Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Monday, March 30, 2009

How do I get so confused?

For the past week or so I have been thinking I have to leave here on a Wednesday. I also know I have to leave on the 2nd of April, which only last night I discovered falls on a Thursday. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me to quit thinking about when I will leave, and just enjoy the time I am here?

And now for a little about horses. I have given up on attending the harness races here because, for one thing, they are held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoon and evenings, and I've run out of those. A few people have asked me about sulky racing, so here is a bit of information.

A sulky is a two wheeled cart that the driver rides in when he races a harness horse. Standardbred horses's have two gaits: trot which means that the left front foot and the right rear foot are on the ground at the same time - obviously the opposite feet take a turn. A second gait is pace: the horse's two right feet are on the ground at the same time and the two left feet are on the ground at the same time.

If you were riding a horse, the trot gait is bumpy but the pace gait is like sitting in a rocking chair. The pace gait was developed by the army of Alexander the Great so that his cavalry could attack holding their lance without moving up and down (so the story goes).

All I know is that they sure look beautiful when they run, but then all horses are beautiful. There is something about the horse pulling a sulky - something in his posture and the way he holds his head up high - that makes him look regal.

I may have mentioned that I bought another corned beef (after St. Patrick's Day) because I wasn't yet tired of it. I put it in the slow cooker before I went to bed last night. I had to get up in the middle of the night, and the aroma of the beef cooking filled the rig. I had a hard time going back to sleep - the aroma was making me hungry, and the wind was buffeting my poor 5ver something awful. There also was a window shade or something rattling, and I got up several times to try to identify the culprit. I never did find the source of the irritating noise, but finally went back to sleep.

Here are a couple pictures of my grandsons, Joshua and Justin, who live in New York.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lights Out, Sacramento

I took part in the global lights out event between 8:30 and 9:30 pm last night. I turned off the computer, unplugged the microwave, and turned out all the lights and decided to just lie on the bed for an hour. Needless to say I went to sleep, and when I woke up quite a bit later I just crawled under the covers and slept the rest of the night.

I spent some time at Jeannie's this afternoon, and we discussed saving some very old home movie film, the first of which goes back to when I was 5 years old! I also have some other family movie film and I'm sure my grandparents will be on it - there is really no way to tell unless I have it converted to DVD. You can't find a movie projector these days, and I wouldn't buy a used one anyway. I'm sure they haven't even made them for well over 20 or 25 years.

The wind has been blowing something fierce today. I had hoped to wash my truck at Jeanne's but it was too chilly and too windy. It's about dog walking time and I dread the thought of going back out. I can remember when I used to get a lot of energy when the wind was blowing, but no more. In fact, I can't remember the last time I had any energy. Actually, I do remember, and it was in 2004 before I had to have a stent implanted in a blocked artery -- never felt the same since.

I have a lot to do the next two days and I should get started, otherwise I will just throw things into cabinets where I can find room, hoping to straighten eveything out when I arrive in Orland. Something tells me if I do that nothing will ever get straightened out. On the other hand, it was so nice to go to bed early last night I might just try another night of that.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's quiet today

Not much going on. I went out and bought dog food - should last a month - and also bought a storage container for the waste hoses. I keep buying containers and then when I get them back here I realize they are too small. So now I think I have one that's large enough. The storage bay is a real jumble of stuff, and I hope Steve will be able to find time to organize it. I could do it myself, but my kids all take after their dad in their ability to organize and pack things efficiently, so I have relied on them to the point that I'm not sure if I have forgotten everything I know. I've been working on storage inside the rig, but still haven't figure out what I will do with my desktop. I'm hoping I can wrap it and lay it on its side, and disconnect a minimum of cords. The new printer will go back in the original box, and the monitor will be surrounded with pillows on the bed. I worry more about protecting the destop and peripherals than anything else.

I bought myself a sundress today. When and where will I have occasion to wear a skirt, you ask? Probably never, but it is cute, fits and flatters me, was cheap, and I just decided to get it. I will be back in Sacramento before fall, and when it gets really hot here - 100F or more, a person has to wear less clothing but still look decent. Oh well, I've convinced myself and that's what matters. My thermometer reads that it is currently 84F, and for the first time this season I'm wearing shorts. The bad thing about shorts weather is that now I will have to shave my legs! I always wondered why a guy with a pretty face would want to hide it behind a grizzly beard, but I guess that is why - shaving is a pain!

I've been working a little at a time trying to clean the exterior, but I just can't get enough elbow grease to do it well. I think I really love RVing but I certainly dislike all the maintenance that should be done.

I think I will pop open a can of beer and go sit outside in the shade of my rig now. This weather is too gorgeous to stay indoors.

Friday evening short post

It is warm tonight, so I still have the windows open. I am just about ready to go climb over the fence to the race track - I can hear the announcer loud and clear. I am not a gambler and can think of nothing more boring and demoralizing (to me) than a casino, but the ponies are something else. I could just watch them run and not even place a bet (yeah, right). I have 4 more days until I leave, so who knows, I might get there yet. It's just that I hate to go by myself.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Shoulda stayed in bed!

Today isn't going to be one of my best days, I'm afraid. I'm furious with myself for picking out the physician I did - all I wanted was a year's prescription for 3 meds that I take, including a very mild dose for blood pressure. The first time I saw this doctor she wrote me enough for two months and said I had to come back for a physical. She wanted me to request all of my previous medical records. Well today I went back and she wrote me 6 month's prescriptions - I will get the next six AFTER I have a mammogram, complete blood tests, and get my medical records. When I told her I wasn't going to pay the 75 cents a page they wanted to photocopy & send the records, she insisted they were free physician to physician, and wants me to request them again. Well nuts to her. I'm taking my 6 months RX and moving on. Hopefully when the time comes I can find a reasonable doctor or else a trip to Mexico is in order. I am an adult and I sure resent being treated like a child or an inmate.

Then upon leaving the parking lot across the street from the medical center, I had to make a very sharp right turn between two concrete islands, pay the fee and then make another sharp right onto the street. I made several attempts to clear those islands and eventually had to just drive my wheels over them. I don't know why they put them there in the first place, nor do I understand their purpose. I don't like to do that to my tires.

I'm back at the park and the roustabouts across the way are playing something on their radio, but all I can hear is the base - BOOM-BOOM-BOOM! God how I hate that sound, and I'm thinking about leaving here sooner than next Wednesday. I think I can take just about anything except loud music or that throbbing base sound. Makes me wish I had an old Lawrence Welk tape and I would just open all my windows and crank it up! Mmmmm, champagne music.

I hope things look up by the end of the day. Maybe I'm just keyed up about getting back out on the highway again. I've gone so long without driving this rig I am a little nervous about doing it, and especially about hitching & unhitching. It will all come back to me, but I'm glad I'm only going 100 miles and will stay put for a month. I've contacted Lassen and volunteered to work elsewhere in the park during May if they need someone. I think my campground is one of the last ones to open, and that won't be until June.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cal Expo - 2nd post Thurs. Mar 26

Steve came by to drop off the dogs this morning and he told me that Cal Expo is having an RV show and a sewing or quilting show. The workers who are living in the RV motels are workers who evidently travel around the country and set these types of events up. Before I left for SD I saw a lot of folks arriving and it was like old home week - they all obviously knew each other and hadn't been together for a while - seemed to be a joyous reunion for many of them.

The city of Sacramento (or some governmental entity here) has decided in their wisdom to remove the homeless who have created a tent city along the riverbank, and to get the folks there to move into shelters. I think there is also some talk of allowing a few to camp permanently on the grounds of Cal Expo, but that certainly won't be in the RV Park because tents are not allowed in this area.

It is a highly controversial issue and I personally feel that there is no one hurt by allowing homeless people to camp along a riverbank. It could possibly be a problem if they are kept in too tight a space for their numbers, but if they are dispersed in areas away from housing and people who are offended by seeing them, then what is the problem. Should we execute them for being homeless? Force them into shelters where there is likely to be drug related problems? Maybe do a swap with Mexico for their people who would like to work here?

A lot of people should read (or re-read) John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath", for an inkling into the lives of people who find themselves without homes or jobs, due to elements beyond their control in many instances. I've never been homeless and I've never been unable to get a job. Does that make me better than anyone else, or just damn fortunate. I won't judge the homeless unless I've been there and done that.

Sorry to get on a soap box here. I hate it when reading other blogs that touch on political and economic issues, and I promise I'm off anything controversial from now on. RVing is supposed to be fun (mostly) and an RVving blog should be fun to read (mostly).

Back Home

I slept pretty well in my own bed last night, although I didn't realize a 5th wheel made so many noises -- just like a house that settles in for the night. I usually attribute any noise whatsoever to the dogs moving around, and they are still at Steve's house, so I naturally heard everything for a short while. Sleep came pretty quickly.

The trip is over, I accomplished what I set out to do, and I'm not going to think about it any more because the good definitely outweighed the bad. Every single flight segment was late leaving and/or arriving, which didn't really have much effect since I had plenty of layover time at Minneapolis. But the flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul arrived in Sacramento 24 minutes early! I was able to take my time getting out to the curb and quite soon Donald drove up. God bless him - I really appreciated him taking me to and from the Sacramento airport.

I have written before about how terribly dirty and filthy my 5ver is--well I ordered some products from Smokey Ridgely that are Dri Wash. I went out this morning and did a one-square foot test section, and I just can't believe what a lovely surface lies beneath all the crud. I'm taking "before" and "after" pictures so I will keep you all posted. It will likely turn out to be a lengthy process since I'll be doing it myself, although I will need some help for the sections that are higher up.

Some time today I have to get out to the toothpaste store! This morning I just poured a bit of mouthwash onto the brush, so TSA hasn't ruined my day today. Years ago a backpacking dentist I knew told me that it's the brushing that counts, not what you put on the brush, but if you like the clean taste just pour a few drops of mouthwash onto the bristles. It works - not the best solution - but it's kept me in a good mood this morning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In Sioux Falls, 2nd post

I knew there would have to be a problem with airlines or security. After passing security in Sacramento with no problem, I went through the same process in Sioux Falls and they took my tube of toothpaste away from me. Thank God Americans are now safer in their travels. I wish TSA would take a flying leap! And by the way, no one will ever convince me that this isn't just some bored inspector who wants to stir up a little sh*t and make someone have to put up with it. I am a fair-skinned white woman and cannot imagine what a person with hispanic or arabic features must go through. I will never get on another plane again, and you can write that down.


I got the license

Yay, I did it. This morning I walked over to the Department of Public Safety and exchanged my NC license for a SD one. It is 27F this morning with a breeze, and let me tell you it is a cold day to be out walking. The round trip is 1.2 miles, and this distance is going to get longer with each re-telling. And as anyone who is familiar with Sioux Falls, SD knows, from here to there and back is uphill both ways. The entire trip from start to finish took approximately 50 minutes!

They took a pretty good picture for the license and I think I could pass for a few years younger than I am, except I wish that I had worn a turtleneck shirt, which I had planned to do but it was too bulky to pack. All of us aging love goddesses know that the neck creases give you away.

I obviously passed the eye test although I had to take it slow to get some of the letters. Following me was a young twit who raced through the letters so fast you'd have thought he was going to a fire. Oh, and I couldn't register to vote without a residential address, even though they put my mailing address on the license. I know there has to be a way to register, but I'll do it at a warmer time of year. Maybe when I come back through SD in September I will stay at a Madison campground long enough to do the voter registration thing.

So now I have the day to kill and the only place in the vicinity is the Empire Mall. Being nearly flat broke this month I guess it will be safe for me to walk around and window shop. The taxi will pick me up at 4:00 pm at the motel for the trip to the airport, so I have a lot of time on my hands. I should have slept in this morning with no dogs to walk, but I didn't. I was awake often during the night with leg cramps, probably from sitting so long in the plane yesterday.

I may post again today but it will be from the airport if I do.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I made it to Sioux Falls

The plane was on time landing in Minneapolis but we waited about 15 minutes for a plane to pull out of the gate so we could pull in. No big problem because I had plenty of time between flights, although I was close to the rear of the plane and it took forever for everyone ahead of me to leave. Then the plane to Sioux Falls was late because we had to wait for it to fly in from someplace else, deplane passengers, get cleaned up etc. It resulted in my getting to the motel about 45 minutes later than I had anticipated. I have a very nice room on the first floor, close to the ice machine. Although I brought snacks along, I haven't had a decent meal since breakfast but too late to worry about it now.

Steve came by this morning, and picked up the dogs. It is a relief to me that I don't have to worry about them until Thursday. Donald and Autie drove me to the airport, and he will pick me up tomorrow night. It is great to be the recipient of kindness.

Now for some R&R and hopefully I can get to sleep at a decent Central Time. Losing 2 hrs will be more difficult when I have to get up in the morning. This is an excellent reason why driving is an easier life than flying!

I have to say that while I was waiting at the Sacramento airport this morning, a flood of memories came back to me. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I traveled often, and it was always a pleasure to fly over the Sierra mountain range, the foothills, and finally the rice paddies that are in the vicinity of Sacramento airport. Flying home was always a joy. The trips I liked best were those to other places in California because I would usually take a small, 2 propeller plane. They fly low to the ground and I always felt more safe in them. I would rather have an emergency landing in one of those small planes than in a jumbo jet. The pilots were pretty amusing as well. I will never forget sitting among the 10 or so passengers, seeing the pilot and co-pilot getting reading for takeoff, and one asking the other, "Say, did you get the door?" I wanted to shout, "Uh, wait a minute, I'll be glad to check the door!!!"

If I have any layover time at all in Minneapolis I may post another entry; otherwise I'll be back on Thursday.

Countdown to flight time

I'm dressed and just have to dry my hair to be ready to go to the airport. I don't know why, but I get so stressed out just anticipating the airport scene. Once the plane is in the air I'll be ok, until we touch down in Minneapolis and I have to deal with another airport. It makes me seriously wonder if I want to renew my passport next January, as I can get into and back from Canada and Mexico with my driver's license so long as I am on the ground. I hope to the heavens I never have to take another flight anywhere. In the latter part of the 1980's I traveled quite a lot with my job - two weeks out and then two weeks back home for several years; 5 weeks in Korea, 1 week in Hawaii (what a penance!) so I have had enough of airports. Back then there wasn't the TSA to worry about, and I could carry my hairspray on board with me if I wanted to. The airlines served real food, sometimes I got a first class upgrade and ate on real plates and with real cutlery. Now I feel a little bit better just explaining all this to the readers!

This morning there are at leave five of those RV hotels parked diagonally across from me. The truck driver that brought each of them into their spaces was really good at maneuvering them, and they are REALLY long!

Well, wish me luck. I think everything will go smoothly and the weather shouldn't be too bad. There is snow/rain forecast for Sioux Falls this morning, and possible snow tonight, but the web cam shows the roads looking fairly good. I will be warm enough, I hope.

Monday, March 23, 2009

2nd Post Today--What is This???

Can someone identify what type of trailer this is? I count seven doors! It is taken from inside my rig and the screen, The nearest one to me says "The Light House Sleeping Quarters" on the front cap, and "The Broadmore" in script on the side of the cap. The rig on the other side of that one says "Ritz Carlton" on the side of the cap, and I can't see the front so I don't know if it is a Light House model. Please click on the picture to make it larger if you need to. I've never seen anything like it, but then I haven't been around campgrounds for long.

Back to Fry's Choo Choo

Donald, Autie and I went back to Fry's this morning, and I bought a printer. While there I took a closer look at the train decor, and I must tell you it is fantastic. The murals & trains are from the Sacramento Valley's old days, back in the latter part of the 1800's. I wish I had brought my camera, which I will do the next time I go back to Fry's.

I got the printer home and installed it. So far I've scanned some pictures, the results of which I'm not exactly thrilled, but that is no doubt due to the quality and age of the photos, nearly as old as I am and older in some cases. I think that what you have to go through in order to do a scan and then to save it, takes many more steps than my old Lexmark. I am still using the Lexmark software to adjust contrast, crop, flip the image, and save. I'll just have to deal with it because I do need the scanner.

I found time to go online and "check in" my plane reservations for tomorrow and to get seats on both planes. Hopefully I won't ever have to go through this again, as I don't intend to fly again. Donald will take me to the airport, and I am armed with printed itinerary, boarding pass, and one backpack that I will carry on (no checked luggage). I will have to take the laptop out of the pack to go through security, plus my little 1 quart ziplock bag with shampoo & lotion (not sure if toothpaste has to go into that bag or not). I just hope I can get everything back into the backpack after I clear security. I'm also going to carry a brown bag with snacks, and hopefully they will provide water on the flight. Isn't this a sorry state in the affairs of our country, and I hope the new administration will cut through the crap. Amtrak is a whole lot easier to travel with, but my fiver is just about the best!

The wind has been blowing in gusts and every now and then I can feel the gentle rocking of the fiver.

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I planned to toss the entertainment center and put a small computer table or desk in its place. Well, I emptied the E-center out to get ready for the switch and realized how much storage I will be losing. It's not that I won't do it eventually, it is that I won't do it right now. I have to get this trip to SD behind me and then it will be time to pack up to leave Cal Expo. I don't have time to figure out how to pack everything that is currently in the E-Center. I ditched the TV however, so I have a big empty space where it used to be. To get it off the floor I put the computer and printer there and they fit the space perfectly. When I took out the Brother and put the new printer in its place I realized that it was going to be a tight fit. It won't do for a long-term solution, but for now, until I get back from SD, it will be fine.

I had really wanted to get my hair cut before having a picture taken that will last for 5 years on my driver's license. I couldn't get an appointment and haven't had time to find a walk-in salon, so I am going to look like a wild woman in the picture. What do I really care though. Once a woman realizes she is past the "love goddess" stage, hair styles don't really amount to a whole lot of importance. Well, actually they do..... Who knows, I might find a guy whose eyesight is so bad that I look like a love goddess to him, but then my eyesight is getting better all the time so how would he look to me, is the important point.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cincinnati, nostalgia

Yesterday afternoon Jeannie called and said they were making Cincinnati chili and invited me to come over. Of course I could never refuse. It was delicious - I like mine just chili spaghetti style, while most people seem to prefer 3-way (chili spaghetti with finely shredded cheddar). There is also 4-way (add onions) and 5-way (add beans). I usually make my chili the regular down home way, but I will always love Cincinnati chili.

Later in the evening we drove over to Fry's electronics, a huge store with just about every kind of electronic item available. They have some old railroad cars rehabbed and on display, and a replica of an old steam engine as you go in. My grandaughter loves to go there and calls it "Fry's Choo Choo". So I shopped at Fry's Choo Choo last night. I saw a nice little computer table that I might be able to use, but wasn't sure if the wood would match the oak in my rig. Next time I go there I will take a sample with me.

Again, I drove home in the dark without any problems, but it is a well lit route and I am familiar with it, which probably helps.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another weekend is here and the row that held two big motorhomes during the week now has nine MH's and one trailer. Another fifth wheel pulled in two spaces over from me yesterday, and with the windows open I could see and hear pretty well. The man pulled in and then his wife got out and followed his directions to "check this and check that", and "go inside to see if the fridge light is on", and it went on and on. I realize that is what I miss when I pull into or out of a campground and have to keep jumping in and out to check things: A WIFE! Indispensible, aren't they. I think his demanding, "snap to it" tone of voice was annoying. I noticed him walking past my rear window this morning and stopping her - she was evidently going to drive the truck someplace. He said something to her and she began to back the truck up and pull back around to their space, and I could see the look on her face as she went by. I think she finds him annoying as well, and this morning I am glad to be a solo RVer. Enough campground gossip for today.

This is the mat I bought at Costco (for $22 plus change). It is 6 X 9 and is plenty spacious for what I want. I have another camp chair that will fit nicely, and I'm going to get a small table to set between the chairs. I wasn't going to include this picture to my blog because it shows how filthy dirty my rig is, but it will make a good "before" picture, and as soon as I clean it up I will post an "after" shot of the same scene.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ford Recall Work Done

Well that's taken care of. The defective part was the Camshaft Position Sensor, and I don't have a clue what that is or if it is a critical part of my truck. I am relieved that I won't lose any more sleep worrying about it. I had planned to leave the truck at the Ford dealer and walk back to the RV, which is only about 3 city blocks. I hadn't gone far when I realized the keys to my 5th wheel were on the same key chain as the Ford key, so I just sat in the waiting room drinking coffee and eating the donuts they so kindly provide for customers.

I had the time to read the entire newspaper while waiting, and saw an ad for a Brother color all in one multifunction printer. I currently have a Brother monochrome laser jet that I love, and I think I am going to go for the all in one version. There is a $50 mail-in rebate offer that will sweeten the price even more!

Now I want to sit outside my rig on this beautiful day, but first I am going to go buy the carpet I saw at Costco yesterday. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm going to run out of money before I run out of month.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

No subject

Not much to say today. I found a nearby Ford dealer to do the recall work on my truck, and will take it in tomorrow morning. The woman who sold the rig to me sent me a copy of the recall letter, and evidently it had not been the first notice. I made a photocopy and took it to the dealer - there will be no problem with them doing the work and I can rest easier in my future travels.

I made a quick trip to Costco. I know the rule about not shopping when you are hungry, so why do I do it so often? Not having anything planned for lunch I was drawn to the prepared foods section where I spied a box of sushi that looked delicious. I ate half of it for lunch and it was just ok, not even close to what my sister makes. She learned to make sushi from her Japanese mother-in-law.

I also found a nice outdoor mat that I didn't buy yet, but plan to on my next trip. It is about 5 x 9 and has a nice soft pile - surprisingly it is "crafted with pride in the USA" from recycled plastic bottles. Each mat is said to remove 50 plastic bottles from the environment, so I can feel virtuous every time I unroll it. It is really much nicer and less expensive than any others I've seen, and can be sprayed with a hose if I need to clean it.

It is another beautiful warm sunny day, and I think the couch is calling my name to lie down for a nap!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Day After...

...and I feel fine! Considering I only had one beer the entire day (well, at least until I got home at 11:00 pm and had one more), I should be feeling fine. The dinner was great, everyone loved it and had a good time.

Jeannie & Autumn are shown here.

Donald made the green hats. He is very creative and they looked so good.

Joe and Alyssa. I don't know where Sarah was when the picture was taken and I don't think she is on any of them.

And here are two of my leprechauns:

And one of my little leprechauns:

Steve was late because he had to attend a meeting of the local food co-op board of directors, and Megan was sick and couldn't make it. Amy and her daughter, Stephanie, were there also. I wish they were on some of the pictures, but when things get going with this crowd the picture-taking gets set on the back burner.

Steve came over today and quickly figured out that my coffee maker overloaded the circuit and all that was needed was to push in the button on the outlet. I don't know why I didn't see that. He also took away the big TV and converter box, and will try to find someone who wants a tv. I'm glad that big old thing is out of the way. After looking at all the possibilities, I think the easiest and best solution for me is to find a small computer table or desk to fit in the corner, and then to take the entire entertainment center out. I know it will shoot the resale value of the 5VER, but it is a 2004 model anyway, nothing has much resale value today, and why should I live with something I don't like so my kids can inherit a better resale value. They certainly aren't looking for resale, and I know for sure I won't be able to afford anything newer or better, plus the fact that I LOVE my rig, I'm going to live in my rig the way it suits me.

After the corned beef & cabbage dinner yesterday I am cooking pinto beans tonight. Frijoles y arroz is on the menu for tonight!

It has been a beautiful, warm, sunny day today and it's nice to have the windows open.

St. Patrick's Day

The day didn't start out so well. I went through my normal routine when I first got up, and that is to turn on the computer, and then grind the coffee beans and make coffee. The grinder worked and the computer booted, and then it all went off. It shouldn't have done that because those appliances never overload the capacity, but I figured the breaker tripped for some reason. When I looked, the breaker was still up, and I still haven't figured out what the problem is. I tried my hair dryer in all the bedroom outlets and found one that is evidently on a different circuit--tomorrow morning I will just set up the coffee maker on the bedroom vanity, and I'm using the dreaded laptop which is uncomfortable because I have to sit on the bed to reach the outlet - not easy on the back at all.

I made it to Jeannie's house and began to cook the corned beef, using three crock pots. Three turned out to be just right, and I estimated pretty well on the cabbage and potatos. The apple salad for dessert went over very well also, and since I couldn't use the instant packaged pudding mix (Jeannie gets migraines from one of the ingredients in it), I made the butterscotch pudding from scratch.

It is always fun getting together with family and this was special knowing that I will be leaving the area soon. They are trying to plan a family camping trip to the Corps of Engineers lake at Orland, so that will be something to look forward to. With Jeannie and Sarah both pregnant I will probably turn over my 5th wheel to them and I will see if this old girl can still get down low enough to crawl into a tent. If I use one of their tents it will probably seem luxurious to me, as they all have huge family tents with at least two rooms.

It has been a long day for me, and I actually drove myself home a little before 11:00 pm. I may take the dogs out early tomorrow morning and go back to bed for a while.

I took pictures this evening and will try to post a couple of them on the blog tomorrow.

Monday, March 16, 2009


From the time I was a young child I have loved maps and geography books, and can spend hours looking at them to plan possible routes or to just enjoy. I have been taking advantage of the fact that the AAA office in Sacramento is only a few miles from the RV park, and I'm replenishing all my outdated maps a few at a time. Today I got some new ones - Alaska, Canada, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba & Saskatchewan, plus the Western Canada & Alaska CampBook. I don't normally use the CampBooks to find RV parks, but they are a good reference for what is available in the area plus the prices.

I have already taken a peek at some of the maps but plan to plump up the pillows on the couch and lie back to savor them, make notes, and dream. Is there rain in the forecast? Bring it on! With my maps, the book about ghosts in Savannah, and Steinbeck's "Travels With Charlie", I am happy to just read for a while.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A new crowd

Yesterday afternoon and evening saw the pace really picking up in this RV park. Lots of toy haulers coming in and big, loud, trucks! The pickup trucks were driving in and out at a rate of speed that was inappropriate for an RV park, and especially in the gravel section. I try to be a live-and-let-live person so I didn't let it bother me except that I am sure there are others here who would complain at the drop of a hat. By 10pm or 10:30 things started to quiet down and all was well. I just saw a gorgeous red truck hauling a triple axle Raptor leaving the park, so I guess their fun weekend is coming to a close.

I am really honing in on exactly what it is I like and dislike about full time RVing, and large filled-up parks don't fit in my picture. I'm sure I was born for boondocking, but isn't as easy for a solo female with a 5th wheel as it would be for a couple or a solo in a motorhome. I really wouldn't know where to begin, so I'm hoping my experience at Lassen this summer will be sort of in-between the crowded park and the wilderness with no one around to talk to. I guess I just want to be in the middle of nature with a bit of company from time to time.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A slow day

I can tell this is going to be a slow day so my blog will probably be very slow as well. Last night about 9:30 there was a lot of commotion outside the rig, with at least one big RV and several cars that seemed to stop next to me. I could hear the loud "boom-boom-boom" from a radio, and my first thought was that I sure hoped they weren't going to be pulling into the space to my right. I tried to see out the window and think it was a big toy hauler. They finally started moving and looked like they were trying to find a spot they could pull into easily, as they drove around more than once. I saw that the man in the rig in front of me came outside to have a look, and probably to complain if they should try to pull in next to him.

They must have ended up in front just across the fence to the racetrack, and I heard no more from them. Someone left the park in the middle of the night as I woke up with the sound of gravel crunching, so it was either the toy hauler or maybe another RVer who didn't care for the company. It's a good thing I sleep well, being that the main driving lane for this section is right outside my bedroom window. I hear vehicles coming and going over the gravel, and even people walking by, but I go right back to sleep so it really doesn't bother me. I decided right then and there that extended stays at RV parks are definitely not for me.

I took some pictures of my "office" arrangement. The first shows how I have extended the leaf in the table and then turned the table sideways to have better access. It really works out so much better, especially for my back. I was developing aches & pains from twisting at an angle to use the keyboard and to view the monitor. You can see all my boxes stored under the table and chairs. I need to find a better place, maybe under the bed.

Next I took a picture of the entertainment center to indicate what a problem I will have converting it into a usable computer space, unless I tear out the entire cabinet and start from scratch. The keyboard pullout would be most comfortable about one-third the way down from the top of the boom box, but that would not leave enough space for the monitor above it, unless I removed all the shelves including the one holding the TV. While I really doubt I will ever sell this unit and buy another, I hesitate messing with radical modifications at this point. Right now it mainly serves as a catch-all, and when you think about the amount of prime location taken up as a catch-all, it is a shame not to get better use out of it. Suggestions welcome.

Of course I am embarrassed at the messy cabinet, but hey, I don't worry about stuff like that any more.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday, the 13th

I always consider Friday the 13th a very good day and today was no exception. I didn't do much, except drive over to Jeannie's this afternoon - cooked a special dinner for her this evening: filet of sole (so fresh there was absolutely no fishy odor to it at all); potatos, carrots, and barely wilted fresh spinach. Donald had one filet although he is not much for fish, but like a dutiful son-in-law, he said it was good.

It had just gotten dark by the time I got back home and for some reason, the dome light on my truck stays on a very long time after the ignition is turned off. I have to keep running out to see if it is still lit and I don't know what I would do if doesn't go out. So I'll end today's blog and go back out to check.

NOTE: After a couple of trips outside I saw that all the truck lights had gone off. The lights at the racetrack have come on, and it's nearly as bright as day out there.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Moving things around

I have long been wanting to come up with a better idea for my computer placement. A couple of weeks ago I tried turning my dining table so that it is perpendicular with the side wall but it didn't give me any additional space and left me with chairs that didn't fit anywhere. This morning I decided to open up the table with the extra leaf, and then turned the table sideways. Not bad - my printer & monitor fit side by side, and I have room for the keyboard & mouse directly in front of the monitor. I think I could even leave it as is when I pull in the slide before moving the rig. The only problem is that I have one chair that really doesn't fit anywhere, and one that is sort of hanging in front of the corner on one end of the table. This arrangement leaves me with 1/3 of the table to use as dining space, at least once I remove eyeglasses, camera, pens & pencils, etc. from it. I honestly don't know how two people manage to live in an RV and not kill each other for space!

While I was at it I vacuumed all my cookie crumbs from under the table. I like to mess with the dogs sometimes by using the vacuum - they are terrified of it and I can't understand why, but they scatter!

I knew I had been running low on propane so I phoned the man who delivers right to your rig. He was here within an hour and filled and replaced both tanks, for which I paid $40 cash! It sure is cheaper and easier than taking them to U Haul. He does everything - removes the tanks, fills them, and then replaces them into the compartment. It is especially a godsend for me as I could remove them from the 5ver but I couldn't lift the full ones back up.

The gauges I bought to let me know the status of the tanks are nice to have but made it really difficult to get the tanks in place and close the door. This gentleman suggested I remove the gauges and turn the valve off on one tank; then when the other tank is empty I will have a full tank left and can see about getting the first one refilled. I decided to leave a gauge on the tank in use so I can tell when it is just about empty and then open the valve. That way I won't run out in the middle of something.

It is so nice and warm outdoors, but still cold in my rig. I get the morning sun in the back window which is not very large, and then on one side during the afternoon. It never really warms the place up, and right outside my door where I should be able to set up my chair is always in the shade. In three more weeks it will be something different.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Happy Compromise

As of this morning I had no printer. As of this afternoon, after I retrieved my Brother HL-2040 from Donald & Jeannie's house, I am ready to print. I always loved this printer. It is monochrome and only prints - no copy and no scan. But it prints fast and prints exceptionally well. It installed in a flash - power cord plugged in, USB cord connected to computer, install disk inserted, and in under 5 minutes it was good to go. I bought this printer about 2 yrs ago at Staples, on sale for about $40. When I went to buy a new toner I was stunned that it costs over $50! I found an online supplier and have bought two toners since then for about $20 each. I don't expect to print as much as I have in the past when I was printing lots of articles on full-time RVing, among many other things, so the cost of toner isn't much of a problem. I weighed the Brother before I left NC and found it weighed 15#. I had hoped to find something lighter in weight, but after seeing what is out there in the stores, I think I will be happy with the 15#. I will still keep looking for a multifunction printer and if I can find one without fax that fits my wants and needs, then I will buy it. Until then I'm happy as a clam with my old printer.

While I was at Jeannie's, Joe came by to pick up Alyssa (he leaves her there on mornings he has class), so I got to visit with him too. In the conversation I dropped the statement "I need someone to get on the roof before I leave...." and before I finished the sentence he replied "I'll do it". My youngest child, he has always been a daredevil, and when Jeannie & Donald had squirrels in their attic, Joe was the one they sent up to the very-high roof to get them. One storey--three-storey--ten storey is all the same to him. How I ever survived raising him I will never know. But I am glad to have someone as agile and sure footed as he is to get up on my RV and inspect the roof, seals, caulking, etc. My four kids have no idea the anguish I still go through over them, and now I can add all my grandchildren to the number I worry about. My oldest granddaughter, Ara, is in Florida on spring break and I fret about that although I keep it to myself around Jeannie because I know she worries too. When my ex husband was living at least I knew someone shared the worries with me and we balanced each other out, but now I'm on my own. Darn him for leaving me to handle it alone! (This picture was taken in February of 2007 and Bill died on March 24th).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Interesting note about printers

...or rather printer ink cartridges. I shamelessly lifted this off a discussion in the NuWa Owners Forum.

"Last summer when gas was high, there were quite a few forwards of the price per gallon of various items, with printer ink being at the top of that scale... along the lines of $5,200 per gallon! shocked At a photography convention, a printer factory rep said to me, "We'd give away the printers if we could be sure you'd buy the ink from us." (The reason all the ink cartridges are proprietary.)"

The Continuing Search

I am still searching for the perfect printer. Yesterday I bought an HP, and after installing it twice I decided it was not for me. In the first place it takes too much memory. I really don't know how much memory I have on my computer (nor am I very much interested in knowing) - I'm just sure that since I've had this computer the memory has been adequate, so I'm not about to let a printer gobble up what I have. I even tried a custom installation whereby I should have been able to load only those elements I wanted, namely printing, but I still ended up with "Shopping for HP" on my computer. I printed a one-page document with the HP and it was satisfactory, but when I tried to print a 3-page application form in Word, I was informed the margins were too wide to fit in the available space, or something like that. I attempted to modify the Word document but the computer kept freezing up so I just un-installed, returned the box this morning, and I am currently looking for something that will work for me. I think either the Epson or the Lexmark which I bought and returned would have been satisfactory, however, the Lexmark was missing ink cartridges, and the Epson had a problem recognizing an Epson ink cartridge. I don't want a printer that polices my ink--I think they should tell you straight out on the box that the printer will not work with any other cartridge except theirs. Of course, if they can't even recognize their own cartridge.....

I JUST WANT A PRINTER THAT CAN PRINT, COPY AND SCAN!!! One that doesn't take up an entire table and is lightweight, i.e., 10/11# or under. I don't fax and I don't print photos. Is it asking too much?

Random Observation: You don't want to let an opened package of cookies sit very long in an RV because they tend to absorb the dampness, but sometimes only the cookie on top of the stack is soft, so eat an entire stack at a sitting or else you will waste them.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The subject is still printers

I took the Lexmark back to Target this morning. Then I went to Office Max and bought an HP. Got it back home and realized I had lost my reading glasses, so I had a terrible time installing it. Why is it that they would give you a booklet explaining in three languages how to print, scan, etc., but the installation instructions are on a cd? To top that off, no where in the cd is anything mentioned about how to install the ink cartridges, or even where the ink cartridges are located. I finally found the compartment but the only clue as to how to insert the cartridges properly is a series of pictures, or icons if you will. An icon is a picture, and in this case it is certainly not worth a thousand words. I was ready to smash the whole thing before I finally got it to work. It prints ok as far as I can see, but every time I turn it on it wants to print an alignment page for me as I have just inserted a new cartridge. I'd like to know how long this will go on because it's wasting my paper and ink! It's too bad we don't manufacture anything anymore because this stuff from China is just crap.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

They don't make them like they used to

A few weeks ago I bought an Epson printer that was the perfect size and weight for my RV. When I initially installed it I kept getting messages that the ink cartridges were not genuine Epson cartridges, which surprised me since they came with the Epson printer. I kept trying and turning the whole thing off, back on, and trying again. After several tries, everything worked ok, and I was very happy with the printer. Things started to go downhill when I ran out of black ink and bought a replacement, an Epson cartridge in an Epson box. When I tried to install it, I first got a message that it wasn't a genuine Epson product. I kept trying over and over, and then, I got messages showing that the black cartridge was ok, but that the other three were not genuine. At that point I decided to take the printer back to the store, which I did. I explained to customer service the problems I had, but they just taped the box back up and gave me my money back.

I then bought a Lexmark printer, thinking because I had such good luck with my Lexmark that I bought in 2003 and finally tossed when I started fulltiming, that I would be happy with another Lexmark. Well, got it home and started to set it up. My old Lexmark came with a printed user guide that was helpful to me throughout the time I had the printer. Not so with the new one - you insert a CD and follow the instructions. All went well until I got to the part about inserting cartridges. There were no cartridges included. I looked all over, and read every single word on the box and the limited printed material that was included. Nada! So I now get the picture of someone returning this Lexmark, the customer service rep taping the box back up and returning the product to their shelves. I need a printer desperately, but don't know what I should do next. Is there a printer available that is NOT made in China? Is there one that is reliable (and doesn't cost an exhorbitant amount of money) and that comes with a printed guide as well as ink cartridges?

The only good part about today was the fact that I was accompanied by my daughter and granddaughter, and the stop we made for frozen yogurt!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Point and Shoot

That's all I can do with any kind of camera, but especially with a digital. I can never see what is on the screen well enough to know if I have a good shot, especially on a sunny day. It was really sunny this morning as I set out to walk the dogs. We went much further this morning than we've ever gone (they will both sleep most of the day now), as I circled around to see if I could get a better picture of the grandstand.

On the way I caught this shot of the Sacramento skyline. I can look at it now and in my mind zone out the power lines as they really do mess up what could be a nice scene, but they are there and necessary for how we live today. I should wait for a better light, but when I have it I usually don't have the camera. Sometimes on a cloudy morning the sun shines through and hits the city skyline through the dark clouds and it is a beautiful picture.

So we circled around the RV park and I caught some shots of the grandstand. I also took several shots of some of the ponies exercising, but only one turned out fair - I told you I can't see the screen so it's just a "shot in the dark" so to speak.

You can click on a picture to make it large enough to be able to see the detail!

Friday, March 6, 2009


In reading the blogs of folks who want to begin their RV travels full time, they all seem to be impatient and anxious for whatever has to happen - retire from the job, sell the house, health issues, and so on. In looking at my own experience, then and now, I would say to everyone - just try to live in and enjoy the present. The future gets here before we know it, and the time spent waiting and hoping and dreaming can never be regained. Day passes into day, and week into week, and while I would never want to go back, I wish I had spent more time enjoying the grandson hugs while waiting for my RV in New York, or the spectacular mountain views from my front deck in North Carolina--the list is endless.

I will fly into Sioux Falls, SD on the 24th of March and return the next evening. I phoned the DMV and made sure that they would be open and that I had the correct address to obtain my driver's license. Then I phoned the motel where I have reservations to see if they had an airport shuttle. DUH! No shuttle. I asked the clerk if she could give me an estimate of the taxi fare to the airport and she said "maybe 10, 15, 20 dollars". That sounds like she has no idea but figured she was in the ballpark. I was wishing I had reserved a rental car, but then remembered I will arrive and leave in the hours after dark. Do I want to drive a rental car in a city I've never been to? After dark? Naah, I'll just pay the cab fare.

I've had several people comment on the cost of my trip just to obtain a SD license. The plane/motel fare is offset by whatever surcharges the insurance company is planning on levying because my vehicle tags don't match the d/l, as well as the fact that there could be a problem for me if I were stopped for whatever reason - sometimes the police just set up a roadblock to check licenses & things like that. I could face a stiff fine. I have no desire to take the chance and will just do what I have to do, and I will no doubt exercise a little civil disobedience in some other way!

I had a real scare earlier today. I was on my way to a laundromat where I could wash the dog bed covers and towels, and stopped about a block from the park to mail a letter in the box. I am always leery about getting out of my car and leaving it running, so I hit the global unlock button and try not to close the door all the way as I'm terrified of locking myself out. I mailed the letter and sure enough, could not open the driver's side door. While I was mentally using my "sailor language" and wondering if I have a spare key back in the rig, I decided to try the passenger door. It opened! I hit the unlock button on the door and made sure my driver's side would open - then went back and securely shut the passenger side. There was a group of 3 people nearby and I thought how silly I must have looked, running around my vehicle, back, around again, etc. I carry an extra set of keys for both car & RV, but of course they are in a zipped pocket in my purse, which was inside the truck.

I feel the same way dumb when I'm hitching up to leave and have to constantly run around the rig, checking turn signals on both vehicles, emergency lights, and all the light systems except brakes, which I can't do by myself. At times like that I wish I had a husband I could send chasing around the vehicles, although it would probably still be me doing the chasing around.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Simple Things in Life

A warm shower, water running all over your head...how sweet it is, especially when you have had eye surgery and forbidden to get water in the eye for a couple of weeks. This morning I really enjoyed the water, although I still kept my eye closed! It is something to think about, that real pleasure in life doesn't usually come from something you go out and buy (although I sure have to keep buying the propane to insure hot water).

I finally got my stick-on thermometer stuck-on the kitchen side window. It is large enough that I can easily read the numbers, and it just informed me that the temperature on the outside (the shady side) of the rig is 65F.

A little while ago I drove to a nearby Trader Joe's. Normally I just don't care that much for TJ's, but I love to snack on dehydrated fruit - banana chips, apricots, cranberries & pomegranates, and the like. Not wanting to drive to the Sacramento Food Co-op and try to find parking for just those items, I thought I'd do the Trader Joe's thing for once. I think I ate half the stuff on the way home! I wanted to buy bread there, but like anywhere else, it is nearly impossible to find the bread I want that doesn't use a sourdough starter. I really detest sourdough bread but I must really be in the minority, because most bakery type bread is sourdough, and that goes for everywhere I've been the past few years, with the possible exception of NY.

I am about to make plane reservations from Sacramento to Sioux Falls, SD to get my driver's license, leaving the 24th of March and returning the next day. I hope I'm allowing adequate time for a possible snafu, but I don't want to stay an extra day if I don't have to. I think it will be too cold to enjoy strolling the streets of Sioux Falls, SD, although March did come in like a lion this year, so maybe it will be a good little lamb the last week of the month. I haven't yet been hit with the reality of actually going to an airport and all the crap it requires to get on a plane to go somewhere, and then to have to do it all again coming back.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Good day to stay indoors

Ok, Florida and New York, you can take back this cold weather! After a few warmer days I was shocked at the chill this morning. At least I was able to get the dogs out and back in before the rain started again. We've had enough rain that the boating restrictions have been lifted at Folsom Lake and most if not all the boat launch sites are open again. I hope the drought is over this year, although other parts of the state haven't been as lucky.

I am trying to decide how and when I can go to SD to get my driver's license there. A plane into Rapid City makes the most sense. My insurance company is giving me a little more time before they add a surcharge because I'm not licensed in the state, and it would make me feel a lot better having the license to match my vehicle plates. I have been agonizing over this since I started fulltiming last December. It's just the wrong time of year to be tripping to South Dakota!

I forgot to ask the eye surgeon last time I saw him whether I should still avoid getting water in my eye. I phoned this morning and found that I only needed to avoid it for 10 days, and here I have been worried every time I wash my hair! I'm still not supposed to lean over for 4 weeks, and that won't be much longer.

All of the sudden the sun came out and I can see that my windows need cleaning again. I might as well wait until the rainy season is over, although I do like clean windows. I should get busy, or at least get dressed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mystery Solved!

You may remember that a few days ago I reported hearing a cow in the vicinity of Cal Expo RV Park. That question has now been answered, and I should have realized it would be something of this nature. Cal Expo, the state exposition and fairgrounds, has a small farm where plants common to the state of California are grown, animals are raised, etc. During the state fair this is open to the public, and the children especially can enjoy seeing the animals up close. I haven't heard the cow since, but the moo is probably drowned out by the sound of the rain hitting my RV.

A trip to Costco occurred this afternoon, and my purchase encompassed all the food groups (the important ones anyway): a case of beer, a very large package of Oreos, and a large bag of pecans. A bite of cookie a couple of pecans, washed down by a cool beverage - that will probably constitute my supper tonight as the cookies & pecans I've just eaten have ruined my appetite. (It's way too early in the day for the beverage.)

Monday, March 2, 2009

One More Month at Cal Expo

I just got the ok to stay here one more month and I'm relieved to not have to move. I have had a really difficult time trying to get things ready to move - especially difficult when you can't lean over, lift anything heavier than 15#, and have two scroungy mutts under foot all the time.

The family all went to Steve & Megan's for "The Dinner" last night. They fixed jambalaya, crab cakes, greens & diced ham, and for dessert served bananas cooked lightly in a rum sauce over ice cream. I don't know what I like best, but I sure returned for seconds of everything! I consider myself a connoisseour (had to consult the dictionary on that spelling!) of greens and I will give these the gold medal of excellence!

AND THEN---Sarah said "Gee Marty, it's a shame you will be leaving California in September because you will miss your grandchild's arrival in October. We were all surprised and overjoyed by the news, although I think Jeannie & Donald knew but were sworn to secrecy. So Alyssa will have a little sister or brother, and Grandma will have two new grandchildren, counting Jeannie's little girl in July.

My offering for "The Dinner" will be on March 17th, and I will do corned beef & cabbage at Jeannie's house.

Now I have boxes all over the RV that I got out for the move - the coffee maker box, the toaster oven box, the electric heater box, etc. But to look on the bright side, I have one more month to attend the harness races just over the fence.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Filling the lakes & rivers

It rained throughout the night and is predicted to fall through the next week. As of yesterday Sacramento had about 77% of normal rainfall for the season. That's good news for the lakes & rivers, which according to many in Northern California, can then be diverted from the farmers and pumped into southern CA so they can water their lawns. That is what I've been reading, not necessarily my own views, so don't blame me SO CAL.

I still haven't removed the hoses from the waste tank, and I may be doing that lovely job tomorrow morning in the rain. Oh how I hope they will let me stay here another month and then I'll be on to another location. I'm getting hitch itch, but not to travel across the Sacramento River into a more crowded park.

Steve & Megan are having the dinner this month and today is also Steve's 34th birthday. I won't have to worry about cooking tonight - just need to scrounge something up for breakfast & lunch. I started wrapping the glassware in dish towels and will put the foam stuff between the plates & bowls just in case I move. There won't be much to do tomorrow except pack away the small appliances and pad all around the computer. I had it boxed and surrounded by styrofoam from NC to here and it was fine, but I don't want to have to unhook all those wires yet. I think I will be ultra careful and box it in the original carton when I travel to Lassen, the last 6 miles of which is a gravel road.

The word of the day here is RAIN!