For those of you who know me at all, you know that I’m not one to sit still any too long. Although I don’t consider myself as one who’s “physical” (sports/walking etc.), I do have a need to do something – I can’t just sit around watching TV all day.
So when my hip surgery was finally scheduled and I made the decision to take the whole month of December off work, one of the first thoughts was “what am I going to do with myself all that time?”
I knew I’d have 2-3 days doing a lot of nothing immediately after surgery. I’d be using a walker most of the time those days making trips back and forth from the bed, to the bathroom, to the recliner, and back to bed.
But after those first few days I’d have physical therapy scheduled 2 or 3 days a week to help keep me occupied. I’m going to get PT at the local hospital. I prefer that to having the therapist coming to our home because I feel the professionals at the hospital have all the equipment at their disposal, they have to record everything on their laptop, and since there are other patients and therapists in the room (including their boss) I just think I get a better all around therapy session. Besides, the way I look at it, it’s my Social Event for the week!
But aside from the PT, since I’m a licensed Amateur Radio “Ham” Operator, I knew that I could take advantage of this time to allow me to play a little radio and work on some of my DX (distance) contact awards. It’s always fun to get a new QSL (acknowledgment) card from another country confirming our contact and conversation. Here’s one I just got from the Netherlands.
I realized pretty quickly that my Man Cave or “shack” as we hams call it gets cold during Ohio winters. It’s a small workshop which is just off the 2 car attached garage. It’s a great place to have a shack (or workshop) because it’s on the main floor (no stairs to climb) and I can make all the noise I want and not disturb the XYL (wife) but the disadvantage is that it’s not heated so the inside temp is typically only 3-5 degrees warmer than the outside temps.
Now logic says “insulate it” but my surgery is next week and I just knew I wouldn’t have time to remove all the shelving, workbench, cabinets, and drywall to install the insulation and then put everything back together again in time.
So I felt the answer to my problem was NOT to install an electric heater (high utility bills) but instead install hardware and software so that I could operate the radio from my recliner in the living room. So now I have my laptop computer with me in my recliner and I can operate using a small boom mike/headset. SWEET!
As the month of December goes on and I feel like doing more and more, I do have some projects that could wait until spring but that I just might get started early. We’ll see …
Kathy helped out a little at a Christmas Sale this past weekend at one of the local fire halls where she came home with a few goodies. Since we’ve been on the road for the last six years, we didn’t have any Christmas decorations. She’s had fun setting up and decorating the tiny tree and she got her nativity set back out of storage at our son’s home so she got that all arranged today.
We’re looking forward to a comfortable and cozy Christmas season. We wish you the same.
So it’s time again for hip replacement surgery. I’ve been putting up with this discomfort/inconvenience turned to pain for far too long.
My October appt with the orthopedic surgeon set the date for December 5th. It’s now November 28th and I’m sitting in the waiting room of a cardiologist because anesthesiologist wants a “Cardiac Clearance” before I undergo surgery.
I’ve prepared and brought with me a printed history of my cardiac issues starting with my heart attack back in 2003. I hope this doc today will see clear to give my surgery next week the green light.
I’m still working as a driver for the county transportation service taking folks to and from medical appointments and I have enough sick time banked that I can take the entire month of December off with pay while I recuperate and attend physical rehab. I hope this hip (same doc/same robot) surgery and recovery goes as well as the last one.
Our handman Bob is coming this week to install a new walk-in shower. It’ll be a great improvement to the house.
Our hope is to be able to get back to doing some camping this summer and then get back out to see our “other” family at Rovers Roost in Arizona next winter.
In the meantime, we’ll shiver a little while we stay in the little house in Mt Gilead.
That’s it for now … Take Care of yourself (and your loved ones)
Ooops .. almost forgot. The doc gave me a clean bill of heart health and all systems are GO for the surgery next .. WOOHOO !!!
We left our winter home at Rovers Roost on Saturday December 18th and met up with our friend Heidy at her home in Green Valley AZ for the night.
Sunday morning bright and early (still dark) we left her place about 6:30 and headed down I-10 and I-19 to the border crossing at Nogales.
Once we crossed the border onto MX15 we still had an inspection station, an immagration station, and 3 tolls booths to get through.
We stayed on MX15 (a four lane divided highway) down to Hermosillo where we then headed west about 60 more miles on MX100 to Bahia de Kino (Kino Bay) where we then pulled in to Islandia Marina and RV Park.
Our host Martita greeted us with a smile and pointed out two possible sites for us. We chose the one nestled under a big tree overlooking the Sea of Cortez.
The nights are cool, in the 40’s and 50’s and the days are breezy and in the low 80’s with lots of sunshine.
Our first full day found us keeping busy going about 20 minutes east to San Miguel Aleman to exchange our dollars for pesos, to pick up a few groceries, and to a local Telcel agent to get a 30 day MX sim card for my phone.
Just to give you an idea of how money works here, $100 American is about 2000 MX pesos.
Our groceries at a super market cost us $8.90, my 30 day unlimited talk and text (4.5gb data) sim card cost me $11.50, and our 30 amp full hookup site overlooking the beach at the Sea of Cortez costs $15/night.
While last night we cooked brats on the grill at our home by the beach, tonight we ate at Pulpo Loco (Crazy Octopus) in town. We got 3 combo plates of fried fish, bacon wrapped cheese stuffed shrimp, salad, fries, and fried shrimp. All 3 meals along with two bottles of Coke and a huge bottled water was 520 pesos (about $26)
Our first day here at Islandia RV Park we had the pleasure of meeting Julio, one of the regulars whose been spending winters here since 2007. A retired NYC firefighter, he’s quite a character. Although he doesn’t own or even manage the park, he loves to play host and invited us to join the gang at his place anytime we see anyone there.
Julio and others invited us down for Ray’s 89th birthday party complete with pizza and birthday cake
Thursday morning came too soon and it was time to say goodbye to our host Martita and head further south about 120 miles to Totonaka RV Park at San Carlos, also on the east side of the Sea of Cortez.
San Carlos is a much larger town that Kino Bay and is more a tourist area loaded with restaurants and curio shops.
The park is very nice with over 140 FHU RV sites and about 25 motel rooms. Heidy is in one of their rooms and we are in the coach. They have a pool, hot tub, pickleball courts and they run a clean tight ship here, they’re always cleaning, raking, and checking the property. At this park our FHU site cost $26/nite (tourist area pricing).
The day after Christmas, there is the annual lighted boat parade right off the beach and we walked down to watch as about twenty five or thirty large vessels dressed in hundreds of Christmas lights paraded by. It was a fun (and free) evening.
I’m sorry the pictures are blurry, it was dark and the camera had a hard time focusing.
Now the weather turned cool. Gray skies after Christmas and temps in the 50’s and 60’s so no beach time for now. But there ARE still PLENTY of places to eat that many of our neighbors here at Totonaka have told us that we need to check out.
The girls went shopping today, they were gone about 4 hours and came back all excited about what they stumbled across … a place where Heidy and/or Kathy and I could rent an RV spot either monthly or year-round and at a very attractive price!
We talked at some length about the possibilities and decided that all three of us would make a 2nd visit tomorrow. In the meantime … what else? It’s dinner time!
We went back to Daniel’s place the day after Christmas to “scope it out” a little more. He has four covered RV spots that are 60+ feet deep and about 30′ wide with an add’l 12’x60′ concrete patio. All sites are Full Hook-Up (water, electric, and sewer). The property is fenced and gated and Daniel and his wife live full-time on the property. He made Heidy a really sweet deal ($250/month) to park her rig there year round and stay in it full-time or for a few months at a time. Two of the four sites are occupied by folks who live there year-round. NOTE: Take a look at the supports for the roof. These are NOT trees but actually they are BRANCHES from giant eucalyptus trees. Eucalyptus is a very dense and heavy wood and makes for an excellent building material in this dry climate.
While visiting Daniel he drew a map for us to check out the “lookout” and one of the high-end new home developments on the bay.
To round out the afternoon (and our last day in Mexico) we decided to …. what else? Try out another restaurant of course!
The restaurant celebrates the “Day of the Dead” which is a Mexican holiday on November 1st and 2nd. It celebrates the lives of loved ones who have died over the last year.
From Google: “Ancient Mesoamericans believed that death was part of the journey of life. Rather than death ending life, they believed that new life came from death. This cycle is often associated with the cyclical nature of agriculture, whereby crops grow from the ground where the last crop lies buried.”
All in all, we had a great time visiting Mexico and making new friends. In a nutshell we have to say that;
The Mexican people are gracious, friendly, accommodating, and thankful that we were there spending our money in their communities.
The food cost is about one-half of what a meal (restaurant or grocery store) would cost in the states.
Fuel is about the same cost or even a little more than here in the states,
and the roads are generally terrible. Certainly not everywhere, but there are plenty of areas where you have to wonder if the RV is just going to shake apart right there on the spot.
And the poverty is nearly everywhere, at least it’s not at all hard to find. We say plenty of people living in tin and cardboard shacks with no electricity and no running water. It’s sad to see such distress.
We drove our last day straight through from San Carlos to Casa Grande AZ (395 miles) and we have to say it’s “good to be back”.
Until next time, we wish you and yours a Happy New Year. We hope it’s a safe and healthy one for all of us.
While we were in Yuma for a few days getting a new bra made and installed for the front of the coach (to protect the paint from flying stones and road debris), we noticed the coach transmission was slipping only occasionally when shifting from 4th to 5th gear. It happened three times over a three day period. Oh Crap …
I went to my good friends (Google and You Tube) and discovered that Allison (Transmissions) recommends trans fluid change (along with filters) every 40,000 miles or four years.
We’ve had our rig five years now and have put 60,000 miles on it. It was already 15 years old with 40,000 milles when we bought it. Guess I better get on the stick, eh?
So we went on up I-10 about 30 miles to Velocity Truck Center where they are both Freightliner and Allison Certified shops. We got in the evening before so we could be at the door at 7am when they opened.
We checked in at 7 and then ran a few small errands while we were “in the big city”.
Besides eating the previous night’s dinner at the great little family owned Italian restaurant, and breakfast the next day at Waffle House, we still needed to kill some time before the coach would be ready.
Drug store, jewelry store, coffee shop, and then what? Neither one of us are used to just having nothing to do so we Googled “Things to do near me” and found the Eddie Basha Art Gallery.
I could tell Kathy wanted to go and it would be a good way to kill off a couple of hours. I figured if I found it to be not exactly my cup of tea, they must have a seat or bench I could relax on and check emails, Facebook and such.
But WOW what a collection! Eddie Basha (1932-2013) was the fourth generation of Lebanese immagrants that owned and operated the family grocery store chain that started as one store and has grown to over 130 stores with 9000+ employees here in Arizona.
The gallery is Eddie’s private collection that the family continues to display free of charge to the public. The collection is mostly early western American (cowboy) art and early native American art.
It includes very large assortments of bronze castings, wood sculpture, oil paintings, stone sculpture, and woven baskets.
The picture gallery below shows just SOME of the hallways and alcoves dedicated to various artists
Eddie’s real joy in collecting these pieces was that he was often able to meet the artist personally and he took pride in developing life-long relationships with many of them.
So if you find yourself in the Phoenix are with a few hours available, we both highly recommend that you visit the gallery located inside the Basha’s corporate office in Chandler.
To all our family and friends, we are writing to wish you the best of the holiday season.
We write this now as we are readying to depart to Mexico for a couple weeks and will not return to our Arizona winter home until the first of the New Year.
Wow what a busy year Herb and I have had! As you may be aware, we spent March of 2020 through March of 2021 in Ohio living in the bunkhouse above the garage at Sara and Stu’s home.
It was good to be off the road during the Covid outbreak and we were so fortunate to be able to spend some quality time with both our children and their families.
Herb drove a bus for the county starting in May of ’20 and finished that job this past March when he had his rotator cuff surgery. We then went on down to Dale Hollow Lake State Park in Kentucky to camp host for 3 months and he recuperated with physical therapy at the local hospital. While we were there, it was great to welcome visiting friends Mark and Cindy, Mike and Kim, Chuck and Della, and Forrest and Mary. We all spent 3 days together gathering around the campfire, eating out, and we rented a double-deck pontoon boat for a day of fun on Dale Hollow Lake too! We also enjoyed a week-long visit from Stu and Sara – they rented a camper and parked right next to us!
We finished our KY gig July 4th and came back to Ohio so that Herb could get his hip replaced July 22nd. That surgery went well too (same doc as the shoulder) and we were able to hit the road westbound on Aug 20th.
We timed our departure from Ohio so we could join my sister’s family in celebration of her daughter’s wedding. Although the wedding was a small one last year during Covid, this reception in the Groom’s parents back yard in Michigan was a fun and beautiful event. We got to sit with my cousin Kristin and her husband Ed who we hadn’t seen in probably 20 years or so and had a great time reminiscing.
After that we traveled on to Owosso Michigan where we spent a couple days with Herb’s two sisters and their husbands. Another great meetup, we always have fun together. From Owosso we made our way further west in Michigan where we visited with friends we made while working at a camp in Baldwin Michigan. We also met up with a high school classmate who we hadn’t seen (or talked to) since 1972. Another great visit!
After that we loaded the coach onto the S.S. Badger Auto Ferry at Ludington Michigan and took the 4 hour cruise across Lake Michigan. Once we arrived at Manitowoc Wisconsin we met up again for dinner with Forrest and Mary at Green Bay.
Making our way further west found us meeting with Paul and Chris at Mason City Iowa and visiting the Surf Dance Hall where Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valenz and The Big Bopper made their final show before the fatal plane crash in a nearby corn field.
We then moved on down to the Kansas City Missouri area to spend a couple days with Ron and Judy who we had worked with at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in 2019 and we all took a tour of a private family mauseleum that our friend Carl (who we met in Mexico a couple years back) had inherited. What an interesting tour that was!
From Kansas City (now early September) we moved on to Spearfish SD so that we could reconnect with Matt and Sherry who we worked with at DC Booth Fish Hatchery in 2019. We spent a week there and during that time Jim and Brenda came by for a couple nights stay and David and Susan came up for a visit from where they were working at Custer State Park.
Since David and Susan also have a lot where we winter at Rover’s Roost in Casa Grande, Arizona we talked and decided it would be fun for the four of us to caravan together back to AZ once they were done with their gig at Custer.
We moved on just south of Custer to a two week stay at Angostura State Recreation Area while we waited for David and Susan to meet up with us October 1st. We enjoyed getting to enjoy Hot Springs SD while we were in the area.
Starting October 1st we made our way south to northwest Nebraska, then west into Wyoming and through Cheyenne, Laramie, Rock Springs and then down Route 191 through Flaming Gorge and on down across the Snowy Ridge (9114′ elev) through beautiful eastern Utah.
Nearing the middle of October got us back into northeast Arizona where we visited Winslow and Meteor Crater and ultimately down just east of Phoenix and we all four pulled into “the Roost” October 19th.
Early November we were delighted to have a visit from our Ohio friends Chuck and Della. They rented a VRBO nearby and we spent about a week together sightseeing some of the local sights. It was great to see them again and play “tour guide” a little.
Although we arrived here mid-October, it takes a couple months before everyone is back. It’s fun welcoming old friends back “home” with a big SKP hug, (but not so much today with Covid – we tend to smile and shake hands more often than before)
Our plan at this point is to be back in Ohio this summer (arriving March/April) depending on which way we go on the way back. We look forward to seeing all of you in the summer. To our RV’ing friends .. we look forward to meeting up again with you real soon. To each of you we wish you only the most wonderful Christmas celebration and a Happy and Joyous New Year to you all!
As I detailed in that post, I needed to hotwire around the transfer switch in order to get power to the coach while I waited to get the new one.
The transfer switch was made by Intellitec and I found that part number (the 300 model) is obsolete. But after talking with Chris at M&M RV Electronics (www.mmrvelectronics.com/) in Ohio I found that the new model 400 was available. Once we got to our winter RV site in Arizona I ordered the 400 from M&M.
This blog post along with the You Tube video (below) explains just what the transfer switch is and how it works (for those of you who might be interested!)
It’s really a very simple device consisting of (3) four post terminal strips, (2) double pole – double throw relays (with 110 vac coils), a small circuit board that is a 15-second delay circuit, and the enclosure.
Each of the three terminal strips have four screws. One for ground, the second for hot leg one, the third for neutral, and the fourth for hot leg two.
Terminal strip one (farthest to the left) is wired to the onboard diesel generator
Terminal strip two (in the center) is wired to the shore power and,
Terminal strip three (far right) is wired to the coach 110v power in.
The only purpose of the assembly is to automatically select EITHER shore power or generator power to supply 110 vac power to the coach.
When there is NO power applied from the shore power connection and the generator is NOT running, the two relays are both in the de-energized position and all four contacts (two on each relay) will pass power (when applied) from the shore power cord to the coach. The relays will stay in this position (de-energized) and each of the four relay contacts (GND, Line1, Neutral, Line2) will provide continuity from shore power to the coach.
If/when the generator is started the small circuit board in the upper left corner starts a 15 second countdown. The purpose of this delay is to give the generator time to come up to full operating speed. After the 15 second delay, the two relays on the board are then energized and power is switched (on all four contacts) from shore power to generator power.
As long as the generator is running these relays stay energized and power to the coach is supplied from the generator (even if shore power is still plugged in and energized).
When the generator is powered down, the relays once again move to the de-energized position and power is once again passed from shore power to the coach.
The video below gives a better visual of how things work.
I’m glad you stopped by to read this post and watch the video, I hope you found some value here.
Thanks again and be safe out there .. we hope to meet up with you down the road!
This is the second time we’ve replaced our motorhome windshield. The first was right after we bought it in 2016.
We had developed a stress crack in the upper right corner of the driver’s windshield the first time. But this time while we developed another stress crack (in the same location), we also had two large long cracks that had started as a result of rocks hitting the windshield.
When I first noticed one of the long cracks we were on our way from Missouri to South Dakota. It seemed to be getting longer, but I couldn’t be sure so I put a small piece of scotch tape at the end of the crack on the inside so I could monitor how fast it might be moving. And it was moving right along! You can see the tape in the picture above.
We put in a claim with our insurance company and they promptly ordered the correct glass from a company called Custom Glass Solutions in Ohio and placed the install order with Chris at Arizona RV Glass in Phoenix. When the glass arrived at Chris’ shop in Phoenix, I got the call to schedule installation.
This video shows the entire removal and install process from start to finish
Chris explained to me that stress cracks like the one we had in the upper right corner are pretty common. This is caused by too much flexing of the coach chassis. The flexing can be caused when trying to level the coach on an uneven site or when entering/exiting a fuel stop and driving diagonally across the bump at the curb … This causes the chassis to twist and as a result put too much strain on the windshield corners. He suggests to always try to turn in head on if possible.
We’ll try to be more careful from now on, but often it’s just not possible to miss all the potholes and bumps you come across on the open road.
In many older motorhomes like ours the windshield curves around the corners as compared with many of the newer motorhomes I’ve noticed the windshield seems to be more “flat” all across. I think maybe this curve around may be contributing to the problem.
I just hope this doesn’t happen too often … even with comprehensive coverage on our auto insurance policy, this can get pretty expensive over time between deductibles and premium increases. I called around before placing the claim and if I were to buy the windshield outright and pay for installation ourselves prices ranged from a low of $1700 to a high of $2300!
On another subject, we’re heading to Yuma tomorrow so that we can easily walk across the border into Los Algodones. My plan is to spend some time visiting the eye doctor and getting new eyeglasses along with picking up some prescription drugs at one of the pharmacies. We will also enjoy visiting our friends Paul and Chris who are spending the winter at the Escapees KOFA RV Park in Yuma. Our friends Jim and LuAnn left us here at the Roost this morning and we will meet up with them at KOFA as well. Looking forward to the six of us having a good time!
Until next time, take care of each other (and yourself) and we wish you well.
As we continued our trek back to Arizona for the winter, our final leg would be heading west on I-40 between Winslow and Flagstaff (and ultimately down to Casa Grande)
Winslow Arizona (you’ll remember “Standin’ On The Corner” by the Eagles) is a great stopping point as you’re heading west. The town is a few blocks long and has only a handful of tourist trap type souvenir shops and another handful of restaurants. Canned music plays from loudspeakers mounted on utility poles at the downtown square and there’s always other tourists checking out the corner while you’re there.
A short walk from an easily discovered parking spot got us down to the historic La Posada Hotel and to walk through the lobby was worth it. This is the last Fred Harvey Hotel built along the Santa Fe rail line in the ’30s that’s still in operation. The architecture and interior design are beautiful. You can read more about the Fred Harvey story here.
After our stop at Winslow we traveled west to Exit #124 and visited “Meteor Crater”. This crater is the largest and best preserved on planet earth.
The crater was produced as the result of a falling meteorite traveling at an estimated 26,000 miles per hour.
Meteor Crater measures 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) across and about 600 feet (180 meters) deep. The size of the asteroid that produced the impact is uncertain—likely in the range of 100 to 170 feet across—but it had to be large enough to excavate 175 million metric tons of rock.
You can still see the remains of mining operations that took place during the 30’s through the 50’s. The owner of the crater (Barringer) at that time was looking for anything of value that might have been left as a result of the explosion caused by the meteor.
This is where my Canon SX-60HS digital camera with it’s 1500mm zoom lens really came in handy!
The large picture below shows the overall view of the crater as seen from up on the observation deck at the rim. The smaller photos at the top of the gallery below show close-up views of two of the mine shafts that were dug during explorations. The steam boiler in the right-hand picture generated pressure to operate the lift winch (located behind the boiler). The winch was used to bring materials up out of the shaft and take men and tools down into the shaft.
Clicking on any of the thumbnails in the gallery will open a larger view for you to be able to see.
We finished up our visit with WHAT ELSE but food? We found what appeared to be a popular watering hole in Winslow and we decided it was time for lunch before moving on down the road to our final destination of Rover’s Roost at Casa Grande AZ.
It was a great decision. Both couples split a meal and we’re so glad we did — the portions were HUGE (as Bernie would say)
We finally made it back to our “winter home” and have been settling in. The park club functions will officially start Nov 1st but some of us early birds have been keeping busy in the meantime.
All in all, it has been a great trip across the northern plains and down through Wyoming, Utah, and Arizona. We’ve seen a lot of beautiful landscape, hooked up with old friends along the way, met new folks that we can now consider friends, and continued to learn to love and appreciate each other as we continue this life adventure.
Thanks for riding along, we will look for you on down the road. I’ll be documenting some of our adventures while we are her for the winter, so there will be more to come.
In the meantime, be safe, be healthy and take care of each other as you travel this journey we call life.
We’ve been traveling the country for about five years now and we “workamp” or volunteer as we go. We usually work 12-15 hours per person per week in exchange for our RV site and utilities. Sometimes we get a little extra too, maybe reduced cost at the park store or restaurant, free laundry or some other perk to help out with our monthly living expenses.
We’ve worked in commercial RV parks, public park campgrounds, museums, and fish hatcheries.
But we’ve never worked at a prison!
Our good friends Matt and Sherry had an interesting gig this past spring working (volunteering) at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site at Laramie, Wyoming. They dressed in period costumes and portrayed what it was like to work at (or be incarcerated in) the prison back in “The Olden Days”.
Well, since we were passing through the area (always looking for places to go and things to see), we took a few hours while we were staying at Cheyenne Wyoming and drove to Laramie to visit the prison.
The prison was built in 1872 and for 30 years it held a lot of violent and notorious outlaws including Butch Cassidy. It originally sat on 640 acres and the main building is over 18,000 square feet.
The prison is one of only three federally constructed territorial penitentiaries that still exist and the only one that has most of it’s original structure still intact.
The rooms that have been restored and are open for viewing include; the intake processing room, Warden’s office, the kitchen, north cellblock, dining hall, guards quarters, watchtower, infirmary, women’s cellblock, the prison bathroom, and the laundry.
The Prison Industries Building (also known as the Broom Factory) was built in 1892 by convict labor and holds the original broom making equipment that the convicts used to make the brooms that were sold all over the United States as well as being shipped overseas.
We found the venue really interesting to visit and just might like to work there ourselves in the future. Dressing up in period costumes and “playing the part” can be fun!
Thanks again for riding along and we hope to see you here again soon. In the meantime, be good to and for each other and you’ll be blessed back ten-fold.