Tuesday, December 13, 2011


We've had an awesome visit so far at Nan and Lou's  Went to a street fair on Sunday - it was a sunny and 70 degree day - perfect!  Had pizza, then went our own ways - Nan and I shared a caramel/chocolate apple - yum!  Bought fudge to go with our Electric Raspberry Wine for an after-dinner treat once in a while. The only other accomplishment is to help Nan with some packing as they are moving into their motorhome full time...what to save - keep - move out there--decisions-decisions.

This morning, Nan and I started our Christmas cookie baking - made Chocolate balls (melted choc. chips, vanilla wafers, concentrated orange juice and powdered sugar, rolled into balls and into granulated sugar.  Supposed to ripen for 10 days before eating--good luck with that!  These are from both of our childhoods!  Then mixed up Grandma's molasses cookies and put choc. chips in middle while still hot out of the oven.  Also made Mexican wedding cakes - butter cookie dough wrapped around a half pecan to make a loaf and then baked and powder sugared when almost cool.  Still a couple to make yet, I think.  Also such a fun time with best friend!  We used to do this as kids!  But of course, we were more ambitions - cut out cookies and many kinds...we're more sensible now...lol.

Jerry's been working under the kitchen sink - eliminating water pump from rattling and other misc. stuff. 

Raining yesterday and today.  We have "Lake Davenport" in the sand in front of our rig.  Glad we have gravel under Kanga or we might we sinking in the sand..what a picture! 

Looked on the AZ PGR website and the only this this week is up in Mesa - 2 hrs north - an American Legion honor PGR night - would have been fun to go to. 

Nan and I are planning Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day Brunch...  Guess that's all for now.

Hugs & love!  A/S

Saturday, December 10, 2011

One more tire adventure...

Landed Thursday night at 6 pm right over the TX/ New Mexico border after traveling through El Paso at rush hour in I-10.  Jerry wanted to go straight through instead of doing the go-around north of the city and then west, as there would have been a lot of stop and go traffic there.  Wasn't too awful; of course, I had my foot on "my brake" all the way.  LOL  However, it was time to stop and get food and rest after about 400 miles. 

Just as we pulled into a truck stop parking area, the Pressure Pro sensors went off...one tire way low.  (Of course, Jerry had checked all tires before we set off and we put on all the senors and programmed them.)  Oh, well, too late to work on that now and we were too hungry and tired.  Mex food was authentic and good but spicy salsa!  wowser...heartburn later.

Friday morning Jerry aired up the low tire and checked the others...Decided we should have the tire checked out so we went to the nearest Discount Tire store - Las Cruces - 20 minutes up the road.  Sure, they will check it out but it will be an hour wait...ok - so we hem and haw and debate...I said I didn't want to change a tire on I-10 and Jerry's arthritic fingers would not like it either, so we waited.  Glad we did - a very sharp young man diagnosed that the valve stem was not sufficient enough for the pressure we are supposed to carry in our tires....so for $12 plus tax, he changed 5 of the 6 valve stems to the right ones, balanced the tires and 2-1/2 hrs after we pulled in, we were finally on our way to Tucson...5 hrs to go! 

Arrived without incident at Nan & Lou's at 6 PM.  Wonderful greetings and Nan had an awesome roast beef dinner waiting for us...what great friends we have!  Early to bed.  Will park Kanga today and get set up.  Hugs to all! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yippee - good news for a change

 Yippee - Truck out of shop, got tanks emptied (needed doing more than you'll ever know...LOL), got diesel fuel, propane tanks filled, water tank filled, truck being washed free as we speak. Should be ready to roll in the morning - 730 miles to go - Tucson here we come!

Got showers this morning as we finally had water again!  Had it for a bit last night, but the body shop guy whose hose we were using accidentally parked his truck on the hose and cut off our water....before we found it out, the hose and our pipes had frozen again as it was down around 13 again last night.  A comedy appropriate for the mess we've had this past week.   

I've been enjoying my genealogy time as there hasn't been anything else to do and too cold to go out.  Have found 3 more Revolutionary War Patriots, several relatives who were killed by Indians in mid-Tennesee in the 1760s, a family member whose daughter married the son of the first Gov. of Franklin, and who then became the first Gov of TN when Franklin was disbanded...(an interesting story in itself.  (Saw all about it on TV - "How the States Got their Shapes."  

Hope to go out for dinner tonight - ready for some out-of-the RV time.  

Appreciate all the kind thoughts and support this past week! 



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday, Dec 6 - survival mode

Well, it's been interesting.  For the most part we've been recluses in the confines of our cozy Kanga.  Jerry goes in the shop to check on the Ford and watch them work on it.  As of yesterday at 6 PM, head work is almost half done...may be done late today but we won't be able to leave until Wed. (noonish maybe) because of the cold temps.  Need to dump our tanks...getting dicey.  Even dicier this am as our water pipes/water pump froze.  Even though we left our cupboard doors open over night and the catalytic heater on, it was just too cold next to the outside wall where they are located.  Jerry found his distilled battery water (3 gal) which were in the garage and didn't freeze that we can use for toilet flushing...     Will go in the dealership to get water for drinking. 

Jerry's working with our next door neighbor, a private body shop, to keep our electricity going.  He only works there off and on and if we blow a circuit breaker, we have to start up the generator and wait for him to come back.  The generator seems to be running much better (maybe it's the umbrella thing - if you bring it, it won't rain) so maybe we won't need to use the new carburetor we bought for the gen.  That would be a nice $200 saved!  Think it just needed to be run more. 

Jerry and I went out in the heat of the day yesterday (4 degrees windchill) and walked about a block to the dollar store to buy a few groceries...milk, eggs, bread.  Egads high prices but glad it was nearby.

Good news is that I've had lots of wifi bytes available with our palm pixie hot spot and I've had lots of time to work on genealogy.  Found three more Revolutionary War heroes to add to my list...one, a Capt John Morgan on the Iossi-Bright side of the family.  Amazing stories I've read of the Indians killing two of his sons. 

Well, that's all for now...Hugs & love to all and stay warm!  S & J

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Update - good news for a change

Well, let's see.  Found an awesome repair place for our axle.  Wednesday later afternoon gently towed Kanga into Southwest Wheel in Lubbock (1 blk off MLK, Jr, drive) from the Ford dealer in Slaton.  Parked in their lot.  Unloaded BMW motorcycle from pouch and I drove truck back to Slaton and Jerry rode the bike.  Turned keys over to Ford to get working on the disassembly while they waited for parts to come in on Friday.  Both rode bike back to Southwest Wheel - 40 degrees with 20 mpr wind....brrrrr!

Spent the night without incident even though we were on the "wrong side of the tracks."  On Friday, Les, our axle man, greeted us at 8 am and they pulled Kanga into the shop.  I hung out in the office area with Julie (office manager) who set up up with a desk to sit at to do my sudoku and computer stuff.  Jerry oversaw work and was so pleased.  Les took us to lunch at a local eatery, Cast Iron Grill.  Family owned for years and awesome food and very friendly staff.  It happened to be pajama day so all the wait staff had on their cute flannels, etc.  Desserts to die for.  Very reasonable prices.  Try it if you're ever in Lubbock! 

By 2 PM we were ready to roll.  Les did a fantastic job.  Never did determine definite cause but did find the nuts were on a little too tight when he checked the other 5 wheels.  This could have caused heat build up and problem.  At any rate, the shop in Blue Grass who did the wheel packing before we left has agreed to reimburse us 80% of the cost.  Yippee! 

3 PM our hired tow vehicle (had to hire someone as we had no truck) arrived to tow Kanga back to the Ford dealership lot where we will be staying til the truck is done...  Turned out to be Gus' Lube Services - a man a wife team who do this with the pickup truck with a 5th wheel hitch along with    mobile oil changes, rock chip repairs, etc.  Phyllis and Gus ended up being an awesome couple.  She is a retired 3rd grade teacher from Lubbock and Gus is a US citizen who was born in Uruguay, SA.  They kindly let us stop at a gas station and fill up the generator resevoir with gas as we were told there was no electricity for us to plug into at the dealership. 

Back at the dealership, we were parking Kanga, and J went into the shop to get our parking blocks etc.  The Ford hadn't been touched!  Well, I was ranting and raving about all the hassle we had to go through and the extra $100 for getting towed when we could have used our truck after all. I the meantime we finished setting up and Gus wanted to see our BMW and Phyllis wanted to see Kanga's inside so we invited them in.    (They have an older smaller rv).   Gus was so sweet - he said he would discount our fee to $50. PTL (For some reason they took a shine to us and said if we're ever in Lubbock, we should get ahold of them and come to their home for a steak - Uruguay style.  Super nice people.  Really did like them. 

Jerry went into the shop and talked to Mike, our mechanic.  He will begin disassembly today.  Parts did come in yesterday, so that's progressing.  Finally about 4:30 we got to relax.  Leftovers for dinner, thank heavens! 

Later in the evening, Sonny, body shop manager - we're parked next to his building, knocked on the door and offered us electricity.  Jerry strung out our shore power cord and we were all set...til about an hour later when he tried to make popcorn in the microwave and tripped the circuit breaker in the shop.  Not sure why...obviously the cord to his shop couldn't handle the voltage....   So back on generator - that's OK - we have lots of gas and it's pretty quiet.  Maybe Sonny will be back in today and we can work on the electrical issue.

Rained a little in the night but luckily it didn't blow and our slide leak didn't show up.  Yippee!  Sun shining today and it is supposed to be near 50.  However, snow tonight and again on Monday with 4" expected then....we hope to leave Tuesday, but will have to check the road conditions, etc. 

Life's adventures continue but we are so blessed!  Challenges will always be in our lives...it's how we handle them that counts.  Will try to destress....LOL!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Almost disaster...the saga continues

Egads, if we didn't have bad luck, we'd have no luck at all...or maybe it's the Devil playing with us and trying our patience.  At any rate, the saga continues with more problems.

Wednesday, took just the truck to pick up the new generator carburator and spark plugs (which possibly seem unnecessary now since the generator has been operating fine since they diagnosed it needed a new caburator- not sure about that deal.)  Tried to get diesel fuel at two Walmarts - one wasn't a Walmart anymore (Maybe we need to buy a 2012 atlas with the Walmart listings since ours is an 09) and one didn't sell diesel...   Did buy a new diesel gas can for the back of the pickup in which we carry our 5 gallons of emergency diesel fuel as the old one broke.  Got some lunch.  Back to the rig at the Elks, filled up with water, packed up, did the tire pressure check and lug nut tightening procedure.  Did not take time to put the pressure pro sensor on the new tire from Tuesday.  (duh)

Headed out US 82 west from Wichita Falls toward Lubbock.  As busy as 82 was from Texarkana to Wichita Falls on Tuesday, it was the opposite on Wednesday - very little traffic.  Terrain changed from small hills and wooded areas to the dry desert flatland where they grow cotton and raise cattle...small towns far apart.

Found a Ford dealership to do an oil change on Thursday morning in a suburb of Lubbock (love our Nuvi that gives you all kinds of neat info).  Called ahead, yes we could park o/n in their parking lot.  Yippee.  Arrived at 5:45 pm and as we were parking found WE ONLY HAD 5 WHEELS!  Yup the brand new wheel, hub, brake drum all were missing (the tire we replaced on Tuesday!)  Don't have any idea where/when we lost it.  Guess it is a good thing we have 3 axles! 

Called back to the mechanic who had all 6 wheels off to repack wheel bearings day before we left Iowa.  He is standing by his work and seems like he is willing to pay for repairs.  Very nice guy to work with...which was our first impression a couple of months ago. 

Thursday morning...time now...oil change being done and pressure test on gas cap as we are again losing major amounts if anitfreeze.  For the past 10 days, we couldn't see any sign of where it was leaking but yesterday J thought it was coming out the gas cap even though it is the 2nd gas cap since last March.  Why not.  Called an axle dealer in Lubbock who recommended an RV dealer to take Kanga to.  Called them and got an appointment for 8 AM tomorrow.  Can even park in their lot o/n so will go there about 4:30 today...only about 20 minutes away, so that is good. 

Tried to get online today and couldn't so spent an hour with the Verizon 2nd level tech to get our Palm Pixies updated and working.  Glad we got that solved and I'm a lot smarter about them now, so think that's a good thing. 

We are really exhausted...all this stress due to breakdowns is taking a toll.  Jerry's taking a nap - hope he can get caught up on sleep today. 

Will hope for good news tomorrow regarding Kanga repairs.  At least there is an Alco axle dealer here in Lubbock.  (Last time -- last fall-- we needed an axle we were about 90 miles south of St. Louis and had to travel there to pick up the axle for repairing Alfie.) 
Will keep all of you posted--you're all probably tired of hearing about all of this stuff...but it is good for me to vent so will continue to bore you with the whole affair.    (Had to laugh, was talking to best friend this morning and we decided maybe our guardian angel was zoned out yesterday and must be a blonde.  So I suggested maybe she could become a redhead.  But Nan thought maybe we should trade her in for a younger model. So glad to laugh through the mental pain.) All kidding aside, we feel very fortunate that it wasn't worse and it could have been.  Lots of good points to remember.  Hugs & love to all....you keep us in your prayers.

As you can see below - bare bones.  Tip of axle and grease zerk is at a 45 degree angle...ugly.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Go West, Ol Man

On Sunday left Clarksdale about 2:30 pm after doing a lot of putting away more stuff which had been hanging around.  Made it as far as Greenville, MS - about an hour south.  Jerry too tired to go on as he had been up late Sat. night listening to the blues music.  Parked in a Kroeger lot...was fine.

Tried to start generator this am to make coffee - wouldn't start.  So found an Onan Generator repair facility in Texarkana, TX so made a 2:30 pm appointment there.  Moved on about 9:30 am after topping off our tank...30 cents a gallon more in Arkansas!   Used our Walmart gift card so we got the big discount.  Nice deal. 

Thoughts along the road:  we're now in bayou country...A bayou (play /ˈb./ or /ˈbjuː/) is an American term for a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying areas, and can refer either to an extremely slow-moving stream or river (often with a poorly defined shoreline), or to a marshy lake or wetland.  (Wikipedia).  Love the names of businesses in the small towns especially - found a children's boutique named Spoiled Rotten.
Stopped in Strong, AR to get propane at AmeriGas.  Right next door was a La-z-boy store.  So I popped in there while Jerry was getting propane...(the propane pay desk was inside the furniture store - never found that before.)  Talked to them about the sag in our 10-day used La z boy chair.  They said I needed to find a Lazboy store when we park and have them fix it...apparently they forgot to put all the stuffing in the front section of the seat - the section which kind of rolls over the front of the chair.  Duh.  Not obvious, (of course) til Jerry sits on it and then gets up.  Looks perfectly normal when the chair is in upright position.  Why not - just need more issues with stuff.  Oh well, at least it will be a free repair - just more hassle!  They were all SO nice in the store as opposed to the uppity people at the Lazeboy store in Dav.
Asked for recommendation for lunch and they said the White House two streets away.  Yummy burgers but we have to start being good...last burger and fries for a while.  Sat at a table with Mike, a farmer and part-time worker at the furniture store who we met while getting propane.  He is still farming, but cattle now.  Used to be a poultry farmer.  Very interesting story...a few years ago the integrator nearby (the people who supply the poultry for the farmers to raise and then take them back for egg processing) closed.  This put 2000 employees and 246 local farmers out of business.  Egads - what an impact! 

Finally saw the sun emerge after several days of cloudy and rain off and on. 
Arrived at Wesco in Texarkana and they diagnosed carburetor trouble but didn't have the needed part.  Stopped at the Elk's in town to park overnight and found them extremely friendly and they all gave lots of suggestions where to get part.  Finally located one in Sherman, TX - about 3 hrs west of here and right on our route.  However, in the meantime, J thinks he can fiddle with it and maybe fix it without replacing it.  Anywhere from $188-$304 pricetag for a carburetor.  (We found out Onan doesn't sell kits anymore so you can fix it and put it back together...you have to buy the carb.  Why not...certainly more profitable for them.  We'll see - probably wait til Tucson to fiddle.  It did start last night while parked, so will hope maybe we can limp along.  :-)
Have a great day everyone!  

Will move onward today on US 82 - through Paris, Sherman and Lubbock.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Beeming around

Friday was to be the nicest weather day so we took the Beemer out of the garage and toured the countryside for a few hours.  Rode through lots of farmland - mostly cotton fields which have all been picked.  Found a levee holding in the Mississippi and drove along it (legal in daylight) for quite a few miles.  Sometimes you can't even see the river from the top of the levee...did the river move since the levee was built (or did they intentionally build it far away due to land ownership, land configuration???

Stopped for lunch at a very small grocery store/deli.  Wasn't sure I wanted to eat there but choices were slim to none (this or none - lol).  Went in to the back by the meat counter and ordered philly cheesesteak sandwiches.  Chatted with Kitty who made them, and found she had been there 5 years after working up north (near Tunica) at the casinos.  The store is owned by Chinese people.  (Was surprised by this as I didn't expect to find Chinese here, but in talking with a man later in the day said that they are very common in MS.  They don't speak English including the young man in the cage up front where you pay for your food.  The sandwiches were very good and filled the need and very reasonable - $3.79.

Later in the afternoon we passed by a cotton gin and Jerry turned around and went in.  His curiosity was getting him and he has always wanted to see one in action.  Found the manager of the co-op, Bill Taylor who has been doing this for 20 yrs.  Very nice man and very smart and knowledgeable.  He explained the whole process.  Cotton is picked (beginning about the end of August)and bundled in huge rectangles and covered with tarp over the top and about a foot or two over the sides and ends.  When ginning begins, the bundles are brought to the gin by a truck which resembles a dump truck, but the back end is open and they back up and under the bundle a little.  Rollers grab the bundle and move it into the truck.  When the truck gets to the gin, it backs up to a loading dock and the rollers reverse to push it onto the dock. 
Then the huge bundle moves into the gin.  It is dried and then put through the gin which combs out all the sticks, seeds and debris.  The sticks and debris is shot out to a huge pile in back, the seeds are shot with air through a tube to another building and sold for cottonseed oil processing.  The lint (the cleaned cotton fibers) are scrunched and bundled into a 500 lb (abt) rectangle and put into plastic bags for shipping to cotton manufacturers to spin and weave.  All this is automated.  He said they are late this year and should have been done by Thanksgiving, as December begins the wet season here, and wet is the enemy of ginning as it is more difficult to dry the cotton and if not dry, it sticks to the huge combing machine's tines.  Once while we were talking to him from the office area (not allowed into the gin area but could see several huge machines operating from the window in the door) a terrific loud screech occurred and he said it was a gin getting stuck due to a damp clump of cotton.  In the office area there, a lady who comes from TX each year to work for the ginning season, sits watching the finished bundles come off the machine and logs the weight of each bundle on a sheet. 

It was all very interesting.  Thanked Bill and headed for home as the sun was starting down and it was beginning to get chilly.  Glad for leftover turkey dinner fixings for supper.

Saturday we worked around the rig a little, did a bit of shopping and ate dinner at Ground Zero where we are parked.  Jerry enjoyed his ribs and I had the catfish, two of their specialties. 

Thought we had the leading slide problem solved at Pontiac RV when they did some caulking around the rear of the slide.  However, have had the water wick onto the carpet twice now on our trip when it rained.  Can't find where it is coming from....will have to pull the slide in when it is going to rain until we get somewhere to have it looked at.  Oh, and we had another flat tire- on Dusty (the truck) - our own fault, though.  After shopping we were driving around Clarksdale a bit and J took a short cut through a parking lot.  Who was to know that apparently there had been a structure there and the bolts were still embedded in the cement...you guessed it - we heard it pop when we drove over one, and it immediately went down.  Luckily we were in a good part of town and had an old gas station cover and cement which was still dry to change it in as it started to rain...    Got the job done and went 1-1/2 blocks to Firestone station to get a new tire. 

Learned from locals why we are seeing so many fire-ravaged homes.  They have an uncaught arsonist who has torched 90 some homes in the last 3 months.  So very sad as this is such a depressed area with so many boarded up buildings and rundown houses that people call home.  Sure does help you stop to thank God for the blessings we have!  Sure hope they catch the culprit! 

Planning to move on today - Greenville, then west.  Wind predicted (22 mpr)  for Monday west of Texarkana so will avoid that! 


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Wow do we have a lot to be thankful for.  Too many to list but our family, friends, health and ability to travel this beautiful country are among the best!

While at Sikeston, got some organizational things done.  Hung my bulletin board up over my desk with the calendar and family photos.  Broom holder mounted and it holds my lightweight Bissell vac and the broom.  Yea three things off the floor. Went to Sam's Club and bought a new tv for our bedroom as the one that was in it didn't work.  Got it screwed down to the top of the warddrobe.  Love those flat screens! 

Forgot to tell you about some trivia we saw the last couple of days: 1 the mailbox - it was on a trolley line so it could be pulled up to the house to unload and follow it's line back to the road.  Very clever!   2 Chester, IL - Home of Popeye...huge bronze statue of him right on the banks of the Mississippi River.  3 Perryville, MO - state champions for beef jerky.

Got away from Sikeston about noon after fresh water, dumping and fueling up.  (Found another issue with Kanga - she is missing a handle on the kitchen grey water tank empty valve.  Plyers worked this time but will get one at an RV store before we dump again.  An easy 3 hr drive today on I-55.  Went through cotton fields south of Memphis, TN then casino row north of Tunica, MS.  Noticed our truck is once again using coolant.  Can't find where it is coming from but suspect another leaking radiator.  Jerry will have to get under it to look today during daylight.  We just had two radiators put in in Blue Grass before leaving.  Our new mechanic, Jacob, did a pressure test and found no trace in the exhaust, but did find  radiator leak.  (We had just put one in last year on the road and luckily bought one from NAPA - so the warranty was good.  Got a new one from NAPA and Jacob installed it....tested it - leaked!  Bummer.  So he got another new one from NAPA and installed it.  Seemed to be OK.  We had to pay the labor fees for both installs.  He has put a claim in at NAPA for the extra labor costs of installing a faulty product and will pass it along to us.  Hope that works!  Will keep you all posted on the latest truck issue.  (Somehow think it is all related to the problems we've had all along...since we bought it...just can't seem to get to the root of the problem.)

Got set up in Clarksdale in an empty lot next to the Ground Zero Blues Club (owned in part by Morgan Freeman).  Went to Walmart to buy coolant for the truck and a couple of groceries.  Went by a "Washaroo" - car wash...lol - love the southern lingo.  Leftover Lambert's yummy food for supper.  Jerry went into the club for some blues and I read and watched TV.  He will take his earplugs on Fri. nite as too loud but great music. 

Will spend today in the rig, cooking, eating and hopefully getting more chores done.  Hope to get the braces that Jerry made for the living room tv installed.  (Since the arm of the mount isn't in it's normal close-to-the wall traveling position due to where it is mounted, he feels it should have a couple of braces to be sure the mount is secure.  Better to be safe!  Bought some mollies for mounting...hope they work.  

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  Don't eat too much...think I heard the average person will eat 5000 some calories today.  Egads.  Love & hugs. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Slow but sure

Spent a quiet day Sunday at Rick's.  Comfort food for mid-day meal - meat loaf, sweet potatoes and salad.  Sue's homemade cookies for dessert.  Rest of day did some RV organizing (very little - LOL).  Mostly R & R day. 
Monday, left about 10, Lowe's stop, fuel stop and on the road about 11...(better late than never.)  Stopped for left-overs for lunch about 12:30- so nice to have built in generator - just push a button and voila - microwave.  Stopped at Cape Girardo Sam's Club to buy new TV for Kanga's bedroom as the one left in the rig for us didn't work.  Really nice Vizio 26" - awesome pix.  Stopped about 4 PM at Sikeston, MO, Elks for 2 overnights...$20 donation with electricity!  Went in for happy hour, then to RV for supper.  Watched The Sing Out - awesome show...Finale next week.  Will spend Tuesday getting RV more organized.  Going to Lambert's (Home of the Throwed Roll) today for our big meal (probably our only meal).  Yummmmmmy.  LIG

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Birthday Blessings

Wow - we both reaped many blessings for Jerry's birthday.  He got to sleep in (smile) and our hosts fixed us an awesome brunch.  Jerry found the leak in the toilet (the ring clamp wasn't tightened enough) (smile).  Rick chauffered us all down to the St. Louis Arch and we got to go up in it.  Another item off Jerry's bucket list!

I didn't panic in the claustrophobic tram cubicle and was OK up at the top since there was no way we could fall.. (lol - for those of you who don't know me as well, I do suffer from fear of heights big time...I can't even climb our little rv ladder up to the loft over the garage without having a conniption.  (smile).  Went to the movie to see how they built the arch and that was hard for me to watch because apparently back in 1960's when it was built, OSHA didn't require them to wear safety harnesses, so they are 630 feet in the air walking on those steel beams....egads I had to look at my lap...couldn't watch that.  Jerry enjoyed it though...(he's the one who fell off our antenna tower and lived to tell about it...if you haven't heard that story, ask him about it.)  Then we went to the Lewis and Clark Westward Expansion Museum.  WOW - what an awesome place - they did a great job of telling the story.  And I took pictures of a wagon which is like the one my ancestors used in 1853 to travel from Ohio to Scott County in.  Can't imagine doing that...how brave and adventurous they were.

About 4:30 walked to Laclede's Landing - a St. Louis landmark (and historic area) through a neat "allee" (treeline walkway).

It is chock full of restaurants and pubs.  Selected Hannegan's for Jerry's celebratory birthday drink and dinner.  Was not disappointed!  This was an old warehouse (5 or 6 stories high) and the massive beams (looked to be 18 or 24 inches thick) were impressive.

Had an awesome dinner and lots of laughs.  We were early for dining, so had most of the place to ourselves.  Great ambiance and great waitress. 
Glad the wind had died down as we walked back to the car.  An awesome day.  PTL and LIG

Saturday, November 19, 2011

All is well

LIG - all repairs done in a timely manner and a friendly attitude.  They replaced two tires and one aluminum wheel at an awesome price.  Like Pontiac RV!  On the road by 11 am. Stopped in a small town at a family restaurant for lunch.  Could have taken interstate most of the way south but we had 30 plus mph winds/gusts so opted for the slower state and county highways with less truck traffic. 
Oops toilet has a slow leak despite the seal they replaced.  Stopped at an RV dealer to ask questions...they said probably the floor seal which was not replaced, so bought the parts and added that to our to-do list for today. 
Finally arrived at Rick's new home in Swansea, IL around 6:20 pm.  Longggg day.  After a tour of his lovely home, we ate a delicious dinner which he had prepared. 
Today is Jerry's birthday so will probably go out later to celebrate.
Hope everyone has a great weekend.  S & J

Friday, November 18, 2011

On the road again...tire trouble again

Well, glad we didn't trade Alfie in because of it's tire problems because we'd be disappointed.  LOL
After a marathon day/week/two weeks we got Kanga all set to go - 2 bikes in, Sue's desk built, nice new cabinet to hold our PGR gear, new chairs and curtains, etc.   We finally got on the road at 5:18 last night.  Stopped and fueled up and almost arrived at Pontiac (Ill) RV to get some tweaks done on Kanga at 8 AM on Friday am.  Yup -you guessed it -  just as we turned the corner off the highway onto their street we heard a scaping noise...hmmmm.  Can't be a tire problem because the sensor didn't go off.  Wrong.  Middle tire on left side shredded, sensor gone, and we're scraping the bare metal on the pavement.  Egads.  This is the tire from he** I guess.  It is the one which was so low that that they had to air it up before we left Pontiac when we picked Kanga up, caused us the $195 bill for fixing (valve stem problem) on the way home with her.   So grateful we were off the highway as it was very cold, windy and dark by then.  Limped into their parking area and will deal with it today along with the leaking toilet and resulting floor damage in the bathroom (which they "fixed" before we picked it up; the leak on the dining room slide (found when we had the blowing rain a week ago), and the fantastic fan in the garage which doesn't work. 
Hope to have the repairs done early afternoon so we can get to cuz Rick's home near St. Louis at a decent hour tonight.  Will spend Jerry's birthday there tomorrow and probably head further south on Sunday.  LIG

Friday, November 11, 2011


Yes, it does fit in our parking pad at Little Acres

The new chairs and curtains.

Neighbor Kurt watches Jerry load the BMW

The kitchen area

Kitchen, living room showing ugly pattern on valances, door to garage and spot where our table and chairs are going.  You can also see the loft over the garage.

Jerry hauling the uglies out of the garage.

Kurt is holding down the ramp for Jerry
We are making progress.  We have moved out all the ugly furniture and dinette.  New wall recliners finally found, delivered and in place.  Awful print valances are down and new curtains are up.  BMW installed in garage.  My desk in garage is almost done.  Hope to get on the road early next week!  Yippee.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The adventure begins...Saturday, November 5, 2011

No pix yet, friends.  On the road by 8:45 - ate at a dumpy place in nowhere called Four Corners...and arrived at Pontiac RV in time for our noon appointment.  After a fun walk through with Mike, (and a few tweaks to things), we got back on the road about 3:30 pm...oops a mile away and no tail lights.  Well, they had moved them up on the tailgate so they weren't hanging down underneath...hmmm - quick fix - dirty contacts.  OK - back on the road.  Made it to Kewanee, IL, sucking diesel fumes because we were in the middle of nowhere where they don't sell diesel.  While filling up, discovered middle tire on left side was flat....ok - no problem, we're in a safe place to change it.  Oops - no jack with us (duh) and the torque wrench doesn't fit the new lug nuts.  Someone in the station mentioned Wal-Mart a half-mile away.  OK - never used them.  Oops- they don't change tires on RVs.  OK - emergency road service.  Wait an hour.  Go into Wal-Mart and buy ready-made ham and swiss sandwiches because by now it is 7 pm and we had lunch at 11:15.  Finally on the road again at 7:45 pm after a bill of $195!  Egads - consumer ripoff!  (Did find out that it was a faulty valve stem that was the problem as Mike had aired up the tires for us before we left.  However we did see that the tire in question was full of cobwebs etc. indicating the tire had NOT been removed for wheel bearing greasing procedure which they were supposed to do and that Mike had told us had been done....)  Guess Jerry will be making a phone call up there tomorrow.   Finally home at 8:45 but it is too dark to back down the driveway for the first time...can't see limbs waiting to tear off the roof.  LOL.  Park in the cul de sac.
OK it is Sunday morning - the first day of actual daylight at 6:15 am...hope to get going early and get Kanga (a mama with a pouch for her babies) down the hill so we can make her our own.  Hope my next post is more positive and will try to get some pix today.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Toys for Tots - I mean Toys for Adults who don't want to grow up

Well, we did it.  We traded in Alfie (our 2004 Alfa) for a 2007 Raptor Toyhauler.  We have taken everything out of Alfie and have cleaned and washed and it's all ready to go into Kanga.  We get to pick her up very soon and we're so excited.  We will now be able to take our BMW and our Yamaha with us.  Jerry has made me a desk for the garage so I will have a place to do my genealogy.   

Stay tuned for photos of making it our own. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Willcox, AZ and on to Alamagordo and Roswell, NM

 On Saturday, we explored the downtown area of Willcox, AZ.  We covered about 2 blocks...that's about all there was.  Poked in Arizona's oldest store and in the antique shop...no purchases
In the afternoon Pam and I went to Beall's a discount store kind of like TJ Maxx.  Bought some capri's etc.  Nice prices!  Also, Jerry took me about a mile to Cochise Lakes area - a bird-watching paradise.  Added several birds to my list:  American Avocet and also several in their breeding plumage.
American Avocet

Northern Shoveler pair  on left; Avocet in breeding plumage

Also the Norther Shoveler

Sunday we relaxed, Jerry went for a motorcycle ride up the "W" mountain - a 15% grade - exciting he said.  We all went into the Elks for steak dinner in the evening.

Monday, March 28 we traveled to Alamagordo, NM.  We stopped at the White Sands National Monument and looked around a little. 

Settled in at the Elks - right next to a row of pine trees with lots of birds nesting - nice to hear!  This Elks has a casino, pool and laundromat. Very windy here and the blowing sand was very hard on Pam and my allergies. 

Hills of Alamagordo from our camping spot.

So we moved on Tuesday to Roswell.  Settled in at the Elks there.  Went to the Visitor's Center and got some brochures and coupons.  Used one to have great pizza for dinner at Portofino's.  Wednesday Pam, Jerry and I toured the UFO Museum (not very well done - glad we only had to pay $3),

Getting "beamed up" at the UFO Museum - Pam, Jerry and Sue

Golden Arches - Roswell Style
then out to the Bottomless Lakes State Park and the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  Both very interesting. 

One of the many lakes at Bottomless Lakes State Park

Will part company tomorrow from Pam and Ross (sniffle) and we will go east to Texas...hope the wind dies down!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Maintenance by Breakdown and Good Times for Balance

Friday, March 18 – arrived at Redlands Elks late afternoon, registered ($15/night) and then went over to Jen, Ben & Eva’s apartment.  Ben had a migraine, so we took Jen and Eva out for gourmet pizza and Hanger 24 wheat beer!  Yummmmy.  On Saturday after a relaxing day, we went over to their apartment and made enchiladas and Ben’s Mom, Dee and her friend Deb came too and made jalapeno poppers – more yum!  Had Mexican appetizers, etc.  Nice evening!

On Sunday it rained almost all day and we stayed in and read and played on the computer.  On Monday Jerry went to the post office and picked up the Pressure Pro monitoring system he ordered.  Installed the monitoring system on the dash of the truck.  In the afternoon, we went over to their apartment.  I took spaghetti and we enjoyed hanging out.  On Tuesday Jerry installed the monitors on the tires and in the afternoon, Ben and Jerry rode their motorcycles up a mountain to check out the progress of construction on highway 330.  Had a great adventure and enjoyed each other’s company.  Hanger 24 for a beer before heading back to the apt.  Jen and I took Eva to the park and then cooked chicken in rice and beans.  The end of a wonderful catch-up visit!  Big hugs and thanks!

Wednesday morning we left the Elks after dumping our tanks and went to a welding place recommended by the Lodge manager (one of our fellow Elks owns it.)  We had to jack the RV up on the left side and he welded a patch on to the I-beam.  (This was damaged in Aug. in Red Lodge, MT when all our left side woes began.  We had it welded in Missoula when we arrived there, but they did a really poor job and we found cracks in it when we had the tires off last week on the dirt road.)  Steve did a great patch weld job ($40 plus $10 tip) and we were finally on our way.  Beautiful mountain view from where we were parked in Yucaipa, CA.

Arrived at our parking space for the night west of Yuma, but still in CA – on Sidewinder Road.  Quiet spot and far away enough from the train tracks to not hear them.  Sat outside in the sun for happy hour and Sue served homemade pea soup and cheese and crackers outside as we watched the sun go down.  So peaceful – we needed that.  However, our woe’s weren’t over.  Tried to put out the living room slide and it would only go out about 6 inches….what next?  Egads! 

Went on to Yuma and found C & J RV Repair – they got us right in and found a screw had come loose – preventing the slide from going out.  Good grief!  $45 and 28 minutes later and we were back in business…continuing, it seems, with maintenance by breakdown!!!  Saw a cute sign on a church marquis -  “Free trip to Heaven – details inside.”  Will send that on to Rev Jim.  Went to Super Fuels in old downtown Yuma to get diesel and propane…not as cheap as used to be, but still beat other prices.  As we were leaving there, smelled the most awesome Mexican food at a restaurant on Orange and 6th, I think.  Was in an old Craftsman-style home.  La Casa Gutierrez!  Only 11:30 but that way we could beat the crowd!  And we did and it was awesome.  Lunch especial – two tostadas and either rice or beans.  Homemade tortilla chips and just right salsa for starters!  We think it was the best Mex. food we’ve ever eaten.  And only $5.75! 

Well, we’re heading East and it is 2:30 and we’re exhausted from the day’s events.  Jerry’s shoulder is hurting (probably from all the jack pumping!)  So, knowing Nan and Lou (our Tucson friends) are having a week’s getaway at Picacho Peak State Park, we called and asked to interrupt their “alone time.”  Arrived there about 3:30 – such a pretty place and had happy hour, combined our suppers and enjoyed a visit.  

Friday, Nan and I cooked big breakfast of blueberry pancakes, sausage and Canadian bacon and Freestone peaches.  Yum…she and I took a walk around the campground while Jerry napped a little.  On the road at 11:30 AM.  Stopped in Tucson to return the extra springs and U-bolts we had purchased in December in anticipation of our AK trip - $195 back on our card – yippee!  Finally arrived at the Willcox, AZ Elks at 3:30.  Set up next to Pam and Ross and a train came by….LOL!  You actually get used to them and hardly hear them after a few. Added the Curved Bill Thrasher to my birding lifelist.  On a tree right outside our rig - beautiful complicated song!  Wonderful.
Happy hour and great fish dinner at the Lodge.  Life is really good! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

CA Adventures 3/15-17/2011

Tues PM  On our way to Corn Springs just east of Desert Center, CA. 
BLM campground - $6/$3 for us.  

Summary  Left front tire on the RV had gone down,  the tread had separated from the carcass and wedged itself between the backing plate of the drum and the leaf springs.  The excess tread had drug back and got caught underneath the left rear tire, which of course, pulled the tire tread tighter into a wedge between the drum and the leaf spring.  J had to use an angle grinder to cut the tire tread and then disassemble the spring from the axle in order to dislodge the tire tread.   

Small campground - about 9 sites.   From Wikipedia:

Corn Springs is a palm oasis situated in the Chuckwalla Mountains of the Colorado Desert in Riverside County, California, United States, seventeen miles southeast of Desert Center. Native Americans relied on the springs and they engraved many signs, petroglyphs, on the rocks in the area. In the late 19th century miners in the area also relied on the springs and they established the Corn Springs Mining District in 1897.[1]
The springs were added to the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1998.  The springs were used for thousands of years by nomadic Native Americans. The Chemehuevi, Desert Cahuilla and Yuma bands frequented the spring and carved elaborate petroglyphs in the nearby rocks.

Some of the oldest rock art is over 10,000 years old.[2] At times, there was enough surface water for gardening by the springs. The Indians also utilized the fruit of the palms.
Early white visitors found feral corn plants in the vicinity, giving the spring its present name

Only two other camp sites occupied.  Rest of Tuesday & Wed.  relaxed in the shade and recuperated from hot ordeal.

Today we spent quite a bit of time getting the RV propped up so Jerry could access any damage to the brake drum - inner and outer bearings and inspected the magnet and the shoes of the wheel that had the flat on Tuesday.  He was concerned since it had gotten so hot.  A sigh of relief - all seemed to be OK.  However, did find a crack in the RV frame where a piece had been welded on in Missoula last summer when we broke the leaf springs due to a flat tire.  Bummer...will have someone do some welding on it at our next stop. 

 As a reward, Jerry and I took a short motorcycle ride further into the Chuckawalla mountains on a dirt road.  Found some beautiful flowering cactus!

This is a really quiet, out of the way campground.  We will return another time to do more exploring!  
Friday - on to Redlands, CA.  Will be staying at the Elks.  Oh, by the way, we ordered Pressure Pro sensors for our tires - we've had it with the flat tires and all the damage they have caused!  Yippee. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

River Adventures

Arrived Thursday afternoon at "the cabin on the Colorado River" - owned by friends, Larry and Lana.  They have a home on Orange Co., CA but spend a lot of time here about 15 miles north of Blythe, CA, on the banks of the Colorado River. 

Their son, Keith was here, busy trimming trees and oleander bushes.  On Friday, we all pitched in to help.  Unfortunately I jabbed my left palm with a knife preparing lunch so we had to take 3 hours out of our work time to have Jerry take me to into Blythe to the ER to see if stitches were needed - nope, just steri-strips.  A little painful, but not like I expected.

On the way home, we were discussing our upcoming Alaska trip, and decided it was just going to be too expensive with the price of fuel rising to who knows what.  So, instead of telling our friends, Ken & Jan, with whom we were going, on the phone about our canceling, we drove to Indio, CA to have dinner with them at the Elks where they were staying - and tell them in person.  Well, of course, they were disappointed, but very gracious and said we could change our mind anytime.  Back home about 9:30 PM.

Saturday, Jerry, Larry and Lana helped with cleanup and I watched and relaxed.  Since it was about 85 and sunny in the late afternoon, they took us for a boat ride on the river on their pontoon boat.  So pretty

Sunday was more of the same, with awesome weather.  The guys decided to chop down a dead spruce tree but about half way done, the saw died, so we went for another boat ride.  Darn...LOL
As we were heading upriver, we spotted something on the shore...stopped to check it out.  A Kawasaki jet ski - upside down.  Apparently washed down the river on Saturday when the COE let a massive amount of water out of the dam upriver.  (In front of Larry & Lana's home, the island which creates a canal in front of their home for about a half-mile, was almost completely cover and the water was moving quite quickly.  Well, that looked like a challenge to Jerry.  Larry brought the boat close to shore and Jerry hopped out to go explore.  Was upside down but looked like not in too bad shape.  He uprighted it and confirmed that it might be worth salvaging.  Sue hopped out of the boat and took a line from the boat to Jerry to fasten onto the ski.  Larry gave it some gas and "presto" it was on the water again.  Jerry couldn't stand to see it floating along behind us - looked so lonesome without a rider...so he took care of that.  Pulled it down river to the cabin and out of the water.  They tinkered with it for a while, then it was dinner time.  What a fun day!  

Monday (today) will probably be a work afternoon with maybe some yard work - mowing and fertilizing the lawn.  May go out for dinner tonight.  Tomorrow we're packing up to move on.  Tentative plans are to go to Joshua Tree NP for three days, on to see Jen, Ben & Eva in Redlands, CA next weekend...then north and east toward home.  That will probably take us 3-4 weeks.  Little Acres here we come!