Because We Can - Fulltime RV'ing

Journal Archive 1/21 - 1/31 2012

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Saturday January 21 Quartzsite, AZ

Staying Home


Except for our usual long morning walk we never left the IRV2 circle of motohomes today, which is a first since our arrival in Quartzsite. The Big Tent RV Show started today and for the first time ever we weren't one of the early attendees. Those that did go to the show said it was more like four or five years ago with the aisles were completely jammed. That is good for the exhibitors and also good for us. Hopefully the crowds will have thinned out in a couple of days when it is our turn to attend.

The other thing that happened today was the wind, and with the wind was the normal Quartzsite dust. Our wind gauge was showing gusts of 36 mph, which meant dust everywhere. Even the sign marking our group site was suffering, losing a bungie cord and threatening to fly away. It was also the afternoon of the pot luck meal, and we watched as the wind upset lawn chair after lawn chair, and it looked like it might be more a little interesting come pot luck time if the winds didn't quiet down.


While I can't say that Monaco made RV's are the best on the road, I can say that that the IRV2 Monaco Owners forum members karma is far beyond great, as the winds died down at the 3 o'clock hour of the potluck lineup. All resolutions on my part for forsaking foods deemed not natural immediately went out the window as I gazed at the displayed dishes of decidedly delightful delectables.

Dig in

I really can't single out any one dish as being better than another, not to hurt anyone's feelings, but simply because they were all that good. It bought back thoughts of days gone by in our former life of those many church covered dish dinners. There must, however, be mention of the Danish meatballs and Danish rye bread brought by the Danes Are Coming, who are from, you guessed it, Denmark. Doesn't matter where RVers are from, we are all the same. Unless you're from Victoria, Texas that is, but there is always an exception to any rule.


A very small part of our circle of rigs. If Linda remembers to take a photo of another section of the circle tomorrow, I'll show more. At last count we had 18 rigs, which is not large by Quartzsite standards, but makes far more people and names than one can easily remember. It was near dusk when the wind returned with a vengeance, over turning chairs and sending everyone scurrying to the safe confines of their coach. It had been a very good day indeed with new friendships made, and great food consumed.

The highlight of my day, and it shows just what a boring Life I live, was when Ed Christensen helped me... major correction, when Ed Christensen, edchris942 on the forum, took the thermal fuse off of the leads on the bay heater, and said just take it into Radio Shack and use regular squeeze connectors to fasten it back in. That in itself was worth every penny we spent in moving down here to be with the IRV2 Monaco group. Kindred souls and coach owners helping each other. Living Life as it was meant to be lived.

Sunday January 22 Quartzsite, AZ

The Quartzsite Trailer Trash Gang


Another pot luck tonight, but this one was for a very distinguished group of adults who are collectively known as The Quartzsite Trailer Trash Gang, (QTTG for short). As you can see from the photo of two of the members, the only apparent qualification to be a member is to be breathing, brains are certainly not part of the test for membership.


Great food was on the menu, even if there really wasn't a menu. Ribs, western beans, and all the fixings that go along with them made for a group of happy campers. Confession time here. Last night I had trouble sleeping and this morning Linda diagnosed the cause as too much dessert on my part. I was on my best behavior tonight, only taking one helping of each dessert, and guess what, I actually slept the whole night without getting up once, and I even felt great this morning. I think the moral of that is I can probably take one and half helpings of every dessert and still feel okay. Next potluck I'll have to try it and see.


The real festivities began when our erstwhile leader, Mike, began his usual long winded description of just what a bunch of bozos the QTTG really are. As usual, no one paid much attention to his remarks, with all the men continuing their conversations as Mike droned on. Finally came the presentation of the Trailer Trash hats to the newest members, then suddenly a hush fell over the assembly.


Mike had been replaced by his opposite number and partner in Life, Linda, who was going to be be presenting the coveted Quartzsite Diva visors to the ladies. Begun last year to honor the brains and beauty behind the idiots, err, men who make up the QTTG, it crowns these lovely and vivacious women with a tan visor with the words, Quartzsite Diva across the front.


The highlight of the presentation, at least in my opinion because it is my Daily Journal after all, was the first presentation to a long time Diva who was not present last year for the original awarding of visors. Say what you want, but is things like this that make Quartzsite what it is. Some people see Quartzsite as only dust and huge crowds, others see it as a very special place not to be missed. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is Quartzsite. A special place, a special time, with special people. Who could ever ask for anything more.

Monday January 23 Quartzsite, AZ

Off to the Big Tent


We had thought the crowds would not be as large in the Big Tent today, but it turned out that yesterday was the time to have gone as the crowds were much smaller than expected. Since we usually don't buy anything during our first time walking through, it was okay that it was crowded, but it was still hard to get to some of the booths. There appears to be tire pressure monitors in the offing this year, as well as some new outside chairs. It's likely that when we go back later in the week additional items will get added to the list. It has something to do with the cost of "my" tire pressure monitors being much more than "her" chairs. Maybe we really don't need those monitors after all.


You can say what you want about the crowds in the Big Tent, but when it comes to porta potty cleanliness they are in a league of their own. Linda just couldn't resist taking a photo of the Quartzsite Big Tent Porta Potty Gang doing their thing. Earlier due to an unexpected uncontrollable urge, Linda got up close and personal with a pre-cleanout porta potty. And when she emerged I immediately posed the question, "At least you didn't faint, so how was it?"
"Blue water and no smell" was her immediate answer, which was accompanied with her trademark million watt smile so I knew what she was saying was true and accurate. I don't know if Linda is even capable on fibbing, though I suspect she has stretched the truth a mite on an occasion or two. As for me, anyone who has read these musings of mine for any time knows that the only thing I am capable of writing is truth and the whole truth, so help me. Oh, I almost forgot, anyone who would like to purchase a large bridge across the Hudson River can contact me at the above address.


I have to say that our solar panels are working great. We have continued to run the generator early in the morning when we first get up so we can take the chill off with the heat pumps, but otherwise, all our power is coming from our four solar panels. If the sun is out for at least half the day, or the cloud cover is light, the battery has always charged 100%. Most people probably use their furnace to heat the coach, but we like it colder than most, and if you really think about it, you can heat the coach and not snuggle under the covers, or you can not heat the coach and snuggle. To us that is a no brainer. Your brains may think differently. I really didn't deserve to be this lucky in Life, but I'm glad I am.


In the evening, Jon and the gang from Brazel's came by to talk about several of the products they are promoting at the show. There were exhaust brakes, engine chips, improved air filters and flow through mufflers. They also brought a number of adult beverages to share with the group in hopes of finding some forum members who might be more easily persuaded to purchase these items. As might be expected, some were more easily persuaded than others. I won't say who they were, but we should know in several weeks whether the claims of significant increases in mpg from these products are true our not.

In true Quartzsite fashion, just after they began their talk, the skies opened up and it began to rain. Then in more true Quartzsite fashion, everyone moved under Ken and Ruthie's too small awning, where despite the wet conditions, everyone laughed, listened, bought, and had a great time. Once again those that say Quartzsite is nothing but dust and crowds have no idea of what it really is. I know what we did tonight was repeated in other ways in many other areas around Quartzsite. Life is what you make it. Some people don't like life, and others love Life. The choice is up to you.

Tuesday January 24 Quartzsite, AZ

Naked Bookseller Concert


The RV's are massed at Quartzsite, with more seeming to come everyday. Of course what comes in must come out, and the long lines at the dump station offer testimony to the fact that there is an awful lot going in. We smile as we walk past, happy in our knowledge that when we arrive at Imperial Dam on Sunday morning we won't be seeing this scene repeated there. Smart Bob. Smart Linda.


One thing for certain, when someone who is known as the naked bookseller gives a concert, you know what all the women are going to do. But when the concert is billed as" the naked bookseller as you've never seen him before, it shouldn't come as surprise that he isn't in the state of undress that he usually is. What am I doing wrong, heck, I'm two years younger than this guy and better looking even if I do have less hair, yet all these gray haired old ladies are practically swooning over him and not giving me a second look. Sad Bob


Speaking looks, and it's this one I refer to. Just why was Linda looking at him the way all the rest of those old women were? Here was this handsome young man sitting next to her and does she look at me and smile? No way, she looks at this old fart up on stage and laughs, claps and giggles for several hours. Maybe there is a lesson here. If I were to troop around the coach in nothing but my birthday suit most of the time, then on occasion put on some clothes, would I get the same response? Something tells me that trying this would result in a very, very bad Bob. I guess I'll just never figure out the female mind. Sorry for the blurry photos, but the place just wasn't conducive to our cameras taking good photos.


Batteries are a serious business in Quartzsite. This is the pile of dead ones at The Gambler. No it is not the the Quartzsite Casino, it is the place to find most anything RV, both new and used. Located in front of Rice Ranch, it is always one of our stops whenever we are in Quartzsite, though this year we have yet to spend any money there. Guess that was as close as I came to Good Bob today. Linda will probably call me something else when three weeks from now we need something that we could have bought used for $5 at The Gambler and I end up spending $50 for the same thing new somewhere along the road. Hey, if Life was perfect it would be boring. What dumb thing have you done today?


This is my Good Bob for the day, tire pressure monitors for the coach and the Explorer. There is another layer in the box with the 4 monitors for the Explorer and a number of additional items. One of the guys in our group worked out a deal with the seller for a great discount on these monitors due to the large number of units our group purchased. I have to believe Sara N. Dippity was involved in this, as every year the IRV2 Monaco group seems to end up with some special project, and this year's dove tailed perfectly with my thoughts on the tire monitors.

As I mentioned above, Life isn't perfect. It has many bumps, twists, and outright scary moments. But for all those who are safe in the life they have always lived, and live the same way yesterday, today and tomorrow, there are those who chose to take the other fork in the road. The choice is yours. As for us, we have never looked back, only ahead, while our friends in our former life say "Someday I'll."

Wednesday January 25 Quartzsite, AZ

A day in the desert


Interesting start to the day after the non-naked naked bookseller's concert, what with the glorious sunrise that met us this morning. As much as I hate to admit it, it wasn't I that was up at an early hour to see the sun reflected on the eastern mountains, it was Linda!! Yes, for the first time in eons the Grizzly was up at dawns early light. Though I must admit she said the reason for it was that I was breathing in her face and woke her up. I will go out on a limb here and say that was a Good Bob. What can I say, I know I'm good, it's Linda who expresses the occasional doubt.


Part of the reason for being up so early was we had an appointment to have a few things done to the coach. This is the old one, and to clarify, it is the muffler I am referring to.


The new one which is quite a bit slimmer and should perform much better, again referring to the muffler. This, along with a new air filter and chip should give us improved fuel mileage. Only time and miles will tell us if it was a wise decision or not.


In among the improvements to the coach was a trip to the laundromat. There are a number of places to wash clothes in Quartzsite, and each seems to have something that sets it apart from the others. This one, which is next to the Shell station had some interesting signage.


Looks like they have a serious problem here. Maybe their motto is: You can has spelling or you can have grammer, but you can't have both at the same time.


Linda has come a long way from the days when a grain of sand in her sandal would have her hobbling and complaining like it was a boulder. Now when she says it's a rock, it sure is a rock. Wonder if some of those other interesting traits she has are also going to change? Something tells we that is an "In your dreams" kind of thing. Of course if we hadn't dreamed of living the full time Life we'd still be living our old life, so there's always hope. Guess that's what I am today, Hopeful Bob.

Thursday January 26 Quartzsite, AZ

Having fun


At the west end of the Big Tent is this interesting display of the wiles of womanhood. Today as we passed by I couldn't resist and said, "Nice."
"Oh, so you like them do you?"
Silence on my part.
"Would like to take my picture beside them?"
This time there was no hesitation and ensuing silence, "Sure."
"Where do you want me to stand?"
"Over at the end would be fine."
"Which way do you want me to face?"
You know the saying, Don't sweat the small stuff? Well there I was sweat pouring off me in rivers because a man very seldom, if ever gets asked a question of such great importance. It was one of those, Life will be great or into the doghouse for years, moments.

This was where the rubber would meet the road. When the years of living with woman but never understanding would be put to the ultimate test. Maybe it was a natural instinct instilled in man over the eons, or was it just dumb stupid luck? I don't know, but whatever it was out came the words, "It wouldn't be fair to those other female rear ends if you turned around because then they would just look average." Brilliant Bob. And the larger than Life smile I received was awesome in and of itself.


On Monday we had dropped off the Blue Ox hitch to have it serviced, and it was supposed to be ready this morning. Unfortunately it wasn't quite to my liking. Linda will tell you that I am a very easy going person and often will accept things that she throws an absolute expletive filled fit over. When I dropped it off I pointed out that the rubber dust boots were in bad shape and one was going to tear through very soon. When he carried it out I was surprised to see that they hadn't been replaced. After a brief discussion, I could have come back within the hour to pick them up with boots on them, but I said tomorrow morning would be fine. Also got a really huge discount, more than 50%, on new 10,000 pound safety cables for my trouble. And to think, I never once even raised my voice all that time. Looks like I haven't completely forgotten about my former life when "NO" was never an acceptable answer.


And I thought our having a fish as a pet in our RV was unusual, you can see I didn't know much. Met Porketta, the pet pot bellied pig who travels in airplanes, in cars and in an RV. I will leave it to Linda, if and when she ever updates her blog, to provide all the details about pretty Porketta. Let finding Porketta be a lesson to all those negative types that complain about Quartzsite even though they have likely never spent any time here. They think you know it all, but in reality, they don't know anything because all they know and will ever know is what they already know, and time has a already passed them by. We can't believe we live the Life we live, and tomorrow will only be better, and if it isn't, it will make a great story to tell around a campfire some day.

Friday January 27 Quartzsite, AZ

A real problem getting started

Many photos, not many words today.


So you thought we celebrated too much last night and had a tough time getting going today? How wrong you were, at least about the getting going part. For 18 long years our Explorer has been our faithful trusty servant, taking us to where ever we wanted to go, but not this morning. All it would do was click, and I guess we were lucky to get even that out of it. The best minds in the IRV2 Monaco forum Quartzsite group put there heads together and pronounced our starter toast.


The suggestion was made that sometimes pounding on the starter with a hammer will get it to work. When you can barely see the starter, let alone hit it with any kind of power, it isn't likely to start.


The IRV2 group not only has brains, they also have brawn, and with a mighty push and the fact the Explorer has a standard transmission, it was started. Then we were off to find someone who could repair it. Years ago I'd replaced starters without a second thought, but at this stage of our Life, there's still a lot of our kid's inheritance to spend, so it was off to find someone who could install a new starter.


Our guardian angel. Checking online it appeared that the only auto repair shop in town was Best Auto on North Central, so that was where we headed. What a joke it turned out to be. There were a number of customers standing around when we arrived all of whom were completely ticked off at how totally incompetent everyone associated with the place was. No one was in the office and the mechanics didn't have a clue, so imagine my surprise when I saw this mobile repair truck pull into the lot across the street. And in a New York second I was on my way over to hopefully get some service.


Zane diagnosed the problem as a bad starter, and after a few phone calls, I located a starter in Blythe. Now understand that if I shut off the engine the Explorer isn't going to start, at least until it is pushed, and with this in mind we set off on the 23 mile drive, which included passing through the California inspection station. In the end with a few small blips I bought the replacement starter and returned to Quartzsite.


Back at Quartzsite, Zane installed the starter, and upon completion it was as good as new. So just remember, even if your day doesn't start as it should, it doesn't mean it won't end as it should.

I want to end today's post a little differently than I usually do and mention special kindnesses. When we were being helped by Zane across from the incompetent repair shop we had originally stopped at, a lady offered to drive us over to Blythe to get our starter. We thanked her but when the Explorer started with her helping push it, we went by ourselves. Then when Zane was installing our starter a car from British Columbia stopped with a badly leaking water pump. The rest of the story is that I drove the husband of the car with the bad water pump over to Blythe so he could get the new water pump he needed and I could return the starter core to the auto parts store. People doing special and unexpected kindnesses to people. Isn't that what Life is truly all about. Did you do an unexpected kindness today? As for us, we had an unexpected kindness offered and were able to do an unexpected kindness all in one day. Life, isn't it wonderful!!!

Saturday January 28 Quartzsite, AZ

Shopping and visiting


It began with a discussion about the potential possibility of perhaps replacing the bulbs in our wall sconce with LED bulbs. During that discussion, thankfully for which no record exists, concern was expressed as to whether the replacement bulbs would fit in the small space available. This photo was Linda's way solving the problem. Let's just say that during this entire enterprise, from original idea to not buying any of the bulbs, I toed the mark once I realized what my role was and from that point on which was nothing but a Good Bob. Maybe when the price comes down there will be LED bulbs in our future, but for now Bob's Bulb Ball is good enough.


Back from our non-buying shopping trip, we decided we needed a walk and set out into a rather stiff wind only to discover this. I know I've read about this on other blogs, but it was still a surprise when we stumbled upon it. At first Linda thought all those rocks were a sort of maze, which was partly right. Add an "A" to the beginning and and a "D" to the end and what you get is amazed. Which is exactly what we were when we realized it was a very accurate map of the US and Canada.


The best part of the map. I wonder what percentage of people who stay at La Posa South ever stumble across this piece of art? Or even know that it is there for that matter. It is why we would always carry the trash up to the dumpsters everyday instead of driving. Exercise and new experiences, what could be better.


Actually there is something better, and that is visiting with friends you only get to see on occasion. Ron and Terry of the Hitchitch website were in their usual spot in La Posa North and we just had to stop by before we left even though they had posted they were suffering from colds and visitors should be forewarned. We had a great time catching up on some of the things that there just isn't time to write about, and while Ron was camera shy as usual, Terry more than made up for his recalcitrance with a smile that matched Linda's.

It's been almost three weeks since we arrived in Quartzsite, but it is time to move on down the road to a place we absolutely love and is nearly the opposite of Quartzsite in several ways. Such is the nature of the full time Life, the RV has wheels for a reason and there is always something new, even if it a place we have been to before. I guess Life is rightly, just as interesting and exciting as we decide it should be.

Sunday January 29 Imperial Dam LTVA, CA

The door to our next adventure opens, maybe


This morning, Mike, who also goes by Mr. Fixit, was back working on the door that Linda just can't seem to open. I admit I can't fix it, but then since I can open it, it isn't really necessary. Linda, sporting three broken nails and threatening to break something of mine and she's not talking about nails, thought it should be fixed. For all his work, and he tried almost everything under the sun, he never could solve the problem.

By the end, quite a group had gathered around the door that didn't open at least for Linda, and they were offering all sorts of advice. The consensus was that I should take a Dremel tool to a bit of metal extending from the door frame, and that would fix it. We shall see, we shall see. For his trouble, Linda presented Mike with a big bowl of smoked trout spread and the last of our crackers. I could only shake my head in wonder, thinking it had been me working on the door instead of Mike my reward would have more likely been a crack alongside the head, along with her eating all the smoked trout as I sure wouldn't have deserve any. Smart Bob for letting Mike try to fix the door. At least we still have half of the trout to eat, Linda is mad at me, and besides, stores have crackers.


It was about 60 miles south of Quartzsite to the turnoff to Imperial Dam Road. We were behind four other RV's as we approached it, and I could see Linda leaning to the side and hear her talking to herself.
"We've got to be close."
"I can't see the guns yet."
"There's one of the guns."
"There's the other gun, it's just ahead."
"You're going way too fast, slow down, SLOW DOWN!"
As you might know, it's hard to slow down much slower when you're only going 10 mph and you haven't even reached the turn lane yet, but I did as told, and we eventually reached the corner so I could turn at what was deemed a safe speed.


We were lucky in finding a site along one of the fingers overlooking the lake that someone had apparently just pulled out of. There is another RV between us and the lake, but we are quite a distance from any other RV's and as Linda says, it is quiet and peaceful and warm. Actually it was downright hot, but first I needed to raise the solar panels. One handle didn't want to come loose, but using a bucket to lift my tools, it wasn't long before all three panels tilted towards the sun and our batteries were being recharged.


Why we love Senator Wash at Imperial Dam. I see the sun setting behind the mountains, a cozy fire, a strawberry margarita and the beautiful blond that is my wife with a huge smile of contentment on her face. Life really doesn't get better than this. I had to laugh at the little fire until Linda explained her reasoning. We only have so much firewood and she is going to have a fire every night we are here, so she is rationing it out to make it last, with bigger fires towards the end of the week. Smart woman. Smart Bob. Great Life. Now if I could only figure out how to fix that door it would be The Perfect Life.

Monday January 30 Imperial Dam LTVA, CA

Kicking back


While Linda has hopes to see a certain animal while we are here at Imperial Dam, this animal is far to small to be one of those wild burros. I thought I could see puffs of dust across the ravine, but Linda said she didn't see anything. Finally I took an photo of the area and enlarged it to reveal what looked like a dachshund digging and digging at a patch of exposed dirt. We never did see it dig anything up, but it sure got a lot of exercise in.


In the afternoon we had Leonard and Val over to the coach, during which time Linda got to serve some goodies on her Pink Store plates and bowls. Leonard, who reads the Daily Journal loves to fly RC planes, unfortunately the winds here were making that nearly impossible. I could understand, as all the rocks here make it difficult to play with my RC off road truck.

Leonard and Val are leaving tomorrow to head back to Idaho, which makes my having to move rocks to play with my truck sound not nearly so bad in comparison. Still, the month to month and a half they spend down here where it's warm is that much better than the people who stay home and saying they will some day spend some time where it's warm in winter, but then never get around to actually doing it. Then they act bitter and jealous of those that are actually doing it. I'll take our Life any day.


Another evening, another fire. Pyro-mom is a very happy camper. I even take a secret little pleasure from these evening fires, which is being able to take a sniff of her smoky hair when I first wake up in the morning. The danger of writing about that is Linda is liable to get the idea that's all it takes to keep me happy. On the other hand, if just waking up every morning and looking at her always brings a great big smile to my face as I marvel at just how lucky I am to have her, maybe a smoky hair sniff is simply a plus. Lucky Bob.

Tuesday January 31 Imperial Dam LTVA, CA

Going to the birds


We are at Imperial Dam for one thing and one thing only, to just sit back and relax, doing as much of nothing as we possibly can. Which is exactly the reason I am days behind on my writing, and also the reason why these posts are short, sweet and to the point.

I fact we sat around and did so much of nothing, other than read and soak up sun, that we didn't even have much to say to each other, except for, "Good morning", "When are you going to fix (fill in with breakfast, lunch or dinner)", and "Good night." The major action, besides the sounds coming from a hibernating grizzly on occasion, was reading and watching the birds. The only problem with that was knowing what the birds were. The hummers and the finches we know, but this one was outside my bird brained size knowledge of birds.


This is what being here is all about, no description needed. Proving most definitely that a picture can be worth a thousand words.

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