Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Down to the wire

Tomorrow morning I will go to my new apartment complex and commit myself to trying it out for one year. I don't think I'll have any problems with the trial period, because I can always take a trip somewhere and then come back. What I can't do is workamp for 2 or 3 months at a time rent free.

Now that I'm so close to moving I am scared to death and nearly sick with worry, not about the decision to move, but whether I will ever be able to accomplish transferring everything from the RV. There is no room to park the RV at the apartment so that is out. I'm also worried about storage, that I won't have enough of it. The kitchen will be more than adequate but not sure about the rest. I'd like to sit down and cry, but then my eyes would get all red and it wouldn't accomplish a thing anyway.

Today while at Jeannie's house I helped Autumn draw a hopscotch out in the driveway and then showed her how the game is played. Of course she beat me 8 times, which says a lot about my stamina. Actually I quit after 2 games. Jeanne is off work today because of the holiday in California honoring Cesar Chavez. I remember how he led the strikes and boycotts back in the 70's (if my memory is correct) to try to get better working conditions for the migrant farm workers. We boycotted lettuce from California and the workers were finally given minimum standards of working conditions

Depending on how much I accomplish tomorrow I might not post until the day after. To be truthful, right now this minute, if I had it to do over again I'd still be living in North Carolina. Of course no one can "do it all over again", so we have to make the best of what we have and learn the lessons from it. There are always lessons. I'm not saying I would trade anything for the experiences I've had and the people I've met, but I'm not liking the stress I'm under right now. I recently realized I don't do anything except under stress!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Since I have filled all the boxes I have, and don't have room for any more, I will just wait until I unload the packed items and return with empty boxes. I don't like living with the clutter and mess, but just close a blind eye to it most of the time. Today I decided on a nice sit-down job and began shredding papers - including the real estate papers on my last two house sales.

I ran across credit reports I ran a few years ago, and decided to get updates. TransUnion and Experian came out ok and I also ended up with more paperwork to save. Equifax didn't come through. There was some mumbo jumbo that I didn't understand, so I will just wait and try it again in a month. I can vaguely remember having difficulty with one of the three credit reporting companies last time, and it was no doubt Equifax. It's third on the list of the 3 free reports, and you would think you just have to enter information one time. With equifax, they didn't want any punctuation marks at all so I had to go back a couple of times to fix the address, and I still couldn't get the report.

I stayed inside most of the day, only going out to walk Lady and to get croissants for my breakfast. It rained hard through the night and has been cooler today. Once in a while the sun shines but it's mostly overcast.

I have also been researching RV's to see what I might be interested in that I might be able to afford. There is one I absolutely love, and I'll say more about it when I've sold the 5th wheel! It will be perfect for Lady and me to live in for short or long trips. The gypsy's crystal ball definitely shows travel to nearby and distant places, in a beautiful gypsy wagon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fashion Alert!

Attention all women out there who like and wear capri pants. (I don't mean to exclude the guys who might like and wear them, so this goes for you too.) Capris will be totally out of style within a very short time.

I have always had an intense dislike for capris - I think they look great on other women, but I think I would look and feel like a dork in them. Years ago they were called pedal pushers, and they looked just as dorky then. I finally broke down and tried a pair, and I LOVE THEM! So today I went out and bought some more. This means the fashion police, or whomever keeps track of these things, will decide that if Gypsy now wears them it is time to discontinue anything remotely resembling them. So ladies (and gentlemen) get all the wear you can out of your capris this summer because they will be considered dorky by next year. Next thing you know I might try to get rid of relaxed fit jeans and pants, and those little tops that look like maternity wear but can be worn by anyone. If anyone is interested in seeing an end to a particularly bad fashion, just let me know and I will do my best.

I looked at an RV/Boat storage this morning and WOW, is it ever expensive! It costs about as much as some folks' mortgage payment, but it is all indoors in a building that is clean enough to eat off the floor, is fenced and gated, CCTV, and very well taken care of. There is 30 amp electric service and a dump station is available, as well as propane. It is mostly used for boat storage, but the ground level accommodates RV's. If I want to show the RV to a potential buyer, I can pull it out of the space and into the center, where the slides can be let out.

The manager also suggested detaling and carpet cleaning if I want to sell the rig, and he has photos of a boat that looked pretty awful but like new after cleaning and detailing. Of course, this all costs money, lots of it, but if I thought it would enable me to make a quick sale at a decent price, I might go for it. I just hope that someone wants both the 5th wheel and the truck. I will hate to see the truck go, but I'm tired of trying to fit into parking lots that are designed for compact vehicles.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another item taken care of

I found a mattress and springs today and they will be delivered late afternoon on my move-in day. This set felt better than any I had previously tried out, so it didn't take me long to make up my mind. There are many, many stores that sell bedding here in Sacramento but I'm not one to have to check every single one out in order to decide. I like it, it feels good, and now I own it!

The owner of the mattress store recommended a good place to look for a recliner, so that will be one of the next things I'll look for. Then I'll be all set for furniture, except maybe a small bedside table or stand, plus something for the patio. Tomorrow I definitely have to find a place to store the RV where Steve can work on it, so I will be off first thing in the morning to look at a couple of RV/Boat storage lots.

The logistics of moving day is something I just can't wrap my mind around at this time, so I hope the kids can take up the slack. I have always been good at this, having moved on my own lots of times. Something seems different now, and every time I plan and follow a scenario in my mind, I run up against obstacles, but-what-ifs, etc.

In 1997 I had never driven a truck in my life, and the family loaded up my mom's furniture in a 24' U-Haul, hooked a tow dolly on the back with her little Toyota, and I set off, alone, from Sacramento to Springfield, Virginia with it. I don't know how I did it then (although I'm sure I could easily do it today), but I remember Mom being unable to take part in any of the planning or execution of it. She was 7 years older then than I am today, so probably in 7 years I couldn't consider it either. But now I think I need to snap out of my worry and indecision about my own upcoming move, and just deal with it. What I want is to click my ruby slippers three times and have my fairy godmother zap everything into place!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Searching for Mattress & springs

I looked several places today to find a reasonably priced queen mattress/springs set, but so far didn't find anything I liked. I will be back out tomorrow continuing the search. I did find a clock for the bedside stand - all I wanted was a plain digital clock that I could see in the dark. I'll have to experiment with the placement of this one so I don't wake up quickly and think a space ship is shining red lights in my window! Jeannie and I also got new watch batteries.

I have had a plain old Timex Easy Reader watch for years - I think I paid something like $27 for it, but have replaced the battery and watchband so many times I've probably spent many times that over the years. It still works though, and I'm sure the base price has gone up considerably. I just like an analog wristwatch with good size numbers that I can read easily, and this one has a function where the dial is illuminated when you press the stem. Sometimes I wish I had a fancy watch with an altimeter and compass on it, but I don't really need it.

Jeannie and I first went to Mather Field to walk this morning, and shortly after our first lap around the soccer field we saw my sister (Amy) walking towards us. She had been at it for well over an hour and was ready to rest, so not wanting her to sit there by herself, I joined her on the bench while Jeannie walked. I'm noticing that I have troubles keeping up with Jeannie.

I'll be glad to leave Cal Expo. Last year I was very happy here for three months. This year it is driving me crazy, and it probably wouldn't be so bad if they had given me an end space which I had requested. The big gravel lot is practically empty, but they slapped me right in between two much larger RV's. When one of them leaves they put another in its place. I notice that in several areas of this section - RV's all clumped together with a big expanse of emptiness all around. I guess because of the location of the hookups, the motorhomes pull up farther than I do, so being set back a bit it is very difficult to park my truck. I always like to park perpendicular to the RV, which is what most people do. But I have to angle in or just stick out into the lane. I'm getting so I just don't care how I park. Why couldn't they space us out more. It's a different office staff this year, for sure.

I have a lot of boxes sitting around packed with items from the kitchen, mainly, plus a few in the bedroom. Where in the world did all this stuff come from! It is amazing how much you can cram into the relatively small space of an RV. I just hope I can get it all into my apartment, which has more square feet but less organized storage space. The kitchen is the exception though - I am going to love putting things away in all those cabinets! I hope I love cooking there enough to do more of it.

Yesterday I mentioned blogs on my list that are written by solo female RVers. I would also like to add that of "Eleven Foot RV", and "Traveling with Flo and Rida". Jenny, who writes Eleven Foot RV, hasn't posted for several weeks but she has been away visiting her home town in Tennessee. Trudy, who writes Flo and Rida, began fulltiming shortly before I did but has since returned to be near family and friends in Iowa. Her account of 5th wheeling was very inspirational to me when I was getting started. One point I'd like to make is that if a person or persons feel they want to try it, then study all you can about it but at some point just do it! If you find out a year or so later that it isn't what you thought it would be, or for whatever reason you want to do something else, then just do it! There is no reason why you can't change your mind, your RV, your style, or whatever. Sort of same principal as "Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all." It's better to have tried and quit than to have never tried.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I'm in Costco Heaven!

I love Costco. I've been a member since the mid-1980's,when it was known as Price Club. Now I will be living just a few miles from several Costco Warehouses! While I like to shop for meat and produce as near to a daily basis as I can, buying for only one or two meals, I prefer to get other things in bulk and not have to worry about running out.

So today I visited Costco and restocked some of the vitamin supplements I take, dog food, and various cleaning supplies. All I really needed was the dog food and the rest I could have waited until I move in next week, but it isn't easy to go there for just one item.

One nice thing about going mid-day is that they have tables throughout the store, where they offer tasty little samples of products they carry. You can almost make a lunch of it. Today's best was a sample of wild USA caught halibut, and it was just out of the electric skillet, cooked to perfection. I'd love to have bought some, but I'm determined to live on what I already have so I don't have to move so much. I also had some sticky cinnamon roll with cream cheese icing, and they were even giving away sample 8 oz bottles of their own brand of water. That was considerate of them, I thought. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may remember last year when I bought a huge box of Eggos - and managed to eat all 80 of the Eggos in a rather short time. Just wait until I get a decent size refrigerator and freezer.

Another feature of Sacramento that I had forgotten about is that it actually has a drive-in movie theater with about 5 screens. Maybe I can find a boyfriend to go to the drive-in with and "make out"! (Costco heaven and drive-in heaven might be too much for this old heart, and send me to heaven heaven.)

A reader wrote to ask me if Kathy (whom I met yesterday) has a website. I don't believe she does because we were discussing blogging, and of course I urged her to start blogging about her travels. So if you're reading, Kathy, you might weigh in on this. There are a number of solo women whose blogs are listed at the bottom of this page - Travels with Emma, Travels with Miranda, and Life on the Open Road come to mind. There are several others who haven't posted in a while. I'm sorry if I have failed to mention someone - I have some blogs listed and reach others through my bookmark list, and of course there are solo male RVers whose blogs I like also.

So you women out there who would like to become an RVer, or who already are one, please try your hand at writing a blog if you don't already do it. (This goes for the guys, and couples as well.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Meeting another Solo RVer

I met today with Kathy, a woman who began RVing about the same time I did. We have had many similar experiences, and it was great to get together with her and talk non-stop for about 4 hours. Kathy is visiting her daughter in the Napa Valley, and drove up to Sacramento, which I greatly appreciated since I'm trying to avoid much driving for the next few weeks, especially in areas I'm not familiar with. Would you believe I forgot to bring my camera along? We'll just have to take pictures the next time we meet.

By the way, Kathy tows a big Titanium 5th wheel but has learned to do many of the things I still find inimidating, such as backing up the rig, hitching and unhitching, etc. I am so happy to meet a woman who can do these things and do them easily and well. I know there are quite a few of us out there who travel alone, and it is an inspiration to meet one of them in person. Thanks for the day, Kathy.

Other than that I have moved a few items in my 5ver from one space to another. My son has some boxes that I will pick up tomorrow, and then I can start packing in earnest. I am anxious to get moved in although I will just take my time and try not to get too exhausted. I don't have to get everything done in one day as I have will have another 3 days to be parked at Cal Expo, and then will have to move into a storage that is convenient for Steve to work on getting it ready to sell.

It has rained on and off today, and it's surprising to hear the sound of rain on the roof after so many clear sunny days.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shopping around

I went to have the pre-op bloodwork and EKG this morning, and afterward treated myself to breakfast at La Bou (La Petit Boulangerie). Two wonderful croissants, one with raspberry filling and one plain, with coffee. I really like my coffee better, but at least I didn't have to do a thing (or clean up a thing) except pay for it.

I decided to go shopping for things I will need in my apartment. I found quite a few things but put them all back on the shelf. I guess I just wasn't in a shopping mood today, and most of the stuff I can get after I move in, when I won't have to carry it twice. I doesn't make sense to load up my 5th wheel to have to unload it.

I forgot to mention the most interesting feature of Fair Oaks Village. They have a large flock of free ranging chickens and roosters wandering all over the village. You have to be careful when driving. I don't know who they belong to, but they've been there for years that I'm aware of, so maybe they are descendents from the original farm. They sure have free rein in Fair Oaks. When I went over on Monday morning with my social security card, I came across a bunch of them in the middle of the road, right smack in downtown Fair Oaks Village! It's a nice touch, I think, and I wonder if someone sells their free-range eggs. I'll have to try to get a photo of them one of these days.

I don't know why but I can't seem to hold an internet connection for more than a few minutes. I'm sure I've rebooted 15 times today so far. To say I'm annoyed would be the understatement of the year.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nothing accomplished today

I took Lady for a walk and then climbed back in bed for a couple of hours. Other than doing my laundry I have absolutely nothing to show for my day. I had intended to get the pre-op lab work and EKG done this morning as the lab is fairly close to this park, but decided I will go tomorrow. I have three weeks until surgery, and just one week until move-in to my apartment.

The only thing I am concerned about in the small apartment is storage space. While I have ranted and raved about the overheads in the 5th wheel, they hold a surprising amount of junk out of sight. Now I don't know what I will do with it all, plus the stuff under the bed.

I'm trying to decide what I'll do about computer(s). Since I won't have a room to devote to an office, I will probably just use my laptop and the Brother B&W Laser printer. I am going to give away the HP. I will take another look at a Lexmark because that was my favorite and easiest to use printer for scanning, copying and printing. Unfortunately when any mfr comes out with a new model they add things and capabilities to it that aren't needed, certainly not by me. If anyone knows of a simple printer that can scan and copy, no fax pad or phone receiver wanted - I'd sure love to know about it.

I feel so good about my life right now that it sometimes scares me. I'm facing a change in lifestyle (and slowdown), and eye surgery. When I go to NY I am going to see a surgeon about my hand, which is getting worse. I hate to think of having surgery on my right hand thereby losing the use of it for a while, but I will try to be open to what can be done for me. Unfortunately, if they tell me to quit using a computer I will just suffer a while longer.

Actually the slowdown in the pace of life worries me a little bit. I have always been a "goer" and a "doer" - can't stay idle for long, although sometimes I yearn for the ability to just be idle for a while. I'm already thinking about volunteering with Friends of the Library, just something I will keep in mind for when I need to be busy. I'm sure other opportunities will come along, although I'm not going to do anything I'm not enthusiastic about. Been there, done that, and got the T-shirt!

If I don't fix my supper now I will end up skipping it. I hope having plenty of room to cook will be an incentive for me to do more of it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's no wonder

No wonder I have had so many problems (and fears) concerning my 5th wheel. It is my vision, partly.

So far this has been a great day, starting with an early morning visit to the eye surgeon. I was better prepared this year because I knew I would have a long wait, and I sure enough did. But when I finally got to see the doctor he only had to take one look at my eye. A tech had already checked both eyes and I couldn't read any of the chart out of the left eye. The Dr. told me if I went to the DMV today they wouldn't give me a license to drive. He also said I should particularly avoid driving after dark since I am only using one eye which affects the depth perception, and I can attest to that. I am careful when driving any time of day, taking less traveled roads and maintining a safe speed, as well as leaving plenty of distance between me and the driver in front.

It is no wonder I couldn't properly back up and align the truck to the king pin. No matter how dead on I thought I was, when I walked around to look at it I was terribly off alignment. The first month or so I owned the rig I might have had trouble with the hitch, or with raising and lowering the king pin to the proper setting, but I could back up perfectly.

I knew all the subtle changes were there, but I still felt somewhat guilty for "quitting". Well failing and quitting aren't the same, and I haven't failed but I am quitting. I am just going to get through the surgery on April 13th and see how things are when I've recovered a decent amount of sight in my left eye. I will no doubt drive to New York in a few months, but I'm not sure what I will drive - it won't be a 5th wheel.

Also early this morning I received a phone call from Wes at Oak Meadows Apartments telling me I'm good to move in on April 1. I am thrilled, as that is something I can accomplish and start to enjoy. I knew my credit report was fine, but until I got the word that the rental was approved I was nervous and on pins and needles.

I drove by Jeannie's house on my way home - she is working at home today but took her lunch time to file my tax return electronically. I had worked it out roughly, but it turns out I will get a refund of more than twice what I had hoped for.

So if I wasn't sitting back in the middle of a shallow lake under my rig, I would be a very happy camper right now. I turned the water on overnight and then went out and turned it off after my shower. The ground was drained of standing water, although still damp. When I returned home a few hours later there is a WHOLE LOT OF WATER! I am going to walk down and inform the office of this fact, but I don't want to even try to move right now and Steve is out of town until the middle of the week so he can't do it for me. Hopefully the park maintenance can do something besides shut the water off completely.

Today can only get better for me. When nothing is going right I just have to tough it out, but when everything is going right, then all's right with the world. I'm sending you all some of my good vibes!

I went to the office to talk to them about the water-under-the-rig problem. They offered to have me move, which I would do in a minute if I could. The second option was to contact Maintenance to see if they could diagnose the problem. The guy from Maintenance came promptly over and ruled out a number of possibilities. He ended up replacing the hose bib and a couple other parts and the drip seems to have stopped, and, he pumped out the standing water. I hope that will fix it, but he said he will come back and check on it again tomorrow. I'll keep my fingers crossed. It is good to think it probably isn't a problem with my water and plumbing.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I took one more look into a box of file folders stored under the bed, and about the time I was halfway through the folders and deciding there was no use to go through any more, I found the social security card. The folders came from file cabinets that I had on either side of my computer desk and hutch, and I was at my most organized when I had that furniture because there was space for everything. Those days are long gone. The card was in a folder marked "Personal", along with my NC voter's registration card. I will enjoy going through that box when I move because I saw a lot of paper I can shred and throw away. I also found an old NC drivers license (for some reason I had a duplicate, probably from ordering a new one online due to change of address.) I think I will keep it as I have long hair in the picture, and there aren't many photos around of me with long hair!

I've been asked by several people what type of RV I will be looking for. At this point I am completely open to anything small and easy to handle, and of course, affordable. I will wait until I sell the 5ver before I start looking seriously. I see a few small RV's here at Cal Expo, hiding among the huge Class A's and 5th wheels. One that I thought looked ideal was a Dutchmens travel trailer, probably one of their smaller models. I looked on line but got tired of wading through all the 2010's for sale.

I should be able to find something just perfect for me, as I will only be looking for temporary travel and camping quarters, not full time living. I don't have any regrets at the thought of leaving the full time lifestyle, as I remain convinced it is more easy and probably way more fun with a partner to share the joys as well as the work. The main thing I will miss is the workamping. I truly enjoyed it and am so glad I had the opportunity to serve.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Anticipation and Anxiety

I'm having both - looking so forward to move-in day and enjoying some of the things you don't get to enjoy in an RV: regular flush toilets; two ply toilet paper; instant hot water in the shower and sinks; a dishwasher; a larger fridge and stove; absolutely endless kitchen countertops; and so on. I will miss much about the RV as well, although I would be hard pressed to come up with much right now since I've been having problems lately.

The water connection. I really can't tell if it's my problem or the park's. I bought a new pressure regulator but disconnected it when water seemed to be leaking out of it. I bought a new hose, and even use a pair of adjustable pliers to tighten it more than I could do it manually, but there is still a drip. It doesn't seem like much but there is standing water under my rig, and damp gravel in some spots that must be lower than the rest. The weather is beginning to warm up to the point that I'm sure this could become a breeding ground for mosquitos, and I certainly don't want that to happen.

I turned the faucet off this afternoon for a couple of hours and the drip stopped. My fresh water tank is showing empty so maybe tomorrow I will just add some water to it and stop using the city water connection, hopefully letting the puddles get a chance to dry up. And yes, I made sure I have the O rings in place.

I'm definitely having a lot of anxiety about the application process for the apartment, and I don't know why. What if they turn me down? What if my credit report comes out all wrong? I've been worrying along those lines all day. I took the app into the office, and the manager who rented the apartment to me is such a great guy - he thinks I'm a shoo-in but the corporate board has to approve all applications. Why did I charge so much on my credit card (my only debt) this past couple of months.

They need to see my actual social security card as part of the application process and I can't find it! It says somewhere on the card that you should not carry it with you but should keep it in a safe place, which I've done. The place is so safe I can't remember where it is, and I may have to go to SSA to get a duplicate. I've run across it somewhere in the last 6 months but darned if I can remember where.

Wes les me go back into the apt. today because I wanted to get an idea of the total shelf space in the kitchen, as well as to just see it again. I tried to take some pictures but the lighting just wasn't good enough, and I think pictures will look better when there is some furniture there. I will be sure to post them first thing after I move in. My hummingbird feeder is ready to be hung up, and I'm excited to see the first hummers at the feeder. I don't think I've ever seen the western kinds - in the east they are the ruby-throated version. I'm also going to get a couple of flower boxes for the patio. Lady and I are going to love sitting out there every day.

Speaking of Lady, that is another source of anxiety. The complex advertises that dogs are permitted, but say nothing about size restrictions. I sure hope they don't mind an 85 pounder! I don't have the nerve to ask specifically and then be turned down, so I've chickened out about even asking.

I drove Jeannie to the eye doctor this morning because she had to have her eyes dilated for the exam and wouldn't have been able to drive home. Donald is working on a catering job for a wedding this weekend, and we took the two little girls with us, necessitating me driving their Highlander since it has two car seats for the kids. I like it very much, except I'm so used to the gear shift on the steering column, and every time I put the highlander in gear I washed the window instead. Also the brakes are totally different than my Ford pickup - very sensitive. Jeannie & Donald would like to buy a mini van to accommodate their family, and I might consider buying the Highlander. It is a 6 cylinder and would probably tow several kinds of campers, although it would leave out getting a truck camper. The around-town mileage would certainly be better though. It's all speculation right now.

So that is where things stand with me for the next few days. Waiting.

I almost forgot to mention that today I drove slowly through the Village of Fair Oaks and looked at some of the shops. Yep, there is a quilt store! So all you quilting RVers will have to drive my way some time. I'm not going to even dare go into the shop because quilting would ruin my eyes the rest of the way, I'm afraid.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on my plans to stay put for a while. You are all so supportive and encouraging, and I've been moved to tears by the comments. I appreciate you all much more than you could ever realize.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A change in lifestyle

I rented an apartment today and am happy as can be about it. It certainly isn't what I had been expecting to do, but when I looked at it I knew I will belong there for a while.

I had been looking out in the Sierra foothills, 50-60 miles out of Sacramento. I had an epiphany of sorts when I thought about how the only reason I wanted to settle in California or New York was to be close to my kids & grandkids, so why was I limiting the time I would be able to spend with them, or the spontaneity of getting together. So I've been searching for two days now and today I found what is for me the perfect place.

I originally wanted to rent a house, but the cost of that in Sacramento was more than I wanted to pay, so I looked at duplexes. Then Steve found an ad on craigslist for an apartment in Fair Oaks - actually there were two apartments for rent. Both were part of the original farmhouse that once stood on the land, and the one I selected has a beamed ceiling in the living room, and a gorgeous tiled kitchen countertop which was from the old farmhouse kitchen. The wood trim throughout the apartment is original, and the kitchen cabinets are original solid wood. Although an apartment complex has been erected on the farm site, it seems to be a very nice and relatively quiet place. It is about 1/2 mile from the Village of Fair Oaks, which is an old fashioned, quaint looking village, but with a good mix of the usual touristy gimmicky shops plus useful businesses for everyday living.

I will be moving in the 1st of April, and I will add that I got an excellent move-in special - one that I didn't even realize I was getting until I filled out the papers needed to take the apt. off the rental list and hold it for me. Although I had my camera with me I neglected to take pictures but will post some soon. Jeannie was on her way home from work when I got the call from the apartment manager, and I was on my way to her house, so we met at the complex and she was able to see it also. The manager left the keys with us and allowed us to look at both places at our leisure.

So, after nearly a year and a half of living in a 5th wheel RV, I will again be in a building. I look forward to a nice relaxing trip to New York this fall, without the stresses I have always had pulling the RV in and out of fueling spots, campgrounds, and city streets. I don't yet know what kind of camper I will get to replace the 5ver, but I'll find something.

Already I am looking forward to joining my kids and their families on a camping trip to Yosemite that they are talking about. I visited Yosemite once years ago and always thought I would like to go back, but never in a thousand years would I do it by myself. So my life will undoubtedly change, but in many ways it will change for the better.

I'll have to think about how I will continue this blog. I want to continue writing it but I know there are folks who want to read about RVing, so I'll just have to consider the frequency and tone it will take.

Thanks to all who have stuck with me and especially those who have offered advice and encouragement. I'm satisfied I've given it a good try, and I am also satisfied that I need to veer onto a different course right now. So stay tuned for the latest on the Gypsy's move.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A "No-New-News" Day

Steve came over today and we looked at a couple of items that I'm concerned with, and he assures me it won't be much of a problem to fix them. I may just take the 5th wheel somewhere to have it re-caulked. What a job it would be, especially without all the proper tools that would make it go faster. It will be costly but it has to be done.

We drove up to Pollock Pines and looked at some rv/mobile home parks, nothing that I would be happy in. We also found a cottage for rent that was listed on craigslist - a one bedroom/1 bath with large wraparound deck overlooking a hillside and trees. That's my kind of view! It's not far off the highway so the bumpiness of the road could be tolerated. I called and made an appointment to see it tomorrow - I actually called the real estate office while I was there to learn that they only show it Tue-Fri in the afternoons. There are about 4 other houses spaced out in the vicinity--I would have the superior pickup truck, by a long shot! There is a small fenced yard which would be ideal for Lady. I will have to ask who is responsible for the mowing of this small yard, as I'm sure not going to buy (or use) a lawn mower.

The idea is that I will move into the house and hopefully it won't take too long to get the RV fixed up and sold. I will then buy a truck camper, or cabover as they are called in this area. There is a good level spot on the driveway to park it when not in use. I could make short camping trips to anywhere I want with my 1 ton and a cabover. All those winding mountain roads between here and the coast would be accessible to me, as would all the wonderful areas of the Sierra Nevada. For short trips I would have no problem with a much smaller camper, and it would be a snap to drive to New York in the fall.

The obvious advantages of this would be the ability to just pick up and go somewhere more easily, not having to drag along everything I own, and have a place to come back to. I would fit into just about any campsite, and maybe I could even get to be good at backing it up!

One of the down sides that I can see is that it wouldn't be as easy to do any workamping, although there are so many volunteer positions available I could probably find something on a shorter term basis. That could possibly work to my advantage as I really think the third month of workamping begins to exceed my patience for it. Six weeks to two months would be ideal, and I could live in a tent for that amount of time (if I absolutely had to). Don't worry, I don't plan on going back to a tent, although I don't mind it when camping with my kids and their families. There are always mommas and babies that do better with the bed space and I get to feel like a proper camper again for a short time.

We looked in all the windows today and it looks suitable - I'll have to see what the terms are tomorrow and what it looks like inside, up close.

We stopped at a Mexican restaurant for lunch, and ahhhhh, I know I'm back in California where I can get great Mexican food. Back east it is adapted to local tastes and is never hot enough to suit me. I knew it was going to be good when I started with the chips and salsa! To be honest, you can get great Mexican food throughout the entire southwest. I just love the Central California version though. Steve and I reminisced a bit about our drive from Asheville to Sac a few years back, when we stopped at a Mexican restaurant in Deming, NM for a late breakfast. When the owner served me he stood back to watch and see if I could eat it - I had ordered hot! I drank a lot of water that breakfast but managed to eat it.

So I hope I have something to report tomorrow. If this one doesn't work out I'll just keep looking.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

US Census, 2010

I'm going to write my blog early today, because with the time change and waking up "early" I have the feeling I will be very tired this evening. This should be a nice, warm, sunny day, and I'm certainly ready for one to come along. Maybe the "lake" on one side of my rig will dry up.

I have been wondering and worrying about the upcoming census. I certainly don't think I should be counted in California, and find it is difficult to get information on how snowbirds or RV travelers should participate. I asked my mail forwarding service and was told to use that address, which I plan to do. What do I tell the army of census workers that are going to begin trolling the RV parks during the coming weeks?

What do those of you plan to do who have no home address that you return to? I suppose all the "winter Texans" are still in Texas, but I'd be curious about other South Dakotans or Montanans who will be outside their "home state". Should I mail my census form back to MyDakotaAddress and have them re-mail it from there, or would it matter what city it is postmarked from.

I'm glad the census only occurs once every ten years. The last time or two some folks got the "short form", while others were treated to a "long form" which I would have refused to even answer had I been selected for that one. Fortunately I never got one of those. This census features only 10 questions, and it is my understanding that there are about 3 of the 10 that you absolutely must answer or be subject to the wrath of god and government. I will dutifully answer those three!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cal Expo

This time last year I stayed at Cal Expo and was happy as a clam (I'm assuming clams are happy). They gave me a site at the end of a row and I had plenty of room, and so did everyone else in the vicinity. This year I am in a different row and in the middle. I've already written about how, with the lot nearly empty, they put me in a site next to a large electric box as well as some sort of vent pipe. I moved from that site but just over a couple of spaces and thought everything would be ok.

Most people with 5th wheels park their truck perpendicular to the front cap and it works out just fine - enough room to pull in and pull out without coming close to the vehicle next to you. Yesterday someone pulled their 5ver in next to me and then pulled their vehicle between our two rigs. Because the 5vers were not aligned perfectly at the front end, I had an impossible space to pull into between the two RV's. I had to pull in on the other side of my RV and barely had enough room to open the truck door without banging the rig. When these folks drove out this morning I pulled my truck around and parked it as I usually do. They were disturbed on their return, and pulled their truck between our rigs from the back end - they are so close to me that I couldn't walk between their truck and my slide.

They will probably leave soon and I will again be in the middle of an empty lot next week, so I am not going to let it worry me, but I just wonder whatever happened to common courtesy. I might add that it would work perfectly if they would just park like all the other 5th wheels in the park. I didn't take up any room from their site, and they didn't actually take up room from mine - they just made it so that I had no way to park my truck. For some reason, the space between me and the toy hauler on the other side is much more narrow, so that is why I had difficulty pulling in between.

Well that's the big story in my day so far, so you know how boring it is. I could have gone somewhere, but just didn't have the energy to make the move. I keep telling myself that I need the rest, but that excuse is getting old by now.

The wind has returned, but only in a now-and-then gust, which surprises me when it happens.

I'm going to set my clocks ahead tonight, and if I still have it wrong I hope someone will let me know. I read an article this morning about how daylight savings time actually costs more in energy than it saves. I have thought that all along, especially when the change was extended for a couple more months on each end. Since we will be rising an hour earlier, closer to the coldest part of the night, we are more likely to turn on the heat early in the morning. Conversely, towards late summer we are arriving home at the hottest part of the day necessitating using the A/C for a longer period. So some businesses and corporations are making money on this tampering with the time, and it certainly isn't for our health or benefit. By the way, Lady votes FOR the time change since her need for walks still occur on Eastern time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The RV Show at Cal Expo

I swore to myself less than a week ago that I wouldn't be caught going to the RV show. I was, and am, so sick and tired of RV's and all their little quirks, to say nothing of all the things like emptying waste tanks, lights that don't work, plumbing that is dicey, and having to sometimes be in parks you don't like or enjoy, and I haven't even said anything about hitching and unhitching. Add to that having to do all the jobs that are called by some by the cutesy terms of "blue jobs" and "pink jobs" - they are all "crap jobs" in my estimation.

But just now I printed a $5.00 off the price of ($10) admission to the Cal Expo RV Show, running March 11-14. Tomorrow, the 13th, will be my only chance to attend since I am busy on the 14th. The show is listed as being accessible at the Main Gate. Parking is $10. I am here on the premises, but it's a long way for me to walk around to the Main Gate (this from a woman who is beginning to love her 4 mile walk-workouts 3 times a week!). I'm not paying $10 to park across the fence from my RV. So the questions is, will I go or not?

I'm just thinking out loud here, so for folks who like clear cut decisions, just skip this. I love to travel, and can't imagine the day when I can't travel back and forth across the country. I used to never give it a thought that I had to stay at Motel 6 because they accepted dogs (and didn't charge extra for them). Motel 6 has definitely upgraded their facilities in the past few years and I was never dissatisfied with it. I don't stay at a motel for the amenities - I carried my own cooler with the makings of my evening meal plus beverages, and didn't need a fridge, hairdryer, or iron. I was a happy wanderer.

Now, I've heard stories from friends who have stayed at motels considered to be much upgraded from Motel 6, and they have come away with bug bites - fleas, bed bugs, whatever. When I stayed for a week in Kansas last year while my rig was being repaired, I had a pleasant and clean room, but after traveling with my own bed for a year I began to feel uncomfortable under a bedspread that I knew hadn't been freshly cleaned, nor did I know the extent of cleanliness of the mattress, pillows, etc. I'm not a clean freak, by any means, but this is really starting to bother me.

So I can downsize to a smaller RV, you say. Considering the hit I will take on depreciation of my 5th wheel, plus the fact that smaller Class B+ and Class C's cost more to begin with, it won't be a good financial move for me. Add to this the fact that there is only one of me, with only one retirement income, and I'm already operating with much less than most RVers.

I've given this so much thought and even consider acquiring all the gear necessary for tent camping, something I would normally enjoy, except that I prefer to travel in the off season which means that it would definitely not be tent camping weather.

I'll continue to obsess over this issue until one of these days I'll make a split second decision and that will be that. In the meantime, I think I might rather visit a lot with used RV's for sale than to a show featuring indoor&outdoor kitchens, upper&lower decks, umpteen slide-outs, and god only knows what else I don't need or want to look at.

I appreciate the comments on my water drip problem - I agreed with those who said it's the park's problem. Sure enough, I tightened all my connections and made sure there were O rings where there should be O rings, and I ended up with a negligible drip. Today it's rained all day, so from a slowly drying up puddle I now have a lake under and around my rig.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Nah, not me. My one and only attempt at skateboarding was back in the late 1970's. I was aboard no more than 10 seconds when something happened that I could never remember, but it put a terrible gash in my knee that took weeks to heal. This evening I arrived at Mather Field a bit early and enjoyed watching the skateboarders. What a great thing to devote the space to all the ramps and half pipes and whatever they are called. My youngest son was really good at it as an early teen, but everyone was so busy putting up "No Skateboarding" signs and they didn't really worry about providing a place for kids to have fun. It was so enjoyable to watch all the young people this evening. It is a sport that takes skill, balance, style, and grace.

I love walking for an hour with Jeannie, and appreciate the chance to have long conversations with her, including using her as a sounding board about what I want to do when I grow up. No decisions yet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Another four miles

I walked with Jeannie again this evening, and I'm tired but I'll be fine. We're going again tomorrow when she gets off work. It has to be healthier for me than just sitting around.

Here is Autumn riding her bike a little ahead of us.

The skateboard area: This picture as well as the next one need to be clicked on and enlarged.

There were no games this evening but we saw a girls' LaCrosse team practicing, as well as soccer practice:

I wish I could have gotten some better pictures but the sun was going down fast, and I just took what I could get.

I went to the park's laundromat today - the first time I've had to pay to do laundry since I arrived at Fort P. the beginning of December. The cost at Cal Expo isn't nearly as bad as some places, but free was sure nice.

Other than that I went out and bought another white hose thinking that is why I have so much of a leak. Now with a new hose, new pressure valve, and new L connection, it still leaks. I am sure it has something to do with this park's water supply. I didn't have this big a problem while on the road. I don't really know what else to try - the leak was coming from the general area of the pressure valve so I disconnected it but still there is water dripping. Not as much, but it's enough, and there has been standing water next to the hookups since I got this site. I notice several depressions in the gravel throughout the park that are holding water from the rain, and others next to some of the hook-ups. I think either they had an extremely bad winter or else the maintenance hasn't been kept up properly. Since the monthly rate has gone up $45 you would expect better than this.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The housing search is on

I went to look at a studio this morning, beyond Pollock Pines. From the time I got on US 50 Freeway, it was about 54 miles "up the hill". It had snowed there last night, so besides the snow already on the ground there was a fresh layer that had melted off the roads long before I got there. The weather was really pleasant.

The studio is separate from the owner's house, and the living/bedroom area is fairly small, with a really nice size kitchen and bathroom. The big problem would be no good cell phone reception unless I step outside, plus probably really poor internet. There is dish cable for TV, so I would be likely to get a tv and become addicted to that, which I would hate. I would rather be addicted to internet.

There are wonderful places for hiking in the area, and a senior hiking club in Placerville that goes on trips twice a week. That would be something I'd really enjoy.

The owner is a former fulltimer, drove a 37' class A pulling a toad for several years, until she decided she'd had enough. We have a lot in common. She had just made a big pot of soup and invited me in for lunch, so we discussed the apartment and surrounding area over a great lunch. One downside is that I would have to use a laundromat in Pollock Pines, just a few miles away - not really a big problem. The place is in the Sierra Nevada foothills, at about 3500' elevation. That means occasional storms and snow, with the possibility of power outages. I took this picture looking back down the road as I was leaving.

When I left Cal Expo this morning I found a shallow lake under my rig that even spread to the space next door. My water hose connection was dripping steadily and probably had been dripping all night. I couldn't get it any tighter, and I don't know what could be wrong. The drip is coming from the brand new pressure valve I just bought at Wal Mart, probably made in China, although it could be that the valve is not really the problem. I realize I probably need to buy a new water hose, so I stopped at Walmart on the way back and picked up a hose and a couple other items. You know how they have the cashiers in two's? Well someone was in the first cashier's spot, and I put my items on the counter of the second. I waited and waited, then discovered both cashiers were waiting on the woman at the first station - trying to find the cigarettes she was looking for evidently. Two cashiers helping someone with cigarettes, while I stood there cooling my heels. I ended up leaving the items on the counter and pushed my empty cart back to the exit, and I walked out!

I don't know why, but a trip to Walmart is never a good experience for me. What I really don't understand is why I even go back.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Moving day

I moved two sites over today, or actually, Steve moved the rig for me. I guess it's good eyesight because he hitched it just about as easy as Mike did when I left NY last fall. The site I was in had a big electric box outside my door and I could barely get down the steps with the dog so I asked to move. The park is fairly empty today but there are a lot of sites reserved for the days of the RV show coming up here at Cal Expo. All day long I saw RV's driving by on the other side of the fence being brought in for the show. I've never been to an RV show but I don't think I even want to go to one now.

I have napped off and on for most of the day but I will be tired for another week. One thing that surprised me is that my legs don't hurt from the 4 miles I walked yesterday. I think we will walk again tomorrow night.

The wind kicked up today so it felt colder than the temperature indicated. The wind really bothers me lately for some reason - I noticed it when I was at Fort Pulaski and got mild headaches on really windy days. I think I'm just tired, a little depressed, and cold, so I just need to allow myself a few days to get back up to par.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Back on schedule (2nd post on Sun, Mar. 7)

I thought I would add a short entry this evening to get back on my schedule of posting at day's end. Thanks to sharp reader, Rick, I now realize I didn't have a clue what time it was today, and I passed the confusion along to my daughter and son-in-law.

Jeannie walks for an hour several times a week, and Sunday morning is one of the days. She goes to former Mather AFB where they have walking trails, soccer fields, skateboard park, basketball, baseball, and you name it. There are always a lot of people around so it is a relatively safe place to go. Jeannie carries Arianna in a "Baby Bjorn", sort of a harness for the baby, but in the front of the mother. I used a "Gerry Carrier" when my kids were little, and they rode on my back (while holding on to and pulling my hair). So she walks for an hour, approx. 4 miles, carrying the baby, while Autumn rides her little bike for a while with Donald walking alongside her. When she tires of riding, she and her Daddy go over to the playground to wait for Mommy and little sissy to finish their walk.

Jeanne has been walking ever since they visited me at Lassen last summer. In that time she has lost about 75 pounds - some of it is what she gained when pregnant with Arianna, and some that she had never lost after she had Autumn. She looks and feels healthy and the difference is amazing. Of course, having control over her diabetes means she eats healthy and measures her food intake, so the combination of nutrition and exercise has been wonderful for her. My sister Amy has begun to walk the same paths at Mather several evenings a week and has started to notice a big difference in how she feels, and has also begun to change to more healthy eating as well. I'm so proud of both of them!

I am a former hiker and backpacker, and at one time it was not unusual for me to hike up to 16 miles a day (sometimes more) carrying a 45 pound pack, up and down hills and mountains. I have gotten lax in the past few years, and she wore me out today. What's more, I am going to really hurt by morning. My pride kept me going, and it will probably have me back out there now and then in the future. The only thing is that I'm afraid of losing weight and I hope it increases my appetite.

When I drove to Jeannie's house this morning, at either 9:30 or 10:30 a.m. depending on whether we had yet gone to daylight savings time, I took Lady with me. When we left for Mather, I just let Lady out in their fenced back yard. She likes to drink out of the swimming pool, so I knew she wouldn't dehydrate, and there are shady spots all around for her to hang out when she tires of being in the sun.

We had a wonderful lunch at their house after returning from the walk, and I came back home knowing I wouldn't be able to walk if I didn't get moving. As I was turning my truck around to leave, Autumn came outside to tell me, "I love you, Nana". My heart just melted and I turned to jello! This is what I couldn't wait to get to Sacramento for - little moments like these. I will be the same way when the urge hits me to tear away for New York and my grandsons.

I'm finally gettng warmer!

I woke up today to a mild 37 degree morning, although I haven't quite figured out what time it is and how I should feel. I think with the daylight savings time I'm only two hours off. The sun is blinding and there is no wind, so I actually enjoyed walking Lady on the American River Parkway this morning. Downtown Sacramento looks beautiful in the distance.

Buying the big fluffy dog bed was a good decision. She hasn't moved off it since I set it down, except to go out for a couple of walks.

The birthday party last night was fun, even though I will be dead tired for at least a week. I saw lots of folks I knew or had met previously, and there were even a couple of kids that Steve had gone to grade school with. What fun to meet them again. I got a few pictures of family.

The first pic is one of Sarah (d-i-l), Amy (sister), Arianna and Jeannie (g'daughter & daughter).

This one is Sarah, Amy, Me, Arianna and Jeannie, Stephanie (niece/Amy's daughter), and Megan (d-i-l)

This one is of "the boys" with a couple of the granddaughters to keep them in line: Steve, Autumn, Joe holding Keira, Brad (Sarah's brother) and Donald (s-i-l).

And finally, Steve has always been a huge fan of Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead. Chef Donald made him a "Jerry Garcia birthday cake".

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sacramento Deja Vu

I am here, and am looking at the lights of the Cal Expo grandstand! Just a year ago ...

Last night I decided to go to bed at 6:00 pm - after all, it was sort of like 9:00 pm if I was back on the east coast. I woke up at 4:00 am and had a leisurely departure at 6:15. I stopped for gas and was on my way. I love early morning for driving; my mind is sharp and there is little traffic on the road. I got up and over the Tehachapi Pass without a bit of trouble. I'd been dreading it since my experience with the Grapevine from Los Angeles last year, but they must have done something to smooth out the grading on Tehachapi. The roadways were super as well. The last time I drove that way much of the road from Barstow to Bakersfield was regular two lane highway, alternating once in a while with a short stretch of freeway. It is mostly freeway now, and very little of it isn't divided highway even though some parts of it has cross traffic. Smooth sailing!

I had thought I might want to stop somewhere and drive into Sacramento early Saturday morning, but once I was on the road there was no stopping until I arrived at Cal Expo about 3:00 pm. My son Steve came over and helped me get leveled, unhitched, and set up. We sat and talked for some time about what I want to do in the near future, and he gave me some good ideas.

I will be with all my kids tomorrow evening except Mike in NY, plus their spouses, children, and friends, at Steve's birthday party. It will make the strain of driving all worthwhile. I did tell him though, that I can never do this again. I think those were my exact words last year when I drove like a madwoman to get to my brother's house in Livermore for their Christmas get together for the California siblings. I couldn't pass up the chance to be with my sibs and kids, and the same this year, I couldn't pass up the chance to be with my kids. Now I'm going to grow old gracefully! (HaHaHa).

The trip was very strange in that until today there wasn't a bug on my entire windshield. Every time I stopped to refuel I checked to see if I needed to clean the window, and there was never a spot on it. All the bugs must be wintering over in California and many of them hit my truck!

Lady is content now and I'm sure she knows we won't be going anwhere for a while. First thing on the agenda tomorrow morning is to go to Costco and get her one of those big fluffy round beds. I had them for both Mandy and Lady but they took up so much room I ended up getting smaller and less padded ones. I can tell she has trouble with going up the 3 steps to the bedroom and I know she has joint pain, so the extra padding on the bed should make her feel a little better.

My trip of 2870 miles was done in 8 days, and I spent approx $880 for fuel. Seven nights lodging cost approximately $215. I had a wonderful trip with very good weather, and drove over s lot of roads I had never been on before. It was good to be off the interstate, although I found that there are drawbacks when traveling in a large rig. I prefer off-interstate in a smaller vehicle and the interstates for RV travel, for the most part. Even as I was vowing to never do this again I began to plan for the next trip to New York.

I would like to thank everyone who has commented on my posts. I get emails of your comments, and usually reply to the emails. I have always wondered if they reach you however, since the address sometimes begins with "noreply", I have the feeling they aren't being received by the intended person. I correspond with many of you privately, so I know you get my replies, but I really feel bad that many of you have never received a response from me. I will have to figure out how to correct that situation - I see that many bloggers are answering comments in their blog entries, and maybe I should start doing that. Let me say that I love your comments and consider your suggestions very seriously.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Greetings from the Golden State!

I am in Barstow, CA this evening, at probably the last KOA I will stay at on this trip. I had decided to stop at whichever campground came up first, and it was the KOA. I loved the KOA in Holbrook last night - if I was going to spend an extra day someplace, that would have been the CG I would choose. I didn't do it because without unhooking my truck there isn't much I can do anyway, and I AIN'T UNHOOKING THAT TRUCK UNTIL CAL EXPO! But the warm welcome plus the quiet and spaciousness put it way up on my list of "It" places.

Here is a picture taken from the dog run this morning, facing the early traffic on I-40. Surprisingly, for as close as I-40 seems I heard almost no traffic noise. It was a quiet campground with wide and spacious sites and lanes. Just about perfect!

The campsites here in Barstow are much closer to the interstate and the noise, as well as to each other. The closeness inside the CG is mitigated by the fact that the sites are separated by oleander bushes, so there is great privacy. I'm close to a dog walk area which seems to be open desert. I could probably let Lady loose, but since it's been a while since she hasn't been on a leash - since we lived in North Carolina - I don't trust her. She wanted to chase a jackrabbit a couple of evenings ago and who knows what is out in the desert she could go after.

At the far western side of Arizona on I-40 is a small bridge that goes over "Holy Moses Wash". I laugh every time I see that sign, and wonder how it got its name. Perhaps some old cowboy was walking across it in the rain when the tide started flowing, and he yelled "HOLY MOSES!" as he leapt to safety.

As I was driving down the highway in the early morning hours I saw what looked like ghost ships on a foggy sea. It was a power plant with a lot of white smoke coming from the stacks, and there must have been a shallow pond or other body of water near the plant because a low fog hovered over a big area. With white smoke and fog all around, it looked eerie. When you drive alone it is difficult to get pictures, so I don't even try, but that would have been a good subject to photograph.

The trip was fairly uneventful except for the long upgrades that never seemed to end. On the really long ones there is a truck lane for slow traffic, and no matter how fast you start out, you eventually slow down to a near crawl. Also, some of the roadway was super but a lot of it was bumpy, torn up, and plain awful.

One thing I really like about driving in California, and I may have mentioned it previously, but that is the 55 mph speed limit for trucks and vehicles pulling trailers. It is a much safer speed for a big rig to go for one thing, the fuel mileage is no doubt improved, and it sure makes for a less stressful drive. What I don't understand is why they allow buses and motorhomes go the 70 mph speed limit.

I have had trouble with the sofa slide in that it sometimes doesn't want to come in all the way and doesn't close perfectly. When I brought it in this morning it made a lot of noise plus a chugging sound, and sure enough I can see a tiny gap at the top. I had this problem the morning I left Fort P. but it seemed to be ok and came in fine the next time I extended it. Now I'm worried about the chugging sound - what if it refuses to come back in all the way - I know there is a method to manually crank the slide in, but I don't think I want to have to do that. So I will wait to extend it until I get settled at Cal Expo. The levels are reading just about perfect, but the rig feels slightly tilted to me with the one slide being in. One of my entry doors seems to be off slightly as well, and I have difficulty closing it. Am I ever sick of all these problems!

I gained another hour today, and now I learn that the great gods who control time have decreed that we will lose an hour this month. I will be really confused when that happens. If there is a state in the US that doesn't try to mess with the time, I would like to know about it with a possible view of moving there. No matter what anyone tells me, I don't think having daylight saving time for 9 months out of the year is productive or money saving. It might allow for an extra hour or so for golf, but it also affects approximately 6 months of the school year. So the kiddies don't have to come home in the dark. Duh, they leave in the dark, and vice versa on the other end of the time scam. I could accept it when they just tampered with the summer months, but there is some other reason we aren't being told that involves the early and late winter months. Do I sound paranoid? Maybe I am just a bit.

I am so tired I would love to just go to bed for the evening, but I would regret it since the "evening" is now 4:38 pm!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Grand Canyon State

I am in Holbrook, Arizona this evening. I was really tired by the time I stopped. My sleep patterns have been messed up by it being two hours earlier than when I left Savannah, and I have one more time zone to pass through. I go to sleep earlier in the evening and wake up earlier as well - this morning I figured I might as well get up early and get on the road. I'm glad I did because I hit Albuquerque a little before 10:00 am and the traffic wasn't too bad. I was glad to get through it though - I think that should be the last big city until I hit Sacramento.

The GPS stuck to the window until somewhere around Gallup, NM. I caught it and managed to get it re-stuck (no small feat while driving). I have received several comments about the possibility of getting a dish or holder that I can place on the dashboard to hold the GPS. It won't work with my model Ford, I'm sorry to say. There is no place level enough on the driver's side to hold anything, and the passenger side is too far away for me to see. I love my truck, but wonder who designed the dashboard and panels - I can't see the critical gauges such as fuel, odometer, and oil, because the steering wheel is in the way, and because they are so faint they are just about unreadable. I realize that my cataract has a lot to do with vision problems, but everything is really faint - the whites and reds just fade into the background. Even the speedometer is difficult to read, which is why I rely more on the GPS to tell me how fast I'm going.

As always, New Mexico is exquisite! I didn't see as much of ABQ this trip because I tried to concentrate on traffic more than the passing scenery. The roads were just about perfect most of the way with a few bumps now and then.

The terrain in New Mexico started looking "Arizona-ish" about the last 10 miles. Don't ask me what I mean by that, because I don't think I could put it into words, except to say that the rocks began to be a different color. New Mexico's rock formations are more red, while Arizona has more earth hued rocks - this is my unscientific view and it may change in different parts of the states.

The signs warned me about 10 miles before Holbrook that the roadway was rough. It was then I realized I hadn't secured two potted plants I have in the kitchen. Usually when traveling I put them into one of the sink bowls, with dish towels wrapped around them so they don't scratch the sink. I had stopped back in NM for a quick use of the facilities and heard the furnace going, so I know I went to the kitchen to turn it off and the pots were intact, although I didn't really take notice.

When I finally got into my site I went inside and sure enough, two flowerpots full of dirt were all over the kitchen floor and up onto the carpet. I saved most of the plants - aloe plants from some my grandmother had given me back in the 1970's. I have carried shoots of those plants with me from then on, even to Ireland and back. Who knows from when it had been handed down to her, but I have a real thing about keeping it going. I worry about when I die, because my siblings or my kids don't seem to have an ounce of interest in it but I have treasured it all along because it is a descendant of the grandmother plant. I guess after I die I won't be worried about it!

The folks here at this KOA campground have been wonderful. One of the owners saw me pulling in and trying to figure out if I should get more level and line up better, so he directed me perfectly so that all my slides can be extended and the hookups are close. He even came back a little later and offered to help me with the hookups - he did the hose and electric, and I'm not bothering with sewer tonight.

I think I will stop at Needles, California tomorrow. For some reason the mere mention of Needles, CA puts Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" in my mind. I had never been there when I first read the book, and had never even heard of Needles. I will probably have to make one more stop between Needles and Sacramento, which will get me into Sac on Saturday evening. I may even make another stop so as to go into Sac on Sunday morning, the best time to drive through any large city.

This trip has been a very lovely one in so many ways, but I am sorry that I haven't been able to see some things I may never again get a chance to see (the Grand Canyon, for one). I just don't have the heart for exploring alone any more. No matter how many folks think and say I should just take it easy, stop and smell the roses, and all that type of advice, my answer is "Sorry, I've done that by myself when I was younger and I don't have any more desire to do it at this stage of my life."

I hope someday I reach the state of Contentment, although my gypsy heart and soul will probably never allow that.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Photos to go with Tuesday's blog

I didn't have the pictures ready when I posted earlier, so here are a couple I've taken from the campground. The sunset was disappointing, especially after seeing what some folks can do with this type of picture. I guess I should try Picasa again, except it just makes me frustrated and angry.

Under the Lone Star--Into the Land of Enchantment

I left El Reno, OK this morning at 7:30 a.m. The roads all of the sudden became smooth and easy to drive on, and this lasted until somewhere near Amarillo. It was overcast again, but the sun appeared when I got close to New Mexico.

I-40 through the Texas Panhandle has some interesting rest stops - the one I'm referring to going west is called a "Safety Rest Area". It is mounded with earth and is a haven during severe weather, including tornados. Rest area parking lots usually have one row for trucks and RV's, but in the Safety area there are at least three rows. The east bound rest area is built above ground, but the entire building is constructed with severe weather in mind, and there are actually rooms where people can gather to stay safe from tornados. They are both modern structures, aesthetically pleasing, and serve a much needed purpose in this part of the country.

The eastern Texas panhandle is sort of rolling terrain, much like western Oklahoma. The middle is flat, and the western side is beautiful "cowboy-looking" country. You can just picture some of the old westerns - and I'm talking the grade B movies we watched on TV - not the fancy schmancy productions featuring Clint Eastwood or John Wayne. There are hills and mesas where you can picture the Indians waiting to ambush the cowboys and settlers. The good guys were recognizable with their white hats, while the bad buys wore black hats or war paint!

Then I arrived in New Mexico. While I'm not sure I would want to live here year around, it is one of the most beautiful states in my estimation. I hope I can catch a couple of photos of the sunset this evening and sunrise tomorrow morning, because that is what I always picture when I think of New Mexico - the gorgeous skies.

I stopped in Tucumcari for the night, and hope to cross over into Arizona by tomorrow afternoon. That is a lot of miles towing a 5th wheel, and I'll be content to stop at Gallup if I'm tired. I wish I could make a birthday party in Sacramento on Saturday evening, but it is doubtful I can do it. I'll give it a try though.

The interstates in the west are so much easier to drive - and I am not including California's freeways in that statement. It just seems like the traffic isn't as heavy or as treacherous here as it is, for example, on I-81 or, god forbid, I-95. I hope I never have to drive on I-95 again!

The Garmin has been acting up lately, and I wonder if it is due to the aborted attempt to update the maps. She kept insisting I get off I-40 through Amarillo and head for downtown! Luckily I know my way pretty well from here on, but I hope she is accurate through Albuquerque. I've always driven through it guided only by the signs, but then it was easier to change lanes when necessary before I became an RVer. The only trouble with driving through Albuquerque is that it is so spectacular it is difficult to watch the road rather than the sculpture in the median, the bridges, the colors of the overpasses and decorative tiles on the side rails, and the last time I noticed even the commercial buildings along either side of the interstate were southwestern looking - building materials, colors, and decorative touches.

The Garmin also tried to have me get off the interstate about 30 miles early yesterday, but I ignored it because I was looking for the KOA sign and didn't see one. I don't want to have to buy a new one but I guess I'd better start watching the ads.

It is too nice outside for a change, so I think I will take Lady, a cold beer, and a lawn chair and sit in the sun for a while. Tomorrow, hopefully Arizona!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Under Oklahoma Skies

They have been cloudy all day and it will get down into the 20's tonight.

I left the KOA in Arkansas at 7:15 this morning. A few miles down the road there was a traffic slowdown (3-8 mph for miles). It looked like a vehicle had gone over an embankment on the other side of the highway and was burning. I could only see the smoke, and can't believe that much of a slowdown can be caused by rubbernecking!

I regret it if I gave a negative impression of the KOA campground in Morrilton, Ark. - KOA's are almost always satisfactory and above. This one was obviously undergoing lots of improvements, in making the individual sites better as well as adding lots and lots of camping cabins. I have always had problems picking a suitable site for myself, and think the office staff knows their individual sites and can "read" the customer pretty well, being able to direct them to the best site for that RVer. Without someone to help me out I seem to flounder. I would stay there again at a different time of the year, or maybe arriving on a day other than Sunday.

Driving through the western side of Arkansas I am always struck by the beauty of the landscape, with Ozark peaks visible in the distance.

But when I reached Oklahoma it was like seeing an old friend after several years of absence. The last few times I traveled coast to coast I missed Oklahoma, either because of weather or because of where I was heading to. The roads are completely awful on much of I-40, the traffic through Oklahoma City could have had me returning to a nail biting habit I gave up at about age 13, but otherwise it is a wonderful state, to me.

I stopped at another KOA, this time in El Reno, OK, leaving me 108 miles to go before I get to TX. If the weather is decent I should be overnighting in New Mexico tomorrow evening. I could have driven further to Elk City before stopping tonight, but the skies have been overcast all day long, sun shining between 11:00 and 11:15 this morning, and I don't see well in overcast conditions. It could be a result of the cataract, or just aging eyes, but I see the best in sunlight.

I reasoned that this campground would be an acceptable place to have to weather over an extra day, if necessary. A Cherokee Trading Post and restaurant are part of the campground complex so I could walk up and let them take my money if I get bored, or dine on a buffalo burger, the thought of which has my mouth watering. I'd rather visit a trading post than a casino, but I hope I can get back on the road again tomorrow.

I have received a lot of suggestions about fueling spots, and I am grateful for all comments. I didn't need to refuel until shortly before Oklahoma City, and ended up at a Shell station. My experience has always been that a Shell which advertises diesel fuel, usually has separate islands for trucks & RV's. Personally, I try to avoid stopping anywhere if I can't get a glimpse of the station from the highway. I know it is part of the beautification program started many years ago, to hide much of the commercial aspects, but I can usually tell by looking at a station if I am going to be able to use it. Often I take a chance and end up having to turn around (not easy with a 34' 5th wheel) and get back on the interstate to look for another likely stop. So far I have had fairly good luck with Shell. I know Flying J does a good sell job with RVers, but I've stopped at some that had very limited pull through and turn around space, and when you think you know their system and signage, along comes a station that changes it on you. I have also found you don't do a quick stop at a Flying J. You are usually lined up for the fuel pump, lined up inside to give them your credit card, and lined up again to pay, before getting in the line to exit the place. God help you if you want propane - I've never tried it. Speaking of propane, I'm praying to the propane gods to extend my supply. I am on a tank that started on last Wednesday, the 25th. It should easily last me another couple of days, but nights have been cold enough to keep the furnace cycling on and off.

Hopefully my entry tomorrow night will be written from the beautiful state of New Mexico!