Friday, February 28, 2014

500 yards or 500 miles...

Not a lot of difference when you have to move the RV... you still have to disconnect all the utilities, put in the slideouts, hook the truck up to the 5th wheel... AND deal with the cargo trailer with the scooters.  Since the front desk people at Pueblo El Mirage were able to find us a site here, and the crabby people at Cotton Lane RV and Golf Resort tried to move us to a site by the dumpster (and the road), our move today was only about 500 yards.  Truth be told, it is a better situation than the site we have been in the last month: we are closer to the front gate, putting us closer to the pool and all the activity buildings and cutting our in-resort drive in half.  And, the big plus: this site has a double concrete patio/driveway.

Izzy is happy - there is an orange tree right out our rear picture window; new trees nearby that will be full of good smells ('cause every dog in the resort has peed on them at one time or another).

Joan is happy - she was in complete agreement with me that we didn't want to give Cotton Lane our business.  We have a site that faces the same direction (west), so that gives us shade on our patio all day.  Being able to park on concrete means less gravel (the primary site covering around the southwest) gets tracked into the coach.

I am happy - I can park the scooters on a paved surface when they aren't in their "portable garage" (aka the cargo trailer)... plus I can keep the cargo trailer on our site, unlike at Cotton Lane (where you can leave all your stuff sitting out 'cause that is pretty and a nice FeatherLite cargo trailer isn't.

In order to move onto a site here, you must be escorted by Security.  A nice guy named Steve came to our site shortly after we called them and said that we're ready to move.  He helped guide us into the site - there is a palm tree at the front of each lot, between the patio and where the RV is parked... you have to thread your way in, and it can be a little tight.

Before moving the 5th wheel, we brought the car to the new site (I followed on one of the scooters) and I brought Joan back - the first time we've both been on one scooter (yes, there's plenty of room).  After parking the 5th wheel, it was back to the first site with the truck to get the cargo trailer.  The soft gravel on the sites makes moving the cargo trailer a real chore (it is easier to move the trailer in the gravel without the weight of the bikes in it)... but, did I mention I get to have the cargo trailer on the site at this nice place?  ;-)  Then back to the first site again to get the other scooter... yes, that is a lot of back and forth.  The sites are a couple blocks apart.

We could have stayed in the first site until tomorrow, but the weather is supposed to be rainy (something people are looking forward to here, since they haven't had rain since before Christmas), and there are around 60 new arrivals due tomorrow (plenty of people in our neighborhood moving on today and tomorrow)... it could be a big congested.  This was easy.  Not fast, since you still have to do all the same stuff to break camp as if you were moving 500 miles, and then all the set up again.  Just part of the RV experience.  It was a full three hours to get it all done today.

So, we'll have that longer drive to visit with Steph and Dan; we've gotten used to it this past month.  We're doing our part to support the oil companies.  We know all the good shopping areas in the southwest part of town, and we're learning all the good ones in the northwest.

I think Izzy was a bit confused right at first... we let her stay in the 5th wheel while we moved (she always rides with us in the truck when traveling).  She went to the rear window when we got onto the site... "Oh, a tree nearby.  And birds.  I don't know how you moved that tree, but I like it!"

We have a basketball game tonight.  No, we're not playing.  It is faculty vs students from Steph and Dan's school.  Steph volunteered us to sell raffle tickets, so we're "working" the game.  Probably just as well... I'm a bit rusty on dunking the ball.  ;-)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Howdy Ma'am, I'm here to fix your cable TV...

I think I remember movies that started that way from my younger days.

Our TV in the bedroom of the 5th wheel was mounted in a cabinet door by the factory.  I didn't know how they'd do it when we ordered it, but it turned out to be a board across the open cabinet door frame, with holes drilled to match the pattern on the back of the TV for a wall mount.  Pretty simple.

Sometime in the past couple years, the over-the-air function of that TV quit working.  Oh, it worked fine with the satellite or cable - it just couldn't get a signal from the antenna.  That wasn't a problem until Distant Networks closed up shop, and we can no longer get the major networks via satellite.

We considered how to remedy the situation: get a different satellite dish (replacing the VuQube), which would mean getting a different satellite receiver, too.  The upside: that would give us the opportunity to receive a signal from 3 satellites instead of just one.  It would also cost about $500.  That isn't off the table; I could be talked into HD (something our VuQube can't do).

While in Texas, we put a different TV in the bedroom to see if the problem was the TV or the wiring from the antenna.  The wiring is fine, it is definite a problem with the TV.  The easy option: buy a new TV to fit that spot.  Finding a TV that is of similar dimensions to a TV from 2008 isn't so easy... have you noticed that TVs have all gotten BIGGER?  A big TV used to be 30"... these days, that means 60 or 80" screen.  The TV that was in there was 19" and had a wide frame at the bottom... even the smaller TVs (where you can find them) have gotten smaller frames.  So, the plus side: we could maybe fit a 20 to 22" TV in that space, but it will probably have less overall height, meaning it will be necessary to fit some kind of an oak spacer in the cabinet door to make it look finished.

Joan did a lot of size research (Hey - I'm talking TVs here, not the title premise on this post!) and found a Vizio model that would give us the bigger screen size, but still fit the opening.  So, today we brought home a new bedroom TV.  Of course, we tried it out before mounting in the cabinet door frame... yep, works perfect, nice picture.

The mount spacing was the same (nice), but the depth of this unit is less than the one it replaced - the mounting spacers (holding the TV at the right depth) didn't work.  Power tools carefully applied (don't drill too deep), and the new TV is ready to go; mounted in the cabinet door nice and tight.  It looks as good as the original install and weighs less than half of what the other TV weighed.

So, we can watch the Tonight Show in bed tonight... what?... what do you mean Leno is gone??  ;-)


Don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you got 'till it's gone... if you guessed "Joni Mitchell", you win 50 bonus points.  For clarification, the bonus points are not redeemable for anything, but they are yours to keep, and you can accumulate them.  ;-)

For years, we have had Distant Networks through our Dish set up.  Because we travel a lot, and are often in areas where local networks are not available with an over-the-air TV antenna, we could get east coast and west coast network feeds.  The advantage of this was the option of watching the same program at different times... i.e. we could watch the Tonight Show at 8:30 on the east coast feed while we were in the San Juan Islands (west coast).  Or, if two good network shows were on at the same time, we could watch one at the normal time and watch the other at an earlier or later time with the other coast feed.

Well, Distant Networks has shut down... not enough business to keep them going.  Bad news for RVers who are in the boonies.  Yes, I know: a first world problem.  ;-)  We have gone for months at a time with little or no TV on the boat before we started using the VuQube on that (as well as in the RV).  There are two "standards" in our TV viewing: The Today Show and The Tonight Show.

And, we were just getting used to Jimmy Fallon.  ;-)

Not an issue when we are in a populated area (like currently in Phoenix); but when spending a season in places like Grand Teton National Park or the San Juan Islands (where over-the-air networks aren't available) it is a change.

Oh, my goodness... I'm becoming my Mother.  It had been a joke in our family... my Mother came home from the hospital after surgery one time, and apparently one of my sisters had pressed something on her TV remote and messed up her cable.  When I asked my Mother if there was anything she needed, she said, "Fix my God-damn cable TV!"

She always had a way with words.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

No soup for you!

Yeah, that's from the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld.  I used to laugh at the arbritrary decisions made towards customers in that bit.  As a business owner most of my adult life, I know how utterly stupid it is to treat customers badly... most won't come back.

What does this have to do with us?  The RV park that seems to go out of their way to treat us like crap is the RV park that we tend to spend the most time in... Cotton Lane RV and Golf Resort is the closest RV park to our daughter and son-in-law's home.  It is very convenient.  There are "rules" that are selectively enforced: I am not kidding when I tell you that they have lines laid out, and you must "park your rear wheels on the line."  When we are getting set up there, a guy in a golf cart will say, "No, you need to move 6" that way."  Yes, really.  When RVs on either side of us are nowhere near the line.

"No cargo trailers allowed."  Yet, when NASCAR comes to the Phoenix International Raceway, they are more than happy to accommodate a toterhome with a HUGE cargo trailer.  Currently, there is major road construction just north of the park - the dust is pretty nasty.  Seems that it would make sense to allow cargo trailers so people can keep their stuff clean.  Oh, and there are a couple cargo trailers in there right now.  When I mentioned that to the front desk staff, I was told, "Management wasn't aware of that."

Management is either stupid or selective, if they couldn't see an open cargo trailer, with stuff hanging out of it (think: Sanford & Son), in the FRONT SECTION of the park.

We intentionally did not stay there for the month of February as a compromise: I don't want to give them our money EVER, we would like the convenience of being close to Steph and Dan.  So, the original plan was: one month where we get treated nice, but drive a bit more, and one month where we are treated like crap, but drive less.

Today, we cancelled our stay there for March.  Getting arbitrarily moved next to the dumpster, and being told, "There isn't anything else available," was the final straw.  Oh, and a lie: when I called to cancel today, the young lady on the phone said, "Let me find you another site."  Interesting that other sites are available now... well, for sure there is one site available for someone else.

No thank you.  Instead, we will stay in a nicer RV resort further away.  Our lovely little cargo trailer (approved by the management) is allowed on our site.  Even though this place is completely full, they called us immediately when someone had to cancel their stay due to a medical situation.  They do have someone from guest services help you position to park, but they ask, "How close do you want to be to the concrete patio?"  Oh, yes, this resort has nice patios.  Two swimming pools.  Beautiful GREEN golf courses.  A restaurant on site.  A beautiful facility with nice landscaping.  And, very nice management, people who understand it is important to make you feel welcome in the hospitality business.

Cotton Lane pissed away over $1,000 from us this season.  Even though the park is less than half full right now, they probably won't miss our business.  Certainly, I won't miss giving them my money.  At some point, when the management has driven enough people away, the owners will change the management or go out of business.  Each of the last few years, there are fewer RVs in the resort when we are there.

It doesn't cost anything extra to treat people nice.

Sorry for ranting about this place.  It is a decent facility; certainly not the fanciest RV resort in the area, but other place that charge more REALLY ARE full.  I don't think it is just us.

On the really bright side: a point of contention has been eliminated from our stay in the Phoenix area.  :-)


To tie in the "soup" theme: we had lunch today at Wildflower Bread Company... I am a fan of that place, and I am not generally a "soup and sandwich" kinda guy.  Well, if the soup is chili, and the sandwich is a juicy bacon cheeseburger, sure.  But, this place has good food and a nice atmosphere.  The soup I had today: sausage lasagna stew... oh my goodness, it tasted like lasagna... good lasagna!

Oh, and the service is good and the people who work there are nice.  I kinda like doing business with nice people.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Doctor, Doctor, give me the news...

If you said, "Robert Palmer," give yourself 100 bonus points.

I had a doctor's appointment today.  No, nothing is wrong.  Time to renew a prescription and see about a "wellness exam."  Health care in the Port Isabel/South Padre Island area leaves a LOT to be desired... think: bad clinic in a third world country.  Should be no problem in the big city, right?

I was there a half hour early to do the "new patient paperwork."  That used to mean a lot of questions about your heath history; now, it is a lot of questions about your insurance and a list of relatives they can call if you try to stiff them.

I told the nice lady at the front desk that I wanted to pay for the office call today.  She said, "That will be $45, and I'll need your insurance card and a photo ID."

"$45?  Seriously?  You only charge $45 for an office call?" I asked.

She said, "We don't know what your insurance will pay, so we charge everybody the $45, then we'll bill you for the rest."

"My situation is probably different from most of your patients: we travel.  A lot.  If you send me a bill for whatever it is beyond the $45, the mail will probably not catch up with me for a couple months."

"We turn unpaid bills over for collection after 60 days," she said.

"Right.  And THAT'S why I want to just pay you for THE WHOLE office call.  Up front.  Pretend I don't have insurance."

Her response: "That's not the way we do it."

A mere 30 minutes later, I was ushered into a room where a nice lady took my temperature and blood pressure, and wrote down the prescription I have been taking for years.  "The nurse practitioner will be with you shortly."

Shortly was another 45 minutes.  The nurse practitioner was a nice lady.  I explained that I needed to get another year on a prescription.  She asked how long since my last "wellness visit."  She decided I should do some blood tests and get a prostate exam.

She asked where I wanted my prescription to go.  I replied, "In my hand."

She said, "That's not the way we do it.  I will fax the prescription to your pharmacy - that way there is no question that you are getting it filled."

"Maybe you don't understand my situation?  I am a married guy.  My wife wants a prescription in her hand so she can check for the best price and see what I'm taking."

The discussion continued, but the outcome was the same: "That's not the way we do it," vs "Put it in my hand."  She dug in and said, "After your wellness visit, if everything checks out, I will give you a paper prescription."

She gave me a sheet of paper to give to the front desk... it said I should make another appointment, and today's charge was $115.  I said to the next nice lady at the front desk, "I would like to pay for this today."

She said, "You already paid $45."

"Yes, I am aware of that - and now I would like to pay the rest."

She said (yep), "That's not the way we do it."

I said, "You KNOW the charge for today is $115.  I already paid $45.  Can I just give you another $70 right now, and you're all paid up?"

She said (are you f*****g serious????), "That's not the way we do it.  This will have to be turned in for insurance."

I said, "This is an incredibly stupid way to run a business."

Off to Wal-Mart... after waiting in line for 20 minutes, we were told the prescription wasn't ready yet, and the charge was $60 more than we usually pay.  Joan showed the nice young man at the counter a manufacturer's coupon for a reduced price: $35 instead of $95.  He said, "Yeah, that's a good deal.  We can do that, but you'll have to go to the "Drop Prescriptions" window - we can't do that here.  It has to be done before your prescription is filled."  (Which hasn't been the case when we've done that in the past.)

We went to the other window and stood in line.  The nice young lady took the information and said, "That will save you $60."

"Yeah, we know."

Back to the "Pick Up Prescription" window, and there are now 10 people in line.  It was a 20 minute wait with only one person in line.  We decided to give it up for today.

Not being one to give up, I went back there later... there were 18 people in line to pick up prescriptions.  Really - I counted them.

Who has time for this bullshit??

Some folks wonder why I don't care for dealing with the medical profession?  Maybe it is what has become of the profession with all the lawyers and insurance companies?  (Might as well piss off the lawyers and insurance people, along with those in the medical biz.)

It wasn't that long ago, I could go to the doctor and just pay for it at the end of the visit.  Maybe it was because we lived in the mid-west and people are more practical there?

No wonder my insurance premiums have gone up a couple hundred percent in the last few years.  Between all the waiting at the doctors' office and all the waiting at Wal-Mart, I wasted the whole afternoon.  Didn't accomplish a damn thing.

Well, it did raise my blood pressure... I need to take something for that.  ;-)


And to add to the fun...

We have reservations at the next RV park for March.  It's a place we've stayed at many times.  I don't like to stay there, because the management is unpleasant.  I don't like to give my money to people who can't be pleasant to deal with.

Joan called them today to see if it would be a problem to move our reservation up one day... no problem... well, a little problem: the site we have stayed on for the past 4 years, and the one that we reserved 5 months ago, is now unavailable.  When Joan asked them about that, she was told "the only site available is #___" ... and that is right next to the dumpster.

We drove to that park after the lengthy visit to Wal-Mart... the park is at least half empty.  Going into the office, the vapid young lady at the counter said, "Yeah, I don't know why the site you reserved went to someone else.  Site #___ is the only monthly site available right now."

Some days you're the pidgeon, some days you're the statue.

Monday, February 24, 2014

No schedule...

Seems like that hasn't been the case the past month or so.  Today, we got up and didn't have to be anywhere or run any errands.  Joan asked, "So, are we going to go play with the scoo...?"

Before she could finish the sentence, I was opening the trailer to get the scooters out.  Another beautiful day here in the desert: high in the low 80s, 33% humidity, clear blue sky, wind about 5 mph.

First stop with the scoots was a nice, leisurely lunch out.  Then, we formulated a plan...

"Which way do you wanna go?"

"I dunno - how about north?"

Yeah, that was as detailed as it got.  We rode north, then west.  We found ourselves in Happy Valley.  I expected lots of smiling people... didn't see that.  We doubled back to the 303 Loop - parts of it are still under construction, so we decided to ride it out to the south to see how it was coming.  Mostly done from the northwest side of the Loop, with 6 lanes.  Some 2 lane stuff for a couple miles, with construction on-going.  Speed limits varied from 65 mph to 25 (in the middle of the construction).  The scooters handled it all fine.  The new helmets have really quieted the wind noise... now, it sounds like driving in the car with the windows open.  With the half-helmets, it sounded like driving in the car with your head out the window.  Quieter is better.

Joan commented again about "how smooth" her scoot feels at speed.  May be a function of it breaking in, but I do agree with her on that.  55 mph is perfectly comfortable on these scoots - no "buzzy" feeling.  There is more speed to be had, if you need it.  These things continue to impress me.

Some of you know we spent a couple summers in Grand Teton National Park.  There is some fine motorcycle riding to be had there and in Yellowstone National Park... BUT, the speed limit in both parks is 45 mph.  I had to get out of the parks to get my V-Strom above 4th gear - these scoots would have been perfect there!  As it is, they are fine "urban cruisers": we both had some left-overs from lunch... put that in the storage under the seats and we're good to go.

The guy at the front gate at the resort where we're staying recognizes the scoots as we come in... we don't have to show our entrance pass; he just smiles and waves and says. "One of these days, I'm going to get one of those."

We stopped to fuel up today; about half this tank has been at highway speeds.  I expected a drop in mpg.  I was wrong.  I got exactly 100 miles per gallon, Joan logged in at 108.  I could go on about the economy, but for us it is all about the fun!

Sunday, February 23, 2014


No, not the Hawaiian food made from the root of the taro plant.  POI, as in: Points of Interest.  We are liking the new GPS unit.  It already has a couple gazillion points of interest (restaurants, gas stations, post offices, hospitals, etc, etc), but we like to add some custom POIs that fit our travel style: Passport America RV parks, Good Sam RV parks, Escapees RV parks, Flying J and Pilot truck stops, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club... all the important stuff.

Even though the unit was new, there was already a map update available for it.  With our phone/hotspot connection, it was saying it would take 3 hours for the update; since we were having supper at Steph and Dan's, we decided to bring the computer along and update there... their wireless is faster than ours.  Still, it took an hour.  Then, some time to find and install the custom POIs.  We got to visit with the kids before, during, and after.  Plus, we brought some fine looking steaks... they turned out fine tasting, too... I got to use my new grill pad that we picked up at the Sports Show on Friday.  Works good.

The GPS is great for us as we wander around the Phoenix area... nice to know where the nearest In & Out Burger is.  ;-)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sports Show...

There is a Sports Show at the stadium - the ads say it will have boats, RVs, hunting lodges, fishing guides, etc, etc.  Sounds interesting.

We went out for breakfast and got to the stadium relatively early (well, before noon).  Parked the car, paid for tickets, and went in.  Welcome to the Sports Show...

There are people here, but not like it will be on Saturday and Sunday; this is a good time to see what we want to see and not have to fight crowds.  One of our first stops was at a display with RVs...

A Forest River FR3 - a Class A, but not a wide-body.  Looks well thought-out and functional.  Not a lot of RVs inside here (the RV "show" out in the parking lot is still there); most of them were more of the truck/Jeep camper type and several expedition-looking trailers.

Our next stop was to walk through a HUGE houseboat.  I didn't get the price on it... it is 75x22 feet, 4 levels, 4 or 5 bedrooms, 6,600 square feet of living space...

The kitchen area in the photo above; can't really call that the galley.  My favorite part of the houseboat...

A hot tub up on the 4th level.  And, a nice over-all view from up here...

A couple taxidermy booths, this one was pretty impressive...

That would be just the thing if you booked one of the several African safari hunts being offered at different booths (only $33,000 to hunt a lion).

Quite a few booths selling jerky, spices, and outdoor cooking stuff.  We did make a small purchase at one of those, a grill cooking sheet... hope to try it out with some steaks this weekend.  Quizno's had a booth with two very enthusiastic guys offering you the chance to spin the wheel and win a prize... Joan won a frizbee (a Quizbee?) and I won a free sandwich.  These guys knew how to draw people to their booth.

On the opposite side of that spectrum...

This couple could not have been less enthusiastic: she is listening to her iPod, he is reading the paper.  Wanna bet they will say what a slow show this was?  ;-)

I stopped to visit with a couple guys who were selling stand-up paddle boards.  I'm still intrigued by those things... the inflatable looks very portable.  I stood on it; it felt completely solid.  I didn't plunk down any cash, though.  Two booths about 50 feet apart selling memory foam pillows... interestingly, they were both the latest models (the other booth had the older models).  I like a memory foam pillow, but they were both selling them as 2-fers.  When I asked about buying just one, the lady said, "This is the regular price for one - our show special is 'buy one, get one free,' so you don't want just one."  The other guy said the same thing.  I was pretty sure I just wanted one.

A Hobie dealer had kayaks on display...

It makes me miss my kayak... can't take it all.

We watched some kids catching fish in a tank; perhaps as easy as "shooting fish in a barrel."  Lots of boats on display: runabouts, wake boarding boats, and pontoons.  Oh, and the previously mentioned houseboat sales place, and their competition on the other side of the floor.

Several knife dealers.  Plenty of survival gear.  Lots of interesting stuff to check out.

Possibly the oddest booth was for "the go-anywhere tropical pet."  The guy was selling sugar gliders...

That's the little white thing crawling up his arm... the look kinda like a white mouse with really big eyes and a little extra skin between the legs and the body.  He said, "I take mine everywhere with me.  the barber doesn't know I have it in my pocket.  No smell, no fuss."

The first thing Joan said when she got to that booth was, "Ohhh, that stinks!"  Maybe it's an acquired non-smell? ;-)

You can see the paddle boards in the background in that photo above. 

A fun way to spend a few hours.  Fill it up with people (like they expect over the weekend) and it will take 3 times as long to get through those aisles.

Back at the resort, little Izzy was waiting...

"Didja bring me anything?  I think I smell sugar glider!"

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Managing devices...

We bought a new GPS.  We use GPS in the truck, the car, the boat - pretty much anytime we are on the road or the water.  Yes, even when we know where we are.  Our previous GPS was almost 5 years old - still very functional (except the internal battery, which was worn out).  To update the maps with that unit would have been $79... seemed more logical to put that money towards a new unit.

So, while at Costco yesterday, we found another Garmin we liked, with some newer features.  One of those features is "Voice Command."  I had that on my Droid phone 4 1/2 years ago, so it isn't the newest thing going.  The Droid did a pretty decent job with it.  The iPhone does fine with it, too.  I think this Garmin may need some refining... or, it might be my technique.

Wanting to try the Voice Command feature, I spoke my open command and said, "Find Place."  Then, "Oregano's Pizza."

The GPS thought about it for a few seconds then said, "Did you want Lilly's Nail Salon?"

Not even close.  She and I went back and forth, but she never came up with Oregano's.  Joan was watching all this with some amusement... "Let me try.  Oregano's Pizza."

The GPS thought about it for a few seconds then said, "Did you want Barney's Boat House?"

Yeah, not quite ready for prime time.

It does have a better touch screen than the old one, and it will do a split screen when you get to a turn, showing the vehicle's position on the map AND a photo of the upcoming intersection with an arrow showing you where to turn.  Should be handy.

If we learn to talk to each other.  ;-)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bon Voyage...

We took John to the airport this morning... he is heading back to the frozen northland.  It was great having him here.

Now, back to what we seem to do a lot of here... shopping.  We have Steph's Costco card... too bad we don't have her credit card to go with that.  ;-)  A new pair of "boat gloves" for me, from Cabela's - they have the fingers cut out, with a mitten that goes over the finger tips - flip it open to text or call, close it up to keep your fingers warm.  Yeah, it's about 80ยบ here again, today.  Probably won't be needing those 'till we get back to Friday Harbor... in the summer.  ;-)

Joan is cooking, I carried the cats' tower back to "their" room (it was John's room while he was here).  We'll have supper on the table when Steph and Dan get home... we are a good little housewife.  ;-D

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Family time...

John will be flying out tomorrow.  It has been a treat to have him visit.  We made it a "lounging" day, since he has been on the go since he got here.  Joan made us a great home-cooked meal for supper...

In honor of Joan's Mom, the traditional "eatin' photo."  ;-)

After supper and dessert, it was time for some posed photos...

No Izzy photo today, but here is a shot of Steph's cat, Torrie, with her head stuffed in my glass...

Yeah, I think I'm gonna need another glass - this one has cat spit in it.  ;-)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Scootin' and RVing...

Well, scooting to the RVs.  Another RV "show"... and by "show," I mean the dealer (La Mesa RV) moved all their units from their sales lot just off I-10 to the parking lot of the University of Phoenix Stadium parking lot... 'cause everyone knows it is more economical to move your inventory from the lot you own (any pay people to move all those units) to a lot that you are renting for a short time.

Well, it must work... the first person we saw as we walked into the "show" was a saleslady from La Mesa, and she told us they sold 20 units yesterday.

This was one of the first RVs we saw as we entered:

It's the new model from Winnebago, the Trend.  Small, but well thought out.  It is built on a Dodge Ram Pro-Master chassis.  Powered by a 280 hp V-6 gas engine.  Not much towing capacity (2,000 pounds)... but, it is compact.  More photos...

We are considering a change, but I think we'd want a bit more "hauling capacity."

More looking around...

Who gets this berth?

This one looks interesting...

That cushion you see on the couch fits on one of the front rotating seats - lower for driving, raised (with that cushion) and rotated to be part of the living room.  Clever!

Twin beds that convert into a king size bed.

A Class A, but a bit more compact than most...

A walk through the current model Bounder...

We had a Bounder Diesel years ago - a very practical motorhome.

We passed on units bigger than about 30 feet.  That eliminated most of the motorhomes on display at this show.  That's OK, my belly said it was time for lunch.

As we left the lot with the RVs, there was a parking attendant across the street.  I had read that there was an RV show IN the stadium.  This guy had shouted "Nice bike!" as we rode in.  I pulled up to him to find out if there were more RVs inside... "No, there's a volleyball tournament going on.  I was hoping you'd stop - those are GREAT scooters!  Honda, right?"

We had a nice conversation.  He has been shopping around and has focused in on the PCX.

On our way north for lunch, we had several other folks comment about the scooters.  I am still sure it is because we are both on scoots... and we look harmless.  ;-)

We've been in the area for over 2 weeks, and haven't been to my favorite lunch place - we remedied that today...

Lunch was great.  It was about 2:30 by the time we were done, and neither of us were ready to go home.  We took the scenic route, then decided to go west... to find a Culver's for some custard-type ice cream.  And a couple more nice comments about the scooters from people in cars at stoplights.

Our route took us past a Cycle Gear shop - we've never been in one of those, so we stopped by there after dessert.  Only one guy taking care of the store... we didn't really need any assistance, but there was another couple about our age in there... and a brand new CanAm sitting in the parking lot.  I'm guessing they were going to be spending a LOT.  We made a small purchase, then cruised our way back to the resort.

Joan decided her bike needed to be cleaned...

Yeah, I was kinda guilted into cleaning mine, too.

It was into the mid-80s again today, lots of sunshine.  OK, maybe this desert stuff isn't so bad.  ;-)

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Not peace and quiet.

Today was a scooter day.  We did some exploring around this part of town, then rode north to the Lake Pleasant area.  Speeds were 35 to 55 mph, depending on the roads; perfect for these scoots.  At that upper speed range, our half-helmets are noisy (wind noise).  I've been researching a different helmet - I really wanted a full-face helmet; they are safer in an accident.  But, every model I've tried on made me feel like my head was in a vise, and they were limiting on peripheral vision.

While driving through the Happy Valley area of Peoria, we came across another Helmet Center in a new shopping area.  We decided to stop on our way back through.  Our new friend Garrett was helpful - we tried on several models, but both decided a 3/4 helmet would be the compromise on fit and comfort.  We each picked a model with a nice sealing face shield and an integral sun-visor that flips down.

The test came after pulling away from the store - checking the helmets out at speed.  Yep, much quieter.  Plus, I feel like a fighter pilot with the flipdown integral sun-visor.  ;-)

We met Steph and Dan for an early supper at Five Guys.  I have been craving a big ol' juicy burger, and have been outvoted on that the last few days.  My need for meat has been quenched!

We got home just after sunset.  I didn't bring a camera along on the ride today, but did get this sunset...

Nice day.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Not the jelly kind.  I was visiting with the neighbor behind us; found out we have quite a bit in common, including: they are heading to Long Island Village when they leave here, they have spent time cruising on their boat (Gemini catamaran), he used to fly, and he plays guitar.  They invited us to their place for drinks and making music.  Another couple from across the street joined us (he also plays guitar).  We took turns with: "Do you know this one?" then playing it.  It turned out to be a lot of fun.

It's been a while since I had to play while watching someone's fretting hand.  We wound up singing and playing for almost 4 hours... my voice is fine, but my fingers need a rest. ;-)

You can tell you're getting older...

When the "urban cruising" you do on your motorscooter takes you through Sun City! ;-)

We were exploring the area to the north of the resort we are in.  Circumstances have taken us south the past couple weeks (the dentist, Steph and Dan, John visiting) - today, we got the scoots out and rolled north.  Mostly, just looking around at all the retail (and restaurants).  We knew we had to be back to our site by 1:30 to meet Steph and Dan for lunch.  As we were rolling east on Bell Road (a major thoroughfare), Joan said, "I think Del Webb is a main drag running north/south."

Yep.  The traffic was heavy on Bell Road, much lighter on Del Webb.  If that name (Del Webb) sounds familiar to you, he was the one who founded Sun City.  Sun City is well known as a 55+ residential community.  It is a BIG place.  We saw a few people driving around in their golf carts, but no one else on scooters or motorcycles... I guess we need to head back to the resort where we are staying... the one for the "active adult lifestyle."  ;-)


Yes, it was Valentine's Day.  Joan had plans to get some work done around Steph and Dan's house and suggested John and I go do a "guy day."  Yeah, that doesn't sound very romantic.  ;-)

John and I were heading north to another gliderport, when he said he'd like to see the model homes in a very nice 55+ development just north of Steph's.  We turned into the gated community, got a tag for the car mirror from the nice lady at the gate, and headed towards the model homes.

Neither of us wanted to be "stalked" by a salesperson - fortunately, another nice lady at the desk in the sales center said we could walk through the models on our own, but if we wanted to know prices, we'd need to visit with a sales person.

As we walked up to the first model home, it was very apparent they were going to be very nice... and opening the door, we weren't disappointed.  There were a few people as we walked in and out of the 8 homes on display... pretty sure we looked like "a couple" as we walked through the place, discussing the closets and amenities... on Valentine's Day.  Not that there's anything wrong with that (Seinfeld reference ;-) ).

From there, it was time for lunch.  Then, the next planned stop: the Apple Store.  John had not been in an actual Apple Store before; it took a lot of effort, but we "converted" him years ago from a dated PC to an iMac.  He has shown some interest in Steph and Joan's iPads - especially regarding the aviation related apps.  Like most people's first visit to an Apple Store, there is a bit of sensory overload... then, the realization that it's OK to touch and play with the display models... and no one is going to try to hard-sell you.  I answered a lot of his questions, and we called in a sales person to answer one regarding size.  iPhones, iPad, and MacBooks, oh my!  Like the model homes, we didn't buy anything, but it was interesting showing him the different options.

By this time, it was around 3:00, so we decided to scrap the gliderport.  I gave him a short tour of where we are staying on the way back to Steph's ... he quickly decided the accommodations at Steph's are more to his liking than the couch in our 5th wheel.  ;-)

Back at Steph's, Joan had chicken enchiladas for all of us when Steph and Dan got home from work.  It is fun to sit around the table, visiting about everyone's day.

John is off to California for a few days, Steph and Dan will have "date day", and Joan and I have the tough decisions to make: take to the scoots or get some sun by the pool.  Sunny, with a high in the 80s today.  I'm liking that!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A blast from the past...

My brother-in-law, John, is a retired pilot.  Flying has been his passion since his youth; it still is.  When we were in Tucson a couple weeks ago, we made it a point to not go to the Pima Air Museum, just in case he wanted to see it again while he's here (in Phoenix).

Yes, it is a bit of a drive.  This museum is world class.  We headed out early, picked up John, and hit the road... hoping that we would not get caught in the middle of rush hour.  Didn't help.  Bumper to bumper through most of metro Phoenix.

We stopped for breakfast, then south to Tucson.

On to the displays...

John and I by one of the fighter/bombers the company he worked for made...

John by the model of a warbird he once flew...

Joan getting a check-out...

In the space building of the museum, one of the guides asked if we had ever been photographed on the moon...

The guy was especially impressed when John let him know that his former boss (CEO of General Dynamics, and a former astronaut) actually took that background photo.

It was a long drive down and back... and so worth it.  John enjoyed the visit, we enjoyed hearing many of his experiences with the different planes.

We got back to the HitchHiker just after sunset...