Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Surf City Chrismukkah

Bolsa Chica Beach complete with pelicans

On December 15, we headed for Huntington Beach, where we would be for 11 days during the holidays. In 2007, we were on the East Coast, and checked into The Great Outdoors on Christmas Eve. Not this year! We decided that we would spend the holidays with family this year. My sister recommended Bolsa Chica State Beach, and, a few months back, we checked with ReserveAmerica to see if any sites were available. Amazingly, there were openings, but we could only get an 11 day stint, and our rig was backed up to PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). The sites there are narrow, and are really built for RV's up to 40', so we were tight! We actually backed up over the curb until the tag wheels hit so that we would fit and still be able to park the car in front of the coach. Our first neighbors were from Germany, and they told us to park our Jeep on their site. "You Americans have too many rules!" they joked.

A side note: back in the 50's and 60's, Bolsa Chica was known as "Tin Can Beach". From PCH to the water, the beach was covered in cans. I'm not sure when it got cleaned up, but it's beautiful now. There is still stuff (flotsam or jetsam?) on the beach, but now it's whatever the tide brings in, not out of control litter.

Emma testing out the sand

Emma got to experience her first time on sand at the beach. What a hoot! After about 10 seconds of walking gingerly, she took off running and didn't stop until she was tired. Running on the beach became a favorite pastime while we were there.

Go Emma!

As always, Donna's sister Cheryl and her husband John hosted a Hanukkah party for the family. Every year it gets larger, as more relatives, extended family, and friends show up. They had about 60 people this year. For us, it was great, as Todd and Victoria flew in from Colorado, and Josh, Jenna, Bea, and Olivia drove down from San Jose. T, V, J, J, B & O even took in Disneyland. My Dad even came to the party!

HB locals Gary and Jill came over to visit and see the coach. Gary was my boss when I was at Edison. It was great catching up on each other's families and finding out what was going on at Edison. We had a great Mexican dinner in Huntington Beach.

Jim, Yvonne (aka Marie) and Dad

My sister Yvonne (aka Marie) and her husband Jim had reservations at Bolsa Chica, and came into the park a few days after we got there. Jim is very recently retired (firefighter), and is settling into the retired life. We all told him it would take a few months to sink in. They hosted a Christmas Eve dinner attended by us, my Dad, and Jim's side of the family. Another great meal with great company! Jim and I also managed a bike ride down to the Huntington Beach pier. The weather during our stay can be described as rainy, windy (OK, very windy), and sunny, sometimes all on the same day!

Sunset at Bolsa Chica

Our reservation was through December 26, but the park hosts told us to get on the waiting list the day before, and maybe we could extend. When I signed up, I was second on the list. True to one of Murphy's Laws, on the 26th there was only one opening. We were forced to leave, and, after goodbyes to Yvonne and Jim, headed for El Centro, CA, for the night. It was time to head east to warmer climates!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Leaving Las Vegas

We took the short 48 mile jog from Pahrump down to Las Vegas...the city where we got married so many years ago! Wow, it's really changed. As we drove down the Strip, the mega-hotels are adding on even higher towers. Amazing. It's getting to be a bit much, we think. And with economy, those casinos had better do real good!

We had a reservation at the Oasis RV Park on the south side of the strip. Back in 2000 or 2001, we stayed there in our little 24' travel trailer, and thought it was a great park. Like everything else, things have changed. It's a little older now, and unless you want to spend $50 a night (we don't), they put out in the back of the park, two rigs to a driveway. Yuck. Well we were there on one of our campground memberships, so it was about $11 a night. No ambiance, but the price was right.

Since we were to be there a week, we sent for our mail, which all goes to our Texas address. It comes to the local post office as "General Delivery". When we went to pick it up, there was a surprise for us - the post office we specified doesn't accept general delivery. Doh! Another lesson the post office before shipping. Our mail bounced around for about 4 days before it showed up at the only PO in Las Vegas that accepts general delivery.

We did a little casino hopping, and checked out The Palms, which is over near the Rio. Donna tells me that it's the "in" place, and the stars hang out there. Believe it or not, we didn't see anyone of any notoriety. It is a very nice place though.

In one of the tourist books that are everywhere, we found an ad for 1/2 price show tickets. We went to one of their locations, and found that there were discounts of up to 50% for selected shows. Donna really wanted to see Mama Mia, which was playing at the Mandalay Bay. The performance was sold out in the section we wanted (this was Friday). We thought we'd try back on Monday to see what was available then. While looking through the Sunday paper, Donna found a 2-4-1 coupon for Mama Mia, directly through the hotel. We zipped over to the box office, and got 2 tickets, center, row 13...not bad! I have to admit, the show was very good, in spite of all those ABBA songs that I tried to forget over the past few decades!

There was a big rodeo in town while we were there, and, again at the Mandalay Bay, there was a "Cowboy Marketplace". We thought it would be fun to wander around and check out boots, belts, hats, jewelry, and clothes...and tack...and horse trailers...and mega-trucks. We learned something - some of those big horse trailers are partitioned. There is the horse area, and the people area. The people areas have an interior that rivals many motor homes!! We had no idea.

Directly across I-15 from our resort is the Silverton Casino & Hotel. They were advertising 2-4-1 prices in all of their restaurants, so we thought we'd check out the place. Attached to the casino is a Bass Pro Shop. A very interesting combination! Upon entering the main door to the casino, you are confronted with a giant salt water aquarium. Lots of sharks and exotic fish swimming around. We quickly joined the Players Club, and headed off to the buffet for 1/2 price dining! After dinner, we toured Bass Pro, and then headed back to the casino for about an hour.

The weather was cold the entire week, with daytime temps in the 50's, and very breezy.

Now that we've been to Vegas again, we probably won't be back for quite a while. Maybe it's our lifestyle, but Tinseltown just seems to be getting, well, too gaudy. And the tourists seem to all be trying to impress each other.

We're spending 5 days back in Desert Hot Springs, California, before heading over to Huntington Beach for the holidays. After that, it will be 2009, and the adventure will continue!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Terrible Time

Donna and I hope this holiday finds you well and happy (and full)! We realize how fortunate we are to be living this lifestyle, while so many are struggling.
This year, Thanksgiving finds us in Pahrump, Nevada. Why here? We've been on the road for almost 2 years now, and I can't tell you how many people have told us to come here, and stay at Terrible's RV Resort. Pahrump is about 50 miles west of Las Vegas, at about 2700' elevation. We have to admit, this park is beautiful, and we have a lakeside site. The park is full right now, but we think it will thin out considerably on Sunday, when all the families head for home.
It's hard to believe that, a year ago, we were in Colorado at Todd and Victoria's. The day after Thanksgiving, we headed for Florida. We miss being with family today, but, in a few weeks, we'll all be together for a big celebration.

A Terrible Place

Looking across the lake at the Casino

Our view

Looking at the lake behind our site
We left Earp, CA, a day early, as heavy rain was predicted for Wednesday, our original travel day. We did encounter some rain on our journey, which ruined the wash job I had given the coach and the Jeep. We were at a park that did not allow washing, so it was a job done slowly with only a bucket, no hose. Now I have something to do here! And, I get to do it the same way, as this park does not allow washing. Before we left, we visited with some friends, Bob and Elyse, who live across the river in Parker, AZ. They are our neighbors up in Stoneridge, where we spend the summer. They have a fabulous place right on the Colorado River! It was great catching up with them.

When we were in Desert Hot Springs, I left out two activities that we did, and really enjoyed. Every Thursday night in Palm Springs there is a street fair, with vendors selling everything from food to jewelry to you-name-it. They close off about 10 blocks of the main drag (no pun intended). We had a great time, and, even better, managed to buy nothing! Also, on Saturdays, there is a giant flea market at the local community college. This was also a great time, but it was a bit toasty due to the hot weather.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Headin' South

After whining about leaving wine country, we smiled as we arrived back in San Jose. Another visit with the grand-daughters and their parents! On previous visits, we have stayed south of San Jose in Morgan Hill. This time, we elected to be close in, and stayed in-town, less than 10 minutes away. We really enjoyed the visit, and even though it was only 3 days, it was over a weekend.

Bea and Emma

Olivia thinking about what a pain it is to pose for Grandpa
Time to get south! From San Jose, we made a power run to Banning, CA. We had reservations at a Coast to Coast park. From now on, we'll read the directions a little closer: we had missed the part about "steep, mountainous roads". This park was not actually in Banning (flat desert), but was off of Highway 243, about 10 miles south of Banning, on the road to Idlywild at 3800' altitude. The road was so steep, with hundred foot drop offs next to the road, that Donna had to keep her eyes closed much of the way. Once we got up there, it was a nice park, but not without problems. After finding a nice spot and settling in for the evening, we heard a clunk. It was the transfer switch taking us off of shore power and putting us in the inverting mode. Then, a minute later, switching us back, and then get the picture. The next day, another camper said that the park had high voltage, so evidently our surge protector was doing its job. We had planned on staying here for a week, but left after one night. Needless to say, Donna went into the back for the ride down to the desert floor.

We ended up in Desert Hot Springs, and much warmer temperatures. The resort we stayed at had the main pool and spa fed by a natural hot springs. It was real nice swimming, and then soaking, in non-chlorinated water. It was a nice week to relax. Unfortunately, Donna felt a bug coming on. We had made plans to see some of our friends from Stoneridge (Bruce, Adair, and their dog Yogi). Donna didn't want to pass the bug to them, so Emma and I went over for a visit. She gave me a biscuit to give to Yogi (she had taken care of him several times last summer, and always had a treat for him). It was great seeing them, and we hope to get back there again before seeing them next summer.

Emma meets Yogi

Another week had passed quickly. Off to the local Flying J, where we met up with Donna's sister and her husband. We were heading out to Earp, CA, which is across the Colorado River from Parker, AZ. Our original plan had been to spend 2 weeks at this resort, so that we would have Thanksgiving together. Unfortunately, this resort has a closed door policy if you aren't a member of this park - it's closed to members only on holidays.
No problem, we're flexible - we'll be heading for Parumph, NV, Wednesday morning, and will have Thanksgiving there.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wine Country

Napa Valley

As we move southward, we thought it would be fun to re-visit California wine country. Back when we lived in California, we spent time up in the Napa area whenever we could...whatever excuse! Then we moved to Colorado...1300 miles is a bit far for a weekend in Napa. Back in the 1970's we came across a small winery that had just recently re-opened - V. Sattui. It became a favorite place, as they have a cheese/deli as part of their facility, and their wine is so good! Our kids often accompanied us there, and now as adults they go there whenever they can.

So here we are, back in wine country, in a small RV park in the heart of Napa. Today, we decided to try a new place. We headed to the north side of the valley, and took in Sterling Vineyards. Sterling has a bit different tour - you ride a gondola up to the facility, then take a self-guided tour, with several tasting stops. We liked the wines, but they let you taste the expensive stuff. Stuff we don't normally drink.

Back to Sattui, where things have also changed. No more "free" wine tasting, it now costs. Wine prices have also escalated. Ah, well, times have changed. We did purchase a couple of bottles to enjoy.

Castille di Amorosa Winery

A real Iron Maiden in the torture room

We also toured the winery Castello di Amorosa, which is showcased by an authentic Tuscan castle that took 15 years to build. Darryl (or Dario as he is now known) Sattui spent 15 years and $38 million to build this castle. It is truly remarkable. If you get the chance, take a tour of this place!

BR Cohn Winery

Odd sculptures outside the winery
The following day, we headed over to Sonoma. Many years ago, we had toured a cheese factory called Sonoma Cheese. It was still there, but they no longer make cheese on site. Progress, I guess. On to the next winery! We went out to the BR Cohn winery. I had read in a brochure that they also had olive trees, and made and sold olive oil and vinegars. The owner, Bruce Cohn, was and is the manager of the rock group The Doobie Brothers. Every summer, the Doobies perform at the vineyard for a charity event. We missed it by a couple of weeks. Since we were "wined" out, we sampled only the olive oils, vinegars, and dipping sauces. Yum!! A couple more bottles were purchased. With cupboard space at a premium, we'll just have to consume!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

39 And Counting

Rod & Donna - 39th Anniversay

Another Halloween - another anniversary! A bit of history: to those of you who didn't already know - Donna and I were married on Halloween in Las Vegas in 1969. I was headed off to active duty in Texas (basic training and advanced training) in the California National Guard, and we had one weekend before I shipped out. Her parents, my parents, Donna's sister and husband, and her brother made the quick trip from the L.A. area to Vegas on a Friday morning.

We got there Friday afternoon (on Halloween) and I headed to the county office to get our wedding license. After 5:00pm on Fridays weekend rates took over, and that was the difference between $8 and $15 for the license. Hey, remember it was 1969, when a dollar was worth 50 cents! I plucked up the $8, only to have the clerk tell me "holiday" rates applied. After mumbling something about Nevada recognizing Halloween as a real holiday, I was informed that it was Nevada's Admission Day. Ooops.

License in hand, we went scouting for a problem there! We settled on The Courthouse Chapel, which I tried to get for Saturday, November 1. It was time for both of our parents to intervene (remember we were young, and it was 1969): "You guys aren't staying together in the same hotel room if you're not married!" That settled that, we got married on Friday night, Halloween!

So now you know the story!

Back to the present...since it was Friday, and our coach was in service, we asked the Customer Care people to suggest a place for us to have breakfast - a bagel place came highly recommended, so we headed downtown for a bite to eat. We did a little shopping, then went back to Country Coach. While waiting for our coach to come back, we got another recommendation for dinner - The Oregon Express restaurant. Dinner in an old railroad diner car sounded great!

Donna opted for scampi, and I had prime rib. We followed it up with a raspberry and vanilla chocolate cake dessert. Excellent choices! Thanks for the recommendation, Country Coach!!


We had a couple of items to be done (again) at Country Coach. Besides the leaky AquaHot, our backup video display was still not working properly, and the replacement odometer still did not fix the problem with the engine monitor lights not working.

We pulled into our pre-assigned spot, noticing that there were only a few coaches in for service. Monday morning, we checked in, and the coach was off to service again. We were told that another round of layoffs had occurred - this time service lost 3 mechanical techs and one phone tech. The recession and it's affects on the RV industry are definitely being felt at CC. At least this is is privately held company - we've heard that Fleetwood and Monaco stock prices are really hurting.

Monday afternoon the techs brought our coach back, and reported that the leaky water in the AquaHot was a bad pressure relieve valve, which had failed due to a malfunction in the water pump. The pump was putting out 70 psi, not the 40 psi it is supposed to. The backup monitor still was not functioning to their satisfaction, so a new one was installed. And the infamous odometer was also not working correctly.

In our coach, the odometer (made by Medallion) is the brains of the coach. Everything that comes out of the coach's computer/engine control module runs through the odometer. We first had a problem a year ago in Florida. All of the engine gauges were working only intermittently. We sent the odo back to CC, it was "fixed", and returned to us. Then the gauges worked, but the dash information lights didn't. We sent the gauge back to CC when we got parked in Grants Pass. It was again "fixed" and sent back to us. The fix didn't work - still no dash information lights. So Country Coach stuck a new odo in. Problem solved? We thought so, as the information lights were working.

Thursday morning we headed north to Clackamus, to go to Westland Sales - our Splendide washer was taking 3 hours to run a cycle that should take 40 minutes. On the drive up, I noticed that I seemed to be going really fast - the odo showed the coach going 82 mph. But I was not passing anyone up - so were we all going that fast? I flipped the odo readout to digital, and saw that I was going 62 mph - but the needle was showing over 80 mph! I called CC service and let them know we would be back to see them.

The trip to Clackamus was quick - "someone" had worked on the coach's plumbing, and had left the hot water inlet to the washer closed. And that someone wasn't Donna or I. Anyway, we headed back to Camp Country Coach with a now-working washer. When we pulled in to CC and parked, we noticed the odo was showing 40 mph even though we were parked!

Friday morning the coach was back in service, and got another new odometer. Finally, all of the lights work, the digital and dial speeds match up, and the gauges all work!

The Oregon Trail

Seems we know our way around Oregon now. The road back to Grants Pass from Elizabeth, CO was quick - one night in Wendover, UT/NV, and then back to our home, which was parked at Leroy and Carol's home. Due to a leaky water problem, we opted to head for Junction City, OR first thing Saturday morning. This was no problem except for one minor detail - before we left Colorado, we had requested our mail to be delivered to General Delivery, Grants Pass. It should have arrived Friday, but it didn't. And just about every post office in Oregon is closed on Saturday! We don't get our mail all that often, since we get almost everything electronically via the Internet. Unfortunately, our absentee ballots for TX were in the packet.

We couldn't chance it - I'd have to drive back down to Grants Pass on Monday after ensuring that the packet did indeed arrive (it did, and I did!).

We are getting very familiar with the road between Grants Pass and Junction City, almost to the point where I don't need our Garmin to get around. All's well, we found our way back to Camp Country Coach.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


It was time once again for us to return to Colorado. Every 6 months, whether we like it or not, we go back: for family, friends, doctors, dentists and storage. OK, we got 4 out of 5 this visit. We love Colorado, and still call it home, even if our licences say Texas. This time around, we had set a goal: eliminate our storage. Storage costs are wasted money, and it's been almost 2 years now since we've been on the road.

Prior to getting back, we ordered an 8' x 10' shed from Costco. It was waiting for us at Todd and Victoria's when we arrived. I put it together, and we set out for our storage place in Castle Rock. We had rented a 15' x 45' unit when were selling our home, and, even after selling and donating, it was brim full from top to bottom when we left in January of 2007. Every trip back, we sell some stuff on craigslist, donate a whole bunch to local charities, and then still moan and groan about how much we have. This was to be the visit where it all went away, except for the small shed at Todd's. The usual stuff happened - we sold a bunch of stuff on craigslist, and donated a bunch more to the Castle Rock Task Force and Goodwill. didn't all get done. We filled about 3/4 of the shed, but still had a bunch of stuff. Soooo, we downsized - down to a 10' x 24' storage unit. Progress!!

To all of our friends in Colorado, we apologize for not contacting any of you. The storage stuff was every day, for much of the day. In between that, doctor stuff. We were just too tired in the evening to even think about visiting.

Next time through, in April-May of 2009, we promise to do better about seeing all of you. This visit was restricted to seeing family (Todd and Victoria), and enjoying their hospitality. I think they were able to put up with our tired and grumpy moods, and we thank them again for allowing us to stay with them.

Emma update: she is growing, and the hair on her head is turning silver. And she is keeping us very, very busy!!

We're heading back to Oregon to pick up our coach. A quick trip back to Country Coach to repair a leaky AquaHot, and then we're heading south for the winter.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Meet Emma!

One thing we never travel without is our camera. It records remarkable things! Except this trip...we left it in Grants Pass, Oregon, in our haste to head south and see our daughter, son-in-law, and our two grand-daughters. Luckily, our daughter had a camera to lend to us for the big day.

Hi - I don't know you, but I am EMMA!

October 1, 2008 couldn't come quick enough. Emma is 12 weeks old today, and is finally ready to be adopted by us. We arrived in Livermore promptly at 11:3oam, and Georgina escorted us out back to see Emma again. The last time we had seen her, she was only 8 weeks old.
Her development has progressed quite a bit since then. She was a little shy and nervous then, but now she is outgoing and lively. We spend quite a while in the pen with her - she warmed right up to us, as we had sent Georgina an old t-shirt that we both had worn - she knew our scents well!
We spent a lot of time with Georgina, going over question after question, and making sure we had answers for them all. The ride back to San Jose was fun, and Emma calmed down after a few miles. Upon arriving back at Jenna's, we relaxed and let Emma check things out. She found a mirror, and growled and barked at herself for quite a while.
Who is that puppy behind the glass?
I'll watch a while and see if that puppy moves...
We will have a challenge to potty train will come in time. We even had some limited success today. After she ate her dinner, she pooped, pottied, and appeared ready for sleep. We put the old t-shirt in her crate with her bed, crossed our fingers, and put her in. Shortly thereafter, she barked and then pooped on the shirt. Oh's going to be a long night!!
I'm pooped!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Heading South (we hope)

We left Country Coach on the morning of the 23rd (my birthday!), and headed south to Grants Pass, OR. Some longtime (25 years) friends have some property there with an RV pad for visitors. The ride down was uneventful, as we were keeping a close watch on the engine temperature. CC found that our fan motor had given up, and replaced it. Thankfully, the fix worked, the engine did not overheat at all, even on some steep grades.

We pulled in, got hooked up, and settled in. Our friends, Leroy and Carol, were in the process of loading up their motorcoach, as they were leaving the morning of the 24th, for an extended trip back to Branson, MO, and then back to their winter place in Benson, AZ. As they would be gone, he was planning to turn the water off, so I hastily filled our water tank. We all went out to dinner at a local buffet place, then settled in for the evening. I kept the rig on city water supply for the evening.

On the 24th, L & C finished up loading, turned off the water, and headed out. We switched on the water pump, and...the water lines did not fully pressurize. The ticking of the pump indicated a water leak somewhere. Sigh...we had just left service! I looked around the rig, and found 2 locations that had a slight water leak. After tightening them up, we flipped on the switch, and, unfortunately, same problem. Upon further investigation the next day, I located the problem - a connection or hose (not accessible) on our AquaHot heating system was leaking. Doh! When we return, I'll try and locate and fix the problem. Otherwise, we're back to CC AGAIN.

On Saturday the 27th, we headed south in the Jeep - destination: San Jose. Grandkids! And Emma!!

Monday, September 22, 2008


All finished at Camp Country Coach! Our service time was 10 days - we're here on day 11 because we had some cabinetry work done offsite. Most of our items were completed. Once we light for a few weeks, I have to send our odometer cluster to Country Coach for reprogramming. In addition, the monitor for our backup camera didn't come in, so they will send that to us.

Bees. Our air horn was sounding like a goose with asthma, and Country Coach said they'd check it out. Upon removing the cover, they found a nest of bees had taken up residence.

Camp Country Coach will be a memory soon (well, until the next time!).

Tomorrow we're heading for Grants Pass, OR, to visit friends before they head for Arizona for the winter. And tomorrow is my birthday!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Camp Country Coach

After the rally, we headed 30 miles south to the Country Coach facility. It was time for our 1 year service. We had sent in our list of about 32 items, some of which were a carryover from our May visit.

After we left CC for Washington State last May, we experienced an overheating engine. When the temperature reaches 227, an audible alarm sounds in the coach (think of a turn indicator beeping on steroids). Immediately thereafter, the engine starts de-rating itself - what that means is it starts shutting down. The result is that the engine loses power. That is the nice thing about a big diesel engine - it protects itself! Since we were only going 500 miles, we decided that this item would be added to our list. At this time, they are thinking that a solenoid connected to the fan motor has failed. We've also had a problem with warning and instrument lights not working. That, we're told, is part of an odometer recall - our odometer cluster controls all of the lights and gauges, and will need a programming update.

Our service is supposed to take 2 weeks - we came in on the 8th, and will probably be here until the 22nd. A couple of days over, but not bad. While we are here, a cabinet company will be installing a new desk/credenza. We need more file storage, as well as a permanent place for the computer and printer. We had seen some of this company's work last year when we got our coach, and again this summer up in Blanchard. This will be a great addition to our coach!

One of the challenges of having service at the factory, is that they take your rig around 8:00am each morning and bring it back around 4:00pm. So you have no home all day. Last Monday, we headed up to a BLM campground called Alsea Falls. It's a great hiking place, at a little higher elevation. It was in the 80's in Junction City, but, only 20 miles NW, it was 53.
Alsea Falls
Donna exploring
Donna at the falls

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Meet The Puppy

We are so excited! A new puppy will be joining us in October. Once we decided to move forward with this decision, we had a daunting task - a name! Our first two dogs, Taffy and Sasha, got their names quickly. Had them in 15 minutes or so. Abbey's name was fate - the breeder had renamed the rescue dog "Abbey", which was the first name on Donna's list.

This time it was not easy. No lightning bolt. We started compiling names. We looked on the Internet, wrote down names we liked. We had a list of about 30, which seemed to grow and change constantly. Maybe when we met her something would hit us instantly. Of course, it didn't, but we narrowed the list down to 6 favorites. This was even difficult - we ended up writing our favorite four names on a paper, then compared them. There were 4 matches, and we added 2 that weren't on the original list. Finally, after living with the six, we both agreed that her name will be EMMA.

Yorkie pups are typically black with brown on their face and legs. As she matures, the black will lighten to silver, and the brown will also lighten up. Right now, her ears are taped to ensure that they heal upright.

Bonding with me

Bonding with Donna

Yeah, I'm cute!

So are you going to be my new Mom?

I'm big and mean...I think

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Another August Sunset in Idaho

August was a mixed month as far as things go. The 1st would have been Abbey's 5th birthday, so the beginning of the month was sad for us. We spent some extra time remembering her and the joy she brought us. As the month progressed, we had some additional concrete work done on our lot at Stoneridge. Next season we won't have any major stuff to do...just some landscaping (at least that's the plan - stay tuned and we'll see how it unfolds).
I worked diligently with my new golf clubs. I had a goal to break 100 before we left. My last game was 100...doh! As close as you can get to breaking it without getting there. On the positive side, I think that 20 strokes lower than the start of the season was a pretty good accomplishment. I'll get-er done next year for sure. Donna pretty well wrapped up the two photo albums she put together for Todd & Jenna. This was a HUGE undertaking, organizing 30+ years of pictures. Her advice to those thinking about doing this is simply: do it as a high school graduation gift - you'll have a lot to do, but not as much as if you put it off until the kids are in their mid-30's! I have to commend her on completing this, it took a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of dusting off cobwebs to remember what happened, where, and when. Remember, virtually all of these pictures were taken before the age of digital cameras, where you get a time and date stamp on every picture!
There were several activities that took place during August. An "Omelette in a Bag" breakfast was held. Simply put, you place your omelette ingredients in a plastic bag, add a couple of scoops of beaten eggs, seal it up, and drop it in boiling water for 10 get a perfectly cooked omelette! Add some cheese, salsa, and other goodies, and WOW! Mimosas and/or Bloody Mary's accompanied the food. This was a great social event, and got all the owners together. Thanks to Gordon, Sandi, Jim, and Ginger for putting this together.
Omelette in a bag

There was also a "Divot Party" organized by one of the owners. Imagine 30 or so golf carts, each with 2 people, charging over the course, filling divots like crazy. It was hot, but fun, and the golf shop sprung for pizza afterwards. Good job Pat for this one!
The last major social event for us was the "1st Annual Bogie Lane Potluck". All of the owners on our street, plus a few invitees and crashers, got together at Bruce and Adair's for hamburgers, snacks (including my famous salsa), and dessert. This was the start of a great tradition we all agreed.
Bogie Laners

Nice company!

Sampling Rod's gringo and macho salsas
Donna's buddy Yogi (who just turned 14!)

All summer we watched as the swimming pool was being built at our clubhouse. Finally, a few days before we were scheduled to leave, the water was in, and so were we!! What started out as a few brave souls in the pool turned into a pool party by day's end.
Donna was the 2nd person in the new pool!
Goodbyes are tough, but we made the rounds saying farewell for the season to all of our new friends. Seeya next season!!
We had some very exciting events planned for August. We obtained permission from Country Coach to park our rig at their facility in Junction City for a week or so. First off, we had business in California!! Donna and I needed a "grandkids fix", so we headed south to San Jose in the Jeep. It was great to see Bea and Livey again (Jenna and Josh too!). We stayed at their home, so we got a good dose of grandkids. It's amazing how much energy 2-1/2 and 3-1/2 year olds have! On Saturday we went to the Ringling Brothers Circus in San Jose. Things have really changed since the last time we went to the circus! There were still clowns, elephants, lions, and tigers, but the presentation is getting more like Cirque du Soleil. It was lots of fun seeing the wonder in the grandkids eyes. We are amazed at the grandkids' communication skills. They now talk in sentences, not just single words. Time moves on!! (Check out to follow their adventures).

Grandkid Fix!


A secondary, but very important part of our visit to California, was to visit a Yorkie breeder in Livermore. We were so lucky to meet Georgina several years ago. It was she who had a young Yorkie turned in to her as a rescue. It was she who named her Abbey - the same name that we had planned to name her. We called her after Abbey passed, and she consoled us and told us that time would help heal our pain. We decided that if we were to have another dog, we would adopt from her. She told us she had a female that we could adopt if we felt we were a match. This pup would be old enough for her to release in early October. Our visit was to meet this pup and see how we interacted with each other. There are two pups in the litter, a male and a female. The male was very outgoing, the female a bit reserved. After sitting with the mother and the 2 pups for a while, the female warmed up to us...and we connected - instant love! We spent a long time with the pup. We told Georgina we would like to adopt her. My next post will reveal MUCH more about our upcoming addition!

Baby Yorkie
It was time to head north again, back to our motorhome, and another new adventure. We were to attend our first Country Coach Rally, in Albany, Oregon. This was a 5-day event, dry-camping on the fairgrounds. Dry-camping means no electricity, no water, and no sewer. We actually had to use all of the motorhome functions, including the generator. They really are self-contained. There were seminars to attend, new motorhomes to look at, vendor booths, and people to meet! The breakfasts and dinners were catered affairs, along with a social hour. We met lots of new friends. It was so much fun, we decided to sign up for the spring event at Jekyll Island in Georgia in March of 2009. If you've been reading the blog for a while, you might remember we were there last March. We were originally only going to go as far east as Texas this winter...plans change! One of the most interesting things for Donna at this rally was her driving lesson. Yes, she drove a 45' Magna coach (and the instructor said she did great!)! Now I've got a backup driver - yeah!!
After the rally we headed south to Myrtle Creek, OR for a few days. While down there, we took a drive down to Grants Pass and saw Leroy and Carol. It was great seeing them again - we'll be meeting up with them later this winter in Arizona.
Now we are up at "Camp Country Coach" for our 1 year service. It's hard to believe, but we picked up the new coach last September! They anticipate we'll be here until September 15.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Things You Don't Get in Denver

One of the nice things about being in a specific area for a long time, is that you get to indulge in local delicacies. One of our neighbors coordinated a fundraising effort for a local church, with proceeds going to a person confined to a wheel chair. So, we got fresh, Alaskan salmon at about $4.00/lb. We bought 2 fish which averaged 5.5 pounds. Yum!!
Today, a pickup truck came by, selling freshly picked huckleberries. If you've been to the Pacific Northwest, you probably have seen huckleberries. They resemble a blueberry, but are deep red in color. They taste very sweet! We split a 5 pound bag with our neighbor. I see huckleberry pancakes in the near future!
Linda, Bob, Patty, Jim, and Donna

Last Wednesday night, we went down to Coeur d'Alene with our neighbors for an evening "Jimmy Buffett" cruise on Lake Coeur d'Alene. It has been hot here during the day, but cool (high 40's) at night. We decided to dress light, and the weather cooperated! It was 80 at 10:00 pm when the cruise ended. The company and the cruise were great!!

The Conga Line...
House on a rock!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


After Abbey's passing, we re-evaluated our situation at Usk, WA. Our lot was at least 2 years out from being completed. Restrictions on rigs coming in were not being enforced. We felt very unsettled. While reading FMCA Magazine, Donna came across an ad for a motor home-only RV park in Blanchard ID. This park is located in a golf course community. After consulting our map book, we discovered that it was a mere 30 miles south of Usk. A road trip was in order!

We made the trip on a Monday, and stopped at the sales office to arrange a tour. WOW! The village has it's own lodge, pool and spa, and has concrete pads with utilities already installed. And, the purchase includes membership to the golf resort. We told them we'd think about it, and would come back down in a week or so. Bright and early Tuesday, we drove back down. Then again on Wednesday. On Thursday we came back with the rig. Made an offer. Done deal. We had relocated. We bought a golf cart, had a shed built, and settled in. Check out the resort's website at

Entrance to the Motor Coach Village

Front view looking thru greenbelt

View from the side showing the rig, golf cart & shed

Lake Sans Souci
We are approximately 40 minutes from either Spokane, WA or Coeur d'Alene, ID. Just far enough away to be away from traffic and big cities, but close enough to get there for errands. Also, each city has a Costco and a WalMart.

So far, the only drawback has been a lack of a good, consistent cell phone signal. This is Verizon territory, but coverage ends on the north and south sides of Blanchard. The owner of the resort, the community, as well as the emergency services people are lobbying hard for a new tower that will give us good coverage. We did take a Jeep trip up one of the local mountains that has a tower on it, so we saw 4 bars for a little while.

View of the resort from a nearby mountain

Since we now summer on a golf resort, I've been playing again. Poorly, but I'm working on it. I also decided to upgrade my clubs, which I got in the early 1980's. The new club technology should help me (at least that's what I've been told!). It's been fun hitting all the local golf shops and trying out clubs - their computers and lasers track your swing, and show you the results of each ball you hit. I finally settled on a complete "seniors" set from Adams Golf, so I now have no excuses! My first round with them did drop my score by 10 strokes - not bad for starters!

We've made lots of new friends, and Donna even has a quilter friend - I golfed with her husband, and he mentioned she was a quilter. They've started up a group that meets once a week.

I'll try and update the blog a little more diligently as we make little side trips in the area. We will be here until about the 3rd week in August, then will head to Albany, OR for a Country Coach rally.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Abbey - The Best Dog Ever

Abbey in Florida for the winter of 2007-08

On Tuesday morning, May 27th, the unthinkable happened. Abbey, our Yorkie and constant companion since 2004, passed away suddenly. She had been in excellent health, had seen her vet in April when we were in Colorado, and had no known health issues.

The previous Friday night, she had trouble sleeping. Every 15 seconds or so, she would jump up, turn a half circle, then lie down again. No yelping or whining - she was just fidgety. As she had never displayed this type of behavior before, we took her to a local vet in Newport, WA, on Saturday. After a thorough examination, he could find nothing wrong. He gave us some medication for her in case she displayed further symptoms, and we went home. We had a dinner social at the clubhouse that evening. Donna went back to the rig early, as she didn't want to leave Abbey alone. Abbey lied on her, and her breathing seemed labored. About 11:00pm, we headed off to bed, and she seemed to be feeling better.

On Sunday and Monday, Abbey was back to her old self. No breathing problems, and her activity level was normal. The three of us went for a few walks, and she even went for a bike ride with me. Monday, during the night, she became restless again. She was not fidgety like the previous Friday night, but she just couldn't seem to get comfortable.

At about 7:45am, I took her out to the living room, and closed the bedroom door, so that Donna could sleep in a bit. She seemed OK, and lied in my lap resting. Suddenly, at 8:30am, she sat up, and wanted to be put down. I set her on the floor, she walked around for a few seconds, then yelped and collapsed. Donna rushed in as I picked her up - and then she was gone.

Over the next two days, we called our vet in Colorado, and Donna carefully went over all of the symptoms and behavior that Abbey had been displaying. Doctor Kathy then consulted references, and spoke to her husband, who used to be an EMT. The breathing problems, coupled with the discomfort, and the sudden seizure are consistent with a blood clot - first in the lungs, then moving to the brain. Rare in dogs, there is no way for a vet to diagnose this with any certainty, and no treatment could be prescribed even if a clot had been diagnosed.

Abbey was destined to be with us. After our Shih-Tzu, Sasha, passed in 2004, we began looking for another dog. I was traveling a lot with work, and Donna wanted a companion to keep her company while I was away. We had decided on a Yorkie, and began looking at breeders. In Colorado, the waiting list from a breeder was at least a year out. We found a website, (Yorkshire Terrier Club of America), and began looking a breeders in other states. We had acquired our first 5th wheel, and had planned a month-long vacation that would take us through many of the western states and Canada. Donna began talking to a breeder in Livermore, CA, who also took in rescues. Donna had already decided that our new dog's name would be Abbey. The breeder mentioned that she had a young female, who had been brought to her by a family with 4 kids under the age of seven. She had renamed her Abbey. Donna knew at that instant that this was to be our dog. A few weeks later we visited the breeder, and saw this 11 month old, 3-1/2 pound puppy, running happily around in the breeders back yard. It was instant love!

Is that Tillamook cheese you're cutting?

Cuddling with Mom in Atlanta

Cuddling with me in Colorado

Donna often referred to Abbey as a person in a dog-suit. Although she couldn't talk, she could communicate to us very clearly what she wanted. Abbey was a cuddler - and a lap dog (unless it was hot!). She was also very social, and got along well with all people, all dogs, and even some cats. If you met her you knew - she had a personality that was better than many people! Abbey just couldn't figure out squirrels - those were on her list of things to bark at. She loved walks and bike rides with me.

Getting ready for a bike ride

It has been very difficult for us to accept Abbey's passing. She would have been 5 years old on August 1, and Yorkies typically live until around 15 years. She was with us before we made the decision to full-time RV, and was a big part of the reason we committed to this lifestyle. We celebrate her life every day, and relive the joy she brought to us. Rest well, our Abbey.