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Golf carts are legal on the highway


Monday, December 21, 2015: We are marking time waiting for Tuesday morning to make the trade for the Class A. We thought we would go shopping but then found a pet groomer who would take Morgan in the afternoon. We spent the rest of the day fetching Morgan, delivering Morgan then returning for her once she was finished.

In the mean time, we noticed golf carts on the street with license plates. We learned that a golf cart is legal on streets with a speed limit of 35 MPH or less. With the way we have seen Arizona drivers manners, I don't think I'd want to be in a golf cart on the streets.

Camped at Sun City Elks


Sunday, December 20, 2015: Moving day from Tempe Elks to the Sun City Elks Club. That puts us 40 miles closer to the RV dealer to make our trade on Tuesday morning. There are no hookups but a MUCH quieter location. Another benefit for us, the Sun City Elks does not allow smoking in the lodge. We have enjoyed our time inside the lodge with Internet access. The inside of our Lazy Daze looks like we are hoarders with boxes stacked everywhere.

Packed and ready to move


Saturday, December 19, 2015: When the time comes, the faster we transfer our stuff, the faster we can get on with our plans. We must take delivery out of the state of Arizona to avoid Arizona sales tax so that requires a 2 hour drive to Blythe, California. Gwen has packed up all the kitchen items into boxes ready to transfer. It's my responsibility to transfer everything from the hatches. I'm not as well organized as Gwen.

Xantrex inverter/charger

Friday, December 18, 2015: The RV dealer called today to say we could pickup our Class A on Tuesday. To save time, I decided to drive to the dealer and measure to install a solar charging system. When we purchased the Class A, I noticed it already had a 2,500 watt inverter combined with a 130 amp battery charger. Additionally, it had four brand new house batteries (click the photo). I hope that didn't blind me to everything else about this Class A. Now, all I need are the solar panels, charge controller and wire. The cost of solar has come down so much I will have only 25% of the expense back in 2009 when I did my first solar system.

Matching motorhome and car next door

Thursday, December 17, 2015: This morning we found new neighbors. These neighbors have a beautifully painted Winnebego Adventurer Limited and a MATCHING Smart car with the same paint scheme. I wonder if I can do that to our Samurai to match our new motorhome? It's only MONEY! Click the photo to enlarge the view.

No! We are still waiting for the call telling us to come get our Class A.

Tempe, Arizona Elks Club RV parking

Wednesday, December 16, 2015: We were looking forward to the Tempe, Arizona Elks club parking. It was advertised with 25+ sites with full hookups. One little surprise, the fee (donation) has increased from $20 per night to $25 per night. We got one of the best sites for pet owners. The street (Hardy) is on our door side with a concrete block wall between us and the street so we are able to let our pets outside with a leash. We bother no one in the park and the pets are safe from traffic. We came to this park thinking it would be close to the RV dealers we wanted to visit and that turned out to be true for a few parks but several were across town almost an hour drive from Tempe including the dealer where we made the purchase. The freeway system around Phoenix is well thought out and easy to drive during other than commute hours. Our plan is to move to the Sun City Elks club when we get the call that we can pick up our Class A the next day. The Sun City Elks club is dry camping and only 4 miles from the RV dealer.

Today we were in luck. The Class A is considerably taller than the Lazy Daze so I need a 2" receiver drop down to lower the receiver to tow the Samurai. I checked three different locations to find what I needed then found the two sizes I thought would be good, an 8" and 10" drop, $129 and $139. Gwen did so searching and found one on Craigslist for $35 from an Oregon couple who no longer need it. We grabbed it so we're prepared to tow the Samurai.

Our first camp in the desert since last year.
Thursday, December 10, 2015: This is what our desert campsite looks like. Lots of folks think the desert is sand, but in this location it's mostly rocks of different sizes. The animals love the freedom and Gwen likes reading in the sun and hiking the trails. We are leaving tomorrow for Tempe, Arizona where we plan to stay at the Tempe Elks Club.
Boondock location about 2 miles north of Quartzsite, ArizonaWednesday, December 9, 2015: This was a travel day from Lake Havasu, Arizona to Quartzsite, Arizona. Quartzsite is a popular parking location for RVers who like to boondock (dry camp). There is a lot of flat desert in this location controlled by BLM. Some is free, 14 day camping while other parts are LTVA parking (long term visitor area). BLM charges $40 for two weeks or $180 for the seven month season at an LTVA. You can read one of our stories of an LTVA, click here. Since we plan to camp only one night, we chose the free area at the red "X". This will be a much different experience from last night. We are surrounded by many other campers but NONE are closer than 150 yards so we have plenty of room for Annie and Morgan to roam without a leash. It will also be dark and quiet. I can't believe how good it feels to be camped in the desert again. Click the photo to enlarge.
Boondock in the Haugen parking lot, Lake HavasuTuesday, December 8, 2015: This was a travel day from Laughlin, Nevada to Lake Havasu, Arizona. We stopped in Lake Havasu only for ONE reason to meet a potential buyer of the Lazy Daze. We learned he would not meet us until 5 pm so we decided to visit Cowboys RV dealer. We were amazed at finding a Class A motorhome which we both liked. We spent the rest of the afternoon negotiating and got to $8000 difference between our offer and their acceptance so left the dealership. Gwen stated, she must "LOVE" the new rig and she only "LIKED" this one so learning that, I will ask Gwen, from now on, whether she "LOVES" the rig before entering into negotiation. By this time, it was dark and we were both hungry so we chose Black Bear Diner. It is in the same parking lot with Haugen grocery which had recently closed. We parked in the empty parking area with the red "X". After dinner we decided to stay there for the night. Other than having parking lot lights on all night, a parking lot sweeper and garbage pickup in the morning, the spot wasn't bad. Click the photo to enlarge. BTW: the potential buyer felt the Lazy Daze was TOO BIG, ironic because we feel it is TOO SMALL. Go figure!
Spirit Airlines trip to Portland and backMonday, December 7, 2015: Over the weekend I made a whirlwind trip back to Sutherlin, Oregon to retrieve the title to the Lazy Daze in the case we find something larger to trade for. Everything was exactly as planned. The plan was to fly Spirit Airlines (Home of the Bare Fare). I was able to get a $56 fare each way where everything cost extra but I only needed a seat. I was promised a Toyota Rav4 by Enterprise but got a Nissan Rogue (which got 25 mpg). I spent the night in my unheated fifth wheel in Sutherlin. Got the title and shipped a box of stuff from our list of items to myself in Arizona. On the drive back to Portland, I had the time to test drive an Allegro Class A Gwen and I have been looking at online. That was my first time to drive a Class A and I was impressed. It is much more maneuverable than our Class C. I was able to do things with the Class A I could never do with the Class C. The dealer made a very fare offer for the Lazy Daze on a trade. That's good news for future negotiation. The flight home seemed quicker (and smoother). Click the photo to see our Captain (pilot in command). He seemed pretty young to me but did a good job. He must have been practicing STOL (short take off and landing) on the landing in Las Vegas. As soon as the wheels touched the runway he directed engine thrust forward and went full throttle, I'm glad the seats were bolted down. Pilots usually do that to catch the nearest taxiway to save time getting to the terminal. I use to be a pilot and have done my share of braking hard to catch a taxiway that's coming up fast. This plane was flying on to Florida. The seats weren't that comfortable so I'm glad my flight was only two hours. I'm just glad I wasn't sitting on an apple crate and didn't have to pedal the whole way.

Pirate Cove on the Colorado River


Thursday, December 3, 2015: Several weeks ago we took the jet boat ride from Laughlin to Lake Havasu City on the Colorado River. While on the ride we noticed what seemed to be a campground with "peninsula" camping right on the river. Many of the sites were empty. Today we went exploring to learn about what we saw thinking this might be a fun place to camp for a while. We learned this location is called Pirate Cove Resort. There are two dozen "peninsulas", each have four campsites. Today, only a couple of these peninsulas had even ONE camper so this must be the off season. It is still pretty expensive to camp here, $273 per week or $550 per month. Gwen likes it so put it on her "bucket list". Each site gets a "private" beach. Of course, we have no boat and it's too cold to swim this time of year so not sure we will get our money's worth. They do advertise nearly 400 miles of off-road vehicle routes so maybe we could explore with the Samurai. Click the photo for another view.

Boondocked in 2014 at the Imperial Dam LTVAWednesday, December 2, 2015: While I'm thinking about it ... what are the advantages/disadvantages of boondocking vs full hookups. First, let's be honest, about 95% of the RVers travel from one RV park to the other and freak-out if they can't plug-in somewhere. So that leaves 5% who attempt parking off-the-grid. Living off the grid didn't come naturally for us, we learned from others, especially from "Handy Bob" (I consider Bob to be a purest because he wouldn't start a generator unless it was a medical emergency ... actually, I'm not sure he owned a generator). So, I'm not talking the "how-to" in this discussion, just comparing with full hookups. The photo is the last time we camped at the Imperial Dam LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area) where many of the 5% spend the entire winter season OFF GRID. Water, garbage and a dump station are nearby otherwise every individual camper has a whole desert to camp in. When camped off the grid, fresh water is limited to your holding tank (60 gallons in our case). So showers, washing self or dishes, brushing teeth are limited. Use of water activities then is limited. Power is another limitation. Most of the LTVA campers have solar power which is used to recharge batteries so your power is limited to the amount of charge held by your batteries. A generator can offer almost unlimited power (at least for an RV) but is noisy and, of course, uses fuel. With good management, you can live off the grid indefinitely. Propane is used for heat, refrigeration, hot water and cooking. Note: we aren't exactly off the grid because we need propane (and fuel if we use the generator), but we are generating our own solar power. We prefer off-grid camping because we are "outdoor enthusiasts" liking the freedom, space, quiet, darkness, comradery and, it's usually free or very low fees. Note: there are plenty of very expensive RVs camped off grid so not everyone is doing it because it's cheap. Now, compare to full hookup camping where water, power and waist water disposal is unlimited, it's like living in a small apartment, just like home, with no limitations. You can see why the 95% prefer full hookups. My grandparents were the first RVers I knew. They purchased a new Airstream in 1956, state of the art. It had one propane lamp, no holding tanks of any kind and an ice box. My grandfather would bring fresh water into the kitchen area in an insulated 5 gallon bucket where my grandmother would dip water from the bucket using a ladle. The propane lamp never worked so the only light at night was from battery lanterns. A bucket was placed under the sewer pipe to collect waist water. For a bath, my grandparents would take, what they called, "a birdie", using a sponge and basin. They didn't watch TV or listen to the radio unless they were connected to power. Propane was used for cooking, and a wall heater. I believe the trailer had a battery but I don't know what it was used for, maybe the emergency break-away brakes. Refrigeration was by block ice. I remember they would look for "trailer parks" which advertised "over-nighter's welcome". After paying $3, they would have full hookups and needed them. Still, my grandparents didn't mind parking "off-grid". On the other hand, when WE park off grid, we don't lack anything. We can take showers, read at night using LED lighting, flush waist water, refrigerate food, and watch TV. We must measure our activities to not exceed limitations. So, enjoying RV living is really a matter of what we are use to and/or how much we can adapt.

At the Riverside RV park for a week
Tuesday, December 1, 2015: Today was moving day ... only about 4 miles but from Arizona back to Nevada. We left Katherine Landing, Bullhead City, Arizona ... crossed the Colorado River into Laughlin, Nevada. We are moving for a week into the Riverside RV Park (part of the Riverside Casino owned by Don Laughlin) because our friends Bud and Anita love this park and stay the entire winter season here before returning to Timber Valley. Another reason we are here ... we have decided to try to make an RV trade here in Arizona to get something larger. I left the Lazy Daze title at home in Sutherlin, Oregon so I'm flying to Portland on Friday, then returning with the title on Saturday. Even though we have decided to go larger, we are still enjoying or time in the Lazy Daze so we don't have to be in a hurry if we don't find the right trade. An interesting fee computation, the fee to stay here for a week is $108 divided by 7 equals $15.43 per day. The rental fee includes electricity and four meal tickets at the buffet. The Sunday brunch is $15 each and the Friday Seafood buffet is $18 each. That's $66 in food coupons. So $108 - $66 = $42. Additionally, we will heat with electricity and power the refrigerator with electricity. Heating and refrigeration were propane powered while parked at Katherine Landing. We found propane at only $2 per gallon so I believe we will save $7 in propane over a week's time. Now ... $42 - 7 = $35 so divided by 7 = $5 per day. That's what we were paying at Katherine Landing for no hook-ups while we have full hook-ups at the Riverside RV Park. Next year Katherine Landing will be $10 per day so I think we either camp in the desert for free or at Riverside RV Park depending upon the rig we are driving next year. Click the photo to see the ultimate in RV travel, a Smart car painted to match the motor home pulling it.

Entrance to Harrah's Thanksgiving Buffet
Thanksgiving Thursday, November 26, 2015: Following the tradition we set last year, we visited the Harrah's Buffet for Thanksgiving with friends. It's an easy way to celebrate with food without the preparation or clean-up. This year we celebrated with friends from Timber Valley Park in Sutherlin, Bud, Anita, Nick and Thelma. It was a good time visiting and eating. We already have plans to get together again.

A full moon sits over Bullhead City and the mountains to the east.



Wednesday, November 25, 2015: A really nice full moon tonight over Bullhead City and the mountains to the east. Then, turn around and look toward the setting sun for a sunset view. Click the photo.

Lunch in the desert Tuesday, November 24, 2015: We took the Samurai into the desert today looking for a place to have a picnic lunch and for a hidden geocache. We found both. Another clear but windy day in the desert. Click the photos for more extraordinary photos of the desert. We finally found some wild burros in the desert. That photo is behind Gwen's photo. Gwen finds a Geocache

At the trailhead of the Lake Mohave Fisherman Trail
Gwen found a cactus in bloom Davis Dam in the distance
Monday, November 23, 2015: Yesterday was Gwen's birthday and she wanted to do a hike. So we hiked the Fisherman Trail on the east shore of Lake Mohave. It was very windy so we had to hold our hats many times or lose them. We snowbirds come here for the warm weather compared to the weather up north. The locals think this is cold so the boats are stored or idle. We saw only one other hiker too. At least we don't have to worry about snakes, they think it's cold too. Click these photos for additional views. Spirit Mountain is above the west shore and can be seen in a couple photos.

Entering Grapevine Canyon

A native American sacred area

Thursday, November 19, 2015: We went exploring with friends into Grapevine Canyon near Laughlin, Nevada. This is the Spirit Mountain Wilderness area and a sacred area for the Mojave Indians. The canyon entrance is marked with petroglyphs which have been photographed thousands of times. Duane and Theresa are friends from 15 years ago in Grants Pass, Oregon. They happen to park next to us at Katherine Landing and we recognized each other. They have never visited this canyon. Click these photos for another view.

Arts and Crafts at an Assisted Care facility
Our only "treasure"
Saturday, November 14, 2015: We decided to visit garage sales in Bullhead City today but started with an Arts and Crafts Faire at an assisted care facility. I purchased a wrapped box for $3 and got a santa hat and two santa stockings. Gwen purchased a couple Christmas gifts. We drove on and found a good view of the Colorado River before finding our "treasure". Click the photo on the left for the Colorado River view. The treasure we found is an aluminum, bi-fold pet ramp strong enough to hold humans. It sells for $150 on the Internet and we got it for $10. At first Morgan would have nothing to do with it but now she uses it ... carefully.

Food for the birds.

Friday, November 13, 2015: Another day to kickbike, sunny and high wind as usual.

I came across this attempt to re-seed this bare dirt in the middle of a casino lawn. A coyote statue and plastic screen over the re-seeded area still did not discourage these pigeons. They are quickly cleaning up all the new seed.

Captain Joe of the London Bridge Jet Boat tour
Lots of volcanic rock Gwen has the window seat
The London Bridge Tour parked near the London Bridge Having lunch almost under the London Bridge One of the wilderness "needles" and behind, the only wildlife we saw, a wild burro
Thursday, November 11, 2015: A wonderful day for a jet boat ride from Laughlin, Nevada to Lake Havasu City, Arizona on the Colorado River. The Colorado River is one of the most used rivers in the United States. We were on 58 miles of the river basically from the Davis Dam to the London Bridge on Lake Havasu. Lake Havasu is created by the Parker Dam, above this portion of the river is Lake Mohave created by the Davis Dam, above that portion is Lake Mead created by the Boulder Dam and above that portion is Lake Powell created by the Glen Canyon Dam. This is an attempt to make the best use of the water in the Colorado. We were told 80% of the water is taken by Las Vegas. The rest is shared by farmers, Native Americans, southern California and Mexico. This was an enjoyable jet boat tour from Laughlin to Needles, California, through the 17 miles of the National Wildlife Refuge, a rugged volcanic area, then onto Lake Havasu to our destination at the London Bridge. We actually docked within 30 feet of the bridge. This time of year, there are very few other boats on the water. Captain Joe said, during the summer months he must pass 1,000 boats to reach the destination. Seeing the summer photographs of the lake recreation, I believe him. I guess 115° weather sends everyone to the water with a boat. Today was windy, forecast to be 30 MPH but it didn't bother our jet boat. Once we arrived, Gwen and I walked the London Bridge to the visitor and history center where we read the history of the project to bring the bridge to Lake Havasu from England. It was dedicated in 1971, nearly 45 years ago. We found a small cafe situated nearly under the bridge. Our layover was only 2 hours so back onto the boat by 1:40 pm Nevada time. The total boat on the water time was nearly 4 hours for a total trip of 6 hours. We did see a number of RVs camped along the river so we must investigate those locations for possible boondock sites. I can understand now, if you live here, a boat would be mandatory, there is just too much fun to be had on Lake Havasu and the Colorado River. We would have needed to jet another 20 miles south on the lake to reach Parker Dam, so a lot more water to explore. Click every photo for another view. Note the photograph behind Captain Joe. Captain Joe is standing in the boat, his assistant (an wife), Jenny is standing on the dock. The outside air temperature is near 70 with a 10 MPH wind ... maybe sweatshirt weather for most of us. See how they are dressed. That's what a 115° summer will do to you.

Pablo playing guitar, no vocals


Tuesday, November 10, 2015: This was the day we took the time to watch the new James Bond movie with friends then for a driving tour around the Indian Reservation on the Nevada side of the river. On our return, we stopped at the El Charro in Arizona for some Mexican food. Pedro was playing solos on his guitar, no vocals, just acoustic guitar and it was really good. Unfortunately, the food was only ordinary. As for James Bond, it was a typical 007 movie with 2.5 hours of action.

Another sunny day

Monday, November 9, 2015: Another sunny day in Bullhead City. I'm trying to add at least a mile each day to my kickbike exercise so today I cheated a little by hiking to the top of the pass entering Katherine Landing with the bike. I kicked my way only 1/4 of the way and hiked the rest. Once at the top, it was a fast coast back down but I DID add more than a mile to yesterday's workout. After the exercise I nearly finished a book I've been reading for a week then Gwen and I met friends Bud and Anita for dinner. During dinner, we planned to see the new James Bond movie tomorrow.

Katherine Landing MarinaSunday, November 8, 2015: I took the kickbike today, first uphill, then downhill to the marina (then back uphill to the campground). Lake Mojave is a huge lake with hundreds of coves and probably enough houseboats to fill everyone of those coves. No TREES! This area is popular in the summer when it's 115 degrees. It was 80° today and the locals think it's COLD! All but a few boats are still in the slips. Click the photo for a panorama view. Click here for a map of the area. Lake Mojave is created by Davis Dam just north of Bullhead City, Arizona on the east side of the Colorado River and Laughlin, Nevada on the west side. If you follow the river due north you arrive at Boulder Dam and Lake Mead. This entire area is the Lake Mead Recreation Area.

Parked at Katherine's Landing near Bullhead City, AZ
Friday, November 6, 2015: Our first day at Katherine's Landing Campground. This is one of our favorite locations because it is a nice, quiet, and inexpensive area to park. The current fee is $5 per night if you have a Senior Access Pass. That sounds cheap but is still $150 per month for no hook-ups. We have learned the fee will double in 2016 making it $300 per month for no hook-ups so this is likely our last year to park here. There are RV parks with full hook-ups for near that price and we know of free locations, hence our last year. During the winter months, the sun is low in the southern sky so the solar panels must be tilted to point directly at the sun for a full charge to the batteries. We are only 1/2 mile from the marina which would really be nice if we had a boat. The marina does rent boats so we will take a calm day to rent a ski boat and tour Lake Mojave.

Hanging a TV above the fireplace
TV is hung
Thursday, November 5, 2015: This was another travel day from Beatty, Nevada to Bullhead City, Arizona. We arrived around noon but had much to do before setting up camp. Above are the photos I took of the project I helped at my son Ben's house. He wanted his TV above the fireplace but there was no power outlet nor method of running cables without having wires exposed. He knows a sheet rock person so we decided to cut holes in the sheet rock and pull wires through the wall. We took the power from an existing receptacle to the left of the fireplace. Since he plans to set all receivers in a cabinet to the left of the fireplace, that's where we ran all the HDMI cables too. This was about a 1-1/2 day project. The sheet rock person arrived after I left. Click the photos for additional views.

2 miles south of Beatty, Nevada, boondock
Wednesday, November 4, 2015: This was a long travel day from Verdi to Beatty, Nevada. There is a lot of unoccupied land in Nevada so we saw only small villages and many of those were unoccupied. We got an idea for parking near a pond from the Escapee directory titled "Days End". This location is 2 miles south of town in a pleasant, quiet area. We are only about 50 yards from a small pond which is probably a nice spot during the summer months when it can be really hot in this part of Nevada. Click the photo to learn what long stretches of Nevada looks like in November.

Kickbike is ready to travel


Tuesday, November 3, 2015: I was lucky with the kick bike. It was on sale so paid very little for it. I didn't want to put any more money into this bike without knowing how much I would use it. Fortunately, my son Joe gave me a Yakima bike carrier tray which fit my Thule rack perfectly. My son Ben gave me one of his old helmets since my helmet is still in Sutherlin. My son-in-law gave me some old high performance handlebars so I can replace the funky cruiser handlebars (I haven't done that yet). So I have a method of transporting the bike on the Samurai. I haven't had to spend another penny on the kick bike. Tomorrow is travel day so everything is ready to go. Click the photo to enlarge.

Lucy on Halloween Monday, November 2, 2015: On Halloween, Lucy was visiting her uncle Joe and showing off her costume. She didn't go looking for treats herself but did answer the door when other costumed kids came looking for treats. She didn't really like the hood so removed it often only to have an adult replace it. "What's with the brush?", you say. Well, Uncle Joe didn't have lots of toys so Lucy found something to walk around the house and sweep. Click these photos for additional views. Posing in her costume

My daughter Mindy trying my new kickbike

Friday, October 30, 2015: Yesterday I got a plaything for myself. It's called a "kick bike". I'm thinking easy exercise and hopefully weight control too. As it turns out, it's serious work on even a slight incline as here in the RV park but lots of fun when descending. After I tried it, I decided there must be a proper way to kick bike so I searched Youtube. Apparently, kick bikes are popular in Australia, New Zealand and Europe because there are lots of kick bike technique videos and video introductions originating in those countries. So I tried the proper techniques and learned it will take practice. My daughter, Mindy wanted to try the kick bike, so I gave her some quick instruction and I took a video of her try. She seems like a natural. Click the photo for another view.

We arrive at the Trump rally
Donald Trump arrives
Thursday, October 29, 2015: My son Joe let us know that Donald Trump was coming to town today for a quick speech at the Nugget Casino in Sparks. We all decided to attend (just for the entertainment). Before you think any of us are Trump supporters, had Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders come to town, we would have gone to see them too. Neither Gwen nor I have ever been to a Presidential Candidate rally before so we decided to make this our first. I took lots of photos but accidentally erased them so I have Gwen to thank for these photos. I also took a short video when Donald came walking into the room. The yellow sign says, "Jeb was here last week and had a crowd of 6". I heard lots of promises that can't be kept, such as building a border fence which Mexico will pay for, bringing jobs back from China (who do you know willing to work for $3/hour), and stop importing Japanese cars. I'll admit, much of what he says is popular (tax reform, repeal and replace Obama-care, be tougher on Iran) but it would take a different congress for any change.

The Chinese wall built in 1863 for the first transcontinental railroad
Entrance to the first tunnel Click to read the history of the area Donner Lake is just below and to the northeast of the railroad route
We hiked about two miles of tunnelsMonday, October 26, 2015: Yesterday was an exceptional hiking day for my son Joe, daughter Mindy, son-in-law Scott and granddaughter Lucy. We've been planning this hike for several months after finding a description posted online. This hike is historic since it is on the 1863 railroad route built for the first transcontinental railroad. The first photo shows a chinese hand built wall as described in one of the photos. This route was still active until 1993 when a new route was opened. This was a perfect day although our hike was late in the afternoon so it was chilly. Lucy was an excellent hiker enjoying every part of the hike and scenery without complaining about the cold. Click each photo for additional views. This route passes Donner Summit in California at 7,000 feet. This is to the southwest of Truckee, California. Concrete barriers were built to protect the trains from the heavy Sierra snow loads. Now they serve as canvas for artists with a can of spray paint.

Climbing the mountains to the East of Verdi
Marker to identify the wagon trail leading into CaliforniaTuesday, October 20, 2015: For the first time since the purchase of the Samurai we took it mountain climbing, This was on a very rough road to the west of Verdi, Nevada. It required low-range four-wheel drive mostly because of the large rocks in the road. Click the photo above to see the view toward Verdi with Reno in the distance. We thought we were on the road to Verdi Peak where there is a fire lookout. It was the wrong road. We found the correct route but then took a wrong fork. By this time I was worried about the amount of daylight left in the day. I didn't want to explore the mountain in the dark. Part of the road we drove was marked as the California Trail for wagon trains headed to California during the gold rush. Click the photo to read the sign.

Chloe is a paleontologist

Monday: October 19, 2015: Today Chloe showed me a new "toy" she enjoys. This is an amazing idea from the projects for kids people. It is a rubberized dinosaur skeleton encased in a material that seems like a combination of plaster of paris and clay. Chloe uses a brush and one of Dad's screwdrivers to carefully extract the dinosaur "bones". The name of the dinosaur is etched on a plaque also encased in the material and Chloe was very interested in knowing the name. She showed me the collection of "bones" she and Noah had extracted and kept in the corner cabinet. Chloe seemed as excited about her "digging" as a real paleontologist. Click the photo for another view.

Lucy swinging in her backyard Sunday, October 18, 2015: While visiting my daughter Mindy, her husband Scott and their daughter, Lucy, Cousin Chloe came to visit also. We all played in the backyard. First Chloe took a turn in the inner tube swing then following Cousin Chloe's example, Lucy took a turn. Meanwhile, Dad - Scott, was worried about his peach tree with all the aggressive swinging. Later, the two girls piled on top of Dad/Uncle while he was trying to relax in the hanging chair. The green grass you see in the photos is artificial turf, a very good choice for the backyard! Click both photos for additional views. While taking these photos I finally learned how to take multiple photos (about 3 per second) with my new phone so I had over a hundred to choose from. Lucy, Cousin Chloe and Lucy's Dad, Scott
Noah does tricks on his scooter Thursday, October 15, 2015: I spent most of the day with my son Ben and his son, Noah. Chloe was at school today. Noah was anxious to show me the tricks he could do on a scooter. He always wears his dinosaur helmet I gave him for his birthday a month ago. It takes balance
Visiting downtown Reno to see the Virginia Street bridge construction Wednesday, October 14, 2015: We saw a news report about the replacement of the 100 year old bridge on Virginia St. in downtown Reno. The news reported the completed arches are to be moved across the Truckee River on beams using a huge, powerful hydraulic jack system. Gwen was anxious to see the construction progress so we made the trip to downtown Reno to watch the progress. It was reported the arches will take three 24 hour days to move into place. The bridge is moving from right to left in the photos but so slowly, we couldn't see them moving. This is going to be an attractive area of the Reno downtown. Click both photos for additional views. Behind the right photo is an artist concept of the completed project. Side view of the moving bridge

Lucy on her Kangaroo Climber

Monday, October 12, 2015: Lucy is a serious climber, always moving and testing the equipment. The Kangaroo Climber is Lucy's backyard so she gets the chance to climb everyday until the winter weather arrives. Her Dad, Scott, threatens to make the living room into a "jungle gym". That would be great for Lucy but it might be tough to watch TV while hanging from a rope. Click the photo for another (serious) view.

Reluctant for photos inside the movie theater

Sunday, October 11, 2015: I went to the movie theater with son Joe on the left, next me, son Ben then son-in-law Scott. All were reluctant to take a selfie inside the movie theater but Dad insisted. We saw the movie, "The Martian". We all enjoyed and had good things to say about the movie. I think I even heard, "I need to see that again". I've been following the NASA posts of how the movie fits with reality. It's helped me to learn more about Mars. Scott has read the book and says the movie is very close to the book. Click the photo for "The Martian".

Nice hike with Lucy, Mindy and Scott to Long Lake
Scott, Mindy and Lucy enjoying the lake Friday, October 9, 2015: This was a special day to hike to Long Lake with Scott, Mindy and Lucy. Long Lake is located near Donner Summit in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California. In fact, we crossed the Donner Wagon Train Trail (49er Trail) to get to Long Lake. I should have brought my pack with my hammock, a nice place to take an afternoon nap. Gwen took many of these photos. Mindy is my daughter so Lucy is my Granddaughter. Lucy is 20 months old and a great hiker, she takes after both her mother and father. The weather was perfect for this warm day at 7,500 feet. Devil's Peak is in the background. Click all photos for additional views. Mindy and Lucy
Lucy is a very active 20 month old toddler Thursday, October 8, 2015: Today I got to play with Lucy and Noah. They both enjoy the playground at the park and tried all the equipment. Click the photo for additional views. Under the photo at the right are the two Dads swinging with the kids. Lucy is my daughter's child and the youngest of my grandchildren. Noah is 2.5 years older and my son Ben's child, my middle grandchild. They both played non-stop for an hour in the park. Of course I had to try all the same equipment they did.
Lucy is playing with Noah
Noah has grown

Wednesday, October 7, 2015: Finally, I get to play with the oldest grandkids. Noah has done a lot of growing and speaks better than the last time I visited a few months ago. and is anxious to climb or play games. He is on his favorite apparatus, a modified ladder to the second level of this play structure.

Chloe has learned to use the Monkey Bars and showed me how she could swing from one to another. Chloe has a birthday in three weeks, she'll be six.

Both like the slide, click the photos for a view of each on the slide.

Chloe has learned the monkey bars

Enjoying the famous Herbie J's

Monday, October 5, 2015: It's time for Monday night football with my son, Joe. Joe has a special place just outside his door he calls Herbie J's. It's complete with a fireplace in the center, surrounded with light bulbs, comfortable TV chairs and an HD TV for all the special football games Joe and his friends like to watch. Tonight we watched the Seattle Seahawks squeak by the Lions with an exceptional defensive play. We have a month of football games to share together before Gwen and I head south.

A great location in Verdi, Nevada
Sunday, October 4, 2015: A year ago we reserved this location at Gold Ranch RV Park in Verdi, Nevada. We will be here for 28 days visiting my children and grandchildren. We are backed up to forest land and have thousands of acres of forest land to the west to walk Morgan and explore. The fee for 28 days is $525, competitive for this time of year, location and benefits of the park. Having said that, I expect this to be the most expensive parking of our entire winter trip. Keep track that I said that as we get further into the winter months.
Mom, waiting for her check-up

Wednesday, September 30, 2015: Today was Mom's turn for a medical check-up. I've been frustrated in the past with doctors taking care of my parents so was not expecting a pleasant experience. Fortunately, we had a totally different experience today mostly due to the doctor who did not rush through the check-up and took care of all Mom's needs. Mom left happy and I was very happy with the care she got.

Later today I went to RiteAid for a new prescription for Mom. While there, I noticed a magnifying glass

A magnifying glass available
hanging on a shelf. Then I noticed they were hanging on all the display units. I'm thinking what a good idea. Actually, this is probably NOT a new idea but it's NEW to me. I've not seen this before.

Mom and I enjoying frozen yogurt

Monday, September 28, 2015: After a morning where Gwen and I talked with a friend I dropped Mom and Gwen off at JC Penney so they could do some shopping. While they shopped, I took Mom's car to the dealer for an oil change. That turned out to be a mistake. It took an hour and a half to do a twenty minute job. In the mean time, I got several text messages from Gwen letting me know she and Mom were ready. Fortunately, Mom and Gwen found a nice shop for drinks and french fries. I picked them up just in time. We drove across the street to Macy's where Mom found exactly what she was looking for. To make the day perfect, I took Mom and Gwen to the yogurt shop. Mom loves football so she watched Green Bay beat Kansas City this evening.

Parked in Mom's driveway

Thursday, September 24, 2015: I've been working on Mom's "to-do" list. When you click the photo, you'll see one of the projects for the back patio. Last year we removed the patio cover because it was falling down. New door bell needed But that left large windows exposed to the hot California sun. I decided to purchase a canopy then raise it to the height of the window to shade that window from the sun. It works so now Mom can leave her curtains open.

Another, simpler project was to replace the old door bell button. The old button still works but looks pretty bad. While shopping at Home Depot the bell buttons started at $7 and increased from there. The salesman said the cheaper buttons were for "rentals" so suggest a bronze button which was big enough to cover the vacant spot left by the old button. As it turned out, it was also lighted. Pass your pointer through the button to see the new one. For some reason the new button cycles the bell chiming sequence more than once, we decided that was OK.

275 gallon water containers at Home Depot
Wednesday, September 23, 2015: I've been working on a project for Mom which meant a couple of trips to Home Depot. California is in a severe drought so I saw an announcement on TV that residents can pick up free, "treated" sewer water used for landscape. Home Depot is selling 275 gallon containers (for a pickup, full, it will weigh more than 2,200 lbs) for $299. It's a creative way to keep your favorite bushes and trees from dying if you have a pickup.

Gwen at lunch in downtown Lodi, California
Getting gas in California
Tuesday, September 22, 2015: This was a day Gwen and I spent mostly with each other. Mom was out with my sister Dorana and a friend. Gwen likes the Dancing Fox restaurant in downtown Lodi and today's weather allowed us to eat outside on their patio. Later we visited Costco for vegetables and gasoline. I had to take the gas-pump photo thinking to myself, "only in California". Fuel at Costco is about 20 cents less than other stations. Later, Gwen found some new clothes in JC Penney and Walmart. I picked up a birthday gift for Mom.
Traveling through northern California, Mount Shasta in the backgroundMonday, September 21, 2015: Traveling from Klamath Falls to Lodi, California to visit with my mother. When driving through northern California on Interstate 5 you can't miss Mt. Shasta (14,179 feet). When driving on Highway 97 to meet Interstate 5 from Klamath Falls, this is the view you will see. The drive we did is longer than we like, 370 miles, but we arrived in Lodi as the sun disappeared and I had to hurry to do the initial setup before it became dark. Click the photo to see the temperature rise as we descend into the Sacramento Valley.
Free parking in Klamath Falls
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: September 20, 2015: Visiting with Lesa, Gwen's daughter in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Courtney, Gwen's granddaughter is here too. It's always fun to spend time with them.

Searching for sand dollars on the beach near Westport
The view inside the historic Tokeland Hotel
Thursday, September 17, 2015: Gwen and I went hiking on the beach near Westport looking for sand dollars. Thirteen years ago this beach was covered with sand dollars and I picked up a bucket full. Today was different. I found two and Gwen found three. In the early evening, our Lazy Daze group walked across the street from our RV park to the Tokeland Historic Hotel and Restaurant. This is our last meal together with the Lazy Daze group. Click each photo for additional views.
Larry has the chicken ready for the barbeque Wednesday, September 16, 2015: There is a 90% chance of rain today but as it turns out, not until midnight so we have been enjoying mostly cloudy skies but no rain. Gwen and I took Morgan for a walk and while getting to the beach, came across Larry getting the chicken ready for this evening barbeque. After the walk, Gwen decided she needed an ingredient for her "side-dish" so we drove to a local grocery store (a 15 mile drive). While there, I noticed this sign Bait in the store window which hit me funny. I suppose that's where the refrigeration is located but I'm hoping they don't get the meat and bait mixed up. We tried to go to the beach but found we must have a Washington State Discovery Pass to park so decided to wait until tomorrow when we will be better prepared. We have an Oregon State Pass but expect the parking attendant would not find that funny.

Traveling the Washington side of the Columbia River
Tuesday, September 15, 2015: This was a travel day from Saint Helens, Oregon to Tokeland, Washington. We chose to travel the Washington side of the Columbia River shown in the photo above. In this location we are about twenty air miles from the Pacific Ocean. You are looking across the Columbia into Oregon at this point. It is threatening rain and rain is forecast for all days of the rally. Click the photo to see our camp location at the Bayshore RV Park. It is a small park with rough parking locations but full hook ups (FHU). That means we will dump our holding tanks on Friday before we leave. Gwen and I swear this is the park we stayed about 13 years ago with our first RV, a 21 foot pull trailer. The park is on Willapa Bay, a huge bay off the Pacific, north of the Columbia. It is an impressive bay because of it's size, however, very shallow. When the tide is out, the bay is MUD. So, when boating on Willapa Bay, the captain better pay attention to the tide tables or plan to stay a few extra hours stuck in the mud.

Our first night at the beginning of our adventure
Monday, September 14, 2015: We have begun a year long adventure today in the Lazy Daze. A Lazy Daze rally begins tomorrow in Tokeland, Washington so we've begun the adventure by driving north then west along the mighty Columbia River. Our first stop is the Elks Lodge in Saint Helens, Oregon. The Elks Lodge is located on the Columbia so has a great view from the dining room. Click the above photo for an example of the view. They have 10 RV parking spaces with 30Amp service plus water for $15 per night, less if you stay for a week. They also serve lunch each day but we arrived too late to enjoy lunch. It is a quiet location which we always appreciate. Our plan is to begin our year long adventure with the rally then visit Gwen's daughter in Klamath Falls, then on to Lodi, California to visit with my Mother. We actually have travel plans through January 20, 2016 but then it will be an unknown adventure.
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