in town today, the Black Bear Diner, which is near Starbucks. I will also go with the laptop to the library to connect to the Internet. While out & about I may try some WiFi sites I have been told of & also try my wireless card in some different places about the area. I guess I should try these things first before going to the library - maybe I can save making that stop.
I also want to check & see if my new antennae came in. I think they were shipping it by UPS or someone like that. I hope it wasn't the post office as they will be closed Monday for ML King's birthday, a Federal holiday. I need it here Tuesday as Mohave RV Repair is coming then to install it. My cell phone connection is so poor here in the campground that I can't even retreive the voice mail messages on the system! One is from my son, M, but I don't know who the other is from. If it was you, I apologize for not calling back but that isn't an option here in the campground. I will check those messages when I go to lunch & get to where the phone will work.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Electric power off today in the campground
Since the power was off and the water heaters for the restrooms run on electricity, I ended up going back to the rig and turning on my own water heater for my shower. That works fine and is actually easier than packing all my stuff over there but I had already done that before I learned I couldn't use the campground showers. I guess it should all be back to normal now.
I kind of keep waiting for the problems to occur. Today is Friday the 13th and it looks to me like there is a full moon as well. Surely those two in combination will lead to some sort of bad thing(s) happening. It is a good thing I am not very superstitious! I may even go on over to Laughlin, Nevada tonight (it is just across a bridge over the Colorado River) and try my luck at a slot machine. I never win much as I don't put very much to risk when doing that. The nickle slots, playing one or two nickles at a time, don't give large pay offs even if you do win. But, you also don't loose much when you are not winning which is most of the time. The casinos also have pretty good food at prices that are not too bad and maybe I'll go see a movie. I guess that might be a good way to spend a Friday night.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Libraries are wonderful!
I stopped at the Cellular One store on my way here. The antennae's that were ordered were the mirror mount ones, not the through the roof one I want. They are placing another order today for three of the roof ones and my adapter to connect the card to it and having them shipped via 2-day service to the store in Bullhead City, so they should arrive Mon. That will work with my install date of Tue. It will be interesting to find out how well this will work. I hope it will solve most of the connection problems I am having down here.
The radio station I was listening to while driving here said the high temperature today should be 70. I like that. I also made a stop at the Dollar General store by Walmart where a year ago today Annie & I made some purchases, including a purple sweather that she loved and that only cost $12. They still had a few books to choose from for $1 each and some other things I bought. I spent about $22 plus tax but didn't buy much I can't or won't use. I do need to find some postcards to send grandkids and must remember the increase in postage. I have the 1 cent stamps to add to my 23 cent ones and there is a post office by the Safeway across the street from the campground.
I checked the church here in town that we attend and the Sunday service time is still 09:30, so I will plan to be there Sunday morning. It is a small church which we prefer. We enjoyed them the last couple of years while here, so I look forward to returning. So far while down here I haven't done much that I couldn't have done at home but it has brought back a lot of good memories of our last two trips to this area. And I have been a lot warmer and dryer while doing those things than if I were still at home.
Starbucks, antennaes & weather
Wed. after breakfast I drove to the do-it-yourself car wash near the other Safeway & washed the car which really was needed after it was towed 1420 miles from Mt. Vernon, WA to Bullhead City, AZ. Then I went next door to the Starbucks in the Safeway store. It is still the only Starbucks in town but they dropped the 1 free after buying 6 program the first of this year. The price of my standard grande mocha is 20 cents higher than at home, at $3.45 plus tax. The Verizon card did connect there but they have no electric outlet available so it will work only as long as my 4 year old laptop battery will last. I limited my activity, typed fast & didn't try to add another post to my blog then. I did learn that WiFi is available at the library so that might be my best option.
I headed back toward the RV park & stopped at the real estate place we have gotten maps before for a new map & to ask about the price & availability of lots in RV parks to buy in Bullhead City. There are 3 available in Riverview Resort, each about $35,000 plus a monthly "condo" fee of around $140. Property taxes are around $240 per year.
Back to my park where every Wed. they have hamburgers for lunch for about $2.50. I met R & K there & we talked about cell phone connections. I went back to the RV after lunch to spend some time with Huggy.
Mid-afternoon I left & drove to Mohave RV Repair that is just down the road & made an appointment for next Tue. to have a Wilson Trucker's Antennae installed on my RV. Now I have to find an antennae!
Another stop, this at the Cellular One store. They have 2 of them on order & they will be available by Fri. She will also order the adapter for my wireless card that hopefully will arrive by Tue. They did have the adapter for my voice phone so I got it & a new battery for it, too.
Then back home for a visit with R & K at their 5-wheel RV for a couple of hours. Back to my RV about 17:30 (Arizona time) for awhile, then a quick run to Safeway across the street for cooked chicken for dinner & some frozen foods, then back home the rest of the evening.
My cell connection from here is so poor that when my grand daughter called it went to voice mail, even though I was with the phone & it was on. I try to make a call, it says "Dialing" for 30 seconds or so, then says the call failed. This is a real poor area for cell phone access & I hear from others that it is not just Verizon that has problems. I think I really need that outside antennae but hope I don't have to add an amplifier for it to work well!
Our weather has been good. It is now Thu. morning & the outside temp was about 40 when I got up about 8. There are some thin clouds but the sun is shining & it should again warm into the upper 60s. I have been watching the "Today Show" from LA on the satellite & they said Seattle is expecting rain & winds for the 25th straight day! For about 2 weeks before that it was clear & dry but down to the mid-20s every night. It is much nicer weather wise down here.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
I changed campsites today
I talked with the office lady here this afternoon & was able to change to space 359B which is in the upper part of the campground, nearer where Annie, Huggy & I were the last two times we were here. Unfortunatly the wireless card still doesn't work. I talked with another camper who said Verizon service is terrible for everyone here in Fort Mohave, which is where we really are. It is south of Bullhead City proper by 3 or 4 miles & blocked from the Verizon tower in Laughlin by hills. But I think the card will connect from Starbucks in the Safeway that is in the downtown area, so I'll try that tomorrow.
The mocha & tuna wrap from Kim's Deli across the street were good. I bought a few things at Safeway, including a book on the Southbeach diet, the current copy of Arizona Highways magazine & the local newspaper for today.
I forgot to add the HTML code to the last message I sent from this Pocketmail device that cuts the text PM adds at the end of a message, so it would have been there. I apologize for that & will try to remember to add it the rest of the times I send a post by PM. It just needs the pound sign followed immediately (no space) by the word end & nothing else appears after it, even if a service like PM appends advertising. When I can access the web I can edit that post & remove their ad.
I did get the satellite TV antennae up & working so I'm watching TV. The network shows I get are from LA & so is the news. Last year we knew a lot more about the mayoral recall election in LA than we really needed to know. I will probably put up the regular antennae for local channels. The eleven o'clock news from LA really comes on at midnight here because Arizona is on Mountain Time.
I still have to change my clocks to Arizona time so will do that tomorrow. AZ doesn't do Daylight Savings Time so when I go back to California I won't have to change them, as long as DST has started by then. Isn't it earlier this year than in the past?
Early morning in the desert
I have the big inverter on to run the laptop and also made a cup of coffee in my new Miletta coffee pot that I bought from Camping World last month. It seems to use about as much power from the batteries as the microwave does, but only takes about 4 min to make the 20 oz cup of coffee. I wouldn't want to run a 60 amp load very long, even with 440 amp hours of batteries.
This is relaxing, watching the world wake up outside my windows. There are a surprising number of cars already at Walmart and most of the commercial trucks have already hit the road (08:05 now.) I plan to leave by 9 which should get me to the campground by 13:00, even after stopping at Safeway for gas.
I have discovered there is still some moisture in the rig. When I put my 3-ring binders that carry the rig info and my membership campground info in their usual storage spot, the one that is against the carpet from the raised area where the driver & passenger seats are located gets wet, apparently from the carpet. I can reach back in there, between the end of the sofa and the carpeted step, and it does feel slightly damp. I know it will dry out here in the desert but I am not sure how to prevent it from happening next winter during storage of the rig. Maybe I need to remove all water that might freeze and not try to put any heat in it while in storage. The cat heater puts out moisture, so that is probably where most of it comes from.
I will go ahead and upload this posting. I won't know until I get to the campground if the wireless card will work from there or not. Maybe I can take the laptop with me to Denny's when I go for dinner if I can't use it in the rig. Or I can update from the Pocketmail device as I don't have any photos to upload yet. As long as they still have payphones in the campground. They seem to be going away as almost all RVers now have cell phones. But, at least this one will be here for today.
Monday, January 09, 2006
I'm almost there
I bought gas at a Chevron station in east Bakersfield today (no mocha place close by.) It was $2.459/gal there, the same I paid yesterday in Red Bluff, but I did see some stations earlier where it was $2.499. It is definately going up. I think I will stop at Safeway tomorrow before I go into the campground and fill the tank as it will probably cost more to do that in two weeks when I am ready to leave. I wonder what it will cost in April and May when I am heading home? I have been setting my cruise control at about 56 mph and figured my mileage from Auburn where I filled up to the fill up in Bakersfield today and over a distance of 1047 miles I used 124.7 gallons for an average of 8.4 miles per gallon. The best I have ever gotten before with the RV was 7.5 so this is a big improvement. I used to set the cruise at about 61 so the speed isn't enough different to really make much of a difference in when I get to where I am going. So I think I will continue to save the extra fuel and drive a little slower. The truck speed limit in both Oregon and California is 55 and I think I am more of a truck than an auto anyway.
I walked over to the Walmart tonight and bought a smaller camera case to use that I can carry a couple of lenses for the Nikon in while out hiking. I didn't want to have to take the large back pack case that holds pretty much everything. This was only $20 and should work pretty well. I'll let you know after I try it out. I also bought a few goodies to eat. I probably shouldn't have but if I am going to do all that walking I will probably burn it off, right?
This first part of my trip has been pretty much just driving miles, without many chances to see or do anything. Tomorrow I will get to the first place where I'll spend enough time to get out and see things. I hope to be able to put up some photos here in a few days.
A relaxed traveler.....
When I stop for gas in east Bakersfield I may look for a place for a mocha. I don't always find my usual Starbucks stores while on the road but have found some small, unknown (to me) places that sometimes make a very fine mocha, and that has been fun. A few of them were not so good but I keep reminding myself that in coffee (mochas), good is often more a matter of what you are used to and one that isn't "good" to me might be very good to their regular customers. While on the road like I've been the last few days I prefer to not have to unhook the car, so wherever I go has to be either a place I can stop with the RV/car combination or a place I can walk to.
I am looking forward to entering the Mohave Desert after my Bakersfield stop and a climb of Tehachapi Pass. I expect it will be sunny and warm there. That is a good part of the reason I come south for the winter. Sunshine, warmth and longer hours of daylight. Plus we have met some good people whom I consider friends while on the road and I will see some of them, too.
It is nine o'clock so I guess I'd better stop this, wash my dishes and start putting things away in order to get on the road. My neighbors from Puyallup just pulled out and I should be on my way in about an hour. I will try to write more later about my actual travels for today. I don't know if I will have this Internet connection available in Barstow or will need to use the Pocketmail/email connection but one way or another I should be able to add an update. Hopefully I can start putting up some photos once I get to Bullhead City & start exploring around there. More later.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Have you ever heard of Kingsburg, CA?
We left Walmart at 8:30 & stopped at the Chevron station next door to fill up with $2.459/gal gas. With my gauge not working I don't want to run out and thought even though it may be a little higher priced there, it would save me having to stop anywhere else for gas today. I have seen it from a low of $2.199 to about what I paid in Red Bluff. I will fill up east of Bakersfield tomorrow and that will get me to Bullhead City where gas will probably be cheaper than in Calif.
We slipped through Sacramento a little after 11, changing from I-5 to SR-99, the old US-99. It is about 270 miles from Sac to Bakersfield and as far as I can remember there is only ONE rest stop on that whole southbound trip. That is just south of Turlock, where we stopped for a sandwich for me & kitty candy for Huggy. Turlock is also where I saw an Arco with $2.199 gas. While we were eating lunch I called Viking R-V Park to make sure they were open and had space. I wasn't worried about space if they were open. They were and we arrived about 15:15 and checked into space 24, the same one Annie & I were in when here in 2004. Right after me another RV came in & parked where D & J were in #25. This couple is also from Puyallup, where D&J used to live before they became fulltime RVers.
I have a good strong wireless signal here and we are in a full hookup site so have electric power without having to run the inverter like I did last night. I will do more with the PC, but also want to run the TV and DVD player to watch the movie I bought last night, "Wedding Crashers." I think I can do both as the TV is easy to see from the dining table where the PC is setup. I probably should try to fix something for dinner, too.
The weather has been pretty good. No rain and some sunshine. It was clear overnight in Red Bluff so when I got up about 6 the outside temp was only 38. I figured it was fairly cold as the big furnace was cycling on & off all night, especailly in the morning. I had it set for 60 with the cat heater on low. About 40 miles north of Sac it got overcast & was that way until about 30 miles south of Sac. It was sunny & warm when we stopped for lunch, but by the time we got a bit north of Fresno the overcast was back. Not a real heavy overcast and it really doesn't look like rain, but I guess I won't get the real sunny, warm and dry weather until tomorrow when I cross Tehachapi Pass into the Mohave Desert. I plan to stop at the Walmart in Barstow tomorrow night, then on to BH City Tue and check into the RV park there.
Well, that is about it for now. The trip is going okay but it sure is missing someone who should be here with us. Driving is okay but spending these long hours alone at night is hard, but that was hard at home in the house, too. All these memories are wonderful and I am glad that I do have them. I sometimes used to think money spent on vacations was a bit of a waste as when it was over you didn't have a lot to show for it, but I am now finding out how valuable those memories really are. If you want to go on a vacation, go for it but try to take the one you love most along, too. You never know when you will no longer be able to do that and then the memories will be what helps you get by.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
We made it to Red Bluff, CA
We left Eugene about 08:50 this morning, drove a little over an hour to Roseburg where we stopped for gas at the Chevron where it was $2.299/gal & we took 44.8 gal. There is a mocha stand in front of the gas station so it is a favorite place of ours to stop, plus it is pretty convenient to and from the freeway. My gas gauge seems to be acting up. When we started the rig this morning it indicated 1/4 tank while there was about 1/2 yesterday when we parked. There was no indication of anyone messing with the tank or gas cap and as I drove the level went up, then back down. When the tank was filled it stayed on empty, then went up to 1/4 and then back to empty. I hope it is just a loose wire as it can get pretty expensive if they have to empty the tank, then lower it and take the parts out to work on.
Our routing today was just south on I-5. We stopped in Roseburg for gas & a mocha, then in the Rest Stop at Weed, CA to re-heat the rest of my pizza from last night for lunch. Huggy got some kitty candy there as well. Siskiyou Pass was just bare and wet with very little snow even along side the roadway. We stopped again in a Rest Stop just north of Red Bluff as I didn't want to arrive at Walmart too early. We got here about 17:15 and it was still light! The rain finally stopped between Redding and Red Bluff and it is now 50 degrees outside at almost 20:00 hours.
Much of this trip is duplicating the first Snowbird trip Annie & I made after I retired. That year (2004) we didn't leave home until Feb 14th, spent 3 nights in Auburn and 2 in Eugene, but we stopped in this Walmart lot and got dinner at the Arby's next door, and I did that again tonight. That was our first time overnighting in a Walmart but we have done it a few times since. It doesn't make sense to pay $20 or more for a campground when all we need is a place to park for a few hours rest and we will be leaving fairly early the next morning. The RV is fully self-contained and doesn't need any hookups for a short stay like that. I hope the weather is going to be pretty good now the rest of the way south for us.
I have a good strong signal here on my Verizon wireless card so the connection is good. I did learn how to send an update from Pocketmail and not have the "Sent via Pocketmail" etc they append onto a message show up (see my original test one sent from home in the archives for Dec - it is there.) But, it did work well sending something via Pocketmail although I couldn't use B's phone as it is a headset only, so held off until I got gas today.
Hi from Eugene, OR
Yesterday I did get away from the Auburn Eagles campground at 9 & drove to Auburn RV to fill the propane tank. Propane there was $2.85/gal plus sales tax! It took 9.2 gal to fill the tank. Then to Fred Meyer to fill the gas tank, 37 gal at $2.019/gal. A quick mocha from Starbucks at FM & I was on the freeway about 9:45.
I drove south on SR 167 to Puyallup, then SR 512 to I-5. In Vancouver I turned onto SR-205 to bypass downtown Portland, crossing into OR about 12:40. A quick stop for lunch in the first rest stop I came to after getting back onto I-5 south of Portland, then off for Eugene. I arrived here about 15:40. It was dry until Olympia, rain there that quit just beyond O, rain again in Vancouver that quit in Portland, then rain from Salem to Eugene.
It has felt like I have a guardian Angel making the driving conditions pretty good for me. Wed was dry all through the greater Seattle mess. Yesterday the harder rain didn't start until I was south of Portland & the heavy traffic there. Thank you, Annie!
Thursday, January 05, 2006
I'm on the road again!
It really seemed odd to sleep alone in the rig last night, my first night without Annie there. Huggy also seemed confused and didn't spend most of the night on the bed like she used to do, but part of that might have related to her prefering to lie on the carpet in front of the electric heater!
We got up about 8 this morning to rain, quite a bit of it. W came by about 10:30. He was the original owner of the handicapped electric cart we bought for Annie from D & J in 2002 and when he learned I wanted to sell it he wanted to buy it back. We loaded it in his car, he paid me and headed off with it. I don't have enough room for it, nor do I need it so it is good that it is back to him.
Then I was off to the bank to deposit money and meet friends from Annie's Beta Sigma Phi chapter for lunch. That was a nice couple of hours, then back home to spend some time with Huggy before leaving at 15:00 to see J who used to live across the street from us while we were in Auburn. She has recently moved into Parkside, an assisted living place where Annie's Mom spent the last 14 months of her life. I picked up grandkids, J & K, at 16:30 and we drove to Denny's for a nice dinner.
Now I am home to try to update this blog with the first couple of days of my trip. I plan to be on the road about 9 tomorrow after getting gasoline & propane, to drive to Eugene, OR.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
The RV is nearly ready to go
Huggy gets nervous when I start carrying so many things out of the house. I am not sure if she thinks we are going away in the RV or just worries that she may be left home alone. She is a good traveler and seems to like it when we get going and I know she also likes warm dry weather better than cold and rain, even though she only goes outside on a leash. We do it more when the weather is good as both of us are more comfortable.
Well, it is off to bed so I can get up tomorrow and finish the packing job. I hope to be away by about noon so I can get through Seattle in the early afternoon, before traffic gets too bad.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Happy New Year
I am updating this now, then I want to make a phone call or two before it is too late in the evening. After that I need to contact Verizon Wireless to find out how to setup my laptop so I can use either WiFi or the new broadband wireless card. My departure date to go south is getting closer and I need to get things like that working properly while still home with all the Internet and phone connections I have available here. Only two full days left at home before my departure date on this Snowbird trip.
I also want to enter a post for 2006 to see if my blog will automatically create an archive link for January posts and if or how it will move the others on my front page at that time. I need to find out what is automatic and where I have to do something to make something happen. This is pretty new to me - maybe I should have started it farther back from my departure date. Notice I have added another link, this one to RV Escapade, a blog from an Escapee Boomer's couple who has helped me with advice on setting up my blog. They recently spent some time in Las Vegas and he has some good photos from there, plus an aerial view of the Quartzsite, AZ area where we Boomers will be gathering in a few weeks for the annual Q-Rang.
Happy New Year to all of you. I sincerely hope 2006 will be better for me than the last half of 2005 was.