Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day

Today is a day of remembrance for our fathers and a day of joy for we who are fathers. May it be a day of peace and happiness for all our families and our country. It is a beautiful, cool sunny day here and it has been a week with nice weather. It does seem to get a little warmer each day.

It was a good week for us at Charlie’s RV Service Center in Sunset, UT. Our new microwave/convection oven was installed, our washer/dryer works again and we got a new monitor for the camera that allows us to watch our Jeep as we travel. They also remounted the awning support I knocked loose from the side of the motorhome as we were leaving Dickinson. Our awning is now extended keeping out the morning sun. There are a few maintenance items remaining, but work is progressing nicely.

Hanging baskets of flowers in Clinton, UT. Just east of Sunset

 Jim, the auto mechanic that was off for a hand operation is back to work with limited use of his right hand. There is plenty of work to do, so Justin and Amanda are glad his operation went well and glad to have him back on the job.

There is plenty of RV work to do as several move in and a several go out each week. There are currently about 15 RV’s on the lot at various stages of the repair cycle.

First magpie I have seen in Utah.
We got a surprise visit from Butch and Debbie Schultz on Friday. They live on the Columbia River in Oregon and came to Utah with other family members and their motorhomes for some sightseeing. Debbie and Kathi keep up with each other on Facebook. It was great to see them, because it has been about four years since we last ran into them on the Oregon coast.

The snow is slowly melting off the mountains, but more flowers are sprouting up all over the area. There is so much traffic in the area it is difficult to stop and smell the roses, but we do when we can. We spend most of our days at home, in case we are needed to support Justin, Gilberto and Gilbert with RV repairs.

We ate lunch at Cracker Barrel on Saturday. Kathi had chicken and dumplings and I had a country fried steak. I even had enough left over for a late-afternoon snack.

Daisies at Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel art

More wall art

Kathi has done some of our laundry to assure the washer/dryer functions properly and it does. but today we need to go to the laundromat to wash sheets and towels. Too many have accumulated to make it feasible to wash in our small washer/dryer.

Our new microwave

Kathi and I are thinking about going to West Wendover, NV for our next stop, but we have not decided for sure. We talk about moving on to the Oregon coast, hovering on a mountain top or going back to the Houston area to be near doctors. We will probably continue to decide on a day-by-day basis. We are retired and happy wherever we reside.

Happy Father’s Day.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Update from Charlie's

We have been at Charlie’s Service Center in Sunset, UT as information was gathered to understand the scope of repairs and provide information to the insurance company.  Charlie’s business began as a muffler shop and expanded into auto repairs a few years later. They now work on cars, trucks and RV’s and there is plenty of work to keep them busy this time of the year. Justin and Mandy Dubose own the business and they stay busy trying to keep up with the business, taking care of their son, Austin and racing their dragster when local meets are held.

There are currently about 20 RV’s on the lot, some waiting for the owners to pick them up, some awaiting parts arrival and a few with work in progress. One of the auto mechanics is off work with a hand operation and Justin has been spending time with both cars and RV’s. Gilberto works with Justin on RV repairs and they both stay on the run. The shop is usually closed on weekends, but both were working part of Saturday to keep up with the volume of work.

We spent Sunday, June 4, 2017 at home watching snow melt on the mountains. The temperature was 92 degrees in the afternoon and I chose that day to refill our batteries with water. That was enough exercise for me and I was glad to get back inside with conditioned air.

Less and less snow each day

The insurance inspector came by on Tuesday and looked at all the repairs that need to be done, took pictures and turned in his report to the insurance carrier. They pulled our air conditioner so the inspector could see the work they had to do to make our propane furnace functional. It turned out the insurance would not cover that repair anyway. It got hot inside, but we got by using our fans. We are glad to get past the insurance hurdle.

Our Alfa at Charlie's

We expect the work to progress, now that they have all the information they need and we have agreed on a repair cost range. Of course, work progress depends on parts arrival. We appreciate Mandy and Justin working with the insurance company to get most of our maintenance issues covered. Kathi will be glad to get her washer/dryer and convection microwave back in operation. I may talk her into beans and cornbread soon.

Our nephew, David Clark has lived in Colorado Springs for a couple of years and his dad, Carl visited him this week. They have been having fun with some hiking, horseback riding and other manly ventures. Carl is my brother-in-law and just one year younger than I am. I am glad he feels like riding and hiking. I think they are having a good time.

My nephew, David

My bother-in-law, Carl

Our oldest son, AJ lives in Austin and sent us several pictures of the ROT (Republic of Texas) Rally that is going on there. There are herds of motorcycle riders in town to share a weekend of camaraderie and music fun. The ROT Rally is thought to be the loudest week of each year in Austin. I am glad I am not there, but I do like to see the motorcycles.

Motorcycles downtown Austin for ROT Rally
Another good week for us and soon we will have to decide where to go next. It may be a hard decision, but who cares. Wherever we are we will enjoy being alive.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

At Charlie's This Week

It has been a short week at Charlie’s, since Monday was Memorial Day. On Tuesday, May 30, 2017, Gilberto came by early to close our front door, so he could wash our motorhome. He used their pressure washer and it took a long time to get all the bugs and debris off the front. It looked a lot better when he was through. Mandy came by to review the list of repair items she sent to our insurance carrier. They wanted some model numbers and a better description for a few items and we helped her find the information she wanted.

Click on photos to enlarge them. The first two are of a 1948 Chevrolet Master Deluxe brought into Charlie's for maintenance.

The paint has sparkles

Great condition
A while later, we heard footsteps on the roof, followed by some drilling. Gilberto was installing covers over our vent fans, so from now on, we do not have to rush home to close our vents when it rains. Kathi wanted those vent covers installed several years ago and we finally got it done.

After that, we drove a few miles south to Layton to find the location for Quest Labs, so we could return first thing Wednesday morning for our semi-annual blood tests. We made a stop at Kent’s Market to pick up a few grocery items, before returning home. Kathi read, while I worked Sudoku puzzles. I am glad Kathi is enjoying reading again.

Wednesday morning, we went to Quest Labs and carried water to drink on the way. We used to fast before blood draws, but finally found out if we did not drink a lot of water ahead of time we failed our kidney tests. Now we fill ourselves with water to get passing grades. There were two people ahead of us at Quest and another lady came in and seemed to be in a hurry, so we let her proceed before we took our turns.

Still some snow on the mountains
The A/C did not work well on the Jeep and we already had two other items that needed attention, so we took the Jeep key to the office and turned in a maintenance request. We found out one of the mechanics was off for an operation and we assured them we were patient, just keep us on the list for repair work at their convenience.

Thursday, we were home all day watching traffic go by. Kathi was reading. A few RV’s moved around the lot as Gilberto and Justin made repairs to them. It is nice to see business in action. Friday, we spent a good portion of the day watching a pickup truck and trailer bringing in fill dirt to put on the back side of the Charlie’s storage lot next door. There is a steep drop off at that spot and the fill dirt will keep cars away from the edge.

Highly recommended steakhouse
Saturday was a fun day for us. We had lunch with Justin, Mandy and Austin at Ruby River. Mandy had a salad, Kathi had salmon with a sweet potato, Austin had a steak kabob with French fries and a root beer and Justin and I had steak baked potatoes and salad. Lunch was delicious and the conversation was light and fun. To top it off, Mandy made brownies and put candles on top so they could sing happy birthday to me, then we had brownies for desert. It was such a fun meal and I will never forget. It is great to spend time with our friends.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day

This has been another week at Charlie’s Service Center in Sunset, UT. Justin and Gilberto are still removing items for repair to evaluate the problems so Mandy can submit the insurance claim. We mostly enjoy our days looking at the mountains and reading.

Snow capped mountain across I-15 and east of Hill Field.
Gilberto took our microwave out to check for needed repairs and they ran it for a few hours in the shop and it seemed to be working okay. We made sure they understood it was the convection oven that did not work, since we knew the microwave was working. Last time we tried to use the convection oven almost a year ago, it sounded like we were grinding rocks. It seemed to run fine in their shop here, so Gilberto reinstalled it.

Kathi and I went to the store and bought ingredients to make a chocolate cake. Pre-heat for the cake went much quicker than normal, but we tried it anyway. After about 20 minutes the cake was supposed to be done. It was not. Kathi raised the temperature and cooked longer. After two and a half hours we decide to eat the cake with uncooked chocolate cake mix in the center. The cake was tasty, but the convection oven experience was unsatisfying. After finishing cake, Kathi noticed a dark screen on the microwave. It was dead. Gilberto pulled it out again the next day. It is sitting on the bench in the shop for further evaluation. Our washer/dryer is sitting on the floor, near the microwave, awaiting evaluation.

There are about a dozen RV’s on the lot awaiting parts or already repaired waiting for the owners to retrieve them. A few more come in each day with single complaints, get repaired and put back on the road. There is a very expensive Newell motorhome on the lot being repaired at a leisurely rate of time, since the owner’s son wants to sell it after repairs. The outside looks beautiful, but Kathi looked inside and it is a mess. Our prediction is they will finish repairs and the motorhome will never sell. We figure this million-dollar motorhome may fetch $150,000 at best.

I had a great 74th birthday on Saturday. I got a lot of birthday wishes from family, friends and Facebook friends. All messages were appreciated. We drove to the Texas Roadhouse in Bountiful, UT to have lunch with my sister, Carol and husband Lloyd Jackson. They spent Friday evening with their motorhome in the Walmart parking lot in Springville, UT. Their next stop on the way to the west coast is Wendover, NV. We had a great lunch with steak and potatoes and salad, but the conversation was even more enjoyable. We caught up on family activities and travel adventures. It really was a great birthday for me.

Decor inside Texas Roadhouse
Last Thursday we were planning to eat leftovers at home, but they cut off our power to pull the air conditioner. Our problem was actually the propane furnace which heated okay, but the heated air never got into our motorhome. The furnace and air conditioner share the same vents, with a flap that switches positions depending on the source of the air flow. Our flap was missing, so Justin created one for installation. Which required removing the air conditioner. Without use of the microwave to heat leftovers, we decided to go out to lunch. We drove into Ogden and had lunch at Goodwood Barbecue. It was not Texas barbecue, but it satisfied our hunger. Just another RV travel adventure – what a life. We are thankful to share it.

Inside of Goodwood Barbecue

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Repair Work

We have had an uneventful few days at Charlie’s Service Center at Sunset, UT. There are ten or twelve RV’s still on the lot for repair. A few have moved in or out each day and the shop is closed on the weekends, and it is very quiet here, which is fine with us.

Since we have been in the higher altitudes, Kathi and I have had spells when it seemed harder to breathe, so she looked on and found some 22-ounce oxygen canisters that people use when they need more oxygen, such as when doing heavy exercise. We are not doing heavy exercise, but the oxygen may help anyway. The package should arrive the middle of the week.

Gilberto and Justin are reviewing all our maintenance or repair items to assure they understand the issues and repair requirements, prior to submission to our insurance carrier. It will be nice to have our water pump, propane heater, microwave/convection oven and washer/dryer functioning again. Those are some of the big items, but there are many more. Almost no repairs in three years and living in the motorhome every day, maintenance items continue to grow.

We finally got all our laundry done on Wednesday and went for haircuts and Walmart shopping on Thursday. There are some sites to see around here and hopefully, we will feel like getting out more during the coming week.

Gilberto spent much of the day Friday trying to determine where the electrical wire was broken that is preventing current from getting to the 120-volt electrical outlets in our slideout. We have been using an extension cord for a month or so to supply power to our computers which reside in the slideout area. The electrical lines run through the roof of our basement. Yes, we have a basement, like where buses keep luggage. All the plastic containers were removed from our basement on Friday in search of the broken wire. They have not found it yet, but Gilberto says he now knows where it is not. That seemed to make sense to him.

Through the windshield picture that looks like we will drive into a wall of rock.
Most days here have been overcast, so we have not had many good picture opportunities, but Saturday was different. We had bright sunshine all day and we went out to lunch, thinking I would take some pictures, but could not work that into our schedule. I had an Ultimate Feast at Red Lobster and Kathi had a fresh catch salmon for lunch. It was way too much for me to eat and I had leftover shrimp, lobster and crab to eat in the late afternoon.

A beautiful Newell RV that we saw when we were in Thackerville, OK.
Sunday is overcast again and the humidity feels high for Utah. My sinuses are giving me some problems, so I got out of bed, had coffee and fell asleep sitting in my chair trying to read. I am feeling a little better now, but the atmosphere is still heavy.

Wall art from Cracker Barrel
We are looking forward to Monday when there is some activity to watch at the service center. We can see the snow-capped mountains out of our windshield and see traffic moving on I-15 and not much else going on. We will probably get an evaluation from the insurance company this week and the real work can get started.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Charlie's Service Update

Saturday afternoon and Sunday, we mostly stayed inside and enjoyed the mountain views out the windshield. Kathi made tacos for lunch both days and they were super good.

Homemade taco lunch
Monday morning, Justin Dubose came out to greet us and talk about some of our maintenance issues. It was nice to see him again, since it has been three years since we were here. Kathi made me a homemade hamburger for lunch and they are always good. Most of the food Kathi makes for us comes from our freezer. She prepares many items for the freezer when we travel. It shortens prep time when we are tired.

Justin’s wife, Mandy came out to see us in the afternoon and brought their son, Austin with her. Austin has grown a lot since we were here last. He will start kindergarten in the fall. He had a super ball and enjoyed bouncing it on our steps while we talked with Mandy. We caught up on their family and shared information about our family and recent activities.

Hazy view out our windshield from our parking space at Charlie's
Gilberto and Justin do the RV work on the property. Justin would like more help, but all the young people in the area are unwilling to work for affordable wages, so help is hard to find. Of course, people with no training and no tools are willing to work for exorbitant salaries, but businesses cannot afford to pay them that much to learn the job.

Gilberto and Justin removed our washer/dryer in the afternoon, so Justin could evaluate the problem to relay the information to the insurance company. Doing minimal maintenance for three years, we have a lot of work to get done while we are here.

Tuesday morning, Kathi and I drove into Ogden to see an orthopedic doctor about my knee and hip problems. We did X-rays and the arthritis degeneration was transparent. He told me I needed to replace both knee joints and my hip joints. I told him we would only be in Utah for a brief period, so he gave me injections in each knee and a prescription for a stronger corticosteroid than the prednisone I took a month ago when we were staying on Lake Georgetown. We are hoping that will reduce the inflammation and thus suppress the pain.

Wednesday morning, we awoke to frost on the pumpkin. Not really, they do not have pumpkins at Charlie’s Service, but we did see snow on the surrounding rooftops and tops of the cars in the parking lot. Much of it had melted by 8:00 am because of direct sunlight.

Remember we did half of our laundry last Saturday. Now, it is time to do the other half. We will try and get that completed before noon and keep our afternoon free.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Into Sunset

We left the Legacy Inn and RV Park in Price, UT on Thursday, May 11, 2017 on the way to Charlie’s Service Center in Sunset, UT to get some much needed work done on our motorhome. The only service we have performed in the last three years is an oil change, replacing six tires and replacing a leaking hot water heater. All the other failed items, we postponed until we got to Charlie’s. All the RV service centers in the Houston area had long waiting lists and we could not commit to planning that far ahead. At Charlie’s, we get to stay in our RV while work is done and they work us in around other customers and when parts arrive.

We left Price going east on US 191 and drove through Helper. At Castle Gate where US 191 turned north, we switched to US 6 and kept going east. We drove through Tucker and past Solder’s Summit, then switched to US 89 northeast until we hit I-15 at Spanish Fork, then north through Provo and Orem, before hitting the Salt Lake City traffic. It was a beautiful day for travel and we enjoyed the beautiful scenery. We were also glad we missed the rush hour traffic, since much of the way we had six lanes of cars moving 75 miles per hour in narrow lanes.

The last few times we used I-15 through SLC there was a lot of road construction with few lanes and slow traffic. The construction is all complete now and the traffic really moves. This was much better.

After SLC, we drove past Bountiful and Clearfield before arriving at Sunset and Charlie’s Service Center. We found out the owners, Justin and Amanda Dubose were out and had taken their dragster to race on Friday and Saturday. Gilberto works with Justin on the motorhomes and RV’s and he met us and got us parked and utilities hooked up.

Click on pictures to enlarge them.

Windmills along US 191

A through the windshield view along I-15
We were both hungry and drove into Ogden for a meal at the Ruby River steakhouse. It was delicious and we had enough left over for lunch on Friday. Kathi added some green beans and cooked a few more potatoes to go with our leftover steak. It was great again. Considering we got two meals for the price of one, it was very economical.

A view of the ceiling inside Ruby River
I ordered Mother’s Day flowers for Kathi from 1-800 flowers and they were supposed to be delivered on Friday, but they never arrived. I was disappointed, but maybe they will arrive on Monday. We made a trip to Walmart to pick up a few items and spent the rest of our Friday at home looking out the window at the mountains.

A view across I-15 from the front door of Charlie's Service
Saturday was laundry day. We were both struggling for air at the higher elevation, so we only did half our wash. We will do the other half sometime this week. After laundry, we came home and Kathi made homemade tacos – my favorite meal. We are having more of the same today.

We are looking forward to going over our maintenance list with Justin in the morning, then begins negotiations with the insurance company to see what they will cover. Amanda is a pro at this so know she will do her usual. We are just thrilled to be getting things done.