Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hello Everyone, 

Today I was reading Gail Alexander's blog on RV space savers.  I wanted to share, and expand on some of the things she wrote about.  As she mentioned, many RVers prefer to save on propane because of the price, which varies from one place to another.  Most RV parks offer sites with electrical hook-ups (of either 30 or 50 amp service) at no extra cost.  Instead of heating the RV by running the furnace, we prefer to use our oscillating electric heaters, and an electric blanket on our bed.  This has been successful, but we have to make sure we turn the heater off before we use the microwave or we will blow a breaker.  

Whenever possible we also cook with electricity instead of using the stove.  We have a Nuwave induction cook top.  It came with its own fry pan, but we also have another fry pan we can use on it.  We are on our second NuWave oven, which cooks by induction, conduction, and infra-red cooking.  It is amazing because you can cook frozen meats in a very short time.  One year at Christmas, we roasted a 16 pound frozen turkey in about two hours!!!  We have cooked chicken, steaks, and roasted potatoes in it.  We also invested in the T-fal Actifry.  We can do French fries without using any oil, in about 20 minutes.  We have also used it to make other meals, like sweet and sour chicken that was fantastic!  We have a really nice waffle iron too.  Sometimes, we make waffles for dinner and serve them with chili and cheese on top.   

Sometimes we cook using our Cuisinart Griddler.  It has adjustable temperature settings, for both the top and bottom plates.  It has dual flat grills on which we can cook pancakes, French toast, or eggs, etc.  It also has raised grids for cooking steaks, chicken breasts, hamburgers, or any meats that you want grill marks on.  Last, but definitely not least, we have a Ninja 3 in 1 cooker.  It is a 6 quart size crock pot, but it has a stove top setting so you can brown meats, onions, peppers and more before slow cooking the foods.  It has an oven setting, with programmable temperatures for doing a roast, or baking muffins, and it has a buffet setting to keep food warm for hours.  It has a non-stick finish so it is easy to clean, and we use it every week.  I use it to make stew, soups, spaghetti sauce, chili and much more.  

This means we only need to use the stove when I want to bake cakes, pies or cookies.  By mostly cooking and heating with electricity, we only need to use our propane to heat the water for showers and dish washing.  That way, our propane lasts a couple months.  Whenever we stay longer than a few days we use our "extend-a-stay" hook-up.  It allows us to connect a 20 pound propane tank to the RV.  Then, when we use up the propane, we can just disconnect the portable tank and get it refilled, instead of having to unhook and drive the RV to a place to be refilled.  

This past week I gave Millie a hair cut and trimmed her nails.  It's NOT her favorite activity, but she tolerates it pretty well.
I also clipped Willie's nails.  He is much more tolerant of the procedure than she is.  Jim has to hold Millie, but Willie just sits and waits for it to be over.  LOL
I know I've posted pictures of these birds before, but I just enjoy seeing them gather around here in the park.  Some days we see dozens of these creatures that are spending the winter here.  On Friday Almita and Rueben were here for the afternoon, and we had a lovely day together.  They have offered to take us birding with them next month.  We've never done that before so I am really looking forward to it.  We already have a pair of binoculars, and a bird book, so we are ready to go!

Before I close, I want to talk a little about something that frustrates me.  I used to think that the people who broadcast the news were fairly well educated.  It seems to me that their educational level has gone downhill very noticeably.  I don't claim to be an expert on language or grammar, but don't they have proof-readers to correct glaring errors?  In recent news programs I have heard reporters speak of someone hiding in the "li-bary", instead of library, and also one referred to next month as Febuary!  Likewise they don't seem to know when to use the word "I" versus the word "me".  Some people will say, "He gave it to her and I." It should be "to her and me".  With the "shorthand" used by young people texting, our language is taking quite a beating.  I hate to think of what will happen in the next ten years or so.  I have heard that writing is not even taught in school anymore.  How can future generations compete if they can't read or write to express themselves?  Well, that's it for today.  Just something for you to think about.  Take care and stay well.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 27, 2016

Hi Everyone,  
This will be shorter than usual, I expect, but I wanted to let everyone know what has happened this week.  Back in December we discovered we had a leak somewhere under the shower.............but we couldn't find a cause for the water that ran out into the hallway, so we called out an RV service guy.  He did all he could but he couldn't find a cause either.  He tightened every connection, making sure not to over-tighten and risk cracking anything.  It seemed like the problem was solved..............but while we were out in Palm Desert we had another problem:  I tried to turn on the hot water one morning for my shower, but the knob turned without any water coming out.  Jim discovered the handle was stripped, so for that one day he used a needle nose pliers to turn the water on and off.  Then we went to a local RV supplier to replace the faucet unit.  He had to order it, so we had to wait from Friday until Monday to get the new one, which meant using the pliers for a few days.  On Monday Jim replaced the faucet, and we thought all was well, but that was again, sadly not true.  This Monday (two days ago) we found water running out into the hall from under the shower after we used it.  We called another repair guy, since the guy we called back in December could not find the problem.  He arrived late Monday evening, and crawled around looking for the leak.  He finally found it under the front, left corner of the shower.  It was late, and he didn't have what he needed, so he had to leave it and returned today to fix the problem.  He was here less than an hour and has removed the edging strip that had probably caused the leak, and sealed the entire inside and underside of the shower.  His name is Brad Miller, and he and his son work under the name of Miller's RV Service.  His rates were reasonable, and we hope the leak will finally be a thing of the past.  YAY!!!!!

Now, for a short change of topic, I was rather amused by what we saw here today.  Jim went out to go get our daily paper and spotted this right across the street from where we are.  
 We think the black and white bird might be a wild turkey.  As you can see below, he seems friendly with the geese, and he doesn't seem to be afraid of the campers either!

I was informed that the bird I posted a picture of in my last blog was a black headed night heron.  I looked him up in the bird book we have, and that is definitely what he was.  Thank you Tony!  That's it for tonight.  Have a grand day and stay warm and well.  Bye for now to all.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016 at Wilderness Lakes

How is this color for a change?  We left Thousand Trails in Palm Desert on Tuesday and drove here without any problems.  This is, of course one of our two parks we consider "home".  The other is Silent Valley, but we prefer not to go up there during cold weather.  To those of you who don't get the local So. Cal. news, I would like to mention that the back road up to Idyllwild, which is 16 miles up the mountain from Silent Valley was recently closed because of a huge boulder that came down onto the road.  For those familiar with the area, this is the back road, Highway 74, from Hemet up to Idyllwild.  That is not the way we drive up to Silent Valley, but once a few years ago we had to take that route because of fires burning on Highway 243 from Banning up the hill.  
Anyway, we got here and found a site with 50 amp electricity, so we are again, happy campers.  There was a very beautiful sunset last night, so I had to get some pictures of it.

God is the MOST awesome artist ever!  On Wednesday we attended a "manager's social" here at the park.  Not all the news was good.  It seems that they have cleared the way to be able to soon start charging $5.00/day for anyone who camps in the sites that offer 50 amp service, even for those who only use the 20 or 30 amp hookups.  He didn't say how soon that will happen, but he expects it will be fairly soon.  He also said they want to eliminate the option of living full time here at the park.  The current rate for extended stay campers who live here is $550.00/month, which will be raised to $750.00/month before too long.  They are going to set a seven month limit on the extended stay policy soon.  They also said they want to discourage campers who have "trashy" looking RVs from being here, and the manager is actually going around the park and advising campers if their site looks too cluttered or trashy.  OMG!  

These friends of ours were at the social too.  I took this picture after we had sat through TWO hours of what the manager had to say.  The couple on the far left are Steve & Diane Villareal.  They visited us back on Halloween and I posted their pictures then.  The couple on the near left are Nelson & Ava Burke.  He is a past Exalted Ruler from the Garden Grove Elks Lodge.  He also serves as Santa Claus for some events in December, I believe.  Great many say, BPOE not only means Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, it also means Best People on Earth!

Now for a change of topic.  Many of you will remember that back in July we had what seemed like a very minor accident with the RV.  We hit a traffic cone in a road construction area, and it ended up doing about $2500.00 in damages, which we submitted to our insurance company.  We have been with that company, National General Insurance Company, through the Good Sam organization for over 25 years, without any claims or driving violations EVER before.  All those years of good driving ought to count for something, but apparently they don't!!!  We got the bill to renew when we picked up our mail on Wednesday.  For this one small accident, they wanted to raise our 6 month premium from $608 (yes rates are usually much lower in South Dakota) to OVER $1200.00!!!!  They said that rate increase would remain in effect for three years.  I couldn't believe they thought we would just say OK to such an excessive rate hike.  I spent the rest of the day shopping around and found a much more favorable rate through Geico, AND it includes roadside assistance, so we will be dropping both the Good Sam Roadside Assistance plan and the Auto Club plan.  We have been disappointed the last two times we had to call Auto Club, so we were thinking of dropping that one anyway.  When we needed to be towed last April in Texas, we waited FIVE hours before the driver arrived!  So as you can imagine, my New Year's resolution to maintain a more positive outlook took quite a hit on Wednesday, but by Thursday we were happy campers again!

This morning we had to do laundry, and met a really nice couple from Canada.  You never know where you will make a new friend.  Some people have bigger RVs with small washers and dryers in the RV.  We have never wanted to go for that as they usually only do small loads, and most people still have to hang their clothes outside to finish drying.  We prefer to have more inside storage space instead.  We can go to the laundromat and finish two or three loads, usually in under two hours.   When we got back from there, we saw an interesting bird across the road from our RV.  

These birds at the park are so used to the people here, they are not even afraid when we take their pictures.  He watched me take his picture and stood right in front of another RV by their picnic table. 
We also spotted this on the front of another motorhome in the row behind us.  RVers have a great sense of humor, I think.  Life is too short to not enjoy each and every day!  

Please remember that we can never know what other people are dealing with.  Folks used to say you must walk "a mile in his shoes" before you judge.  However, that still doesn't seem to tell the whole story.  I don't think it's our place to judge others around us.  As I said, we can't know what battles others are facing.  We simply should not judge others, period.  I prefer to say, be a little kinder to everyone, because you'll never know who really NEEDS your kindness.  Hopefully, your kindness to one person will lead that person to "pay it forward."  Have a wonderful day, and, as Walt Wille used to say, "keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down".  Don't worry, be happy, like the song used to say.  Bye and bye now  :o)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Palm Desert in January!

We came out here to the Thousand Trails park in Palm Desert last Friday, after surviving the rains we had experienced in Menifee.  As most of you must know, California has been living through a prolonged and terrible drought.  The NBC weatherman today said even a severe El Nino season will only improve the drought condition by about 2%.  When we left Wilderness Lakes, several parts of the park were still flooded, and the workers had been pumping some of the water out of the canals, in preparation for the next rain storm.  I didn't get any pictures of those areas, but when we drove out through Hemet, I did take some that showed the streets that were still flooded, and how green it had gotten after only those four days of rain.

It was a beautiful day for travel and we had a really nice drive getting here.

We were surprised to see how much snow there was on the 
area mountains.  It is wonderful for us to SEE the snow, as long as it is far enough away so we don't have to deal with it.  LOL!

Palm Desert is a very interesting town, with many places to go and things to see.  
 We saw these camel statues and the red horse on Highway 111.  I'm not sure why they are there, but had to get the pictures anyway.  The weather has been marvelous.  The days have been in the high 60's to low 70's with the nights in the mid to high 40's.  That's great for sleeping.  We got a 50 amp RV site this time, so we don't have to worry about turning one appliance off to use another.  All good.  The only problem we had on arrival was that with all the tall palm trees throughout the park, it took us hours to get a satellite signal so we would have TV reception here.  I actually asked God for help, and shortly after that, it locked on and we've had no problem since.  

Mike & Gail (aka RV Space Savers) are a couple rows away.  They have a sales booth at a weekend swap meet at the College of the Desert, and last week they were selling and giving seminars at the FMCA Rally at the fairgrounds in Indio.  Their home is up in Washington state.  It's always great to get together with them.  They have a really cute poodle named Coco.  She's only about 7 pounds of fur, but she is fiercely protective of Gail!!!  So cute.  Mary and I went to see her yesterday and I purchased her excellent spatulas and some other cooking utensils.  They are great to use with non-stick cookware, and they don't melt like so many cheaper ones do.  YAY.

 Yesterday I caught this shot of Jim and the furry kids on the couch.  Nothing new, I just thought it made a cute picture.  We will be here in the desert until next Tuesday, when we go back to Menifee.  

We will be back here from February 8th through at least the 14th.  I just found out yesterday that they are going to have a Valentine's dance here on the 13th.  We are looking forward to attending that.    

I hope all of you are having a wonderful start to the new year.  We wish you the very best of everything:  good health, prosperity, peace, happiness and anything else you want or need in the year ahead.  Stay well, stay warm and safe, and stay true to yourselves.    Bye for now.  :o)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Whoopie, I'm so excited!!!!

Today is a RED letter day.  I can hardly believe it, but the beautiful Raggedy Ann doll has finally arrived........and she is even more beautiful and well made than I had hoped for.  The doll was made for our grand daughter last month by the cousin of my friend Mary, Silvia Ventura in Las Vegas.  The doll is a very soft, and lovable. 

Have you ever seen a more beautiful Raggedy Ann doll?  I wish I had asked her to make one for me too.  Silvia told me the doll's clothes can all be removed and washed, and the doll herself can be spot cleaned.  Our grand daughter is going to love and treasure this doll for a very, very long time. 

 This beautiful white egret came up in the canal right behind our RV site.  What an awesome sight!

As you can see here and below, Millie and Willie were still exhausted a few days after the new year began.  Today they are finally peppy puppies again.  That's all for tonight. 

 Mary left here today to go out to Palm Desert, and we will be going there on Friday.  Gail & Mike left here today and they are also out in Palm Desert.  We are hoping it won't rain on Friday, so we will have safe travels.  Bye for now everyone.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year to all

Hello Everyone,
We sure hope all of you had a pleasant New Year's eve, and are looking forward to a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year.  I'm sorry I didn't post during the Christmas season, but I barely found time to answer emails, so I'll try to catch up now.  I hope this won't run too long.  LOL.  
As you know, I was terribly frustrated that the post office in Palm Desert could not find the package with the beautiful Raggedy Ann doll for our grand daughter, who is in Bloomfield, NY.  We decided to buy a little plush stuffed lion to send to her along with the gifts for the rest of her family.  Finally, on December 30th, we got a call from Silvia, the lady in Las Vegas who made the doll, that it had just been returned to her.  She is sending it to me here in Wilderness Lakes and I'm supposed to get it (by UPS not the post office) on Monday.  I can't wait to see it.  YAY, then I'll send it on the baby Willow.  Better late than never I guess.

We got back to Wilderness Lakes on December 18th.  ALL of the 50 amp sites were already taken.  We found a 30 amp site we could get into, and were able to lock onto a signal for our Direct TV satellite, so we considered ourselves fairly fortunate.  However, the tree next to us seems to be a favorite perching place for many large Jim has to clean the car off every day!!!  Yuck.  We were afraid to park the car in front of the RV since our neighbors come awfully close to our RV when they drive up with their car.  They have a 37 foot 5th wheel trailer, that has been here since before we got here, and they have only spent one night here.  After cleaning the car off four times on Wednesday, we are now parking in front of our motor home!   Many people did a lovely job of decorating their RVs for Christmas.

This picture is the front of our motor home, with the lights Jim put up.

This beautiful blue heron was spotted across the canal from our site, and he waited for me to get his picture before he flew away.

The weather has been cold, for here.  Last week we had to dig out our electric blanket to keep warm enough at night.  Even Millie crawls under the covers each night!

 We were amazed to see such a large flock of white egrets here in the park.  

We wanted to drive up to Silent Valley to pay our annual dues, and this was what we saw on the drive up the mountain, and at the park.  Happily, we were able to leave the snow behind when we came home.

 They decided to have a New Year's eve party here at Wilderness Lakes, for the first time.  They provided a DJ to play music for listening and dancing.  Everybody brought their own snacks and drinks, so there was no cost.  YAY.  Not all of his music was what we liked, but there was enough for us to dance till our feet hurt.  Hahahahaha
As you can see, the family lodge was nicely decorated for the Christmas season too.  They provided party hats and noise makers, and we did make some noise!
I had to get a picture of Jim dancing with Mary. 

The other lady, dancing with the life size dummy, lives here year round.  I don't know if she uses "George" to get into the carpool lane.  He's not too realistic, but she had fun, and he never steps on her feet.  Here's Mary, getting down with the music.  We knew someone would decide to set off fireworks around midnight, so we left before 11 pm to get home to our furry kids.  

They were happy to see us, and we hadn't been home for more than a few minutes when we started to hear the fireworks.  Willie ran to hide under the bed, and Millie cuddled up next to me on the couch.  We managed to last until the ball dropped in Times Square, and had a champagne toast to the grand year we have had, and to the year ahead.  I'm not really making any resolutions, since most people fail at keeping the ones they make.  It has been a wonderful year, so I plan to continue to thank the Almighty God for our many blessings.  I hope to continue keeping a positive outlook as we move ahead in this year, and be always thankful for all God has given us.  Please try to look on each day as an opportunity for more fun and adventures.  Life is GREAT!!!!!  Stay well, and keep on doing what you like to do.  Life is too short to put things off.  Bye for now.