Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday, Again???

How could another week go by so fast! It seems like last weekend just ended and here it is time for another.

My next door neighbors moved out this morning, and the empty space next to me looks kinda sad. Four Mexicans had a fairly large trailer and I'm sure they were working in the area as they were gone all day. They were some of the few people I've seen here who were friendly - always had a smile and a wave. They never made any noise, but about two evenings ago I could tell they were doing some deep cleaning in their rig, so I knew they would be pulling out soon, and they were up at dawn getting ready to leave. If it didn't look so cold outside I would have gone out to wish them "suerte!"

I will go to the office today and pay for another month's stay, and then it will be my turn to pack up and leave Cal Expo. I'm still not sure where I will go, but I'll never find as convenient a spot as this, although it will be time to move on to someplace new. I will need to figure out how to pad my computer for travel, and I will just put the monitor on the bed and surround it with pillows. That's usually what I do with my laptop. I could put the desktop back in the original box with the styrofoam packing, but I really don't want to disconnect all those wires. I guess i will have to do that when I make the move to Lassen.

Steve is going to come over today and replaced a damaged fenderskirt with the new one that finally arrived. Every time I look at the broken one I am reminded of my first day on the road and cutting a corner too close. I was turning the corner around a gas island and forgot to look at the 5ver in the side mirror, and scraped a bollard on the island. Dang, was I mad at myself!

I will try to sneak in a few other quick jobs as long as he's here. I know I should be checking the water level in the batteries but haven't done so yet. I remember when you had to do that with the car batteries, but I think they were easier to access under the hood of an automobile. I need to buy some distilled water but forget whenever I'm at the grocery.

I made a delicious chicken & corn chowder for my supper last night. Everything I've cooked so far has been on top of the stove or in the slow cooker, and I've never even tried to light the oven. I think this is where I need to use the lighter that was in the kitchen drawer. The seller told me I had to use it to get a spark to the burners, but I discovered a dial on the stove that sends a spark to the burner. Why couldn't they have done that for the oven?

I can't believe how cozy it is with my little electric heater! It's easy to move around so that I am just warming the area I'm in and not the entire RV. I'll admit I've had to reset the circuit breaker a few times - I must not be thinking straight in the morning when I turn the heater on before the coffee has finished dripping. The warmer doesn't seem to take much power at all, and once the coffee is made then I can turn on the heater. I now have the heat directed towards my legs as I sit here at the computer, and have the shirt that I want to wear spread over my knees to catch the heat so it will be nice and warm when I put it on.

The sun is shining so I can easily see the dust & clutter that I need to clean up this morning. Maybe I'll be back to add to this post later today.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Ring of Fire

What is happening on the West Coast? I have always had a fear of earthquakes and don't think I would ever live permanently near the coast, anywhere on the Pacific Rim. I figured I would be ok for a few months this year, but this morning I read that a 4.6 quake was recorded in the vicinity of Seattle, and there are fears that Mt. Redoubt near Anchorage is going to erupt again. And to think I will be working this summer at the site of some weird stuff going on - fumaroles, hot springs, steamy bubbling mud pots, some even along the road and some you view from a boardwalk. (The sulphur smell can be overwhelming at times.) It is described as one of only two active volcanos in the continental US. While I knew it had been a volcano, thus the name of the park, I didn't know the active part of it. I will be in sight of Mt. Shasta, the second highest volcano in the US and the 2nd highest peak in the Cascades. Now I'm wondering why I've been so hot to buy an emergency weather radio!

Wikipedia describes Mt. Lassen as the largest plug dome volcano in the world. Something about the word "plug" makes me a bit uneasy. After all, we know what happens when we pull the plug out of a bottle of champagne!

Thankfully I am due at Fort Pulaski (coastal Georgia) after the hurricane season is officially over, but then I will have to dodge tornados as I make my way back across the country next year. No use staying in the Midwest - ice storms & snow in winter, and floods in spring.

Seriously though, I'm not afraid of anything or any place. Mother Nature moves much more slowly than we do - we are just a speck in time - but I'd rather my speck not be around when the "big one" hits.

UPDATE: A couple of hours after I wrote this post I learned that both Chile and Colombia have evacuated people from the imminent eruption of volcanos in those countries, both on the Pacific Rim and the "ring of Fire".

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A morning spent running errands

My first stop this morning was to a nearby computer repair store. The tech told me he thought it would only be the keyboard that needs replacing, as the keypad seems to work. Having diagnostics run and installing a new keyboard will cost somewhere around $128. I know I could replace the keyboard myself for much less, but it is difficult to find one. There are keyboards advertised that will fit the Dell Inspiron 1501, but the part numbers don't match. I'm not going to fool with it. I would scrap the laptop since my desktop works just fine, but if I get to where I can access the internet while I'm at Lassen this summer, it will be with the laptop.

I went to Costco but only bought a couple of items, then on to Petsmart where I spent a bundle on food for my two mangy mutts, returned the Emerson weather radio to Walmart, stopped at a grocery for a couple of items I couldn't get at the food co-op, and finally to Walgreens for prescriptions. There are two I need for my eye surgery, plus a couple I had transferred from NC, and I couldn't believe the cost. One thing on my list that I still need to do is to get a haircut, but I'm back home now and plumb wore out!

I got a call earlier from the gentleman at the park office telling me that the manager approved an additional month's stay, but "there won't be any extensions after that". I'm sure he is relaying the manager's words and tone of voice, but I feel like a child being "let off just this once" for not doing my homework or talking in class or something. This manager is the same person who kept saying "Someone locked the door from the inside", when I couldn't get my key out of the shower door and it got pushed shut. Oh well, her attitude to life is her problem and nothing to do with me personally, so I shouldn't take it personally.

I'm so tired that I think I'll take a nap!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More about the radio

Earlier today I wrote that I bought an Eton Emergency Crank Radio. I just tried it out and am very pleased with the sound quality, especially that of the NOAA weather radio channel. I also mentioned that you need an adaptor for plugging into an electric socket, as well as for charging the phone. In reading the instructions I found that I only had to register the product, which I did very quickly on their website, and they will send me the adaptors. I'm not sure why they don't just go ahead and include them with the radio, but I guess it gets more people to submit registration information.

Going around in circles today

It seems I've driven a lot today but didn't end up doing much. I picked up a book I had ordered "the Next Exit" that I had mailed to Jeannie's address. I looked at two different Cost Plus stores where they had advertised rectangular dog beds for $10 ea. I've been wanting to buy two of them to put in the truck, as there really isn't enough room for those 42" round beds that I currently have. I'd like to get something smaller for both truck and RV, although the big round ones must be comfortable to their old bones! The regular price on the rectangular beds is about $20 each, way too much as I see it.

I've been getting prescriptions transferred to Walgreen's, since they tell me that I can refill at any Walgreen's pharmacy in the US. I also dropped off new prescriptions for eye drops that I will need to use before & after surgery. I'll go back tomorrow to pick it all up as I didn't feel like waiting around. They have to call back to the pharmacy I used in Asheville for a couple of them.

I stopped at a Radio Shack to look at emergency radios - I already bought a radio with weather channel at Walmarts, but there really aren't any emergency features to it and I don't need a radio. I ended up with an Eton Red Cross Emergency Crank Radio. It has AM/FM plus NOAA weather, flashlight, siren and cell phone charger, and runs on 3 AA batteries. There is an input for AC adaptor if I want to go out and buy yet another cord. Same thing for the cell phone - my Motorola didn't come with a car charger and I just don't think I need one since I travel with my house along for the ride, and there is no reason why at least one of my 2 cellphones run out of charge. Now I need to return the Emerson. I hope I never need the emergency radio, but I'm ready in the event I do. The real test will be when I get to Lassen and try it out there.

I'm getting fairly comfortable with driving in Sacramento, even on the dreadful Capital City Freeway, which I have always avoided like the plague. For years I've been spending a month or more here, usually at Christmas time. I always drove my ex husband to his chemo appointments and other places he needed to go, and I always complained about the traffic. I wish now I had been more gracious about it, but you sure can't go back to the past and make up for lost opportunities.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ready for the doctor's appointment

Well I've gotten myself ready to make the short trip to Mercy Medical Center, where I hope the doctor will be to my liking. All I want is my prescriptions refilled, but I'm sure I will have to fill out a dozen pages with my life history. I really don't know why I should have to fill out anything, since they took the info down over the phone, twice, before they would give me an appointment. I got my Verizon phone bill which went over my limit this month, due for the most part to the time I've spent on Hold with the Medical Center!

I washed my hair this morning and looking in the mirror, it is apparent that I am past the point where I need a haircut. I dropped into the salon at Walmart for the last one and wasn't all that happy with it, although it did get to a point for a couple of weeks where it didn't look too bad. This is one of the few downsides of not staying in one place. Actually two downsides - doctors and a hairdresser.

Monday & Tues of this week are the last opportunities to get the special 40th anniversary prices at Old Spaghetti Factory, so Jeannie, Donald, Autumn, and Donald's mother (Martha), Steve & Megan and I met there for dinner. Someone brought a big old T-shirt for Autumn to wear as she gets spaghetti sauce all over herself. For being such a little kid she can put away an amazing amount of food. She started with a bowl of soup and ate most of the regular size plate of spaghetti, plus some of the wonderful Italian bread. It was almost too much for me, and I had to leave a bit of my salad and a small amount of spaghetti. Megan and I enjoyed a glass of chianti, but Jeannie, being pregnant, had to forgo the pleasure. I really cherish the opportunities to be together. We missed Joe, Sarah & Alyssa, but Joe is back to school for the spring term and he has such a condensed schedule he can't give up the study time.

I have decided to return the Emerson weather radio I bought. The quality of sound isn't all that good, and if I'm going to use a weather radio at all I want something that I can tune in to and understand what is being said. Now I need to decide if I want to pay 3 or 4 times what the Emerson costs to get a good radio. Do I even need one?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another job

Anyone who reads my blog once in a while, or who has met me in the rv-dreams chat room, knows that I am going to work at Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California this summer. When I'm finished there I am going to make my way through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North & South Dakota and eventually wind up in New York where I will visit with my oldest son & family. From there I will travel south and visit family along the way, and then go to Savannah GA and to my next workamping position at Fort Pulaski National Monument from Dec. 1 through Feb 28. 2010. Then I'll travel across to California and start it all over again. I'm sure I can line up a couple of workamping jobs next year interspersed with visiting and exploring time. It hasn't been difficult to find job opportunities, nor to land the jobs. Now I just have to dazzle them with my work efforts!

I am so fortunate getting these two jobs--one will be a wilderness experience and provide opportunities to hike the back country on my days off, and the other will be in more of a day use type of park. From what I've been able to gather online the park at Ft Pulaski has tidal marshes, mud flats, and an abundance of wildlife including alligators (look out, dogs), blue herons, and many others. As a lover of history I will be able to get a good dose of military history at the fort.

I went on a little shopping trip yesterday with Jeannie and Autumn, and we ended up at a small family run ice cream parlor. I rarely eat ice cream except when the weather is hot, but surprisingly I can eat it any time of year when I'm in California. It tasted so good and I know that I will be stopping by often to get more. I bought a small weather radio - nothing as fancy as I thought I wanted - just AM, FM & Weather. I put four AA batteries in it and tried it out. (There is also a power cord that tucks away into its own storage compartment.) The FM stations come in fine but I didn't have much luck with the weather part of it. I'll try again today and if I can't it to work I will read the instructions. If that fails I'll return it.

Another thing I really need until I can get service on my rig is a desk lamp. Steve looked at the dining light fixture that doesn't work, and couldn't tell what's wrong with it. Nor could he follow the electric line beyond the fixture as it's encased in the ceiling of the slide-out. In the meantime, this is where I have my "desk" (dining table) where I set my computer monitor, keyboard and printer. (The computer is on the floor between the entertainment center and the chairs.) So yesterday I bought a flexible gooseneck lamp--and, it's a miracle--but the 40watt bulb only uses 7watts! How is that for being energy conscious? Where in the world am I going to put all these little appliances when I pack for traveling? They will probably be safest in their original boxes, but in the meantime where do I store all the boxes. The under-bed-storage compartment is rapidly filling up with empty boxes!

While I was gone Steve came by and replaced the glide pin assembly on my 5th wheel hitch. It has been under recall and I had the parts sent to me thinking I would have to take it to an authorized Nu Wa repair shop to get it installed. Steve said it was quick and easy, and it does look good. He has already saved me lots of $ in diagnostics & repairs, narrowing down the items that I will need to pay for.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Life gets better all the time...

And it's going to continue that way. Do you ever wake up in the morning so full of hope and anticipation for the good things you know are going to happen? They usually don't come about all at once but like a flower starting off as a bud and then unfolding, the wonders of my life have been unfolding a little at a time for as long as I can remember. At least it is only the wonders that I remember!

Steve and I drove to another RV park yesterday that I had been told had spaces available in February. We had been there before and were not at all impressed by the manager who seemed to not want any new business. He was a little better yesterday but not by much. He discovered I had two dogs, and his face lit up in a smile when he informed me he only allows one pet per site. I think he really wanted an excuse to refuse to rent to me. I have no idea why, but I'm sort of glad because I wasn't thrilled with the park anyway.

When I returned to Cal Expo I told the woman who runs the office that I would like to stay another month due to the fact that I was having eye surgery in early Feb., and wanted to fully recuperate before towing my 5th wheel. She took the information and will have to ask the park manager. The down side is that the manager is attending a conference and I won't know her answer until the 29th or 30th of Jan. That may leave me having to move in a hurry if she says no, but the woman at the desk seemed to think that medical reasons are a pretty sure thing for extending a stay. If it doesn't work out I'll stay at Steve's house for a few days while I'm looking for a place. I looked at Woodall's & Good Sam websites & books yesterday, and it seems that most of the parks east of Sac and out Rt. 50 to the foothills don't have the space for larger rigs.

I sent out several emails last week requesting consideration for volunteer jobs in exchange for campsite/hookups, and got a response back from one this morning. I won't say who it is for fear of jinxing my chances, but it's in the southeast. I was told I need to select a definite 2-month period that can be extended to 90 days and fax a volunteer app back to him, which I will try to do today. If I finish at Lassen in mid-September and then travel east & south, I think I will aim for reaching the post by December, so Dec-Jan-Feb would be doable. I could even stay a month longer if necessary before starting back to California. Depending on how it goes at Lassen I could return there, or go someplace different, such as Dinosaur National Monument, who contacted me after I had already accepted the job at Lassen, and who is putting me on their notification list for next season. So the future holds all kinds of promise, and I intend to go with the flow!

I think the water is hot now so I am going to shower & go over to Jeannie's today. If I get my application finished I will fax it from their equipment.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Weekend again

Another weekend rolls around and I'm planning to take it easy, at least that's the plan. I did a bit of housecleaning yesterday and Steve & Megan came by to pick me up for dinner. We had a glass of wine here, and then went to Chevy's, a Mexican restaurant. Their menu has changed and the food is really good. It used to be that no matter what you ordered it all tasted the same, but it is not that way anymore. We had a great time and good conversation. I hated to get up to walk the dogs this morning, but I made my coffee and took them out. Now I'm thinking about drinking some coffee and then going back to bed for a while.

When I went to get the wine glasses out last night I realized that as I was preparing to bring them out of storage I suddenly decided I didn't want the risk of breakage or the weight, so I left them there, intending to buy acrylic glasses. I did bring a couple of beer glasses though, because that is what I usually drink. I also brought my champagne glasses - 2 cut glass and two silverplate, so we had our red wine in champagne glasses. It was a nice wine and I will have to stock up a few bottles the next trip to Costco. I don't drink much wine anymore, but like to have it for when someone visits.

I was doing some preliminary planning for my 3 months at Lassen this summer. The two dogs eat approx a 40# bag of dog food a month, plus biscuits of course, for when they are "good dogs". I'm fairly certain there will be no Petsmart stores anywhere near the wilderness, which means I need to thing ahead and take enough with me. I know what living in the woods means - field mice, chipmunks, bears! Where in the world am I going to store it all and keep it from being raided. Can mice get into those big plastic totes?

I notice that many of the bloggers are getting a new look, new style, rearranging pages, etc. I'd like to do that with mine but don't want to have to fiddle with it - I'm lucky I can post everyday and hang a picture up there once in a while, although I don't really know where it's going to appear. And at the end of my blog is a list of other blogs I read, but it's not all of them. There is another page that I see when I sign in that has an entirely different list. So it's a bit of work for me to get all of them read, and if you don't see yours on my list, please drop me a comment and let me know the url - it could be that it is already on my "invisible" list. Aah, technology. I hate it and I love it at the same time, which averages out to "I like it ok, mostly".

Friday, January 23, 2009

Finding a doctor

I have been trying to find a doctor that I can go to here in Sacramento and get my prescriptions refilled. I take only three prescriptions, including 1/2 tablet a day of hydrochlorothiazide (what a mouthful!) for mild high blood pressure. I have called several medical offices, but they either don't accept medicare as primary payer, or they don't want to accept patients who are here short term. The last place I called asked me a million questions; I just gave my daughter's address and will explain if I ever get to see a doctor, that I am a fulltime RVer who will be spending a lot of time in Sacramento. I think I will post a question on a couple of forums about finding a doctor, and see what other fulltimers do. Oh, and the medical practice with the million questions - I could be placed on hold for quite some time (while the cell phone minutes roll by) or call back tomorrow to see when and with whom my appointment will be. Is that crazy, or what?

I've been cleaning this morning as my son and daughter-in-law will be over this evening. She went through the RV when it was parked in front of their house, but the slides were in and it was cold & dreary. I want it to look its best, but with two dog beds taking up room in about 275 sq ft of space, there isn't any way it's going to look its best! I also need to empty the tanks but it's cold, damp & drizzly outside, and I dread the simple task. I haven't been feeling all that great the past couple of days.

Well that's it for my short break in the housecleaning routine, but I might be back later on today.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Slow Moving Day

I got dressed before noon today. but since it's a good day to sit inside and listen to the raindrops hit the RV, I probably wouldn't have had to get dressed at all. I've accomplished a few things though: I ordered a replacement for the fenderskirt I messed up on my maiden voyage out of New York. I'm embarrased every time I look at the damaged fender, and will be glad to get it fixed. The part is back ordered right now but I'm assured it should be in within a couple of weeks.

I also talked to someone at my credit union in Cincinnati, where I've banked for as long as I can remember, and had them add another savings account for me to save for my rv & truck insurance. They will make an automatic deposit to the acct every month and keeping it separate should keep me from spending it prematurely. I'm also throwing in an extra $75 a month for unexpected repairs.

I got tired of trying to come up with a decent spreadsheet for keeping track of expenditures for fulltiming. What is needed is a database, but since I'm an expert on DBase III which has long disappeared from use, and since I have never liked Microsoft Access, I went ahead and ordered the software for RV's. I'm eating a little crow right now because I still think it's double work to have to enter info into the program and I swore I'd never do it, but I'll try it and see if it works. I had a hella time sorting out all the receipts & notes I had for my trip beginning when I left NY. I hope I didn't miss any of the fuel receipts, but there is bound to be at least one I didn't keep track of. I'm pretty good at recording mileage & times, amounts spent, etc., but that was a long trip and I'm sure I forgot at least one entry. This isn't going to be audited by anyone, though, and should give me a good idea at the end of a year what I'm going to be spending. Actually I know what I will be spending - my entire retirement check! I will just be able to divvy it up with anything left over to be called Miscellaneous Expenditures.

Are there are other RVers out there who have difficulty with clutter? I am looking at so much clutter that I don't know where to begin. I guess a good start would be to shut off the computer!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Electric Problem?

Since I have the new electric heater I didn't turn the furnace on before I went to bed last night. It was pretty chilly this morning when I got up, and I fired up the computer first, then the electric heater, and then started coffee. In just a few minutes I came back into the room to find all three were off. I found that the breaker switch for the "middle lights" was tripped and reset it. Now I'm hesitant to use the heater, although it worked fine last night when I tried it out. I wasn't running the coffee maker but did have the TV turned on. Right now I don't feel like trying to isolate the problem so I just turned the furnace on for a few minutes.

It is chilly outside this morning and it looks like rain. I believe rain is forecast for the rest of the week, and Sacramento could use a couple of weeks of good steady rain. When I lived here in the 80's I could never figure out the weather forecasters on TV - they would moan on and on about drought and how far the lake was down, but after one day of rain they would whine about missing the sun. Never satisfied! I don't mean to step on anyone's toes in case you are from Sacramento - I just always thought it was amusing and downright contradictory.

I had planned to go early this morning to get the EKG and blood tests done for my upcoming eye surgery, but I will probably do it tomorrow. My mail was forwarded from SD and is at Jeannie's house - hopefully it will contain a new Blue Cross of South Dakota card. I'm still getting by with BC of North Carolina, but that won't last very long, and labs are the worst when it comes to getting the insurance billing screwed up, at least in my experience.

I'm going to add to this post since I just started writing it too early this morning. I just went to the local Rite Aid and saw a display of the Lasko Ceramic Oscillating Heaters, the same as the one I bought at Walmart for $38. I was almost afraid to look at the price, but when I got up the nerve, I saw Rite Aid's price was $59.99. What a difference! They also had another model of Lasko for $10 cheaper, but I love the one I have and glad I bought it where I did.

I got my EKG and blood tests taken care of today, so that's out of the way. I also called Ofc of Personnel Mgmt to ask about the change that was supposed to take place in my Blue Cross. Each state has its own plan administration although my premium is the same no matter where I live. So according to Ruby, with whom I spoke, I should be receiving a new card within 10 business days from Blue Cross of South Dakota. It doesn't matter where I live though, any charges submitted from a provider in the State of California are paid through Blue Cross of California. The paperwork nearly drives me wild - with my pkg of mail forwarded from SD today I received a notice of payment from Blue Cross of NC, plus another separate envelope with a notice that the claim had been paid. How much is all this paperwork and postage costing? At least I only get a notice from Medicare every few months listing all the amts they have paid.

It's raining now that it's time for the doggie walks. I hope no one is out on the parkway now, though when I came back from Rite Aid I saw two horses out there. It seems strange to see people riding horses in the city. When I first went to work in downtown Sacramento years ago, I was sitting at my desk and heard a sound I could have sworn was horses walking up the middle of the street. I looked out the window, and sure enough, there were hundreds of horses and riders calmly going up the middle of J Street! I think they were celebrating the anniversary of something to do with the Pony Express as the terminus was in Sacramento.

Ok, I'm outta here for today.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another shopping trip

I just got back from a quick trip to Walmart (just in time to watch the parade). After agonizing over which heater to buy I finally selected a Lasko Oscillating Ceramic heater. I had intended to maybe get an oil-filled heater but found it was just too heavy for me. I know they work well but just didn't want to bring the weight on board I will try this one and if I don't think it will work for me I will return it.

It seemed that everyone in the store was happy and in a good mood, and talking about the inauguration. I'm proud to be an American, and no matter who wins the election I think the inauguration ceremony speaks volumes about our country and our people.

I finally spoke to a person at one of the RV parks I'm interested in moving to, and they told me as it stands now they will have about 4 spaces available, all back ins. I want to go look again, with my son, and see which one he would prefer backing in to! Some day I'll have to do it for myself, but why not give my boy a chance to feel good about his many talents.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Shopping trip

I have been wanting to buy a weather radio for some time, not an expensive one, but one that will sound an alarm when extreme weather conditions are coming. I also have been looking for a small ceramic heater for my RV. I went to the nearby Costco but didn't find either one of them, so I just bought a box of frozen chicken taquitos!

I went into REI which is across the street from Costco and couldn't find anything there either. Their weather radios - in fact everything in their store - are outrageously priced. Don't they know we are in an economic slump? No wonder the stores aren't crowded on a national holiday and the parking lots are nearly empty.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Enjoying family

Yesterday started out with a series of irritating events, but the day improved exponentially! I have 3 kids and one sister who live in the Sacramento area, and they have made it a practice during the past year to gather at one or the other's homes for dinner once a month. The family who is doing the dinner keeps the menu secret until the folks arrive, and from what I understand they usually do something fairly elaborate - and delicious! My sister Amy and her husband, John, had the dinner last night. John is a very good cook and prepared Chicken Dijon (the sauce was made from scratch) served over linguini, a salad, roasted potatos, asparagus, and an excellent angel food cake (also made from scratch) served with strawberries & blueberries over it and topped with whipped cream (you guessed it, made from scratch). I didn't think I'd be able to eat as much as I did because of the variety of appetizers before the meal.

Earlier in the afternoon I drove the dogs & me to Jeannie & Donald's house, where we spent the night. That way I didn't have to drive in the dark, and this morning Jeannie and I were able to spend time talking and catching up on various things. She was missing Ara who left yesterday to return to college in PA. Ara had called her and said she got off the plane to the shock of bitter cold! Any parent out there who has had grown children stop by with their dirty laundry will appreciate this - I TURNED THE TABLES! I took my laundry to Jeannie's house (and I didn't even ask first). Once in a while it's fun to reverse the roles of parent/child.

Jeannie also gave me their phone Yellow Pages book, which is something I miss having. Now I can look up places that might fix my laptop, or at least figure out if it is worth saving. I much prefer the local pages rather than looking businesses up online - for one thing the ads usually give more info such as address. This is helpful when a small business doesn't have its own web site. The biggest problem will be to find a place to store it.

I think it's going to be a warm day, but the inside of the RV is chilly. I hate to waste propane on running the furnace, so I put on a fleece pullover - does the job but my hands are still cold.

I got another email from someone at Lassen this morning. It sounds like cell phone reception in the park is very sporadic, so I probably won't have much luck with the air card either. I will just have to wait for occasional visits to town to use the computer, and as my oldest son reminded me, "You didn't have a cell phone or a computer on the Appalachian Trail for over 3 months, and you did just fine."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The subject is dogs....again

This morning on my way to the doggie walk I passed a man holding two of his own on leashes, and who was talking to another man. One of his dogs began acting very aggressive, which just brought on trouble as my larger dog responds to this by barking and pulling on her leash. The man's dog must have slipped her collar, but at first I thought he let it loose and did I ever go ballistic! He had a very hard time getting it restrained again. He was still there when I came back but this time he was making his dogs sit in their good dog poses, as if the one isn't a *#$@/^$ little troublemaker! At one time I thought pets would be fine in the RV lifestyle but now I'm not so sure. Possibly if you have one of those little yappy ones who bark at everything and everyone and scare the heck out of the big dogs - they would be easy to just pick up and carry out of the way. My pets had their own perfect lifestyle on the side of that mountain in NC with the entire woods to roam, and I wonder what they think of their current situation. I know they've settled in to the 5th wheel like its their own, but the walks outside are certainly stressful for me.

The wheels started rumbling over the gravel before dawn again. This must be the opening day of the sportsmen's show; I looked out my window in the pre-dawn hours and saw a big flatbed with ATV's on it. It's more activity than I prefer.

I need something pleasant to happen today to make up for all the negativity so far!

The cost of surgery

I saw the eye surgeon this afternoon, really late this afternoon. My appointment was at 3:40, and I could have kicked myself for taking an appt that late. I was put in a small room and waited until 5pm, then went over and opened the door to the exam room just as the doctor was walking up. I told him I was getting claustrophobic as well as stressed out about having to drive home in the dark. He kicked up the pace a couple of notches.

He told me that there is a new implant on the market that is excellent and that corrects distance as well as close up vision. This lens costs $2300 and insurance doesn't cover it. He gave me a pamphlet to read all about it before I decide, but according to the pamphlet Medicare covers some of the cost. I have very good Blue Cross coverage to pick up after Medicare, so I don't understand why I would have to pay the whole $2300, which I can't do, so I will have to call BCBS on Monday to get the real info. I'm torn, because I need to have some things checked out and serviced in the 5ver that will cost $. Surgery is set for Feb. 10th, and I'm thinking I really need to have the 5ver work done by the middle or end of May in order to drive it up to Lassen. Until then I can probably "make do" because I don't use the generator anyway, and heat the water with propane rather than electric as it is. There are some other repairs, but nothing that couldn't wait for a couple of months. With really frugal living, maybe I can spare money from Feb & March for part of the cost of the lens, and then devote Apr & May towards the service on the 5ver. I would really love to be able to read without glasses. I was thrilled with contacts for the years I could wear them and would love to just toss the glasses into the trash.

After I washed dishes this evening I noticed that all the water didn't drain out of the sink. In my pj's and bathrobe, carrying a flashlight, I went outside and released some of the water from the galley tank. I'm surprised that it filled up as quickly as it did. Now that I have hot water I use and wash more dishes, and probably use more water than when it's icy cold. Tomorrow I will have to go drain all the tanks. I'm using the city water connection which is great in that I don't have to listen to that water pump every time I turn on the tap, but I'm wondering if the water in the fresh tank will stay decent until I need it. I suppose I can always wait until I'm ready to move, disconnect city water, and then drain the fresh into the sink.

The racetrack is lit up again tonight and once in a while I hear the loudspeaker - nothing noisy though. One thing I do hear from before daylight and way into the night is the sound of vehicles driving over the gravel in this parking lot. Sometimes it's the trucks & cars while other times I can tell that it's an RV as well. I suppose that over in the other lot which is cement you couldn't hear the comings & goings as acutely. I like the gravel lot because it is definitely roomier for pull thru, and it is much more level. Since I'm on the end I just pull my truck cross-wise in front of the 5ver, and there is plenty of room to swing around when driving the truck out. I hear experienced fulltimers talk about "hitch itch" and I think I'm beginning to understand how it can develop and grow on a person. While I'm happy with this park and couldn't find a better location, my mind is already preparing to pull up stakes and move on to the next place - hopefully one with friendly RVers who clean up after their pets.

Friday, January 16, 2009

End of another week

TGIF, I would have said a few years back. Now it doesn't make a bit of difference to me, and I love Mondays just as well. It was a bit warmer when I took the dogs out this morning - not exactly warm, but not as cold as some mornings have been. (Again, this morning I said a lot of bad words about dog owners who don't clean up after their pets in a crowded RV park.) I'm back inside, drinking some wonderful coffee and listening to flocks of geese go by. They can sure make a lot of noise.

I'm a little bummed out that I don't see the eye surgeon until 3:40 this afternoon. That will turn me out into Friday afternoon commuter traffic with dilated pupils! The time before when my eyes were dilated I drove home via Folsom Blvd rather than the freeway, and I feel much safer there. I don't have to stop at all the lights, but at least everyone is driving at a slower pace and I can leave some space after the vehicle in front of me without some fool zooming through to cross 3 lanes of traffic. I may continue this post after I find out what the situation is with my eyes, but for now that's it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Maintenance & expense records

I have been looking for quite some time for a log book or sample pages I can print from the web, for keeping mileage, fuel & CG costs, as well as maintenance records. It seems that everyone has gone to keeping their records on a computer spreadsheet. This is not the best way for me, for while I will write something down when it happens, I don't always have the discipline to fire up the computer, call up my spreadsheet, and then transfer numbers and info to a program, save it, etc. When I think about it, I would be allowing the computer to create more work for me, or at least to turn an easy chore into a lot of extra steps.

I love computers and have been using them since the early 80's. I also was the recognized spreadsheet wizard in my job as a budget analyst with the Corps of Engineers in my former life. But there is a difference in using computers & programs perform complex computations for you, and in typing in a bunch of info that you have to write down in the first place (mileage, for example). So I thank each and every person who has responded to my dilemma, in the RV-Dreams chat room, on the forum, and to this blog. I am taking Speedy's suggestion and have created several different spreadsheets for mileage/fuel/campground, maintenance, and misc purchases & expenses, and printed them out. I can now fill in the blanks in pencil, and if I ever have a block of time that I can't seem to fill, I can always sit down and enter the info into the computer.

I also want to thank all the individuals who have commented to posts on this blog. Your interest makes me feel really good!

I have been researching small radios with a weather alert function, and am zeroing in on one that I really like the description of - will go to Target today and see it for myself. I think I will also look at a small ceramic heater that I can use in the evenings when I'm at the computer, rather than turning the heat on and using propane, at least where I have an electric hookup. To those of you who are considering/planning for the full time RVing lifestyle, I can advise you to add some extra $ in your first year's budget, because you will come upon a zillion things you didn't think about before but that you need for your comfort and safety.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Test of the Windows Live program

This is a test to see if I can write my blog offline and then post the entries when I have internet access.  I won’t be using it this way until I am at my summer job in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

New tires

I just had 4 new tires put on the truck, and am just under $1k poorer! I'm relieved to have them, plus the two in front have only about 32-3300 miles on them. Now I need to save for a set of 4 for the 5th wheel. I'm sure that sitting in one spot for over 2 years hasn't done them any good either. I don't think this ever ends - you get one thing in good shape and then there is always something else. I definitely want the generator checked out before I move to Lassen, as well as some other electrical connections.

The Sportsmen's show at Cal Expo must be coming up soon as the park is filling up quickly. Maybe it's the park and maybe it's the people, but I have noticed that the legendary friendliness of RVers is absent for the most part. Yesterday afternoon I was walking back with the dogs when a golf cart carrying 4 passengers met me - I waved to them but only the driver waved back. The others all just stared at me, without even a smile. This morning I was walking out and passed several people to whom I called "Good morning", and again was met with silent stares. I'm a friendly person and I'm sure it shows in my expression, and I can't figure out why it is that so many people just stare and refuse to wave or answer back. Not everyone is like this, but enough people that I wonder if it's going to be the norm. I certainly hope not.

I'm relieved to have propane again. I believe there is a leak somewhere, because when I open the door to the propane compartment I can smell the gas. Not really strong, but enough to be obvious. I'm hoping the regulators might improve the situation, otherwise I need to get that checked also. I certainly don't want to have to buy new tanks, but maybe the hoses can be replaced?

I downloaded and am trying to install Windows Live, a program that should allow me to compose blog entries offline and then submit them when I have access to the internet. I wrote a test blurb to see how it works, so it may or may not be visible to the reading public.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday afternoon (the 13th)

Steve came by this afternoon and we went to get the propane. I tried to take the cans out of the RV but couldn't even unscrew the hoses. I must be losing strength. I also bought gauges for each tank because I can't stand not knowing how much I have left or running out, as I've done several times since fulltiming. I tried to lift one of the full tanks and could barely get it off the ground. I mentioned earlier that a propane service was going to come to the park to fill my tanks....well I told him I was in space 247, when it is actually 427. Needless to say he couldn't locate me and went to the park office. He told me on the phone that the office had called me but got no answer, although there were no missed calls on my cell phone. I will be very glad to have heat again - don't need it overnight while I'm sleeping, but it was so cold when I got out of bed I never did warm up and had the electric throw wrapped around me for most of the day.

This weekend I need to start looking for a park to move into on Feb 1st. I hate to move mostly because I am so convenient to everything and everyone now, and also know my way around the area from here. Wherever I go next will be a new area to me but I'm sure I'll learn it quickly.

While Steve was here I mentioned dripping water that I've noticed from the outside front right corner of the RV. I thought it might be condensation from overnight, but when he checked several points he came to the conclusion that it definitely wasn't condensation. He traced it back to the shower area, and when we took the picture off the wall at the entry and accessed the shower plumbing, sure enough there was a loose connection and the leak was coming from it. He tightened it up and I will continue to check it for a few days to make sure it doesn't happen again. He also installed a PUR filter at the kitchen sink and tightened up the faucet handles that kept coming loose. The filter was an inexpensive one that you just flip when you want filtered water. That's really all I need - I'm concerned about the water I drink but not so much for showering or washing dishes.

I'll have to admit that sometimes when I read blogs and the guys mention that they've been tightening screws & bolts in the rig, I laugh and think the wife probably handed him a wrench & a screwdriver and told him to go do something useful and stay out of her way. I now realize what a wonderful thing it is to have someone who knows what to look for and where to tighten. It's amazing how many things come loose in transit. The interstates are so bumpy I hate to think of the 6 miles of gravel road I will have to drive to get to my work campsite in June. Who knows, it may be smoother than the interstate! But anyway, hats off to the guys who work so hard to keep their rigs in fine condition.

Finally, I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get new rear tires for my truck. The left outside rear keeps losing air, and while three different people checked them out and told me they were ok, I know something is wrong when you have to keep adding air, especially now that I'm in a park and not towing. Steve thinks there is dry rot from sitting in storage for so long, and I'm really worried that the 5th wheel tires will be the same way. The shame of it is that there is great tread on them and I'm sure they have very few miles on them. I will go directly to an RV service when I leave Cal Expo, so I can add that to the list of things I will probably be overcharged for. Now to figure out which one might overcharge me the least.

It was cold last night

I did it again and ran out of propane, and the RV is very cold this morning having had no heat last night. It didn't seem as cold when I went out to walk the dogs, so the sun will warm things up quickly everywhere except indoors. I have the blinds up where the sun shines in. Yesterday I called the man who delivers propane to the CG, but he had already been here earlier so I made arrangements for this morning. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to unhook and pull the tanks or not. I suppose I'd better do that soon.

Looking out over my section of the park I see many rigs where none had been before, so I think some may be here for an upcoming event at Cal Expo. There are some beautiful RVs here, but I am surprised that people aren't more friendly. A few will respond, but in almost every case I'm the one who says "good morning" first, and most don't even make eye contact. I'm also surprised that more people don't clean up after their dogs. If I'm constantly stepping into something, then I'm sure others are as well, and that alone should make a person want to keep from adding to the problem. Not so, apparently.

I am about to fix my breakfast, and I wanted to make french toast this morning. Just remembered that I can't use the stove until I get propane. Darn, it's Cheerios again. I'll be back later today.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Starting the day off right!

First thing in my email inbox this morning was the notification for my AT&T air card bill. It was for an amount approx $50 more than what I thought it should have been, so I finally got customer service on the line and was told it was an activation fee. I told her that the activation fee was waived when I purchased the card, so she went into the account and removed the charge. She also set me up for automatic monthly payments. I think this is a good way to start the day and the week, and I'm glad I don't have to worry about making sure my bill is paid each month, especially when I'm off to the wilderness in Northern California!

I spent some time last night looking at coverage maps for cell phone service in the area of Lassen Park and then comparing the maps with those of the park itself. It looks as though some areas have coverage while others may not, and it is pretty likely that I won't have it. That means I really need to get my laptop fixed so that I can carry it to a spot where I can connect. With the desktop I will be limited to the RV.

I got another query about workamping - this one from Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, for a volunteer visitor center host position. I think I would really like that and I'm sure I would be interested in Dinosaur National Monument. I will keep this one in mind for next year. I responded to this query and told them I would be very interested for next year, and got a reply already that they will put me on the mailing list for 2010. It's nice to know the jobs are out there and I won't have difficulty finding one. Having several months a year free of campground fees helps stretch the budget and that's important for a retiree.

There has been a lot of traffic into the RV Park today and I now have someone right next door to me on the curb side. I am on the end of a lane so the other side will remain free. I notice a lot more dogs being walked throughout the day so mine will be distracted from what it is that I take them out for.

I think I just ran out of propane, and I could swear I had at least half a tank left. I think I will buy a couple of extra tanks before I go to my job in Lassen. It's probably a lot more difficult to get the tanks refilled there than it is in Sacramento. This is one other job that I have never done for myself - that is, to pull the tanks out, get them refilled, and then back in and hooked up. I'm sure I can do it, and remember when I didn't think I could ever figure out how to dump the waste tanks, but after doing it on my own I realized it isn't difficult at all. With the propane, the hardest part for me will probably be lifting the full tanks up into the compartment and attaching the valves. I think I will buy a gauge for the tanks - they are pricey but it would help to know where I stand with propane usage. I obviously don't do a very good job otherwise.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Win some, lose some!

Thanks to comment from fellow RVer FD5, I think I will now have hot water when I need it. I really appreciate your help, FD.

My experience is that usually when something good happens, something will occur on the other end of the spectrum in order to keep you in balance. After I tweaked the valves on the hot water heater I returned to my laptop, which is set up on the dining table. Unfortunately I had also set a beverage on the table, although not close to the computer. I inadvertently knocked over the beverage and got a towel to mop up the floor, not seeing the liquid on the laptop keys. I haven't tried this morning, but as a veteran killer of keyboards due to spilled beverages, I don't think there is going to be any way to save the laptop. In the meantime I set up my desktop and it is running pretty well. I think I will be able to travel with it by placing the styrofoam packaging on the ends and putting away the monitor. I just love this monitor - it's lightweight, flat screen, and huge compared to the laptop. It is hard to find room to comfortably place the keyboard and mouse, though, but I think I can live with it. Just when I had come to terms with the laptop and didn't dislike it as I did at first....... The worst of it is that I have files and pictures on the laptop that, of course, I didn't back up properly.

What I need is a desk. I would love to get rid of this great big entertainment center and replace it with a small computer desk. I'll try to post a picture of it and perhaps someone has a comment on how I could do this, or maybe comment on the effects on the structure of the slide out if I should remove this thing. I got the picture added all right, but not exactly in the part of the blog where I wanted it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Missing my washer & dryer

If there has ever been a time when I would like to be back in my stix & brix, it would have been this morning. I miss my washer & dryer, and getting one for the RV wouldn't be the same. I went out to a laundromat, but forgot my purse. I didn't have to drive far but just didn't feel like coming back home for it. I had two singles in the console, along with a whole bunch of change that I throw into a little box. In all, the washers used 38 quarters, and I think I had 12 quarters left for the dryers. Of course half of my laundry didn't get dry and I didn't have any money left so I just had to bring it home. It's too warm to turn up the heat and too cool for things to dry, so I have sweaters & jeans spread out over the bed and towels hung everywhere. It was a nice enough place, as laundromats go, but kind of expensive. The giant load washer took 22 quarters, and I'm sure I would have been better off to go to a couple of smaller ones. I went out because the woman at the CG office recommended it over the laundry room here at the park. She said it takes forever to dry the clothes, but at least I could have kept coming back for more $.

Iam going to try the shower once more but have little hope. I turned on the kitchen tap and the water comes out hot, then cool, then cold, and so on. Frustrating! So I am going to go over to my daughter's house, finish drying the wettest of the laundry, and take a shower!

Friday, January 9, 2009

I have a job!

I talked to the manager at Lassen this morning, and we are planning for me to start in early June. I will be host at Butte Lake campground, a remote CG back about 6 miles off a gravel road! The only downside, if it can be called that, is that while water & sewer are furnished there is no electric hookup. He said there is a generator available for my use though. I have an Onan genny in my rig and I suppose I need to try it out and to learn all about it. I'm sorry to say I really don't know much about them except they run on propane and charge batteries. I will become enlightened by the time I need to be. I will work from June through about mid-September, which won't leave me a whole lot of time to get across the northern plains before cold and snow set it, but I will be ok.

I am just so excited about it. When given the opportunity to choose from among campgrounds there, I decided as an old backpacker to take the most remote. There is a ranger station right next to the CG, which makes me feel good. I will mainly deal with reservations and talking to campers - no latrine duty!

I was told today that my right eye will require cataract surgery. When they covered the left and asked me to read a chart I couldn't believe how bad my vision had become in the right eye. I will see the surgeon on the 16th of Jan and will probably be making arrangements for cataract removal. The doctor told me I could drive shortly thereafter, although not the date of surgery, but I can't do any lifting for a couple of weeks. I guess that will rule out hitching the 5th wheel, so I'm hoping Cal Expo will let me stay here until I'm ok to do everything on my own. I wonder about walking the dogs though - the big one usually doesn't pull the leash - it's when I have to pull her that there could be a problem. It will work out.

I'm riding on a cloud about the job, and plan to make a list of questions I need to ask, such as where is the nearest grocery resupply, laundry facilities, propane, etc. What an adventure!

For those of you who might wonder what this old gal looks like, I've added a picture. It's not the best picture of me,but the one showing the least grey hair!

If it isn't one thing, it's another

To use an old expression of my mother, I am madder than a wet hen! I have to leave for an appointment with the opthamologist at 10 am, so I turned on the water heater at 7:00 planning to take a shower when I returned from the dog walk at 8:00. The water was hot, then cold, and warm, and then cold again. So I decided I couldn't wait around and took my things up to the CG shower. There is a problem with the key to the shower doors which I've run into previously, so I selected a different door this time. Sure enough, I couldn't get the key out of the lock. I played around with it for a few minutes and then went into the office to ask the man at the desk for assistance. He came out to try to remove the key, and somehow the door got shut and was locked from the inside. The key came out but there was no way to get back in, where my backpack & toiletries were.

He called maintenance who said they would send someone over, but after waiting 20 minutes I decided to come back to my rig and heat water on the stove. I carried half a pan of boiling water into the shower, filled it up with cold, and surprisingly I got a fairly decent hot wash! No hair wash however. On my way to the eye doctor I will stop by the office to see if my belongings have been retrieved from the shower.

To make me even more irritated, while I was waiting in the office for maintenance to arrive, a woman who is obviously a manager stopped by and the man at the desk explained to her what had happened. She kept repeating that the door was locked because "someone" had pushed the inside lock. I finally spoke up and told her I didn't lock it intentionally, but when I couldn't get the key out of the lock once before, one of the staff had showed me how to hold down the inside lock while jiggling the key on the outside, and it worked for her. I didn't appreciate the manager's repeated reference to me as "someone". She should have looked me in the eye and said"you".

What a way to start the day! I hope things improve in a hurry, but I'm not sure. While I was at the campground office my son called to tell me his wife had twisted her ankle or did something to her leg and needed to be taken to the emergency room. That means he probably can't pick me up in the event my eyes are dilated. I'll just wait around until I can see well enough to drive. There is an IHOP nearby, so I can walk over there for breakfast!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Blessed hot water!

Well I have hot water again, and it was just a valve that needed to be turned. Steve came by and within 1 minute had that fixed. He also re-attached one of the blades in my ceiling ban. In transit one of the blades lost a screw that holds it on, so he took the other one to a hardware store to match it, and then re-tightened all the blades. With the conditions of some of the highways it's no wonder everything shakes loose sooner or later. The hot water is wonderful to have back though. I think I have valued it ever since my time backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. It was always such a pleasure to stop a a hostel for a hot shower once in a while. In addition he replaced a fuse that prevented my kitchen fan from operating. He showed me how it works, but it does so many things I doubt I can use it without getting out the instructions. I have figured out the fans over the shower and the toilet room. I look forward to the day that someone in a campground asks me a question I can answer, so I can start to pay back for all the help I've received.

This morning I'm going to take my truck to Joe's mechanic for an oil change and to check out the back tires. If I need to replace any I should do it now while I have the money from the sale of my Jeep. We also noticed an oil leak when it was parked at Steve's house, and I'm hoping it isn't anything too bad.

I got up this morning to find Mandy sleeping peacefully in the recliner. I wouldn't have picked a golden beige color fabric for anything in MY house, but I have what it came with and I could kill that dog for jumping up on it. When I remember I spread newspapers along the couch cushions to keep them off, but I didn't think about the chair.

Oh well, time for their walk, then my breakfast, and I'll be on my way to Joe's house and then to the mechanic. I'm also watching my granddaughter Autumn this afternoon so that Donald can accompany Jeannie for an ultrasound this afternoon. I don't know if this is when they find out if it will be a boy or girl. Personally, I always liked the surprise. Before Joshua was born Mike and Sandy refused to find out, saying they wanted to be surprised. You can't imagine how much flak they took from family and friends who thought it was their right to know in advance. They didn't bother with surprises with the second, so they kept everyone happy. People forget who the principals are in the birth of a baby - The Parents!

This has strayed from the topic of RVing, hasn't it? I'll get back on track next time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Slowly changing....

I don't know why, or where and when it all started, but I'm noticing that I am slowly changing, especially where it concerns things I never used to do. I have never been one to eat at restaurants. I like simple home cooking, so when my granddaughter called me yesterday afternoon asking me to join them for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Folsom, my first inclination was to say "No". She told me it was the OSF's 40th anniversary and they had a special menu with dirt cheap prices; that her mom and dad would be there with Autumn, that Sarah and Joe were coming with Alyssa, and that she was bringing 3 of her friends. She said she would pick me up and bring me home because she knows I don't drive in the dark. It didn't take me long to agree, so I hurried down to the park showers, got dressed and dried my hair, and even put on lipstick!

The restaurant was swamped! Jeannie & Donald had gotten there over an hour earlier and had placed their name on the list, so the time went by and we were soon seated. I asked the waiter to bring me the bill when it was time to settle - their dad always did that and I figured it's now my turn. There were about 8 dinners on the menu, all pasta, but the prices were all under $4! Yes, that's $4.00. Two of us got a glass of wine, and my son had a glass of beer, and the total for all came to under $55! We had a wonderful time and even stood outside the restaurant gabbing for some time after, and then Ara and a friend drove me back home.

I think I used to be a bit specific about my likes and dislikes, to the point of being cranky once in a while. Now I get the initial thought in my head and tell myself how my life is changing and that I have to change as well. It's so much fun and I'm glad it's happening to me. I certainly want to be the best person I can be by the time I'm ready to leave this world. Not TOO soon, though.

I'm not sure what the weather will be today, but it isn't sunny as it was yesterday morning. I was motivated yesterday to clean the windows of the 5ver inside and out since the sun shining on one side showed me how dirty they were. I also need to take out the screens and give them a quick spray, which I suppose I could do with the outside shower. The park doesn't allow washing of trucks, cars, or RV's, but I didn't read anything about screens. Then I need to figure out how to get to the bedroom windows, which were too high for my 3-step ladder.

Steve is coming over this evening to take a look at my water heater, and I will be thrilled if he just flips a switch and it works. Since I was out gallivanting last night I didn't boil water to do the day's dishes, and I hope today will be the last time I have to do it. I'm reminded, though, of one of my aunts when I was a kid - they had no running water or electricity in their farmhouse - so washing dishes or washing clothes required boiling water. We forget how fortunate we are in that respect.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'm back on the internet!

If I had only realized how easy it would be..... Just thinking about being at this park for 30 days and having to be at the office between 8 and 5 to access internet, gave me the push I needed to look for an alternative. It was my understanding that buying an aircard also required the purchase of a router and antenna at least. Arlene (Leno) from the chat room told me she bought only the aircard and it works without any other devices or equipment. So yesterday my son-in-law, Donald, drove me to Fry's electronics in Roseville. I had thought I would buy a Verizon, but found that Fry's carries only AT&T and Sprint. After talking to the salesman for a bit, I decided on the AT&T. The Sprint provides faster speeds for online gaming, but I don't do that anyway, and the monthly fee for the AT&T is cheaper.

It took about 15 to 20 minutes for the installation and connection, and I now have internet. I'm happy with the speed which is less than when I had broadband in NC, but just as fast as any wi fi connections I've had since. When I turned on the computer this morning and was connected I wanted to cheer.

The salesman was a young kid about my granddaughter's age. It wasn't easy to explain to him why I had an "828" area code on one cellphone, a "916" code on another cellphone, a 28778 zip code on my driver's license, and a 57042 zip for my billing address. Add that to the fact that I live full time in an RV and won't be in any one location permanently for a long time. He surely noted my birth date on my license and made a few comments on the distance I've driven in an RV, probably wondering how such an aged woman could manage it, and alone at that. I'm finding it to be a reaction that is more common than I would have imagined, and I still think to myself, "do I really do that?"

I've had my 1st cup of coffee and it's time to brave the cold to walk the doggies. Then I need to drain my tanks after somehow attaching the collar I just bought to the end of the sewer hose. I could just wait for one of my sons to help me, but I would like to know I can do it myself.

I discovered the sewer drain was too far for the hose to reach, so I ended up going out to buy an additional hose plus all the connectors. I got it working after I finally figured out how those clamps work - a lot easier than it looks - and now I have empty waste and full fresh water tanks. I'm as proud of myself as a kid who rides a 2-wheeler for the first time!

This afternoon I received an email about volunteer jobs at Lassen Volanic National Parks. The jobs run from early June or early July and end in early September. Perfect! Now I hope I hear from Stanislaus River Parks regarding something for March and April, and I will be all set!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rainy Monday

I woke up in the early hours to hear the rain splattering on the rig. It's more like a fine mist now, and I don't mind it. Sacramento gets most of its rain for the year during the first few months, and hopefully the storms will be dropping lots of snow in the Sierras.

I am a bit disheartened that I spent several hours yesterday cleaning and putting things away, but the rig still looks cluttered. I wonder if it's possible to find a place for everything. I worked on connecting the new printer; for some reason it was telling me that I was out of ink when I had just installed new cartridges. I think it is ok now. Of all the printers I've had I liked the Lexmark best and would have bought another one, but every "all-in-one" model had a phone with a cord and a keypad for the fax. I won't ever use that and figured it was just unnecessary weight.

To make matters worse inside the rig, Lady (my big dog) threw up on the carpet. I have a good spot cleaner but haven't completely gotten rid of the stain. I'd give her away if anyone would have her! The dog is smart enough to know what I'm thinking, but too dumb to be able to walk on a leash without getting it wrapped around her legs, or mine. She is huge but sprawls out in front of the bathroom door or the area between the kitchen & living area, completely blocking it. Oh what peace I would have if I didn't have dogs! This is Mandy's final day for the antibiotic ointment in her eyes. She will be happy to be through with it. I gave up on the collar a few days ago and she seems to be doing well. If I see her pawing her eyes and tell her to stop, she stops and then goes to the back of the bedroom, where I'm sure she goes back to pawing and scratching.

The rigs come and go constantly at this RV park, and I have never seen so many big Class A's outside a dealer's lot! Some of them are really beautiful - actually, all of them are. The 5th wheels hold their own, with a few TT's sprinkled over the lots. I watched a guy back a huge Class A into a spot yesterday that I would have definitely though he would pull through from the rear. I wanted to applaud because he parked it so perfectly. Will I ever be able to maneuver my 5ver half that good?

I will now see if the park has hot water yet. If not, I'm going to my daughter's house to take a shower, and then snag her husband to go with me shopping for an aircard. He loves nothing better than to shop for computer stuff and he's really knowledgeable. I'm thinking again about getting rid of Vista from my laptop and installing Windows XP. Back in NC I was told I couldn't do that, but a few computer people have since told me I could. I will have someone do it for me, for sure. If I get an aircard I MAY be in the chat room this evening if I remember. In NC I signed on about 8pm. That is 5pm here and I'm completely surprised when it's 8pm and I realize it's 11:00 on the east coast.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A chilly Sunday morning

It is very difficult to type because my hands are so cold, and there is no heat here in the office bldg. The gas lines are still being worked on, but for the last 24 hrs there has been no heat or hot water. At least I have heat in my 5ver.

The birthday party was a lot of fun, with family and friends crowding the house. When I was here back in September for Steve's wedding, my granddaughter Alyssa wouldn't let anyone hold her but her mom and dad, and now she has blossomed into a very friendly little girl.

I haven't decided what I will do today - probably should stay home and do a bit of housecleaning. I still have so many things sitting out that need a permanent place in the RV. I will no doubt use every inch of space and wonder what couples do, with two people's belongings to organize and put away.

It is so frustrating not having an internet connection in my rig. Last night I read nearly an entire Nora Roberts book, and I have a couple more serious books waiting to be read. The biggest problem is that my eyes are so bad it is dificult to read in the evening - lights in an RV just aren't as bright as in a stix n brix, although I could be wrong about that. I used only CFL's in my house in NC and they aren't as bright as incandescent, but I prefer natural sunlight best.

I discovered I was wrong about the RV park being adjacent to the Sac River Pkwy. It's the American River Parkway, so I could theoretically hike quite a few miles and eventually arrive in Rancho Cordova, where I lived for years.

I set out to the nearest Walmart but wasn't sure where it is so I turned around and came back. My kids laugh, but I will drive 15-20 miles to Rancho Cordova to shop at Walmart, Costco, the Dollar Store, Home Depot, etc. I think I'm going to take my truck to my son's auto mechanic in RC to have an oil change and to check on what looks like an oil leak, tires, etc. He's the kind of mechanic who will tell you when you DON'T need something done, as well as when you DO.

Having to come to the office to get online is showing me the error of my ways in thinking I could make do with CG Wi fi, and I plan to get an aircard tomorrow! If I eventually find I need additional equipment then I'll deal with it when the time comes. I carried my laptop here an hour or so ago only to realize I didn't have my glasses with me, and I also forgot the electric cord. I could barely make out the screen! I always use the cord at home rather than battery, so I don't know why it was so dark, but I can see fine now.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Settled in

I moved to Cal Expo RV Park yesterday and I'm finally feeling settled in. The big drawback, however, is that I have to come to the office to use the internet. Now that I'm connected to their network I will see if I can access it from home, although I doubt I'll be able to.

The dogs seem to be happy to be back home, and there is a nice parkway to walk them on - the Sac River Pkwy is a paved walkway with bike trail. When I lived in Rancho Cordova back in the 80's we were a block from the American River Parkway, and I believe the two connect somewhere (no doubt at the confluence of the two rivers). At that time there were a bout 26 continuous miles of parkway, and it could have been lengthened since then.

I wanted to wash dishes this morning and discovered my water heater isn't igniting on propane. I already knew there is a problem with the electric ignition and planned to have that fixed soon. I hope the problem with the propane system is merely a trip switch or something easy to correct. I looked under the sink and don't dare touch anything, so I'll ask Steve to take a look sometime soon. In the meantime, I boiled some water on the stove and added Ivory liquid and cold water to it. Worked for me! Taking a shower will be a different story and I may use the CG shower until my water heater is up and running.

There are a lot of big rigs here, beautiful 5th wheels and some gorgeous Class A's. I can hear them arriving and leaving at all hours, but it doesn't really bother me. The place is mostly level gravel, with grassy areas here and there. The signs say No Dogs on the Grass, and of course that's where mine want to go. There is a dog enclosure but it's just gravel and I would rather take them out on the grass & leaves adjoining the parkway.

Mike called me from NY last night, and put my little grandson on the phone to tell me the jeep is sold. The buyers picked it up yesterday and this morning I called to cancel the insurance on it. That will be a few more dollars each month that I can spend on little things for the RV. Steve & I went to a hardware store yesterday and I got some items I need, but I have the feeling that will be a regular occurrence. There will ALWAYS be something I need.

As much as I hate to spend the money on an air card and all the paraphernalia required to use it, I don't want to be limited to accessing the internet here in the office. I am planning to ask Donald (my son-in-law) to go to Frye's with me, a giant electronics store in this area, and see if they have the items I need: an air card, a cradlepoint router, and an antenna. I think that's it and hope someone will correct me real soon if I'm wrong! I'm also counting on Donald to help me select and install a hands-free device for my truck. Many states now have laws against holding a cell phone while driving, and I don't need to get into any trouble. Besides, it takes all my concentration to drive on these crazy freeways!

I have to leave in a couple of hours for Alyssa's 1st birthday party, so I'll have to save reading blogs and email for another time. The office closes at 5 pm and that leaves a lot of hours in the evening! At least I can keep my blog somewhat current.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New beginnings

I went to my daughter's house yesterday and spent the night. I ended up going to bed at 11:30, and didn't even hear my 2 yr old granddaughter banging pots & pans at midnight. Today my daughter and I went shopping and I bought a printer that is exactly what I've been looking for--print, scan and copy, no fax. I love the b&w laser jet I have except that it weighs 15# and doesn't scan or copy. The pkg doesn't give the weight of the new printer but I'm sure it's lighter than the laser. I also bought myself a new purse and a birthday gift for Alyssa who is 1 yr old today, a book for Autumn and a jigsaw puzzle for Joshua, depicting the 50 states. He can see where his crazy grandma is traveling.

My son called me from NY this morning and told me he sold my jeep. The buyers will bring the cash on Monday and I can cancel the insurance on it. I'm so glad to have that out of the way, and I can sure use the money for the tires I need to replace on my truck. The seller of my rig put new tires on the front, and if I put new ones on the back I will ask to have valve extensions for the duallies, making it easier to install the pressure pro system.

Tomorrow is the day I move to Cal Expo. I'm excited about it but I have some things to pack and stow before moving the rig.

Mandy seems to be improving, and I have taken the collar off for a little while on several occasions. I woke up way before dawn this morning when I heard her banging into things with that big collar, so I went downstairs and took the dogs outside to the back yard. I have always worried that she might fall into the pool since she can't see, and sure enough, she was a little ahead of me and right at the edge where the pool curves. I made a dive for her and caught her in time, one of her legs actually went into the water, but I hit the ground and scraped my knee and bruised my hip. I'd rather have the scrapes than have to jump into the cold water for her. Wouldn't that have been a sight! I'm sure it was a funny enough site as it is.

This is going to be a wonderful year - I can just feel it!