Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Internet's Best Site Ever

People who are new to computers ask, why should I use the internet? Will it make my life better?

As I live and travel around in my motorhome, I have found that using the internet is making my life a lot better. Maybe not better, but easier for sure.

For example, I don't have to worry about getting a phone book wherever I go, then having to throw it away when I leave, or worse yet, carrying around all that paper. I can use the internet to look up phone numbers for things I need in a new town - a vet, where the local Wal-Mart is, what movies are playing, etc.

I don't need to go out and buy a newspaper every morning; I get my news online. I look up prices online so that when I go shopping, I know what something should cost. I use Google Earth to help me travel, and I look up Elks Lodges online for their phone numbers. I use the internet a lot, it is a great resource.

Now I have found my very favorite web site of all. This one will really make my life better. It's at It's subtitle is "helping your bladder enjoy going to the movies as much as you do".

It lists movies currently playing in theaters, and for each, when you should make a dash for it, so to speak. It even tells you, if you unscamble the message, what happens in the 3-4 minutes while you're out of the room. And it gives you three or four choices for how long you can "hold it".

What a great idea. The people who created this site are my heroes. I noticed that the web site is in "beta" mode, which means they are testing it out. I certainly hope it stays around for a really long time. Thanks, you guys!!

[This site reminds me of a small book I saw once that was titled Dear John, and it listed all the public restrooms in New York City. You'd have to be there to understand why I appreciated that book.]

I'd be interested in hearing what web sites makes your life easier. Send me your favorites.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thanks to the Escapees RV Club

Some RV groups claim proudly that they are not political. That's certainly their choice; they have a right to run their organizations any way they want to.

But I'm glad I belong to one group who proudly is political - The Escapees RV Club. They do so much good for all RVers out there, we should take a minute to thank them.

In early May 2009. the State of Maine proposed a law that would ban RV parking in any public parking lot. The Escapees found out about this proposed law (which was inspired by the Maine Campground Owners Association - no surprise there) and sent out an alert to it's members. It asked us to call or email or write to the legislators and the tourist groups in Maine to protest.

So I did, and it took me all of ten minutes to fire off ten or so emails politely asking for their support in defeating this proposed legislation.

I got another alert from the Escapees a few days later saying that the legislation had been defeated, thanks in large part to the response of RVers, and asking us to again write emails, this time thanking those people for their support.

Thanks, Escapees Club, for keeping tabs on the political scene and letting us know so that we can participate in events that affect us all.

So for you RVers who are not political, the next time you go to Maine and park in a Wal-Mart overnight, please think of us proudly political RVers who helped maintain that privilege for you.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Halloween - a Great Time by One and All

Here are the pictures I took of our Halloween party, which was held at a small RV park near Golden Shores, Arizona. We all had a great time, even though the temperature was about 85 at 6pm that night. Everyone's makeup pretty much ran off in a few minutes.

But the costumes were great. Here are some of them, and the prize winners:

Brad's costume went right by me; they had to tell me he was "the King and EYE"

I didn't know who this was, he didn't say a word. Turns out it was Chuck, and he won a prize for the creepiest.

Joey told us she was a social butterfly, but I thought she looked like a demented Rad Hat lady. And what is houseboat Bob doing in the background there??????

I don't know where John got this clown outfit, and why he thought I could put makeup on ANYBODY is beyond me, but doesn't he look cute? All that makeup ran down his chin a little while later.

I loved LJ in this cowboy outfit. How unique!! She won a prize, too! (I forget for what, sorry LJ)

Our trio of nuns was very cute, but they kept trying to hide their drinks!! Left to right is Joanne, June, and Shirley.

I'm not sure who this was. These people who don't say anything, I can't tell who they are. Wouldn't want to meet this character in a dark alley, though.

Doesn't Rich look adorable, all ready for bed. He reminds me of my grandmother, well, all except the beer.

Vivian must have been burning up under this costume. But she won first place. WOW, great job, Viv!

I think Randy was just trying to stay cool on this hot night, but he won the prize for the scariest. 'Nuff said!!

Max said it was a costume, but we think he just wandered into the wrong holiday!

Judy was very cute as a cat like creature. Meow!

Judy came as "the morning after" and Vicky was the referee. I think the eyelashes did Judy in.

Bob looks pretty creepy, too. I'm sure his makeup didn't last long.

After the costume judging and finger food eating, the games began. They were hilarious, and I won't even mention the one with the marshmallows.

They talked John and LJ into donning these pumpkin outfits for one of the games. All the guys lined up behind LJ, and all the ladies lined up behind John. Everyone had a balloon, which he/she blew up and then attempted to stuff into the outfit via the slit in the front. You can see the results.

Oh, Man, he's never going to live this down!!!!!

Doesn't LJ just look too cute?

This crowd is just amazing. They are so creative, and the main goal is to have fun. They certainly accomplished it on Halloween. The local people we corralled into judging our costume contest had fun, too, and thanked us for bringing the holiday to them. Great Time, everyone.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Welcome Back

I took a little time off for good behavior, but am now back on the road. I joined up with my WIN friends in El Jabel Colorado. The WINs, as you may remember is a traveling singles club. Each year in the fall we do a kayak trip south. This year my good friend Joey Shelton created a new trip, called CUACK (Colorado, Utah, Arizona California Kayaking) and El Jabel is the first stop of the trip. We had a great time.

For pictures of our bike trip From Aspen south, check out Barbara's blog, where you will see pictures, even of me in my biking splendor. My earmuffs broke about half way, just as the rain started, so I'm still shaking off a stuffed up ear. But it was fun, cold and rain and all.

(I'm not posting any pictures today because we do not have an internet signal where we are parked, so I am sitting in the Moab city park running my laptop on batteries.)

After El Jabel we spent a week in Grand Junction CO where we again had a great time. Went on a lovely 20 mile bike trip. I love my bike. The group also did a couple of kayak trips in which lots of folks overturned. It's not a good day on the water until you get wet.

Now we're at Moab, seeing the many sights here. Four wheel drives, sightseeing, hiking abound.

Soon we'll be off to Page, where 48 of us (not me) will spend a week on 4 houseboats on Lake Powell. Surely a trip of a lifetime. The rest of us will be pet sitting for those on the boats. Can't wait to hear the stories they'll have.

So, I am alive and kicking, and well rested. Hoefully we'll have better internet coverage in Page, and I'll post some pictures. Bye for now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Continuing Saga of my leveling jack springs

Last year when I traveled around the country with Barbara and Ron (, I had a lot of equipment problems with my motorhome. Well, maybe not a lot, but some. In March as we were leaving Orlando, FL, I realized one of the springs on the left front leveling jack had broken. I was surprised; I had never heard of anyone breaking one of those.

So I called HWH, the manufacturer of the jacks. Talked to Ashley, who promptly sent out a new pair. Ron went way above and beyond the call of duty when he put them on.

Then, in May 2007 we were parked on the outer banks of North Carolina, experiencing a terrific storm. During some of the strongest winds, I heard a tremendous boom, and found out that BOTH springs on the front right had broken. Once again Ashley sent out a new pair.

So, imagine my surprise when last Saturday, I was sitting in the shade a few feet from my motorhome and heard a huge boom. Oh, no, I thought, I've heard that sound before. Looking under the rig, sure enough, I found a spring on the left front jack was in two pieces.
Really. That's four springs in a year and a half. And this pair of springs are the ones I received in March 07.

I've always heard good things about HWH, who of course would be good because they're in Iowa, my home state. Is this just a bizarre happening, or do we have a really bad batch of springs? Or is there an issue with the motorhome or the jacks which is causing this? I'm expecting a call from an HWH technician to investigate.

Ashley, as it turns out, rememberd me, and was quite taken aback at the news of my most recent breakage. Even before I could utter the words, "I don't think I should have to pay for replacement", she was saying she'd ship them out under warranty. So the new springs are on the way, and I've got an appointment with an RV place to install said springs.

So, I'm wondering - have any of you ever had a spring break? Have you ever heard of anyone having a spring break? The is very odd, I can't believe I'm the only one with this problem. I'd like to hear from you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back on Line

After three days of not being able to get a signal with my Internet Satellite Dish, I finally gave up and went to Verizon Wireless and got an air card. I have 30 days to decide if I want it. If I cannot get a callback from someone at DirecStar (so far no luck on a callback) I will cancel my service and stay with the air card.

I must say, this air card is pretty fast. Not as fast when I download my podcasts, but web pages seem faster.

Anyway, I'm back on line now. More later.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm still kicking!

A lot has happened since last we spoke. I won the lottery, got married, missed a place on the US Decathalon team by .007 of a second, and bought a Prevost.

Okay, just kidding. I've been leading a quiet life. The Escapade was nice, met some new Solos. After the rally a bunch of us went back to the Moose lodge in Gillete for a week. Then I went onto the Moose in Belle Fourche, SD and to the Elks in Rapid City, doing the sightseeing thing. But not much to tell you. I drove through Custer State Park, and saw not one, not ONE buffalo. How bad does that suck?

I'm here in Cheyenne, Wyo for the Cheyenne Frontier Days. This is a really great town. Everybody really makes the tourists feel welcome. With the free pancake breakfasts, the parades, the Thunderbirds air Show, the open house at the Air Force Base, the melodrama and the daily shootouts downtown, as well as the rodeo, there is so much to do here.

There were nine of us WINs here, though three have left and others will be pulling out this weekend. The VFW was welcoming as always, with a steady stream of popcorn during happy hour.

Just before I arrived here, it rained pretty hard, and the leak near the front door returned. Last summer Ron got up on the roof and sucessfully stopped the leak, but it has returned. So I got John C. to re-patch the area. Thanks John. We have to wait for another hard rain to see if it worked.

I'll try to post more often, since on know you're just waiting to see what exiting things I'm up to.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Big Brother

Today is my big brother's birthday.

He's actually a little older than this now, Dave is 60 today.

I want to wish him a very Happy Birthday and many more.

And yes, I did send him a card, so this isn't just a cheap way to send my best.

Happy Birthday, Dave. Have a great day.

I'm Saved! (electrical problem update)

Well, everything is fine now, all my electrical is working again, and I'm relieved, giddy and completely exhausted.

Yesterday morning we determined that the problem was not the inverter. Good, saved me a $471 repair bill, but bad, now we have to look further.

So I called Pete Bonine, who even long distance is a lifesaver. We told me how to isolate the circuit that was causing the problem, and with the help of my friends Mike Hoary and Bill Mikiewicz we did indeed find the circuit. Actually they did all the work. I took them out for pizza last night.

Early this morning I called Winnebago and spoke to Rod in their service department. Told him the problem, and he hunted for a few minutes, and finally said, well, the only thing on that circuit that would cause that large draw is the engine heater. I told him I never use the engine heater, but I dutifully went to look, and WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE?????? The engine heater was on. I turned it off and my problem went away.

So all of you that right away suggested I had something left on after I'd been hooked up, pat yourselves on the back, you were absolutely right. I looked at everything except the engine heater because I never use it. So now it's unplugged and I put tape over the switch so I won't be tempted to accidentally turn it on again.
It is next to the electric water heater, which I do remember turning on.

I'm so glad it was only that, and I'm kicking myself for turning it on. I don't remember to do it, but of course I did. I'm glad that you all have never done anything that dumb, right?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I'm never plugging in again!

Well, the rally's over, and we're back here at the Moose Lodge in Gillette Wyoming. I'll post some pictures as soon as I can steal some from John. You know I forgot to take my camera most of the time.

I was plugged in to 50amp electrical service all week at the Cam-Plex, only the second time I've done so since September 2007. I'm boondocking here at the Moose, and when I turned on the inverter, I got quite the surprise.

Normally when I turn on the inverter, I see a reading of 50-85 watts, depending on what is plugged into 110 volt outlets and their phantom loads. But now when I plug in, I see a reading of 1000 watts. Yes, one thousand watts! AC watts, and it drains the batteries in a matter of minutes. I quickly shut it off.

I called Coachnet, my emergency roadside service, and they are just great. Can't say enough good things about them. It was a Saturday of a holiday weekend, no place is open, but their technician talked me through a lot of diagnostics before he ran out of suggestions. So Monday morning they called back and had gotten me an appointment on Tuesday afternoon. The great part of that is the repair place is less than a block from the Moose lodge; I'm looking right at it.

I called the manufacturer who gave me some more diagnostics to tell the repair facility. We will quickly be able to tell if it's the inverter or not. So I'm confident that soon I will be up and running again. Thank goodness all the truly important things in my motorhome are 12volt - water pump, water heater, fridge, lights, 12volt outlets, etc.

I'm convinced that the inverter is angry at me for bypassing it this week. So, I promise, no more plugging in, ever again!!! Well, maybe...

Friday, July 4, 2008

I'm coveting this rig

Yep, this is the one I want. I'd be able to off-road in this, don't you think?
Kinda big, though, huh?

Okay, I'm just kidding. This enormous thing is sitting by the Cam-Plex with a display of equipment used in the mining industry here in Wyoming. Man, this thing is big. I don't know what it is, but I'd hate to buy tires for it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The most beautiful children in the world!!!!!!

Everybody else shows pictures of their lovely relatives, and now you get to see mine. My niece and nephew's two darling daughters. Are they grand-nieces or great-nieces? Great-nieces, I think, because they are just great!!!

Hi, Piper and Finley!

(cropped without permission)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Anniversary to ME

Today, July 1st, 2008 is a BIG day. It's the 10th anniversary of my freedom, I mean corporate downsizing, no I really mean retirement.

Wow, I cannot believe it's been ten years. And the best ten years of my life, I'm sure. I bought my motorhome in September of 1998, and how that has changed my life.

I think fondly today of all the people who've come into and gone out of my life in those ten years. The really good friends that I have, the really strange people I've met, those I've lost, those I'd like to lose. No, just kidding about that last.

I would also like to thank Bernie Ebbers, former head of Worldcom and MCI, for making my retirement possible. Bernie was cooking the books at MCI, and claimed to have very low expenses. My corporate giant, AT&T, couldn't compete with it's higher expenses, so it started laying people off in order to reduce expenses. So now I'm living the good life, Bernie's doing 25 years in the pokey, and AT&T got bought out. Who's the winner here? I chuckle a lot, thanking ole Bernie.

Here's to ten more good years. And here's hoping you are enjoying your life as much as I am mine.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Here in Gillette

Well, I finally left Greeley. Lots to be said for staying at the same place a long time. You save on diesel fuel, you get to know the town a little, and you get to play Bingo at the Moose Lodge. Thanks Joey, Heidi, Tod and Randy for your hospitality while I was there.

Greeley was unique in one way. Most towns I pass through seem to only have one price for gasoline. 99% of stations have the same price. I always thought that couldn't have been coincidence. But not Greeley. It had the most price diversity I have ever seen. On the same day I saw gas at 3.82, 3.85, 3.95, 3.99, and 4.05. Naturally I filled at the 3.82 station.

I stayed at the Moose in Cheyenne for two nights, getting my fill at Sam's Club and Walmart. I'm ready for the boonies now.

This morning I drove from Cheyenne to Gillette. 132 miles on the Interstate, then 113 miles on a two lane road. THIS is my idea of a two lane road. Straight as a string, almost no traffic, and a shoulder in case you need one. It was a very pleasant drive. I started at 7:30 am. I know that comes as a shock to most of you, was I even awake at that hour????? It was pretty and quiet then, and a nice tailwind brought me north.

I am happily (if a bit off kilter) ensconced at the local Moose Lodge, parked next to John Clairmont. We'll go into the Cam-Plex on Sunday morning for the Escapade, caravaning with the Solos. It's been a few years since I've been to an Escapade, and this a big deal - the 30th anniversary of the Escapees Club. That doesn't happen so often.

If any of you are going to be at the Escapade, come over to the Solos and say hello.

Friday, June 13, 2008

What do those numbers mean?

In a recent conversation, I mentioned that I reuse plastic water bottles, and the person to whom I was talking (forgive me, I don't remember who that was) said that some plastic can be harmful because it can release toxic particles into the water. I should be using only plastic with a certain number on the bottom, to indicate it would not release said toxins.

I said, I don't think that's what the number on the bottom means. Has something to do with recycling, I recall, but not sure what. (There was a hoax email not long ago that wrongly frightened people about the toxins in plastic water bottles. Check it out on

So, in good researcher fashion, I looked it up on the internet. Sure enough, the little numbers within the triangle on the bottom of plastic things are used for recycling. Did you know all this? Keep in mind that all this plastic comes from oil, so if we can recycle more, we'll be helping to need less oil.

Below is a reprint from (It's a little long winded, but very interesting, I think.):

The symbol code we’re familiar with—a single digit ranging from 1 to 7 and surrounded by a triangle of arrows—was designed by The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988 to allow consumers and recyclers to differentiate types of plastics while providing a uniform coding system for manufacturers.

Easy Plastics to Recycle
The easiest and most common plastics to recycle are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) and are assigned the number 1. Examples include soda and water bottles, medicine containers, and many other common consumer product containers. Once it has been processed by a recycling facility, PETE can become fiberfill for winter coats, sleeping bags and life jackets. It can also be used to make bean bags, rope, car bumpers, tennis ball felt, combs, cassette tapes, sails for boats, furniture and, of course, other plastic bottles.

Number 2 is reserved for high-density polyethylene plastics. These include heavier containers that hold laundry detergents and bleaches as well as milk, shampoo and motor oil. Plastic labeled with the number 2 is often recycled into toys, piping, plastic lumber and rope. Like plastic designated number 1, it is widely accepted at recycling centers.

Plastics Less Commonly Recycled
Polyvinyl chloride, commonly used in plastic pipes, shower curtains, medical tubing, vinyl dashboards, and even some baby bottle nipples, gets number 3. Like numbers 4 (wrapping films, grocery and sandwich bags, and other containers made of low-density polyethylene) and 5 (polypropylene containers used in Tupperware, among other products), few municipal recycling centers will accept it due to its very low rate of recyclability.

Another Useful Plastic to Recycle
Number 6 goes on polystyrene (Styrofoam) items such as coffee cups, disposable cutlery, meat trays, packing “peanuts” and insulation. It is widely accepted because it can be reprocessed into many items, including cassette tapes and rigid foam insulation.

Hardest Plastics to Recycle
Last, but far from least, are items crafted from various combinations of the aforementioned plastics or from unique plastic formulations not commonly used. Usually imprinted with a number 7 or nothing at all, these plastics are the most difficult to recycle and, as such, are seldom collected or recycled. More ambitious consumers can feel free to return such items to the product manufacturers to avoid contributing to the local waste stream, and instead put the burden on the makers to recycle or dispose of the items properly.

End of reprint. I don't know about you, but recycling is the one thing I don't do well as a fulltime RVer. I don't usually stay long enough in a town to find the recycling center, and who's got room to haul around old jugs and bottles, looking for one. I'd be very interested in hearing how you deal with this. Leave a comment and get me headed in the right direction.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday Rambles

I'm still here in Greeley. I know you were waiting with baited breath for news of my many activities here. Right. I have been just hanging out, not having much to say. It's been very relaxing. I've been doing lots of beading. If I can get the "macro" feature of my camera to do what I think it should, I'll post pictures.

I took a long drive this evening (yeah, I know, I'll eat Mac and Cheese the rest of the week). I just love the country around here. If you've never been to Greeley (and really, why would you?) it sits on the prairie east of the Colorado Rockies front range. Highway 85 goes north to Cheyenne, and if you look to the east on that road, all you can see are grasslands. Being a prairie person, that is my kind of land. Just rolling hills with grass, a few cows, and a couple of antelope. I can take a really deep breath here. Lots of horizon to see. If you look to the west, you see the wonderful panorama of snow covered mountains. The majestic Rockies. Takes my breath away.

Hardly a day goes by that I don't remember how lucky I am to be able to have this lifestyle. Lucky, fortunate, blessed, take your pick. I don't know, I'm just darned glad to be living it.

I think about how far flung my friends are this summer. Oregon, Wyoming, Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico, Arizona, even California (Get out of there, John!). Yet we manage to stay in touch with our cellphones, email, and our blogs and flicker pages. Amazing.

I like to keep up with the technology of emerging energy forms. My favorite was wave power. I can't really explain how they do it (I know there are three different technologies that all work), so in layman's terms: they put a generator on the ocean floor a couple of miles off shore, with cabling back to a structure on shore. The incoming waves push a piston forward, then the outgoing waves push the piston backwards. The piston moving generates electricity. You can google wave power and find out more. There are electric buses in Scotland that run off electricity powered by these wave machines. Very cool.

But now I have a new favorite. I saw this on the new channel DirecTV has, Planet Green. Two young women have a prototype of a generator powered by people pushing a revolving door around. Really, I couldn't make that up. I just love it. Make all doors into public buildings revolving doors, and put that power into batteries or sell the power back to the electric company. How innovative is that? Shows that everybody can help in the fight to be energy independent.

I'm doing my part. Since September, I've only plugged into the power grid once. (It was 95 degrees in Las Vegas, so shoot me). Most of the time I'm off the grid completely. Since I use my generator so seldom, I'm not using a lot of diesel. It's a small thing, true, but I'm proud to do my part.

We went to the Moose Lodge last night for Bingo. I only had six cards, so it was MUCH less stressful than the first time I played bingo and had to mark up 24 cards. That was just awful. Remember, LJ? But this was much better. It's still kind of boring, though, daub, daub, daub, somebody yells BINGO, you throw away your page and start another game. Same thing, daub, daub, daub, somebody else yells Bingo, and you start all over again. Five games, intermission, five more games. We didn't win anything. It was something to do, though. Joey's dauber kind of exploded, she had to buy a new one. That was fun.

This Moose Lodge has the nicest people. I guess I say that about almost every lodge I stay at.

Those are my ramblings today. Maybe I'll do something more interesting than laundry so I'll have something to say. Have a nice day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Safe and Sound in Greeley

Well, I got to Greeley yesterday afternoon, just in time to see some serious winds arrive. I had just pulled to a stop at the local Moose Lodge when the winds started. I'm so glad I wasn't on the road, because it was a southeasterly wind, not quite a tailwind.

The weather has been crazy everywhere. This area is getting tornadoes, Show Low had a blizzard, even snow in Durango, according to Lloyd's blog. Summer should be here soon, and look at all this crazy weather. The tornadoes should be over here, now, though.

Joey and I drove to Cheyenne last night to have dinner with another RVing friend who was passing though, Shirley Bradley. Of course I forgot to take the camera. I am shirking my duties as a blogster, I know. I'll do better. Honest.

I'll be here for a few weeks, just hanging out and waiting for the diesel prices to go down. How long can I hold my breath? Yeah, I know, it isn't going to happen. It's 312 miles from here to Gillette. Man, I hate to pay $4.50 for fuel, even though Wyoming has the cheapest gas in the country, according to I'm debating whether to go to Gillette for the Escapees RV Club 30th Birthday Party and Escapade, but I suppose in the end I will go. Because, after all, if I change the way I live, they've won. (Oh, wait, is that terrorists or gas companies?)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Still in Denver

I am going to Greeley, Co. to visit Joey. I was going to go this morning. But yesterday they had a lot of tornado activity near there, and more severe weather forcast for this afternoon. I'm safe and fine sitting in a lovely Eagles Aerie in Aurora, waiting for the weather to pass.

Joey is fine, the tornado didn't come anywhere near her. In that area, though, they had a lot of hail damage and high winds. Semis and a train were blown over. Compared to that, I would be in sorry shape in a tornado.

So I'm waiting it out. May go up later this afternoon, after the storms move through. It's only 58 miles from here, and it's light until 8pm. So don't worry about me. I try to stay out of tornado areas.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Brenda's Poop Problem

I left Show Low because I was ready to move on, and ... well, my black tank was REALLY full and I needed to go to town to dump. I jokingly said to Randy, "I can't poop!" meaning the tank was too full to accept any more offerings, but I don't think he got it. We laughed, and then he wrote a poem about our misunderstanding.

Brenda's Poop Problem

When Brenda said she had a poop problem
I jumped with the easy solution:
Three prunes a day will clear things up;
It’s part of my constitution.

So I gave her the prunes and went away,
Confident the problem was deep sixed.
When I saw her early today
I asked if things were fixed.

She said, I trusted your advice;
Now I think you’re full of bull.
Last night I dropped three prunes in the toilet
And my holding tank still is full.

Randy Vining 5/12/08

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I'm not in Kansas any more

I've stayed at Fraternal Organization's lodges quite often, usually in cities because it's the best, cheapest, safest thing around. I've seen my share of police activity in those urban settings. Once in Payson, AZ, once in Mesa, AZ, and most recently in Henderson NV while I was parked at the Elks.
I didn't quite understand why it took five vehicles and 9 policeman to get one guy. They even brought out a dog.

The activity in Mesa was the most spectacular. Starting around midnight, and lasting for at least two hours, there were no less than eleven vehicles, a set of dogs, a helicopter with spotlight hovering above, shotguns, and riot shields, all to catch one guy. I'm guessing they were looking for another one, but didn't get him. When the one guy was laying on the ground with his hands on his head, I was wondering if they were going to start beating on him and whether I should get the camera. I was relieved to see that not one blow was taken. Hat's off to the Mesa police and sheriff for taking the high road on this one.

I don't want to give you the impression that I park in bad areas. I don't. Unfortunately whenever you get lots of people together these days, there will be crime. I wasn't anywhere near the action, just safely in my RV watching out the window.

Anyway, I'm not in the city any more. I'm sitting now at a casino just north of Albuquerque, on the edge of the property. And suddenly I see police activity here too. Am I never going to get away from it????? But wait! What have we here!

Escaped cows! Two black and seven brown cows (I'm a city girl and can't tell the gender). They're out and running free. Corral those doggies!!!! And to the rescue comes the security guy in his pickup truck to herd these wayward kids home.
Finally he got them all rounded up and went ... somewhere. All is quiet again here on the edge of the desert. I guess I'm not in the city any more. I'd much rather have this kind of capture.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Awesome People

There are people in this world of whom I am in awe. Great Awe. And when it's someone I know, it's even more impressive. I'd like to tell you about a couple of them.

Pat VanZante was my freshman college roommate. We've sporadically kept in touch over the years. I knew she'd actually gotten degrees (unlike myself) and was active in her community, had grandchildren, was in the community theater, and the like.

And now, when she could be looking to a well deserved retirement (like some of us slugs), what does she do? She runs for the Iowa State House of Representatives. I'm impressed. I'm really proud of her and I only wish I could vote for her, but alas, I am a Texan now. Sorry, Patti, I hope you win!!

Note: I shamelessly stole this picture from her website: So if you live in Iowa, vote for her!!!!


Randy the Poet is another awesome chap. He's 70 years old, and has never, never worked on a computer before. But now in the age of blogs, email, the web, and more, he wants to become computer savvy. So he asked me if I would teach him the computer.
Now in our little world of RVers, people are doing things for me all the time. I'm so grateful for their help, and when someone asks me to do something I'm actually capable of doing, I'm more than pleased to do so. So I said sure.

It was tough going at first. The first day he wasn't sure how to plug the computer in. But we had short lessons every day, and he got it. And enjoyed it. He got his own aircard, so that he can access the internet whenever he has a Verizon signal. And now he does email, and the web. And more. He uses a word processor to put his poems to paper. And he's bought a small digital camera and has learned how to get pictures to the computer and uploaded to his blog. Together we even figured out how to do Yahoo instant messenger. Although I still haven't figured out how to do it with anyone else, so if you know that, let me know!

He still calls with questions (gives us a good excuse to stay in touch), and he may never be as competent as some of us, but the awesome thing here is that at age 70, he is willing to learn something so completely foreign to him. Having no background at all, he just jumped right in and learned. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks. I'm proud of you, Randy. Keep up the good work.

Note: his blog is so go there and check it out.

John's Nest

While I was in Show Low (AZ), I was able to see my friend John Clairmont build his summer nest. He and three others went together to buy a lot. Then he and Jon Tremellen laid out the four pads. In two or three weeks, these guys, and others from the neighborhood, did an amazing amount of work to make an empty lot a summer home to four RVers.

He bought a water tank, so that water can be hauled in. In the winter, the tank will go into the container for safekeeping until the spring.

This the John's Tricky Post. When he's out in the middle of the desert, he sets this outside, and connects the electric and water to it. Makes people go crazy: "Where did you get electric out here?" they'll ask. What a deranged sense of humor.

This is his front yard. Easy care, no watering, no mowing, doesn't even have to paint the cinders. How nice is that. Has a pull-through driveway.

He has been looking for a summer place for a while, and he just loves the area. Lots of nice folk to see, lots to keep him busy. I'm happy for him.

WARNING: Beading pictures ahead

I should have warned you that there'd be beading pictures. I finally have had some time this spring to get back into beading, on of my favorite hobbies. I finally finished this piece, which surprised even me.

I had started this last year, and made so many mistakes that I didn't even want to finish, and wondered if it would come out even with that many mistakes. So finally I picked it up and completed it. And it almost came out even. Sort of. But don't look too close, you'll see the many mistakes.

I really really liked the pattern, but I didn't like the colors, so I make up new colors, and in a very short amount of time, I completed this.

Much better. Only one or two mistakes, and like the ancient Persian rug makers, I prefer to keep the "humble" bead to acknowledge my humanity.

I'm working on another hatband now. Always something new to do.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I'm here in Show Low

Well, I finally made it to Show Low. Been here about a week now, so what do I think?

Here is what I see out my front door. Left, right, and center.

The A frame next door is abandoned, with a big hole in the skylight. I'm told it's been ransacked for any good parts, so what's left isn't worth much. But still the owners apparently don't want to sell. Interesting.

Well, it's pretty here. The junipers are tall, taller than the bushes at the Slabs; good for privacy. And shade, I'd imagine in the summer. But they aren't so tall as to block the southern sky, so my satellite dishes function well.

And it's quiet. Very quiet. I like that. At night, it is very dark and the stars are just wonderful. Since it's high, at about 6700 feet, the nights are still quite cold, but the sun is warm. We've had bad wind most of the days I've been here, but everyone says that's only in the spring. I've had to bring down the dishes and bring in the slides and just hibernate until the winds stop.

The gravel roads are pretty badly washboarded (is that a word?), and four miles of them until you get to the main road. And then it's another 15 miles into town. I'm not very happy about that.

Did I mention I can't breathe too well here, it's 6700 feet in elevation. They say I'll get used to it. Somehow, I don't think so.

I can see coming up for a couple weeks in the spring or fall, but so far I'm not burdened by an overwhelming urge to buy land here. Maybe I'll feel differently after I've been here a few more days.

My friends who have purchased are very happy here. Taylor is siding her little house. Carol loves it up here and is becoming the local real estate tycoon. And John, who was very skeptical, has fallen in love with the place and is as happy as a pig in mud, doing all sorts of work on their little lot. I'm very glad for them, but for me, I'm not ready to think about settling down.

As long as I have friends who will let me come for short visits, I'm very happy.

The Predator Bird

There has been a bird stalking my cats. Making them crazy, poor things. It's blue, does that mean it's a bluebird? Mrs Bird is kind of brown, but Mr. Bird here is very colorful.

And it's stalking Chloe, too.

It seems to know that the cats aren't able to get him through the window, so he just taunts my poor animals. Bird is a coward, though. I let the cats out, and he was nowhere to be seen. So there.

MORE Refrigerator Woes

I say MORE because this isn't the first refrigerator in my motorhome. The first one died after 3 years and 5 months. This one, which was purchased new, has lasted now 11 months. Yes, so it's still under the first year's warranty. I guess that'd be the good news.

I first noticed that the light wasn't on when I opened the door, and my little brain took the first explanation it found. Oh, the bulb must have burned out. It wasn't until two days later I figured out that it wasn't working! At all!! It is very quiet here, and I realized on Sunday that I couldn't hear the burner ignite. It's not very loud, but I hear it. Not today, though. None of the buttons on the front panel would work. I couldn't even turn it off. Rats.

I'm in Show Low, AZ, which actually has two RV repair facilities. I called American RV, which I must say was very prompt in it's dealing with me. And they did come out the very same day. However, they had the wrong board. So they had to order the correct board, they call it an eyebrow board. It is in the module with the buttons on the front of the unit.

I, of course had to pay through the nose for next day shipment, and the repairman installed the new board on Wednesday. Carol Berry offered her freezer for a few things, and loaned me a big ice chest for the stuff out of the refrigerator, so I managed to get by. Thanks, Carol!

I'm not happy with Norcold, though. Their units should last longer than this. I must admit the words "piece of crap" floated though my brain when I think of the quality I've seen. Norcold, are you listening? Do you care? Huh, didn't think so.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mystery Plant

I went out to Lake Mead Recreation Area the other day. Lots of pretty flowers blooming near the road. I kept seeing something quite golden - bright golden in the sunshine - and I wondered what it was. So finally I stopped to see.

Well, I have no idea what this is. It appears to me to be some sort of parasite, similar perhaps to the mistletoe that grows on trees here in the desert? It isn't everywhere, mostly in patches along the road.

First I thought this was only growing on dormant or dead plants (I can't tell the difference), but this host plant seems to be flowering. Actually, in the first picture the plant is much smaller but with the same blue flowers.

This is the same plant without the golden strands on it. I thought it was a purple sage, but I'm a city person, what do I know?

Anyone have any idea what this golden stuff is?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

CUACK scoping - Part 3

Wow, I've been busy. I drove up to Katherine's Landing, just north of Bullhead City, AZ. on Lake Mojave. June is the host there, and she's already made the arrangements. I just wanted to see the place and to take some pictures for Joey.

Really nice place. Paved road getting there. Only two and a half miles off the road to Kingman. And I had one bar of cellphone signal there. The rangers were very nice, showed me where we will be parking. It reminds me of Temple Bar, with the concrete picnic tables. I don't think the trees are as tall.

This section is closed now. There will be 50 sites on this side, and any additional people will go on the other side. There are at least two sets of bathrooms on this side. I also saw a small laundromat and pay showers. Very nice facilities. There is also a 50 room motel and a restaurant/bar.

Lovely boat ramp. They also rent houseboats here, I didn't know that. And the rate is good. If you have a Golden Age/Access, camping is $5 and entry is free. For those of us NOT holding those passes, it's more.

CUACK scoping - Part 2

Each fall our WIN group does a kayak trip down the Colorado River. For it's first 8 years, the trip was known as WARM (Western Arizona Rivers and Marshes) For the first few years (before my time) we parked at a BLM campground across the river from Parker, AZ. As long as I can remember, this area has been closed "to redo the bathrooms".

But now someone had said it is open again. Yes!!! So off I go to check it out.

Say it isn't so!!! No workers, no activity. Will it ever reopen?

The campground host (why?) came over on his golf cart to wonder why I was taking pictures. He told me that all their money has gone to Irag, he doesn't know when it will be finished. Is he just a disgruntled Democrat, or does he really know something? "And," he said, "You probably won't like the fee structure if they ever reopen this place. $18 to boondock, $30 for hookups." Yes, you're right, I don't like that. Nice for weekend California people, but too rich for us poor boondockers. So on to Plan B. Sorry, Joey.

CUACK scoping - Part 1

Don't most RVers like to check out RV Parks? It's a great pastime. Those of us who boondock like to check out new places to camp. And kayakers love to find new put-in and take-out places.

When Joey headed back to Colorado, I said I'd check out some things for our fall kayak trip, CUACK (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California Kayaking). We had already scoped out a great place to park near Blythe, Hidden Beaches RV Park. So one day (actually it was the day I had to pick up the cat from the vet after her overnight snakebite recovery) LJ and I set out to find a good take-out place. I think this will do. It's about halfway between Blythe and Palo Verde, at Peter McIntyre County Park.

Being a county park, they don't negotiate, and have a $10 per vehicle day use fee, but I think we can work with that if we can get five people in a car, that's only $2 per person.

If we wanted a shorter trip, we can always take out at the Blythe Marina Recreation Area, under the Colorado River Bridge on I-10. There is a small fee for that, as well.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

What do you DO all day?

My sister-in-law Sharon, who was trying to grasp the concept of fulltiming, asked me once "What do you do all day?". I think I gave her some flip response like "I do what you do, chores, hobbies, just living."

But now that I've been a full time RVer for 8 years, I realize there is more to it than that. There are three basic modes I get in.

When I am traveling as I did last year with Barbara and Ron, I get into the tourist mode. We travel more often, generally to new places, with towns to explore and museums, attractions, and restaurants to check out. I like doing train rides (especially steam trains), boat rides, harbor cruises, trolley tours and the like. We do a lot of those. So on those days I get little done at home. I eat out more often, being out and about during the day. This mode is nice, but it is tiring, and I wouldn't want to do it forever. Last year we did it for 10 months, and that was a little too much. Ron and Barbara were just the best traveling companions, and that made everything okay.

When I am with my singles group, the WINs, I tend to be in a socializing mode. I spend the winter in the desert southwest, trying to stay warm and live cheaply so I can afford to go traveling in the summer (especially now with the fuel prices so high). I generally attend the bigger gatherings over the winter: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Quartzsite, and maybe one or two others. I see people I haven't seen for a while, so this is the time to catch up. Of course the WINs plan activities, too, but I focus more on socializing now. We go to the flea market, out to eat, but mostly we visit outside in the shade. My favorite pastime is going to the nightly campfire. So when I am with the WINs I don't get much done at home. Of course, sometimes you just have to do laundry. So I work chores in where I can.

Then there are those times when I am alone just hanging out or traveling with one or two other people. Then I'm in the living mode. It's during this time I can get projects done, like spring cleaning, organizing my bins, or starting a new beading project. I also read more during this time. It is heaven to just hang out and read (maybe fall asleep for a little nap). Hmmm, heaven. And to have time for beading.

So what I do all day is somewhat dependent on the mode I'm in. Doing sightseeing in Savannah is a lot different than sitting by myself in Quartzsite. And I like that diversity. It means that when I want to socialize, I go to where the WINs are (or at least some of my WIN friends), or when I feel like being alone, I can just go off by myself and sit in the desert and vegetate. And then summer comes and we go traveling to see new things.

Of course, reality rears its ugly head now and then and I'm forced to do housework. And minor repairs are best done when there is a handy gent around (I can't fix anything, this I fully confess. I have two tools: a phone to call the guy to come fix it, and a pen to write the check to the guy who came to fix it.) Or I take the handy gent out to dinner to say thanks. Somehow, things get done, things get fixed, and life goes on.

So this is the life I am so blessed to have. I don't do the same thing every day. And when I get bored or have bad neighbors, I just pull up the jacks and move on. To do something different tomorrow.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Meeting Friends on the Road

It's great to see friends as you're traveling around the country. But sometimes, if you stay in the same place long enough, your friends come to you!

I've been here at Quartzsite for some time now. Joey left to head back to Colorado, and that very afternoon LJ came in. I didn't get any pictures of her, I'm still trying to get into the "hauling around the camera" mode. It was great to see her, though, and we had a quiet week here.

On the very day she left, I got a call from another friend who was passing through town. So I drove to Blythe and met John Clairmont, who bought me lunch at his favorite place, Pizza Hut. It was nice to see him even for an hour. I remembered the camera this time, but no, I didn't post the picture of him sticking out his tongue. He will always be a 12 year old. He was on his way to Deming for the LOW rally.

On Monday I got a call from Sue and Ken Pace, our globe trotting friends from Carlsbad, CA. They were driving through and we met for lunch at another fine eatery, Burger King. The place wasn't important, the company was what mattered.

I'll be here for another few days, so if you're passing through Quartzsite, give me a call.