Monday, September 26, 2016

Sunday September 25, 2016-Bauer's Ranch Canyon RV Park

Today we went to visit the Bryce Canyon National Park. It is about 50 miles or about an hour drive. The drive was nice but the park is spectacular! With our National Park Pass (AKA old people pass), we got in for free. We got on the 1:30 Rainbow Point tour that took us to several scenic overlooks and the driver (Randy) was excellent. He had many stories to tell about the park and his adventures as a driver. He also knew a lot about the park, the animals there and the flora and fauna found there.

I have attached some photos taken at the park but they don't do justice to the grandeur and beauty found here.

This tree is a Bristlecone Pine tree that grows out of rocks occasionally. The tree will never get very big because of its poor roots but is otherwise interesting.

I am very disappointed that my photos that I have loaded onto this page did not turn out as well as they usually do, but I will try again on some others. I hope that you can make out what I saw when taking these pictures. I've told you about the bad Internet connections here. I will load more tomorrow and see how they come out. Please bear with me.

So long.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Saturday September 24, 2016-Bauer's Canyon Ranch RV Park

We slept in on our first full day in Utah, for a well-deserved "catch up and rest" day. We planned to wash our dirty clothes and take a drive around the area, but plans change...

I took Stella and the clothes across to the washateria and came back home. About 45 minutes later, when Stella had just started drying the clothes, the power went out in the park. She stopped by the office to check and found out that this happens from time to time and usually it is out for only 15 minutes or so. She waited and waited....for about 4 hours before power returned. I had gone for a walk and had just stepped into the office to ask if they knew what the problem was when the lights came back on. By now it was too late to go for a ride, so we just stayed home.

The cell phone service is terrible here. We don't have a good cell connection, so if you call us, you may or may not get us. We heard from Nancy early this morning but were never able to get connected. We'll catch up with them later.

Our neighbors had another campfire under their canopy just after dark. It was nice to sit around and visit, exchanging stories of our travels and adventures. This was the second evening of having a campfire and we are enjoying it a lot. Looking forward to many more as friends arrive.

So long.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Monday thru Friday-Moving Days-September 19-23-Ingram to Glendale Utah

Monday-Johnson Creek RV Resort to Saddleback Mountain RV Park
We were up early this morning because we want to pull out by 9am, and lo and behold, we did it! We traveled with Dave and Nancy, who we have been traveling with for awhile and Larry and Mary Anne who had decided to go to an Arizona rally before returning home. We are glad to have them with us.

I tried to follow the GPS but it malfunctioned, sending us the wrong way as soon as we left the park. Stella's I Pad also didn't work properly so Stella called Nancy, and both her GPS and I Pad were not working either. It must have been a sunspot or some alien interfering with the flow of electrons powering electronic devices. We finally found a road that led us to I-10 and we were on our way west!

Since we had good road shoulders on the Interstate Highway, we merely pulled over when Stella and the other girls needed to stop, and we still made pretty good time. We took a nice lunch break at a rest area and all enjoyed the rest and getting out of the trucks for awhile.

We continued on to Balmorhea (BAL-mo-RAY), a tiny town known for it's "world's largest spring-fed swimming pool" located in the Balmorhea State Park. The city gets its name from the three founders of the town, Balcom, Morrow and Rhea.

We were actually delighted with this park. At first it looked run down with lots of permanent residents, but we soon learned that the park was an excellent choice. The roads and sites are wide and easy to navigate, the sites are level with a hard surface that was obtained when the highways were re-topped. The contractors needed a place to get rid of the torn-out materials so this park took it for free and topped their entire park with a great material to park RVs on. They have full hookups and it only cost $20 pr night. Perfect for an overnight stop.

We were all tired and it was VERY hot, so we all went inside and didn't go outside again. I was told that the night sky was beautiful and there were nice views of mountains in the distance.

Tuesday-Saddleback Mountain RV Park to Dreams Catchers RV Park in Deming New Mexico
We again left right on time-9 o'clock sharp. We made good time down I-10-which we will follow into Arizona when we turn off into Utah. We stopped at a truck stop out in the middle of nowhere. They have truck lanes but the pumps were out of order. They sell diesel in the front (passenger car) lanes but the truckers were all made as they drove around back and found no diesel for sale there. The pumps were very slow, so when all three of us filled up, we were there for almost an hour. We stopped again at a rest stop near Van Horn TX and when we left, Dave and Larry, who were behind me, noticed a silver car that left at the same time. We had traveled only a few miles when I glanced in the mirror and saw the silver car in a huge cloud of dust turning over in the air and coming to rest on its wheels in the center median of the freeway. It was some distance behind me but in front of Dave and Larry who stopped and ran across the freeway to help the occupants. Stella and I stopped but it was too far back for me to walk, so I helped by calling 911 for help. We later learned from Dave and Larry that a young man, approximately 15 year old was ejected and seemed to be severely injured but of course, we don't know his condition. His mother's injuries and condition are also unknown.

After negotiating traffic in El Paso, we stopped for lunch at another rest stop. This is where we got filled in on the accident, so we were all pretty somber and shaken. This is the first accident that we have actually seen in our time on the roads, so we consider ourselves very lucky. 

We continued on, still making good time, made even better when we gained an hour by crossing into New Mexico. The speed limit is 80 mph on most of the highway, but our speeds are still less than 65. My cruise control has stopped working so I must actually step on the accelerator. It's hard to get used to but I think I'll manage.

Then to add to an already slowed-down day, we ran into a huge traffic backup because of another bad traffic accident involving an 18 wheeler. It looked very bad and we heard that it was a fatality. Crews were unloading the 18 wheeler and partially blocking the freeway. Another 30-45 minute delay!

We were glad to finally arrive at the Escapees Dreamcatcher RV Park. This is another nice park with wide and flat spaces and not too expensive. They cater to Escapee members but it is open to anyone.

Wednesday Escapees Dreamcatcher RV Park to Ticacho/Tucson NW KOA
We were up and packed and pulled out at 9 again. 3 days in a row! Must be some kind of record. 

We made an easy day out of this trip, with no issues or drama until we arrived at the park. Stella turned on the pump to transfer fuel between the auxiliary tank and the truck as we checked in. We both forgot about turning it off or at least checking on how much fuel had been transferred. We got all set up and went inside for a few minutes when Nancy told us we had fuel leaking. We immediately went out and turned the pump off and only a small amount had been wasted. Bummer! We felt pretty dumb by forgetting something as important and expensive as fuel, but when we refill the tank we should be able to figure out how much we lost.

Dave and Nancy went to refuel after we all got set and invited us to ride along. We discovered a Dairy Queen at the service station and decided to get something to eat there. We went in, expecting to be able to order some good burgers, but it was an ice cream only store. It was right next to a Subway, so I guess they don't want any competition. We ended up at a nearby Denny's and had a good meal.

Thursday-Moving Day-Ticacho/Tucson KOA to Flagstaff KOA
We left a bit after 9 this morning and left Larry and Mary Ann behind. They are going to the Arizona chapter rally in Phoenix, which is only about 90 miles away and didn't want to leave this early, so they decided to take it easy and leave later in the morning. We left them after hugs and handshakes and again got out on I-10 where we again made good times. This will be our last day on the long highway and we have enjoyed the smooth roads, wide shoulders and numerous rest stops and plentiful service stations. There was more traffic on the road today than we have had all week. After making it through Phoenix, it began to rain and the temperatures began to drop. We made a quick fuel stop at a Shell truck stop and I almost froze while getting fuel. Luckily, they had the large nozzle on the pump and it went fast. It was 55 degrees when we arrived here in Flagstaff but the rain had tapered off to a slow drizzle. We didn't like the site that we are in, pretty tight and way out of level, but we'll make do. Dave and Nancy's sucked worse than ours did. They are in a "deluxe" site but they are surrounded by trees and have no satellite service. Then they found they have no cable television either. I guess they'll be watching movies tonight.

Friday-Moving Day-Flagstaff KOA to Bauer's Canyon RV Resort-Homestretch!
This park has some tight roads and the site that we were in has trees that are very close, so I had to be careful when pulling out. The first thing I had to do was to pick up and remove lots of tree limbs and leaves from everything. We had a big rainstorm overnight with high winds and what sounded like hail, so I didn't get a lot of sleep but I'll make out. We don't have very far to go today-about 220 miles. It was a beautiful day for a drive in some of the most spectacular scenery that we've seen. When I finish this entry to the week-long drive I'll add another entry with nothing but photos.

We only made two quick stops with no meal break because we couldn't wait to get to Glendale and get set up for the next week. We arrived at the park about 2pm and were soon checked in. It took me three tries to get into the small site they put us in but we are here now and get started exploring the area. There are several other Heartlanders here already and we had a nice campfire after dark. Before long, I was cold and called it a night but it looks as though we are in for some good fun here.

In closing of this long post from a week-long journey, we are all tired but looking forward to the next couple of weeks. One week here in some gorgeous country and the next week in Las Vegas. 

Vegas Baby!!

So long.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday September 19, 2016-Johnson Creek RV Resort

Well, the last south central chapter rally is over. We've had a nice time here in Ingram, visiting with old friends and catching up. We had some good food here, with a great barbecue meal furnished by the chapter. Sadly, Tom and Marti are stepping down as chapter leaders after the spring rally which will be held in Montgomery. 

We took the chapter leaders, Dave and Nancy & Tom and Marti out to eat tonight. We had planned to go to the Lake House restaurant but they closed at 3 on Sunday, so we ended up at Billy Gene's restaurant,another good restaurant in Kerrville. The food was good and we had a great waiter that took very good care of us.

We will begin our trip to Glendale Utah tomorrow. This will be a trip of over 1000 miles and will end at Glendale, a tiny town near the Zion National Park. We are looking forward to getting there and checking out the sights to see at Zion. Luckily, a route figured out by Nancy, has no travel days of more than 300 miles, so it should be a nice trip. I'll let you know each day, as best I can. Please stay tuned.

So long.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Monday September 12 to Wednesday September 14, 2016-Moving day-Mill Creek Ranch to Johnson Creek Resort, Ingram TX

We left Canton at last on Monday morning, traveling with Dave and Nancy & Larry and Mary Ann. We left right on time at 9am, and made good time. It was a long drive but there was little traffic and we arrived here at Ingram with no issues or problems. We were all tired and glad to be here. This is nut a bad park, with lots of pecan trees giving good shade. Pecan trees are messy with leaves that turn brown and a sort of moss from the trees that contains a sap that will stain. The park has one employee that goes around to clean the pedestals and wipe the sap off.

The good news when we arrived was that the Dish Network box began to work again. There is a green power light that comes on when the box is plugged in and a blue HDMI light that soon comes on. While in Canton the blue light didn't come on but here it did. I don't know why it began to work again, but I'll take it! We have our satellite back now and it's one less thing that we need to be reimbursed for. And, to bring this matter up to date, I have been in contact with Mill Creek and they first denied coverage for the damage but I spoke with Dorinda again this morning and it has been returned to the insurance company and they are trying to decide whether they will pay. It seems open and shut to me, their equipment damaged our RV and they have a responsibility to pay for the damage. We'll have to wait and see...

Yesterday we went to Lowe's and bought a new convection/microwave. Since this is Stella's primary cooking instrument, it is a must-have. At this point, we are back to normal after the damage; television working on satellite, convection/microwave works (and has been cooked with) and most importantly, the new coffee pot works well.

Now for the rally to begin! Almost everyone has arrived, so the fun will start soon! 

So long.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Saturday September 10, 2016-Mill Creek Ranch RV Resort

Saturday began as just another rally day. I had agreed to plug in the coffee pot early enough for it to be ready when people began coming in for breakfast in the rally hall. We were locked out of the hall, so I had to take the coffee pot over and plug it in to an outside plug.

We went back over for breakfast and had a really good time visiting with the new folks at the rally and of course, with out old friends that were here. We stayed over in the hall for a couple of hours and I came home to check on Tramp. It was then that I found that the television wasn't working, the air conditioners, nor anything else in the living/dining room. Wow! Stella soon came in and said she smelled smoke in the rear of the trailer. I went outside and couldn't find anything amiss, so we kept looking. Soon, one of our Heartland friends, Rex, came over with a tester that he had built and discovered that the park 50 amp breaker was bad, with one leg of the breaker being dead. I contacted the park to tell them and their repairman-the same one that came out on Tuesday to replace the plug- came over and immediately showed his displeasure with the home made tester, but agreed to change out the breaker. 

The commotion and activity soon attracted the attention of several other Heartland "workers" who pitched in and went to work on the problem. I helped where I could but before too long the heat got to me and I was forced by y friends to go seek shelter and take it easy. Jason, Rex, Tim and Dave as well as others worked on the trailer all afternoon. We later found that we were getting 230 volts to the coffee pot and apparently other items, which had been damaged.

It was finally determined that the cause of the problem was, back on Tuesday when we arrived and had the original problem with a loose connection with the park pedestal, this caused my power cord which was plugged in, to vibrate and arc electricity, which deteriorated and caused the problems that we have now. Jason had a spare 50 amp extension cord, so he cut off one end and wired everything back up. Jason had a master electrician that he called to tell him what had been done to double check all the work and he said everything sounded good, so one by one the breakers were turned back on and nothing started smoking or made funny noises, and all the electric issues were repaired. 

I tell you again, it's nice to have so many talented friends. I forgot to mention back in the beginning of this repair saga that I had called a couple of RV technicians in the area but no one worked on weekends. I realize that they work very hard, but most people use their trailers on the weekends and need work done when they are out in their unit.

I did some damage inventory  and while doing so found that the 110-12 volt converter that I thought had been damaged was in fact working as was the television, which operated on park cable. The antenna would now search for satellites but would not lock in. I plugged in my neighbor Mike's box and it worked, so my box must be bad. the microwave/convection oven did not come on when plugged in but the turntable would slowly turn, so it is out.

So, the damaged items from this accident were:
50 amp power cord
2-110/12 volt converters
the Dish Network controller box
Frigidaire Microwave/Convection oven
coffee maker

We have been in touch with Mill Creek and were told that they will contact their insurance company and get back to us. Wish us luck in our claim.

So long.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Thursday September 8, 2016-Mill Creek Ranch Resort

Today began pretty early because I am going to a concealed handgun class, since my retiring police department does not want to carry my retired peace office handgun license. 

The class was attended by several other rally attendees and was actually a lot of fun. I got to tell a few stories of events in my career. We all did well on the test (I aced it) and we drove over with Jason and Audra to a private gun club in Ben Wheeler, a tiny town near Canton to qualify with our guns. We all passed with flying colors. They don't actually grade the results but merely record a pass/fail. I was very proud of Nancy, who shot a handgun for the first time, passing like the rest of us.

We returned home to drop off our weapons and went our to eat at the Jalapeno Tree with Dave and Nancy and had a great meal. It had been so hot at the gun range and we were all dehydrated and very thirsty. I think we all drank two or three glasses of water. After finishing our meal, we came back home to the best news of the day-TV!!

Stella had called the guy in Tyler-Chapman's Advanced Satellite Systems- and had gotten instructions on how to re-program the dish to pick up our  TV stations and....success! I've got a little tweaking to do, but all in all, we're good. It was good to watch Hi Def TV again.

Tired but happy

So long.