Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Black Screen of Death

I sat down to compose a blog post and without warning, my computer stopped. And, it won't turn on. We've tried everything and it's just gone. So, now, Doug and I are sharing his computer until I an afford a new one.

His computer runs Vista which I detest and haven't fully figured out yet, so it might be a few days before I can load pictures. It's funny how accustomed one becomes to a certain program or operating system and how diffiult it can be to start anew. But, we won't desert you. I will keep posting as best I can.

The weather here has turned awful. Yesterday, it rained (hard) all.....day......long. There was snow in the passes, including the one we traversed three days ago. And the Grapevine pass was totally closed due to snow and icy conditions. Then last night, the winds started shaking and rocking the coach. I know it's December, but I thought the weather was supposed to nice here in southern California.

Hopefully, we'll get a little break today so we can do some sightseeing.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Desert Hot Springs

It sure is easy to get moving early when we only spend the night at a park. The car is hooked up, very few items inside the coach need to be put away and we are both anxious to go.

So, we were on the road by 10am. Unfortunately, it was the wrong road. By the time we discovered it, we were halfway to California City and there was nowhere to turn around with a 40 foot coach hauling a car behind.

I quickly checked Google maps of the area and found that if we just continued through California City, the road would bend south back to highway 58, which is the one we wanted. Thanks to Google, I discovered that California City was intended to be bigger than Los Angeles when it was first developed. But, no one moved there and it never quite became the dream city that was intended. Still, it is the third largest city in California, geographically. The Google earth website shows miles and miles of crumbling roads that were never finished for developments that never happened.

After finally getting back on track, it was as easy drive to I-10 and then east to Desert Hot Springs. The sun was shining and it was 75 degrees. Nice!

Our reservations were at an ROD park called Desert Pools. It's a nice park but everyone is packed in like sardines.

The neighbors are really nice. On one side are Bob and Terry in their Teton Homes 5th wheel. Bob and Doug got to visiting and the next thing I knew, they were off to shoot pool in the clubhouse.

After their fun, Doug came back to take me for a tour of the facilities. Their are three small pools that are each heated from the natural hot springs in this area. Each is set at a different temperature and delightful. The big swimming pool is also heated and like bathwater.

Inside the clubhouse are the pool room, a terrific lending library with half finished puzzles on every table, an e-mail room for computers, a card room and a large dining room. There are activities and meals all day long at this park.

Every time we step out of the coach, people stop to visit. I can see Doug isn't going to get to any of our projects at this stop.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Sierra Trails in Mojave

Whew....that was a long day of driving. We left San Benito TT in Paicines, CA late in the morning and backtracked to I-5. From there it was 130 miles south on some boring, raggedy highway lanes. I suppose I-5 should be called a freeway but it has become so poorly maintained that I think the side roads would be safer.

We left I-5 at Buttonwillow and drove east through Bakersfield then across Tehachapi Pass to the outskirts of Mojave. All of the windmills were going full blast and the smog was almost choking us until we made it across the pass.

The park we chose for just one night was Sierra Trails RV Park. We had stayed there on our way back to Washington last spring and we knew it was not fancy, but was fine for overnighting. And the best part is it's part of the Passport America club which is half price camping.

The pull thru sites are located in the back of the park and are dirt. Still, they are level, have water and electric, picnic tables on a concrete pad and safe. Works for us!

It's still getting very cold at night (high 30's) so we will continue east in search of some heat tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


After a quick run back to Paicines to pick up our mail, we took some time to start putting things away for our departure tomorrow. While Doug was outside emptying tanks and cleaning up, a neighbor stopped by to visit and invite us to an informal seminar called RV 101 that he does at each park where he and his wife stay.

Of course we agreed to join them at the clubhouse in the evening and what a pleasant surprise it turned out to be. Fred has obviously spent a lot of time and money preparing this rving seminar with handouts and booklets and door prizes. There were three couples and three singles in attendance, so it was laid back and comfortable.

Fred began with a discussion on the importance of checking electrical components starting with choosing a campsite to maximize your electrical power and minimize your electrical problems. He showed us the tools that he uses for testing and some of the disasters that have been averted.

Following the section on electricity, he spoke about fire safety and protection which lead into a warning about rv refrigerators being one of the major sources of fire.

It was well worth our time, even though we were aware of most of the information. But we came away with some new ideas as well as some reminders of how easy it is to become complacent with the equipment and lifestyle. Rving isn't all pretty sunsets and fun and games. There is a lot of maintenance and problems that constantly need to be addressed.

The other thing we came away with was.............a door prize! I won!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Running Ourselves Ragged

Wow, what a busy day we had! We are leaving this park on Thursday and decided to run all of our errands in one trip.

Our first stop was in the big city of Salinas. It's actually a good size city and had just about anything we could need. We found the UPS office where we picked up some packages that couldn't be delivered, then headed to the nearby Jeep dealership that we had spotted.

Doug has been having trouble with his key fob and we needed to check the prices on having the oil changed and the blower for the heater/air conditioner quit working too. The quote we were given in the service shop took our breath away. So, we drove to a Kragens Auto Parts on the other side of town and bought a couple quarts of oil. We'll worry about the rest when our ship comes in................still waiting..........

A smoke shop was next on the list, followed by a recycling center to get rid of a sack of smashed pop cans. (Recycling pays very well in California if you can find some place that takes them.)

Finally, we headed to Gilroy where our favorite Super Walmart is located. Groceries are always on our errands list, but Doug was looking for a swim noodle that he could cut up and use to steady the speakers that are mounted above the dashboard in the coach. Well, there aren't too many swim toys in the stores in December.

But, across the street was a Lowes. There we found some foam pipe wrap which will work perfectly.

We were still a half hour drive away from home and needed to get to the Paicines post office to pick up our mail from South Dakota. Then we saw a roadside fruit stand with some really good prices posted on handmade signs. Of course we had to stop. Doug found mushrooms for $1.99 a pound and they had a terrific selection of garlic related spices, rubs and sauces. Gilroy is the garlic capital of the world.

At 5 minutes to 5, we arrived at the post office to see a closed sign. This little tiny post office behind the grocery store/restaurant is the entire town of Paicines. And they close at 3:30 in the afternoon. Oh well, we'll get our mail tomorrow.

I love it when we are so efficient and attend to all our errands in one day. (almost)