Sunday, March 29, 2009

New locks for the RV

Location, Home, CA

While in Quartzsite, AZ this winter I ordered new compartment locks for the RV from Industrial Lock and Hardware of Lancaster, CA, The new locks are the circular type with special keying to make them harder to pick. The old locks were the simple key kind which almost anyone could open. I installed them yesterday and now just need to make a few adjustments to the cams to make the doors tighter when closed.

I helped our good friend Bev set up a blog using Google’s Blogger yesterday. It really is very simple to get the basics but I did have trouble trying to put a reader counter in the blog. I had set mine up more than a year ago and forgot some of the basics while helping Bev.

We are off to Tehachapi, CA later today to help our friend Budd with a problem in his RV. The sink drain which is a flex tube because it is in a slide out has developed a crack and needs replacement. The problem is getting to it. We are taking the refer out of its cabinet and cutting a hole in the cabinet to gain access to the drain. More on this later.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Surprise Birthday Party

Location, Home, CA

I have a very long to-do list for the RV and around the house so I have been chipping away at it.

On Saturday we attended an outdoors surprise birthday party for our friend Bev. It was supposed to rain but the sun actually came out late in the day. It did turn cold when the sun went down but everyone was dressed for the cold. We had a great tri-tip BBQ with cupcakes for dessert.

Clyda and I at the BBQ waiting for Bev.

Today we had an appointment to get our taxes done. The preliminary report is that we will get something back from both state and federal. Better than paying.

We have been getting lots of asparagus as is usual for this time of year. About 2 hand fulls every other day. Some of it is small diameter but it all tastes good. Last night for dinner Clyda cooked it with butter. We served it with fresh crappie Craig had caught up at the lake. Very good!

It is time to think about Ranchero Visitadores again. I haven’t heard from anyone but suspect I will go to work on Wednesday April 29th. I have a phone call in to one of the guys to see if he has heard from anyone but even he didn’t call me back. Oh well, still lots of time yet.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Home once again

Location, Home, CA

I added a photo of our rig in the water at Del Rio Texas Elks Club on Wed March 11th.

We are home. We drove from Indio yesterday and arrived about 2 PM or so. The drive through Los Angeles on I-210 is not bad but there are no rest stops along that stretch of highway. We had stopped at the Beaumont rest stop on I-10 and had planned on stopping at the Calimesa rest stop but it was closed. That is a long stretch to drive with out stopping. We had to keep our legs crossed until we got to Hwy 126 at Castaic.

On Thursday we drove to Indio via I-8 west of Yuma to Hwy 111 north to Brawley then on Hwy 86 north to Indio. We stayed at the Elks Club again and enjoyed a nice warm 90 degree day sitting in the shade of our RV’s.

We asked the campground host where the best date shake was to be found and he recommended Shields on Hwy-111 which sells all kinds of date related items. The date shake was good but we all agreed that the date shakes at China Ranch outside of Tecopa, CA are the best.

California highways are the pits! Especially I-210 from Pasadena to I-5 and I-5 from the 210 to Hwy 126. Also, Hwy 101 from Ventura to Santa Barbara has so many dips that the trailer is in danger of becoming unhooked or air born. The center lane west of Santa Barbara is bad from all the truck traffic.

We really get spoiled easily by the good roads in Texas and New Mexico.

We have part of the RV unloaded but it is misting heavily this morning and I need to open the slides to remove the rest of our stuff. I don’t want to then pull the slides in while they are wet so guess I will just wait and do other things around here. Goodness knows, there is plenty to do after being gone for 2 months.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Busy day in Yuma

Location, Yuma, AZ

Updates have been added from March 11 to date.

Just a quick update as it is late and we have had a full day today. We drove to Los Algodones, Mexico early this morning to get new glasses. The shop opened at 8:30 AM and we were first in line. After selecting and ordering our glasses we went to breakfast.

We shopped for several items and checked out all t he new shops since we were here 2 years ago.

Our glasses were ready by 11 AM so we got in line for the American border crossing which was very long. It also was 90 degrees out. It took an hour to get through the line.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Frost in Willcox

Location, Yuma, AZ

The drive from Las Cruces to Willcox, AZ on Saturday was fairly easy as we had no wind and the road stays at the same elevation for most of the way. We got very good mileage.

We stayed at the Elks club which has a great campground. There are 28 big, wide sites with water and electricity. We had a thunder and lightning storm right after we arrived. It rained enough for water to puddle in the streets.

We awoke to frost covering the vehicles and a temperature of 31 degrees. Fortunately the water lines didn’t freeze.

On Sunday it warmed up nicely during the day as we traveled. The new third lane from Tucson to Picacho Peak really helps with traffic flow.

We arrived back at the Elks lodge in Casa Grande, AZ where we had stayed earlier in our trip. Clyda called her cousin Rodney and invited them for dinner. Actually, we went out for Mexican food next door to the Elks Club. We talked until about 10:30 before calling it a day.

Today we drove I-8 to Yuma arriving at Rivers Edge RV Park about 1:30 PM. There are still lots of people in town but there were also lots of RV’s headed east as we drove west.

After being on the road for so many days, we crashed this afternoon and cooked steaks for dinner tonight.

I called a local guy to wash our rigs which are filthy from the rain in Texas while but he was sort of non-committal about doing it tomorrow as everyone is asking to have their rigs washed before they leave. We will see what happens tomorrow.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cold overnight

Location, Las Cruces, NM

We are out of Texas and into better weather. We woke up to 38 degree temperatures and fog in Alpine this morning. Everything was drippy wet. All of our windows inside were dripping water from the humidity and cold weather.

We left about 9 AM in the fog with windshield wipers and lights on. About the time we got past Marfa (home of the Marfa lights, woo-woo) we got out of the fog. The temperature however remained at 41 degrees. The fog completely lifted after we drove west of Sierra Blanca on I-10.

We drove through El Paso with moderate traffic but I managed to stay in the middle lane all the way. I only touched my brakes once for slower traffic.

We arrived in Las Cruces about 2:15 local time and parked at the Elks club on Elks Drive. They only have 4 spots next to the building but it is adequate for our needs.

We did a drive around Las Cruces which ended at an Albertson’s for a few groceries.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A cool days drive

Location, Alpine, TX

Alpine, Texas, home of Sul Ross State University. Never heard of it? Google it.

Alpine is also one of the jumping off places for Big Bend National Park if you want to go to the west side of the park. Most people go in from Marathon which is 31 miles east of here. It is still more than 100 miles to the Rio Grande from there. The sign says 69 miles to Big Bend from Marathon; however that only gets you to the entrance station. It is still another 30 plus miles to the visitor center then 20 some to the campground on the Rio Grande. I know, because we have done that.

We left again about 9:30 in very cool weather. Temps about 40 degrees. It never got above 43 degrees all day. Of course, we are climbing in altitude also. The altitude at Alpine is about 4400 feet so I expect we need to drain the water hose tonight before we go to bed.

Just west of Del Rio is the Amistad National Wildlife Area. Amistad is a very large lake which has the Rio Grande and Pecos rivers flowing into it. Part of the lake is in Mexico. It is something like 85 miles long.

We pulled into a rest stop at the Pecos river which had a very nice overlook in to the river canyon and the highway bridge over the river. It was too cold to stay long. The scenery was much like yesterday but at times we had a great view from the top of ridges.

We arrived about 3:30 and finally found the RV Park after driving into town and then backtracking. We were looking for KC’s RV park which is listed in the Trailer Life book but has since been named DB’s RV Park. For $14 per night we get water, electric, and sewer but no cable.

A quick drive around town and we saw 3 other RV parks which may be nicer but also cost a lot more. I suspect that providing cable TV is one of the big cost factors. We fueled up and will be ready to go tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Camping in the mud

Location, Del Rio, TX

We drove through light rain and mist all day to Del Rio, TX where we stayed at the Elks lodge.

We left around 9:30 AM and drove south on I-35 towards San Antonio and then west on 1604 the farthest out beltway around the city which intersected Hwy 90 going west to Del Rio. It may have taken us a little longer this way but in the rain it may have been the best route.

It was a pleasant drive on a good road although there is not much to see. The country is all sage brush and mesquite trees which are in bloom right now. All the blooms are a burnt orange or yellow which is quit nice.

We arrived at the Elks around 2:30 and parked. Just as we got hooked up to water and electric the sky opened up for about a half hour. The field got very muddy very fast. The club doesn’t open until 4 Pm so we went looking for fuel and groceries. Fuel was at Wal-Mart for $1.91 and groceries were at a very large H.E.B.

Brenda took this through the window. It looks like we may float away.

Dinner was stew in a crock-pot. We did have cable so watched American Idol.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Alamo

Location, Schertz, TX

A very busy day here in Texas. We left the RV Park about 9 AM and took a back road into downtown San Antonio because of a wreck on I-35 going into town. It was an easy drive and we parked at the Rivercenter Mall parking garage. A short walk through the mall took us to the Menger Hotel where Teddy Roosevelt organized the Rough Riders for their assault on San Juan Hill. Unfortunately the famous bar wasn’t open until 11 AM so we couldn’t belly up to the bar like ol’ Teddy did.

Our trip through the mall and the Menger Hotel brought up old memories as Clyda and I had worked a Boy Scout meeting at the Marriott River Center Hotel many years ago. Close by the Menger is the Alamo, our destination this morning. There was only a small crowd of people around for the tours which are free and self conducted although an audio tour is available. Talks are given frequently nearby.

We spent a couple hours touring, reading the documentation and seeing a short movie. Texas history really came together for all of us today after having visited the San Jacinto monument on Sunday which was the culmination of the fight for Texas independence shortly after the Alamo fell.

In front of the Alamo.

We walked from the Alamo to the famous Riverwalk where we wandered for a while until we found the kind of food we wanted. We shared 2 special pizzas for lunch. Very good!!!

We left about 2 PM after paying $15 for less than 4 hours of parking. Unfortunately, it is the only parking in downtown San Antonio.

We drove north to Gruene which is an antique town which prides itself on “changing reluctantly”. An ice cream cone and several shops later we drove back through New Braunfels, checked out the Comal River, the Schlitterbahn whose parking lot was full of new Dodge trucks, came back to the RV Park, and crashed.

On to San Antonio.

Location, Schertz, TX

Today was moving day after 2 plus weeks in Houston. Budd and Brenda arrived in the RV Park about noon on Thursday after visiting New Orleans. Friday night Tim and Diane went to the ballet and Clyda and I stayed with the kids. Ivy wanted a burrito for dinner so we went to Mission Burrito which is new in Houston. Everything is ala carte including what kind of tortilla you want.

Saturday was soccer and Ivy’s game was at 10:30. Budd came along to watch. After the game we had to drive to the Southeast side of Houston for Matthew’s game. It was a 40 mile one way drive. After the game we BBQed at Tim’s and spent the rest of the evening there.

Diane, Budd, Ed and Ivy. Grammy taught her to crochet.

On Sunday we drove again to the Southeast side of Houston to see the San Jacinto monument and the Texas battleship. After touring the ship we ate lunch at the park and then went to the monument. They had recently reopened the elevator to the top so we all went up. It is taller than the Washington Monument but only takes seconds to get to the top. The view is great.

Battleship Texas from top of San Jacinto Monument.

We drove home a different route and stopped at a Rudy’s BBQ for dinner. A great BBQ dinner.

This morning we left around 9:30 after Diane and the kids stopped by for one last goodbye. We will miss them all. We drove west on I-10 towards San Antonio then north on 46 to New Braunfels. We drove back south on I-35 to the RV Park at Schertz. We just kicked back this afternoon but will visit the Alamo tomorrow.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Movin' on

Location, Houston

We are through with our visit to Houston and will be moving on to San Antonio today. More later.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Houston rodeo

Location, Houston, TX

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo runs from March 3-22 this year. We have known about it for years but never went to it probably because the Grandkids were too young. Yesterday we had tickets as it was Family Day and the entry fee was only $10 each. For that price we had admittance to the show grounds, the rodeo, and an Alan Jackson concert. Tickets to the Carnival were extra.

What a day it was. We started out in the Ag Center building where all the farm animals were. This included a petting zoo and a birthing center. Cows, pigs and sheep were in this center and you could watch live births. The highlight was a pig with 14 little piglets born a few days ago.

Matthew inside the petting zoo.

Ivy inside the petting zoo.

Dad carrying all the "loot".

There was a hatchery where chickens were hatching, a rabbit display with all kinds of rabbits and a large cow and sheep section where the animals were being groomed for show.

After eating “carnie” food, corndogs, chicken on a stick, etc, we went to the arena to watch a Jr rodeo. Unfortunately, it was over just as we found our seats. The kids went to thee midway for the rides while we watched the setup for the rodeo. It was a great rodeo and we all enjoyed it. After the rodeo, Alan Jackson performed on a great new round stage which turned so everyone could see him. This is the third time Clyda and I have seen Alan Jackson in concert and he can still get the crowd going.

After the performance, the kids rode a few more rides in the carnival before we drove home after midnight. Both Ivy and Matthew won large stuffed animals on the midway. Actually, Matthew won two.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Academy Award movie

Location, Houston, TX

Sunday afternoon the grandkids went to the neighbors while we went to a movie. We saw “Slumdog Millionaire” the movie that won this year’s academy award for best picture. It was a good movie but not outstanding. The shots of slums in India were mind boggling however.

After the movie the neighbors brought all the kids (3) with them and met us at “Mambo” a Mexican seafood restaurant for dinner. Clyda and I shared a “Family Platter” which had salad, rice, and several kinds of seafood and was enough for both of us with leftovers for lunch the next day. Very Good!!!!!

Yesterday morning I had the oil changed in the truck and later we shopped for groceries.

Clyda worked on her next quilting project most of today while I played on the computer. I finally hooked up the digital TV converter to the bedroom TV. Boy, do I get digital channels and are they clear. I didn’t even rotate the antenna from where it was set. What an improvement over analog TV.

Later we went over to the house for dinner and games.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's cold!

Location, Houston, TX

Baby, its cold outside!!!!!! It was 34 degrees at 7:30 this morning with a wind chill somewhere in the mid twenties. That’s a far cry from the 80 degree days this week.

I’ve lost track of days this week. Friday night was a birthday party for Ivy with her friends. There were twelve girls in all and the party was at a Laser tag place. A room was provided for the pizza and cake. The girls played Laser tag twice. They wear jackets with tag devices, batteries, and a computer which keeps score. All scores are printed out for review. The computer tracks hits, number of times you score, number of times you are hit and the number of times you pull the trigger. It is very sophisticated.

After the party Ivy was surprised when told all her friends were spending the night at her house for a sleepover. It had been a complete surprise to her. I find it hard to believe that all those girls could keep a secret that long. We came back to the RV when all the girls were in their sleeping bags and watching a movie.

Saturday morning Ivy and some of the girls had a 9:15 AM soccer match. It was very cold and windy but they won 1-0. My sciatica acted up this morning and my right leg was almost useless. It was very painful all day.

I lost the charger to my camera battery. I have no idea where it is. Usually I store it in my PC bag but guess I didn’t the last time I used it. I went to Wolf Camera near here hoping they would have something that would work. They had a combination charger for $30 which did the trick. So, the batteries are charged again and I am back in business.

We did spend most of the day at the house and ended up playing games before we came home last night.