Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Drive to Wickenburg

Dave and I drove to Wickenburg today and stopped at a Safeway so I could get a few groceries, plus a general type store in the area. The route we took was pretty nondescript at first, but there was one section on Eagle Eye Road that was really pretty. I should have stopped to take a picture of the eagle-shaped rock, but didn't.

We would have gone to Buckeye but didn't know when my orders would be in - on the way back I got a call saying my glasses were ready for pickup, and since I've been home I got the call that the rubber truck bed mat is in at Auto Zone. We will probably go in early tomorrow to pick them up and then Dave can get the non-skid mat in the truck bed prior to mounting the camper. No matter what I have to be back by mid-afternoon when the "honey wagon" comes around, since I signed up for it. The tank is just about full and I'll be relieved to get it emptied.

So things are going pretty well except for my brother-in-law's declining health in Orlando. I got word that my sister is bringing him home this afternoon and they will have hospice care. If and when the time comes she will bring him back to Fresno (CA), so I may be driving there directly from AZ.

I have to concentrate on the present rather than try to figure out the future, so I take it day to day. I will be very happy to get the camper loaded so I can begin to practice driving with it. The user guides and literature that came with it stress driving slowly at first, and I don't think I'll have any problem with that. The thing that most concerns me is going up and over Tehachapi Pass, but I don't see why it should be a problem, as there was no difficulty hauling that 5ver up and over.

Looking back over this post it shocks me how many times I begin a sentence with the word "I". Sorry about that.

Today has been a much nicer day, with very little wind, and it actually got warm enough to sit outside with my down vest on. At the grocery I saw guys in shorts, and ladies in bare shoulders, but I still wore a couple of layers. I guess it's a factor of age.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Incessant Wind!

I don't know how much I can take of this wind. It seems much worse today if that is possible, and I know it can get a lot worse than this. A look at the weather forecast calls for 16 mph winds this afternoon, but I'm sure the gusts are way higher than that already.

Little by little I am getting used to boondocking, and although I can't say I would want to do it 100% of the time, I am dealing with it pretty well. The worst is on a day like today with no electric, required for running the furnace, and I don't want to run my little generator all day. The little propane heater works fine but I doubt a small cannister will last long, so I try to run it for just short periods of time. Actually it is a good thing to know what you can do and how you would react in a real emergency with loss of power, water, etc. I would be better equipped than most folks in the country, at least for a short period of time.

I want to say that the bed in this TC is much more comfortable than I expected, and more so than the bed in my 5th wheel. I still may get a down featherbed for a mattress topper, but there is no hurry on that right now since I get a good night's sleep without it. I'd probably be a very happy camper if the temps got up into the 70's during the day with little or no wind. That's not asking for much, is it?

Not much going on today because I've stayed indoors mostly. Yesterday was windy, but I was able to sit in a camp chair in the sun for quite a while. Tomorrow will be a shopping day as my list is growing - things for the TC as well as things for the pantry/fridge.

I have managed to do my weight lifting routine in the camper even though the space is limited, and I really feel so much better when I do. Life is pretty good for me at this point, although my b-i-l in Florida isn't doing very well. I doubt he will get a heart transplant but there is an artificial heart pump that can be affixed if they could get his fever down and clear up whatever infection he has. It has been a bumpy ride for him and my sister these past few weeks.

It will soon be doggy walky time, and then it will be Miller Time for me!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rainbow for good luck!

I have always loved seeing a rainbow, and no matter what my mood or the problems I have, a rainbow just makes me feel like everything will be perfect. It is my good luck symbol, and good luck always follows my seeing a rainbow. (Not the BIG good luck such as a winning lottery ticket, but the little kinds of things sometimes referred to as serendipity.

This morning I started out the walk with Lady, and looking towards the west I saw a beautiful rainbow. I could even see where it reached the ground, and thought briefly of going for the pot of gold! The sun was shining very brightly, although there were some heavy clouds in the northern sky.

If I was a good photographer I would somehow try to connect the following three photos - the rainbow made a perfect arc and could be seen from the ground on one side all the way to the other.

There was also a second rainbow forming to the right of the "big" one - Double Good Luck - and at one point it too reached the ground, although not when I had my camera handy. I'm trying to get in the habit of taking at least one of my cameras with me wherever I go.

I need to take 4 or 5 more shots on my Minolta and then try to find some fresh film. I know the film that is in the camera is old and the photos won't be good quality, but it is sure nice to be able to see what I'm trying to photograph through the viewfinder. It is a problem with my eyes, I'm sure, but with the digital camera I can see absolutely nothing but a dark screen - so I have no control over the set up of the shot. Very frustrating to have to trade off being able to download the photos immediately vs having to finish shooting the film and then taking it somewhere to be developed. I will probably try to use both cameras as much as possible and get the best of both worlds.

I'm writing this entry very early on Sunday morning, and I might possibly write another later in the day. I doubt anything exciting will happen though.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A few hours in Quartzsite

We drove over to Q about mid-morning, visited a few vendors (not nearly as many there as there will be in a couple of weeks), ate lunch, and then drove over to see Celia's Rainbow Garden. Quartzsite has a well-know vendor, the "Naked Bookseller" who is quite a character, obviously, but you may not know that he and his wife lost their beautiful little daughter, Celia, and they and many volunteers worked to build a memorial garden in her honor. The idea has grown, and it looks like others have created and tended little garden spaces in memory of loved ones. It is a fascinating place to visit. There are many kinds of plants and trees, all identified with a small plaque, and no doubt there are flowers in season.

There is all kinds of merchandise to be found at the various vendors' sites, much of it at a very good price. It was a little overwhelming to me as there were so many items I would like to buy, but I have to decide on whether I need them and, more importantly, where would I put them.

I bought an outdoor window thermometer just like the one I used in my 5th wheel. If you can get it in a window facing the proper direction, it is very nice to be able to estimate the outdoor temp before going out with the dog in the morning. I still have my old one, on one of my living room windows in the apartment. I also bought a folding resin table which will be perfect for setting between a couple of outdoor chairs. Both of these products were made in the USA by the way, which is a selling point to me although I know everyone might not worry about it. I think both items were competitively priced.

So now I can say I've been to Quartzsite. I haven't stayed there in an RV, but from what I see of it I don't think I would want to spend much time there. When the crowds start arriving in droves it will just be too intense and busy to suit me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A few more photos

Today was spent by Dave installing the Torque-Lift tie-down hardware on my truck. I think I have the terms correct, but you get the general idea if I don't. It was really a time-consuming and difficult job doing the left side because the gas tank is right next to where the bolts go. There is a lot more to it but I can't describe it accurately, and it was a frustrating job (for Dave, I sat in my chair in the sun).

Here is a picture of the bed, and I'm sorry I didn't smooth down the comforter very well, but it is fine with me:

Here is a picture of Lady - you can see her bed is wedged in the narrow aisle way and it is difficult to get around her. I think her joints are bothering her and she has a tough time getting in and out of the camper, which will be worse when it sits up higher on the truck. I am definitely going to have to get a pet ramp.

While Dave was working on the tie-downs I walked around and tried to get some pictures to show how large his site is. Most of the sites are very large, and most folks have an RV or two, plus storage shed(s) plus a couple of vehicles.

His site is a huge wedge shaped piece of land, and his 5th wheel sits along one side; my TC is behind it. In the second picture you can see a white object on the extreme right, and that is his cargo trailer, which can give you an idea of how large the site is and how things are spaced well apart from each other.

I don't think I would ever be tempted to spend a lot of time in the desert, and I'm glad I have the opportunity to experience it for about a month. It is too thorny, sticker-bushy, dry, and windy. It gets down to freezing at night but still isn't short sleeve weather in the daytime, although the sun is bright. The two things I love are the absolute quiet and the sky full of stars. I think I have identified the constellation of Pisces in the sky, which I've never done before. I need a good star chart because everything I find online is not as good as the program that came with my telescope. I doubt the software would even be adaptable to my MAC, but I should check it out when I get back to Sacramento - I think I still have it but maybe not.

I've been in the west for a long time now and long for the green grass, trees and mountains of the east. Hopefully it won't be too much longer. I have to admit it is much easier to drive here and it seems like less traffic (except for cities, of course).

I think I am going to be able to adapt very quickly to being in a truck camper, but it really does take some adapting. There is much less space for one thing, but a lot more space than you might think. It will take some getting familiar with the systems and working out the easiest way for ME to use it.

I have finally found the justification I need to spend the money on a labeler! When I get back to Sac, my daughter is going to be helping me organize and pack and label everything. I might get my daughters-in-law in on the act as well, although the four of us would be bumping into each other!

Lastly, I'm sorry I haven't been able to comment on most blogs, although I try to read them all. I can run my computer and the MiFi off their batteries for so long, and then I need to plug them into an outlet to charge. Not wanting to pull from the batteries I just wait until I have several reasons to run the generator, so I have been weaned away from much of my computer use. Tomorrow we are going to drive someplace so I will be lucky to read my email. Be back online when I can - - -

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day, 2010

I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving Day.

Here are a few photos I've taken - a sunset and a morning picture:

And a couple that were taken while walking in the desert with Lady:

Here is my camper with the truck parked nearby:

We took a looonng walk around the Park, along the road, into the desert, and back into the Park this morning, and then Lady just collapsed on her bed. Dave drove me to a couple of little towns in the vicinity, but of course there isn't much going on Thanksgiving Day. Tomorrow we plan to start attaching the tie-downs to the truck that will hold the camper in place. There are still a lot of steps before we can load it on the truck, but this coming week will show a lot of progress. Meanwhile I'm learning to live in it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Arizona, Day 2

We drove 60 or 70 miles to the Walmart store today, and I ordered new reading glasses. I sure hope they work, but I won't celebrate until I get them and can finally read regular print. I also was able to find the eye drops that I'm supposed to use 4+ times a day. Since that is all I've been doing and since my eyes have shown great improvement, it must be the drops and I'll continue using them. I just wish I could see the improvement in eyesight.

We shopped for groceries and hardware items - I bought things like a temperature gauge for the fridge and a lock for the generator. I also faxed a copy of the bill of sale to my insurance agent in SD, and hope to see a big reduction in the insurance premium. The generator works very well by the way, and is easy to start.

I got a lot of things put away in the camper today, but that was offset by my finally emptying bags and boxes from the truck. I hope to be able to see the table top sometime tomorrow.

The sunsets are so beautiful from here and I did get a few pictures, but I'm too tired to fool with photos tonight. Maybe tomorrow. There is so much to do here and so much to see. I am going to love every minute of it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

1st Night in my Lance

I arrived about 1 pm Arizona time, and was met at the park entrance by Dave. He introduced me to the camp hosts and then we went back to his very large site, where he has a 5th wheel (gorgeous), the Lance, and the cargo trailer. I unloaded most of my stuff into the Lance, made the bed so it's ready for me to fall asleep early tonight. I put a lot of things away but will probably redo much of it when I get my bearings and know how I'll be using everything.

It is small, going from a 5th wheel with 3 slides, to an apartment, and then to the truck camper. It would be perfect for me but I'll see what happens when I have to step over Lady in the middle of the night to get to the bathroom! She appears to really like it here, and there is a gate to the open desert where I can let her off leash. Of course she was happy with that. The bad part for her is that her fur has picked up tons of little sand burrs and I couldn't find her brush. I was certain I had brought it, but it's nowhere to be found so tomorrow I'll have to pick up another one. I pulled off what I could with my fingers but there are just too many, and I know I will step on some when I get out of bed.

I really enjoy getting to know Dave after emailing and talking on the phone for several weeks. He is every bit as nice as I thought he would be - he even grilled chicken tonight and had me over for supper! I have a lot to learn about the systems in the camper - I haven't been in my 5th wheel since last April, and I can't believe how much I've forgotten about living in an RV.

I'm tired tonight and am going to turn in early. Tomorrow is a shopping day to pick up some items I didn't get before coming to AZ, plus stocking up on some groceries. So I will cut this short and try to post within the next couple of days. I also hope to have some pictures - I took a few from the road today but haven't even looked at them yet.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Barstow, CA

I'm sitting in a Motel 6 in Barstow, hopefully the last motel I will have to stay in for a long time. The office clerks offered me bottled water as Barstow is on a water advisory. They reminded me to brush my teeth with it as well. I have a half bottle of Evian remaining that I picked up at a fuel stop, but I may have to go to the office for more. I filled Lady's water bowl with the bottle they gave me and she drank it without stopping. That poor thing has been so cooped up today and I'll be glad that she won't have to go through that again. Luckily, nothing fell on her, and boxes and bags are stacked all around her.

I woke up at 6:00 am, and would you believe the guy upstairs was still awake and making noise. I used the ear plugs last night, but took them out whenever I woke up and he was still at it, so I had to leave them in all night long. I got dressed and took the remaining items out to the truck, trash to the dumpster, etc., and we were on the road at 6:45. I am really getting slow - it used to take me just a few minutes from when I woke up to be on the way. But it's just as well because daybreak was just about there when I got going.

It wasn't raining all day, although now and then I'd drive through enough sprinkles to turn on the windshield wipers. Mostly it was sunny and then overcast, so my sunglasses were on and off and on again for the day. The traffic was decent and I enjoyed the drive until I got to Bakersfield. The drivers there are unique and I'm glad I don't have to go through there very often, but I will be driving through on my way back. The alternative is Los Angeles and the horrible Grapevine, and I'll take Bakersfield. Also, I've never found Tehachapi Pass difficult to drive in either direction, but the Grapevine nearly did me in a couple of years ago. I don't think the ascent was overly bad, but the traffic was horrendous.

I stopped at about 2:30 and considered driving on to Needles, but figured I'd had enough for one day - about 397 miles. That will leave me with less than 300 tomorrow, I hope. Still haven't decided the exact route to take.

Speaking of routes, the Garmin did ok once she figured out who is the boss. The first 30 miles were taken up trying to get me over to Freeway 99, whereas I had decided to take I-5 down to where I cut back east near Bakersfield. Steve reminded me that the lanes are much wider on I-5, which would have really made a difference had it been raining steadily. As it was, I'm glad I took I-5 because there are way fewer exits, and 99 has one exit after another to little towns along the way.

I had considered driving over the Sierras and driving south on 395. On my way out of Sacramento I was passed by a vehicle that had lots of snow on its roof, and he must have been skiing or snowboarding this weekend. The short time I had the radio on I heard that the snow levels were high even at the lower elevations.

I took some pictures while driving, and I'm not very good at that. The first two are ascending to Tehachapi Pass (going southbound) and the second two are after the descent. You can see there is much more snow on the south side of the Pass, which surprised me. Clicking on a picture enlarges it, and then clicking again enlarges it and you can see even greater detail.

I grumbled when I had to pay $3.35 for diesel in Sacramento. I stopped for fuel some 250 miles south, and it cost $3.50. I hope it is cheaper in Arizona!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One more wake-up!

I'm all packed - Jeannie came over with the girls and packed all my boxes and bags into the truck; Steve came by also and removed the tailgate for me and strapped a couple of items in the bed of the pickup. I'm ready to roll out of here at daybreak. I hope to make it to Barstow, but it will depend on traffic and daylight hours. There shouldn't be much traffic until late morning, and I hope I'm well on my way by then. The worst I can face is heavy rain, but I'm optimistic.

Lady has been relieved ever since we put her food container and treats into the truck, which clearly indicates that she is going somewhere with me. I hope I remember to get her food and water dish before heading out.

A quick shower and a roundup of last minute items to take, and I hope to get to bed early, although I will probably be too excited to sleep. Depending on connectivity and how tired I am tomorrow night, I might post a short entry. No doubt when I get into that hotel room I'll turn on the TV and be glued to the weather and history channels until I go to sleep. I'm just about as excited as kids used to be with the thought of getting to watch TV, although after 10 straight minutes of commercials I will no doubt realize why I don't have or want a TV in my life.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Good news today

I went to see the eye surgeon this afternoon and he was very happy with the situation. My eyes show great improvement. I told him, "but I can't see very well, and my sight kind of goes in and out - blurry/good/blurry/fair". He wants me to continue with the eye drops and he wrote me a prescription for reading glasses. He agrees that I should drive to Arizona this weekend. I didn't mention that I'm buying a camper and will be driving more back than I leave with, but this guy would cheer me on I think. I always come out of the office happier than when I went in, and I'm hopeful I'll be able to read a little better when I get the glasses. I'm not going to let myself get too excited about it though, because the place I went to for glasses after my cataract surgery healed was a complete waste of money.

So except for the rain which is predicted to fall from now well into next week, I'm getting more calm about the upcoming trip, and the anticipation is building.

To add to the good news, my brother-in-law opened his eyes for the first time in several days. He was running a fever and they couldn't seem to locate the infection, which has turned out to be pneumonia, and he is responding to treatment for it. I am so happy for him and for my sister, who has only left his side when the ICU kicks her out in the evening.

I brought the dog bed that has been in the truck back into the house so her new bed will be there for our travels. I put it next to her big round bed thinking I would brush all the excess dog hair off, but she appropriated it immediately and has enjoyed having 2 beds to stretch across. (She knows I am writing about her because she just turned around and looked up at me as if to say, "Now be nice".

I have so many loose ends to tie up tomorrow that I am totally overwhelmed. My daughter is coming over and maybe she can help me get things in a little better shape than they are in right now. I was going to give the place a good cleaning before I left - HAH!

Anxiety before a trip

I've gotten it all my life, and I have a good case of it now. The few days before leaving when I just know I will forget something important; won't be able to get everything into the suitcase/car/truck; and just pure excitement about traveling. There are always things that don't seem to go right, and this time is no exception.

I realize I shouldn't complain about my dog, and I really do love her. But she always chooses this time to "act up", maybe picking up on my mood? One thing I realize is that I don't actually have all that freedom we all talk about. Having a dog dictates what you do first and foremost, and their needs must be considered and met, just as when the children were small.

To add to my anxiety, my brother-in-law is dying in Florida. He is waiting on a heart transplant but suffers one setback after another in the meantime, and my sister is alone there, although there are family and friends who come to be with her for a few days. My oldest son (her first godchild) is flying in today. I should go as well, but the first problem that arises is what to do with the dog. It always comes down to that.

These and other problems are facing me now as I prepare to leave on Sunday, which will be rainy the entire day. I checked the weather report for every town and city down through the Central Valley, and the rain doesn't look as if it will let up. The overcast will definitely affect my vision, so I will definitely drive slower and hope I don't cause too much road rage.

I may wait until I am well on my way to post, or until my outlook improves. I'm not being negative - just "antsy and anxious", and knowing I'm not nearly ready.

This afternoon I will see the eye surgeon and don't expect much to have changed. If I'm going to require surgery, it's going to wait until after Christmas.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My down vest arrived today from Cabela's, and I'm thrilled with it. It is a roomy fit, but I want to be able to wear a couple of layers underneath it, and the same for the down jacket. Two or three years ago I bought a flannel shirt from Cabela's that matches the vest in color, so I took a picture with the shirt included. I will no doubt look like the Michelin Man when wearing these garments, although I purposely looked for and bought models that had smaller and more compact channels for the down. Would you believe that there are down jackets made with the channels running crosswise the full width of the garment. Now that is a Michelin Man look!

I am not very happy with my dog this afternoon and she knows it. If we happen to come close to another dog and the other dog growls and acts aggressively, Lady responds the same way. Who do they think owns the damn sidewalk. I am so sick of the territorial nature of dogs that I'd like a vacation from all of them. (Maybe I need to take a cruise, but it would have to be "no pets allowed".) I can see if they are on their own property, car, etc., but walking along a public sidewalk? I'm sorry but I'm just tired of it.

I'm probably frustrated at finding out that I am going to find it very difficult to load everything in the truck. The new dog bed takes up more space than I thought, and I have a lot of items to place behind the driver's seat. Her bed is behind the passenger seat and I usually pull the seat forward to give her extra room, which also reduces the amount of space to put things in the front passenger side and on the floor. If it wouldn't cost so much I would put her in a kennel for the 3 or 4 weeks I'm gone. But she doesn't have the required shots for kenneling, and I'm not scrambling to find a vet as well.

Jeannie just stopped by to give me her blood pressure monitor so that I can check my pressure daily as requested by the doctor. I hope it doesn't rise, because I hate taking meds for it. She also offered to come by on Saturday and help me pack my truck. All my kids inherited from their dad an incredible ability to pack efficiently into a small space, and I know any one of them can get more into my truck than I can. He was phenomenal, and so are they.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One doctor out of the way

I came away with a prescription for Prilosec to take for one month and then stop. I think it will work much better than the OTC stuff, which is really little better than nothing.

I am also going to try to get off HCTZ (hydrochlorothiazide) for blood pressure, but I will have to monitor my blood pressure every day for a month and write it down. If the pressure starts to go back up I will start the HCTZ again (and I might cut the dose to 1/4 of a 25mg tablet).

We had a long talk about osteoporosis and how to combat it without prescription drugs. She said I'm doing all the right things with the weight lifting and stretching, and we'll see how it goes. I don't get any sympathy or understanding when I say I want to gain weight though. It is every bit of a problem as for those who want to lose weight. There IS a happy medium, you know. I'll just have to work out my own diet plan. She did suggest a number of foods and snacks that might help, but they are all things I have researched on my own.

The GPS had a field day recalculating today. It gave different directions than the last time I visited the same doctor, but I followed them with no problems. Upon returning home, however, she insisted on getting me onto the Capital City Freeway, which I avoid at all costs because the traffic just crawls along day and night. I found my way to Folsom Blvd and from there I knew where I was going. She still tried to get me back to I-80, and then to Freeway 50, and I kept going my own way which caused her to call out in that panicky voice, "recalculating, recalculating!". I can't believe I can find so much amusement in playing with a fake person.

I switched my pharmacy of choice over to Costco. I've never used them for prescriptions, but the eye drops I am using (Muro 128 5%) is the same price as in other pharmacies, but the amount is twice as much. I'm hoping the Rx cost to me will be cheaper as well, although I have a fairly good plan and can't complain. The biggest trap is walking into Costco in the first place, because it is oh so much more than a pharmacy!

I've been thinking about the fact that one of the risks with loss of bone density is the chance of falling and breaking a hip or some other bone. I know if that ever happens to me it will be the dog that causes the fall. On our walks she will be trotting along and then stop dead in front of me, making it difficult to maintain my balance, or suddenly cross my path to sniff something on the other side. And it is a real problem to know where she is when I get up in a dark room and have to spot her before I trip over her. Because she spent so much of her time off leash in the mountains, and because I'm basically lazy, I never trained her to "heel". I'm a relaxed person and I've raised a relaxed dog, but I will pay the price someday. You can't teach an old dog new tricks, so the saying goes, and that probably applies to both of us.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just some ramblings

I forgot to mention that I bought a down jacket at the Eddie Bauer outlet store on Sunday. It is very warm and delightfully lightweight. I liked another equally warm jacket, in a gorgeous woodland green color (the one I bought is a bright sky blue) but it had a canvas outer shell that would resist brambles and stickers should I be bushwhacking through deep woods - great for a hunter, but I sort of prefer trails to bushwhacking anyway. The canvas made it much heavier. I wanted something to cover my hips which meant I just about had to buy a man's jacket in Medium. Why in the world do they make warm coats for women stop at the waist?

I haven't removed the tags yet and may take it back if I happen to run across something I like better. I prefer an understated color, but so long as it is found in nature, i.e., shades of blue, green, brown, I'm ok. One thing I've noticed with the many jackets I've looked at is that the zippers won't last a year. Why in the world would a reputable company allow a skimpy cheap zipper on an otherwise beautiful garment? The down vest should arrive on Thursday and it is a cranberry (or some other berry) color, but I won't be out on any trails in it so the color doesn't matter as much.

I set the new doggie bed down for Lady to try out yesterday evening. She walked around it a couple of times, sniffing here and sniffing there, then climbed aboard. Her paws hung over the edge as well as part of her head because she is so long. It's the same with the big round bed though - right now she's stretched out on it with her head on the floor. The new bed has an egg crate type foam under the outer shell, and I hope it doesn't bother her. I don't like them myself, and would not want to sleep on one.

You may remember my dilemma about which memberships to retain, and I decided to only keep Passport America for now. Well, last night I got to thinking it over, and remembered how Good Sam Emergency Road Service towed my 5th wheel to a shop in Idaho for a temporary fix until I could get it repaired; then I remembered having a blow-out on busy I-95 in South Carolina last year. Although the tire service certainly wasn't prompt, they finally arrived and put a new tire on my 5ver so I could continue my journey.

I have an AAA membership which I have kept for years and wouldn't think of letting it go, but I'm not sure what they would or wouldn't do for a truck camper. I recently read an account of someone who had a flat tire out in the middle of the Alabama Nowhere, after dark of course, and AAA refused to come and change the tire. I guess they aren't equipped to jack up a 1 ton pickup with a camper loaded into the bed. As the story continued, it turned out that Good Sam sent someone who changed the tire and all was well. I'm not taking any chances, so last night I renewed the ERS online. It's pricey, at least I think so, but I feel better having that base covered. I noticed that my regular membership had expired, and I had two weeks to go on my ERS. I won't renew the regular membership if I don't have to as I only want the emergency coverage. I wonder, though, if I can still get the Good Sam discount using the ERS card. Most campgrounds I've stayed at don't even ask to see the card.

For my return trip I found a PA park in Boron, CA where I might stop - I've passed the turn-off to Boron many times and wondered what the heck was out there. By then I hope I'm comfortable driving that thing over bumpy back roads.

I've started packing - a couple of boxes of kitchen and miscellaneous items, and then a small suitcase. I only have the smallest in a 3-pc set - the others are in my Asheville storage. I will be really glad to spend a few days there emptying the storage room and deciding what I have to keep and what I can get rid of. If I haven't used it in all this time . . . I'm not sure how I will transport it as renting a u-Haul would limit the travel time. I moved my mom's furniture from CA to VA in 1997, and they allowed me either 10 days or 2 weeks, can't remember which. Originally they only wanted to give me a week. I had never driven a truck before and this one was about 24', plus I pulled a tow dolly with her little Toyota. I had lots of nerve in those days.

I wouldn't mind owning a small cargo trailer, but nearly everything I've seen is way too large for my needs. I'm thinking of the very small u-Hauls I've seen on the road - just a little enclosed trailer. Maybe I'll find something in Asheville. That's a few months off in the future, so there's no need to worry about it now.

Back to the packing and worrying about where I'm going to put it all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Trying to get it all together

This is the last week I will have to gather what I will take with me to Arizona. The week is sort of punctuated by "time wasters" - two doctor appointments! I have an appointment to see the doctor on Wednesday about the results of my bone scan as well as the weight problem, and then the eye surgeon on Friday. The eye appointment will be a piece of cake, even on a Friday, because it is probably not even 3 miles from my apartment.

I tried to buy a rubber mat for the truck bed today - they had one left for a Ford truck but the box had been opened and was still not closed completely, plus someone had wrapped a plastic tie to hold it together on one end. I asked if they had any others as I didn't want to buy something in an uncertain condition. I was told by a clerk that I could order a new one if I was willing to pre-pay it, and she asked the man working with her if he would go check to see if there was a possibility of receiving it before Friday. He was gone a few minutes and the next time I saw him he was assisting another man with merchandise. Needless to say I decided to leave without the mat or the lock I had in my hand for the generator. Pep Boys lost a sale of $100 today, but I doubt anyone there is concerned about it. A stop at two other stores didn't locate one, so I may just give up and buy it in Arizona.

I bought Lady a new rectangular orthopedic bed for the camper. They are expensive, and I didn't even buy the premium model. I set it upright against the wall (don't want her getting it covered with dog hair yet) - she sniffed it a bit but left it alone. She knows it's for her though.

I tried for the last time to set up the iPod, but the instructions leave a lot to be desired. It will probably end up in a drawer so I don't have to look at it and realize what a waste it was to buy it. I hope that's the last hi tech item I am tempted to get.

At about 8:20 pm yesterday I passed 100,000 views of my blog. That is outstanding to me, and when I began writing it I had no idea that it would be so well received and read. I thank each and every one of you for making this possible.

Six more wake-ups!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bone scan

I had a bone scan last week and this morning was notified that the results were available online. Oh sh*t! I couldn't remember my userid or password but after a couple of tries I hit it. The scan show osteoporosis of the lumbar spine and osteopenia of the hip. I guess I'd better step up my weight lifting a notch or two, and while I'm at it, look at some exercises to strengthen my spine.

Great news to receive on my actual birthday, in the year that rolls over into another decade. See, I still can't say or write the number :~)

But as the old saying goes, "When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping", and I'm going to the Folsom Outlet Mall today.

I may feel like hell, but for some reason I feel like the world is mine! I am actually very happy for the state I'm in. One thing I won't do it take another prescription drug for the bone condition. I took Boniva for about 10 months and it nearly did me in. I then found a website that was set up for people to register negative side effects of the drug, and there were hundreds, most of them comparable to the side effects I experienced. I will never again take a new prescription drug without checking the web for reports of negative side effects. The doctors sure don't seem to be aware of them.

So today I'm going to enjoy the beautiful sunny Sacramento fall day, expected to get to the mid-70's. The 10 day forecast shows showers for next Sunday which is when I plan to leave for Arizona. I'll just have to take it easy and maybe drive 5 mph or so below the speed limit. It's difficult driving in anything but sunlight, but I'm intent on going no matter what. Just please don't let there be that low lying tule fog that the Central Valley is so prone to in the winter.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A bit of shopping on Saturday

I picked up a few items for the camper today - small sizes of dishwashing and laundry liquid. I know I could have gotten cheap plastic bottles and poured it out myself, but it's so much easier and more convenient to have the small sizes. There will no doubt be quite a few items I will need to buy in Arizona, when I see exactly how much room I'll have to store them, as well as what is required and what I can do without.

I bought two pairs of fleece gloves at Target, and although they cost a couple more dollars than those from Walmart they are actually a bit longer and a better fit. I just wish they had more colors than the black and white ones I bought. I have a snazzy cranberry colored down vest on the way, so you will see me coming from afar.

In looking at Cabelas website (where I bought the vest) it looked like they had shipped the item but the tracking number indicated they couldn't track it as it hadn't been shipped. I wrote an email to the customer service at Cabelas last night, and today I received a very prompt and polite reply, notifying me that it shipped yesterday. I'm on a roll with good customer service lately!

If only companies realized how their service can affect their business, they would all try harder. I would have ordered from LLBean, but a live chat with their rep was so unsatisfactory I decided not to buy from them. I wanted to know the back length of the parka and the coat - the response was that the coat was 5-3/4" longer than the parka??? At that point I lost my connection. The rep emailed me and finally answered my question as to the country of manufacture, but it's too late for LLBean. Tomorrow I plan to go to the Folsom outlet mall and look for a parka, but I think I can stay warm in Arizona without one. (To be fair to LLBean, their reps on the phone have always been terrific. I guess it's different when typing information on a computer, and information can come across much differently than when you can actually hear the other's voice.)

I am so tired this evening and I still need to eat something, but I sure don't feel like cooking. This is why I can't gain weight. Maybe some soup and crackers, a bottle of beer, some Halloween candy, and I'm off to bed early tonight.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I love the generator

Since I bought the Honda generator I haven't had an opportunity to try to start it at my apt. bldg. I wasn't worried because I found Lassen Park's Honda genny so easy to use last year, and although mine is a lot smaller it should be ok. I took it over to Steve's and it started right away, and is more quiet than I thought. The customer service rep where I bought it tried it out in the shop and I thought it was noisier than what I hoped it would be. Out in the open it just purrs along very quietly. I sure wish I had the strength to handle the 2000 model but I don't, so I will be ok with what I have.

We made arrangements for Steve to remove the tailgate next week, and he showed me how to use the ratchets to strap items in the bed of the truck. Would you believe I just could never wrap my brain around how ratchets work, so I never bothered with them. Even when I took my propane tanks to be refilled I used bungee cords to hold them in place. I should have learned all this stuff when I was younger, but I guess it's better late than never. I really wish I had someone to travel with, but then when I think about it some more, I'm better off that I don't.

The day was beautiful because the sun shone and I find it so much easier to drive in sunlight. It never did get above the mid 60's though, so I guess really warm Sacramento weather will be a rarity between now and next summer.

I didn't mean to imply that I think I'll need a parka in all of Arizona next month, but I'm sure I would appreciate having one if I happen to get to Grand Canyon, or any places at high elevations. So JB, you will probably be ok in t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops.

I got out my big flashlight today and looked under and in back of everything to find all the gloves I'm missing. I looked in my truck, where I usually keep a pair of insulated gloves for really cold weather - only found one glove! There is definitely a leprechaun hanging around hiding my gloves! He will probably release them after I've gone and bought some more.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A little praise for Verizon

I wasn't going to write an entry this evening, but I had a good experience with Verizon wireless that I thought I would mention. I'm quick enough to complain about them, so I figure I'd better praise them as well.

Verizon recently replaced my phone and I thought everything was going well, but I began to get text messages again from the websites that I had downloaded ring tones from. I don't want any more ringtones and never even open the messages, but I have been charged for them at an extremely high rate.

I tried all sorts of things but couldn't figure out how to block all texts. I went to the website, but you need a phone number that you want to block, and the message senders aren't identified by a regular number - it is something like 4 digits, a dash, and then 2 more digits. I called Verizon and the customer service rep fixed it for me, blocking all text messaging incoming and outgoing. I asked if I would be charged for those 3 messages that I received this month, and she said she would reverse the charges - nearly $25 for 3 crummy messages!

I am so happy with Verizon right now and their customer service has been great! The MiFi continues to work flawlessly and at much higher and more uniform speeds than the air card.

I spent a big part of today doing laundry, as I haven't figured out yet what I will take to Arizona. I washed all my winter clothes that had been packed away, and my capilene long underwear is the first thing going into my suitcase! I've been wanting a down parka but can't seem to find one I like, so I ordered a down vest that I hope will be delivered before I leave. I'm dubious that a vest will keep me warm, but I guess if I have enough layers underneath it I'll be ok. Now I need gloves. Last year I bought 3 pairs of cheap fleece gloves, but right now I can only find one glove of a set and that is it. Earlier in the week I was wearing a matched pair when walking the dog early in the morning. Do they just walk off on their own? And now I can't find the kind I like in the local stores. It's no wonder I'm suffering from heartburn!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Feeling Blue

I don't know what it is but I'm feeling really down this morning. One gripe I have is the state of professional photography and portraiture. I know most readers absolutely love the newest, fastest, and best technology there is, and I don't want to get flamed, but I would take the old photography any day over what you get today. I'm talking about the professional stuff, not personal cameras. I like my digital camera well enough, primarily because my photos can be downloaded immediately, I can see what they look like, and email them or could print copies if I so desired. I know many bloggers who do a really professional job of photography, but I don't believe it is the occupation of most - more of a hobby. (And if you're making money on your hobby, then more power to you.)

My family and I had photographs taken on Monday, and by an excellent photographer I might add. I've seen the work of him and his wife with wedding photos, and they are fantastic. My gripe is that they take way too damn many shots, simply because they can. Why must I wade through 116 proofs to find 2 that I want. Or if I wanted 8, I still wouldn't need 116 choices. Just looking back on the slideshow from last Saturday, in which many of the photos were taken in a studio, I don't think there is any better quality today than there was then. My daughter even commented on my wedding photos, which were done in black and white, at how beautifully composed they were. She was amazed.

I think I'm p*ssed because my hair looked like crap, and I'm not exaggerating. My fault because I had it cut only last Friday, and wanted a cut I wouldn't have to blow dry. Well if I don't blow dry this cut I would look like a porcupine with very short quills. Hairdressers like to do a thing they call "texturizing" (back in my mom's day they called it "thinning"), which leaves you with lots of little tufts of hair sticking out all over. I'm trying to grow my hair out to a longer length and wanted to pull the sides back while it's growing out, but the hairdresser even texturized that part, so in the photos it is really sticking out on one side, and somehow the part across the front looks uneven. It's not uneven, just messed up, but do you think anyone would have noticed and have told me? The photographer's wife, maybe? I guess she was busy holding the Elmo doll to keep the kids looking at the camera.

This photography session was not about me, so I don't really care all that much. However, when someone is putting together a slideshow 50 years from now, one of the onlookers is going to remark on how my hair looks like crap. "Who is that old lady with her hair sticking out and uneven in the front?"

Yesterday being Jeannie's birthday, we went out for dinner at a fairly new Mexican restaurant.

The portions were so large I brought home enough to make my complete dinner for this evening. It was good, but everything is giving me indigestion lately. I've stopped drinking the protein shakes for a while as I think that amount of protein was overwhelming my body. I'm really between a rock and a hard place - the exercise is extremely good for me and my aging bones, but it's making me lose weight that I can't afford to lose. If I try to compensate by eating more, I just can't take it and have trouble with digestion. I'm down to 115# and wonder how much more I can lose until I decide to just quit. I don't quit easily though. I think I will just wait for the results of the bone scan, and see if the exercise is helping at all.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More mundane things

Mike and boys got back home safely at 4:15, and made the long drive from the airport to their house. He called and told me they arrived. It feels strange without them here.

I went to the UC Davis Med Ctr this afternoon for a bone scan and a mammmogram. The bone scan took about 15 minutes, but I had to wait a bit on the mammogram since I arrived early for my appointment. I was in the inner waiting room, all gowned up, when a tech came out to tell me that since I am under Medicare they will only pay for 1 per year. My last one was Nov. 11 of 2009 - just 2 days short! They said they would re-schedule me but I declined saying that I was going to be traveling. Next November is quite good enough for me.

I stopped by Jeannie's afterward - she is taking the week off and today is her birthday, but after all the hectic pace of the past few days she was just taking it easy. They may go out for dinner this evening, and I may (or may not) go with them. After driving into town, dealing with a parking garage as well as a lot of traffic, I can feel my energy level declining. Also, it is cold outside and a bit rainy.

I want to thank each and everyone who wished me happiness on my birthday. I loved reading all the comments, and if I ever feel "down" I can go look at them again.

I will leave you with a "glamorous" shot of me in the slideshow! I sure wouldn't recognize myself if I didn't remember the picture.

Monday, November 8, 2010

More birthday fun

Yesterday (Sunday) we all met at Hoppy's brewery for brunch. They have very good food and the ambience is fun and friendly. The little kids were great for a while, then got tired of sitting while adults talked, so I took the two older boys and Autumn back to look through the big windows where the brewery operation is. They were fascinated by the big vats and all the hoses going from one to the other. There is a nice set up, up a few steps as with a stage, and some very comfortable chairs and coffee table. The kids just loved being up there, but also liked to run back once in a while to check on their parents. Of course I had to follow them back and forth, which sure sapped my energy.

We then drove to Steve's house which is nearby, and spent several hours enjoying each other's company, at least until the kids were starting to get out of hand. I was very tired and slept well last night, although I'm still not eating right.

Today (Monday) was picture taking day. It will be a tribute to the photographers if they get some good shots out of such a big group, and with wiggly kids the ages of ours. We ended up not being able to pose all the children with me at any one time, so I just suggested that the parents get into the picture as well.

Everything went beautifully when it was my four kids and my turn. We paid attention to directions and I was so proud of them - later I realized that the 3 boys - ranging from mid to late 30's - were teasing each other and trying to get them to laugh or move at the wrong time, and god only knows what! Some things never change, giving credence to the old saying "Boys will be boys". I didn't realize what they were up to until the session was just about over, which is a good thing.

Now I'm anxious to see the results, and I know I will love whatever and however the pictures turn out. We had lunch at Chipotle, and then I drove out to the Folsom Outlet Mall with Mike so he could pick up a few items at Brooks Brothers. Josh had fallen asleep so I just stayed in the car with him. I can't spend money if I stay out of the stores.

We went by Jeannie's so he could do some laundry before packing for the trip back, and I picked up my truck which had been sitting there since Saturday night. I had asked Donald to drive Lady and me home in my truck, and then drive it back to his house until I could get it later. It was sad saying goodbye to Mike and the boys, but I hope to see them in the spring.

Now tomorrow is Jeannie's birthday. We are all very nearly partied out, but who knows what Donald has planned for her. I have to spend a few hours at the Medical Center getting a bone scan and mammogram. My last bone scan was several years ago and showed accelerated bone loss, so I'm hoping there is evidence of some positive effects of the weight-lifting I've been doing. Maybe I don't lift enough, or haven't been doing it long enough, but I will find out soon enough. Right now I have the let down after several days of being with my kids and grandkids and loving every minute of it.

After I get this medical stuff out of the way I can then get serious about planning the details of my trip to Arizona. I am very anxious to get there and to make that Lance my own.

I would like to close with a poem written by my brother Steve, after Saturday's party. He really gets to the heart of it all.

My Sister's Birthday

We watch as toddlers
run squealing through the house,
laughter bounding through bright halls,
a knee-level storm of pure joy.

They punctuate our grown-up conversation
as the slide-show begins.

Now you’re the bright eyed infant!

Mom was so young and pretty
Holding you close
in her strong, gleaming arms,

as the cousins, delighted, cry
“Look! Grandma’s a baby!”

In wonder we watch
the years of youth and school
love and weddings
and bright new babies,

pause on the haunting eyes
of those gentle people
whom we’ve loved
then lost
to the good night.

As your party continues,
I see in the eyes
of four generations,
a century’s worth
of smiling for the camera
a cloud of love
transcending both years and death.

So don’t worry about your age, dear sister.
we never really grow old.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And yet another surprise!

I was blissfully unaware that plans were unfolding yesterday. My daughter was vague about the fact that we would all meet again at her house, but she had errands to run so it would be early afternoon. When I arrived, my son Steve & his family were there and the rest were going to show up at anytime. I didn't notice anything different, so I guess in exasperation my son pointed me to the dining table where I realized there was a birthday cake, in the form of my F-350 and Lance truck camper. There are three windows in back of this table with light shining in which affected the quality of the photos (plus the ineptness of the photographer) but you can see what it was like.

Pictures can't do justice to the detail on this cake. Everything was there! The front license plate on the truck said "Gypsy". My grandson noticed first thing that there were boot brushes on the running boards. The camper detail was incredible, and it's a shame those details don't show up on the pictures. Even the surface of the camper sides was meticulously detailed, although in the pics it looks like a flat surface. Of course there was no doubt whose birthday we were celebrating. Everyone handles me with kid gloves because they know I don't like to celebrate my own birthday. I usually get depressed at the thought of adding another number to the already huge number of years, and this is a milestone year coming up so I even wrote to my siblings to say that I didn't want to be reminded of it.

So the kids all arrived and we had a great time talking and laughing, when I noticed two people coming in the front door. It was my brother Steve and his wife, Nancy, from Suisun, CA. I told Mike, "Oh that's so nice they've come to see you", but he said, "Mom, they've come because it's your birthday - they are here for you". At that point something happened and I had a drastic attitude change. The hell with the number of years - it's only a number - and I'm being honored and going to enjoy it and be happy about it!

My youngest sister, Amy arrived, then her daughter Stephanie. It wasn't long after that when more folks walked in the door, my youngest brother, Rob, his wife Maria, and two of their four boys, Lucas and Max.

That's Rob and Maria on the left in back of me and Amy, then Nancy and Steve.

Jeannie put together a slide show with pictures from when I was a baby, up through my growing years and into adulthood, Bill's and my wedding, and all the way through to the present. In fact I think one of the last photos in the slideshow was taken just the day before. We loved looking at all those forgotten moments, and she let it run silently for the rest of the day. It was amazing how many of us went back to look at them from time to time, seeing something new each time.

Everyone brought something for dinner which was absolutely delicious, and then a bit later (at the urging of my grandson) we cut the cake. Son Steve had even ordered ice cream from Graeter's in Cincinnati, undoubtedly the best ice cream in the world!

I had brought Lady along and she was out in their fenced back yard (so she could drink out of the pool if she got thirsty), and the two grandsons Joshua & Justin kept wanting to go pet her and give her treats. She loved it as well as they did. I also had to take the two boys out to the truck a time or two and let them pretend to drive.

I can't think of a more beautiful and moving tribute, and I feel so honored by it all. And I won't reach that awful number for another week!

Friday, November 5, 2010

A surprise!

Yesterday evening Jeannie called and asked if I wanted to come over for supper and then go walking at Mather Field. I didn't have to think twice about it and said yes, especially when she said she would pick me up. When I walked in their front door I got the surprise of my life - my son from NY flew in for a few days with his two boys. We have a few birthdays in November and they came to help celebrate, as Mike was able to get a several days off work. All of my CA kids were there also with their families, and it got to be very noisy! Every single one of them, plus my youngest sister and my niece, knew about this but they all kept it from me.

Today I got my hair cut and then stopped by Jeanne's on my way home. They said Mike would be there with the boys any minute, so I just stayed the rest of the day. While out in the front yard with the 3 older kids, the boys were fascinated with my truck and wanted to get into it. Then they wanted to be seat-belted in, then "get the key Grandma so we can move forward a little", then "close the doors Grandma, we're going to lock it". They thought they could lock me out and drive away, obviously.

Josh must have pushed and pulled every dial and button on the entire dashboard, because halfway home I noticed a light was lit - had to get my glasses to see what it was. He had put it into 4WD for me! That's a boy for ya, and boys of all ages love motors and gadgets!

The guys are going someplace on their own for breakfast tomorrow morning, and then we'll probably hang out the rest of the day. On Monday we're all going to a photographer and have family pictures taken. The last time we did that was about a month before Bill died. Hope I can last for quite a few more photo sessions with them. The happiness of the event is somewhat tempered by the fact that we will be missing Mike's wife, Sandy, and granddaughter Ara.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Emergency Weather Radio

When I began RVing I bought an Eton Emergency Radio/Weather Alert. I never had the chance to use it when I dropped it and broke the antenna. Radio Shack, where I bought it, told me they didn't carry the antenna, so I've carried it around the country in my travels and never once used it. I actually never had any occasion to worry about the weather, but I decided I should go to the Eton website and order a replacement antenna.

I submitted the order this morning for an antenna at $6.95. When I was completing the check-out process I noted that S/H for this item is $6.95. Is that a rip-off or what. I would be willing to bet that postage is no where near that amount. I debated trying to find an antenna somewhere, but I've exhausted the sources here in Sacramento where I might find one. I bought the radio here in Sacramento two years ago, and checked everywhere when it broke, to no avail. So the $6.95 antenna is going to cost me over $15 with tax and shipping, but I will be able to use the radio I hope.

This is one of the items that I have done without my entire life - a weather alert radio - and survived very well. I've read blogs of folks in the vicinity of high winds and possible tornados who keep the radio on all night, in case. I am not going to lose sleep over worrying about it, and if a tornado comes along it can carry me from Dreamland to the Land of Oz if that's my destiny. But for my waking hours, I hope at least the FM radio reception is decent. Oh, I nearly forgot that my iPod has FM Radio as well. I'll be set if I ever get the iPod up and running and the radio antenna installed.

I have the radio but don't know where I put the AC adaptor or any of the other accessories, so I'd better start looking through all the cords, wires, etc., that I've collected over the years. This wonderful radio that has flashing lights and sirens, and even a hand crank to charge your cell phone, may save my life one day. In that case I will eat crow!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No news is good news?

There certainly isn't any news coming from this corner. I did a bit of cleaning (which I really detest doing) and laundry today. Other than the laundry room and to walk Lady I haven't been out of my apartment all day. I wanted to wash my truck but that will have to wait for another day.

A reader asked if I couldn't just siphon gas from my truck to the generator, but I have a diesel engine and the genny requires unleaded gasoline. Good thought though.

I'm scheduled for a haircut on Friday, and have been debating with myself how I can wear my hair that doesn't require being blow dried. The dryer is an electric hog on high speed, and my hair is too thick to dry on low speed - my arms would fall off before my hair got dried. I've thought of everything imaginable, but can't zero in on anything that I might like and be able to take care of. I'll just let the hairdresser decide. When I set out to backpack the Appalachian Trail I had it cut extremely short, and that worked ok. I don't want to do that now though.

My blender says 475W on the bottom of the base, which seems like very little electric for such a powerful item, but I guess it is different when you add heat to an appliance. I won't take the blender with me, as it has a glass jar, which I love, but is extremely heavy. Also I don't want to take a chance on dropping and breaking it. I am going to buy a shaker like the one my s-i-l uses, and I think he got it at GNC. Now I just have to fine a GNC store nearby.

If any female readers have spent December at Quartzsite, I'd appreciate hearing from you what kind of clothing is suitable. I'm not sure about temps, especially the daytime versus evening. (I'll be about 40 miles from Q). I'm asking the ladies because we usually feel the heat and cold differently. Maybe we're just more honest, as in "Gee, I'm feeling a bit chilly - think I'll grab a jacket, sweatshirt, flannel shirt, down parka" - you get the picture. Guys are usually too macho to say "I'm freezing!" I won't have room in the truck to take very much with me, so I have to make everything count.

It is kind of a fun exercise, not having a square inch of storage to spare. Again, I'm speaking of taking things with me in the truck. I know there will be adequate storage in the camper, but it will be a 2-day trip from here to there. I'm enjoying reading the blogs of the snowbirds who have big gaping cavities in their storage bays, and thinking to myself how different it's going to be for me. I am really ready for the change though, and look at it as a challenge to a simpler way of being.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I bought a few small items for camping this morning, including a small gas can for the generator. I only got a 1 gal. can, and may eventually wish I had a larger one. If that happens I'll just go out and buy a larger one. Home Depot had the 1 gal. and a 5 gal., with nothing in between. When I was at Lassen they brought gas for the golf cart in 5 gallon cans, and I could barely lift them when they were full.

I've been saving small boxes and have begun to put things to take in a box which is probably not the smartest thing to do yet, and I will no doubt have to repack everything later on. It makes me feel like I'm moving forward, plus it is keeping the things together that I want to take with me. I talked to Dave (the current owner of the TC) and decided that I will get some items at Quartzsite or vicinity. If I pack my truck up too full I'll look like a dust bowl migrant going back out of California! There is no sense to bringing a lot of things along with me that I could probably buy cheaper in Arizona, especially considering I will be minus the tail gate on my truck by then!

This morning I renewed my membership online for Passport America. If in my travels I find I'm stopping at KOA's now and then, I can always renew at check-in. Not having someone with me who can look up campgrounds and RV parks, I have to rely on the highway signs when it's getting around the time I want to stop. If I'm tired and haven't found anything suitable, that KOA sign can be like a welcoming beacon. I know they usually charge at least $10 more than many other places, but there have been desperate times when I would have paid anything to find a nice, friendly CG with large pull through sites. Many of them have a small store as well as food service, and in a pinch I've enjoyed their pizza for my dinner. (On my way to CA last year I stayed at a KOA where the owner's wife actually cooked dinners that you could buy.) It's not everyone's choice, but I've always been grateful for them being available when and where I really have needed them.

The thing I've disliked about PA is that you have to remember to ask if they accept Passport America, as most CG owners won't volunteer that information. I'm sure I have missed the "deal" more than once, and it really irritates me, especially when the check-in staff asks "Are you a member of Good Sam", to which I respond "Yes", thinking that is the discount they offer. But as someone mentioned, you recoup your membership fee if you use it twice, so I'll go for one more year and try to remember to always ask if they are a PA campground.

Monday, November 1, 2010

No tricks, no treats

I think I came out the winner last night, and I have loads of Hershey bars to snack on. I never did see or hear any kids down at our end of the complex - I don't think there are many children anyway, and they would be way down at the other end. Most people I've talked to say they had very few, if any at all.

I went up a pound with the dumbells today and my legs are killing me. I can't believe an extra pound in each hand can affect so many other muscles.

I've done a lot of thinking today about traveling, timing, routes, etc. My time in Arizona should get me used to living in a TC as well as boondocking. When I get back home I would like to find some good places in Northern CA or even up into Oregon, to spend a week at a time getting the routine down. The weather will no doubt be a factor as to where I will go.

Leaving here the first of April for New York should be ok, except I will probably run into a storm or two along the way. One possible problem I can foresee is only having one small propane tank. If I can find a good place to store another one, I will probably get one and "piggyback" it to the first.

I'm getting renewal notices every week from Good Sam, Passport America, and KOA. I hate to pay all that money unless I have a fair hope of recouping the membership fees. I could just pick one of those and go for it, but then I would find myself wishing I had selected a different one. I guess it would pay in the long run if I make an extensive west to east round trip. I'm not even sure when any of my memberships actually expire - like magazine subscriptions they start sending renewal notices months before they are due, and I just tend to ignore them.

I've made an exhaustive search online for those map decals people place on their rigs to show where they've traveled. I should have bought one in the beginning when you could still get the ones with solid color state stickers. Now, the new set has the state license plate depicted on each state sticker, and they don't look distinctive enough to see at a glance, espcially driving by a rig, which states are on the map. I think they tried one a while back with state flags, and that doesn't seem to work either. I haven't been to an RV supply place for a while so I don't know if there are stashes of the old merchandise sitting somewhere. It certainly isn't evident on the internet. Even eBay doesn't have anything but the license plate stickers.

And in my own way of doing things, if I've driven my rig through a state then I'm satisfied that I've "been there". I don't feel the need to sleep in a state to be able to tick it off. Lots of people have pretty emphatic views on the subject, so no matter what map you're looking at it might not be in the same ballpark as another. It's the American Way, and so far I don't think the map police have caught on.