Wednesday, May 31, 2006

9:11 PM Wednesday May 31, 2006

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (see note below) I must tell you again, that we have had mechanical trouble with our dear Penny the Pace. There is no doubt she is related to me because it’s obvious she absolutely does not like working in the heat or climbing mountains. Sound familiar?

After leaving Yuma yesterday, Penny’s first problem came about 1 PM after being on the road for about four hours when we stopped for lunch. It was getting hot and she had been running perfectly all that time but when we slowed down to park in the rest stop, she died. Within a second or two Phil got her started again and drove all the way into a spot where she quit once more and refused to turn over again. We decided there wasn’t much of anything we could do right then so while fixing and eating our lunch we tried to stay calm and rational and discussed our options should she stop running altogether.

When we were ready to try and move down the road again, without so much as a hiccup, Penny started and ran flawlessly … even purred along at 2 MPH in a two-hour traffic backup because of a fuel spill up the road where CA 60 and I-215 merge together in Riverside. We caught CA 15 and headed north then turned west on CA 138. So far—so good. It was a long gradual climb toward CA 14 and Mojave, our destination. About half way to Palmdale she quit again. No coughing, no sputtering to bucking or complaining … she just quit! Keep in mind there is no brake and no steering when the engine isn't running. A scary thought when looking at a 6-7% downhill grade. Phil managed to cajole her into running long enough to ease our 50 feet of rig and toad off to the side of the road where we waited for about 20 minutes.

Again, she started and continued to run without a problem all the way to Sierra Trails RV Park six miles north of Mojave on CA 14. This is a Passport America park and they have eight wide, level and sunny (no obstruction for our datastorm satellite dish) pull-thrus with cable TV (although limited) for $15.25 per night. There are plenty of shady sites as well.

We decided to stay an extra day so Phil could try a fuel filter bypass and see if that helps on our next leg of the trip. He went to town; bought the parts he needed and completed the task in about an hour. We will cross the mountains on CA 58 and keep our fingers crossed that Phil’s fix works. I’m going to drive behind Penny in the Lone Ranger because of the 4000 ft. drop on the other side into Bakersfield. As you know, this is my solution to the high anxiety I suffer while riding over mountains in the motorhome.

If all goes well tomorrow, we will continue north to Sacramento before stopping for the night.

Note: For all you youngsters out there, a “record” is a round disk made of vinyl with music recorded on it that we old-timers played on a machine called a phonograph. If the record was damaged or “broken” the needle (it picked up the music in the grooves) would get caught on the crack and play the same line of the song over and over again.

We passed thousands of wind machines on our way to Mojave, CA.  Posted by Picasa
Some wind machines have a blade span of nearly 300 ft. Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 29, 2006

12:45 PM Monday May 29, 2006

Phil and I spent most of yesterday with my cousin, Nada. She has been renovating her house for some time now, doing most of the work herself. We decided it would be “good thing” to go over and see what we could do to help her out. Of course, I didn’t do much except stay out of the way but Phil contributed significantly to the process by grouting the tiles that Nada had already put down. It is hard work down on your knees but Phil is a trooper and made short work of the job.

Nada was very appreciative and took us out to lunch! Thanks cuz!

Phil went back over this morning and worked a few more hours … I stayed home and caught up on some computer work.

Tomorrow is moving day … it’s kind of exciting ‘cause we’ve been sitting still for so long.

Note: As of this past May 17th, we’ve been away from Washington for one year. It’s been quite a ride! Lots of lessons learned … lots of fascinating places and people and some really wild weather. Hope you have enjoyed riding along with us.
Cousin Nada hard at work laying the gorgeous new tiles on her living room floor. She has been doing the work herself and has already finished the pantry and kitchen (it is all one big great room). The overall effect is fabulous! Very clean and cool (important in Yuma).  Posted by Picasa
Phil applying grout to the beautiful new floor tiles in cousin, Nada's living room. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Just before my Aunt Elaine left for Washington, Phil helped remove all of this grass from the wells around her citrus trees (she has three of them). We went over to check on them yesterday and were amazed that in just one month, the pesky "weed" has come back with a vengeance! She will not be happy about this ...  Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 26, 2006

12:15 PM Friday, May 26, 2006

Today is Phil's son, Michael's 39th birthday! Happy birthday to you Mike, hope it's a good one!
Yesterday was the BIG day! Our little Lone Ranger received the final touches of his repair – the pretty little pinstripe that runs down the side and the canvas cover for the tow bar. Then after paying the ransom ($1,000—our insurance deductible) we turned in the rental car (another $1,000, this time covered by our insurance) and brought our good friend home! The total cost for the repair was $3,157.37. Of course, that doesn't include the extra rent we paid here at the RV park but we won't go there. Can you believe almost five weeks in the shop for a little fender-bender? We still believe if we had chosen a different repair shop the task in its entirety would have been done weeks earlier but of course, we’ll never know for sure.

Overall, Alexander Ford in Yuma, AZ did a very good job but the big hold up occurred while getting the parts needed and another long wait for a bay in the repair shop (one of at least 10) to begin the work. Then, of course a couple days in the paint shop. Maybe, the contributing factor for most of the delay boils down to the fact that they are VERY busy!

Oh well, all of that is behind us now and we’re looking forward to heading up the highway towards Washington after the Memorial Day holiday … on Tuesday, May 30th. Of course, that’s not carved in stone—our “schedule” never is and I usually don’t like to broadcast our “gonna do’s” until they are actually done (I think it’s a superstitious thing).

I didn’t mention it earlier but we had a significant rainstorm a couple nights ago. Enough rain that it woke both of us up and there were puddles outside in the morning … and they say it never rains in Yuma!
Before ... Posted by Picasa
And ... after! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

10:45 AM Wednesday May 24, 2006

The other day, I told you that Yuma is cookin’ … well now it’s shakin’ too! Last night we experienced a little 5.2 rumble from down under! Phil went outside looking for an explanation and ran into the neighbor across the road doing the same. This morning, the local news broadcaster substantiated the earthquake and added there were a couple lesser ones about the same time. We didn’t feel either of those.

Thinking about this past 12-months Phil and I have experienced more “extremes” than we experienced in Washington in decades! We’ve been subjected to torrential rain; thunder and lightening; moth ball size hail; swarms of blood-sucking mosquitoes; gale force winds; off-season record breaking heat; flooding; tornados on the ground around us; record low temperatures; 31” of snow; triple digit temperatures and now an earthquake!
Stay tuned ;-)
Look familiar? You probably heard that the president came to visit Yuma and we just happened to be be driving by the Marine Corp Air Station (MCAS) and stopped to take this picture of Air Force One.  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

10:42 AM Tuesday May 23, 2006

Our little truck is in the PAINT SHOP! They told Phil we might get it back by tomorrow. That’s a good thing for sure because our rental car contract expired on the 20th of May after 30 days. However, Phil made a call to our insurance company and they extended it for another 10 days ;-). The weather was perfect yesterday … low 80s with a light breeze; we really enjoyed it. However, it’s heading back up to triple digits for the rest of the week.
We spotted this desolate cemetery just off Ogilvy Road near Interstate 8. We were on our way to investigate "Historic Gold Rock RV Park" in CA (a Passport America Park - no restrictions) 21 miles west of Yuma, AZ. The RV park was off the beaten path for sure and although it was open ... the office was closed so we didn't get any info. A few RVs were there but most looked like year-round residents and I'm afraid it would be too much isolation for me any time of the year. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 20, 2006

8:06 PM Saturday May 20, 2006

We had a chance to renew a past friendship with a former co-worker of mine and her husband this past Thursday. When I worked for the state at the prison north of Shelton, WA the Business Manager was a lady named Elaine. She has since retired and along with her husband, Bob been coming south to Yuma during the winter months for several years. First they came in their motorhome, then they traded that for a park-model mobile and last year, they built a beautiful three bedroom home and have really been enjoying the wonderful new space.
With their address in hand, and sure that they had headed north by now, we certainly didn't expect them to be home but wanted to see if we could find their house. As it turned out, we caught them in the later stages of packing up to move permanently back to their summer home in Shelton for at least the next four years. As we all know, life is rarely static and often full of surprises. Through a twist of fate, they have been granted custody of their 14-year-old granddaughter so the Yuma house is up for sale and they are "camped out" waiting for the 2005-06 school year to finish up. They plan to have her finish the next four years of high school in Washington. Her grandparents told us she is a very special young lady and they want her to have every chance to blossom into her full potential. Stability at home and staying in one school will certainly be a big help in that regard.
We enjoyed our visit with Elaine and Bob and hope to see them again some time when we return to Shelton for the summer.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Happy Birthday Nada! Posted by Picasa
Our little Lone Ranger in the body shop bay! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 18, 2006

9:17 AM Thursday May 18, 2006

Our little truck has (at last) been moved from the back lot into the body shop! The repair has started and if they "don't find any surprises", the work should be done within a weeks time. Our rent is paid here at the RV park through May 29th so we should just about come out even. The forecast is for 105' today but it's supposed to "cool off" down to the low 90s by Sunday. Yuma is cookin'!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

11:20 AM Wednesday May 17, 2006


Cousin Nada warned us ... we didn't believe it was true but each day that goes by without anything getting done on our little Lone Ranger confirms her statement, "nothing happens fast in Yuma ..." We will go back again today and hope to see some action. We know it's hot; we know it's summer; we know the population that lives here year-round has moved down into their lower gears but GEEZ ----- it's been a month since the accident this coming Saturday (5-20-06); the parts are here so what IS the holdup? They have no explanation, make no apologies and continue to tell Phil, "we might start the work tomorrow." What a way to run a railroad as my mother would have said!

I haven't said anything about my dear friend, Ardella lately. I am happy to report that she is doing very well. She is feeling so good she is having fun listing some of her treasures on e-bay. "paysonlady" (without quotes) is her seller name ... check it out. Her favorite sports team, the Phoenix Suns keeps her entertained on TV while her friends and big family surround her with love! We are all so pleased about her continued good health. Of course, her cancer hasn't gone away and her heart continues to work three times harder than normal to continue beating but her spirit is soaring as always. How we all love her and applaud her strength of mind and her courage. Ardella is a living example of "true grit" if ever there was one!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Garden Cafe was a pleasant surprise to Phil and I when we found it tucked away in Old Town Yuma. Cousin, Nada suggested it for a special Mother's Day Brunch. A bit pricey but the food was delicious and the service was faultless.  Posted by Picasa
The Garden Cafe will close for the summer at the end of this week. It seats over 100 people with the tables spread out in the garden so every seat seems like your own private nook. It was a lovely place for brunch. Posted by Picasa
L-R, Nada, Phil and Joy visiting after brunch at the Garden Cafe in Yuma. Sitting outside at 102' was comfortable with fans blowing and misters spraying all around the seating area. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 11, 2006

8:03 PM Thursday May 11, 2006

Our Lone Ranger is # two on the list to go into the repair shop! They might get started tomorrow if we have any luck at all. I hope so because the forecast is for triple digits the next week or so and we've been running the air conditioners in Penny day and night to keep us comfortable. It's past time to start moving north but to be honest, we're not looking forward to the cold and damp weather in WA. It will be quite an adjustment for us after living in the south for so long.
Century Plant ~ mature plants bloom once then they die. Posted by Picasa
Old Town Yuma city landscaping. Posted by Picasa
Close up of the blooms. Posted by Picasa
Curiosity took us over to examine this strange sight ... Posted by Picasa
Look what we found down by the Colorado River on the edge of town. Posted by Picasa
Fully automated to follow the sun. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

11:56 AM Tuesday May 4, 2006


Yesterday the ladies in the Body Shop Office told Phil all of our parts have arrived and they will begin the repair work on our little Lone Ranger just as soon as there is an open "bay" ...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

11:32 AM Sunday May 7, 2006

Joy and Phil’s SAGA continues …

A few of the parts needed to repair the Lone Ranger had arrived when we checked in this past Friday with the remainder expected on Monday or Tuesday. Keep your fingers crossed! Once all the members of the cast are assembled … the show will begin (or so it says here in fine print). Then the customary estimate is from one to two weeks before we get our truck back—could take longer but couldn’t possibly be sooner we’re told.

Then, there is the cab air repair of our Penny the Pace. We have had such good luck in finding excellent repair facilities I guess we were due. I found the repair shop in the yellow pages of the Yuma telephone directory … a AAA rated repair facility named Accurate Automotive Attention, “ Same location & ownership since 1969”. Okay … sounds pretty good so far, right?

RV air conditioning was listed as one of their specialties and we wanted a service facility that knew what they were doing so I called and made an appointment to deliver Penny at 8 AM on May 4th and we were there right on time.

Planning to spend the day “winter home window shopping” we had breakfast at McDonalds (a yummy treat once or twice a year) and started exploring all the “for sale” signs in RV parks and middle-income neighborhoods. The first call came at 9:25 AM—estimate was $515. Well, that was certainly more than we expected but our home on wheels was in the operating room, draped for surgery and the doctor was on the job so Phil gave the go-ahead. “Should be finished by 2:30 PM.”

At 1:03 PM the phone rang again … new estimate: $747. Hmmmm? What were we supposed to say? Close her up Doc and forget the whole thing … not gonna happen and they knew it! So once again, Phil gave the go-ahead. Problem was, the job wouldn’t be finished until Friday (had to order parts). Well, that presented a new problem. We didn’t want to make them move Penny and we couldn’t stay with her inside the garage so we went looking for a motel. After several stops with assorted prices we settled on the bare bones offering of Motel 6 at $39.95. Now this is really no-frills sleeping but the bed was comfortable and we both enjoyed our long-hot showers as compared to our usual “Navy showers”. Had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, The Golden Corral and turned in early.

Remembering a wonderful breakfast I found on the “Just for Me” menu, we left the motel early and had our first experience at Yuma’s I-Hop restaurant. It did not disappoint and we both ate every bite … delicious! Phil had an International Burrito with chorizo sausage from the regular menu and I ordered the Garden Scramble made from egg substitute full of fresh veggies and served with pancakes and sugar free syrup. I added sour cream and salsa … delicious!

The phone rang again at 11:30 AM. You guessed it, another estimate revision! $900 this time. Well, needless to say, Phil was losing his sense of humor and asked George, one of the service managers if he was going to get a “Kiss” with the bill … George laughed, but he got the message and told Phil he’d see what he could do to shave off some of the cost.

After a trip to the bank (no we didn’t rob it … but we did make a large withdrawal) we picked up our lonely lady at 2:30 PM. Her cab-air worked flawlessly all the way back to the park and hopefully will continue to do so from now on. We were all relieved to have her put back together and parked back in her slot here at Desert Holiday RV Park. Total bill was $824.70 with a 12-month or 12,000 miles warrantee on parts and labor (nation wide) a VERY GOOD warrantee for a full time RVer.

Final report: We really believe this shop did high-quality work but we also suspect that some things that really didn’t need to be done were added to the job. However, since we’re not mechanics or “air conditioning specialists” we can’t provide evidence for our suspicions. I think the actual problem was that we never dreamed the repair would be that expensive and I guess that likens to Phil and I living in the past. Realistically, we understand everything on the planet costs more every year and in some cases the price increases (like gasoline), every day/week/month but always, ALWAYS the increases come as a shock to us!
Where our Penny the Pace received her cab-air repair in Yuma AZ. Posted by Picasa
What's this? Ha ha ... fooled you! Posted by Picasa
Cousin Nada comes to visit bringing along her three newly born baby kittens that were abandoned by their mother in the alley behind her house. Talk about deja' vu! Posted by Picasa
Close up of Saguarro cactus in bloom. Check out the bees ... they're lovin' it! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

4:46 PM Wednesday May 3, 2006

Truck update:

Nuttin' honey! Nuttin' new that is. Still waiting on the parts to arrive. Our neighbor here in the RV park is a former body and fender repair shop manager. He told Phil this morning that in most cases, the shop will assign one person to do the work from start to finish. That means until all the parts arrive, nothing is going to happen but the good news is that the parts should start arriving day after tomorrow. So ... maybe by Monday or Tuesday the repair work will begin.

Tomorrow morning we have an appointment at 8 AM for Penny the Pace to have her cab air conditioner recharged. I thought I could do without it until she goes in for her yearly checkup but we've decided to make sure it's working properly when we begin our drive north. Since we've been delayed, it just might be too hot to stay comfortable going down the road otherwise. We've been parked so long, there's lots to do to prepare her for travel again so I've been busy that last couple days cleaning up and putting things back where they belong. We do get lazy if we're not moving!