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.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Casa Blanca to Price

Monday, May 8, 2017, we left the Zuni Reservation and the Laguna Pueblo near Casa Blanca, NM and the Dancing Eagle Casino and drove west on I-40. We passed the North Acomita Village, drove through Grants, Prewitt, Thoreau, Coolidge, Church Rock and into Gallup. At Gallup, we went north on US 491 into the Navajo Reservation. We drove through Yah-Ta-Hey, Twin Lakes, Tohatchi, Sheep Springs, Newcomb, Little Water an into Shiprock. We had to jog to the right in Shiprock, then continued north on US 491 into Colorado and the Ute Mountain Reservation. We moved into the RV Park at the Sleeping Ute RV Park in Towaoc, CO and settled in for the night.

The scenery Monday was mostly dirt and rock and some mountains in the distance. There were many houses in cluster about one-quarter mile off the road and we saw little sign of greenery anywhere. Tuesday was different.

We got a late start, because I slept late on Tuesday morning. I am not used to all the traveling and we are moving quicker than my body can adjust. I am exhausted, but we will stop for an extended stay at Charlie’s Service in Sunset, UT on Thursday.

Tuesday morning, we left the Sleeping Ute and went north on US 491 through Cortez. We saw a lot of horses in people’s front yards. Cows had been more prevalent prior to entering Ute country, but the Utes seem to favor horses. As Us 491 turned west, we began seeing farm land. We saw bright green fields of grass, we assumed would become hay. We saw plowed brown dirt fields, then we started seeing plowed red dirt areas. We drove through Delores, Pleasant View and Dove Creek before crossing the state line into Utah.

At Monticello, UT, US 491 ended at the intersection of US 191, so we took 191 north through Spanish Village and the scenery changed again. Words and pictures are inadequate to convey the beauty of the scenery we passed on this trip. Red mountains, green mountains and mountains with visible sandstone strata. As we moved into Moab the mountains of red were closer to the highway.

Through the windshield pictures

More colored rocks
We drove past the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and went through Crescent Junction and turned west on I-40. Just past Green River, we turned north again on US 191 through Woodside and Wellington. Coming over some of the mountain passes, the view ahead was breathtaking in the spectacular variety of colors. We stopped at the Legacy Inn and RV Park in Price, UT for the evening. This was another special day of travel for us. I wish I could explain it better.

Wide open spaces

Unusual rock formations
When I drive through remote areas, especially with low traffic, Kathi’s mother, Virginia Hathaway’s words echo in my ears. When we first started traveling she told me, “Take care of that precious cargo.” I agree with her assessment and I never forget who travels with me.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Casa Blanca, NM

We left the Amarillo RV Ranch Thursday morning heading west on I-40 toward Albuquerque. I was still tired from the drive the previous two days and wanted to break the drive up into two pieces. We were not far out of Amarillo before the hills turned into mountains. It has been a long time since we were in the mountains and it was mucho fun again. We saw many pink buttercups and some yellow flowers and a few spots with Indian paintbrush to add some color to our drive. The most fun was the mountains and being in them and driving through them.

We had some steep climbs and I had to downshift for higher engine speed and slower travel speed to prevent our engine from overheating. It has been so long since I was driving in the mountains that I had forgotten how to do it, but it came back to me after an hour or so.

We drove through Tucumcari looking for an RV park, but found none. It is a dead old town and many buildings are abandoned. There is nothing else in the area, so I assume they depend on tourists for trade. We kept on driving and looking. We drove through Cuervo, then went into Santa Rosa to look for an RV park. We drove through town and saw the Santa Rosa Campground that we had stayed at before, but it did not appeal to me on this trip. I guess I was being too picky.

I did see a restaurant with truck parking in the rear on the way through town, so we made a loop on I-40 and went back through town again and pulled in at the Silver Moon Café that advertised Mexican and American food. Kathi had cheese enchiladas and I had cheese enchiladas and beef tacos. The enchiladas came with pinto beans and hominy. All the lettuce was wilted and the tacos were tasteless, but filling. When Kathi had enough, I boxed the remainder to take with us for a snack later.

We kept driving west on I-40 and hit the afternoon work traffic going through Albuquerque. We normally boondock at the Route 66 Casino on the west side of Albuquerque when we are in the area. Since the last time we were here, they built the Route 66 RV Resort and will no longer allow boondocking on their property. We moved into the park and begrudgingly paid $45 per night. The actual charge was $75 and they told us $25 would be refunded when they checked our site after we left. We were tired and went to bed early and discussed never visiting the Route 66 casino again in the future. I guarantee we will never return to this unfriendly RV location.

We awoke Saturday morning and moved 40 miles further west to the Dancing Eagle Casino RV Park in Casa Blanca, NM. No one was in the office, so we gave them a check for $22 for a two-night stay. Kathi went to the café attached to the casino and brought lunch home for us. There were a lot of people in the casino and it was very smoky – not an atmosphere for us.

Blooming cactus at the Dancing Eagle Casino

The view out mys window as I write in Casa Blanca
I had a baked potato and a chicken fried steak and Kathi had a salad. We watched a little TV and went to bed before dark. We are not used to the change in elevation and shortness of breath is a problem. The elevation here is 5,900 feet.

Today, we went next door to the grocery store and bought a few items to get us to Utah. Kathi made me steak, new potatoes and corn for lunch and it was great. Kathi walked over to the casino and played video poker for an hour or so and returned home for rest and a shower. We will move into Towaoc, CO tomorrow morning hopefully we may be in Sunset, UT by the end of next week. Happy trails.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Really, Really Good News

Kathi and I spent an extra month on Lake Georgetown to await an appointment with a heart surgeon, to determine if AJ would need surgery. We went to see the doctor May 1st and no surgery was needed. We were thrilled about the news and I wanted to hug a surgeon, but I restrained myself. It was definitely good news for our family and we wanted to spread the word.

With that behind us, Kathi decided to leave Lake Georgetown on May 2nd and head toward Utah for some work on our motorhome. First, we chose a little diversion by a move to the Winstar World Casino in the Chickasaw Reservation at Thackerville, OK. We left the Cedar Breaks Park on Lake Georgetown about 10:00 a.m. and got on I-35 north which goes through Temple, Waco, Ft. Worth and Gainesville, before crossing the Red River into Oklahoma. There was still a lot of construction on I-35, primarily in the Ft. Worth area, but driving through was not too bad, just a little slower than normal.

We spent the evening in the casino and sometime during the evening they called out Kathi’s name and gave her a prize. A nice crystal bracelet, some chocolate roses and money on her player’s card to commemorate the event. It was fun.

Crystal bracelet for Kathi
We tried our luck again on Wednesday and left the Winstar on Thursday morning. Our destination for the day was Amarillo, but I thought it might be too far to drive in one day, so I was on the lookout for RV park signs along the way. We first took I-35 south back to Gainesville to get on US 82 and cross the Texas panhandle. We drove up and down the hills as they got larger and taller moving west. We saw a lot of Texas windmills along the route and many fields of red dirt plowed for planting. It was a scenic drive with a lot of road ahead and many small towns to pass through.

A little luck helps

Oh, so close
We made it to Wichita Falls and left town on US 287. We spotted a roadside park soon after, so we stopped for a short nap, before continuing our trip. We awoke and drove through Vernon, Chillicothe, Quanah and Childress and I started getting tired again, so we made a more concerted effort to find an RV park we liked. We did not find one nearby, so we kept moving. Memphis was next, then Clarendon, Goodnight and Claude. Soon we merged with I-40 and knew we were on the outskirts of Amarillo.

We spent the night at the RV Ranch RV Park and now it is Friday morning and we are ready to move into New Mexico. We hope to get to Sunset, UT within a week to ten days, depending on how my body reacts to moving again. We are glad to be on the road.