Thursday, March 16, 2017

Here in Arrey, NM

Dear Friends and family,
Things are beginning to look up a bit today.  Last night we got the electric working here in the RV park and are all settled in for a month or two.  I think I have already told you that we have cancelled our trips to Meteor Crater, and the Grand Canyon, but this will also mean we won't be going up to Las Vegas, St. George, Utah and to Pahrump, NV this year.  We gave it much thought, and we are pretty sure those places aren't going anywhere this year, so I'm pretty sure maybe we can reschedule that trip next year.
Today our dear friend Ric (who has been picking on me unmercifully since we got here) took us to see Big Al, who will do the needed repairs to make our car tow-able again.  The repairs are costing big bucks, but I'm sure it would be much worse anywhere else.  
This truck was in the garage at Big Al's.  Isn't she a beauty???
 We still need to get some repairs on the RV before we leave here.  We want to order the EZ connectors so the electric cord can't come apart and do all the damage it did this time ever again.  Once we get the parts we need, we'll have to find someone who can install them for us.  There is an RV place in Hatch, just down the road a bit, and we'll see if they can do it.
After we left Big Al's, we went to get a few groceries and gas up the car.  This is what we saw across the street.

I don't believe I've ever seen a camouflaged RV before.
We also saw a guy on a motorcycle who had cut the top off his cargo box behind his seat, so his dog had a safe place to ride.  But he left before I could get a picture of them.

I know some friends think we should continue on this adventure and go all the places we had planned to, but we don't agree.  We believe sometimes God lets something bad happen to protect us from something much worse happening.  We believe He is telling us to go home to California when we are able to leave here.  What happened to us could have been very much worse, but God watched over us.  The guy in Deming said he thought the welds were broken long before the incident on Monday.  If that is true, we are very, very blessed that the car didn't break loose at some point.  It could have struck and injured or killed someone.  But that didn't happen because God was watching out for us.  We could have been injured or killed but we weren't.  We have heard stories of similar incidents that turned out far worse.  This has only cost us money......but thanks to our Heavenly Father no one was injured.  I don't like having to spend this money for repairs anymore than anyone else would, but we are still counting our blessings BIG TIME.
I'm going to close for now, but I wish you all the blessings you need.  I won't wish anyone get what they deserve, because God wants to bless you with so very much more, if you just ask for it.  Remember, He knows what you need, and that is very seldom the same as what YOU think you need.  Trust God, and your life will be blessed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The News is Not Good Today

I sure do wish I could write about the fun we've had on this trip, but yesterday has left me upset and depressed, and things look rather grim right now.  
Saturday we went out to lunch in Benson at the Horseshoe Cafe, and had a very nice time.  

 Sunday we began packing up for travel to Deming, NM.  Monday morning as we raised the leveling jacks, they didn't seem  to come all the way "up".  Jim looked under and thought they were OK, but when he turned on the RV to drive, the alarm went off.  To make this part of the story short, we secured the leveler up with a plastic strap tie, so it made contact with the sensor, and we got on our way.  Nothing seemed to be wrong as we towed the car from Benson to Deming, but when we got here, we discovered disaster had struck.  The driver's side front tire was GONE except for shreds of wires still attached to the rim.  The fender liner was GONE along with many wires that had been ripped loose, and the electrical cable that goes from the RV to the car, to make the brakes lights and turn signals work was destroyed.  OMG......we had a terrible time just getting the car unhooked from the RV tow bar.  After we did, Jim moved the RV into a space here, and began unloading everything out of the back of the car so he could get to the spare tire.  The wonderful folks here at the Elks, (Best People on Earth) recommended the best place to get an affordable tire for the car.  One lady even offered to drive us anywhere we needed to go last night.  

 Last night I wasn't up to taking a picture of the shredded tire, but this is how the car looks with the new tire on it.  Still very sad.  Today we got the tire put on very quickly at a place called Tinley Tee Tires.  Funny name, but good people.  He also recommended a place called Jimmy's RV Repair Service that will look at our levelers to see if he can help us with this problem.  We have NO idea what that is going to cost us.  
Sadly, we are exhausted and depressed with this trip.  Sometimes I wonder if having to replace the RV house batteries in Quartzsite was a warning to us that this trip was possibly ill-fated.  Jim is ready to give up and go back to California after our visit to Arrey.......if we can get both vehicles there!  As it is, we cannot tow the car, so I will have to drive, and Jim follow in the RV.  Once we get there, our dear friend Pastor Ric may be able to help us find the parts we need for the car.  Jim had to tape up the wires just so the car would be driveable, but we don't know how long that will work for us.  We will stay a full month in Arrey, and by then we should have figured out what to do next.  
We have already cancelled out grand trip to the Grand Canyon, complete with a ride on a vintage train from the RV Resort to the Grand Canyon South Rim, and the pet resort the dogs were going to stay in for that day.  If we decide to head back to California, we will again use I-10, so we also will miss our stop at Belen Harvey House, and Meteor Crater, but hopefully both will still be there next time we get out this way.  
Please KNOW I am not laying the whole decision on Jim of whether we continue or we head back to CA.  I just don't want to leave Arrey until we can tow the car again.  I do NOT want us traveling about 675 miles in separate vehicles.  I'm his navigator, and it's much harder if I'm not in the seat next to him.  
We are exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and we need some time to figure out what is best for us to do. 
Hopefully tomorrow we will have one problem solved, the levelers.  Then we can figure out how to resolve the issue with the electrical cable.  It has to be the receiver on the car, since we replaced the cable when we were up in Cottonwood last month.  We talked to Bob Livingston, at the Good Sam Super Show, and he recommends a cable that is secured with a very strong magnet, but we'll have to look online to find out more about that option.  If any of our RVing friends have any suggestions about the cable problem, we'd love to hear from you.  
Thank God we got here safely.  The lady who offered to drive us anywhere told us that her husband (a fireman/paramedic) recently saw the same thing happen to another RV towing a car, but the car caught fire and completely burned up!!!!  The guy barely got the car unhooked from the RV or he could have lost everything.  That really scared me because we never suspected that anything was wrong.  The RV towed the car without difficulty, and NOT a single driver that passed us signaled us that anything was wrong.  As I said, we feel VERY blessed to be here and alive after hearing about the other driver, and his car.   There is no doubt in our minds that our heavenly Father was watching over us.
That's all the news for now, so stay well and take care of the people you care about.  Hugs to all!!!      

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Benson, Arizona

Good morning one and all,

We left the Casa Grande Elks Lodge yesterday.  It was a very busy day, as we had to drive over Treckle Rd to a Chevron gas station, and then farther up that road to a campground where we could empty our tanks, before leaving Casa Grande to make our way here to Benson, AZ.  Before I close the page on our last stop, I wish to share more about our stay at the Elks lodge.  Some people say BPOE means the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, which of course it really does, but it also has another meaning.  That would be BEST PEOPLE ON EARTH.  We have stayed at probably 30-40 Elks lodges in the course of our travels.  Without exception, we have been treated like old friends returning, or better.  We are warmly greeted by members and officers alike.  At many lodges Jim has been giving the lodge's pin, which he proudly pins onto one of his caps.  Many lodges give us our first drink for free.  At a lodge in New Jersey, we were given a free dinner while we were there.  If we have needed help finding a place to get some kind of service, the members have gone out of their way to be helpful to us.  Elks truly are among the very Best People On Earth.  
Our stay at Casa Grande was no exception.
 This beautiful sign in the lodge was made by one of the members there.  Is that amazing, or what?

 This one of the very nice and cheerful bartenders at the lodge.  Her name is Teresa, and she is a really hard worker.  Like our home lodge, this one is open and busy everyday of the week.  They have all kinds of activities and fund raisers for their charities, and we were pleased to see that no matter how busy they were, they always had a smile for us each time we came in.  This is Jim with his new buddy, Mike. 
He sat by us whenever we came in, and he was always pleasant and glad to see us.  There were several ladies that I chatted with, but they didn't want their pictures taken for the blog. 
 This is a picture of Robert, I apologize for not getting his last name, but he is the Leading Knight of the lodge, and a very nice person.  After we were visited by the Exalted Ruler, who told us that they have lodge pins for sale, we decided that Jim would purchase one that day.  When Robert saw Teresa bring over the box of pins to show us, Robert came over and said he would like to buy Jim whichever pin he wanted!  In return, Jim made a donation to their Americanism fund.  We have had good experiences at all the Elks lodges we have visited, but this is one we will surely visit again, whenever we are in this area.  Our thanks and best wishes to ALL of the wonderful people we met in Casa Grande Elk Lodge 1957.

After the stops we made in the morning, we arrived here at Benson at Valley Vista RV Resort at 12:02pm, and got all set up by 1:45 pm.  It has been quite windy, so we didn't put out the awning or screen room.  We will only be here a week, so I doubt if we will put them out.  It was only 37 degrees outside when we woke up this morning..............brrrrrr.  I had been surprised yesterday to find out we have cable TV here in this park.  We had already set up the satellite dish for the TV in the living room.  The reception is great, and we like that it gets our TV programming from So. Cal......but it's also on Pacific Standard Time, so we have to stay up later to get the programs we like to watch.  With the TV in the bedroom hooked up to the local cable, we get shows on Arizona time, and they show the programs an hour earlier anyway, so that makes it two hours earlier than on the living room TV.  For example, on Monday nights we like to watch Scorpion, which is on CBS at 10 pm in So. Cal.  That means it starts at 11 pm on the living room TV, but it's broadcast here in Arizona at 9 pm!  That may not seems like any big deal, but yesterday we were very tired after our busy day, so we were happy to watch TV earlier (and in our comfy bed with the electric blanket on too!) and get to bed by 11 pm instead of well after 12:30 am.
We were extra tired because not only did we have to make the extra stops yesterday morning, but after we got set up and had lunch we went to WalMart for a few groceries before dinner time.  Also I stripped the sheets off the bed and put fresh, clean sheets on it.  After dinner we both got showers and that felt really good.  When one is dry camping, which means without access to fresh water or a place to dump the water you can't shower as often as you would like to.  Nuff said!

Later today I will get out and about to take some nice pictures to post of this beautiful, and historic little town, and this nice RV park.  We'll be here for a week, so we look forward to a nice relaxed time here, before we move on to New Mexico.

Just as the wonderful folks at the Casa Grande lodge welcomed us graciously, I encourage each of you to offer kindness and hospitality to the people you meet along your journey in life.  It costs you  nothing to say hello or smile at someone, and it just might help them through a difficult day.  Please remember, as I've said before, we never know what someone else may be struggling with today, but we can always be kind to others we meet.  We have all been put on this earth for a reason, and maybe the person you meet today is the person YOU were meant to help.  Every morning I wake up with gratitude that I wake up next to the most wonderful man I have ever met.  I thank God every morning  for the blessings He has given to us.  Then I ask Him what he wants of me today.  Most days, He tells me that He has everything under control and tells  me to have a great day!  And most days are great because of all He has given us.  By that I do not mean things money can buy.  We don't have a lot of money to buy stuff, but we really don't need much.  Living in a small space (this is after all, our "tiny house") means whenever we get something new.....something old has to go! Jim likes to say that every time I buy a new item, I throw out some piece of his clothing, but that's not really true either.  Hahaha!  However, to get back on topic, when I refer to all that God has given us I don't mean material things.  I mean He has given us reasonably good health for our ages, good friends and wonderful family members who love us, our beloved dogs that Matt rescued for us.  We have our tiny home, Marylou, named after my mom, because she wanted to travel with us.  We have been able to visit amazing places and meet so many delightful and interesting people along the way.  We have seen such awesome scenery along the way, because of the incredible artistry of our beloved Lord and Savior.  We are  very truly blessed and for all of our blessings we are incredibly grateful.  Please, dear ones, count your blessings everyday.  Don't dwell on what you don't have because God knows what you need, and He will provide it if you only ask it of Him.  Have a perfectly awesome day everyone!!!  

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The "Super Show" is Over

Last Wednesday we drove south to Avondale, from Cottonwood to attend the five day long Good Sam Super Show.  Leaving the campgrounds we were delighted to see this sight.  This was right above Thousand Trails Road!  We stopped to get propane and gasoline then headed out on our way.  We got to the show site at the Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) by 11 am, and were lead to a nice site.  
 We got set up (dry camping doesn't take a lot of set up).  We walked over to sign in and get our ID bracelets, nothing was opening until the next day.  As you can see below, and to the right, we had a spectacular sunset that night.  I just can't get used to the beauty of the desert, and grand sunsets.

 Any way, that's how the visit started.  Jim put the awning out, and chairs and we sat outside noshing on crackers and cheese and drinks while we chatted with other campers.  Around 2 am, we woke up to high winds whipping the awning around, and Jim had to rush outside to lower it!  We decided not to put it out again while we were there.
Thursday we headed over to the show, and picked up the schedule for seminars and entertainment.  We were delighted to find that Bob Livingston was one of the speaker.  However, we were disappointed to find out they had scheduled him to give the SAME talk twice a day for all four days!  Bob knows just about EVERYTHING there is to know about RVing, and he could have talked that many times about a different topic each time!  Many of the speakers were scheduled to give the same talk each time.  We did enjoy the seminars we attended, but disappointed that there were not more choices offered.  As you can see, I took a picture of Jim with the Good Sam guy......and below is a picture Jim took of me with Captain America!  LOL.

We visited a lot of vendors, and saw lots of new stuff for RVers.  I wish we could have bought an inverter/charger, but that was outside of our budget at this time, but it is in the future plans.  We did buy a new and better water hose though.  And we bought a really nice electronic weather station by Le Crosse industries.  It shows the date & time, as well as indoor and outdoor temperatures in large numbers, and in colors!  It's nice because it is so easy to see and read.  The one we used to have was black print on a gray background so it was not easy to read, and it often would NOT show the outdoor temperature.  
We also went to the Verizon booth to get them to reset the time on our Fitbit watches, since we are not on California time.  They set them to change with the time zones when we travel.  YAY!!!!  
But then they talked me into upgrading my Jetpak that I use for our WiFi.  The guy on the left assured me it would only cost the one time charge to purchase it.  I only used it for about ten minutes twice, and I got a text message that I was using up "tons" of data.  I called tech support and the person told me that the new Jetpak does use a lot more data, so I had her turn it off and turn on my old one again.  The next day I took it back and I'm happy to be using the old one again.  I've learned my lesson about upgrading our stuff.............if it ain't broke, DON'T FIX IT!!!!
Usually we have definite plans of where we will be going next before we leave our present location.  However, we wanted to visit the Escapees park in Casa Grande, called Rovers Roost, and they don't take reservations.  They told us there was a very good chance of us getting a full hookup site, as they had several campers who would be leaving about that same time.  As a back up, I also looked into our going to the Elks lodge in Chandler.  Yesterday I called Rovers Roost to be sure we still had a site, and they said there was one who would be leaving, and if it stayed open we could go there.  It wasn't a sure thing, so I called back to the Elks, who had previously said they had plenty of space.  Yesterday they said they were completely full now, so we headed towards Casa Grande.  We were about 20 minutes away when she called me back and said the one in the site we were hoping to get just told her he was extending for another week, but we could dry camp until a full hookup site opened up.  We got there and checked in and were lead to our site, sans any hookups.  We started to set up and I was looking at the rules.  One of the worst was that they only allow using generators between 8 --10 am and 5 --7 pm.  We would hate to have to wait until 8 am for our morning coffee, and we do like to watch some evening TV, which we wouldn't be able to do there.  The dog walk area was waaaaaaay down outside the end gate, and we already know that Millie wouldn't make it that far.  We talked it over and I called the Elks here in Casa Grande, and they said we could dry camp here (for much less) and use our generator whenever we want to.  We got here before 3 pm, and checked in.  We had a quick drink while we made out our paperwork, and then came out to set up.  We're staying a week, and then we do have reservations for a stay in Benson WITH FULL HOOKUPS.  We're not wild about dry camping, but the folks here are nice and we're right in town so we can get supplies if we need anything before moving on.  There is a train that runs by not too far away, but we still got a pretty good night's sleep last night. 

In summary, we were disappointed with the Good Sam Super Show, and will probably not attend another one.  The events booked as a rally, such as the FMCA Rally or the Escapees Escapades are more expensive to attend, but they offer much more for the price.  We have decided to cross Rovers Roost off our list of places to stay when we are traveling in Arizona.  Even if we had gotten a full hookup site, we would not have been thrilled.  The sites are too close together.  These are lessee owned sites that get rented out when the owners are away.  If you rent one, you are required to water the plants and pull weeds on the site!!!!  I can't see paying rent on a site and then being told I have to do work there if I want to stay there.  Anyway, life goes on, and we are happy to be here instead of there.  
In closing, we wish everyone a good week and good health.  I wish to remind people NOT to use your phones while you drive.  Especially don't text and drive.  A very dear friend of ours was riding his bike when a distracted driver, who was texting, ran him over.  He is lucky to be alive, but has suffered some very painful injuries because of it.  It's bad enough when an accident happens that couldn't have been prevented, but it's truly tragic when it could have been avoided by not trying to text and drive.  When you are driving a vehicle, that task should have all of your attention.  Please don't practice risky behaviors that could have heart breaking results.  Stay alert and watch out for others on the road, especially bike riders.  Thank you and blessings to all.  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

We're Still in Cottonwood

It's a beautiful day here in central Arizona.  The nights get chilly, but the days have been sunny and mild.  In my last entry I forgot to mention what happened on the way up here.  We stopped in Quartzsite to get the generator serviced before leaving there.  After getting finished, we hooked the car up for towing and set up the towing brake in the car.  When we stopped at a rest area for a quick break, a man came over to tell us we were dragging something.  On investigation, we discovered that electric cable that connects the car to the RV had come unconnected from the car.  I have no idea how long it had been dragging, but the end piece was completely destroyed!!!!  The day after we got here, we went to French's RV service.  He had a replacement cable, but the end that was to connect to the RV was not the same as we had before.  He could not find the one we needed in any of his catalogs, so I inquired if there was any reason he could not take our connector at the RV end (which was not damaged at all) and connect it to the new cable.  He looked at me as if he felt foolish for not thinking of that himself, but agreed to do so.  It took only a few minutes and he only charged us $5.00 for the labor, plus the cost of the new cable.  YAY!!!  Problem solved.  Jim also discovered  that they carried a tank treatment product we had been looking for, so we purchased that too.  For any RVers who are not completely satisfied with the tank treatment you are using, the name of this product is Tank Tech.  It seems to be working very nicely.
This area is really quite spectacular to see, and this sunset is an example of how amazing the high desert is. 

This campground is off AZ 260 about one mile in a rural area.  Imagine our surprise when we found that cows wander around on both sides of this road!  
The land on both sides of the road is BLM land and we have seen many RVs parked in open areas "dry camping" for extended periods of time.  This amazes me since there are many campgrounds that offer all kinds of amenities, for a fee of course, in this area.  

 This is a picture Jim took this morning on the way to the post office.  It's in front of an antique store.  

On the way back, we saw this "vehicle" on the road next to us.  It has the word Slingshot on the rear fender.  It has two wheels in front and one in back.  It was quite an unusual sight.  

Last but not least, I will post a picture of the new curtains we got for our dining room.  We are very pleased with them.
They are a light beige with navy blue and white lighthouses  along the bottom.  They give us privacy at night, but we can open them in the daytime, for light and visibility.  

In conclusion, today I need to discuss the experience we had at Staples last week.  Have you heard the term "upsell"?  I had never heard of it until this week while watching Jeopardy.  It was defined as the act of a sales person to manipulate a customer to purchase something more than he or she actually needs.  Obviously, to do this a sales person has to be able to seem kindly and helpful.  This seems to be what happened to me last week at Staples.  I went there to look into the possibility of buying a refurbished computer with Windows 7.  Joe convinced me that I would regret such a purchase.  He lead me to the Dell that I later bought.  He assured me that it would do everything that my old computer does.  I have been disappointed in many ways with this new computer.  I am unable to create the same email format  I had before.  It takes me much longer to download pictures to my blog posts.  They said they had downloaded my email address book.  However, they had put it, not into my email access, but in my documents list.  I tried to get help from the available tech support, which is free for 30 days, in hopes I will pay for it after that.  One person I was dealing with hung up on me, and I had NOT been rude to him in any way.  I called back and spoke to a second person.  He was also not able to resolve any of the problems, but thought he had helped by putting a short cut to my address book on the desk top.  As it was, I could click into the address book and select ONLY one contact to send an email to, and I would NOT be able to ever forward anything someone else sent to me.  On my own later I figured out a better method.  When I said this tech support had not helped much he said to me "well this IS free tech support" so I told him that if he couldn't help me now, I surely would not be inclined to PAY for his help later on.  I am not pleased with the sales or support service from Staples, and I would NOT recommend them to anyone else.

I probably won't be posting another blog from here in Cottonwood, but look forward to writing about our adventures at the Good Sam Super Show in Avondale next week.  Take care, stay warm and dry, and safe.  Best wishes and blessings to all of you.