Monday, February 25, 2013

A Cold Day In .......

The Sierras!!!  There hasn't been much rain in central California, but last week there was just enough to allow for another gorgeous day of skiing the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Up at O-Dark-Thirty, I packed up my gear and drove to my buddy's house ... and off we went to ski the day away.
We arrived just in time to get a money parking spot and headed up the main lift.  Cold temperatures and new grooming equipment have kept the resort open with only 39 inches of snow.  To our right, on the beginner slope, the boy in the red coat made a beautiful design on the snow to the left side as he came slowly down the hill.  I'm sure he had no idea the trail he was leaving, but obviously, his repetitive turns were very uniform. (clicking on the picture should enlarge it so it is more visible)
I don't think it got over 50 degrees and the snow stayed absolutely perfect.  After 7 long runs (two hours) screaming down the hill, my legs were like jelly ... time for a philly cheese steak sandwich.  Thirty minutes later, we were back on the hill.  You would think we are hard core, but really we're just trying to get our $300 season pass worth of sliding down the mountain.
This much hard skiing does make your legs VERY weak and tired, so rather than risk broken bones, we chose to ski the short runs ten more times and headed out around 3:00.  The reward for such hard but enjoyable work, was Pie In The Sky.  A small operation in business since 1954 according to their inside sign, they DO have the best pizza I think I've ever had.  There's 1-1/2 inches of "stuff" on the top of a crispy brown crust.  You always have to wait ... great food takes time to cook ... and it's not exactly cheap ... but it is DELICIOUS!!!!
A great ending to another great day!!  Hoping for at least two more ski days.  Pray for snow!!!!!  Maybe I should go visit Patty and Dan in Tucson ... seems they have LOTS of the fluffy white stuff!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Dream Come True!!!

Little Braden James came into this world yesterday!!  Happy Birthday Braden!!  One of my good friend's daughter Shelbi finally had her dream come true.    Diane and I worked together for 11 years in the same office, and all that time, Shelbi's only dream was to have a family.  It has finally come true!!!
Shelbi went through lots of lumps and bumps to get here ... she even lived with me for over a year due to some unhappy circumstances.  Finally she met Nick and led him kicking and screaming into adulthood!!
You may have seen some of the wedding pictures I posted on this blog as well as the Baby Announcement.  Their way of telling me about the upcoming event was to ask me to take some pictures in the park.  When we got there, they put a pair of three inch long converse tennis shoes on the ground beside them.  What a shock!!!  Auntie Nancy is thrilled for them both.  He's beautiful and healthy and you can tell he loves his mom!!!
Happy Birthday Braden ... can't wait to watch you grow up!!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Getting My Pour On!!

At long last the concrete pour is on for my new "storage building".  Here is the before picture.  The plan is to move the dog kennel and stack of hay to make room for a hay barn.  Okay, really it's for my RV!!
Yesterday they showed up bright and early to clear out the grass and set the forms.  See the green horse blanket on the gate?  That's because my horses broke the cross bar.  My contractor Matt said he had several extra vinyl boards, and they replaced all the broken ones for me.  What a great guy!!!
I moved the RV out into the road, surrounded by my newly purchased collapsible cones at 7:00 am.  By 7:05 the guys were ready for the concrete truck.
It took some maneuvering to get the chute in the right position ... I just kept my eyes closed as the truck backed through my rock pillars ... and the pour began.  It's amazing how fast it all goes, and how hard these guys have to work before it sets up.
Within an hour, it was a done deal and the truck was gone.  Now comes the finish work.  Matt stopped by for a look, but this crew worked on their own.  About that time, the building contractor stopped by to get the finish measurements and give me a final quote.  Unfortunately, I have to get the building permit.  Not a job I relish at all.  I'm taking friends with me for moral support!!!

Isn't it pretty??
I can't wait for it to dry enough to move the white shed to the far right of the concrete along with the dog kennel.  The hay will sit in front of that.  Even if the County gives me a hard time, or heaven forbid refuses my permit, I will have a great place to park the motorhome.  Electrical hookups will come later.  Buzzard's Roost RV park will soon be open for business!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pioneers and Recalls!!

Most people know their family history.  Ours never talked about it much.  Since looking into my mothers side of the family, I have found some very interesting tidbits.  My grandmother was born in Kansas, the daughter of a disinherited socialite who married a "dam" Yankee.  A divorced one at that!! Here's the family portrait ... my Grandmother is the baby.  Looks to me like they were pretty prosperous.
Eventually Grandmother ended up in Colorado, where she married a farmer/cattleman.  She then had two daughters and moved to California, where her husband worked on paving Walker's Pass, one of the few roads to the Eastern Sierras.

I was told my Grandfather came from East Germany, but it appears he was born in the United States.  I also discovered one of the boys above,  lived with them on the ranch in Colorado.  More on this later.

On another note, I took my Tiffen Phaeton to Fresno Truck Center, a freightliner dealership/repair shop, to take care of a Recall I received.  It was easy to find and full of really nice men jumping up to help me.  I can't lie, it was very nice!!!  Then I found out I was totally on the wrong side of the building.  A quick trip around the back side and I was met by their service manager.  In 15 minutes, the mechanic was inside with his tools, tearing my dash apart!!!  Now I'm kinda partial to my rig ... and when someone starts with a power drill, hammer and pry bar, I get pretty nervous.
After trying to pry the instrument panel loose for the fourth time, I (nicely as I could) suggested maybe he should look UNDERNEATH to see if anything was hanging up ... I certainly didn't want him to rip it out, along with all the wiring!!!  Luckily, he agreed ... I snapped the picture while talking loudly ... and soon he had it out.  It seems there are two sets of wires, held together with fasteners.  He said if he couldn't pull them apart, then I was good, and nothing needed to be done.  Thankfully, they didn't pull apart, and he made sure they were still tight, along with everything else (after my gentle nudging ... and explanation about the last time I had work done on the dash ... I'm still trying to get stuff fixed).
Back in place with the addition of two black marks on both sides where it scraped, I started up the engine to see that all the gauges were still working.  A sticker on my door confirmed the work had been done, and I was free to leave 30 minutes later.  Good thing, because it was 30 degrees and I was frozen.

One down ... one to go.  La Mesa Davis has the new CD player to replace the broken one, and installation will be next week.  That should be it ... when the snow melts off Tehachapi, I'm heading to Death Valley.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pioneer Stock !!!

Has anyone used the internet-based service Ancestry.Com?  One thing my family didn't do much of, was keep records, oral or otherwise, about our ancestry.  Just for fun, I went to Ancestry.Com to see what I might find.  Not really having any information about birth or death dates, I was able to gather quite a bit of interesting info about my grandmother and grandfather on my mothers side.

Since that is a little too much information to be posting on the internet, I erased this original post.  It's easier than you think to get into different personal accounts using this kind of info.

If anyone has experience with Ancestry.Com, I would love to hear about it.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Burrito!! Burrito!!

Stuffed little morsels of sweet goodness!  Meet Shadow and Jackpot!!  Cutest EVER!!!!!
I learned on one of our Golden Spike trips that 'D' and Bill Hall live in the same general area as I do.  Being a horse lover, Patty had told me several times about 'D's babies.  I thought she meant the two Westies, but come to find out 'D' owns two of the cutest mini burros.  She calls them burritos!!!  I couldn't wait to meet them ... so yesterday I made the trip to their ranch.

'D' with her moon boot (foot surgery) hobbled out to the back pasture and called them in.  About 24-30 inches tall, they are fully haired up for the winter, just like my horses.  Soft and fuzzy, they loved having their heads rubbed ... but in the picture above, mom Shadow was keeping an eye on several horses that had passed by earlier.  Burros, donkeys and mules are great watch dogs!!

Once they figured out Bill had some yummy hay cube snacks, they came running.
I forgot my big camera, but as an old photographer once told me, the best camera is the one you have in hand ... my i-phone.  Pretty hard to take pictures of something only 24 inches tall!!

Once I had my burrito craving satisfied, we went to lunch at Me 'N Eds Pizza.  The food was awesome, as was the company!!  'D' and Bill both gave me more motorhome tips and showed me a computer program most of you probably already have, called Streets and Trips, as well as the Good Sam Club 20 pound book full of RV sites in the US.  These resources will come in handy planning a trip for next month.  I also left with a bag full of wonderful juicy oranges from their tree.  I am continually amazed at how nice "RV" people are and I look forward to seeing them at the next rally.

One last Burrito kiss and I headed back home.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Coffee and Fire Exits!!!!!!

It didn't used to bother me, being home for a couple of months.  Seems I always had lots to do.  THIS time it's different, and time is passing VERY slowly!!  Ugh .....

Patty told me they probably don't have my "phony" coffee in Alaska.  Orange cappuccino doesn't appeal to everyone.  So I got right on the internet and ordered 12 cans for now and will order more later.  My RV will be a rolling coffee house.  Along with that, six cans of mosquito spray ... just kidding, I only got two!!
When in Indio, I mentioned that I went to the Fire Safety seminar given by Mac the Fire Guy.  One of the main points of his presentation was to actually open the fire exits in your RV at least once a year so you become familiar with how to get out.  He explained how the windows can basically become glued shut ... but with opening and cleaning, they will remain readily openable (is that a word???).  

Yesterday, I did just that.  I went in and tried to open my two fire exit windows.  Being a rock climber, I'm pretty strong for a woman ... you can imagine my surprise when they didn't open.  My rig is only a year old, and I did NOT expect them to be stuck shut.  I have to tell you, it took LOTS of effort and four really hard bangs with both hands, to get the seal to break on BOTH exits.  I'm thinking if I was in a fire situation, that would be enough to make me panic.  I cleaned the seals and closed them, opening them again easily just to check.  

I know the guys think it is no big deal to open these, just give them a swift kick.  What if your wife is in the RV alone and a fire starts?  Wouldn't you want her to be able to get out??  Well, some of you maybe not ... but seriously, PLEASE have your wives, children and grand children open these windows themselves.  Let them practice so they will not panic in a fire situation.  I promise you will be surprised at how hard it is for them to do.  They don't necessarily have to crawl out, just know how to open the window.  A fire may not ever happen to you ... but you never know!!!  Come on ladies .. open those windows!!!!! 
One of the events that comes around every year in my life is the San Francisco Giants baseball season schedule comes out, giving me time to create a ticket-selling spreadsheet.  I have made noise in the past about wanting to sell the seat license (it's like a piece of real estate ... you actually OWN the seats), but I only had one $400 offer (asking price $9000).  You actually can put them up for sale on the Giants website now, which I did this year.  Amazingly, I got 5 offers immediately for the asking price ... maybe I should have asked for more.  

That same day, wouldn't you know, my skiing buddy called and asked if he could buy them.  After some wrangling, I got the on-line ad pulled.  It was immediately followed by an email offering an additional $1000.  Usually, I would take the money ... but this time, I know my friend has always wanted to be a Season Ticket Holder and I would still have access to the tickets.  I decided to pay it forward.  After several hours of phone calls and paperwork, I am no longer a Season Ticket Holder.  It was a good move for me ... more than enough to pay for the RV cover, and I don't have to spend hours selling, collecting money and passing out tickets for the next 6 months!!!  YAY!!!

I'm headed to Fresno next week for the recall and Sacramento the week after for a CD player replacement by La Mesa RV.  I think a trip to the Sacramento Railroad Museum is in order!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Up Early .... Butt Calls!!

You would think when I delete a post, it would delete it everywhere, and not still show up on someone else's site ... where you click on it, and are taken to a page saying nothing is there.  Really Blog Site??

Sorry for the confusion.  I wrote a post about having gotten up at 5:30 am because of a "butt call" (accidental call from the last person you left a message for).  Such a boring post ... so I included a message attributed to Bill Cosby that I received from the internet, about being tired of paying the bills for lazy people who didn't think they should work for a living.   In the end, I deleted the post ... mostly because it was a little "in your face" about the subject.

It appears now that the title and front page remain on blog sites other than mine, but the blog does not.  Sorry folks ... when I get time, I'll rewrite the post in a more acceptable manner and try again.

Until then,  Happy Trails !!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pretty Quiet at Buzzards Roost!!

Not much has been going on here.  A case of something that made me hungry one minute and sick the next, has kept me close to the fireplace.  There's not been enough snow to encourage me back on the ski slopes, but I guess there has been snow in Arizona???  Really??  I didn't know the desert had snow.  What there HAS been is lots of C O L D !!  When it gets in the 20's, I feel bad for the horses, so I'm out every night blanketing them.  Not that they really need it, it just makes ME feel better.  Remy wouldn't take his head out of the feed trough long enough for a picture, but Showby said "cheese"!!
I've been told that Labs are made for the cold ... but Caitlan is getting up there, somewhere around 84 in people years.  I hope when I'm that old, someone will bring me in out of the cold.  Her arthritis is getting pretty bad and I imagine the temperature doesn't help at all.  Since she has always been an outside dog, she is relegated to the kennel for the night, which she doesn't seem to mind at all.  Yup ... that's a special therapeutic pad she sleeps on!!!  I'm guilty of spoiling my babies!!!
Good news this week!!  The concrete crew is through with their two week pour (I can't imagine what that cost!!) and are coming to my house tomorrow to frame.  Everything green here will be covered with about 32 yards of concrete.   The dog kennel and its shade cover will be moved to the far right of this picture  with the hay stacked in front, leaving a nice long straight-back parking place for the RV.
Matt is an old (although young) friend who does major dairy construction in this part of California.  I'm totally in his debt for doing this small job for me.  To make it even better, he saw two broken rails on my fence ... I'll fix that ... the falling-over fence with my neighbor ... I'll fix that ... and anything else you need, just let me know!!  I'm always amazed to see young people nowadays with a sense of responsibility and willingness to help!!

I've been working on a small blanket for the RV since going on a yarn spree while in Yuma.  I'm pretty sure it will turn into a puppy pillow at some point, so I took this picture to remember what it's "supposed" to look like.  This done, I'm ready to break into the stash of yarn I bought for my Alaska trip.  Course that means another trip to the yarn store!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Just When I Think I Have Everything !!!!

After my first FMCA Rally/Quartzite experience, I thought I had purchased everything I need for the motorhome.  Tire Tracker, Tow Defender, Surge/Low Voltage Protector and other miscellaneous stuff.   Silly me ... apparently you NEVER have everything you need!!  While hooking up my Tow Defender, my friend Dan noticed that my hitch is loose in the receiver.  He said the receiver will rattle around so much the pin holes will become larger, requiring it to be replaced with a larger pin and a larger pin, etc.  Dan has stated that he just loves spending someone else's money ... and mine spends pretty nicely.  However not only does he point these things out, he takes the time to explain the whys and wherefores.  After trying several brands that didn't work very well, he found "Hitch-Vise" to be the best.   Available for $30 on, it arrived within a week.
A quick 10 minutes and I had it installed on the hitch.
So where did I get the tools to install the hitch vise???  From my new toolbox of course!!!  I had my heart set on a nice RED Craftsman box, but it was too tall for the bay.  Returning it, I purchased a slightly smaller black one.  I opened the box, took out the packing ... and all the air went out of my balloon!!!!  It was badly bent on one corner.  Another return (this time I made them unbox it at the store) and it was installed in it's new home, right next to my Makita drill and the new collapsible step (so I don't have to borrow the neighbors).
In order to get the toolbox to fit, I had to remove the dog kennel I carry for emergencies.  You never know when you may need to lock the dogs up.  While in Yuma at the flea market, we found a collapsible dog kennel, plenty big enough for my two to stay in.  It had a zip off top, was washable, and folded down to small flat parcel.  At $89.00, I decided against it.  Twice since then, I definitely could have used it.  Maybe I can find one on-line for less.  Sure enough ... later ... I had one delivered for $69.00 including tax and shipping.  If you have one and paid less, please don't tell me!!!!!
So I'm all set!!!  Done buying!!!  I don't need anything else ..... except a recliner for my newly remodeled space, a power washer to keep everything clean, a 50 amp service installed by my garage, a new motorhome carport including extra concrete ............ hmmmm guess I'm not done after all!!!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Bowl Blackout!!

Who wants to watch football????    ME!!!   But my good buddies Peter and his daughter Lauren, want to go skiing at Dodge Ridge.  The good part is that by noon, the snow will be bad enough for us to leave and return home in time to watch the game.  The bad part about skiing is that I have to be up at 5:00 am, but Peter always drives while Lauren and I play pillow fight until our usual Sonora Starbucks stop!!

The snow pack is non-existent ... but the new owners have purchased snow-grooming equipment that does an amazing job.  Pretty skimpy in places, there was still enough to have a great day.  If you start on the sunny slopes and move to the shaded ones later, it makes for good skiing.  Lauren, although previously not willing to leave the bunny slope, graduated to the big lift today before we packed up and headed home.

Did you watch the game??  Wow!!!  I was yelling and screaming for the 49ers to get their act together. Although I wanted them to win, I know San Francisco doesn't have any celebration money left after our Giants won the World Series.  About the time I thought they were dead in the water, the lights went out.  That was pretty crazy ... the "outside lines" produced a power surge???   It gave the 49ers a chance to turn it around, and they certainly gave it their all.  It just wasn't enough.  In this part of California, the Super Bowl was the talk of the town, since Colin Kaepernick is a local boy.  Also making the game more interesting was the two head coaches are brothers ... John and Jim Harbaugh.  When did you see that last???

Congrats to the Ravens ... it was one of the best games I've seen in awhile!!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lots of Black Diamonds!!

It has been my experience that most people do not snow ski.  It was a big deal in years past, but seems to be a fading past time.  It is not exactly an inexpensive hobby, but definitely cheaper than RV'ing!!!  Being kind of frustrated that my pretty red Craftsman toolbox isn't going to fit in the bay, I returned it for a smaller one, and I had to settle for black.  Got it home, opened the box, it's bent very badly on one corner and is totally unacceptable.  Back in the box, I'm returning yet another, to Sears!!

When my friend called and said lets go skiing, being the grumpy grump that I was, I said heck yes, lets go!!!  Nothing brings my spirits up like being in the cold mountain air surrounded by gorgeous Sierra Nevada mountains.  I seriously didn't think the skiing would be worth the drive since we have had no storms lately to replace the rapidly melting snowpack of only 36 inches.  No matter, a tailgate lunch in the parking lot is still great fun.

For those who don't ski, every run is marked with a colored diamond so you don't get yourself on a cliff that you can't ski down!!  Happens LOTS because most people don't pay attention to the signs!!  Green beginner, Blue intermediate, Black expert.

I didn't make it to the slopes last year at all, and only once this year in December.  That means I'm totally out of shape and not sure I remember HOW to ski.  Sandy promises we will stick to the intermediate runs.  I should have known better!!  After only TWO intermediate runs, she was heading off down the black diamond trails.  That's the very steep, very rugged, very scary slopes!!!  Two years ago, I was down them like a champ ... yesterday, I was pretty tentative.  Then I remembered the tool box. There's nothing like a little grumpy frustration to get you screaming down the cliffs with ease!!  We hit every black diamond two or more times before we took a 30 minute lunch break.  Sandy brings "different" things to eat ... like raisin bread with cream cheese and watercress ... but sitting in that parking lot exhausted, it tasted wonderful!!!

Back on the slopes for more blistering runs, my legs felt like jelly, and after five hours of skiing, I was ready to hit the heated car seat for the ride home.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day of awesome skiing, despite the warm temperatures.  Especially since we felt like we had our own private ski resort, with no one on the slopes but us.  Everyone who thought the snow would be awful, didn't show up, giving us one of the best days of skiing I've ever had.  And I forgot all about the tool box!!