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The Arizona Peace TrailThe Colorado River Picnic
Honey, let's explore this road and watch the fireworks.The trail
Saturday, December 8, 2018: Gwen and I take a drive into the desert looking for the desert route to Quartzsite. We found a desert route but not the route we were looking for. We ended up on the Arizona Peace Trail for a few miles then onto the Cibola Road toward the east. The road ends up going through the Yuma Proving Grounds a US Army testing area. It was exciting but our Forester never resorted to four wheel drive, a disappointment. Click each photo for another view.
One of the best stores in Quartzsite One of the best stores in Quartzsite One of the best stores in Quartzsite

A snowman in ArizonaOutside decorationsFriday, December 7, 2018: Quartzsite, Arizona in the winter is basically a town full of flea market booths and other mobile vendors. One of the best is this store which moves a huge inventory of metal sculptures and cast iron decor. The items are priced for quick sales. It is fun to walk through and imagine how these items would look elsewhere. In fact, I have two children who just moved into their new homes. I believe I will make a second trip and pick some unique items for them. Gwen enjoyed shopping around and picked out a snowman made especially for Arizona (out of metal). Click all the photos for more views.

 

A fun project
Thursday, December 6, 2018: Several months ago when making plans for our winter in Ehrenberg I imagined having enough time to assemble some wood kits. I did not imagine finding Mz Ruby and that taking so much of my time. Today I picked the smallest of the wood kits and assembled it. It is a "Date Navigator" from 2017 - 2044. Match the day and year then the navigator will tell you what day of the week that day is on. Click the photo to see the navigator set to 2018 during the month of "Dec". You can check the days for the month. My oldest granddaughter, Chloe, might be old enough to have fun with this.
Lots of fabric to choose fromA quilt fabiric show in Bouse
Wednesday, December 5, 2018: There is a quilt fabric company who visits the area one day each month. On the first Wednesday of the month the fabric company visits the Bouse Booster Club in Bouse, Arizona. We both wanted some fabric to change the headboard in Mz Ruby so off to Bouse we drove. I wanted to visit Bouse anyway to look at our potential boondock locations. We couldn't agree on the fabric pattern but compromised on something we could both live with. After the fabric we drove to the area purchased by the state of Arizona for a State Park and learned it had not been developed yet. Then we drove to our favorite boondock location and others had not discovered it yet. We are getting "hitch itch" badly and making choices to leave this resort early. The Arizona Oasis has a friendly staff, swimming pool, hot tub and a club house. We have taken advantage of the activities. The Thanksgiving noise and crowd was annoying. The road in front of Mz Ruby is gravel and sand which puts a new coat of dust onto our car and Mz Ruby. We parked in the desert for more than two months last year and did not experience dust the way we experience it here. We expect the Christmas season to be like Thanksgiving so we are planning to leave early just not sure about the timing yet. Click the photos for more views.
Yuma Swap Meet

The bird booth was my favoritePretty birds

 

Saturday, December 1, 2018: Gwen treated herself to a manicure then we went shopping for a rug for Mz Ruby. We've already visited at least a dozen stores and we found nothing. I thought we might have a chance with the Yuma Swap meet but no luck there either. We decided that this swap meet makes Algodones Mexico look good. My favorite booth, however, was the bird booth. Lots of pretty birds and bird supplies to choose from. Click the photo above to see a panorama of one of the swap rows.

Just across the street from our resort

 

Monday, November 26, 2018: Just across the street from our resort is the Ehrenberg Pioneer Cemetery. There may be 50 graves here but only 10% are marked with any sort of name or notice. In fact there is a large marker to the "unknown" pioneer which is nine of ten graves in this cemetery. Click the photo to see a panorama of the cemetery.

Our movie today

Saturday, November 24, 2018: We started the day at a craft show in Quartzsite. While Gwen is shopping the craft show, I'm looking for a few little parts I need for the solar installation. About noon we start for Parker, the nearest movie theater. Gwen was anxious to see this movie. If you want a positive review, you'll have to talk with Gwen. I enjoyed the accents. Lots of big-name actors in this movie. Not sure who the target audience would be. It was far too complicated for children. Most of those in the audience were our age but I didn't find it interesting (but talk to Gwen). Maybe the next movie will be MY choice (like the last movie, Bohemian Rhapsody).

Thanksgiving at the Arizona Oasis Clubhouse
Thursday, November 22, 2018: Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We enjoyed our Thanksgiving in the Arizona Oasis RV Park clubhouse. The activity director, Joan, did a great job of organizing her team and getting participation from the campers in the park. Click the photo to see the table.

Gwen is working on her project

 

 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018: While I worked today on organizing the basement storage and throwing away the items we no longer need, Gwen is working on her project. I asked what she was making, responded, "a rug for HER bathroom". Mz Ruby has two "bathrooms". One room is the shower with sink while the other room is a commode with sink. Gwen identified the shower room as HER room so that is the room her handmade rug will go. It looks nice. Note: it is Gwen's bathroom where the solar charge controller will be in the medicine cabinet, just say'n.

Hiking with a group at Buckskin State Park Gwen is a good hiker Crossing highway 95

This is a loop trail

 

 

 

Saturday, November 17, 2018: Gwen and I joined a small group of hikers from the resort to hike the Buckskin Mountain State Park. The park borders the Colorado River about an hour from the resort. The park is north of the Parker dam so the water in the colorado has no current with lots of boat traffic enjoying the calm water. The hiking trails are cut out of the solid rock in the area and only 2 mile long but the rough terrain and the steepness of the trails make this a tough hike. The trails are marked with signs identifying the native plants. After the hike, we had a picnic lunch with the group. Click on all the photos for panorama views and additional photos.

A good kayaking lake nearby

Friday, November 16, 2018: Gwen and I took a drive down the Colorado River today. It was our first drive looking at the scenery near the Arizona Oasis Resort and further down the Colorado. About six miles down the gravel road we came across a "BLM Camp Location" (a wide spot in the road). Next to the camp was a ramp onto a narrow lake which would be perfect for kayaking without a current. The road runs between the lake and the Colorado River. This will be a nice place for an easy paddle. We finished our tour by crossing the river further on down river and returned to Blythe to wash the gravel dust off the car.

Miss Dory listed at RVTrader
Monday, November 12, 2018: All day with Miss Dory. She is good enough for exterior photos and ready for interior cleaning then photos. I began the removal of the solar charging system but it was too windy to attempt panel removal. She is listed with RVTrader.com which I like better than all the other online RV sales locations. I also listed her with RVT.com but don't like it nearly as well. This is a far better motorhome than when we purchased it. I say that because it has new tires, new LED TV, over $1000 in suspension upgrades, new King Tailgater automatic satellite dish, new faucets and upgraded refrigerator components.

We saw the movie Bohemian Rhapsody today

 

Sunday, November 11, 2018: Gwen and I drove to Parker today specifically to see the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. This movie is about the Rock music group Queen performing in the 70's and early 80's and the composer of some incredible music. After being a "good listener" during my college years in the late 60s I was musically unconscious during the 70s so I missed most of Queen. After seeing the movie, I am a fan. They created some unbelievable music. The movie is also about Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen. It seems most great musicians have some sort of tragic flaw and this movie shows how it develops.

Back to Arizona Oasis
Saturday, November 3, 2018: We are back at the Arizona Oasis in Ehrenberg. There is still much to do to get Mz Ruby exactly the way we like it. Yesterday before starting the transfer, I took Mz Ruby to the weigh scale nearby. The best way to know the CCC (Cargo Carry Capacity) is to weigh the empty rig. Yes, the factory puts a label inside but that doesn't include any permanent items the owner adds. Click the photo to see the weight report. The maximum weight allowed is 37,300 lbs so I will have the most cargo capacity of any unit I've ever owned. Additionally, I can tow 10,000 lbs, the Forester only weighs 3,600 lbs so she hardly knows it is back there.

Air suspension and a long wheel base bake Mz Ruby easy to drive

Friday, November 2, 2018: I'm showing how a longer wheel base and air suspension help to make Mz Ruby easy to drive. You can't let go of the steering wheel in a crosswind but with no crosswind, she's straight down the road. Click this photo for a view of the southern desert.

This is moving day from Miss Dory to Mz Ruby. I was going to put a plank between the two but changed my mind. It was a HOT day. After most everything was moved, I checked my Fitbit, 14,000 steps just between the two rigs. Gwen and I were exhausted. Click the photo for an interior view.

 

Moving from Miss Dory to Mz Ruby
Mz Ruby finds a camp location in the desert
Thursday, November 1, 2018: After of long day of driving and a trip to Costco I steer Mz Ruby into the desert for a night of boondocking. She immediately began to squeal when I left the asphalt. "There is NO ROAD out here, where are you taking me?" she yelled. "Where is my "comfort post" where I can get power and connect my hoses?" "Wait! I'm all alone out here! It will be dark soon, there is NO LIGHT!" "Don't worry Mz Ruby," I said, "We will be with you all night, you will learn to love this!" Mz Ruby has six AGM batteries but only one 100 watt solar panel, that will be fixed soon. She also has all LED interior lighting so she's nearly ready for off grid parking. We should be arriving with batteries fully charged after driving all day but the voltage was lower than I expected. Maybe because the power was going to the residential refrigerator. I need to learn how to manage that power drain. There will be a learning curve for both of us. Click this photo to see a sunrise onto Mz Ruby.
Parked at Willcox Elks
Wednesday, October 31, 2018: This was our first travel day with Mz Ruby. We left Las Cruces, New Mexico for Willcox, Arizona this morning. Most of the trip was driving into a strong headwind/crosswind. There are some differences in driving a gas 34 foot motorhome compared to a 40 foot diesel pusher. The much longer wheelbase gave a better ride and the diesel had better power even though it weighed 7,000 lbs more today. The air brakes did well to hold her back when needed. The turning radius is not what I experience with Miss Dory. Mz Ruby takes more space which makes sense because of the longer wheel base. The speed limit was 75 but I drove at 65 on cruse control. At the end of the day I made one adjustment with the tow bar but everything else was fine. We stopped at the Willcox Arizona Elks Club. They have a very nice RV park. It is so nice I could imagine staying here to see the Chiricahua National Monument.

Home coming in BlytheLaundry pay APP

Saturday, October 27, 2018: Working today to get ready for a "road trip" without Miss Dory. It has to do with our search for a Miss Dory replacement. We think we have a deal on the exact rig we have been looking for but I don't believe anything until we have the key and ownership papers in my hands.

Getting ready means doing the laundry. For the first time I experience the park laundry control by an APP on my smart phone. I selected the washer and dryer using my phone. Paid using my phone and once paid, the phone began a count down of time so I would know when to pick up the laundry. I love technology and this APP made doing the laundry more convenient.

The float on the right is representing homecoming night at Blythe, California high school, only 5 miles from our resort. We were in Blythe looking for empty boxes to help us move from Miss Dory expecting to end up with a new motorhome next week.

View from the windshield
Friday, October 26, 2018: Our first full day at the Arizona Oasis Resort. This park is very affordable even if you don't have a $500 gift certificate. It has easy access to the Colorado River, activity center, clubhouse, pool, hot tub, exchange library, lots of jigsaw puzzles and organized parties. And, of course, it has all the power and water you can use plus an easy sewer hookup. With all this, Gwen and I did some serious thinking about coming here because we virtually never spend our winter like this and in a location like this. The sites here are extra large so our nearest neighbor is 20 feet away. Our view from the windshield is above. Last year we parked in the desert for most of the winter. Our nearest neighbor last year was about 400 yards. Click the photo above to see and compare this year to last year's view. I hope you can understand why our decision was so difficult. The WHOLE story of last winter is here. Scroll up from September 14.
Our space at the Arizona Oasis
Thursday, October 25, 2018: After completing errands in Lake Havasu City we drove to Brenda, Arizona to a mobile RV mechanic for a final word on the problem of the awning working intermittently. After the diagnosis, the mechanic will contact our warranty company for payment of the repair. Then, only a 30 minute drive to Ehrenberg, Arizona and our winter resort for 3 months. I won a $500 gift certificate last January and we decided to use it this winter at the resort. We seem to have a nice location with a tree to block the afternoon shade and on a space which put the shade on the door side of the motorhome. Our walk to the Colorado River is about 200 yards and the walk to the pool and hot tub is only 100 yards.
Gwen is finding the quilt stores
Wednesday, October 24, 2018: Before leaving Lake Havasu City we must go to the quilt stores in this town. This store was the best and these ladies wanted to show off their most recent projects. Gwen was thrilled.

A 2013 Winnebago Journey 36M

Tuesday, October 23, 2018: Three years ago we did a lot of research and came up with our first Class A motorhome, Miss Dory. For the last three months we have begun the research again to replace Miss Dory. Whoever gets Miss Dory will get a gem, not only because she is in such good condition but because of all the upgrades we have done to her. I wrote an good article on RV research and purchase before buying Miss Dory. After reading this, scroll up on that page to December 14 to complete the article. We are replacing her, not because she has problems, we've had no problems. In fact we paid BIG bucks for a four year warranty and have not used a penny (makes me wonder about a warranty for any future motorhome). We are looking for a motorhome with a dedicated space for Gwen's sewing center, opposing slides (a slide on each side to make the room wider), a stacking washer and dryer (not a combo washer-dryer, ask anyone who tries to sell you a combo: "how do you clean the lint created from the dryer?" The answer is, you must pull the unit away from the wall and take it apart to get at the internal vent hose to manually clear that hose.) We are also wanting a residential refrigerator (and we are assuming I can solve the problem of creating enough solar battery charging to power the refrigerator when off grid). We are also looking only at diesel pusher's for a quieter ride, more power and much longer engine life (having said that, we realize a diesel has a much higher maintenance cost). Gwen wants a tile floor, no carpet. The Winnebago at the right is a 2013 Journey 36M from a private seller asking $150,000. This model is one our research says is perfect for us. Today was our first time to physically walk into one. It has a "full wall slide" plus two slides on the other side. It meets all our desires except one. The Journey has an optional 100 amp solar panel with a charge controller capable of controlling more than 500 watts. It would be very easy to add another 400 watts of solar panels to this system. This unit does NOT have the 100 watt panel option installed. That's not a "deal breaker" since I could install a solar system from scratch but we would also like a newer model than 2013. The floor plan changes little from one year to another so we were very interested in walking this floor plan. Gwen's comments were that she liked the kitchen, the location we picked out for her sewing center, she liked the bathroom. The bedroom has only one window she noticed and she did not like the wash basin in the bedroom. She also did not like the "air bed" (probably a $1,000 option). She felt the unit was "dirty" which made her concerned about the care of the unit's engine. I noticed several items not working (like not being able to start the generator) which the owner said would be fixed. Also, the owner had to run the engine to get the lights to work, otherwise they were dim indicating a problem with the six house batteries. All the interior lights were halogen, another big expense (we spent about $400 changing all of Miss Dory's lights to LED). My research also turned up problems with the full wall slides control mechanism. Winnebago used Schwintek brand which is designed for short, lightweight slides so many problems have developed. This owner says "I've had not problems". I'd rather hear, "The mechanism has been replaced". Behind the Winnebago photo is a 2016 Thor Tuscany at a dealer for $200,000 (click the photo to see it). I want Gwen to see as many comparisons as I can get her to look at. She called this kitchen a "hallway kitchen" and did not like it. This is just the start of our research.

Sunset over Lake Havasu
Monday, October 22, 2018: A long travel day from Love Pine, California to Lake Havasu City, Arizona through the Mohave Desert. The above photo is sunset over Lake Havasu from our location at the Havasu City Elks Club. We plan to stay here a couple days specifically to look at a motorhome we are interested in. We have been internet researching for three months but tomorrow will be the first time we are actually able to do a walk through.

Visiting the Western Movie Museum

 

Sunday, October 21, 2018: We visit the Western Movie Museum because hundreds of movies and TV episodes have been made in the Alabama Hills where we are camped. We spent about two hours exploring the museum and watching a documentary of the Alabama Hills. The area has also been used in the movie series Tremors and Ironman plus some modern commercials. Click the photo to see our late afternoon view of Mt. Whitney.

Travel to Whitney Portal

Saturday, October 20, 2018: Our friends have arrived. Ray has the large Allegro Red motorhome, Lynne has the pickup truck camper and Yvonne has the bumper pull trailer in front of our motorhome. Ray, Lynne and I take a mountain drive to the Whitney Portal. Whitney Portal is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit. This trailhead will also lead to the John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. The drive to the portal is a two lane, steep road gaining 4,000 feet to 8,300 feet. Mt. Whitney is 14,508 feet so about 6,500 feet of climbing from this point to the summit. It was 70 degrees at camp but only 39 degrees when we arrived at the portal. The waterfalls just next to the portal road is partially frozen. After photos at the waterfalls we hike to the Portal Store to search for souvenirs. I took a video of the drive to the top. If you are familiar with the Lucille Ball and Dezi Arnez movie, The Long, Long Trailer, the scene where Dezi nearly backs the trailer off the mountain road was filmed on the Whitney Portal Road in 1950. The road was not paved then but is paved the entire route now.

Moved to a better location in the Alabama Hills
Friday, October 19, 2018: Moved to a more level location with a view of Mt. Whitney. We have no cell tower connection here so no phone or Internet. I drove into town, about three miles, to contact our friends who are meeting us here today. Then I walked around town because I have two favorite outdoor gear stores I like to visit. The BLM ranger visited us not long after we arrived. When I told him of three friends arriving he made sure I knew NOT to touch any of the brush with our vehicles or RVs. He said the Alabama Hills are "being loved to death". We have one 39 foot motorhome and two very small RVs yet to arrive. I believe they will fit.
Alabama Hills
Thursday, October 18, 2018: A travel day from Verdi, Nevada to Lone Pine, California on the most scenic US395 along the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. We are camped at the base of the tallest mountain in the continental US, Mt. Whitney. Just west of Lone Pine are the "Alabama Hills" where hundreds of western movies were filmed. Now it is BLM land where RVers boondock park and Jeeps explore the many sandy roads. We arrived late in the day so picked a spot quickly with the idea of finding a better location tomorrow.
It's Tuesday, time for vegan donuts
Tuesday, October 16, 2018: It's Tuesday. Remember what is special about Tuesday? Tuesday is vegan donut day at the donut shop. Daughter Mindy and granddaughter Lucy are choosing their favorites. Elise is sitting the the buggy. I got to choose my favorite too.
One Two Three
Four Five Six
Seven Eight Nine
Sunday, October 14, 2018: Not many words needed. I got to spend time with Elise. She is always smiling and exploring. She ends up with a sandy smile, apparently testing the flavor of sand.
Music at the festivalHarvest Festival
Saturday, October 13, 2018: We attend a local "Harvest Festival" hoping to find Christmas gifts. It turned out to be a few hand made items for sale but many activities for the children and parents of the school. The children were showing off their musical talent. I did find one item I purchased for Gwen, a hanging fruit string to add "natural odors" to the room. Click the photos for additional views.

Working with Noah in Bitsbox

 

Thursday, October 11, 2018: I'm at it again with Noah working and Chloe watching. As we go through the lesson, Noah knows the page which has all the commands, stamps, and colors. However, when he looks at the name of a "stamp" (character) he informed me he could not remember the spelling to be able to enter the name into the code. I suggested he write it down. He got himself a pencil and paper and for the rest of the night he made notes of the spellings he needed for the code. That is a trick we all use every day. It worked well for Noah. He is anxious to get the APPS to do more but I had to encourage him to "take it one step at a time". "You need to learn each command in order as they are presented". Not sure if he will follow my advice. The link above is a one second video taken by Ben, Noah's Dad.

Bitsbox

Wednesday, October 10, 2018: I spent the afternoon with Lucy and Elise again but once Dad came home I moved to be with Chloe and Noah. I give them a Christmas gift each year of the once a month craft kit called Kiwico. Chloe loves the monthly craft kits but Noah, not so much. So I discontinued the craft kit for Noah and switched (after talking with Dad) to Bitsbox. Bitsbox is for 6 - 12 year olds teaching software coding with monthly lessons. I was very pessimistic about the young age learning coding because the younger age does not know how to read yet. Noah is 7 and in first grade. Today I spent more than an hour with him in a second session. He remembered what we learned in the first session and built on that with the second session. He never got tired and only ended our time because Dad was insisting it was bedtime. He is doing exactly what I would hope he would do, building on what he is learning. After building a code sequence he wants to take what he has learned and change characters, sounds, position on the screen, background color and even learn new commands. He is applying what he has learned to build his own APP. Trying to get Noah to anticipate what he might learn, I asked, "What haven't we learned yet that we would like to know?" Chloe was sitting next to us, she said, "get the character to move". Noah answered, "I can get it to dance." So we did. We eventually decided we didn't know how to place the character in a different space on the screen, we didn't know how to have multiple characters on the screen, we don't know how to stop a song. We have something to look forward to in future lessons.

three and fourone and two

Tuesday, October 9, 2018: I spent my afternoon with Elise and Lucy but I didn't take any photos. I also went to Costco to get my tires rotated. While waiting, I took photos of all the 75" TVs for son Joe. He is shopping for his new house. Click the photos to see the other two. Yes, this is strange but I had a three hour wait for the rotation.

Recon of Tahoe Timber Trails
Small storage shed Swimming behind the lodge Back side of the lodge
Monday, October 8, 2018: We learned of a unique private campground near Truckee, California, about a 45 minute drive from Reno. We decided to tour it today. The campground plan is a whole lot like the Escapee plan for the CoOp parks. The campground is 159 acres with many sites. You purchase a "membership" for a specific site. Several are for sale. We toured a half-dozen lots for sale. The lot in the photograph was the largest we toured for a price of $36,000. There is no power to the sites. Generators are allowed during certain hours but may run only 3 hours. Most site generate some power using solar panels but I notices the trees would only allow about 2 hours per day of direct sunlight. Water is usually located close by but each member is expect to fill their fresh water holding tank from the nearby faucet. If you build a "French drain" on your lot, you are allowed to dump gray water. A paddy wagon will drain your black water or you can drain at one of the dump stations. There is an annual maintenance few of a bit more than $1,000. You can camp at your site between May 15 and October 31. The other months, you can check on your property but not spend the night. The elevation is 6,000 to 6,500 feet. That means significant snow during the winter, hence the camping limit. The site member sets the price for the site so in theory, the value of the site could grow. Also, in theory (just like Timber Valley) the real cost of the site is the maintenance fee since you get the cost of the lot back when you give it up. The site owner of the lot in the photos has tapped into a nearby water faucet, installed a french drain, installed a couple of small sheds, left a wood burning stove, built party decks and platforms using landscape blocks and left a large propane tank. They've done a lot of work and hope to recover some of their cost with the sales price. Thinking of the snow load, I wondered what members do with their RVs since most seem to permanently install an RV on their lot. Click the last photo to see what these owners do. They build a "hat" over the top of their RV. Still, the snow load could be much more that something this simple could support so they must visit the property after a snow storm to take care of the roof or hire someone to look after it. Click all photos for more views. This idea has several strikes against it for us. Management will not allow the member to rent the site to others. They will allow family to use the site however. The only upgrade for this campground over a regular National Forest campground is the swimming pool and perhaps the camaraderie of the fellow site owners.

Visiting son Joe's new house, not quite finished yet.

 

Sunday, October 7, 2018: After watching "A Star is Born" with son Joe, Ben, and Gwen we drove to Joe's new house under construction. The workers left the sliding door open which gave us access. It is in an excellent area with nothing behind his house but a mountain never to be developed. It is going to be a really nice house and location when finished. We viewed his master bedroom, bathroom and closet. The amount of square footage in the bath and closet is probably equal to the square footage in Miss Dory. Click the photo to see the entrance to the bath and closet.

UNR Band ready for the pre-game show
Saturday, October 6, 2018: Off to a University of Nevada Reno football game against the Fresno California Bulldogs, a tough team. I always like to watch the band since I played in the band in both high school and college. The football team did not do well, only scoring 3 points for the whole game so Fresno ran away with the score. Click the photo for the band at half-time.

Lucy tries on Halloween gear

 

Friday, October 5, 2018: Another travel day with the grandkids. This time from Windsor, California back to Verdi, Nevada. It has been a busy and very active vacation with the kids. What a great time for both of us.

However, I meet up with Lucy and her mom after getting back. Lucy is trying on some Halloween gear and having fun with that. So is her mom, click the photo to see what I mean.

At the pumpkin patch "Bury Me"! Simple maze

Hit the targetBeginning the corn maze

 

Thursday, October 4, 2018: This was pumpkin patch day at the Santa Rosa, California Pumpkin Patch. They had multiple activities for the kids and grown-ups to try. The kids never tired of any of them and did most multiple times. Scan through the photos to see all the activities they did today. Click each photo for another view. We did the corn maze in less than 30 minutes, thanks to Ben as the map reader. We had a rain yesterday so the corn maze was muddy. By the time we finished, our shoes were heavy with mud. We each had maps but Ben was the only one who figured out the map. I made a video of the day with the whole walk through the maze on the video. Don't worry, the video is not long, I speeded up our walk through the maze. Behind the photo on the right is a map of the maze.

In front of the Cheeta cageReady for a Safari

 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018: This is our day of a safari in the Safari West wildlife sanctuary. We started the safari at 10am and did not finish for three hours. It was very entertaining mostly because of our guide. We saw all sorts of wild life and enjoyed the many stories told by our guide. She told entertaining stories of the wildlife and their habitat. Santa Rosa was the city a year ago of a wild fire which burned thousands of homes and threatened Safari West. About half of Safari West was burned but no animals were lost. Overnight guests had to be evacuated at a moments notice and the owner and staff members lost their homes. I can't imagine the fear they experienced that night. Be sure to watch the video I made of our tour and click each of these photos for another view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally get to see a ZebraThe most dangerous animals

Arriving in Windsor

 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018: After a long drive from Reno, Nevada, we arrived in Windsor, California for swimming, hiking, a pumpkin patch and a safari. It seemed to take the most of a day but actual driving time wasn't that bad. Of course the traffic was much worse than any I experience in Oregon. A 3D representation of the drive is here. Our drive took us over Dinner Summit in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The scenery can't be beat. Watch the profile in the upper left corner of the 3D view to see our 7,200 foot summit at Donner Summit.

Table purchased at Walmart, $10 Legs cut to length Table fits perfectly
Monday, October 1, 2018: I purchased a cheap table ($10) from Walmart with the idea of fitting it on top of the steering wheel. This makes a "dead" part of Miss Dory into a part of the home. Two of the legs will brace against the steering wheel and the other two will be shaped to fit the curved dash. A short piece of a leg will be glued to the underside on the seat side of the table to lock the table to the wheel. With Gwen's help, I measure the legs for length so it would sit level. I cut them off, screwed them into the table and set the table onto the steering wheel. It was perfect. Gwen already had a small table cloth, we bought a lamp specific to this project and an LED light bulb. Click all photos for additional views. Behind the last photo is the result of the project.
Chloe paints a clay pumpkinBen, Noah and Gwen learn to paint clay
Sunday, September 30, 2018: The last day of September we spend with Ben, Chloe and Noah at "Clay Canvas" in Reno painting unfired clay. The kids have done this before. It looked like so much fun I decided to paint a coffee mug. We were at the shop more than an hour. Each of the kids did two items, Ben did one item and I did one item. They will be ready in a week.

The saddest dog in the Humane Society

Saturday, September 29, 2018: Today was a special day for Chloe and Noah. The last seminar of the year for those who have volunteered to host a state tortoise happened at the Nevada Humane Society. The topic was how to prepare the tortoise for winter hibernation. In about a month the tortoise should begin hibernation for the winter. Dad (Ben) and Chloe sat in the seminar while Noah and I walked through the facility looking at all the dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. We stopped and talked to every dog (probably 50-60). We considered this dog to have the saddest look. It didn't move to greet us and ears are back. There were a few threatening dogs (2-3) but most would greet us in one way or another. We saw lots of pit bulls and about a third of the dogs were older, no puppies. There were lots of cats, most in cages but a third in open rooms with the entire room to roam.

After the Humane Society, we had lunch at Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers. I thought it was very good. Only thing in the menu was chicken fingers, fries, texas toast and drinks.

Then the kids wanted to show me the view of "Nevada" which turned out to be a fence line in the shape of Nevada from a nearby mountain view. Click the photo to see the view behind Noah, Ben and Chloe.

Piano lessonsNoah and Chloe show off the tortoise from the back yard

Friday, September 28, 2018: Finally get to visit with the school age grandkids. Noah and Chloe has an official tortoise in their back yard. Official because the tortoise is a protected animal in Nevada and folks must be trained to become an official tortoise home. The tortoise is actually property of the state. After the tour of the tortoise home I drove the kids to their piano lessons. It doesn't look like Noah is having fun but I think he really likes piano. Click both photos to enlarge.

The patio project begins

The project completion

Thursday, September 27, 2018: Mindy (my daughter) and Scott, her husband have a long list of house projects. I volunteered to help with fixing the posts holding up the patio roof. They needed to be shortened then set into concrete. Of course the roof has to be temporarily supported while we remove each post. Scott had some unique ideas of how to do that. I was just the "Go-Get" guy while Scott did most of the work like mixing the concrete and removing the old posts. All three posts have been set in concrete. Click both photos for more views.

Where is the leak?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018: I tried to barbeque with our "Fold N Go". Coleman gas barbeque and found it was leaking at the connection to the regulator. I've had trouble with the regulator in the past so decided to replace the barbeque especially since the Fold N GO was on sale. It arrived today, I connected it to the gas hose and it leaked just like the original. Looking at the hose I decided it was missing an "O" ring so drove to Home Depot to get one. I looked at the new hoses and found they had no "O" ring. So what is going on? I asked two Home Depot department managers for help and was told by both to put yellow gas teflon tape on the threads. I did that and the sound of gas escaping stopped so I thought the problem was fixed. I checked with a flame and YIKES, it is still leaking. I turned off the gas valve but the flame didn't stop due to the amount of gas pressurized inside the hose. I blew out the flame. Apparently the problem is entirely with the hose end. It is baffling to me. What could go wrong suddenly with the hose end? There are no moving parts to wear out. I've already spent the money for a new barbeque and gas teflon tape and I still don't understand the problem. Replacing the hose seems like the only thing left to solve the problem. My son Joe, made a short video mostly to be funny but it shows the problem well. I chose the "Fold N GO" because of it's small size. We have the Fold N GO bag and griddle already too.

Lucy picking out a vegan donut
Tuesday, September 25, 2018: I learned today, after playing with Elise this morning, the afternoon routine. First, we packed Elise into the car then headed to Lucy's school to pick her up. We had a short errand to run then off to the donut shop. Tuesday is special at the donut shop, they make vegan donuts on Tuesday. Mindy buys a treat for everyone on Tuesday.

Hike after the projectGwen's project is finished

Monday, September 24, 2018: Gwen finished her first jigsaw puzzle project today. Once finished we took a short hike around the mountain to the southwest of the park. Here is a short 3D track of the hike we took from one edge of the park to another. The high today was only in the 70's but the altitude makes it feel warmer. The humidity is also rarely above 20% level which is causing lots of nasal problem for me. This may be a whole winter problem since the humidity in Arizona is very low too. Click both photos to enlarge the views.
 

Lucy on the Bungee Trampoline

 

Sunday, September 23, 2018: Lucy is up to trying anything so today she was offered the chance to try a bungee trampoline because she was the only one in the kid activity area of Northstar Ski Area. This was her first time with the help of a bungee, she has used a traditional trampoline many times. The operator of the bungee trampoline is a fellow from Boston. You will recognize his accent in this video. Click the photo for another view.

Play time with Lucy

 

Saturday, September 22, 2018: This afternoon I got the chance to play with Lucy and Elise. Elise sat for ten minutes to read books with me. I brought the two of them a wooden mask to color. Elise liked to play peak-a-boo but had no interest in decorating the mask. Lucy, on the other hand, spent 30 minutes coloring her mask then trying it out around the house. She then put it into her basket containing many costumes. As she colored she described the color she was using and the part of the face she was coloring. For example, "yellow cheeks", "pink chin", "blue eye", "green eye". Click the photo for Lucy's pose.

Elise with Mom

Lucy tries the spider slide

Friday, September 21, 2018: Gwen and I spent the day with Scott, Mindy, Lucy and Elise. Elise is the youngest with Mindy (Mom) on the left photo. Elise is a very lively 14 month old. She loves to be with people and has accepted us very quickly. She is a good eater and walker too. Lucy is 4-1/2 and very athletic. She went swimming at swim lessons this morning then off to try the tall "spider slide" thirty feet tall. It is called a spider slide because children must climb through multiple layers of webbing to get to the top of the slide. Lucy is exactly 42 inches tall, the minimum to use this equipment. Watch the video and you will see why the child must be 42 inches. The webbing stretches so Lucy must reach above her as far as she can to grab the next level of webbing to climb to the top. Apparently it was worth the effort because she did this multiple times. Click both photos for more views.

Back to Verdi, Nevada, Gold Ranch RV Park
Thursday, September 20, 2018: Another travel day from Old Station, California to Verdi, Nevada. We are here to visit with my kids and grandkids for a month. This is Gold Ranch RV Park, the park we prefer. The last time I stayed in the Reno area I did a search for a park less expensive but found they all want too much (IMHO). This park has large sites and we are looking at the mountains, not other RVs. Click the photo for a larger view.
In Old Station, California, the "Cave" campground
Wednesday, September 19, 2018: A travel day from Brookings, Oregon to Old Station, California. I had planned a National Forest spot for free, but that meant driving on 1/4 mile of dirt road. We decided paying $8 for a campground spot on asphalt was a better choice. Still no hookups of any kind and pretty close to the road but no dusty vehicles. On the right of this photo is Hat Creek, flowing with a lot of speed and water. I figure there must be a reservoir upstream letting out water.
Visiting McVay BeachChanging the Forester battery caused the "Check Engine" light to stay on.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018: If you have been reading my Webpage for a while, you know I am a fan of Les Schwab Tire Company. Today I had the Brookings Les Schwab install a battery in the Forester. It is my opinion that no company has better customer service than Les Schwab, however, today was a disappointment. When the car was returned I found the "Check Engine" light on and the cruise icon flashing. I walked back into the store and talked with someone other than the installer. He told me "changing the battery has nothing to do with the Check Engine light" he further suggested that "I could drive down the street to an auto parts dealer where they would diagnose my engine problem for free". So I DID that. The auto parts equipment would not read the Subaru codes. I then checked YouTube for solutions and watched then tried their solutions, none worked. One of the videos I watched was from the Puyallup, Washington Subaru dealer who suggested to "call the dealer to learn a solution". So that's what I did next, called my dealer in Eugene, Oregon (not expecting any help). To my surprise, a service technician helped me immediately. I was told, if I did it myself or if Les Schwab did it, then it was a blown 7.5 amp fuse. He waited on the phone while I checked the fuses. YES! A 7.5 amp fuse WAS blown and replacing it (I had one on hand) put the car back to normal. I made a short video of this experience. Perhaps the Subaru dealer has the BEST customer service! Contrary to the Les Schwab clerk, changing the battery had EVERYTHING to do with the "Check Engine" light. Click the left photo for a view of the fuse box.

After the battery replacement and subsequent repair we walked the McVay Beach. I like this beach because it is of weathered rocks rather than sand. Gwen and Lesa like looking into all the tide pools for sea creatures. Click the beach photo for a panorama of the beach.

Gwen get a haircut

 

Monday, September 17, 2018: Gwen's daughter, Lesa, was a professional hair stylist in a past life so she started the day by giving her brother, Dave a haircut. Next, she gave her mother a haircut, the finally, I got a haircut. Both Dave and Brook had to work today so the haircuts were the most exciting part of the day. The rest of the day was laundry and a walk to Fred Meyer for a few groceries and new pajamas for me. Click the photo to enlarge. On a clear day, Gwen would be looking at the Pacific Ocean from Dave and Brook's deck but today the view was of fog.

Whaleshead RockTreasures on the beach

Sunday, September 16, 2018: Gwen, Dave, Lesa, Brook and I hiked the Whaleshead beach this morning with the dogs. The rock above is suppose to be in the shape of a whales head, hence the name of the beach. Someone had a big imagination. Lesa has a dog plus Dave and Brook each have a dog so the three dogs really enjoyed the beach. This was low tide so we got to see marine life we might not normally see. The whales are migrating to the south this time of year but they were too far in the distance for a good photograph. Click both photos for more views. Behind Whaleshead rock is a panorama so be sure to click on the panorama the enlarge.

 

Finding the Oregon Redwoods

 

 

Saturday, September 15, 2018: Yes, we found the Oregon Redwoods, not the California Redwoods. Gwen's son, Dave, is on the left, then Gwen, Lesa, Gwen's daughter next to Brook, Dave's partner. Dave is an Oregon State Park Ranger so knows all the trails in the area. We did not know of Redwood trees in Oregon. After a four mile drive on dirt roads we found the three mile loop trail through some impressive trees. We especially liked the burl growth on this tree. Weather was perfect for a hike in the Redwood trees. Dave pointed out all the plants he knew. Click the photo for an action photo of the hike.

Brookings Elks Club RV Parking

Friday, September 14, 2018: This is our first day of our winter adventure/2018-2019. We begin on the Oregon coast in Brookings, Oregon at the Elks Club RV parking. Gwen's son Dave lives in Brookings and her daughter, Lesa is here on vacation for a week. We will visit with both of them before moving further south. The Elks club maintains a nice RV parking area and only $20 per night for 30 amps of electricity, plenty for this time of year. This first day I have discovered we lost a vent pipe cover and I've also learned, Brookings does not have what I'm looking for to replace it so ordered from Amazon, delivery scheduled for Monday to Dave. Our new DISH network is working fine. However, the satellite radio has stopped working for some reason. Lesa and Gwen shopped for groceries then we all had Mexican for lunch. The kayaks are unloaded, covered and chained to the rear wheel to discourage theft. I helped Lesa with a construction project and with replacing a rear tail light.

     

 

 
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