Sunset in PV

Sunset in PV

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December 1 - 7, 2011 "Welcome Back Winter Texans"

Find more about Weather in Weslaco, TX
Click for weather forecast

How long does it take to get a Dometic refrigerator repaired? I ordered the part on October 10, and the repair was done by Camping World in Mission, TX on December 1. I could have replaced the part myself, but Dometic told me that if it was not installed by an “authorized” service center, it would void the warranty. Oh well, at least it didn’t cost me anything, other than the frustration, time and the diesel for the 44 mile roundtrip, AND more importantly, CC is happy the auto defrost feature on the freezer is once again working properly.

We are transitioning into a more sedentary lifestyle for the winter at Country Sunshine, at least in the sense that we are not moving the rig every week or so. There are so many activities available here, one could stay completely immersed in them from sun up to well beyond sun down, IF one so desired. We pick and choose ours, and if something else more entertaining arises, we just go with the flow. Most days begin with a light breakfast and 8 am exercise class, followed by showers. (Yes, we actually do take them, ESPECIALLY on Saturday. LOL) By 10, it’s computer time to catch up on e-mails, Facebook, etc., followed by the daily dilemma of where to dine for lunch. 2 pm is pool time followed by 4 pm Happy Hour (most days), and dinner at 6. Hot tub time is 7 pm, and then it’s back to the rig for some much needed R&R. We have been here a month, and it seems like only a week. Time does fly when you’re having fun.

No week here would be complete without at least on trip SOTB to Nuevo Progreso. On Friday, December 2, the town held a “Welcome Back Winter Texans” celebration. They blocked off the main street, and set up a stage where numerous musical groups performed really, REALLY, loud music. (As is their culture.)

Some of the merchants were giving away free food and drinks, while others provided Mexican trinkets as thank you gifts. Street performers, dressed in an array of costumes, dazzled Winter Texans with their antics. (As usual, click on any image to enlarge)

As we were making our way down to Pancho’s for our customary “Best Margarita in Nuevo Progreso”, fighting the crowded sidewalks, made even more crowded by “Winter Texan Day”, Miss Tamaulipas 2011 Karen Alejandra Lizcano Flores appeared, (Tamaulipas is the Mexican state in which Nuevo Progreso is located) surrounded by two body guards. By the time I could get my camera out, the crowd had pushed me down the sidewalk, and that Kodak Moment had forever lapsed. I did manage to capture this picture of her on the internet. As you can see, she is a very pretty senorita.

The weather has turned cooler, actually cold for the RGV. Lows this week in the low 40’s with highs in the 60-75 degree range; sweatshirt and jacket weather for sure. CC reminds me what it’s like back in Colorado right now, and that definitely puts things in perspective. So, all in all, it’s very “seasonal” here, and we’re lovin’ every minute.

Thanks for stopping by, and until next time, take care and stay well…………….

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 12 - 20, 2011 "Customs and Border Patrol & Día de la Revolución"

Find more about Weather in Weslaco, TX
Click for weather forecast

Current weather here at 7 am is 77 degrees and 77% humidity. Weather in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) is normally breezy; some days winds of 20 - 35 mph, and some days only 5 - 10 mph when a cold front is approaching. So far in the 2 weeks we’ve been here, there has only been one day too cool to make use of the heated swimming pool and hot tub. It’s currently 23 degrees in Denver, CO, so I shouldn’t complain, right? (As usual, click on any image to enlarge.)

This year our spot at Country Sunshine faces southwest, so the predominantly southern winds are, for the most part, blocked by the rig, when we sit on the patio. We also have shade most of the day, until around 4 pm. Most days are too windy to use the propane grill, and I’ve been tempted to get a charcoal grill, which would work well, but need to once again de-clutter the basement to make room for it. That task is on my “to do” list this week, as we both miss not being able to grill / BBQ.

Last week, we had the opportunity to tour the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Station here in Weslaco. They started with a brief introduction followed by two short films outlining the responsibilities of CBP, which are also available online at their website. We were then given the nickel tour of non-sensitive areas including their vehicle lot and booking/detention area. While we were there, they were processing 4 individuals; 3 Mexican males, and a 16 year old male from Honduras. The kid looked extremely clean for traveling so far, but was visibly perplexed regarding his impending future in the US. We were told he had contacted a cousin here, and if that person came forward and could prove they had the ways and means to accommodate him, he would be allowed to go with them by way of a temporary visa.

One of the CBP officers told us they process about 1,000 illegals per month in the Weslaco sector alone. There are 5 sectors in the RGV, which translates to 60,000 illegals per year that get apprehended. The first 2 times each one is apprehended they are sent back to Mexico. For the US to legally arrest/convict/imprison them, CBP must catch them illegally entering the US 3 times. The vehicles used in these apprehensions are subjected to the elements common to this area; sand, water and mud, as most of the intruders simply swim across the Rio Grande River.

Of course, no week would be complete without at least one trip across the border to Nuevo Progreso. As we have become creatures of habit, first stop is Pancho’s Pharmacy to see Tony, who IMHO, makes the best $2 margarita in town. (Do we look like we’re having fun?) Last year, CC conditioned herself to the point of consuming 2 and still being able to walk across the bridge. This trip, however, she stopped at one. It takes awhile to build up your stamina to take on two, but if anyone is capable, CC is, without a doubt, hands down, up for the challenge. Next week her “goal” is 1 ½ . After margaritas, the group went to Angel’s for lunch, and I must say, eating here last year was much better. Will we return???

What a surprise it was that we just happened to be in Nuevo Progreso (NP) on November 20, 2011, Mexico celebrated the Centennial Anniversary of its Revolution, Día de la Revolución. On this date, in the year 1910 the revolutionary war to overthrow the dictator Porfirio Díaz, began. Parades and fiestas are part of the celebration. NP is a town of 9,000 and it seemed as there were an abundance of children of all ages participating in the parade. In the picture below, note the mustaches on the young boys.

There were numerous “floats”(?), some simply decorated trailers, while others decorated pickup trucks. The one thing they all had in common; all had their own PA system with blaringly LOUD music playing. For those of you unfamiliar with Mexico and planning to visit, be prepared for loud music all hours of the day and night; it is their national right and part of their culture.

This group of young girls, dressed in period costumes, complete with rifles to ward off the evil enemy. Some of the rifles were made from painted cardboard or thin plywood, while others carried their brother’s toy gun.

And of course, no parade would be complete without the equestrians; complete with donkey, the official horse of Mexico.

We are once again having a great time at our winter home in Weslaco. New people are arriving everyday as they flee the colder climates to the north. This Thursday we will have the potluck Thanksgiving Dinner at the Clubhouse around noon, and back again at 5 pm for leftovers, for anyone that didn’t get enough to eat at dinner. We will NOT be in attendance for leftovers.

We want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and hope you acknowledge the holiday as it was meant to be celebrated. CC and I are truly thankful for all we have and feel truly blessed everyday to be living this enlightening, enlivening lifestyle.

Until next time, take care, stay well, and thanks for dropping by……………..

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011 "Thank You Dometic"

Every once in awhile, fate or karma has a way of smiling on you, AND that ol' Murphy rascal is nowhere to be found. 

Mr. Fester,

Have Camping World give me a call here at Dometic and I will send them another part to fix your refrigerator. My name is Lucille, please have them reference RGA 5427XX. 

If you are in need of any Dometic refrigerator or air conditioner or A& E awning parts you can call us at 1-800-544-4881 or purchase from any dealer or Camping World location.

If we can be of any future service do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you for choosing Dometic product lines.

Customer Support Center
Dometic LLC

So, I called CW and spoke with Eddie, and HOPEFULLY he will get us scheduled in for the repair, and then I can actually believe that, "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!"

Take care and stay well..................

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 1 - 12, 2011 "San Antonio RV"

In my previous posting I was so impressed with San Antonio RV; not so much now. Originally on October 25, when I called Allen telling him we were in route to San Antonio, and would be arriving on Wednesday the 26, he scheduled to replace the part on our refrigerator on Thursday or Friday, October 27 – 28, but that didn’t happen. I spoke to him on Friday afternoon, October 28, and he claimed he had been extremely busy, and it was too late in the day (3:30 pm) to make it happen, but he would be at our rig “first thing Monday morning”. When I pressed him for a time, he responded with, “I’ll call you when I’m on my way”.

It is now 1:30 pm on Monday afternoon, October 31 and have not seen or heard from Allen, so I decided to call him, and the call went directly to voice mail. I left a message to please call me and let me know what to expect. No call back from Allen.

It is now 7 pm, and I call him once more, and the call goes to voice mail. I again leave him a message to call me, and to inform him we would be leaving the San Antonio area around noon on Tuesday, November 1; and further if he could possibly get the job done first thing Tuesday morning. No call back from Allen. Now we are really in a quandary; do we stay or do we go?

Tuesday morning I called Allen at 8 am, and guess what? Voice mail again.  I left another message asking for him to return my call and let me know what to expect. We waited around until noon; check out time at Braunig Lake, and departed San Antonio without hearing from Allen.

We arrived at Camping World (CW) in Mission, TX a little after 4 pm, and proceeded to the service counter to check in for our appointment. I spoke with Eddie at CW and asked if we could just boondock for the night, instead of driving 20 miles to Weslaco and then returning in the morning. He said, “no problemo”.

Wednesday morning I asked Eddie at CW if he could fix our refrigerator. He took the necessary information and said he would call Dometic. A couple of days later on Friday, Eddie called and informed me Dometic would not ship an additional part, as one had already been shipped to Allen at San Antonio RV, and it was my responsibility to contact Allen and either get him to ship the part to me, or return it to Dometic. OK, another call to Allen yielded the same result; voicemail and he didn’t/hasn’t returned my call.

Now I’m really in a pickle. Could something awful have happened to Allen or his family, and that is the reason for not returning my calls? Or, is he not returning my calls for other reasons? Guess I’ll try AGAIN on  Monday, November 7, to call Allen; maybe I’ll get lucky.

I’m going to think positive thoughts as I dial the number (210) 359-9660. Ring….ring….ring…Voice mail. So I leave yet another message for him to return my call or please ship the part to me or back to Dometic, and offered to pay him for his time to do so. End result, no call back from Allen.

OK, it is now Thursday, November 10, and decide to try again, but this time there is a new greeting on his voice mail, stating he will be out of the office from November 11, returning on Tuesday morning, November 15. So I know, at the very least, he is still alive.

I have also sent an e-mail to Dometic, outlining the chain of events and the outcome so far. I’m hoping to get this resolved, but right now, I don’t feel as confident as I did a month ago. Is this the norm for Customer Service in 2011?

Until next time, take care and stay well………………….

Monday, October 31, 2011

October 23 - 31, 2011 "Childress, TX to San Antonio, TX"

We arrived in Childress, and got set up at the Best Western RV Park, which is only a few blocks from CC’s daughter’s house. But, come to think about it, EVERYTHING in Childress is only a few blocks from anywhere in town. CC and I prepared a dinner of penne pasta with sausage, crimini mushrooms, onion, and green peppers in a savory marinara sauce, and Letta and Billy arrived around 6 pm. We had a wonderful visit over dinner and shared a glass of wine.

On our last visit, we journeyed to Palo Duro Canyon Sate Park, so today we decided on the closer and lesser Caprock Canyons State Park, 100 miles southeast of Amarillo in Briscoe County, which opened in 1982. It consists of 15,313.6 acres (including the Trailway, a 64.25 mile Rail-to-Trail conversion, acquired by donation in 1992 from a Railroad entrepreneur). This acquisition added recreational adventure, stretching from the western terminus at South Plains up on top of the caprock escarpment to the eastern terminus of Estelline in the Red River Valley. This multi-use trail (hike, bike, and equestrian), opened in 1993, stretches the park through Floyd, Briscoe, and Hall counties crossing 46 bridges and running through Clarity tunnel, one of the last active railroad tunnels in Texas. The 64.25 miles of the Trailway are open to the public from Estelline to South Plains. (As usual, click on any image to enlarge.)

The escarpment's scenic canyons were home for Indians of several cultures, including the Folsom culture of more than 10,000 years ago. A decrease or disappearance of some species, from Folsom times to present, indicates a gradual drying and perhaps warming of the climate. Later paleolithic hunters, associated with the Plainview culture, also occupied the area from 8000-9,000 years ago. Only slight traces of these people have been found at Caprock Canyons. As the climate became increasingly drier, the period of hunting and gathering cultures began. Smaller animals, as well as plant materials, made up the diet of the people. The Archaic period lasted from 8,000 to 2,000 years ago. Artifacts from this period include boiling pebbles for heating food, grinding stones for processing seeds, oval knives, and corner-notched or indented dart points. The Neo-Indian state was characterized by the appearance of arrow points and pottery. During the latter part of this period, 800 years ago until the Spanish exploration, permanent settlements were established, and agriculture was being practiced to some extent. These people traded Alibates flint for pottery, turquoise, and obsidian from the Puebloan groups to the west.

The region's historic era began when Spanish explorer Coronado traveled across the plains in 1541. After Spanish colonies were established in New Mexico around 1600, two-way trade between Plains Indians and New Mexicans began and gradually increased. The Plains Apache, present when Coronado arrived, acquired horses and became proficient buffalo hunters. They were displaced by the Comanche, who arrived in the early 1700s and dominated northwestern Texas, until they were finally subdued in the 1870s. During the Comanche reign, trade prospered and New Mexican buffalo hunters, known as ciboleros, and traders, known as Comancheros, were frequent visitors to this area. Las Lenguas Creek, a few miles south of the park, was a major trade area, and a site excavated on Quitaque Creek has produced artifacts indicating that it may have been a cibolero camp.

After 1874, Anglo settlement began, counties were organized, and ranches were established. Famed cattleman Charles Goodnight moved cattle into Palo Duro Canyon in 1876. In 1882, he bought vast areas of land for John G. Adair, who became owner of the noted J. A. Ranch. The land on which the park is located was included in the purchase. A railroad was built into this area in 1887, and by 1890, the town of Quitaque, with a population of 30, was a regular stage stop. The use of suitable lands for farming increased as more settlers arrived in the early 1900s, but most of the broken country is still ranch land. After passing through the hands of several owners, most of the land that now lies within park boundaries was acquired in 1936 by Theo Geisler, who died on August 15, 1969. The state purchased the land in 1975, and the park's Lake Theo was named after Geisler.

No family outing would be complete without at least one family photo. From left to right, CC and I, CC's daughter, Letta Jo, and her husband Billy Don, and far right, Letta’s son, Lane, (with hat and sunglasses), and his girlfriend Mary.

Missing from the family photo is Hurley, which belonged to Lane, but now resides with Grandparents Billy Don and Letta Jo. (Bet THAT hasn't happened to anyone else. LOL) We speculate that he is part Boxer, part Pit Bull, and part Spook. When surprised, his bark and demeanor would indicate Pit Bull and/or Boxer, but most of the time he is just Hurley being Hurley. Such a sweet face!

After a wonderful visit in Childress, we departed via US-287S to US-281S, in route to Coffee Creek Campground in Santo, TX. The trip thankfully, was uneventful. We bucked a pretty stiff head wind, but arrived unscathed around 3 pm. This is a fairly new, very pleasant RV park, one of the nicest we have stayed in; paved roads, wide lots, extremely clean restrooms with spacious showers, and a great hot tub and pool. Who would have thunk it in Santo?

We made our way, continuing southward on US-281 to Elmendorf, TX, on the southeast side of San Antonio, to Braunig Lake RV Resort, where we will lay up a few days in order for Allen from San Antonio RV to repair our Dometic refrigerator. It has been giving us an error code “ER-13”, and that indicates that the heating element in the freezer defroster is not working properly. From here we will venture southward to Mission, TX, where we have an appointment to get the oil changed at Camping World, before we park for the winter. (Cummins STRONGLY recommends that the oil be changed before letting the engine sit for prolonged periods without running.) From Camping World, we will take 83W to Weslaco, where we will once again winter at Country Sunshine.

Until next time, take care and stay well……………………..

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 10 - 22, 2011 "Oklahoma City Area"

Two weeks in Oklahoma City went by sooo quickly. CC spent the majority of her days de-cluttering her mom’s house, making it easier for her (Jo) to navigate, while I managed to arrange for a new windshield and repair a few small items on the motorhome (MH).

Since CC and I partially grew up in the area, we still have many friends here, and trying to catch up with all of them is nearly impossible, but I did manage to have lunch with Sid before he bolted off to Perry for a wrestling coaches meeting. John and Vicki invited us for the OSU-Texas game, and we collectively prepared a lasagna dinner with two of their kids, Daniel and Danae, who were home from college on mid-tern break. Chuck and Kelly drove up from Norman for dinner at Rococos, where we met Bobby, the Oklahoma equivalent to Ted Nugent. Before Rick headed to Key West for his daughter’s wedding, we squeezed in a dinner at Trapper’s. We took Jo on the 45 minute drive to Okarche, and dined at Eischen’s Bar for their famous fried chicken featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. CC and I also managed a lunch at Spencers BBQ and one (or two) at Braums. And last but not least, no visit to Oklahoma would be complete without a meal at Hideaway Pizza. CC and I both gained a few pounds as we dined on our favorites, and re-connected with friends from our youth. Thanks to all. We can only hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

The Dometic refrigerator has been giving us a “ER 13” flashing code for the past few weeks. After researching it, I discovered that more than likely it is a bad heating element in the freezer defroster drain tube. I called Lee’s RV in OKC to see if they would be able to order the part and install it. The first question they asked was if I bought the MH from them, to which I replied, “no”. Immediately they said it would be mid-November before they could look at it. Well, OK then. Since we are headed south, I found and authorized Dometic dealer in San Antonio, aptly named San Antonio RV, and called them to inquire about the possibility of fixing the refer. After a brief conversation with Allen, he said he would call Dometic and call me back. A few days later he called and said he had the part, and to just call him when we arrived in san Antonio. That was easy; the way it should be.

We left Oklahoma City on Wednesday, and traveled 220 miles SW to Childress, TX, to spend some time with CC’s daughter, Letta and her husband Billy. CC’s grandson, Lane, is living and working about 4-5 hours away in Andrews, TX, so the verdict is still out on whether or not he will show up to give CC a neck hug.

From here, we will head south. No definite route planned, and that’s the way we like it. Until next time, take care and stay well………………..

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October 4 – 9, 2011 “Pheasant onto Glass”

After a wonderful month in Colorado, we departed CherryCreek State Park on Tuesday morning. When we started the engine, I noticed an unusual sound of a small motor emanating from the front of the rig, so I unlatched the generator compartment to take a look see. The source of the noise was quickly and easily identified as a vacuum pump; but why was it running constantly? Before we hit the road, I decided it was probably prudent if we stopped at RV America in Aurora and got it diagnosed. The service manager took one look and listen, and said the motor would stop running when we got to a lower altitude where the air wasn’t as thin. He was correct. Soon after crossing into Kansas the pump quit running constantly. We learn something new every day on this adventure.

We made it the 340 miles to Hays, KS, arriving about 6:00 pm. After provisioning at Wally World, we declared this the “first boondocking” in the new rig. The next morning we topped off the diesel with 84 gallons at $3.53 per gallon, and headed eastward on I-70 shortly after 8 am.

In the 30+ years we have traveled this route, there has ALWAYS been road construction, and this trip would be no different, as the road narrowed to 2 lanes just east of Russell, and the speed limit reduced to 60. I had my hands full trying to avoid orange construction cones, coupled with a 25 mph side wind hitting us broadside, at times almost forcing me into oncoming traffic. 


“What the hell was that? It sounded like a gunshot.” As soon as I uttered those words, my eyes were drawn to a different area of the windshield. (Click on image to enlarge)

The only thing CC saw, out of the corner of her eye, was a bird flying, and then “Wham”.  As we slowed to 50 mph, I wondered IF the windshield would stay intact until we got to Salina. Luckily for us, it did, as we gingerly drove the 30 miles to Safelite for a closer and professional inspection. Matt, the service manager, told us we were the third vehicle this week that has come in after hitting a pheasant. He also said the windshield “would probably hold together” but if we got stopped by a Kansas State Trooper, they would more than likely ticket us AND not let us drive it until the windshield was replaced.

I had that “Have you ever been to Vegas?” feeling, "How lucky do you feel?"; not sure if that’s bad or good, as I once again looked around for Murphy. We called our insurance company, and the soonest they could arrange for a replacement windshield in Salina was 3 days. Our other option, limp on for 250 miles into Oklahoma City, straight south into 25-35 mph head winds. This time, CC and I both looked around for that Irish lad, and he was nowhere to be found. So…………………next stop Oklahoma City, providing our Guardian Angel was present and up for the task.

We decided to bypass the Kansas Turnpike from Wichita to the Oklahoma border, knowing there are usually one or more State Troopers at the gate. Keeping our speed between 50 and 55, coupled with the head winds, was the equivalent force on the windshield of driving 75 – 90 mph. We finally arrived at Twin Fountains RV Park in Oklahoma City around 6:30 pm. Thank you GA!

We’ll be here for a couple of weeks visiting family and friends. CC is having one-on-one time with her Mom, under the guise of helping her clean house.  (Translation for us guys: Girl talk and shopping)

Until next time, take care and stay well. Thanks for stopping by.

ps Seems like we may have left the Denver area in the nick of time. In the comments below, Zoe mentioned the change in weather, and posted this picture of their fountain / waterfall on her Facebook page.

Monday, October 3, 2011

September 18 - October 3, 2011 "Cherry Creek State Park CO"

After returning from Powell, we needed some R&R. For those of you that have been, understand, and for those of you that haven’t, it’s no cake walk. Actually it took only a few days to unpack, clean, and store the items that won’t be used until next year, but one has to ask the question “Is it worth it?”

CC has been busy reuniting with old friends and workplace associates, with the customary lunches and happy hours. Since we only have one vehicle, while she has been whooping it up until the wee hours of the morning, I’ve had my nose to the grindstone, re-arranging the basement and eliminating duplicate (or semi-duplicate) items. After 3 trips to Wally World for plastic storage trays, I can now declare the basement “tolerable and manageable”.

While here in the Denver Area, we have also been invited by friends Tom and Leslie for a Mexican Fiesta dinner complete with the best damn margarita ever. Dave and Jeannie offered up some “Q” from Tony’s and also imbibed on a few adult beverages. Fellow Goldwingers and RV’ers Ed and Bev visited us in Elizabeth. Our old neighbors Gary and Michelle, along with their 2 kids,  (German Shorthaired Pointers, Cash and Windy) joined us for simple, and slightly overcooked burgers and Michelle’s homemade brownies. Another friend, Jeanne, from the "hood" stopped by for a visit and a chance to catch up on what has happened since we moved. To all, a heartfelt thank you. We enjoyed every minute of our visit, and value deeply your friendships.

Rick and Zoe cut off our electricity in Elizabeth, due to non-payment of rent, forcing us to move to Cherry Creek State Park. (Not really…..just kidding……but they did threaten to…. Really….Would I BS you?)

On Friday morning, Rick and Zoe joined us at the campground in their motorhome. (I personally think they felt bad about forcing us to move, and were just trying to make amends….Really) Later in the day James and Jenna arrived, and later that evening Steve and Penny pulled in, to totally disparage me and my synopsis of the situation. So, ......  this had been planned(?); imagine that!  With that said, only one thing to do; Party On!  All pictures and videos of the weekend were destroyed, to protect the innocent(?).  All kidding aside, we had a great time and truly enjoy the company and friendships of the "innocent".

Our plans for the next couple of weeks are to move southward to Oklahoma, to visit CC’s mom, and to catch up with old friends there. I’m not ready to move, as the weather here has been just perfect; highs in the 80’s with lows in the 50’s. (Perfect for getting your sleep on!) But as the old adage reminds us, “All good things must come to an end”. So with that……………….

Until next time, take care, stay well, and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September 1 - 17, 2011 "Lake Powell"

It seems like it’s been a month since our last posting on the blog; it almost has been. Soon after our arrival in Elizabeth at Rick and Zoe’s, they invited us to join them for a vacation on their houseboat at Lake Powell (LP). So, while Rick went bow hunting for elk the first weekend of the month, we were busy shopping for food and preparing as many meals as possible, to eliminate time in the kitchen while at LP. There would be 4 adults and 6 young adults (Ages 19-23) on the trip, and I had not prepared a meal for that many in a few years, so needless to say, this was going to be a challenge. OK. 7 days x 3 meals/day = 21 meals. “Zoe, have you prepared a menu?”  “Yes”, she replied. Thank God.

On to the store, and back in the kitchen, we prepared 6 pounds of BBQ pulled beef brisket for sandwiches. Used Nana’s recipe to make 1 ground beef, and 1 sausage and mushroom lasagna (ended up being enough for 2 meals, as I made 2 – 13” x 9” pans with 4 layers each) for Italian night. Concocted 3 pounds of taco meat for Taco Tuesday.  Did 3 pounds of sloppy joes for ??? night and/or lunch. Chopped, diced, and mixed 4 pounds of pasta salad for lunch, and/or a side dish. Fried 4 pounds of bacon (breakfast and BLT’s for lunch) and 3 pounds of sausage patties for breakfasts. Made 12 breakfast burritos and 12 Egg McMuffins. Am I done yet? Oh yea. Vacuum seal all of the above and freeze. The remainder of the meals were prepared on the boat, as it’s difficult to pre-cook steaks, pork tenderloin, hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, and be pleased with the results.

When Rick informed us we would be departing on Saturday morning at 4 am, I almost threw in the towel. Didn’t he know we were retired and 4 am is when we get our best sleep? CC convinced me that it wouldn’t kill me to be up before the roosters, and to quit whining and just do it. (No advertisement for Nike intended or implied) We finally departed shortly after 6 am for the 8 – 9 hour drive to Bullfrog Marina on LP.

We arrived at Bullfrog around 3:30 pm, and began unpacking the vehicles to transfer the metric ton or more of food, soft drinks, beer, ice, and luggage the 10 of us had, and began the arduous task of loading the boat, the Canyon Explorer. By 6:30, we were all ready for an adult beverage, minors and prego excluded. Dinner consisted of BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. (As usual, click on any image to enlarge)

Sunday morning, the First Mate, Zoe, decided we should venture southward to the San Juan Arm of LP (between channel marker 57 & 58); a distance of 40 – 50 miles. The views were amazing, and the panorama impressive. Traveling at the breakneck speed of 6 mph, towing the 3 water toys, would take us most of the day.

It was with a steady hand we were carefully guided down the Colorado River by Captain “Hank” and First Mate, Zoe, at the upper helm of the Canyon Explorer (CE).

Shortly before 6 pm we beached the CE, and Justin, Garret and Jobi secured the vessel with 4 lines to the shore. While the adults enjoyed an adult beverage, they also prepared a gourmet meal of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. After dark, Justin, “The Great White Hunter”, went in search of the elusive, deadly, white scorpion, known to inhabit the area. A short time later he emerged from the darkness, prey in hand.

Monday, it was decided that we should dispatch a scout party to search for a better campsite, preferably off the main channel. With that task in hand, it was all hands on deck, as Jobi and Alicia ventured off on the wave runner, while Justin and Rebecca varoomed off in the 502 Mag “Red Dog”, leaving Garret and prego Jessie, to pilot the Conroy in their pursuit of the “ultimate” campsite. Within 2 hours, we were on the move, and lucky for us, it was only a few miles down the canyon. Upon arrival, it was time to unwind on the swim island, wave runner, or just do some leisurely “Hillbilly Deluxe” fishin’.

That evening, the winds picked up, and although grilled pork tenderloin was on the menu, the weather was not cooperating, so it was Plan B, salad, garlic bread and lasagna. Add a glass of vino, and it was a superb dining experience. The young adults partied until late and finally decided on sleeping under the stars on the upper deck sometime after midnight.

DID YOU SEE THAT? ……..GET HIM!……… THERE HE GOES!…….With that the adults were shockingly awakened. The “kids” were running around like screamin’ banshees about a wild animal on the boat, and as testerone would have it, the 3 young males mounted a “moonlight hunt” in search of the elusive intruder. Under light of day, it was determined “The Intruder” to be a Ring Tailed Cat. Seems as if someone had left the ramp down, and it just walked right up on the boat to take a look see.

Since it was Tuesday, it must be Taco Tuesday. Right you are; not only tacos, but burritos, refried beans, chips and salsa, margaritas, cerveza fria, and even a shot or two of Centenario Agave Anejo Tequila. It was a fiesta for sure, and after dinner we all turned in early. NOT. Once again, the young adults partied into the wee hours and finally decided on sleeping on the upper deck sometime after midnight???.

Have we had enough excitement yet? I thought this was supposed to be a relaxing trip? Actually, the next day, Wednesday, was rainy and overcast, and too cool to be in the water, so we mostly just relaxed, read, consumed a few cerveza fria, and in general tried to recharge our partially depleted personas.

Thursday morning, Captain “Hank” decided it might be best if we moved a few miles upriver, to make the travel day back to Bullfrog a little shorter. So with that, the orders were given to “weigh anchor”, and the shipmates went into action. Within an hour, we were streaking along at a blistering 6 mph. In a little over 2 hours, we arrived at our new campsite near channel marker 67. Thursday was designated as “Steak Night”, and so it was that salad, steak and baked potatoes were enjoyed by all. It will come as no surprise that the young adults, once again, partied until ???? It’s been awhile since I was that age, but don’t remember hitting it that hard for that many days in a row. CC tells me that I’m just getting old.

Travel day Friday. Since check in time for the boat was 10 am on Saturday morning, it was necessary to be at Bullfrog Marina Friday night to unload and clean the boat before the time of check in. So, after a leisurely breakfast, we weighed anchor at set off for the trip up the channel. Captain “Hank” piloted the CE solo, while the remaining crew went on a sightseeing excursion in Red Dog and Conroy; first stop, the Anasazi Ruins in Escalante Canyon. 

Next stop, La Gorce Arch;  a beautiful arch on the Escalante Arm of Lake Powell. When the lake water level is high, you can pilot a small houseboat up this far. The arch is visible from both front and back, and so is one of the most photographed arches on Lake Powell.

Since it was now around 2:30 pm, and we told Captain “Hank” we would meet up with him around 3, we headed up the channel where we caught him around marker 83. After securing the water toys, we continued to Bullfrog, arriving about 6:30 pm. Dinner theme tonight? Garbage night; eat up leftovers. And right you are, the young adults once again did their thing.

Saturday morning, everyone was up and at it by 7 am: packing, unloading, and cleaning, readying the boat for the 10 am check in. It was actually closer to 11 when that process was complete, as we prepared for the 9 hour drive back to Elizabeth. 

All in all, it was a good trip. Not once did we need the first aid kit, and the only items that were missed the entire trip;..................... $49 and some toenail polish remover for those "cute tootsies".

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, take care and stay well………………

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 25 – 31, 2011 “Our New Home”

We received a few inquires as to what is involved in the installation of a ceiling fan, and what the cost of the MCD shades were. The short answer is, they were included in the price of our new motorhome; a one owner 2010 Itasca Ellipse 42AD with only 4,100 miles on her, aptly named “Elly”.

Since we were impersonating “The Jefferson’s”, we also decided it was time to upgrade our toad to something with better fuel economy, a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox that is rated 22 in town, and 32 on the highway, almost double the MPG of the Jeep Wrangler.

Purchasing a new automobile is definitely NOT one of my favorite pastimes, but I was pleasantly surprised how easy this purchase was. I have had a GM MasterCard for 20+ years, and had accumulated almost $3,000 in earnings. GM places limits on each of their models, and on the Equinox it was $1,000. When the sales manager took my card to apply my earnings to the purchase price, he returned asking me, “Did you know you were a “World” member?” Sure, I replied (but hadn’t a clue exactly what that meant). He said, “You can use ALL of your earnings toward the purchase, if you’d like”. Now, where I come from, that’s called a no brainer. (Click on any image to enlarge)

Followers of our blog realize we have been searching for a diesel pusher and something more comfortable, since we live in our rig full time. What caused us to bite the bullet and move up? Well, it was a combination of things. One, a fellow full timer of one year, just like us, commented that he bought his third rig first; a 2010 Tiffin Allegro Bus. That got me thinking about the concept. Secondly, saving $80K on this 2010 versus the 2012 42AD, we picked out at the Winnebago Rally last month. And lastly, the unit was barely used. The speedcook oven, cooktop, outside entertainment center, Kingdome in-motion satellite system, and 2 of the 4 TV’s had never been used, as the original owner had only used it 4 times.

It only took us 3 days to move in to the new rig, and the time it took for Chevy to order and install a new base plate and receiver (for the bikes) on the Equinox was 5 days. Leach RV had almost a week to fix the little things we noticed that weren’t right, move the brake and light systems from the Jeep to the Equinox, and do the final detail, which included waxing and topping off the diesel and propane. So………..... After being in Lincoln for 2 weeks, we finally departed.

The trip across Nebraska in I-80 was like floating on air. The air bag suspension, coupled with the 400 HP Cummins, kept the ride soft and the noise in the rear; neither of which we were accustomed to in the Suncruiser. CC and I each commented that this rig, 4 feet longer that the Cruiser, didn’t handle like it was bigger at all. Do I have buyer’s remorse? Not at all. Do I think we overspent? Anytime money leaves my hands it causes me redefine our plans for retirement and this lifestyle. Are we happy with our decision? So far, so good. If momma's happy, everyone's happy.

We arrived at Tom and Trudy’s in Cheyenne, WY, around 4 pm, and were set up by the time they got home from work. They have a wonderful home on 2 acres they built about 7 years ago.

Complete with a 40 foot by 60 foot “pole barn”, as Tom refers to it, where he houses all of his “toys”; 4 motorcycles, a boat, 2 trailers, and their “baby”. I think everyone with a motorhome needs a “pole barn”, don’t you?

We had a wonderful visit, and it was great to catch up with old friends. One thing life has taught me; when you re-aquaint with good friends, time spent apart seems to disappear, and you resume just like you had seen each other yesterday. Thanks Tom & Trudy, for everything!

From Cheyenne, we bolted down I-25 to our old stomping grounds around Denver, CO. CC pushed that big rig right through downtown and out to the “burbs”, where we arrived at our friends, Rick and Zoe, just outside of Elizabeth, CO, about 50 miles SE of Denver.

We will be in the Denver area for the month of September. Only a brief side trip to Lake Powell on the tenth, for 7 days on Rick and Zoe’s houseboat, and then back in the Mile Hi City for the remainder of the month. We have doctor appointments, haircuts, and hopefully a few lunches and/or dinners with friends here in the area. As CC said as she piloted the rig down I-25, it’s good to be home. I couldn’t agree more.

Until next time, take care and stay well…………………..