Saturday, January 20, 2018

Taking A Load Off

I probably never mentioned the load that was under my rig for the last three months.  Dan Chance, having used his backhoe/tractor to build an RV pad next to my Arizona digs using something like ten huge truckloads of dirt, including installation of electric and water lines, refused payment for same.  He's one of the best neighbors this subdivision has ever seen since he loves to operate his tractor.

I knew one of his favorite drinks was Sharps NA Beer.  I'm mostly a non-drinker myself and truly hate the taste of beer, but since he can't get it anywhere in Arizona or California, I decided to surprise him with a few cases from Oregon.  I bought up everything I could find, which took some doing.

That heavy load has been traveling with me ever since.  Time for the big reveal!!  As Dan drove up, I already had maybe six cases on the ground next to the rig.  That's when I disappeared completely inside the bay, crawling all the way to the far side to retrieve the rest of 21 errant cases.  Yup ... Dan was surprised!!

Now that THAT'S out of the way, I'll probably get much better fuel mileage from the weight loss!!
I messed around the house in the morning, waiting for the call from Lowes about the dryer delivery.  After some discussion, I went with the electric one.  The plug was already in the wall and I was concerned about having gas and flames anywhere near the old venting and all that lint, especially when I'm not here.

I did all that contemplating on the patio looking out over the desert.  That brought up the subject of the back yard, the brown grass and overgrown bushes.  With water being the most expensive thing in the desert ... electricity and gas are cheap compared to California ... the grass will remain a tad bit brown.
Since it's winter, even though it feels like a nice summer to me, the critters are NOT out in force like they were in June.  Later in the evening a few gambles quail stopped by my water station, along with this cute bunny.  I could sit out here all day and watch for critters.
Still waiting for the dryer phone call, I took down all the rods and drapes in my bedroom.  I filled the holes as best I could.  With no paint to touch up things, it's still going to be visible until I get some type of drapes.  That's harder than it sounds.  All the ones I want are several hundred dollars and I'm too cheap to buy them.  

Make them you say?  Yes I suppose I could ... UGH!  That's a BIG project.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door.  YAY!!!  HAPPY DANCE!!  My dryer has arrived.  I mentioned the old gas line, whereupon the guy said he couldn't touch it.  They were supposed to tell me to have a plumber unhook the line.  

Instantly blond Nancy put on her sweetest oh-NO-who-do-I-call face and talked the guy into turning the valve off and disconnecting the line ... at least from the old dryer end.  Apparently I now have to find a plug, unscrew the old line and cap the pipe.  I do NOT look forward to doing that, but I suppose it will add to my list of things I really can do if I put my mind to it.

Isn't she beautiful???  I later discovered there actually is a vent to the outside ... it's about 25 feet long, going clear under the house to a small exhaust vent.  How do I know that?  Because I got my trusty flashlight and crawled down in the access hole.  I just pretended I was crawling under the rig to clean my jacks.
First thing this morning, I'm doing some laundry so I can see how she works.  What a relief not to worry about smoke and fire, not to mention she's quiet as a mouse!!

Next up ... working on my sewing room the cheap, or rather inexpensive way.




Friday, January 19, 2018

Slap Happy!!

It truly is NOT my goal in life to keep the bandaid companies in business, let alone neosporin and horse bandages.  I suppose you could call me a klutz.  Knowing that, I really do try to be careful so bad things don't happen to me.

I've surrounded myself with the tools of the trade just for those occasions.  Yesterday I was up nice and early as usual to shower and get all beautiful before heading off to Lowes.  You never know when you might meet a handsome single Contractor.  One of the things I do before leaving for California is turn the hot water heater to low.  Unfortunately for me, I forgot to turn it back UP.

When I jumped in the shower, that cold water woke me up rather quickly!!  YIKES!!!  I jumped back out, got dressed and headed out in the dark to turn it up.  The aforementioned piece of equipment resides behind a locked door only accessible from outside in the cold wind.  Did I mention it was dark?

I tromped right up to the door like I had done in the past, only to be attacked by a cactus bush.  How could it possibly have grown THAT BIG in such a short time.  I gathered my cactus pushing stick and a flashlight to no avail.  The bush wouldn't budge.

Out came the big guns ... my trusty clippers.  Eventually I was able to defeat the bush just enough to open the door and turn up the water heater.  My reward was nice hot water to wash off my bloody arms.
All of that before heading off to Lowes for the SECOND time.  You see I was there the day before, ordering this nice LG electric dryer.  My existing one is VERY old and a fire hazard from all the lint that is not caught by the trap.  

Back home at around 7:00 pm, I decided to remove the old one and clean up the fourteen coat hangars along with a myriad of dead animal bodies.  Hey ..... what's that metal pipe thing?  Turns out it's a GAS dryer.  Who knew?  Not me because I've never had one before.  Panic set in.

I immediately called Lowes and cancelled the electric one which was scheduled for delivery.  My goal YESTERDAY was to go order a GAS dryer.  However, after talking to Mr. Chance, I decided I should stick with electricity, since I'm so familiar with it zapping me every few minutes.  No use tempting fate with a gas flame in the house.  Maybe I need a pot of water on the stove.

At any rate, BACK to Lowes we went, where I apologetically ordered the same dryer AGAIN!!  They are delivering it today.  That's pretty fast service!!
Between attacking cactus and canceling dryers, I've become rather slap happy.  Every time I walk anywhere, I slap at things right and left, hoping to release the electric charge I've gathered along the way.  I really never thought I had an electric personality until now.

I discovered if you slap things hard enough, you don't feel the shock, since I haven't found any anti-static spray yet.  THAT will be my goal of the day once the dryer is installed.  I'm hoping the delivery guys will remove the metal gas pipe from the old dryer.  I don't think slapping that would be a good thing!!

A wonderful beef stew dinner at the Chance residence made my booboo's feel much better, along with a beautiful sunset on the drive home.
Here's hoping today goes a little better and the cactus will finally leave me alone!!




Thursday, January 18, 2018

OOOWWWWWWW!!

That has become my favorite word, which should come as no surprise to those who know me.  It's better than Oh  S#$%&%!!#$@, don't you think?

I like doing minor repairs.  It gives you a sense of accomplishment ... like I was actually able to fix that myself!!  There's really not much to fix here at my new ranch house, just a few annoyances.

When I discovered water running over the bathroom floor after turning the valves back on (I always turn them off when I'm going to be gone for a time), I was sure surprised.  It took three tries, but I finally figured out a wrench would probably do the trick ... and it did.  Chock one up for Nancy.
Next up, the bathroom sink drain plugs didn't work.  After a trip to Lowes to purchase a new clothes dryer (that's tomorrow's story), I picked up the necessary supplies.  Almost.  Turns out I really needed to replace more parts, but let them be for now.  

Scrunching in under the too small sink in the too small cabinet, I finally got the new plugs hooked up.  Might as well do both at the same time since I was on the floor.  So far so good!  Except one was missing that little piece of squeezy metal to keep the two pieces together.  I stole one from the other bathroom.  Guests will have to do without a drain plug.
That's when I unloaded some boxes from the rig and tripped over a piece of something with long spines that was stiff as a board.  OUCH!!!  Cactus?  I never even SAW them!!  I was wearing sandals, which resulted in two big holes in my toe!!  I grabbed a shovel and beat them into submission!!

Next up, pads for the bottom of the chair legs so they don't scratch the floor.  These are nailed on, with soft pads stuck to the white plastic.  What could possibly go wrong??  It was the hammer, I'm sure, as I smashed my finger trying to hold the thing in place.  Not bad though, I'll live.
Here is where I really got in trouble.  I've been carrying this guy around for two years before finally finding his home on my patio.  I should have used a nail, but I thought a big screw would hold better.
Yup ... OOWWWWW!!!!  That brand new sharp screwdriver slipped off the head of the screw and went straight into my finger.  There's something to be said for buying really good tools.  They seem to be sharper than most!  I bled like a stuck pig.
With no ice at hand, I substituted a nice piece of frozen chicken.  Worked like a charm.
Although much deeper than I first expected, it's nothing a little horse bandage couldn't fix.  
I spent the evening sitting on my patio enjoying the view.  It made my finger feel much better!!  Now if I can just figure out how to get the static electricity out of the carpets so I don't get a 50 volt electrical shock every time I turn a light on or off!!!!  Any suggestions??
This morning I'm heading back to Lowes to fix the clothes dryer snafu from yesterday, but that's tomorrow's story!!






Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Indio Repairs Revisited

One of the big pluses about attending the Indio Rally is the vendor booths.  It's the second reason I go to rallies, the first of course being the friend reunions.

Lucky for me, way back someone recommended a Roadmaster tow bar.  I'm pretty sure that was Mr. Chance, my everything motorhome mentor.  I remember purchasing it at (plug your ears) Camping World in Sacramento.  That was before I was "in the know".

My luck held out though, as the installer had done it hundreds of times and I haven't had any problems since.  The rock screen was added before the trip to Alaska.  Worked like a charm!!

At any rate, every time I've been to Indio, Roadmaster has sent their crew around to check every hitch they make.  That's above and beyond good service!!  I've never even seen them ... I just find a note saying the hitch passed inspection.

This time however, when I saw a guy at the back of my rig, I figured to find out what the heck he was doing.  You know how I am!!  He was just writing up a service notice.  The ball joint, or whatever it's called, was WAY too loose and sloppy.

Show me please.  I'm always suspicious of someone selling me something I may not really need.  Sure enough, as supported by another RV'er, it needed repair.  The blond kicked in immediately.

There's no way I'm going to be able to get that thing off.  It's been on for six years.  The nice man asked for a wrench, which I was able to provide (I know, shocker, right?) ... removed the hitch and drove it and me to the repair shop.  $125 plus parts for the screen arm that is lopsided due to no bushings.
When I went to retrieve it the next day because I hadn't heard from them, I was happy to learn they didn't charge for parts.  Luckily the blond kept her mouth shut.  Unfortunately, talk as she might, she couldn't get them to come and install it again.

I'm a strong gal ... I can do this!  With very little trouble, I got the hitch back in the receiver.  That's when I realized the entire hitch was all new except for the two arms that attach to the car.  That was unexpected!  Now for the hard part, putting the hitch lock back on without instructions.  

I'm happy to say I apparently did a good job, since the car didn't go careening off the freeway on the way to Tucson!!  YAY for Nancy!!!
Another repair ... when I pulled on the strap to open one small window shade, it broke with a bang.  Thanks to John Painter for the use of his ladder and his arms to open the shade by hand, slide the strap thingy out (that's a technical term) so I could flag down a truck and get replacements.  That's with an S because I know this will happen again!!

I bought three at $8 each and the wonderful Mr. Painter installed one of them for me.  It's so nice to have a man around the house, if only temporarily!!
The last repair/maintenance item at Indio cost me an arm, a leg and a big chunk from my wallet.  I'm in love with Mr. Jim Fulkerson.  (I wonder if he's single?)  Anyway, he's one of the nicest guys I know, hard working, never tries to sell you something you don't need and to top it all ... he delivers!!  

Every year at Indio, he changes the oil and fuel filters in my rig for less than I would pay at Freightliner an hours drive from my house.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate that service.  THIS year however, it was time for the transmission fluid.  

Can you say OUCH??  $900 later both services were complete with a nice smile and a "see you next year" from Jim.  I'm good for another five years on the trani, but I think I better add a little more to that savings account every month!!

It's been windy and cold every since arriving in Tucson.  The Vail gale is going strong.  So far the only thing unpacked is the car, so I better get to it!!





Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Catching Up

There were so many things going on at the Indio Rally at the same time, there was hardly time to write about it.  One of the first things we did was to locate the best cake in the land.  Hard working people like us need cake.  Besides that, it was Dottie Poole's birthday, not to mention my January birthday, the 30th celebration of WMHA and our Golden Spike 20th!!

Sherman's is a Kosher Deli located in Palm Desert or Desert Palms.  It's kind of like LA ... they all run together and I can never remember the names.  
This is one of Dottie's favorite haunts, so I blame it all on her.  THIS however is friend Betty, who was very good at making NEW friends with the men waiting to be seated at the deli.  I'm surprised they didn't follow us home.  I'm taking lessons from Betty, just so you know!!  Take a gander at those sandwiches.  They are HUGE!!
This is the crazy concoction I ordered ... pastrami between potato latkes instead of bread.  It was delicious!!  If you ever get that direction, definitely look up Shermans.
Dottie found her cake there too.  Good grief!!  They had the biggest cakes I've ever seen in my life.  This monster is about nine inches tall and a foot across.  Hands down, it was the best carrot cake I've ever eaten in my life!!  Check them out ... you can order one piece or the whole cake!!
The very next morning, I heard the familiar whoosh of a hot air balloon.  This guy has flown across the fairgrounds almost every time I've been here, landing in a nearby parking lot.
I probably wouldn't give it much attention, but since I crewed on a balloon in Albuquerque (thanks to Jim and Gail) I'm always drawn to them.
There were several awards handed out, but the best of all was to our very own John Painter for his work on our Golden Spike newsletter.  Unfortunately they forgot to tell him OR us that this was happening, so John, his wife Patty and I spent the entire evening watching the football game.  He was awarded the certificate the last morning as we were packing up.
SO ... for the next few hours, I'll be unpacking the rig with all the junk, or rather important decorating stuff and useful things I brought to Lost Horse Ranch.   Included in that is the freezer.  When I said it was packed to the brim, I wasn't kidding.  I couldn't even get one more ice cream bar in there.  

There's lots of leftovers, like the 99 pancakes uneaten from the breakfast and one whole pizza, along with two big containers of carrot cake.  At least most of the pumpkin bread is gone!!!
Yes, there's STILL more from Indio ... but that will be tomorrow's story as I unpack, which isn't a very interesting subject.  





Monday, January 15, 2018

Just Passing Through Q

I rather hate being in a hurry.  I hurried to the Riverside Rally, then we all hurried to the Indio Rally where we hurried to get the ice cream delivered and scooped.  Now here I am again, hurrying to get to my new place in Tucson.

I actually purchased it in April and was able to spend about three weeks there in June before hurrying back home to be out of that 118 degree heat.  It's a WINTER home.  I have so much to do, and only three months to spend before hurrying back to get my taxes filed.  Half of January is already gone.

The sunrise in Indio was gorgeous ... a nice ending to a stressful week.
Traffic wasn't bad at all as I entered Arizona.  Don't forget the time change.  
Quartzsite is beautiful as always.  I headed down to the RV park since I require a sewer connection for dumping before arriving at Lost Horse Ranch (my new digs).
I quickly sent out emails, hoping to catch up with some of the bloggers I follow.  Lucky for me, George and Suzie responded with directions to their rig.  Now if you're familiar with Quartzsite at all, you know it's something like past the two dusty road signs, past the candy cane (what??), turn right and look for Stinger Bee.  Okay then!!  I can't believe I found them on the first try.

Enjoying the afternoon with them were Bill, Patsy and their puppy Clemson (PatsyIsChillin.blogspot.com) and Tom and Deb (tdCelebratingtheDance.blogspot.com).  George is the one I've talked about who does most of their cooking on his Weber Q barbecue.  I learned a LOT about Canada since they all hail from that direction.
Time passed by too fast and it was getting dark, so I headed back to my rig to double check my second day reservations.  Lo and behold, I have no second day reservations.  As is usual for this time of year, the park is full and I have to be out by 11:00 this morning.  

I was hoping to catch up with one more blogger ... Rick and Kathy (It'sAboutTime) who are actually parked somewhere on the same 500 acres as George and Suzie.  If I wasn't in a hurry to get to Tucson and start work on my house, I would pull off in the desert and spend another couple of days.  I'll make sure I catch up with them next time!!
As I headed home, the sunset in the East was just as magnificent as the one in the West.
Looking West

Time to pack up!  I seem to have lost an hour somewhere over the Arizona border.  Yes, I forgot the time change.  I still have lots of tales of Indio to tell, but it will have to wait until tomorrow when I'm parked at my new little house in the desert, Lost Horse Ranch.







Sunday, January 14, 2018

Here's The Scoop!!!

Well for Heaven's sake ... I didn't get one single picture of the men scooping all that ice cream.  RATS!!

So here's the scoop on the scooping!!  I started out at 9:30 helping to set up the ice cream social.  With tables in place, spoons and bowls waiting at the ready, I went back to gather the rest of our chocolate sauce and aprons.

The Schwan's guy showed up nice and early.  Boy do I like THAT!  We removed 57 gallons of ice cream from his truck, only to discover the cookie lady had commandeered my table.  With a little wrangling, the chocolate and caramel sauce finally found a home at the very end of the line.

Ready ... set ... GO!!!  The line was instantly long as our men began dishing it out.  After a quick taste test, with the help of Rich Dixon, I gathered up the bars left over from the previous day and began distribution to all the sections who could not attend in person.

As the big tubs were used up, I brought out more hoping there was enough time for it to soften.  Load 'em up!!!  I'm thinking we might have lots left over.

An hour later, the line was still just as long.  Okay, shorten those servings!!  In no time the line was gone.  Okay, larger servings please.  Kudos to this wonderful group of people who put up with me!!!

Two hours later, we finally gave away the very last scoop of ice cream.  How did we possibly do that???  It came out absolutely perfect!!
Unfortunately, there were approximately 64 dozen Costco cookies too many.  I'm sure glad that wasn't in MY balliwick.  I was one happy camper as we all returned to our rigs to gather up our last supplies for the final Happy Hour.  Since the playoff games are in full swing, we watched it on my outside television. First time that's been used in almost six years.
There's no rest for the group however ... this morning we're off to clean the fairgrounds of trash.  We'll ride around on golf carts and clean up the big stuff before closing our rigs and heading out.  I'll be spending the night in Quartzsite!!

Whew!!!  That's one more ice cream rally under my belt.




Saturday, January 13, 2018

GOLD ... It's For Ice Cream

Hello from the Golden Spike Group, with smiling faces, ready to take on the daunting task of serving ice cream to 1700 rally attendees.  As most of you know, we do this every year, in the hopes we will get asphalt parking in the unpredictable Indio weather.
There are not one, but TWO ice cream socials ... one on Friday and one on Saturday.  You probably also know that I stress over this process every year.  One year the Schwans truck did NOT show up.  You can't imagine how wonderful it is to have 1700 people mad at you, even if it wasn't our fault.

That space in the picture above?  That was for me.  I take the first picture, then have someone else take mine and I put the two together.  I guess next year I better get a gold shirt so I blend in ... the better to NOT see me!!
I'm not the only one ... except I don't have the ingenuity that this gentlemen's wife has!!  I will definitely remember this for next year.  Although I probably would have used duck tape, his is held on with alligator clips.
So the ice cream came .... and we handed out over twelve hundred bars.  My dilemma is that I ordered 1500 ... with even more for today.  I made a second trip around and STILL had ice cream left over.  

Today will be the ice cream sundae social, accompanied by Costco cookies.  Luckily the driver is coming early enough for the ice cream to soften up so it can be "hand" scooped.  Whoopee!!!   THIS time I'm suggesting we fill the bowls to the brim, since there is no place to store any leftovers.  All our freezers are chock full!!

Note to Nancy ... 1700 people ... only order 1200 ice cream bars.

Wave goodby Golden Spike group!!!
The only other exciting thing I did was purchase a dash cover.  Isn't it beautiful?  No, not the top part ... that's a weird reflection from the sun reflectors.  It fits perfectly!  I love it!!  It's the wrong color.  On Thursday, I ordered a gorgeous gray one, which magically turned into tan upon opening the box.  

I didn't order tan because it reflects so badly in the windshield, I can hardly see to drive.  Back in the box it went.  Although this one came overnight, the next one won't arrive until Thursday of this week.  They are shipping it to Arizona for me.
Although I've heard the entertainment at night has been very good, I've not attended.  I've just been too tired.  Unfortunately, that means I've been up since 4:15 this morning.  C'est la vie!!  Maybe I can sneak in a nap before the ice cream arrives.



Friday, January 12, 2018

ELVIS IS HERE!!!!

But first ...  MAN CAN COOK!!

Yesterday the women were treated like QUEENS as the men prepared a wonderful breakfast for us.  How often do you see that??  Here's the mixing table with five guys (not the hamburger kind) working on their mixology.
There were a few test runs before they were satisfied with the correct batter and heat.  I'm pretty sure I could NEVER cook pancakes on a barbecue grill.
Hard at work, I think they made about 300, which we ate with abandon, smothered in syrup and homemade jams.  On the far end is the sausage station, cooking in a huge cast iron skillet.  It doesn't get much better than this.  Thank you guys for all your hard work.  It was delicious.  
Next up ... the Viva Las Vegas parade, a tradition at this rally ever since I've been coming here.  As the color guard marched by, everyone stood.  There were no bended knees here!!!
A couple of oldies but goodies drove by, both the cars AND the drivers.
Who should appear over the horizon but ELVIS himself!  This happens to be the Chapel of the Bells with Elvis the officiating minister.
He was marrying everyone who followed behind, including these zombie lovebirds.
You had to look twice here to figure out who was on front and who was on back.  One side was WOMAN and one side MAN.  They sure can come up with some crazy costumes.
Here was a sight to behold.  Look closely.  I'm pretty sure there is an imposter in the group!!
At long last, Elvis has arrived!!!  He walked right over and placed his sweat covered scarf, DNA included, on the neck of Betty Simon, sitting next to me.  Ooh la la Betty!!!!
This little Elvis was the hit of the parade.  He marched right down the sides, smelling every single foot and getting pats along the way.
With the parade finally over, our group retired to the rigs where we AGAIN stuffed ourselves to the gills on salad and PIZZA!!  You could never say we don't eat well!
Lots of stuff has been going on in the background, like me running around trying to find out how much ice cream people need so I can worry over whether I have enough or not.  

In the meantime, Roadmaster came and checked my hitch, like they always do for everyone here.  Luckily I caught him this time, to discover there was a problem.  I'll tell you about that and a couple more irritations after the rally is over.  There's too much going on to worry about those things right now!!  

Today is the first ice cream social giveaway ... FREE ICE CREAM.  You can't beat that!!