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December 20, 2006: Last night we arrived at Casa Grande and checked into our first Escapees CoOp RV Park. We were greeted by a bunch of friendly people and guided to our parking space by the assistant manager in a golf cart. We learned of a bingo game and decided to participate. We arrived with our dobbers we had purchased at the Escapees Spring Rally. Registering at our first CoOp Escapees Park
As it turned out, it was bingo played with a standard deck of playing cards. All cards are dealt to four players and each player passes a card to the center when a card in his hand is called. The first to run out of cards yells "bingo" and wins a nickel from each player. Gwen becomes a winner at card bingo
Bingo with a card deck
We visit Dave and Ruth Anne in Tucson Downtown Tucson
Today, we drove to Tucson to meet with Dave and Ruth Anne. We met Dave and Ruth Anne two years ago when we visited the King of the Road rally in Tucson. Today, we went to a marvelous Mexican Restaurant, drove to the top of "A" mountain (named for the "A" on the side of the mountain ... University of Arizona). From "A" mountain it's possible to see most of the Tucson area. We also visited an RV dealer just for the fun of looking at some new models. We did not return to Casa Grande in time for bingo but did have time to visit a Flying J for diesel and propane.
December 21, 2006: This was a travel day. A short day, only 170 miles from Casa Grande to Yuma. Only 80 miles from Casa Grande and the left rear trailer tire blew out. This was very disappointing. I specifically bought four new tires in January, 2005 to be sure we had good tires on the trailer. I upgraded the tires to a "G" rating from an "E" rating. It's been a long time since I've changed a tire, in fact, I don't remember the last time. I've never even looked at the spare or checked the pressure in the spare or how to retrieve the spare. If we were closer to a town, I'd call The left rear trailer tire blew out
How do you get to the spare? The spare cranks down with a handle Then you crawl under the trailer and pull out the spare
for a tire company to fix this. I found the crank arm to lower the spare and the handle. It came down easily and was relatively easy to drag the spare from under the trailer to the rear. I checked the air pressure, only 20 lbs of pressure in the tire. No problem, I have a battery operated pump and of course, my new air compressor but that would require getting out the generator too. I choose not to completely fill the tire with air thinking it might reduce the height I will have to jack the axle. Fortunately, I had already purchased a small floor jack hoping I would never have to use it for this purpose but now I'm glad I have it.
The jack handle is under the trailer Are we having fun yet? Let's see, tighten every other lug nut.
The original tire is destroyed   The spare needs air
I finally muscle the axle high enough to swing the tire onto the lug bolts. If I ever have to do this again, I'll run the good tire onto some of my wood blocks so I don't have to muscle the axle so high. I'll also use the leveling jack to help lift this side of the trailer. The offending tire is completely destroyed. I have no idea what would cause this. I check the air pressure and it's always perfect. The spare has never been used, it still has the tags on it. I used the battery air pump to bring the pressure to 80 lbs, which is maximum for this "E" rated tire. I'm always double checking everything, so this should never have happened. I'll be talking to Les Schwab about the problem and hope they will replace the tire. We arrived at the Yuma, KOFA (King of Arizona) Escapees CoOp park and fortunately, they had a nice space waiting for us.
We've arrive in Yuma at the KOFA CoOp Park
December 22, 2006: Today was a day to walk into Mexico. We parked our truck on the USA side of the border and walked into Los Algodones, Mexico. This was our first time into Mexico. Fortunately, some friends, Laura and Jack, from Howard Prairie Lake Resort are living in the Yuma area and agreed to take us for a tour. They said they often visit mexico for the food. After passing through the border crossing, we are immediately into the shopping district selling mostly dental and optical services and prescription drugs. You'll also find lots of clothing, ceramics, jewelry and trinkets. The name of the Mexican vendor game is to haggle over the price. Walking into Mexico
This must be the guy who paints all the satellite dishes Jack and Laura take Gwen into the shopping district
Vendor: "It's almost free"
"Greengoes" waiting to get back into the USA The fellow to the left paints all sorts of things. He has plates, lanterns and canvas paintings for sale and will paint your satellite dish if you bring it to him. Laura and Jack are directing Gwen into the shopping district in the top photo while Laura and Gwen shop the textiles in a narrow alley. Virtually every vendor begins their pitch
with, "it's almost free". Although we walked into Mexico without seeing any authority, getting back into the USA was different. We were forced to wait in line for an hour and twenty minutes before passing through customs with no problems.

The Arizona Marketplace
Probably a thousand booths December 23, 2006: This morning I was on my way to Ace Hardware for a few things when I passed the Arizona Market Place . I had heard of this but not seen it before today and happened on it by accident. I turned into the parking lot and saw what seemed like a dozen very long white tents.
It turned out these were booths, probably hundreds if not a thousand or more booths. This was much better than Mexico for bargains and quality or cheap items. Everything you can imagine. I came across a couple of old friends, Glenn and Sheila who installed my satellite Internet a couple of years ago. It was good to see and visit with them. Note how these Arizona people are dressed for this 55+ day, you'd think it was 20 degrees outside. Glen is proud of his 45/90 rule. When the temperature reaches 45 or below/90 or above, the motorhome jacks come up and they move to a better climate. I meet Glen and Sheila
We purchase two new chairs I liked these step covers
This whole market place gives me the feeling of a little boy in a candy store. I had to return to camp to pick up Gwen for this experience (after I purchased CoPilot Live-Laptop ... a GPS streets and maps software). With Gwen's help, we purchased some new patio chairs, one with a table and one recliner, some velcro attached outdoor carpeting for the trailer steps, and a flourescent fixture to replace the incandecent lighting in our trailer.

This wasn't all, we also found quite a few smaller things. Gwen found a very nice shirt and some things for Morgan too. Oh! I never made it to Ace Hardware, I found everything I was looking for and much more here.

This evening, some elves lit some tea-light candles in white paper sacks at each site. It really gave a nice holiday effect. To celebrate our day of shopping, Gwen and I visited the park hot-tub and found it delightful.

The elves light "tea-lights" in while paper bags at each site in the KOFA escapees park
Gwen wants to stay in Arizona
December 24, 2006: We found one of Gwen's favorite places. She keeps saying she does not want to leave Arizona to return to Oregon. Slide your pointer through the photo, you'll see Gwen's solution to staying in Arizona.
December 25, 2006: A sunny day for bike riding and preparing to leave tomorrow. I always take Morgan for "dog walks" into the lemon orchard across the street. I've noticed the large blower standing well above the tree tops. Today I climbed the ladder to the top of the blower for the photo below. Click the photo for a larger view.
KOFA Escapees park from orchard blower
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