Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wellton AZ - Canada South

We've been here in the land of the snowbirds since Sunday. I'm not sure there are any Canadians left in Canada right now - they are all down here in the Yuma area! It's pretty clique-ish, and most of them are in their 70's and up. They tend to stay away from us young-uns.

As I said in an earlier post, we came out to Wellton a few days early to check out our next reservation, and found that it was an old park next to the railroad tracks. Since we had just come from 5 days next to RR tracks, we opted for a newer park, closer to the interstate. Of course, with all of the aforementioned Canadians in the "long-term" spots, we ended up backed up to the freeway. We and about 20 other rigs are in the overflow area, so, while we have electricity and water, we don't have a sewer hookup.

The weather here has been pretty mild, 70's for the most part, until yesterday evening. Then the wind began howling, and it is roaring up a storm today. It was blowing so hard a while ago, it actually blew our satellite dish off it's stand (right before Donna's soap came on - I had to do a quick re-setup). My skills at getting the satellite operational seem to be improving, which is a good thing, as it has been a source of much frustration for both of us in the past. Looking at the weather channel, it appears that this area ends up as the southern edge for storms moving east. So California gets clouds and drizzle, we get clouds and wind, and Denver gets snow.

We're thinking of opting for the Gulf Coast next winter. Less desert, more beach. Maybe even less Canadians, eh? Still a lot of places to go and see before we make that decision.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dateline: Dateland (AZ)

What more could we ask for? An out-of-the-way RV park, perfect for finishing up loose ends a couple of weeks into full-timing. Think small - verrrrry small. Exit 67 off of Interstate 8 - that's Dateland. Home of the world famous date shake, which I tried yesterday. For a person who's not crazy about dates, it was actually quite tasty.

The town was purchased by a Canadian couple several years ago. "Town" consists of a gas station, diner, gift shop, RV park, and (of course) a date farm. Everything you ever wanted to know about date farming and Dateland, you can find on their website: On the RV map of the park, they also say that 4 miles to the north there is a post office, market, Tru-Value hardware store, and bar. We drove up there to mail a few items - let's just say that where we are staying is more exciting. The post office is in the market, which is not marked - it is, but in Spanish. The bar looked scary, and the hardware store was nowhere to be found.

Spaces here rent for $150/month. Cheap, but there is a reason why this park is not full in high season. There are maybe 15 RV's here with 100 spaces available. The reasons? 1) Trains...oh the trains. Two sets of tracks. A train every 20 minutes, day and night. I think they stop between 4:00am and 5:00am, but that's it. Some going east, some going west. But always, chugging down the tracks. 2) the nearest town with anything is 36 miles west of here. That would be Wellton, our next stop. We're leaving here Sunday morning - we'd leave earlier, but our mail is being delivered to the RV park, so we're stuck.

One thing about staying at an uncrowded place: we've had a chance to size up our neighbors. The guy a few spots away from us is a welder who works on combines for farmers. When we met him, Donna promptly did an "exit-stage-left". Maybe it was the overalls and orange t-shirt. He enjoys the sun, but it's left his skin a little parched. Hence, we've nicknamed him "Split-lip", if you get my drift. On the other side of us, there is an older couple from Alberta, Canada. They have a 7 month old cocker, who is very excitable. So excitable, that after jumping up on you, he quickly pees (he got both of us within 10 seconds). The Canadians are now extremely embarrased, and apologize every time we see them. As we were entering the park, and looking for a site, a lady came out of her rig, hair in rollers, baggy t-shirt and pants, with her dog running next to her. She was talking up a storm, and we weren't even out of the truck yet. Oh, boy, the stereo-type of "trailer-trash". She wanted us to park next to them...thank goodness, the office had told us to park in a different section of the park! We have a name for her, but it will remain our little secret.

Today we decided to take the drive into Wellton to check out our next park. We're so glad we did; that reservation is now cancelled! Very old park, small, with mostly ancient rigs living there. We did locate 2 new RV parks, and will be going to one of them on Sunday.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Urban Camping

As we are winging it this winter, the last 4 nights found us in Mesa, AZ, on the outskirts of town. We were at Apache Wells RV Park, which is really a mobile home park with some RV sites. Hmmm, all the roads are this a campground??

Actually, it turned out to be pretty nice, with the exception that our site was on the perimeter, and there was a busy street behind us. Lots of amenities: pool, spa, tennis courts, exercise room, computer room, pool tables, etc. We even had a palm tree on our site! Temperatures ranged from mid-80's to mid-50's, calm to windy. All in all, quite a different experience - and there were lots of "old" people. I mean, white (or blue) hair and real wrinkley skin!! Jeez, Donna and I were the only baby boomers there, everyone else could have been our parents.

Our neighbor in the site next to us is a quilter, so Donna made an instant friend. She happened to mention that she worked in a quilt store on Saturdays, so Donna just had to check it out. This was the first quilt shop she had visited since we've been on the road, so she was in hog-heaven.

I spent 2-1/2 days cleaning the outside of the rig, only to have it rain yesterday (grumble, grumble).

Anyway, we're off again, stay tuned.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

No Free Lunch

OK, it sounded like such a good deal! We're entering Arizona, land of the snowbirds...with no reservations and full RV parks. We had stopped at a rest stop, and a man gave us a flyer and a 1 minute spiel. Get 3 nights and 4 days at an RV resort - all you have to do is listen to a 90 minute presentation. We call, get booked, and settle in, knowing we will turn the "offer to join" down. The offer was to join Western Horizons, a private RV park network. The network and program is similar to the one we already belong to, Coast to Coast. It was a good presentation, and actually sounded like something we could use, so we try and negotiate the price. We tell them we're new retirees (take mercy on us!). They won't budge, neither will we. So we tell them no thanks, but thanks for the 3 nights.

A couple also staying in the park approached us later in the day, and told us they were going to sell their rig, and do more cruising, as they just weren't RV'ing enough. They would sell their membership to us, at about 1/4 what a new membership cost. Whooo-hoooo. Then they found out the bad news - Rod and Donna would have to pay transfer fees, mumbo-jumbo fees, red tape fees, new contract fees, etc., which would elevate that great price to that of a new membership. So everyone ended up being frustrated. Since we really weren't in the market for another membership, no big deal.

Today we did get our next month of reservations booked in our existing network. Early next week we will be moving down to the Yuma area, and will stay there through mid-March.

We moved up to Mesa today (near Phoenix) since the Yuma area is booked out this week. The temperature was in the high 70's. Tomorow it may hit 80. T-shirts and shorts!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Well, first of all, we really love living in our home on wheels. We had the advantage of living in it last summer in Monument. So we just need to tweek things a bit. Rod says that I have too much on board. Just like a man (they travel light). I need all my girly things. We're finding things on board though, that we wonder why did we bring them.

Well, yesterday, (2/13) we moved from the park in Benson to St. David. It's about 7 miles down the road. It's a Western Horizons park. We're going to a presentation tomorrow to find out about their parks. It's worth the 3 nights and 4 days free to see what they have to offer.

Today for Valentine's Day, Rod took me to and old town named Bisbee, AZ. It's about 45 miles South. Everyone said it is really neat. I was really looking forward to it. Well, when we got up it was really cold(43 degrees) and when we got to Bisbee it started snowing. Wait a minute!!!! This is Arizona. What's with the snow. Anyway it was so cold we decided to go back there next year. Hopefully, it will be warmer. So we ended up coming back to Benson and had lunch at a little Mexican restaurant. Really good food.

I think the nicest thing about having so much free time is, if you don't see it the first time you can always come back again and pick up where you left off. We've always been in such a hurry on our vacations and never had time to explore the way we are getting to now.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

On The Road

On our first day, we went from Castle Rock, CO to Albuquerque, NM. Our objective was to get out of the cold and snow as quick as we could. We headed down to familiar territory and hung out for 2 days in Albuquerque. No snow, and weather in the 60's. Much better, but no shorts yet! We had a great lunch at Garduno's, one of our favorite Mexican restaurants.

We thought that when we got to Albuquerque we would either head west to Arizona, or east to Texas. After getting there, we decided to keep going south! South = warm. So we kept going down I-25, with our next destination being Deming, NM. Around lunch time, we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, with only a Mickey D in sight. So, for the first time in several years, we decided to eat there. They had RV parking, so after getting situated, we headed for the dining room. But a sign "dining room closed for remodeling" confronted us. Hmm, ok the drive-thru was open, but we and the truck driver who parked next to us decided our rigs wouldn't fit. So we walked to the last car in line, and walked through the drive-thru! A bit confusing for the employees, but we got our food and had lunch.

After taking a shortcut through Hatch NM, we found that the GPS could not locate the address of our RV park. Funny because it was 3 miles north of town, then 10 miles down a dirt road...Hidden Valley Ranch. Beautiful place, beautiful sunrise, lots of animal life. We'll definitely go back there! A lesson learned for Rod - stow the "Dish" somewhere besides the bed of the truck. As we bounced down the dirt road, it bounced up and pierced the diamond plate on the underside of the rig...not once - but twice. Duct tape has temporarily fixed the holes, and the Dish now has a resting place inside the rig when we travel.

Still looking for more warmth, we headed west, and are now in Benson, AZ. Sorry (hahahaha) to report, it was almost 80 yesterday for a while in the I finally got out the shorts!! Today it's cooler, low 60's, as a storm passes through heading for Colorado we think (sorry!) Yesterday we met up with an Edison retiree and his wife (Leroy and Carol Rice). I had worked with Leroy while at San Onofre in the 80's and early 90's.

We'll be here for a few days. Stay tuned for more adventures!

By the way, Abbey loves our new lifestyle, and stays busy meeting all the dogs in each park we visit!

Living at Work

I was due to retire on Friday, February 2, but the date got pushed 2 additional days to February 6, due to "moving" issues. That last bit of stuff in the house is the hardest to get packed up!!

I extended 2 additional days so that I could transition work activities, which meant we needed a place to stay from January 30 through February 7, when we would actually leave. Great Southwestern Construction (thanks Bob!!) was gracious enough to allow us to park the rig in the truck bay...our own private, indoor, climate controlled RV park! The scenery wasn't pretty, but we had a place to finish packing the rig, and my last week at work had the shortest commute I've ever experienced! The weather was below zero at night that week, but we never knew it!!

And, since we were there 24 hours a day, I got to be the building superintendent...I actually fixed a hot water problem that had plagued the building since we moved in in 1998.

On Friday, February 2, company gave me a retirement luncheon. Thanks to everyone for the great gifts: a retirement contract, RV Log Book, RV Recipe Book, and a wooden sign to identify us to all! All that, and some great food to boot!

At about 9:00am on Wednesday, February 7, we pulled out of the bay and headed south. And so the adventure began...

Moving Out

My Dad says: when you sell your house, sell it with EVERYTHING in it. Contents, clothes, food, EVERYTHING! He's a very wise man!

Of course we didn't do that, we had been moving 37 years of "stuff" into storage for several months. We donated, sold and gave away a lot of it, but still, there was way too much to deal with. Major decisions - what to put on board the RV, what to store.

On moving day, our good friends Jan and Monte, our son Todd, Donna and I made up the moving crew. Very hard work, with 2 casualties: Rod got a black eye, and Todd slipped on ice and bruised his tailbone...but the team got the job done!

As a sidelight, Denver has had the snowiest winter since 1913! Of course, on moving day, we had flurries and cold, cold weather!!

Advice to all - moving is for young people. Don't do it yourself if you can avoid it!!

Christmas Miracle

Who would have thought...a call on December 23, the day before Christmas Eve: "Can we show your house today at 1:00pm? Clients are flying in today from California".


Followed by another call: " Sorry, the plane is delayed. Can they come at 4:00pm?"


Then, at 4:00pm, "I'm waiting at your property...they're due here anytime, can we have until 5:00pm?"


The following week, the call we waited for for 9 months: "We have an offer!!"

The good news, it's a good offer. The bad news, they want to close on January 31!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Heeere We Go!

We're beginning this story about the time that I retired, right before our adventure starts. At some point in the near future, we'll go back and and bring the story up-to-date from the time we started thinking "RV'ing" as a life style.

Both Rod and Donna will make posts...but Abbey won't be doing any typing or story-telling, as she has too much dog-stuff to do!