Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Last Day in Orland

I'm ready to leave. It's just too hot here to suit me. I did a weather check for comparison, and today in Orland the temps ranged from approx. 97/64. Tomorrow at Lassen the highs & lows will be about 77/44, and that is more my kind of weather.

I didn't have too much to do today. There is so much dust and dirt flying around that everything is coated with grit. I cleaned and dusted this morning, but it doesn't seem like it this afternoon, and I can't tell you what my beautiful black Ford looks like! I just went out for some errands and brought back a pizza so I've had an early supper, and when it cools down a bit I will empty the waste tanks and put the hoses away.

John, the mobile RV guy, brought over a connection for my fresh water hose, and put a new cap on the outdoor electrical outlet. I'm glad to have those two things done before I get somewhere that will be more difficult to get service. I looked at the hardware store for a reclining lawn chair - nothing found, and went to Kragen auto parts for something to allow me to use both the GPS and the Pressure Pro. The few things they had that served the purpose would take up so much space, nonexistent on the truck dashboard, or would have wires hanging. I'll just make do without it until I can get something I'm satisfied with. The truck dashboard is another story: It is a big dash, but very little usable space is available. I wonder if anyone makes a dashboard that is straight across the top, and straight down the front. It don't mean boxy, but just in a straight or slanted line, rather than all the little steps and bends that make the biggest part of the dash unusable. There isn't a space enough to mount the Pressure Pro Monitor, so until I figure something out it is stored in the console along with the GPS.

I frequently read blogs where the writer says how they don't like to cook the day they arrive at a destination, so they prepare something in advance. I always think to myself, DUH, why don't I do something like that. Well today I did. I cooked a couple of chicken breasts with potatos, carrots, celery and onions, thickened the juice into a tasty gravy, and I have enough for two meals. And since I rarely eat out except with my kids, I bought a pizza in town and brought it home. That satisfies my craving for pizza for another 6 months!

I still have to drive back to the Sportsman's Market and fuel up, get beer and ice, and possibly top off a propane tank. I say possibly because I hate to even think of dragging that tank out and into the truck, and then reversing the whole ordeal, especially in this heat. I didn't run the generator all that much last weekend so I hope I didn't use much propane, but I'd like to start off with two full tanks.

I hope that I will have cell phone and air card coverage for the days I'm at Manzanita Lake, so if I do I'll be writing an entry tomorrow. If not, then I'll see ya when I see ya! Everybody take care.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Well, it's getting better - Tuesday 2nd post

Things didn't turn out so bad after all. John made it here in time to check out the problems with the rig, and I met Doug and JoAnn after all. I took my camera with me and forgot to get pictures. Next time.

Now I know how to get into the closet if it ever gets locked from the inside again. John stopped the leak at the fresh water intake, and will install a part tomorrow to prevent it from happening again. He will also bring a cap for the outside electric outlets. And I know what I can spray on the toilet seal to keep the water from leaking out - hopefully. At least it will work for the time being.

It is terribly hot this afternoon and I'm sitting outside with my laptop, the dogs enjoying the breeze. They both shed quite a lot, but since Lady went swimming a couple of times at the lake over the weekend, she seems to have lost the rest of her winter coat. It usually comes out in tufts.

So all's well that ends well. I am so glad to be able to spend even a short time with Doug and JoAnn. Now I have to decide whether to vacuum the carpet or do laundry, or maybe just sit outside for a while. Guess which one will win?

Nothing is going right

I got up this morning with the idea that I would accomplish a lot of the preparation for my trip to Lassen. First thing was to install the Pressure Pro, since it has become clear to me that no one else is going to do it. I got it working and thought "what a breeze". The 6 sensors for the truck tires went on and programmed into the system. Then it started to beep. The pressure reading for several of the tires went steadily down. The tires looked fine so I figured I must have done something incorrectly, and I drove over to Les Schwab, god bless them! They removed the sensors, added air to the tires up to the level recommended by the tire manufacturer, and replaced the sensors. All is well, and I must not have screwed the sensors in properly. I came home to finish the installation on the 5th wheel and realized I need to bring in the slides in order to reach the valve stems. That job will have to be done last thing tomorrow. One problem with having this monitor is that I have a power source I normally use for my GPS, plus the cigarette lighter which doesn't work. That leaves me with only being able to plug in one thing at a time. I plan to make sure my GPS is charged enough so that I can turn it on when I need directions. I don't think I will have a problem at all finding my way without it though.

Next problem is that I have a leak at the city water intake. It is to the point where I can't even use it, and am now on the fresh water tank & water pump. I thought I would replace the little filter screen and O ring, but can't get to it. Also, the rubber cap that covers the fresh water intake is just about ready to fall off and get lost.

Somewhere on the way to the campground this last weekend and back here to the Park, I lost the plastic cap that covers the outside electric outlets - those just to the right of the door. What do I do if it rains? Duct tape will cover the outlets, I suppose.

Last night I tried to open the closet door to get out my vacuum cleaner and to see how much laundry I had to wash before leaving, but found the door wouldn't open - LOCKED FROM THE INSIDE! I don't know whose idea it was to place this kind of door handle on a closet. I'm assuming it is the same handle & lock that is on the door to the toilet room right next to it, with the little knob on the inside of the door that you turn in order to lock. On the outside is a tiny little hole, and I have used an allen wrench, several size little screwdrivers, a toothpick, and nothing works. It probably got accidental

ly locked this weekend, or I may have knocked it locked myself. I half-heartedly attempted to remove the hinges, but I know if I do I will mess something up. If all else fails.....

Then the toilet is presenting a big problem in that the seal doesn't keep the fresh water in the bowl from seeping out. I have been stepping on the pedal to flush, then lifting the pedal up with gentle pressure from my foot, then adding more water with the pedal on the right. It has worked so far but I know that's not right and at some point it won't respond to gentle pressure.

JoAnn and Doug are driving past Orland early this afternoon and will call me when they are close - we are to meet at the Berry Patch, right off the exit ramp. I am waiting on John, the RV repairman, who was 10 or 15 miles up the road in Corning this morning but who will call me when he is on his way back. I have to stay and wait however long it takes for him to get here, as I really need to get these issues cleared up before I leave for Lassen on Thursday morning.

Later -

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day; the upcoming Job

I got an early start this morning and drove the 15 miles or so to the Wal Mart at Willows. The WM at Chico has very a limited supply of items for an RV and I thought the one at Willows would be better since it is right off I-5. Not so. I did manage to spend about $220 though. I decided to put those wrap around carpet strips on the steps into the rig because Mandy has a tough time with them. She tends to slip or miss the step altogether, but I think it's because of her anxiety with them. I hope this makes her feel a bit more confident. I bought a 4 month supply of glucosamine for the dogs - not quite as good as the stuff sold by PetsMart but a heckuva lot cheaper!

I got a cheap hummingbird feeder (under $5). I love to watch the hummingbirds, but have had several feeders all of which were destroyed by squirrels and bears. I'll see how it goes with this one. I forgot to get a length of chain to hang it. I also remembered to get oil for the generator. I only bought a quart since I have no idea how much it takes and figure I can always get more even in a remote place like Lassen. I tried to think of things I needed and might have trouble getting later on.

I just love the Eureka screen tent I bought from Campmor. It is extremely easy to set up and will be easy enough to place over a picnic table. The other item I recently got in anticipation of no electric hookups was a Melitta non electric drip coffee maker. WOW - I had forgotten what coffee should taste like. My dad always drank drip coffee and from the time I was small I loved the aroma of it. I started drinking it as soon as they would let me, and have used percolators and electric drip machines, but although the electrics are a bit quicker since you don't have to boil the water separately, I doubt if I will ever go back. There is only a rich taste to the coffee and absolutely no bitterness or aftertaste. I don't want to use the generator early in the morning so I will have to grind the beans in the evening when I have the genny turned on for other things.

Back to shopping at WalMart, I never could find the Calgon softener. When I bought the last bottle it was with other laundry products. The trouble with WM is that they have the same item in so many different locations in the store you just don't know where to look. I saw laundry detergent in numerous locations as well as many other products in multiple locations. That is so frustrating and unnecessary, and every time I visit one of their stores I vow it will be the last. Some day I will give up on them for good.

I finally got a foam "noodle" and cut pieces off for the bedroom slide. I have hit my head one time too many. I didn't have it up long when a man approached from another campsite to ask where I found it. He said he had hit his head just this morning.

I still need a reclining outdoor chair; it is so much cooler out under the trees, but I guess I will take my nap on the couch this afternoon. I'm worn out by all that shopping. Now I have to stay home until next month's $ enters my bank account, and by then I'll be off to the wilderness. I'm looking forward to saving a bit rather than spending it, and actually having something left over at the end of the month.


I just got a phone call from the coordinator at Lassen, and my campground was officially opened this weekend. We arranged that I would drive up on this coming Thursday and stay at Manzanita Lake Campground for a night or as long as I want to, meet some of the other hosts, and then go out to Butte Lake. The site they are going to hold for me at Manzanita is a pull thru, and the host site at Butte Lake is pull thru also. I am ecstatic!

Now I'm getting scared to death. I am friendly, but not the most outgoing person in the world, and I just hope I can do a good job dealing with people. I don't deal well with fools, so please let them go to another campground or another park!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I'm back!

What a wonderful weekend I've had! I will write more about it tomorrow, when I'm not so tired. Just the mechanics of packing up to leave one place and setting up at another just wears me out.

I made a few mistakes this weekend. First of all, I thought I hitched up properly, but there was a step after that I was unsure of (and I'm too tired to even remember what it was except that it concerned landing gear). A couple of lanes over from me was a 5th wheel that had come in the day before, and a man was getting a grill or something set up. I walked over and asked if he could tell me, so he came over and looked at the hitch. He thought I'd be better off doing it all over again, which I did with him observing. I got it right and pulled out. I had thought I would back up but since I was later than I wanted to be leaving for Les Schwab's, I decided to go carefully forward. I had climbed the ladder and thought I would have clearance to get under the tree limbs without damaging anything, and I did.

The staff at Les Schwab looked at the four tires and determined there was still a lot of life left in them, and that they would be perfectly fine for now, so they suggested I save the money now and have them installed when they are needed. The more dealings I have with that company the more I trust them. It's too bad they are only in the Western states, and I just hope everything holds until I get back here a year from now.

They checked all the tire pressures on truck and 5th wheel and told me I was good to go! I ended up arriving at the lake earlier than intended since I didn't spend any time with the tires. I was unsure of the check in time so I pulled up across a lot of parking spaces up the hill from the boat launch. I walked over to the information board to see about times, rules, etc. Eventually one of the volunteers came by and asked if he could help me, so I explained about the family group getting together, and what sites we had booked. He told me I could go set up there right away, and while we were talking another volunteer came up and offered to escort me over to the site, me driving and him walking. After I parked the rig I got out to talk to him, and we ended up conversing well over an hour, about full timing, volunteering, our kids, different parts of the country, the southwest vs Maine, and lots of other topics. While we were talking a ranger drove up to give him some information and she spoke to me as well. Maybe it's because I am a soon-to-be volunteer in a Federal park that they were extremely friendly, but I really think they would be like that with all visitors. Another ranger came around at 10:00 pm to announce generators off, and she and I spoke for a while as well. What a wonderful, friendly group of people -- federal employees and volunteers alike. I was really impressed with the beauty of the park and campground, the cleanliness, etc. When I was leaving today the volunteer came by to wish me well. I woudn't hesitate to stay at a Corps of Engineers campground in the future.

Today when leaving I had a little trouble hitching up as it was on an angle, and because the angle of the sun made it difficult to see exactly the proximity of the king pin to the hitch through the mirror. I use the mirror a lot plus get in and out of the truck to see how it is going. I asked Steve to just do it for me, but he was in the mode of "You need to do it yourself and get your confidence up". Please, sometime soon, but not now!!! Didn't do me any good to plead and whine - I don't ever remember being that tough on him when he was growing up. I got the job done and drove back to Orland and the campground. I talked to Steve after they arrived home and he said they followed me and that I made my turns really well. I don't know why but my confidence the past few days was a a low point, where the 5th wheel is concerned. I drove back into my space here in the CG, completely forgot the sequence of things I needed to do, but finally figured it out. Then when I pulled the truck away from the 5th wheel I found I had forgotten to unplug the electric connection and the breakaway cord. In my defense I will say that in the middle of all this the CG owner walked up and asked how it was going, how was my weekend, etc. I think it broke my concentration so that I forgot about unhooking the electric and the breakaway. At least I will use that as a defense of my forgetfulness.

I haven't looked at my pictures yet so I will probably post some of them tomorrow. I will say that my daughter and daughter-in-law seemed happy to have the 5th wheel to stay in, and that made me very happy. I set up my new Eureka screen tent (with Donald's help), and the dogs and I slept in it both nights. I had the air mattress that I bought when I sold my house, plus my old Western Mountaineering down sleeping bag that I used when backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. I gave it to Joe when I decided my backpacking days were over with, and he brought it up for me this weekend. Even though I bought it about 11 years ago, that bag is as wonderful today as it was then. The comfort and loft of the feathers is amazing. It got very cool at night so I appreciated having the down sleeping bag. When it came time to break down the screen tent today I insisted I should do it myself (everyone seemed to want to help me) but I know I will have to go it alone some day soon. After I got it all down Steve said, Ok, now put it all back up and see if you can do it by yourself. I don't know how he could treat his mother that way but he did, and I proved I'm not over the hill just yet (but close).

I arrived back at the campground in Orland with completely full waste tanks and completely empty fresh water. I emptied the waste but just plugged into the city water connection for now. A few minutes ago the CG owner drove by to say they had a problem with the water and were shutting it down throughout the park, and that she would let me know when it comes back on. I guess I will be doing without water for a while and hope it isn't too much of a problem. I did fill my Brita pitcher but half of that went to the dogs with their supper this evening. I think I have one bottle of water left plus several bottles of beer, so I shouldn't die of thirst.

To be continued.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ready to roll

I was going to hitch up this evening but decided I will do it in the morning. I have been working hard all day and decided I'd like to have a cool one this evening and save the hitching up for the morning, which is my best time of day anyway. I will only have to close the windows and make sure that there is nothing that can fly around the rig while in transit and cause damage. I bought a couple of bags of ice this afternoon and they are in a cooler - hope they haven't completely melted by morning. I want to add at least one bag of ice to the black water tank as the sensors are completely haywire. I definitely have a problem with that tank and don't know exactly what I should do before I leave for Lassen. I really love living in an RV and being able to move when I want to, but it is an absolute nightmare having to do everything alone with no one to discuss it with. If there is one thing I am not dealing well with, it is that issue of not knowing what to do and having no one to talk to about it or share the knowledge with. I will survive though, and will not let something like this force me to change my lifestyle. I'm enjoying my lifestyle in every other way mostly, and after all, it is my choice. But I can complain a little bit.

I am so excited about getting together with family this weekend. Jeannie has started the twice a week monitoring (@ several hours each visit). So far she has been able to drive herself, but I came to CA a few weeks before Autumn was born and was able to drive her to the appointments since she couldn't drive herself by then. I am committed to the job at Lassen but I really wish I could be here for Jeannie as well. I hate having to make that kind of a decision. Sarah has never been inside the 5th wheel with the slides out, although she saw it when we were at my brother, Rob's house in Livermore just before Christmas. And Amy's husband, John - my brother in law hasn't seen it all all, so I'm ready to show off a bit.

I may not post while on my camping trip, so I hope all my US readers have a very good Memorial Day weekend, and I wish the Canadians a good weekend as well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oops--Awning closed! (2nd post Wednesday); Another Correction

I was reading the manual on how to open and close the awning. As most manuals are, this one's instructions and sketches are virtually undecipherable. So I fiddled around, came inside and did the dishes and a few other things, and then went back to try it again. I found the hook I was supposed to push with the long wand, and when I did it started retracting. The only thing making it retract slowly was the fact that I was hooked on the hook (if you can figure that out). While holding firmly to the wand with the hook on the end, that was holding back the other hook, I tried to reach the pull strap that hangs from the middle of the awning. Did I mention this awning is much too wide to suit me, and that an awning half or two-thirds the width would be more than enough? Well folks, I just couldn't stretch far enough. I have long arms but somehow in grabbing the pull strap I must have let go of the hook, allowing the awning to snap back up before I could catch the strap. I did a real jig trying to work both ends at the same time but I guess in my senior years I just have to admit I'm not as agile as I once was.

That awning snapped with a loud noise like an explosion, then the softer sound of something rolling. I thought maybe something rolled around on the roof, so I climbed back up on the roof but nothing looked out of place up there. I didn't check the ground on the other side of the rig to make sure something didn't roll down there - gotta remember to do that tomorrow. When I came inside later I noticed I hadn't shut the medicine cabinet over the sink tightly, and a few things rolled out. I hope that was what I heard, although I have a feeling it was something else.

I am going on record right now vowing to never use that dumb awning again. It's just a good thing I only had it extended a little way. If it had been all the way down it probably would have knocked the entire 5ver off level!

ANOTHER CORRECTION: I was reading my entries for the past few days. I realize I sometimes call the mountains between here (the Central Valley) and the Pacific Ocean the Cascades. That is not correct, they are the Coastal Range. The Cascades begin up close to the Oregon border. At least they both begin with "C" (sounds like the chorus of an old Sesame Street tune - "C is for Cookie" - also Coastal & Cascade).

View from the top

I climbed the ladder to the roof of my 5ver a little while ago. I had climbed it a couple of other times, but never actually stood on the roof. Very interesting. I took a broom with me, but with all the stuff coming from the tree overhead I will have to sweep everything tomorrow before pulling in the slides. The roof sure is dirty and I'm going to have to do something about that before long. I should just bite the bullet and come up with $400+ and have it done from stem to stern. Maybe if I don't buy any food for a while.....

I did laundry today and put clean sheets on the bed, so just in case my daughter in law wants to sleep in it over the weekend, I'm going to throw an old sheet on the couch and sleep there the next couple of nights. I may just vacuum the bedroom and then close it off so the dogs can't get into it, but I will run into the door during the middle of the night for sure, so maybe I won't do that.

I tried to close the awning and darn if I can figure out how it works. I just knew that would happen. I have a call in to Steve to see if he can remember what I need to do.

I'm going to clean out the fridge this evening so I decided a throw together meal is in order. I have a bunch of kale, one spicy bratwurst sausage which I sliced, and 3 potatos, cubed. They are cooking as I write this and the aroma is delightful! A little squirt of my heavenly olive oil (the expensive stuff I bought in Corning), and that will be my supper tonight. I have two different bottles of oil I bought at the Olive Pit, so I plan to get a baguette or french rolls and cut them up into cubes, and pour the oils into bowls. Nice appetizer for Friday evening. I could make a meal on that kind of thing (I already had a sample this afternoon!). That is one nice thing about the single life - if I had a man around I'd have to fix more substantial food, and definitely no more meals of chips, salsa & cheese! I don't do that very often, but it's nice to do it if I don't feel like cooking.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What a difference . . .

. . . 10 or 15 degrees makes. The temps went from about 105 the past three days down to 90 or thereabouts today. At 3 pm I realized that although all my windows & vents were open, I hadn't yet opened the doors or turned on the fan. It is a little "sticky" now at 6 pm, but livable.

I picked up a few more things for the camping trip, including some bubble soap in a bottle for the little kids. Remember blowing through the ring and releasing a string of beautiful bubbles? Wonder which kid will spill her bottle first - probably Alyssa and I can just hear her say "Uh oh". It is so cute when she says that, although it can strike terror in your heart until you find out what it is she is uh-oh'ing about. I also got pancake mix and pop tarts for the college girls who definitely won't get up in time for breakfast.

Not much else going on today, so I won't try to stretch today's entry any further. Until later -

Monday, May 18, 2009

Such a simple procedure -

Changing out propane tanks. I can't express in words how I have always dreaded performing this task, and I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that until today I had never done it from start to finish. While I was in Asheville for a week there were wonderful staff who did everything for me; once I got to Sacramento my wonderful son, Steve, usually did the job, and sometimes I called the mobile service that came out to Cal Expo, removed the tanks and filled them, then put them back into place. One time I was waiting for Steve and took the empty tanks out of the storage compartment, drove over to U Haul where I had them filled and drove back, to find Steve waiting so I let him put the full tanks back.

TA DA, today I did the whole thing and to tell the truth I don't know what I was so worried about. It went smoothly. I drove the half mile to Sportsman's Market, set the empties on the tailgate, and the owner took them out, filled them, and put them back into my truck. I had to lift them out once I got back, no easy job as they are pretty heavy. I sure hope no one was around to hear my comments as I carried those suckers to the rig. The thing that had worried me the most was connecting the lines, but it was a piece of cake. Actually the worst part was setting the full tanks inside that tray without demolishing it. After I had connected them, I immediately came inside and fired up the stove burners and turned on the water heater, so I'm satisfied I did it correctly. If anyone has a comment, particularly if the stove and water heater do not necessarily constitute a valid test, just go ahead and burst my bubble and let me know!

It is another hot day but not quite as bad as the past two. I'm doing without air conditioning today, and tomorrow is predicted to be about 10 degrees cooler. It isn't half bad sitting outside in the shade because there is a good breeze, but hot is hot, and with all the sunscreen I have applied, a 10 minute dog walk makes my skin red.

Some of the trees here are still dropping millions of little blossoms or seeds everywhere. When the dogs sit outside their fur gets full of them. My hair gets full of them (I cover my beer glass so it doesn't get full of them.). I left my truck windows open since yesterday and the front seat was covered with them when I got in it today. I will definitely have to sweep off the tops of the slides before moving this weekend.

In preparation for moving I turned the dining table back around to its proper position. I had turned it sideways, opened out the extra leaf, and shoved it against the window. This gave me much more room for my computer monitor, keyboard & mouse, as well as the notebooks, pens, and all the junk that one tends to deposit in the nearest accessible space. This way is necessary for movng, but I will definitely change it again when I'm parked at Lassen for a few months.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

2nd Post on Sunday

Steve arrived early in the afternoon and we went out to lunch, then drove to see the campsites we have rented for next weekend. He may try to get an additional adjacent site since more people are coming than we first thought. We figured out where everyone would set up their tents, and the sites for my rig and his truck camper. My space has the best spot for the 5th wheel, but isn't exactly the best for tents, so we decided mine would be the gathering spot. Plenty of space for chairs, small tables, screen tents, bbq grills, a big picnic table, etc. We are going to have a great time!

We came back to the RV and he fixed the latches that had come off, checked the batteries and added water (they were all in need of filling), showed me how to work the awning, and did a lot of little things that needed doing. He left the awning out a bit, but not all the way out. I figure I can get it back up myself this way. It really needs to be stretched open and cleaned. We also discussed how I would get the 5ver out of the space on Friday morning to take it to get the new tires installed, and then I will drive directly to the campsite. If I pull forward it might be a problem with low branches brushing against my a/c. He said I could probably do it, but recommended I back out. He showed me where the tires on the 5th wheel should be when I start turning, and at what point I begin to turn the truck. I should write it down so I won't forget it during the coming week. I think I'll manage ok. I need a success in backing it up, and then I'm convinced I'll have the confidence I need to do it over and over again.

Steve hasn't had time to read my blog lately, so I mentioned the idea I had about traveling from Red Bluff over CA 36 towards Eureka. He didn't even let me finish before he said "NO, DON'T DO IT!" Just about the same words written to me by Big Al of the Bayfield Bunch! Steve has always loved camping, rock & mountain climbing, and the outdoors in general, and is always looking to take off on a less traveled road. I think he has been over every road from the valley to the coast in the state.

I lived and worked in Sacramento from 1983 to 1989, and then PCS'd to headquarters in Washington, DC. (That's permanent change of station, to non military folks). My husband and I separated at that time, and Steve who was about 14 yrs old at the time, drove with me in my car while two other kids flew to Baltimore and stayed with my sister until we arrived. (My oldest, Mike, was just starting college in Sac and stayed with his dad until he transferred to George Washington Univ. in DC two years later.) Steve was the perfect traveling partner, even back then. Driving through Nebraska we would drive a little on I-80 and then get off and drive for a while on one of the parallel farm roads. You see so much more of what a state looks like when you get away from the interstate. We took 6 days for the trip and enjoyed every mile of it.

It is now getting close to 9 pm and I've turned the A/C off and opened the windows. It is really getting stuffy in here - I'm sure it got up to, or maybe past 105 today. Tomorrow will be another hot one and then I hope it cools down a bit. I will be busy all week getting the rig ready to move, propane tanks filled, etc. I'll have a week after the camping trip until I leave for Lassen, and after this trip the use of the generator will no longer be an unknown for me, as there are no hookups at the campgrounds and I'll have to use the genny. There is a water spigot nearby in case of dire necessity, and a dump station on the way out, although my tanks are large enough to see me through the weekend. We will be close to the showers and restrooms, and I'm hoping most everyone opts for the public showers. I don't want to explain why you can't take 20 minute showers in an RV, especially if there are several people using them. (The two pregnant women can do anything they want, however.) I'll have enough to deal with the use of the toilet - by my little granddaughter Autumn, who is 2-1/2 and absolutely fascinated with the pedal flush. This is going to be a wonderful opportunity for me to test things before I really need them. It's a good thing I was just about forced to use the A/C today and I know that it works very well. All in all things are looking up and I hope it continues.

Another scorcher

With temps forecasted today at 103F I have decided to turn on the a/c a bit later. The mornings are very comfortable, especially when dog walking before 7 am. The evenings aren't bad except for the bugs keeping the dogs and me indoors where the retained heat is awful. Yesterday I reached for a glass to pour a cold one, and the glass felt like it just came out of the dishwasher. Everything in the rig feels warm to the touch, even the toilet seat! The beer isn't cold enough, although that could be the warm glass. I should drink it out of the bottle except I just don't feel right at my age swigging out of a quart!

Steve is going to try to come up to Orland for a few hours this afternoon, and we plan to ride out to the lake and scope out our campsites once more. I don't know what the final count will be but I think it keeps growing. Ara will be home from college this week, and a couple of foreign exchange students from her school are touring the US this summer and will be in the area, so they are coming with us as well. I would like to leave the dogs here in the air conditioning, but it depends if Steve brings his with him then I'll take mine and we can let them run up on the buttes though I can't imagine any running in this heat.

I spoke with the campground owner yesterday, and while I am gone he plans to pull the picnic table over on the parking pad as an indication that the space is rented. I will probably leave my grill and I'd like to leave the big ladder but if Steve wants to rearrange the storage again I'll have him stow it.

Thanks to Al of the Bayfield Bunch for looking up CA State route 36 in the Western Mountain Directory. Yesterday I mentioned driving from this part of California (North Central) over to the Pacific Coast. There are few roads that go directly across, and 36 looked it might be ok, but NO, IT ISN'T! I will either find a better route or just skip it altogether. I could have gotten stuck between two redwood trees growing along the white lines at the side of the roadway, and been there forever!

Thanks also to rickd, a reader who told me about Highway 299 from Redding to Eureka. I read the posts in one of the forums and the folks who have traveled it all say it isn't a bad road at all. Hot this time of year though, on the eastern side of the Cascades.

Since there is no doubt a reader or two from California who knows it better than I do, I should clarify that there is a loooong valley that runs most of the length of the state. Where I am right now is properly referred to as the Northern Sacramento Valley. South of Sacramento is the San Joaquin Valley, and the valleys run all the way down to the Imperial Valley, which I believe is the southernmost before Mexico, but I won't swear to it. I refer to the whole shebang as the Central Valley! It is agricultural and contributes greatly to feeding the nation. It is criss-crossed with canals and water runs from them to the fields, an absolutely amazing system.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Triple Digits

It isn't even Noon and the thermometer is already reading 100 degrees! Now I remember why I never liked the Central Valley of CA during the summer.

I decided to put out the small awning over the kitchen door to hopefully keep some of the sunshine from entering the rig. There are three tools in storage and I knew I needed one of those. One turned out to be for the scissor jacks; the other one is for ?; finally I pulled out the third one and Voila! I hooked the awning and then turned and turned the pole (which was straight) with much difficulty. It took a while to get the awning out to where I was satisfied (and my hands hurt from turning). After I unhooked it and was going to carry the pole back to storage, it suddenly snapped into the position where turning it would have been a breeze! I knew there was a better way but it was too hot to spend much time over it. I'm glad I wasn't on Candid Camera! I can't even do the small awning - imagine what I would do if I tried to bring down that 18' baby that stretches about halfway across the side of the 5th wheel.

I was looking at maps last night, one of my favorite things to do. I wondered how far it was from Orland to the Pacific Ocean, and determined that if you could fly from Orland due west to approximately the site of Rockport, it would be in the vicinity of 80 miles. But sorry, you can't get there from here. You probably could, by one of the most convoluted routes you can imagine, but I doubt anyone ever does it especially with an RV. In between the Central Valley and the ocean is the Cascade Mountain Range, in this latitude of California it is called Mendocino National Forest, and the few roads that you can take would be forest roads. A better option would be to drive to Red Bluff, probably 40 or so miles north of Orland, and while it is still a very twisting and winding road all the way west, at least it's a red route, which is labeled as "Highway". I think on that route you must go through the Shasta Trinity National Forest, which meets the Mendocino somewhere in the vicinity. I can usually see the coastal range in the west, as well as the Sierra in the east. Awesome! The route from Red Bluff goes a bit west-northwest, and you could end up in Eureka, a lovely name for a town. I think if I were to drive my rig from Red Bluff, I'd be ready to shout "Eureka, I found it!" by the time I eventually got there. (The heat is making me silly!) I have no idea how long it would take, but I note that there is a campsite now and then through the forest. Maybe next year I will try it. For the fun of it I did a Google map, which shows it to be about 150 miles for just under 5 hrs. That says something about the route, for sure. (I am sure the time is given for driving a car, and an RV would take much longer.)

I would love to hear from someone who has taken this route (or a similar one). I think I would worry about getting myself in a spot where my 5ver couldn't make it, although it is a "Highway", which no doubt just indicates that it is paved all the way.

Here is a picture of my campsite at Parkway RV Park. I am at the end of the first row and have a wide circular area on one side. There is an RV on the other side, but that is all in my immediate line of vision from the rig. It's very nice at about 80F.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Correction, 2nd post today

I think I need to make a correction about my description of the Lance truck camper I saw at Costco today. I said the one I really liked had a wet bath, but in fact, it is what they call a dry bath. I am not so familiar with terminology as it relates to a TC, but a wet bath means the shower is over the sink/toilet and it gets the entire room wet! The dry bath means there is a separate shower and thereby keeps the toilet and sink from being inundated. If I'm wrong again, somebody please correct me. (I guess you could say I have a "wet kitchen" because when I do dishes the entire area gets inundated, hahaha._

Jaunt to Chico Chico

I made a trip to Chico today because I wanted to get some things there for the camping trip plus to take to Lassen. I bought so much meat that I don't know if I can fit it into the freezer. I bought a family pack of boneless pork chops - 9 chops in the pkg - but they were much thicker than I like to cook and I just finished slicing them in half. If I had a good sharp knife and wasn't afraid I'd cut myself and bleed to death, I could easily have gotten 3 chops each out of a couple of them. Then I got a family pack of ground beef and also repackaged them into 1# and 1-1/2# packages. I haven't gotten around to doing the chicken yet. After a few times of opening the freezer to put the meat in, the gasket fell loose - AGAIN! I have had service twice on the gaskets and they still fail. I have a call in for the repair man, but will buy some superglue in case it happens again at Lassen. I would never recommend a Dometic fridge, although I have heard that Norcold is just about the same.

I didn't have a tarp, so bought a pack of two at Costco. They are large ones and I hope I never have to use one, but of course I'm looking at the worst case scenario.

Thanks for the many kind words on my post yesterday. One thing I forgot to mention is the awning. It is so wide that I wouldn't dare try to lower it myself, plus it looks like there are a couple of steps to it rather than just pulling down on the hook. I envy anyone who can just press a button and lower & raise the awning, because it would be nice to use. Mine is going to stay rolled up until it falls off, I'm afraid.

Coming out of Costco I looked to the left and didn't I see two Lance truck campers on display! One was rather small and compact, maybe suitable for weekend trips for one person or a couple. The other was gorgeous! It had a sink with decent size bowl plus a narrower space for rinsing; a slide out for the kitchen range and storage cabinets; a comfortable booth dinette across from the kitchen, and a wet bath with large rectangular shower pan. The bedroom was spacious with room to stand on either side of the bed, (so making the bed would be easy); sliding mirrored closet doors, and some other cabinets & drawers. I couldn't live in it with the two dogs, but I think it would be enough space for me by myself. I don't know a thing about getting one on or off the truck (or the truck under the camper as the case might be), but it sure looked nice. I would miss a couch or recliner for nap time, although a good padded outdoor lounge chair might suffice. Believe it or not, there are lots of folks who full time in a TC, and I read their posts on the Woodall's forum, which has become one of my favorite forums.

And speaking of a nap..................zzz!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Six-Month Assessment of Full-time Rving

I have covered some of this in previous blogs and it’s a long post, so just skip it if you don’t want to wade through it. Six months isn’t long enough to really become comfortable and/or self-assured after a complete change of lifestyle, so I think of myself as going through a learning process, sometimes very difficult for me.

The Life-Style: I really love it. When I started out from New York to California last December, I knew my eyesight was deteriorating and that I would need cataract surgery very soon. That surgery and the recuperation period required me to “sit tight” for longer than I really wanted to, and the danger in staying in one place too long is that you get too complacent. You know there are adventures out there, but they require effort on your part and you have been practicing effortless living to the extent possible while recovering. I might say that it is probably more difficult for a solo Rver, because everything has to be done by you, as well as the driving, so you just delay the gypsy life for a bit.

I am having a good time right now making lists for things I will need at Lassen for the summer. I don’t know how easy it will be to resupply, or how far I will have to drive for supplies, so my inclination is to get everything I might (or might not) need. If you have been reading my blog all along, you know how I have stressed myself out over which screen tent to buy and which non-electric coffee-maker, but you don’t know all the other little things that have me making countless lists.

Even with the delays and being in one place for a while, I love the idea that I will be traveling soon, and again in the fall. I’m even planning for next year!

The 5th Wheel RV: I really love it. It is spacious and beautiful and comfortable. That said, I have come to realize it is really more space than I need or want, and that I could possibly find comfort and beauty in something smaller and easier to handle. There is simply more maintenance than I can deal with at my age and state in life. I’m not lazy nor am I ignorant, but when you take every little item that goes into the manufacture of this lovely RV and realize that it is much more critical to maintain than, say, the eqivalent item in a stix & brix house, you have yourself a whole lot of work to do. On top of that, some of these are things that I never knew existed much less how to take care of or to repair. Some things I don’t mind learning while others I have no desire to know about. There isn’t anyone reading this who knows everything about everything, so you understand that you try to do your best with your abilities and hope your partner understands the others. No partner? No one to understand or do the things you can’t? But that is my choice and I have to live with it. It just makes it more difficult to stay positive about living in an RV.

I think what I need is to take Willie’s advice and get ON THE ROAD AGAIN. While I will be sitting for a while at Lassen, I hope to be challenged in ways that can help me grow as a person.

The Negative Side: The things I really dislike about an RV after nearly six months, you are probably already aware of. The bedroom overheads!!! The kitchen sink that splashes water everywhere; the lack of usable counter space; the carpet that doesn’t look good and never will; the difficulty in cleaning the outside.

The Things I Thought Would Be Negatives but Aren’t: Storage space is more than adequate. I have loads of space in the basement, although when I am back in Asheville next winter I will probably pick up some items from my rented storage space there. The kitchen cabinets, double closet in the bedroom, under-bed storage, and bedroom drawers are all plenty adequate. Most of these spaces have room for lots more, although I don’t want to try to fill them up. I have enough space that I can consider ripping those bedroom overhead cabinets off the wall and doing without, or taking out the monstrosity of an entertainment center (yeah, I’m still b*tching about that).

Freedom: Since I often grouse about not having anyone to share the work or joys of traveling with, I will close with this statement. I love being wild and free. I was born to be wild and free. I would love to find a compatible gypsy to share my golden years, but the odds are greatly against that happening – I’d probably have more chance of winning the California lottery. So I won’t compromise my freedom to be who I am and do what I want in the manner I want to do it. Everyone needs a little attitude adjustment now and then, including me, and I sometimes overlook the fact that I don’t have anyone to re-attach latches or check the batteries because it’s my choice to be free, but I can come and go where and when I want without consulting or answering to anyone.

Comments to this post are welcome, including negative comments. I’m learning . . .
Also, I might later add something I didn't think of at the time of writing.

What should I do today?

I just can't decide. I thought about going to Wal Mart in Willows, about 10 miles south, but there is a lot of road work being done nearby and I think they have closed some of the ramps to I-5. I took my shower this morning, just in case. The haircut I got after I finally found a salon and a place to park, is very short and really easy to deal with. I thought I would try not blowing it dry, but gave in and smoothed it out with a blast of hot air. I don't want to have to rely on a dryer if I need a generator to use it.

I'm not sure what has been wrong with me lately, but everything seems to fall apart at the same time. Maybe it's just me - I'm pretty short with the dogs as well. When I was in the process of selling my house I frantically searched for a suitable and affordable RV. I leaned towards 5th wheels, mainly from what I read and heard on the various RV forums and chats, and the nearly universal advice was "get the most space you can afford". I liked the idea of the separate bedroom & bath; not having to tow a smaller vehicle, and various other reasons. When I did go to an RV sales lot, the Class C's were just too expensive for me. Six months later with the current economy, I could find a number of C's that I could afford, but that was then and now is now.

I got an email from a woman who had read on one of the forums that I was searching for an RV. She told me her friend had a 5th wheel & truck she wanted to sell, and gave me a link to photos of the rig. I was blown away by the looks of it, the spaciousness, the many features I didn't think I'd be able to find, and best of all, the affordable price. By that time I was so sick and tired of the attitude of salesmen, I was glad to deal with an individual seller.

Maybe I was in too much of a hurry, but by this time I had sold my house and had no where to live. I stayed with my son & daughter-in-law for a while, but with my having two dogs it wouldn't have worked out for very long, and at the end of November 2008 I took possession of a 2004 Nu Wa Hitchhiker and 2002 Ford F-350. I love them both, and I love the lifestyle. I realize now that I actually don't need all this space (although the dogs probably do), and I'd be just as happy in something smaller and easier to maneuver. I still can't back the thing up and I haven't been moving it all that much, so haven't had the opportunity to practice. I'm parked here for two months, as an example, and no way am I going to hitch the 5ver to the truck to go find an empty parking lot to drive around in for an hour or so. It's just too much of an effort to hitch and unhitch, but I think it is something I could learn fairly easily if I practiced it enough.

I can't put into words what I think of the space I have. My kitchen is in the rear of the unit and is almost like it's own little room even though it doesn't look or feel closed in. But compared to my house there is relatively little counter space. I splash water all over when washing dishes, my hands, rinsing vegetables, etc. I'm not normally sloppy, but it ALWAYS splashes everywhere. I haven't figured out why. Even with a countertop extension there just isn't the workspace needed to chop vegetables, mix things, and the general preparation for a meal. Keep in mind there is just me, and how would it work for two people. It's frustrating to say the least, and I think I might as well have less space and fewer overheads to bump my head on.

In essence, I believe if I don't have the comforts and space of a house, then I want to live a minimal lifestyle - not just shrink the space for living the same way. I'm not sure what I mean by that so I can't explain it to you, but when I figure it out I will make it the subject of another post.

By the way, I've filled the holes in the cabinets with matchsticks and glue and the latches are ready to be put back on. The reason they are ready, but not finished, is that I still haven't figured out how to hold the door up in the open position while manipulating the latch in place and putting the screws back in. I sure have been using a lot of four letter words lately over this ordeal.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Coffee Maker - another post

I am so happy that Dione from the Nu Wa forum commented on my coffee maker dilemma, because I phoned Melitta and asked if I needed an additional $46 contraption or whether the picture on their website was what I would receive - 10 cup glass pot, cone filter, lid for pot. She assured me that it is a complete system at $14.99 + shipping + California tax, required because I'm having it shipped to this state. So that problem is solved and I will be able to enjoy wonderful coffee while I'm performing never-ending maintenance on my rig!

Just get with the program, Gypsy!!!

It looks like another beautiful day coming up and I should be thinking about how I can use it wisely. There are a number of little jobs that need doing that I've been avoiding. I have nice oak cabinets everywhere that stay tightly shut, great for when we're moving. So far I've never had a problem with a cabinet door coming open in transit. But one by one the catch that the door latch fits into is coming loose so that the screws are falling out entirely, and can't just be screwed back in. I have a hard time figuring out why, but wonder if it's possibly to do with the very dry weather causing the wood to shrink and the screws fall out. (I think this makes sense - with a little more humidity the wood expands around the screw, holding it more tightly.) I bought a bottle of wood glue and planned to fill the holes with glue and when it's dry to re-screw the latches back on, but I can't figure out how to force the glue into those tiny screw holes.

To make matters worse, two of the cabinets are overheads which will make it more difficult to work with. The doors on both swing up so I will need to hold them open somehow while I do the repair work. I am so frustrated with this problem that I will just put it off, which I've been doing for a month and a half - okay if I'm not going anywhere - although probably more of them will fail before long.

Then there is the cleaning of the outside that I need to get back to. I think if I went back six months in time, knowing the little things that constantly pop up and need attention, I would have opted for something very simple - maybe a small travel trailer (Scamp, Casita, etc.) or better yet, a pop-up tent camper. The living space in the fiver is great, but more small things are apt to go wrong than in a stix & brix house in my opinion. Those of you who have been with me from the beginning when I made the decision to sell my house, will remember that I did so because I could no longer handle the maintenance. That was mostly outdoor maintenance, as I lived on the side of a mountain with literally hundreds of trees blowing their leaves and dropping their branches all around. Don't misunderstand, I would not go back and I love the traveling life, but I'm beginning to realize I bought more RV than I need for one thing. More RV means more things to take care of and to go wrong. This place is like a miniature house, and I guess I didn't want a miniature house, just an adequate space to travel and live in.

I'll deal with it of course, but I think it's something I've suspected all along and am now just getting around to admitting and saying out loud.

You see how clever I am - sitting here whining about the situation thereby putting off doing anything about it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Coffee maker - 2nd post today

The search for a good non-electric coffee maker is still on. If worse comes to worse I can always find a cheap percolator, but that is not the tastiest coffee so I will keep looking for a drip system. I went to Ace Hardware this afternoon with the Melitta part number and info I found on the internet. It turns out the website is a bit misleading (or maybe it's just that I didn't use my common sense). The price was too good to be true, and IF IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY ISN'T! Though the page showed an entire coffee making system it turns out that what they were selling were the filters. You must buy a Chemex coffee pot for somewhere around $46 plus the filter cone, plus the special Melitta filters. The laugh is on me, I'm afraid, as I overlooked the simple phrase, "caveat emptor".

Someone commented that a French Press could be easily found, and I agree - I've seen them advertised and in the stores, and they are relatively inexpensive. My experience with them was when I visited Ireland and stayed in a furnished flat for 3 wks, and it was equipped with the French press. Maybe it's a combination of the coffee that is available in Ireland (terrible) and the press, but it was awful coffee and I only drank it so I wouldn't get a headache! There was always sludge in the bottom of my coffee cup from it. When I moved there a German friend loaned me her electric drip coffee maker and coffee grinder that she wasn't using at the time, and I had the coffee beans sent from America. Cordula's coffee was always good (she had some sort of German coffee making contraption), and mine was excellent as well, using her spare equipment. We probably had the only decent coffee in the entire country. To give the Irish credit, they brew the best tea in the world (Barry's tea is wonderful). I drank tea in the afternoons and to be sociable when in company, but my morning coffee is always my favorite part of the day.

I'll keep searching.


The RV park is filling up with a group and I've noticed a steady stream between where they are parked and the laundry room, so that was first on the agenda this morning. I was out of certain clean clothing and had no choice but to find an available washing machine very soon. I was in luck - and got two loads into the machines while talking to the man who is parked a few spaces down from me, who was folding the last of his laundry. He turns out to be very pleasant and nice to talk to. No surprise there - he is originally from Chicago and I've never met an unfriendly Chicagoan. He said he uses this park as a home base, and goes out (tent) camping from here now and then.

I went in to town after the laundry was done to look for a place to get my hair cut, and to see if I could find an alternative to my electric coffee maker. I had found a Melitta stove top drip coffee maker on the Ace Hardware website, so I went to their local store. They don't carry it in stock, but if I get the part # and description to them by tomorrow I can get it by Wednesday. That is certainly a quick turn around and I think it will work out just fine for me. I'm glad I haven't gone out and bought 500 of the round paper filters, because I will need to get a supply of the Melitta cone filters.

I only found one hairdresser which was next to Ace, but there was no available parking so I decided to go back another time.

When I got back I set a bag of charcoal on the picnic table and brought some groceries inside to put away. I heard the sprinklers go off and the water hitting the picnic table so I ran out to grab the charcoal before it got wet. Well, the water hit me square on, over and under the table and in just a few seconds I got pretty well soaked! It was a good thing I had clean dry clothes to put on!

There are about 10 or so RV's who seem to be together who came to the park just recently. So much for the legendary friendliness of RVers, and sorry folks, but I just haven't seen much of it anywhere. I drove past a number of them on two occasions, my windows down and definitely making eye contact. I waved to each and every group of them, as well as a few individuals who were walking nearby, but in not one instance did anyone wave back -- they just sat and watched me drive by. So I have come to the conclusion that there are many RVers who are very friendly to their own particular groups, clubs, and acquaintances, but who don't have the time of day for a stranger in their midst. No problem for me - I don't want to join their group or anything like that - I just think a smile and a wave is the proper thing to do but it isn't evidently a universal practice. That said, I have also met some very friendly folks, but mostly they are traveling by themselves. I guess it's the groups who don't want any intrusion into their cliques.

I think maybe this is why I prefer being a loner, but I'm a friendly loner at that. Now I could just drive by them with my nose in the air, but I think I will keep smiling and waving just to piss them off!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Les Schwab . . .

. . . is my new best friend! You may remember that on last week's trip to Sacramento I had a very low front right tire on my truck. Just before leaving there I went to a local Les Schwab to get air in it. This morning when I was getting ready to come back to Orland I looked at the tire to find it had lost air again. I thought I could make it back the 100 or so miles, but my daughter insisted I get air on the way out of town. I decided to get fuel at Safeway near their house (best price on diesel), and put air in the tire. After I had filled the fuel tank and was getting ready to go over to the air pump I heard someone calling my name. It turned out that Donald (my son-in-law) had followed me to the station to help me with the tire. God bless him! It isn't as easy to pump up a tire to 85#, as I mentioned in a previous post, as on a regular car or SUV tire.

After dropping the dogs off at the campground I immediately went to Les Schwab and they took a look at it. A little while later they told me it was ready to go - they replaced the valve stem that had gone bad. No charge. This is the 3rd Les Schwab I've dealt with since fulltiming and I have been really pleased with the way I've been treated, the service I've received, and the amount it has cost me. So now I'm a fan for life. I plan on getting the 4 new tires for the 5th wheel the last week in May, and I was dreading the news that I might have to replace two more tires on the truck. That would have made 10 tires in 6 months, and 8 tires in the same time is bad enough.

I wrote a bit yesterday about the problems Jeannie had and how thankful I was that I heeded the voice in my head and drove to Sacramento, and was there to help them out with watching Autumn during their brief hospital trip. It seems that Donald had to go to give the staff some information, and when they asked him if he wanted someone to come to Jeannie's room to pray, he thought it must be pretty serious. Then they asked him if Jeannie had signed an advanced directive, and he was horrified to think both she and the baby were in such danger. Then the nurse told him he could go into the room to see her, and she was bawling - with joy because she had just found out everything was ok. But after what he had been given to think, and then to see her crying her eyes out, he nearly had a heart attack himself, poor guy.

Then they came home and he grilled the most wonderful steaks, shrimp, mushrooms & asparagus, and he had also made chocolate covered strawberries. He gave me a box of them for Mother's Day, and here is a picture after I had eaten a couple.

After dinner he and Jeannie went to deliver a box of strawberries for all the nearby Mom's in their families, but I stayed home and rested my eyes after being worn out by Autie during the day. She was really very good but the energy that radiates from a small child is enough to bring on exhaustion to their Nana,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

To all the moms out there! I decided to drive to Sacramento this morning and surprised Jeannie when I walked in. A couple of hours after I arrived she realized she hadn't felt the baby kick for a while - being high risk and diabetic, she is supposed to feel at least 10 kicks every two hours. Her usually highly-athletic baby was quiet most of the day, so she called the hospital and they wanted her to come in for monitoring to be on the safe side. So I stayed with Autumn while Donald took Jeannie to the hospital. I was so relieved when she called to say that as soon as the monitor was put on her the baby started kicking wildly (and has only slowed down a little ever since). I have learned to follow my intuition, and I knew I had to drive here today. I'll be going back tomorrow and will write a better blog then. I can barely think straight right now - how can a two-year old wear out a healthy mature older woman? I can't figure it out!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Improvement, maybe?

I still felt pain in my hip and leg when I walked the dogs this morning, but after breakfast I decided to get back up on the ladder. I reasoned that if it was indeed what led to my pain and discomfort, then doing more cleaning from the ladder won't make it any worse. (Is this sort of like getting back up on the horse that threw ya?)

I only cleaned a small portion, mainly because it takes so much effort and elbow grease. There has to be an easier way - the $400+ estimate for cleaning & waxing that I got from two different sources may be worth it, but I can't spend that much on it right now. There is a rough chalky film on the surface, and once I get that smooth it probably won't matter how I clean it the next time.

The park owner came by today to say they would be shutting the water off while work is done to repair the well this afternoon. I shut off the city water supply and filled the fresh tank about 2/3.

I can't make up my mind whether to drive back to Sacramento for Mother's Day. Jeannie is the one who wants me to come, and if she asks me again I won't be able to say no very easily. I'm worried about sitting for the two hour drive each way affecting whatever this pain is. I took two ibuprofen today but it hasn't seemed to make a difference, so I'll just wait and see. So far today we've been missing each other's phone calls.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Not one of my better days

It started first thing this morning when I was pouring the last cup of coffee out of the pot. I knew it wouldn't all fit into the cup but I stood there pouring it and watching it run over the sides of the cup and all over the countertop. The cup was then too full to add my half & half, and too hot to drink without it, so I had to wait until it cooled enough to sip some so I couldthen pick up the cup.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a sharp pain running from my hip all the way down my left leg. Sciatica came to mind and then I got comfortable and went back to sleep. I forgot about it until I tried to walk today, and my leg really hurts. I think it could be from standing near the top of the stepladder yesterday - a stance which produces tension anyway - and cleaning part of the rig. I'm glad it's too windy to do more of it today so I'm planning to sit still and rest, and hope the pain goes away.

I have been using a dry wash product and have been very satisfied with the results. How satisfied I wasn't sure of until yesterday. It would be so much faster to get a bucket of water and some cleaner, and a scrub rag or sponge, than to apply this dri wash product. So to see if I could notice a difference I used some Simple Green in a bucket of water & a terry cloth rag on a small portion. After rinsing and letting it dry I ran my fingers over the Dri Wash and the soapy water solution, and couldn't believe how smooth the Dri Wash leaves the surface. As you know my rig hasn't had any care of the outside for several years, so I think this is a real good test. Maybe when I'm finally finished with the whole rig I can get the dust off with water, but until I get whatever it is off the surface I have to keep going with the dry product. Just looking at it from a side angle shows the nice gloss that is underneath the weathering and neglect. The trouble is that I have such a long way to go, need to buy more OxyGone, and put a lot of time in on that big stepladder.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Corning, CA

I drove about 10 miles north today to the small town of Corning, looking to sample and buy olives and olive oil. The only place open for business was the Olive Pit, and I bought two bottles of oil plus a jar of very tasty Manzanillo olives. This must not be the time of year to buy these products, as most places seem to be closed to the public right now. I like olive oil with a peppery aftertaste, and I found a great one! My oldest granddaughter loves olives and she will be home from college and camping with us over Memorial Day, so I plan to share the jar with her.

I also bought a Eureka screen tent for over the picnic table at Lassen, and now I need to return the umbrella with netting that I bought last weekend. The Eureka will be lighter weight so it will be easier for me to handle and set up/take down. It is more like the tent setup that I am familiar with and I think I will like it. I ordered it from Campmor, on the telephone because I wanted to ask some questions. The gentleman on the line had a very strong NY/NJ accent, and asked if I had ever purchased anything from Campmor. Well of course I have purchased quite a few items over the years but didn't think I had done so recently, however, when I gave him my last name he repeated back to me my current address, phone number and email. He really loved saying the "gypsy" in my email address, and called me that several times. With that strong accent he sounded just like an old boyfriend of mine, who happened to be the person who originally nicknamed me "Gypsy" oh so many years ago.

I haven't done any rig cleaning lately because of the weather, but since today is such a beautiful day I think I will go outside and try to tone up those muscles in my arms.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Windows and Overheads

These are two subjects that cause me grief and I have written about both of them.

First of all, the windows: I would guess that most or all RV's have the same type of windows, at least the ones that slide up and down. Some of them are extremely difficult to raise or lower because you must hold two metal tabs toward the center while lifting up or pulling down the window. The windows in the house I sold last year had two tabs that had to be pressed towards the center, but once you did that you didn't have to hold them while opening or closing the window, so I know they could be made that way for an RV. So last night I was closing one of the windows, and being on a slide it is difficult to get to since I would have to move all the furniture out in order to stand in front of the window and manipulate it head on. So I always twist my spine and reach over in order to do this task, on ALL of this type window in my RV. Back to last night, I ended up pinching my thumb when closing the window. I do that regularly but this was pretty bad and my finger started to bleed.

I went into the bedroom to find a band-aid. The ones in the medicine cabinet were the wrong size, so I opened the first overhead to look, but as there were none in that cabinet I went to the middle overhead cabinet, where I found the band-aids. I was looking down at the box in my hands and taking a band-aid out, forgetting that the door to the first cabinet was still open. I started walking back, banging my head on the door, somehow turned around, and damned if I didn't bang my head the second time. I was pretty steamed by this time and every bad word in my vocabulary came to mind (and was said aloud).

The only positive thing was that right next to the box of band-aids were the dogs' flea & tick meds that I couldn't find a couple of weeks ago - right in plain sight I might add.

I am coming up on 6 months of living in the RV at the end of May, and I'm planning to write up an assessment of positives and negatives, and you can be sure on which side of the ledger the windows and overheads will fall.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Arranging for new tires

I visited the Les Schwab in Orland this afternoon to get an estimate for four new tires for the RV, and to make arrangements to have them put on the 22nd of May, just before driving out to the lake for our camping weekend. The amount quoted is just about exactly the amount I have saved towards the cost for them so I can't cry over it, although I wish I could spend it on some other RV-related item. When I got home I remembered that I wanted to get an estimate on hooking up the Pressure Pro system. It completely slipped my mind while I was there. The PP is the very first thing I bought after selling the house and buying the rig, and it is still waiting in the box to be taken out and used. The people at the Les Schwab store where I bought the duallies said they didn't install the Pressure Pro, but maybe this store will. They have a special area to work on RV's and large trucks, so I'm just hoping they have more call to do something like that.

It is still very windy here and beginning to warm up considerably. The weather is predicted to be in the upper 80's before long. I wish there was a place that stayed in the 60-70 degree range year around!

I am using every excuse I can come up with to keep from starting to organize the kitchen cabinets and those of the overheads. I have a good idea where everything is, but it could be much more neatly arranged. I am avoiding just about every job that needs doing, and if I had a TV I would probably have spent the day watching infomercials!

Monday, May 4, 2009

"Home" in Orland

I drove back this morning and was pleasantly surprised that the traffic was so light when I left Sacramento about 9:30 am. Yesterday when fueling the truck I noticed that the right front tire was terribly low, so I added air. I have heard that it takes a long time to air up the larger tires, and all I can say is that it is certainly different than topping off my old Jeep's 35 psi tires. So this morning I drove to a nearby Les Schwab as soon as it opened and asked if they could check the front tires and add air if needed. The man did just that and he said they were in good condition. I wonder why that one tire lost so much air though. He also replaced a lost valve cap on the driver's side tire. Now I must soon see the Les Schwab tire center here in Orland and arrange for four new tires to be put on my 5th wheel.

I am so tired from the travel back this morning. It is amazing to me that just a year or two ago I drove 600-700 miles a day on a trip, and now it's all I can do to manage a little over 100 miles!

Back to the weekend, I traveled back to Sac to see my sister, Julie and her husband who were visiting for a couple of days. I will probably see them this winter when I'm in the southeast, but I couldn't pass up the chance for a family visit right now. My brother Steve and his family were also there from Suisun City, and here are 4 out of 8 of us. The other four are located across the US. This is Julie, Amy, me, and Steve. It was like old times being together for the Run For the Roses, and we stood for My Old Kentucky Home like our mother always insisted we do.

Amy let the two little girls get into her assortment of shoes. To think I wore heels like this when I was younger, and now my feet hurt just looking at them!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Weekend update

Sunday evening and at 9:00 pm I'm still in Sacramento. This morning we talked about driving over to West Sac to the Ikea store so I could see a screen tent that Donald & Jeannie thought I might like. I've been looking for one to use at Lassen, and haven't been able to find anything I might feel comfortable setting up (and taking down) by myself. Most require two people for easy setup. The West Sac store was sold out of this item, but told us they were available in Emeryville, just outside of San Francisco. So we decided to drive down to the Bay area, with the idea that I would still be back in time to drive home to Orland. I bought the unit at Emeryville Ikea, an umbrella with a screen all around it; the umbrella stand and pole sit outside the "circle", so the entire space inside the net and under the umbrella is usable space.

By the time we were on our way back I knew I was getting tired, so I decided to stay here another night. The great thing about being an RVer, and a fulltimer at that, is the flexibility you have. I had no urgent reason for getting back today, and tomorrow will do just as well.

I went to the Safeway gas station this evening where they have a pretty good price on diesel fuel. I noticed a very low front tire on the truck, and put air into it although I don't think I came near to the prescribed amount. I've decided to drive to a nearby Les Schwab first thing in the morning and ask them to check the tire and add air. The seller told me back in November that she had put two new tires on the front, and they still have very good tread. I just hope I don't have to buy more tires than the four I will have to put on the 5ver this month. Dreams of Alaska next summer might fade very fast depending on the amount I have to spend on repairs, maintenance and new tires.

I have had a wonderful weekend with family, and my two little granddaughters have given me such joy. I'm glad I made this trip. I will have pictures to post when I get back home to my desktop.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Chico, Chico, Chico

I left home about 9:00 am and drove the 20 miles to Chico, picked up my reading glasses, visited the Walmart, and got my Avon Skin So Soft with Bug Guard. I am ready for the mosquitos and other flying pests!

There has been a misty rain all day long, and it hasn't abated yet. I left for Sacramento this afternoon, and the visibility wasn't very good - add the misty rain/fog to the spray that the trucks kick up from the road - and it wasn't the most pleasant drive. I got to Sacramento at Friday afternoon rush hour, but the delay wasn't all that bad. I've had a nice relaxing evening with Jeannie, Donald and Autumn, and a superb meal, and I look forward to the family gathering tomorrow afternoon. We need the rain so badly that I'm not complaining about it - in fact, I hope we have gentle rains for a straight week.

The reading glasses are 100% improvement over the cheap drug store glasses I was using. I think I made a mistake not getting the bifocal version, or at least a separate pair of glasses to use when driving. I think the vision in my left "good" eye is going to deteriorate, and I just hope it holds out until I get back to Sacramento next March. I have a copy of the prescription though, and can always have a pair made with just the distance correction. It has been so wonderful not having to wear glasses at all, and I hate to go back to it.