Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Good RV news and travel back to Phoenix AZ

Monday - Tuesday October 29 -30, 2012 

We started the day on Monday by watching the storm on the east coast.  We are so pulling for our friends back in the east.  We have been through some big storms there and know something about it but this is something else.   The 2 towns we lived in are both 100% without power and it is reported it may stay that way for a week or longer. 

Good news!!  We got word from Forest River (Parent of our RV Manufacturer) that our AC blower motor was shipped from Indiana today and is scheduled to arrive at the RV service dealer, Anthem RV in Anthem AZ which is just north of Phoenix.  I called Anthem RV to let them know the new delivery date and found out that the new ladder has also arrived.  Great news! 

One of the things we have learned is that when you RV full time it is very important that you can get parts when and where you need them.  The manufacturer of our RV, Prime Time has been very proactive with getting our parts to us here in Arizona. They also stepped in when we were having trouble getting the satellite system installed when we purchased the RV.  We sort of took a chance on this small place in Arizona, Anthem RV, and so far we are satisfied there.  After I let them know the AC part was to come in on Thursday, I had no problem getting an appointment for first thing Friday to get the work done.  We are planning to head east right after Anthem RV finishes on Friday.

On Tuesday we headed back to Phoenix to wait for the parts and the appointment on Friday.  On the way back to Phoenix we had to pull over for a border check.  A first for us!  Everyone on highway 8 was required to pull over so they could check for illegals. We pulled up and stopped and they just waved us through.  I guess we didn't look like we had any hidden Mexicans in the RV J

We arrived at our new RV Park around 3:20 and were in and set up by 4:15.  We are getting good at this.  I was counting the places we have stayed in since we started and came up with 23 places so far.  I'm amazed that I can picture all of them so far.  I think it helps to do this BLOG.

Back in Phoenix AZ.  Rosie is still showing her flower.  Not a bad place but pricey at $38 a day.  It has a pool and spa and is still in Phoenix.  It is now in season here so we couldn't get the 50% off Passport America rate.  Also, we are starting to find that places are filling up with seasonals "snowbirds".  That will be us when we get to Florida.
We are planning on going to the AZ state fair either Wednesday or Thursday so I can get another corn dog (AZ has foot long ones!).  Also, Patty’s folding bike is supposed to come in today at the RV Park in care of our friends Paul and Sue Everett in Goodyear AZ today.  I got my bike out so I could be ready to ride with when she gets it.

Our pet Chinese Rose, "Rosie", bloomed on Monday.

Border checkpoint on Highway 8 in AZ.  RVs and trucks on right, cars on the left.  Us trucks and RVs had to exit and reenter the highway.

Inside the border checkpoint.

Got word that family and friends in NY & especially NJ are all fine, although without power. Our good friends had their privacy fence blown down and most businesses are closed due to lack of power. The boroughs we lived in are both 100% without power. We also heard that our former summer "shack" we stayed in is likely uninhabitable due to water damage. All the boardwalks on the Jersey shore are wiped out. The amusements are in the ocean.  Just devastating news from back home. 

Stay tuned!

Hanging around in Yuma AZ

Friday, Saturday, Sunday October 26 -28, 2012 

We have decided to stay in Yuma until either Tuesday or Wednesday primarily to wait for a mail delivery.  After we get the mail delivery we will move back up to the Phoenix area to wait on parts to come in to repair our RV.  No real big deal repairs but we want to get them done before we head for Florida.  

The biggest issue is the bedroom AC unit that has a blower motor with bearings that are making noise.  The manufacturer is sending a new motor assembly to the RV dealer in Phoenix on Monday.  The RV dealer had a promise date of November 08 for the AC which was way too late for us.  I worked with the RV manufacturer that I got to know during the build of the RV to get the part expedited by a week from Dometic, the manufacturer of the AC system.  We are hoping it gets here by Wednesday or Thursday and installed by Friday morning.  Then we can get on the road for Florida.  

We need to be in Ft Lauderdale Florida by November 19th for our flight north on the 20th.  That gives us 17 days to travel 2300 miles.  We really didn't want to get this short of time again, like we did going west back in September.

Mostly we have just been hanging out at the pool and hot tub at the park for the past 3 days.  We have also been watching the developments with the storm Sandy in NJ.  Our satellite system gets the local NJ/NY TV stations so we are seeing the store just like if we were there.  This storm looks like it will be a REAL big one.

Saturday evening photo of the near full moon looking east.  Our site is just to the left. 

The dirty grit on the truck.  The wind has stopped today so I think I will wash this off.

Our site.

The pool and hot tub.  

This cactus is in front of the pool area.  It sort of looks like Gumby.
In the next few days we will wash the truck again and maybe the RV.  They are covered in a gritty dust/sand like material.  Other than that we are just going to relax and watch the storm in NJ.

Stay tuned!

Truck Wash and Mexico Trip

Thursday, October 25, 2012 

We started our day as usual with coffee and Internet.  Today was another beautiful day with not a cloud to be seen.  Our plan was to wash the truck and then take a trip to Mexico around noon.
We got the truck washed and then we were ready for a day in Mexico.  The Mexican border is really just a mile or two from where we are.  However, about 12 miles away just across the California border is a Mexican border crossing you can walk through.  The border crossing is on an Indian reservation and they have a very large parking lot to park your car while you are in Mexico.  The parking rate is a low $5 for the day.  The border crossing is open only from 6 am to 10 pm.

We arrived around 12:30 and parked within 300 feet of Mexico.  I was amazed that you can literally throw something over the border here.  You can even hear the music and see everyone walking around shopping in Mexico from the US side.  We just followed the signs into Mexico.  There are no inspections or guards.   The only way I knew I was in Mexico was the signs all changed to Spanish.

The US - Mexican Border lies between these flags.

The water tower in the center of the Mexican town of Los Algodones as seen from the parking lot on the US side.

The brown fence in the distance is the border fence.  That is all there is to it.  We were in the restaurant just to the right of the fence.
Passenger entrance is to the right; to the left is the car entrance and exit further to the left.

Just follow the sidewalk into Mexico.  You don't need any paper work of any kind to get in.  
This is where they search cars leaving Mexico.
The border is the spot just past the welcome sign.  Just walk right in and please bring money!

You come out here in Mexico.

Now we know we are in Mexico.
We are now in Los Algodones in the Baha State of Mexico.  Since this town is so close to the border it has the largest concentration of dentists and doctors in the world.  There is also a very large concentration of drug stores.  Seems a lot of US and Canadian citizens come here for medical and dental work.  We were solicited to get our teeth whitened for $100 US.

Other than the medical stuff everywhere, the town is a typical Mexican tourist town.  Lots and lots of vendors selling handicrafts like blankets, jewelry, handbags, wallets, and pottery.  They also have T-shirts and I had to get one just because.  Patty purchased a very nice leather handbag.  We also purchased a couple of bottles of Mexican made Baileys cream liquor.

We went to 2 bar restaurants in town for some cervesa and some chips and salsa.  Our first place was the best, El Paraiso.  It has live music and a lot of plants all over with a lot of shade, very nice atmosphere.  The chips were good but cold and the salsa was extremely spicy hot.  They brought a big bowl of jalapenos which were the perfect amount of spice.  Also, the Coronas were ICE cold, perfect.  The second place, Caliente, was just OK.  We had 2 cervesas and listened to the music and left.   It wasn't bad, just no character.

Yum, chips and jalapenos!

Second restaurant Caliente


We left Mexico about 4:30.  There was no line to get out and back to the USA.  There wasn't much to the procedure either as long as you have a passport.  You go to the agent and show your passport and he asks “what did you purchase in Mexico?”  The agents didn't even look at what you had or any other questions, just said go ahead.  That was it; you are now back in the USA.

We got back to the RV and made dinner of turkey sandwiches and sweet potatoes fries.  Veg’d out with some Weather Channel to see the big storm headed for the East Coast.  Looks like the storm is going to hit exactly where we were living just before we started the full-time RV life.  What a weird path this storm is predicted to take.

We also got out our Halloween costumes to make sure we could find them.  It was real easy as they were exactly where I thought they were.  I love it when that happens.

Tomorrow is a short (105 miles) travel day to Jacumba CA.  We are headed to a Halloween Party at DeAnza Springs RV Retreat.  We will be with our Friends Marge and Jim from La Jolla CA who we met in Cancun a few years ago.  They came out to NJ once and we went to see them a few years ago.  We will be there until Monday the 29th.

Note, as of writing this on the 26th Friday, our plans have changed.  It is very windy here today with gust up to 50 mph.  Marge and Jim had to cancel going to DeAnza Springs as they do not want to cross the high bridges on the way to Jacumba.  We are told that they frequently close Highway 8 when winds are this high.  So we canceled also.  We don't really want to move anywhere right now as our RV is actually moving side to side in this wind just sitting here.  Just a bit scary to say the least. We just extended our stay here in Yuma till Tuesday.  We may need to stay till Wednesday so we get mail that sent out today from South Dakota.  We now have some re-planning to do.

Stay tuned!

Hanging with Friends and Travel to Yuma AZ

Tuesday - Wednesday, October 23 -24, 2012 

We had big ambitions to do laundry and hang around the pool most of the day.  We started the laundry and then decided to go grocery shopping while the clothes were washing. Grocery shopping took about 2 hours and then putting it away was another hour. 

So our plan to hang around the pool sort of turned in to just an hour or so and we didn't even get in the water.  However, we did get to visit with Paul and his wife Sue Everett for the time we were at the pool.  We also got together at their 5th wheel for cocktails before dinner.

Paul and his wife Sue at the pool.
We made plans with Paul and Sue to have Breakfast on Wednesday morning before we leave for Yuma AZ.  They found this great place (TJs in Goodyear AZ) for breakfast that has gigantic biscuits.   Paul and I ordered a Denver Omelet and a choice of side was biscuits and gravy.  The omelets came on separate plates from the biscuits and gravy.  The biscuits and gravy took an entire plate the same size as the omelet, they were an entire meal by themselves.

It was a great meal with great friends.  But all things too soon come to an end and we were saying our “see you down the roads”.  Paul and Sue are staying here for a few more weeks and we are moving on to Yuma AZ about 150 miles to the south west.  

It is possible we will be back in this area next week for RV service depending on the parts getting here on time.  The service guy said he would call when the parts got in and then we could schedule an appointment.  Only the AC blower motor was in question.  The original date given to service was the 8th of November which is much too late for us.  I got in touch with Jeff Rank of Forest River and, with his help, was able to get the motor expedited to next week delivery.  Even with all of this happening next week, we are going to need to move very fast across the US to get to Miami by the 17th of November.

We took our time getting ourselves ready to leave for Yuma.  This is a short haul and should be an uneventful trip today.  The trip was just as we thought, easy.  We are staying the next couple of nights at an Escapee campground called SKP KOFA KO-OP Retreat.  Can’t beat the price of $18 for full hook ups, cable and WiFi! 

Not much to look at here.

Cool rock formations with a freight train going by.

We had one mountain pass just before Yuma to go through.

Same mountain pass where you can see the other direction. 

We arrived at the campground around 3 pm and were all set up by 3:40 pm.  The campground does meter the electric and the Wifi is actually unusable.  The cell signal is mostly 3g here and is adequate for getting on-line that way. We made a steak dinner and then went to the Spa and pool after dark.  That was very, very nice after a travel day.  We went back to watch a little DVR recorded shows we had and fell asleep in our recliners.

Our camp in Yuma.

Our pet plant Rosie the Chinese Rose is starting a bloom!! 
Another great full day!!

Tomorrow we plan to wash the truck and go to Mexico for the afternoon and maybe have dinner there J

Stay tuned!

Relaxing with friends and RV Warranty Work

Sunday - Monday, October 201 -22, 2012 

We decided to just hang out and relax on Sunday.  We did manage to walk a 3 mile round trip to a craft fair.  That adventure was more about the walk, not so much about the fair.  We had a nice dinner of BBQ chicken made by the Grille Master Don.

Monday morning we were up by 6:30 am so we could get ready to leave for our RV Warranty appointment.  We said our good byes to Roe and were on our way to which is about 20 miles north on I 17.

The RV repair place is a very small operation.  They only have one RV bay for RV work.  Their dirt RV yard was littered with big RVs everywhere.  We were a little apprehensive to say the least.  We gave our list to the service guy which said that they would have the unit ready by the end of the day.  He did warn us that if we needed parts it would be days to maybe weeks to get them.  That is the story everywhere we have been though.  We have a broken ladder, an AC unit that is making noise, and the closet doors do not stay in the bottom track when traveling.

The service bay is the open wood structure in the back.

Patty and I took the opportunity to get some shopping done.  We also went to a bike store that sold folding bikes.  We weren't necessarily going to buy a folding bike but wanted to see and sit on one, which we got to do.  The costs were much more than we wanted to spend though. We also went to the outlet shops that were close to the RV shop and did some shopping for clothes.  We really do not need clothes, but we have found that what we wear now is different than what we have.  So we got just a few things that more match our life now.  Now we need to get rid of stuff in the RV that we are not wearing.

As expected, when we went back to get the RV nothing had been fixed.  However, they have a list of the parts they need to fit the stuff on the RV.   They still need to contact the manufacturer in Indiana to find out how long the parts will take to get to them.  Because of the 3 hour time difference they need to do this before 2 pm.  Our plans are to be coming back this way mid next week so we could return then for this work if the parts can get here by then.  If not, we may opt for the parts being shipped to Florida where we will be next month.

We got back on the road by a little before 5 pm to go 50 miles south west to our RV Park for the next couple of days.  We were going to go back through Phoenix during rush hour and into the sun as it sets.  We always like to get to our site before dark and this trip it was going to be close. We arrived at the Destiny RV Park in Goodyear AZ just about 6 pm and the sun had just set.  It was still light enough to get set up without a flashlight.  

The site is a pull through but still too small to put our truck and the RV on it.  I tried to put the truck next to the RV before the slides were out.  That was a mistake as the truck was way too close to the RV slide.  Patty started to put them out when we both heard the slide contact the truck rear fender.  The truck fenders are plastic and the area of the slide that made contact is flexible so no real damage to either. Whew!!

We got set up and made hamburgers for dinner.  After dinner we decided to hit the heated pool and spa.  We had the place all to ourselves.  It was great ending for the day relaxing in the spa and looking at the stars.

The pool at the RV park.  Nice!

Wooden Indian in front of the pool.

Tomorrow we plan to hang at the pool and do laundry.

Stay tuned!

Travel to Phoenix AZ and Dinner with Friends

Friday - Saturday, October 19-20, 2012 

We had a little problem on Friday morning with the AC.  Both roof units locked out and would not run.  I spent some time on the internet and I called Dometic (AC Manufacturer) to try to resolve the issue.  I didn't get anywhere in the short time I had before we needed to take off for Phoenix.  I figured I would deal with when I got to Patty’s friend’s house.

We left Quartzsite at 11:30 am for the 140 mile trip to Phoenix.  The trip was uneventful with just a lot of tall cactus to look at.  The temperature was hovering at 95 degrees and the thought of going on the roof of the RV when we got to our destination was not a pleasant one.

We pulled up to our destination a little before 2 in the afternoon.  Don and Roe have a gravel area next to their house that is about 45 feet long and 14 feet wide making it a good place to park the RV.  With our slides out we will be hanging over the neighbors gravel yard a foot or 2 which was not a problem for them.  Don suggested that I go around the block so that I could back in from my side of the RV which worked well.  We got into the space within a few minutes.


Don and Roe have this great cactus in their front yard.

Very cool bottle tree in Roe and Dons back yard!
 Now to go up on the roof and see if the AC units have a fuse or something I can reset.  The roof unit cover was not hard to get off and I found the control board.  Darn, no fuse or reset that I could see.  We decided to just plug into their 20 amp service and see what if anything would happen.  The AC came on and of course we then tripped a circuit breaker in the house.  We eventually found a lightly loaded outlet to use. I also turned on only the smaller 13.5K AC unit and put the water heater and fridge on propane.  That seemed to work and now we had some AC that was enough to keep the RV around 74 with the outside temp at 90.  Not bad!

I learned that the AC units will protect themselves when the input power is cycling like we had in the Quartzsite Park.  I also learned that there is a reset function I can do from the thermostat controller.   I did not do the reset, but I think that it must reset over time as it was fine after we arrived in Phoenix.  The on-line manual doesn't say that there is a time out on the reset but it seems in practice to work that way.  I am also not going to let the power cycle like that again if I can help it.  I learned from Paul Everett at dinner on Saturday night that I can by-pass the Power Management System by using the on off switch on the digital read out inside the coach.  This is great news as I thought I needed to open the control unit that is buried inside the RV to do this.  Anyway, always something to learn.

Friday night and Saturday, Patty did a lot of catching up on the past 28 years since she had seen Roe and Don.  I mostly just listened.  We had made arrangements to go out to eat and catch up with our friends Paul Everett and his wife Sue.  We all met up at the Westgate Entertainment complex near the University of Phoenix Stadium where the Cardinals play football.  We had a great time talking about some old times and even better, talking about the fun we are having seeing this country and RVing.  We also shared some stories of RVing and learning about them as we go along. 

Patty and Roe

Don and Roe
The gang out for dinner. From LCW: Sue and Paul Everett, Patty and I, Roe and Don Heitz.
We even had fire works during dinner.  They scared the crap out of us as they were not anticipated or announced.

Great saying by John Lennon

Tomorrow we do not know what we are going to do yet.  We may go the Arizona State Fair and I can get a corn dog!

Stay tuned!

A Day in Quartzsite AZ

Thursday, October 18, 2012 

We didn't do too much today.  We needed to get some simple groceries and fill up the fuel tank.  I also wanted to get some hardware to fix a light that Patty has at her computer desk.  We thought we would take a trip out to see the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas that have free or very close to free camping in the desert.

We started out to see an area of BLM land called Roadrunner.  It is about 5 miles south of town.  This is the first area in the US where we have not seen fences along the roads.  The Roadrunner area is off of highway 95 and La Paz and is again bisected by Old Yuma road.  Old Yuma road is an unimproved gravel and sand road into the desert.  We decided to travel down Old Yuma for a mile or 2.  All along the way you see some RVs camping in 95 degree heat with no shade.  This would be much better in the winter months when the temperatures are more in the upper 60s.  Off in the distance we could see a large congregation of RVs but we didn’t want to go that far.  We decided that we will come back during a future winter and do a night or two just to be in the complete darkness of the outdoors.

Cactus garden at our RV park.

Old Yuma road.  The sign says to travel at your own risk.

Campers along Old Yuma Road.

A camper way off to themselves in the desert

More of Old Yuma Road

A large camp of RVs in the distance

Old Yuma Road

In town.  The hippies are still here in Q!

We turned around and headed back to the small town of Q (Quartzsite).  This time of year a lot of stuff is closed.  There is not much in the way of shopping here.  We went to the general store and picked up some basic stuff.  After that we found a store with hardware that I could use for the computer light fix. I picked up 2 large flat washers and a lock washer to secure the light.

After shopping we went back to the RV and I decided to again wash the truck.  I just washed it 2 days ago but it is now completely covered in dust from our trip into the desert.  This RV park has an area for washing RVs and vehicles.  This is the first time I had seen a park with this set up.  It is a concrete pad with a water drain and it has a high pressure hose on a high swing bridge to clear the top of an RV.  This saved me about $8 that I would have spent at one of those quarter gobbling manual car washes.

We made dinner and sat down to TV and again the power management system turned off the Rig because the voltage was too high.  Also, the microwave quit just before the power went out.  I got my old digital volt meter out to check the issue with the microwave.  It seems that there is no power at the wall plug and all of the circuit breakers are on.  It must be a wiring issue in the wall.  A warranty issue for sure for Monday’s appointment.

I also checked the voltage coming into the rig to compare with what the power management system is saying.  My volt meter says that the voltage is 128 at the same time the power management system says it is 131, a 3 volt difference.  My volt meter is over 25 years old so I’m not completely sure it is correct.  However, if it is correct then the power management system is cutting off the power too soon.  This is the second place this has happened.  Both times the voltage is just 2 or 3 volts too high or the difference of what my volt meter shows.  I need to borrow a volt meter to check.

I turned off the power to the rig and we went to bed early at 9:30.  I opened the windows as the temperature had dropped to 72 already.  I turned off the power because the management system was turning it on and off every few minutes as the voltage would hover at 132 – 133.  At 133 the management system turns off the power to the rig.

Tomorrow we head to Phoenix to visit with Patty’s friends from High School.  This should be an easy trip of only 120 miles on a flat divided highway.  It will be interesting to see if we can get the rig into their driveway :[].

Stay tuned!