Thursday, May 26, 2016

Happy Days in Garden Grove at the Elks

On Monday we drove up from Wilderness Lakes to the Garden Grove Elks Lodge.  For those of you who are familiar with this area......the drive was slow going because of construction between I-15 north onto California 91 west.  This area has had construction going for a very long time, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better!  It took close to an hour to travel less than five miles, but once we got past that area, it was an easy drive the rest of the way.  We arrived and were assigned site 13, so we parked the CAR in the site, and took the motor home to our local mechanic for an oil change.  He will be replacing our shocks on Tuesday, before we head back to Wilderness Lakes.  Near our mechanic's shop, we spotted two motorcycles with side cars for sale.  No, we don't plan to buy one, but I had to get a picture since they were kinda cute.

 We got back and settled into the site by about 2 pm.  The task of setting up the satellite dish went as easy as I can ever remember it happening.  We even got the bedroom TV to pick up over 100 channels, and that's without cable service here.  Both of the dogs love to come here because of the nice grassy park we can walk them in out back.  We had a nice evening and relaxed.  

Tuesday I wanted to take Jim out for lunch at his favorite little place, called Buffalo Wings and Things, for his long time favorite sandwich called Beef on a Weck.  This is a beef sandwich on a Kimmelweck roll, which used to be only available in Buffalo, NY.  This place was opened about 25 years ago, by a man who moved here from Buffalo, and has been a place we have enjoyed for all those years.  Tuesday, when we got there, we found a notice that they have closed up!  What a disappointment!  I didn't  want to go to just any place, so we looked for someplace "special" for lunch.  We drove all the way up Beach Blvd, and found Fuddruckers in Buena Park.  We hadn't been there in many, many years, so we decided to have lunch there.  They have very large portions, so we split a bacon cheese burger and a "small" order of chili cheese fries.  I don't know what they season the fries with (they leave the skins on and wedge cut them), but they were a delightful side dish.  No way we could have eaten a whole order or a whole burger each!!!!
After lunch we drove over to Camping World and bought the free-standing screen room we have wanted to get for a while.  It was on sale, so it was a good deal.  When we get back to Wilderness Lakes, we will try to set it up, and include pictures if we succeed!  After that, we stopped at the Westminster Mall to look in Penney's.  We didn't find what we were looking for, a cardigan sweater for Jim to replace the one he has, but we did see this in the parking lot......too cute!
 It looks a little lighter here, but it was like a bubble gum pink.  

We had such a filling lunch, that we only had Slim-fast smoothies for dinner.....Jim makes the Fudge Royale with a spoonful of peanut good.

On Wednesday we drove over to Los Alamitos to visit my Uncle Dave, who is 92 years old, at his mobile home.  He has an incredible mobile home, I would call it a triple wide!!!  He has room for a grandfather clock, a couple couches and two recliners in his living room.  It was good to see him, but I was sorry to see that he has become quite sedentary.  He used to be very active, skiing and jogging.  Sadly, it was a reminder to me that what we don't use, we WILL lose.  I realize ALL of us, as we age, cannot do what we could do 40 or 50 years ago, but I would like to urge those of you who can move, do what you can.  If you can walk, do it every day, even if you only walk a short distance.  You can increase the distance a little each week.  If you have access to a swimming pool, take advantage of the opportunity for low impact exercise.  We like to do water aerobics in the pool at the campgrounds we visit.  If you can ride a bike, even a stationary bike, try to do it a few times each week.  I don't like to EXERCISE, but I also don't want to lose any more muscle and mobility than I have to!  There is still a LOT we want to do, and you may feel the same way, so get moving before it's too late.

Today, my very dear friend Joan came to visit us.  She and I have been friends for MORE than 33 years, and she came to our wedding way back then!  I made sweet and sour chicken with rice for lunch.  It is always a very special occasion for me when she comes to visit.  Jim had made strawberry ice cream, but we found out Joan is allergic to strawberries, so instead we enjoyed snickerdoodles!  She wished us a happy 33rd anniversary.  I asked her how long she and her Jim have been married.  She said, "I was thinking about that....maybe 37 years."  I looked it up in my address book after she left, and guess what Joan?  In December you and Jim will have been married 39 years!!! 

At this point, I will close for tonight.  Tomorrow we will have dinner with our dear friends, Ron & Sherrie, in the lodge.  This Sunday will be PIZZA Sunday.  On Monday Ron & Sherrie will be coming here for a barbecue and to play Mexican Train.  So, with that much fun ahead.......I will blog again soon, probably after we get back to Wilderness Lakes and set up the screen room.

I would like to wish you all a safe, and pleasant Memorial Day.  Please take time to remember those who gave their lives to protect our freedoms.......and remember the phrase, "Freedom is NOT Free".  We pray every night for the safety of the men and women who serve around the world, and give thanks for them.  Stay well and enjoy America. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday, May 22nd, and all is well......

Hello Everybody, hello

We are still at Wilderness Lakes, until tomorrow, and it is an incredibly beautiful day!!!  It is a bit on the cool side, but the sky couldn't be any bluer, with a scattering of puffy white clouds above.  God does such amazing artwork!  

This is our RV in site 12, which is in the area we really like to be in.  It has 50 amp service, and behind us is the nice park where we like to walk the dogs.  The weather has been mild since we got here, but the evenings have been too chilly to sit outside.  

Our dear friends Almita & Rueben were here when we arrived, and we spent three wonderful afternoons with them.  First they came over on Friday to visit, and we sat outside.  Another day we went to their home and sat outside to play Mexican Trail, which Rueben won!  Then this week they came over and we played RummyKube.  Almita wont twice and I won once.  It is always great fun when we get together.

We have enjoyed seeing the baby ducks and baby geese that have hatched and are growing up here in the park.  
 Sometimes when we are driving in or out of the park, we have to wait for them to move out of the streets here in the park, but it is still fun to watch them line up and follow mom across the street, with dad behind making sure not to lose any little ones!  Today, Jim got out of the car to "herd" them along.  I'm glad the protective pappa didn't decide to chase him away.

I am always happy to share reports of the excellent service we have gotten from many companies we have had the opportunity to do business with, but today my report is NOT favorable.  First I will share a reminder that we DID know about, but one can forget things when one is having such a good time......and that's not good.  Motorhomes need to be given periodic maintenance, just like any other home.  That includes servicing the water heater at LEAST once a year, and many say every six months is better.  We have a Suburban water heater, so we don't know the specifics for the Atwood water heater, if any of you have them.  Ours has an anode rod, which the Atwood does not have.  It collects the calcium and debris that you don't want to have accumulate inside the unit.  Someone told me that Atwood requires draining and flushing every six months.  Ours requires draining, flushing, and replacing the rod.   Since we had not done that in, gee, I don't know how long, the water heater was becoming temper-mental and often would not light, or would light and then shut off with a very loud BANG!  We called Brad Miller, who had done work for us before......with rave reviews from us, but he was backed up with work and would not have been able to get to us until next week, when we would not be here.  That left us looking for another service person.  We called Solutions RV, on Tuesday afternoon, and he said he could come out mid-afternoon on Wednesday.  We waited, and waited and finally at 5 pm WE called him to ask when he would be getting here.  He said that he had gotten behind, and wasn't going to be able to get here that would have been nice if HE had called to let us know that!  He said he would come here "first thing Thursday morning."  We said OK, and got up and ready early that morning......and we waited, and waited.  Finally, at 11 am I called and got his voice mail.  I was not happy but left him a message asking just when we could expect him to get here....since "first thing in the morning" had already come and gone.  He called back at 11:15 am saying he was on his way and would be here within the hour.  We waited, and waited, and at 2:15 pm we called yet again.  He said he was almost here, and would be here within a few minutes.   He FINALLY arrived a little before 3 pm.  We had things we needed to do, and errands to run, so we were not happy at all!  He did the service, but he didn't bring any kind of bucket to drain the mess from the water heater into.......we had expected he would have.  Jim had a pail he used, but he still got a bunch of mess on our outside carpet.  We are going to post it on our calendar to do it ourselves in the future.  We will check the rod at 6 months, and drain and flush even if it doesn't need the rod replaced yet.  Also, whenever we need any service, on it or anything else, we will wait for Brad Miller to be available to do the service we need!!!!  

Last Saturday I saw, what I believed might be the Roadtrek RV of our friends Judy and Frank, so I sent her a text message, and sure enough, it was them.  I called to invite them over for a dinner of my yummy 5 cheese mac and cheese that night.  They said they'd love to come over, but that Frank's doctor had put him on a no dairy and gluten free diet, and Judy is a vegetarian too (so Frank rarely eats any meat).  I said we'd figure out what I could feed them, and they came over.  I served nice big baked potatoes with vegetarian chili (for them) and regular chili (for us).  I bought some packets of veggie cheese for them to put on top and we had American cheese on ours.  They were delighted and really enjoyed it.  In fact, Judy said she had been wanting a baked potato for quite a while, but had not gotten around to having one.  Since he couldn't have any kind of cake or ice cream for dessert, I made peach jello with chopped peaches in it, which they both enjoyed.  They have been parking the RV in here, and staying for the weekend, then they have to drive to LA from Monday through Thursday for his cardiac rehab....which he finished on Thursday!  YAY!!!  So we planned on dinner together on Friday.  I made them an all veggie spaghetti sauce (ours of course had meatballs and sausage) and served theirs over spaghetti squash.  We had tried that a few years ago, when I was hoping we could eat a little healthier......but we didn't like that at all, so we had real pasta.  I made lime jello with chopped pears and pineapple for dessert, and it was a hit!  We were glad we had been able to get together with them this trip, and look forward to seeing them again when we get back here next week.  I'm planning to make a salad dinner for three of us, and Jim will probably have a hamburger!  Maybe I'll make French fried using our T-Fal Acti-fry that does not require using any oil (for frozen fries) or only 1 TBSP of oil for fresh potatoes.

Last week we set up and sold our magnetic jewelry here, and did fairly well, but yesterday we didn't have any sales.  One man ordered a custom made quad bracelet (4 strands).  I usually require payment in advance on the quads, but he said he'd have to go back to his motorhome to get the money, so I came back to ours to make it.  When he came back, he asked to get it for a lower price, which I could not accept.  The he asked if I would swap an anklet and necklace for one of his "autographed books" that he writes.  I said no I couldn't do that either.  He left saying he'd go get his money and be back, but we have not seen him yet.  We know what site he is in, and plan to stop by this afternoon to see if he still wants his bracelet, but he's not getting it without paying the full price.

After the sales were over yesterday, we went inside the family center for lunch and candy bar bingo.  We had an excellent day at that.  Since our anniversary is this week (33 years together and still happy as ever!!!) we each got a candy for that, and we each won 3 bars, so we came home with a record (I think) of EIGHT candy bars in one day!  That should last us until we get back here next week.  LOL.  It should, but knowing Jim, it won't.  

We were going to go to Mountain Lakes today for a four day stay, and then down to the Garden Grove Elks lodge for four days, but we changed our minds.  Instead, we are extending one day here, and will go directly to the Elks tomorrow for a seven day stay.  That will save us gas, and will give us more time to see friends.  It usually seems like we can't fit everyone in while we are there for just a few days.  

We haven't figured out just when we will make a reservation to go to Mountain Lakes, but we will do it later in the year.  When we go there, we'll stay at least one week, maybe two.  That is always nicer than going some place and setting up, the after a couple days we have to begin packing up to leave again.  It is a beautiful park and when we go there, I'll post lots of pictures of it.

Norm continues to recover at the hospital in Buffalo.  Donna's youngest daughter got married in a small, private ceremony of the 15th of May to her long time beau and all are very happy about that.  Tony is going to have cataract surgery on one eye this coming Tuesday.  We are all well, and still waiting to get Jim in to see a VA doctor, hopefully when we come back next week, so he can get referred to an ophthalmologist to see about cataract surgery for him too.  

I think that's all for today, so I will close, and as always, I will encourage all of you to enjoy life, it's short but sweet, because of all the glorious gifts from our Heavenly Father.  If you get the chance to travel, see America, it's a wonderful place with much to see and enjoy.  Keep the rubber side down and stay safe and well.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Red Hot News Update!!!

Our new friends Diane and Jim Hubert had to leave Silent Valley on Monday, May 9th to go home for ten days, so we went to see them before they left.  They have a 5th wheel trailer, with an interesting floor plan.  We have not seen inside too many of them, but the ones we've seen all had the bedroom up in the front over the 5th wheel.  Theirs has the living room area up there, and the bedroom and bath are both down on the lower level.  I think that was a nicer design.
The picture on the left is their 5th wheel trailer.  They left it up on the hill in storage, and when they go other places, they take a tent camper they can tow behind their van.  The picture above on the right is their little darling Lucy.  She is very friendly, but could only take just so much of Millie sniffing her over!!!!  She is really cute, and runs outside when the door is open, but comes right back when she is called.....not like Millie, who would run and run.

As you know, we were worried about the possible danger of driving down the hill from Silent Valley if the brakes were not usable, so on Monday I called the Auto Club and arranged to have a tow truck, from Stagecoach Towing to load up the RV and carry it down the hill on a large flat-bed truck.  The dispatcher said they would have the truck up there between 10 and 10:15 am on Wednesday.  At about 9:45 am I got a call from a different towing company asking questions about our needs.  After I told her what she needed to know, she said there was no way she could have a truck up there until THURSDAY.  I told her that was not satisfactory, so she said she would call Auto Club back and tell them they needed to get us another truck.  Finally they got us a truck, but he could not carry it, so he would disconnect the drive train and tow it down the hill. 
 This was in the parking lot across from the entrance to Silent Valley, where he hooked the RV up for towing.
 We came down the hill first and Jim caught this shot as the guy got our RV down on flat ground!  By the way, I've never mentioned this, but we named the RV Marylou after my mom, so she could go everywhere we go with us.  
This picture was as he towed Marylou past us on the way to TruckWorks.  We got there, and by the way, it was almost 90 degrees outside, so I had to take the dogs into the office with me to wait.  Many of you have not met our furry kids, but Willie is usually afraid of all strangers, animals and noises.  Millie, on the other hand has never seen anyone or anything she didn't want to meet and/or investigate!  I expected to REALLY have my hands full with them.......but both were on their very, VERY best behavior.  They were quiet almost all of the time.  The one time Willie barked I told him no, and he sat right down and stopped.  Since the shop was busy, we ended up being there over 3 hours, but they were never a problem!!!  That is so amazing.  To make the rest of this story short......they checked all brakes and components, and the brakes are still in good condition and nothing needed to be replaced or serviced.  We do want him to replace the shocks, as they are 12 years old and quite worn, but he has to order them, so that will be done next month BEFORE we go back up to Silent Valley again!  We only had to pay for one hour of labor, which was only fair.   I can only say great things about TruckWorks.  He could have said we needed other work, and we might not have known, but he didn't.  He checked the RV out and we didn't need to replace any parts.
He was a nice, honest and efficient person with a nice clean shop, and good workers.  This picture on the left is a clock made to look like a truck front end.  Terry told us an old friend gave him that about 8 years ago.  He has never put a battery in it, but every once in a while the horn goes off, so he calls the friend that gave it to him to see how he is doing. 

We got back to the KOA in Banning before 5 pm, and got set up in our site.  With all the stress of worrying about it all, we were I called and ordered a pizza from Pizza Hut (they deliver!) and we had a quiet evening there.
I took these the next morning before we left to come down here to Wilderness Lakes.

That's our house, and our neighbor with a tent trailer.  The picture on the right is a view in the KOA park.  We left about 10:30 am and got down here before noon.  After checking in we set out to find a nice site.  Much to our amazement, one in our favorite location had just opened up.  The guy next door said the previous camper had left less than 20 minutes before.  We got in and unhooked the car.  Jim began the set-up as I moved the car out in front.  We got everything done, and had a quick lunch, then decided to try to get a satellite signal for the TV.  Jim set the dish outside and I ran the start up program.  By the time he came in to see how it was was already acquiring the signal from the satellite!  That's the fastest we every gotten it.  All is well.  We were still quite tired, so we had the second half of the pizza for dinner, took showers and got a really good night of sleep.  All good!

Praise God for our good fortune this week.  The news could have been so much worse.  We praise and thank Him for all of our many, many blessings.  Also, Norm is out of the ICU and is stable and getting better.  Thanks be to God.  

Have a wonderful day and enjoy the weekend ahead.  That's all for today.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 8th, still at Silent Valley

Hello everyone,  
It's Sunday, Mother's day, and all is well today.  Jim walked the dogs, and then he made me a lovely breakfast of French Toast with strawberry cream cheese.  After a nice hot shower, we had a pleasant, quiet morning and a nice phone call from Matt, followed by a great lunch (Jim's specialty sandwich of Spam, glazed with mustard & brown sugar with American cheese on top).  Millie and Willie gave me a wonderful pair of light weight Bushnell binoculars for a Mother's day gift.  WOW!!!!  Now I'm ready the next time we go bird watching!

Now I have much to bring you up-to-date on, and there won't be very many pictures included today.  This week has been a roller coaster to say the least.  

On Monday I made a bunch of calls trying to locate a mobile RV service that would come up here to service the brakes on the RV.  Everyone makes mistakes, but the day we came up here, Jim didn't realize he drove up the hill with the parking brake on.  When he got here, it smelled terribly overheated.  One of the mobile repair guys we had used before suggested we should take the RV to a place in Banning called TruckWorks.  We went there Tuesday (by car) and talked with Terry.  He couldn't give us any kind of quote without seeing the RV, but gave us some possible estimates........let's hope it only needs the less expensive options!  We are going to have to call Auto Club to take the RV down the hill, as we are not willing to take the risk of driving down that hill (with 6% grades and very frequent turns all the way down) without reliable brakes.  We are going to go down a day early and have a reservation to stay at the KOA at the bottom of the hill on Wednesday night, so we can get to TruckWorks by 8 am on Thursday.  

We have a reservation to go to Wilderness Lakes on Thursday, so we hope they will be able to finish the work that day.  If not, we may have to stay at a motel in town for one night.....or we might be able to stay in the RV at the shop overnight.  It all depends on how much work has to be done, and if they have to order any parts that they don't have in stock.  We are praying for it to be just a small job and we'll be on our way to Menifee the same day.

Monday afternoon we also got a call telling us Jim's brother Norm had been admitted to Buffalo General Hospital with a pretty bad case of pneumonia, and he had experienced a small stroke.  Since it was already around 8 pm back in New York state, we waited until morning to call to talk to him.  He was pretty agitated and didn't make too much sense at that time, so we told him we'd call back in a day or two to see how he was doing.  Wednesday we talked to his nurse, who said he was doing fairly well and generally stable.  We got about the same news from his nurse on Thursday morning.  A couple hours later we got a call from his doctor saying he may have had more of a stroke than they had previously realized.  Later they called again saying he was having seizures and it was compromising his respiratory status, and they couldn't give him medication to control his seizures.  After talking to Norm a few months back, we had told the social worker at the rehab place he was at, that he did not want to be intubated and put on a ventilator.  But now they said they needed to be able to control his airway, so we gave consent for them to intubate him.  He was transferred to the medical ICU and put on a ventilator.  Friday we got calls three times from doctors caring for him, and were told the prognosis was not good.  They did an MRI and felt that his stroke had extended, resulting in a larger area of brain damage.  Needless to say, we didn't get a lot of sleep that night.  We were afraid that we had made the wrong choice about the ventilator.  Saturday, we called for an update, and were told that he was stable, and that they had been able to stop his seizures.  I called this morning and we got a little better news.  The nurse said they had been able to take out Norm's "breathing tube" and he was able to breathe on his own.  Then she said that although he is not verbalizing yet, he was responding appropriately to simple commands.  It's not a full recovery, but it was a small sign of improvement to us, and we were happy to hear it.  Please pray that he continues to improve in the days ahead.      

When we first got up here last month we met a delightful couple named Jim and Diane.  She is recovering from neck surgery several weeks ago.  They have a house in Yucaipa, where my sister Donna and her husband George live, and spend a lot of time in a 5th wheel trailer up here.  When they choose to travel, they use a tent trailer that they can tow behind their van.  Yesterday we invited them over to our home for a spaghetti dinner.  Jim made some Italian bread, and I also baked a spice cake with cream cheese frosting.  It was a wonderful day.  We played Mexican Train too.  As always, we are so grateful for the wonderful friends we make along the way in the campgrounds we stay at.  Diane's husband Jim was a respiratory therapist, as was my Jim, so we all had "war stories" to chat, and sometimes laugh about. Dinner was great, Diane brought a wonderful salad which I really enjoyed, and we drank a little moscato wine with dinner.  

Weather-wise it has been rainy, cloudy and cold a lot this week.  Since it rained all Friday night and was cold in the morning we didn't have much luck with sales Saturday.  The lady who was supposed to come back this week, didn't, and we only had one sale all morning.

That's all the news for now.  Stay well, and continue enjoying life and enjoy America.  Happy trails to all.  Bye bye.