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. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Addendum to Yesterday's Post

Hi Again dear ones,

I have learned much today.  I learned how to add my signature to my emails, and how to change the font, font size and font color.  However, it seems that it must be changed for EACH email, instead of locking one selection in for all emails.  Alas, that makes me a teeny bit sad, but now I can use different fonts and colors depending on my mood at the time.  Still not sure how to find some email addresses from my contact list, but all in good time, I hope.  I also learned how to download my pictures, which is the reason for this addendum................the pictures not included yesterday.  Here we go.             
These first three pictures were sights we saw on the way up to Cottonwood.
I just thought the signs were amusing!
But I also thought the view was magnificent too.  I hope you will agree.

On the right is my new kitchen curtain.  I love the sea shells on the white back ground.  
As I said, the new curtain for the dining room will be here next week.

The view around Sedona is really beautiful.   This picture on the right is of our friends Judy & Frank.  It's an old picture, but I just came across it in my Google album, and decided to add it now.
 This is our great helper, Joe South from the Staples store in Sedona.  This picture is a church we saw on the way to Sedona.  
We saw this sculpture in Sedona; it's called the Escape.  I have no idea who did this, but if we get back there, I will try to find out more about it.  
This last picture below was an interesting looking trailer we saw today.  All silver with black glass windows.  Very sleek and modern looking I'd say. 

These pink jeeps are used for tours around Sedona.  I think they go up into the Red Rock State Park.  We'd love to do that, but after what this computer cost us, we won't be doing that or taking the train ride around the valley this visit.

Last, but not least, we saw this beautiful older car in the Wal-Mart parking lot here in Cottonwood.  You never know what you'll see when you are out and about!  Must close for now.  This program takes forever to download pictures, so tomorrow I need to call tech support to find a faster way.  Bye for now.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

OMG What Have I done?????

As some of you know, we left Quartzsite last Wednesday to come up to Cottonwood, AZ.  As many of you already know, my laptop has been on it's last, pitifully decrepit legs for some time now.  Tony wrote me that he had purchased a refurbished laptop recently, and I figured it was past time that I should do likewise.  We drove over to Sedona to the Staples store there.  They told me that they did not offer refurbished ones, but would be happy to help me if I wanted to look at new laptops.  One might think I should have just said maybe next time and left, but Jim was encouraging me to see what they had to offer.  I was looking at the lower end of the price range for one with an Intel Pentium core, and Joe said that it would never give me the quality and longevity I wanted and that for "a little more", I could get an Intel core i3 or i5.  To make the long, and boring story shorter, Jim & I selected a Dell with Intel i5.  It even has a back lighted keyboard.  Don't get me wrong, Joe was a great help, and I don't regret getting this computer with SSD and a precision touchpad.  I know that once I learn what I am doing, I may even like this beast!  But right now, I can't even find my email contacts address book.  I have tried typing in part of someone's email  address in hopes that it will "pop" up, but that has only happened with a couple addresses.  I really liked being able to choose the font for my email and the color and size of the font, which I have not learned how to do, if in fact I still can do that.  Also, in my Vista, I had been able to create a "signature box" as many of you know.  Whenever I began an email to send out, it showed my signature at the bottom.  If this is possible with this Dell, I have not figured out how to do it.  Last but very definitely not least, on the Vista, in my email I was able to create folders, such as "Family Pictures", "Friends," "Elk Lodges we visit" and "Online Accounts".  Again, if this is possible, I don't yet know how.  Joe said there would be a learning curve, but I feel really stupid that I can't do what I'm trying to do.  

Also, I have not been able to install my printer yet.  I was able to install my PrintMaster Platinum program, BUT so far, I have not been able to get it to work.  I got tired so I have not tried to download my photo program, so even though I have taken some wonderful pictures, both in Quartzsite and here, I will not be able to include them in this blog, maybe later.  

I took a picture of Joe South, the general manager, who spent a great deal of time with me both times I was in the store but as yet I can't download it into this computer, so I can't post it yet.  Since I am obsessive compulsive, I need to ask and sometimes re-ask a lot of questions.  He never gave up on me.  He was very helpful, and incredibly patient with me.  I hope to figure out how to post Joe's picture, because if ever you are in this area and need computer supplies or help, he is the man to go to.  Interestingly, he is very familiar with the area of Menifee and Temecula, and his mom lives in Hemet, so it felt like I was talking to a local old friend (but I don't mean old in a bad way).  He never rushed me or made me feel stupid..............I just did that after I got back home.  LOL.

I recently got a new pair of curtains for my kitchen window over the sink, and when I can download pictures you will see how nice they look.  I was so pleased with them, that I ordered a nice pair for the dining room window.  They are supposed to arrive next Monday, so maybe by then I will be able to download pictures to share.  

I will tell you that if you have not been to Sedona, you should find the time to go there.  It is in "Red Rock Country", and is very scenic and beautiful.  As I always have said, God is THE artist of all artists, and this area is some of his finest work.  I have said many times how beautiful the desert is.  It is a constantly changing array of incredible colors, and beauty is all around you.  I think everyone should see it at least once in his or her lifetime.  I believe too many people over-use the word awesome, but the beauty of this area really IS awesome.  

Do you remember a few weeks ago, when I said we should all be kinder to others than we might want to be because we never know what the other person might be struggling with?  I had just such an experience recently.  I became frustrated with someone who seemed to be unreasonably curt with me on the phone.  I emailed him back with how he had made me feel.  He wrote back later apologizing for how he had spoken to me, and then proceeded to tell me just what he was dealing with at the time.  It was a huge reminder to me that we never know what may be troubling others, and we should always be slow to anger and quick to forgive.  

Have a wonderful and blessed week and enjoy each day and all the incredible gifts God gives to each of us.  Keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down, as Walt used to say!