Because We Can - Fulltime RV'ing

Journal Archive 12/1 - 12/10 2013

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Sunday December 1 Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico

A Cooler Day


December means winter which means cold weather, and it was definitely cooler this morning with a temperature of 56° when we went on our beach walk. The layers you can see on Linda tell the story, though the sweatshirt was off by the time we got back. Next week at this time we are probably going to wish we had temperatures this warm during the day.


The Thanksgiving people started leaving the park yesterday and we weren't surprised to see so few beach walkers this morning. The family across from us had already left by the time we raised the front blind this morning. Something about a trailer full of kids and cold weather at the beach beach can cause that to happen. By the time we returned to the coach there were more empty spaces appearing at our end of the park and there was packing up activity around quite a few of the "campers' still there. Just a few hours until the solitude of the fulltime Life returns.


Don't think it was just a day of quiet contemplation though. Here is Linda using Oxy Clean on the floor where the water leak occurred. There was a time when she wouldn't have needed to use the towel to kneel on. Those days are long gone. Later I did hear some strange noises coming the bedroom and when I went back to investigate, she was awkwardly trying to get up. I asked what was wrong and was told that getting up wasn't as easy as it once was. Now she has me wondering if I will have the same problems when I get old.


We have decided that the next pot of beans will have the seasonings added when they are cooked, not when I eat them. As you can see, adding the garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder to a small bowl of beans is not without its problems. While I do like garlic in my beans, this is a little too much.

Note: I took a little break from writing the Daily Journal, but hope to fill in the missing days over the next week or so. That will provide the answer to the question that might have arisen from reading the third paragraph of today's post. Nothing like a little suspense is there?

Monday December 2 Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico

A Nice Day


We are having the coach washed and waxed tomorrow. It is the universal signal that you are getting ready to leave as people always seem to have it done the day before they head back north. Unfortunately with the window leak, something needed to be done to prevent the water from getting in around the corners of the the window. It's hard to see, but there is now clear tape across the top and around the corners. And just to be sure it was sealed, there were multiple layers.

As we were returning from our morning walk we passed someone with his head inside the electrical compartment of his coach where all the fuses are located. Linda quipped, "That sure doesn't look good," to which his response was, "All the outlets in the coach don't work."

I noticed the coach was a Holiday Rambler which from our experience meant the problem was likely one of two things. It turned out he had already checked the circuit breakers (which wasn't one of the two things) and was now trying to check the fuses (which also wasn't one of the two things). Mentioning the first thing we always check is the GFI to see if it is tripped, he said an electrician friend had already done that and it wasn't the problem.

I then said it had to be the inverter circuit breaker, but he said his electrician friend had already done that and said it was fine. That led to a discussion and soon I was reaching into the compartment where the inverter was and resetting the circuit breaker. Everything now worked. Talk about a happy camper.

It turned out they had only had the coach for a little more than a week, so everything was new. We spent the next hour talking with Al and his wife Jan, learning that he had been coming down to Puerto Penasco for over 45 years. We were glad we could help them, something that made our day and their's too. Isn't that what Life is really about?

As always, remember: Life is not a dress rehearsal. Don't be afraid to laugh, love and retire early.

Tuesday December 3 Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico

The Last Day

Today was our last full day in Mexico, and to do something a little different with the Daily Journal, what follows is more photos and fewer words.


They got an early start washing the coach.


No problem getting a beach front site this month.


Looking for that last special shell. She didn't find it, but then she has more than enough already.


The view out the window beside where I sit. Guess one could say we almost have a beach front site given the view.


We ate the last of our red chili sauce this morning. It tastes different every time Linda makes a batch, but it always tastes awesome. Today's turned out to be a little "hotter" than the others. Something tells me it is going to be all mine to eat. Happy Bob.


Washed, waxed and polished. $110 with tip, and they do a very, very good job. Just another reason to spend time down here.


I know Linda really liked the polishing job they did on the wheels, why else would she have taken 4 different wheel photos.


Take away the Americans and Puerto Penasco is a fishing village.


The road up to our favorite restaurant, La Casa del Capitan. They have been building the condo tower you see for as long as we have been coming down to Puerto Penasco. It will be interesting to see if with the cruise ship terminal being built, there is another building boom here.


Linda ordered me to walk on ahead as we approached the restaurant, told me when to stop and turn around, and lastly, to smile. Knowing what is good for me, the photo is being posting. Happy Linda. Smart Bob.


I was told I would have to take another photo, something about cutting Linda off. I thought it showed the distant view of the beach and RV park very well.


The official, approved by Linda photo.


The photo I like best. That's one beautiful woman. How did I ever get so lucky? Blessed Bob.


That last margarita. Then on to eating those carne asada enchiladas with the sweet read sauce. Puerto Penasco, we will miss you. But we will also be back in a few years.


What is a great meal without great company.


While having several birds join us for the meal was great, Linda thought having flan for dessert was even better. She does have a point.


That last trip to the store. I just couldn't resist buying a few sweet things.


Linda thinks it is so cool how you take your selections up to the counter and they price and bag them for you.


150 tortillas, I know, but we just love them, and they do freeze very well. Two containers of sour cream, I think Linda would have bought even more if we would have had space in the frig. Those two sticks of deodorant are not to be scoffed at. It is the best deodorant either one of us has ever had and is like what we always buy in Europe. Just wish we could find it in the US.


Juicing those Mexican limes we love so much. Rather than take a chance on whether we can take them back to the states, we juiced them, which is allowed to be brought back.


Nothing more than a pile of squeezed limes. Is that all there is to life? Maybe for some people but not for us.

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” -- Charles Bukowski

Wednesday December 4 Gila Bend, AZ

Travel Day


When you take the mat up, it must be time to leave.


We didn't have a set time to pull out, I think partly because we really didn't want to leave, and partly because that is just the way Life is down here. It gets done when you get around to it, and if not now, then later. It was why we came here, to relax, and we did just that.


Normally we would turn left at this intersection as that puts on the road back to the States. This being Mexico, the road is blocked off with no signs showing the "detour" you would take. As we crossed the intersection Linda said it best, "It looks like we are going to get to drive in a part of town we have never been in before. As they say, "It's the journey, not the destination."


For a short distance we could see this RV in front of us, but he was in a much greater hurry than we were and by the time we came to a road to the left he was out of sight.


Whenever we see something a little different Linda usually remarks about how they just seem to find a way to get it done.


The open road at last.


The farther away from Puerto Penasco, the more vegetation there is. Linda really likes this stretch.


Welcome to Sonoyta. There is a school crossing here and it seems it is always congested.


The route is well signed.


Looking at the sign you would think we got lost and had to turn around. Not so, let's just say that as long as you follow the signs you will have no problem even if you think you might be going in the wrong direction for a block or so, which you are not.


Linda always laughs when she sees this sign, and I alway say, "The hassle of US Customs coming up." Those who are unwilling to take their RV in Mexico never know the humor of this moment.


Actually, just as always, there was no hassle when crossing the border. In fact this was the easiest return we have ever had, no line, the questions about where are you going and do you have any fruits and vegetables to declare. We make it a point not to bring any fruits and vegetables back with us, so it is an easy question to answer, and after getting our passports handed back, we were on our way.


Just to prove we really are back in the US. I always love Linda's comment said with a huge smile after she takes a photo of a state sign. "Got it."


Besides the US Customs check at the border, there are two Border Patrol stops before you get to Ajo. This is the second one and involves a major walk around by a drug dog. They keep you there by asking different questions about your RV, then once the dog is finished, they wave you on through.


Our first stop was to park alongside the road in Ajo and do some grocery shopping. That was when we found out it was much colder in Arizona than it was in Mexico. Much, much colder. And the worst part is that where we are headed it is going to be far colder than here.


There are many differences between Mexico and the US. We like to use el Jimador Silver to make our margaritas. The price in Ajo is $22.99 for a 750 ml bottle. The price in Puerto Penasco, converted to dollars, was $6.42 for 950 ml.


Mail call. It has been almost two months since we last got the mail so Linda was a happy girl.


We plan to drive each of the next four days, making five straight days of driving, which I think is a first in all our years of fulltiming. There is a storm coming ashore in Oregon next week and we want to be there before it arrives. After washing the coach windshield, with me doing the outside and Linda the inside, we agreed to let me say the inside was still streaked and for Linda to say the outside was still streaked. I'll let you fill in the "discussion" that led to that truce.


One of those Linda photos I just love discovering when I download the pictures. Could it be she was taking cactus photos when I thought she was cleaning the inside of the windshield? Bad Bob, better not go there.


Linda just loves the colby cheese they sell at the grocery store in Ajo. The picture shows just how much. And as much as we enjoy Mexico, it really is good to be back.

Thursday December 5 Needles, CA

Travel Day


Look who was washing another window from the inside this afternoon. Knowing what is good for me, I'll say nothing more. As far as today was concerned, we had an easy drive from Gila Bend to Needles where we stayed at the Elks Club for the night. We are so spoiled with the great weather down in Puerto Penasco, it is downright freezing here and isn't really much fun. Guess we will just have to suck it up and endure.


Inspecting our firewood at the California Ag inspection station. It passed. We could have said we didn't have any firewood when they asked, but there is a very good reason why they do these inspections. Besides, our kids and grandkids live in California and we want it nice for them. No bugs in our wood.


With cold weather forecast for the next week, it was time to install a cutoff switch for the frig. We know that when the temps fall into the upper 20's the 5 amp fuse will blow if the power is on. By putting a switch in the circuit before the control board, we can switch off the power during the night, then turn it back on in the morning when the outside temperature warms up. With tonight's low forecast to be 27°, it will blow the fuse if we don't turn it off.


Installed and working. Of course once I had finished Linda pointed out that if I had used a longer wire and run it inside under the frig, I could turn it on and off without going outside. As to why we don't just turn the frig off with the switch on the frig itself, even if we do that the fuse still blows, it's only if we disconnect the power before the control board that the fuse doesn't blow. This is only a temporary fix as we plan to have a permanent fix done in the spring when there will no longer be a Notcold in the coach.

Friday December 6 Visalia, CA

Travel Day


So much for my installation of the switch making it easier to turn on and off the frig. It wouldn't turn on this morning. Tried several times and it blew the 5 amp fuse on the control panel each time. Decided to wait until we got to warmer weather to try again. It was 35° this morning so there should have been no problem. The frig stays cold for a long time as we know from past experience, so that should be just fine. The photo is an allusion to the steam coming from me when the idea switch didn't work. The fact I got up on Mountain Time instead of Pacific Time didn't help. Linda hadn't reset the bedroom clock so when I saw it was 4:30 I got up. Problem was, it was actually 3:30. Made for a very long day.


What most of the day looked like. We left Needles a little before 8 and arrived in Visalia seven hours later, stopping for fuel in Barstow. We had several pull over and rest for a bit stops as I had a couple of attacks of the yawns during the drive. Wonder why? Tired Bob.


The haze of the Central Valley in the distance. No more hills but a whole lot more traffic for the next day's drive.


We found the Visalia Elks Club with no problem, having stayed here in the spring, and soon the frig was working. I tried a different tactic, unplugging the electric to the 120 volt heating elements and the ice maker, and trying it on just propane. It started right up and ran with no problems. That doesn't mean the problem has something to do with the 120 volt operation, but when the storm is raging, any port will do. Another day of driving tomorrow as we try to get as far north as possible before the main part of the storm comes through on Saturday night.

Saturday December 7 Redding, CA

Travel Day


It was home for much of our lives. This is the first time was have driven through Sacramento without stopping. There is a first time for everything. Retirement for some people means doing the same things they always did with the exception of going to work. The road we took was different and we have never looked back.


What are we doing going north where the signs say things like this? You have to do what you have to do and we want the slide fixed, and fixed right, so north we go.


We drove by our home away from home in Anderson. The Target truck is parked where we were parked when we lost the drive line this summer. So the last time we were here the temperatures were right around 100°. This time the temperatures are in the 20°'s. At least we will have hookups this time. Happy Linda.


Another seven plus hours of driving today. We will be staying for two nights at the Redding Elks Lodge, letting the roads clear before we drive on up to Harrisburg where the weather is going to be warmer, relatively speaking.

Sunday December 8 Redding, CA

A Nothing Day


We did nothing today except what Red did. All day long he hung out near the heater in his tank. Meanwhile we hung out near the heater in the coach. These bitter cold 35° days are more than we can take. Can't wait to leave cold California and get up north in warmer Oregon where the temperatures will be in the low 40°'s.

I like how Willa Cather, the Pulitzer Prize winning author put it, "I shall not die of a cold. I shall die of having lived."

And if you have never read any of her stories you have missed something very special, though they may not be for everyone.

Monday December 9 Redding, CA

A Stay Put Day


We decided to stay in Redding for another day as the temperatures were going to be much warmer here than in the Eugene area both today and overnight tonight. That led to a major shopping trip. At our first stop my keys somehow got tangled and I couldn't figure out how to get them apart. Eventually they just sort of fell apart and when Linda asked me how I did it, all I could say was, "Darned if I know."


One of our stops was at Lowes. Usually when we have these outings I get accused of "hurrying" her. This was my kind of store and so I got accused of not being in enough of a hurry. Man: darned if he does, darned if he doesn't.


Trader Joe's, a store I know better than to ever even imply that I might possibly be "hurrying" her. Good Bob.


Cold weather means warming food, so why not use the lentils we bought a long time ago. Linda had never made lentil soup before, but by combining the spices from several recipes she made a very good soup indeed. I had to admit I couldn't pick out the flavors I was tasting, but it sure tasted good.


We are staying at an Elks Lodge. What can I say, it looks like Rudolph the red nosed elk.


In the afternoon we went for a walk, ending up on the path along the river. We originally didn't plan of staying here for any longer than one night, but that is the freedom we enjoy. As Amos Bronson Alcott, an early American teacher and writer put it, "The less routine the more life."

Tuesday December 10 Redding, CA

An Interesting Day


It was cold this morning when we left Redding heading north, following the same route we had in August when the drive line went out near Weed. So just what is Linda doing in this photo?


She is looking something up as we are parked along I-5 north of Redding.


Yes! It is déjà vu all over again.


At least this time we were only 10 miles north of Redding when we heard a loud pop and the engine de-rated to idle speed. It was still driveable, just at no more than 10 miles per hour. Luckily we were just below the crest of a grade where three lanes went down to two lanes with an area where we could pull off to the side. This was exactly like the location where we had pulled off in August, only further north and just south of Weed.


Keith's Towing out of Redding. The best tow we have ever had, and with this being our fifth time being towed, we feel very qualified to judge whether a towing company is good or not.


Checking out the problem.


The problem, the turbo boot blew off. It could have been fixed alongside the road by reattaching it. The problem was the berm was so narrow we couldn't put the slide out without it being even with the white line at the edge of the road and that was definitely not a good thing. So we were towed back to the Redding Cummins shop where an easy fix was performed.


The boots had to come off so the boot could come off. Stew was our mechanic and he was not only good, he also had personality. No grumbling from him about having to work inside a motorhome. The office personnel were just as good and they treated everyone the same. Cummins Pacific in Redding, we joked if we were to break down again we wanted it to close to them. Please, it was just a joke. Nothing more than just a joke. No more breakdowns. But like Linda says, It does make for a good story.


As we learned, having one of these boots blow off isn't all that unusual. Next time we hear a pop, see brown smoke and loose power I will look for a wider spot to pull off and put it back on so we can drive to a shop and have it replaced. Wonder what the odds of having it ever happen again are?


At least the sunset was awesome tonight. And where we staying was once again at the Redding Elks lodge which was just a couple of miles down the road from the repair shop. I just hope we are not caught in our own version of Groundhog Day.


We are trying our different German wines to find the types that Linda likes for our trip next year to Europe. She rates this one as perfect. It is far too sweet for me, but then she just smiles and mutters something about that meaning there is more for her. It's not what happens that matters, it how you react to what happens that matters. Laughing Bob and Linda.

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