Thursday, August 28, 2014

Five Days Left, Five Busy Days

It has been a busy, busy nine days, and we have a busier five days to go before we hit the road again.  Basically the motorhome is ready to go, except for one last large Grocery buy, and we are replacing the accordion style shower curtain with a “sticks and bricks” style water repellant fabric shower liner.  The only issue is that we have a 30 inch gap, and the shortest pole to go across the area is was 32 inches.  Well, that was easily fixed by Arny who shortened down the pole by a few inches and it easily fits.  Tomorrow I plan to remove the accordion door and put up the new shower curtain.  I did the same thing in my 5th wheel some eight years ago.
As for the grocery buy, we need to have most of our stuff for around two weeks until we get near Salt Lake City….although we can shop at a Smiths in Cedar City around the 10th.  In anticipation of the big buy, I have rearranged stuff to make room under the bed, and cleaned and arranged the pantry which now has nearly three free shelves.   Marcia has been busy making and freezing some soups and chili.  I kind of regard this as a dress rehearsal for when we travel through Canada to Alaska next year.
Yesterday I went down to Oakland to visit my oldest son Michael who had recently returned from Washington D.C. from a summer internship. Thursday he starts back at Berkley for his final year.  We had a nice visit, and he is doing well.

Today I went by my brother Bob’s work to say goodbye to him.  His life is very busy and very complicated right now, but he is handling everything well.


Today is my sister Sandy’s birthday, and tomorrow it is Arny’s birthday…we are all taking them out Saturday night to Claim Jumper.  For dinner tonight Marcia made her wonderful Egg/Grits/Sausage/Bacon casserole….it was awesome.  First time she included bacon.


My brother Roger dropped by a few days ago.  We found out that he and his wife Rochelle will be in Nevada right along our route….right smack in the middle of Nevada.  It is kind of “out of this world”, if you know what I mean….if not, you will when I post that interesting blog around the 7th or 8th of September.


Tomorrow my daughter Stephanie is driving through from Salt Lake with her roommate and good friend Jenny on their way to the Bay Area for the weekend.  She will stay the night at Grandma’s house Thursday night, go to lunch with all of us Friday before they head out. We plan to see her in Utah when we stay at Lake Jordanelle.  

Somewhere in all this I also plan to give the dogs one more grooming and cleaning.  Have one last dump using the blue tote and it goes back into retirement until our return next fall after our Alaska trip.  And we have a bunch of laundry that needs to be done which we were holding off until right before we leave because it will be ten or more days before we can do it again.
Most likely my next posting will be coming from the Yosemite area…what a way to start a long trip with a visit and drive through Yosemite!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hitting the Road in Two Weeks


Knowing that all plans are flexible, it is our goal to leave the day after Labor Day.  We will spend a little time in Yosemite, visiting the high country this time after a visit to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.  This will also give us a quick look at the Mono Lake area before we head over to Utah.  In Utah we plan to spend a week in the Zion, Bryce, Cedar Breaks area, then head up to the Park City area driving through the northern part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante area, and a quick stop in the Capitol Reef area.  In Park City we will visit my daughter, then head over to Moab for Arches and Canyonlands.  That should take us up to the 26th of September, and we will have 20 days to drive through Southern Colorado, through Southern Kansas and into Northwest Arkansas.  After visiting family, friends and my doctor, we will start winding our way to Florida…perhaps with a visit to the Smoky Mountains, perhaps just a straight shot back home…time will tell.


Now that mom and dad seem to back to normal, as normal as any mid-80s couple can be, we feel good about leaving.  Doctor told mom that she could “Do anything she wanted to do”, so her clean bill of health with her hip (outside of all the other problems she has) is good news.  In fact, they are planning a plane trip to the Kansas City area where they moved to back in the early 1990’s, and moved back from there to California in 2011.  They miss their friends and family in that area, so this will be a good visit.  Not only that, buy my youngest son Ryan starts his graduate work at Cleveland Chiropractic College in Overland Park later this month, so mom and dad get to see him too.


Ok, so our family is more like this above than the old couple fighting, but it sure got your attention, didn’t it?  It might get me some time in the corner from mom, but it is worth the giggle….

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Like Night and Day–Future Ford RV/Fleet Center is Thumbs Up With Us
Remember back in April we tried to get our “new to us” motorhome serviced before we left Florida to come to California?  The Ford Dealer right by our Condo, Karl Flammer Ford, said that they could get the work done in three days, and after having for two days they had not even touched it?  Well, we really needed to get that work done, and this was the week.  Now I don't know about you, but it is not easy to leave your "home on wheels" overnight for work. Heck, I get nervous about just having the oil changed even when I am right there the entire time.  Something about some of these repair kind of feel like a lamb being lead to be slaughtered.  For instance, my daughter Stephanie had a breakdown on her way up to Park City, Utah, a couple of weeks ago.  The repair place was like a Parana, and tried to eat her for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Thank goodness she knew how to handle it, called and talked to Arny and I about it, and got out there just losing a few hundred dollars and not the thousands the guy was looking for just to replace a sensor.

Future Ford of Roseville RV/Big Truck Repair and Maintenance is right off of Interstate 80 in Roseville near Rockland.  Arny’s son, Rob, does a lot of business with them.  Rob owns and operates Auernig Auto Body also in Roseville. Rob once worked for his dad, Arny, when Arny had a Corvette Shop for many years….and Arny has even helped his son out a time or two. Anyway, Rob highly recommended Future Ford of Roseville RV/Big Truck Repair and Maintenance.   He gave Arny the contact names, and last week Arny set up the appointment for us.  We had hoped that we could get it back on the same day, but it was a 10+ hour job….so we would need to spend one night outside of the motorhome....not something we looked forward to, but if you have to, you have to.
To keep these motorhomes going, you have to maintain them.  Since we had no records of maintenance, we decided to do a bunch of preventative maintenance right up front.  We knew this when we bought it, and since we got it for well under the Insurance payout from the one we lost in the fire, it was all in our master plan to have this work done when we decided to purchase the Dynamax.  We had all of the coolant lines replaced with the radiator flushed and new fluids.  The serpentine belt was replaced.  The oil was changed with a new filter. The transmission fluid was replaced and the transmission serviced.  The Generator was serviced including new oil.  Back in Arkansas I had found a new generator filter in a bay, and put that in myself…today the service advisor says, “We did not replace the generator filter because it was new.”….I had forgotten all about replacing that one.  The tires, brakes, differential and other vital areas were checked.  They also did a diagnostic check, and found two spark plugs and two coils needed to be replaced.  They even gave it a complementary bath to get the dust and dirt off of it.  

How long did it take?   Took it in at 7 am Tuesday, it was ready for pickup Wednesday before 1 pm.  

And now the big one…How much did it cost?  Let’s just say that none of this I cheap, and it was more than reasonable for 10+ hours of work, and all of the parts…knowing Rob provided us a big break in the price, that is for sure!  

As for the new spark plugs and coils….let’s just say that I saw an immediate difference when I pulled out of their shop…and a remarkable difference as I drove it home on the freeway.

Needless to say, we HIGHLY recommend Future Ford of Roseville RV/Big Truck Repair and Maintenance.  Chris Estrada is the RV / Fleet Service Advisor, and Jim Webber is the manager.  They have one certified RV specialist, but other certified techs (I think there are around 20 techs in total) who work on trucks and RVs as needed.  Remember, we made an appointment, so you can't expect this type of speed if you don't give them some advance warning.  Also, we would still recommended them if we paid the normal price which was over $2,000....this was a lot of work, and it does cost $$$$.  If you are in the area, and especially if you have a Ford product, give them a shot at doing your maintenance.  Now we just need to find a reliable place back in Florida...because the service we had here in California is like the difference between Night and Day with the experience we had in Florida.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Jumping Party


Saturday night a few blocks away they had a LOUD party.  Asked Arny why the police did not put an end to it…he said that many of the people in attendance were police, which explains much.  So we decided to have a “jumping party” of our own Sunday, and as you can see, little Parker jumps the highest, hands down…or is that “Paws down”?


Actually is was sister Patty’s birthday…we are now the same age for a few months. And before you all start feeling “bad” for my mom, once I popped out at 11 lbs, 11 ozs, there was no chance of her having any more natural children.  As the fourth child, the RH factor hit me real hard, which hit her real hard…especially when she had to leave the hospital without me.  Sandy was adopted when she was seven, and Patty, Sandy’s biological sister, was unofficially adopted as an adult.  Anyway, today was Patty’s day, and we had a wonderful dinner.  Above is her “non-birthday-cake”, which is a marshmallow, cool-whip, pimento cheese and fruit mixture.  Sandy and Patty went up to Reno Saturday to celebrate, and Sandy normally makes this dish.  Today, I made it, put it in this cake-sized dish, and spelled out “Happy B-Day” wish some fancier marshmallows.  It was a surprise which we all enjoyed…that dish is normally saved for special days like this, and Patty had no idea it was going to be on the menu.


Donna made her eggs, Arny barbecued some Tri-Tip and Corn on the Cobb, and for desert we had Ice Cream with fresh berries.  Patty brought her two dogs, and her daughter Ashley, who came late, brought her dog Leo, so poor Skruffy was totally outnumbered by the four other “leg lifters”…but she did not seem to mind, she can out bark them all.


Not much o a sunset tonight, never did get all red like a good sunset gets.  Oh well…the night was still young.


Because tonight was the Big Super Moon, officially called “lunar perigee”, it is the largest moon of the year.  Here in the Valle we still had haze when it first came up.


Sure makes a good picture.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Flying Coyote, a Nudist Colony, Garden and Complaint Dept.


Saw this “lime green” plane flying overhead today, this is the best picture that I got since I sat there looking at it for many minutes before thinking, “Hey idiot, why don’t you get your camera out….”.  Then it took a good hour or more to try and identify it, but I finally did….

This picture is from Wikipedia, and although the “rear end” looks a bit different, the insignia on the tail is pretty clear-cut.

1c   1e

The picture to the left is a blow up of my picture, the picture on the right is another picture that I got off the Internet.  The plane is a Rans S6 Coyote II, perhaps a S6-ES.  So had I not got my camera out, I would have missed out on getting a picture of a flying Coyote!


A little over a week ago I talked about the Naked Lady outside the door of our motorhome….now it has turned into a Nudist Colony!!!  


Mom told me that a few of the relatives who live outside of the area had asked about her front yard, and specifically the garden.  Well, this is the front yard…


And a closer image of it. The flower garden is along the stone wall, and you can clearly see that the Marigolds are doing well along the left side, and you can see a few of the other flower plants on the right side.  The ones on the right have a bit of a struggle when the temps climb to 100 or above, and I need to water them twice a day when it is that hot.


Ok, in my last post I complained about how HOT it has been….well, someone was listening because Sunday and Monday have been GREAT!  Sunday only got to 85 degrees, and much of the day it was under 80.  Today the high was only 80 degrees…. and tomorrows forecast is 85 again.  Also, there was some nice rain up in the foothills and in the Sierra’s, which will help with the dryness and the fires.  The worse fire in the state right now is 4 miles Southeast of Burney, just north of Lassen National Park.  It is larger than the city of San Francisco, and pretty much no containment, and they expect it to last for another few weeks before it is contained.  Other fires, however, benefited by the rain and cooler temps, and one reached 100% containment today.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hot, Drought, Fires, a General Update

Over the past ten days, seven have been over 100 degrees here in Citrus Heights, with the hottest day hitting 108.


Above flashes two pictures….Folsom Lake from 2011 and Folsom Lake from 2014.  Yes, it s very very low right now. Yes, the draught is behind some of this…but they are changing out the spillway, and they had to lower the water to do this, which makes the effects of the draught to be even harsher.


In Northern California, there are now 13 forest fires, many of them which have started this last week and most caused by lightening strikes.  We have seen the effects on our air quality from two previous fires which they put out within the last month, and this does not count the local brush fires which happen frequently around Sacramento….less frequently now since many of the open fields no longer exist since homes now fill these lots.


Yesterday my sister’s held a yard sale, as did the neighbor next door.  Amazing how much $$$$ a good yard sale can bring in…but better yet, how much junk you can unload on others. Their last yard sale was over two years ago, and for the past two years they have been saving boxes of stuff to sell.  On Wednesday I started helping Arny get items out of the shed, out of the garage, etc., etc.  Yesterday we all started before 5 am, and by 2:30 much of it was gone…including our couch from the RV. 

A week ago Friday we started to rebuild the fence which is close to our motorhome.  On Thursday my sister Patty came by with her dogs, and little Parker found a loose board and ended up in the neighbor’s yard.  Arny started to just screw in new screws to hold it…but found the supporting boards were too old to support screws.  So on Friday, and again on Monday, we took much of the fence apart, replaced the support two by fours, and about a third of the fence planks.  Follow that work up with getting stuff ready for the yard sale, with all this work being done in mostly 100+ degree weather…well, I guess you know how we have been feeling lately….
At least the ten day forecast calls for cooler weather….for a few days, and then back up to 100+ weather again.  It’s how it is in the Sacramento Valley….at least nighttime temps drop down into the 60’s, unlike back home were it is in the mid-70’s at 3 am with humidity in the 70% range too.

By-the-way, mom is doing great.  Her and dad came over for dinner Thursday night at Sandy and Arny’s house…..she walked over with her walker instead of riding her GoGo!  That surprised us all, and we were so happy for her.  She still has her hard times, normally brought on from not getting a good night’s sleep, but over all she is doing well.