Thursday, March 24, 2016

San Diego

I spent ten days in San Diego while Ron did some added luxuries to the RV.   

(This pillow made me think of my friend Andrea.  No, I did't buy it--no room)

I think this is a Mormon tabernacle.  At least it is pretty impressive.  And that is Spirit in the mall parking lot.  While Ron was working so hard, Loretta and I were spending time and money shopping.

Ron Installed:  A full length mirror on the outside of the bathroom door and a smaller mirror in the bathroom; stops on all the shelves so things will cease jumping out at me when I open a door; a folding tray next to the sink so I have more work space; a new GPS named Lizzie (an upgrade from Elizabeth); LED bulbs in all the light fixtures, and a dozen smaller items that make everything more convenient.

Thought I would show off the new solar panel on the roof.  It is working like a champ.


And on the way back to Tucson I stopped in the park in this tiny little town for lunch.  That statue was enough to give the kiddies in the playground nightmares.  
Back in Tucson I am doing last minute stuff before I take off for the summer.  There are doctor and dentist appointments and, of course, taxes to tend to.  There are also friends to see before I leave and a few more last minute errands.  My target date to head east is April 14th but weather will be the big factor.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Quartzsite to San Diego--Algodones Dunes

In all the times I have driven across Southern California, I have never seen North Algodones Dunes.  The Wilderness area is located on Ca 78, midway between I-10 and I-8 and so out-of-the-way that you have to intentionally go looking for it.  

From Quartzite I passed farms of lettuce, then miles of barren desert before the sand started appearing.

Miles of sand--A fantastic beach without the water.

I drove to the top of a hill and parked behind the only other RV around....

When I spied these posts.

And they mean 14 days--free!  Wow! what a great place to spend the night and test out my new solar panel.

It was certainly quiet...

...until the traffic started appearing.

On your mark!

And as soon as one group departed, another would appear..... the neighbors...

...share a beer...

...then be gone in a roar.

By nightfall I was all alone on the top of that dune and the wind slowly removed the tracks made by the dune buggies.

As the sun settled below the horizon it became quieter and quieter...

Until the only ones left were me and Babe.  It was wonderful night.  The solar panel provided all the electricity I could possibly need, the stars came out brighter than I'd seen in a long time,  and there was not a sound all night. Yep, it is so nice to be back on the road.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

It's a Bird's Life

I definitely love showing my new home to friends.  Bailey is one of my dearest friends, as is his keeper, Suzie.  It took Bailey a few minutes to get the courage to come up the stairs but once he did he was ready to move in.  Susie's thinking about it.

I finally got brave enough to climb up on the roof to see where I planned to put a new solar panel.

I had decided to take a trip to San Diego for a few weeks with a stop in Quartzsite to visit "Solar Bill's" place.

(The Quartzsite Jail)
Quartzsite is one of those strange desert towns that makes one wonder why the first person ever decided to move there.  It is smack in the middle of nowhere, 25 miles east of the California border.

(Gas Station)
The town has been there in the desert for well over a hundred years and the permanent population numbers 3600 hardy souls.  

There are very few permanent structures but lots of evidence of past residents and the tough life they endured.

The winter population soars astronomically as the 'Snowbirds' arrive in their RVs.  At least a million of them roll in and out of Quartzsite in the winter, as they escape from the snow and cold of the northern regions.  

Winters in Quartzsite are warm, really cheap, friendly and interesting.  Million dollar RVs are parked willy-nilly, throughout the desert, right next to rusty 40 year old VW vans occupied by aging hippies or failed entrepreneurs.  Anything goes--the 'Naked Bookseller' that I wrote about a few years back is still there, playing the piano, in the nude, in his bookstore.

(US Post Office)

I skipped the bookstore this time but sought out 'Solar Bill's', a place highly recommended for installing my solar panel.

(Solar Bill's)
It took only a day for the install, meanwhile I had lots of feathered friends to talk to while I waited.

The panel will keep my batteries charged--house and motor batteries and electronics batteries--plus it will provide enough electricity to run a few smaller things (small fan, hand blender, radio).   

I don't think it will run the TV and know it won't run the microwave or air conditioner but I do have the generator that will run everything else.  I just hate the noise of a generator.

The roof is large enough to add more panels plus more room inside for batteries, but that is too expensive for the use I would get from them.  

TV is over rated. I selectively watch some programs on my computer, get the news on the radio, and
plan to head north with the birds in the spring to avoid the heat.  

 I guess you would call me a 'Sun Bird'.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Life in an RV

In my previous post I failed to show any  pictures of... new dining area (There is lots of storage under those seats--Yeah!)...

...and my kitchen (not such great storage but I should stop storing so much food.)

The absolute worst thing about RV parks can be seen here, out my kitchen window.  As you see above, I am looking directly into my neighbor's window.  

And if I look out my lovely picture window, I see this.

And here we have the front windows.  There are some very nice RV parks around but the convenient ones, inexpensive ones, or available ones (not many during the Gem Show in Tucson), all look like this.  Ugh!

So I often drive over to the Cracker Barrel restaurant where it is quiet,  I am mostly alone after 10 PM and can enjoy a great breakfast in the morning.

The following conversation took place at the DMV office a few weeks ago when I went for my yearly registration of the RoadTrek and to update my driver's license...

The seriously efficient DMV agent,  as she is typing my information into the computer:  "Is this address the same?" and she pointed at my old driver's license.
Me:  "No, I sold my house last year and I live in my RV now."
She:  "So what is the address where you park?"
Me: "I don't have a permanent one.  
She: "Well, where are you parked right now?"
Me:  Right now I am in your parking lot."  (I thought I was being clever but she looked annoyed.)
She:  "We need a permanent address."  (she was becoming more serious)
Me:  "Well, sometimes I park in friend's driveways."
She:  "We'll use a friend's address then."
Me: "No, I can't do that without their approval because of the advertising that comes."
She: "Okay, where do you get your mail?"
Me: "I have a P.O. Box number..."
She:  "I still must have a physical address."  
Me:  "I really don't have one anymore."
She:  "So where do you usually park?"
Me:  "Often at Cracker Barrel Restaurant."  
She gave a long sigh and stood up, "Excuse me while I talk to my manager."
In five minutes she returned: "Where is this restaurant?"
Me: "On I-10"
She typed "Cracker Barrel, I-10" into the computer.
Me: "But tomorrow night I will be in Yuma and I will park at the Cracker Barrel there.  I don't know their address."
She gave me a long look then erased I-10 from the computer and said, "Done!"
I am thinking of stopping by Cracker Barrel in Tucson and ask if they have any mail for me.