Sunday, November 30, 2014

Desert Oasis RV Park

I took a little walk around the park with my camera this morning.

  Our little corner.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Take On The Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

I do not support rioting and looting but neither do I support a Grand Jury system that denies representation for either the victim or the accused but allows the prosecutor (the only lawyer in the room) to present evidence to laymen jurors in a way to suggest either guilt or innocence, as he chooses. 

This was the case here with the prosecutor acting as the defense for the officer rather than as an advocate for the public interest which would be best served by a full trial to determine guilt or innocence in a public forum. Maybe Wilson actually had to shoot the unarmed teen twice in the head to render him no longer dangerous (after hitting him what?, four more times?). I can't imagine such a scenario but I would like to hear about it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Great Day!

Fellow Bloggers Rene' and Jeanette from the Blog, RV Voyageur are parked just up the road from us at Caliente Springs RV Park. We chatted on email and we found ourselves invited up for coffee this morning. We pulled up at their place this morning and had a great visit. Like most of our Blogging friends, they turned out to be great people with whom we had a lot in common including some common friends from way back.

When we left we decided to continue along Dillon Road towards Indio and then to drive back on Highway 111 through Palm Springs. At the end of Dillon Road was the Fantasy Springs Casino where we stopped in for a look around. We signed up for the Players Club and were told that if we play $20 in a slot machine we then qualify for $40 in free play. I found a penny machine, put my twenty into the slot and started playing 20 pennies at a time. Soon the "Free Play" light came on so I cashed out my winnings which amounted to $19.60. The machine had kept only forty cents of my twenty!

Now I was playing with their money, $40 of it! I switched to a higher stakes machine and started playing $1.50 at a time. The rules are that I must play the entire $40 before I can take out any winnings. After a few minutes the 'Cash Out' option came on, indicating I had put the $40 through the machine. My winnings amounted to $90 which was all profit considering the first machine was a wash, $20 in and $19.60 out. Not bad for an hour's work.

Uncharacteristically, Norma did not do as well. She lost all of her initial $20 and then lost all of the free $40. I took a little satisfaction that she had to amuse herself watching me continue my winning spree.

We ended the day at the Fisherman's Market Restaurant and their 'Early Bird' Special of fish & chips for $12 each.

All in all, a great day! Friends, cash and a nice meal!


Monday, November 24, 2014

Cleaning Day

Norma talked to the office here at Desert Oasis and they recommended WatMex, one of the local wash/wax services so Norma booked them for this morning. At five to nine a truck with trailer and six guys pulled up. They quickly got their supplies out of the trailer and hooked into their own purified water tank. Two guys got on the roof and started working while the other four started on the outside. They asked me to let down the awning and started scrubbing that as well.

They all worked hard for just over one hour. They washed it, dried it with a gas blower and then hand waxed it with two guys applying the wax with rotary buffers and the other four working with lint free rags to polish.

They soon came to get us (we were next door having a coffee on Brian and Karen's patio). Carlos walked us around the rig showing us the job they did, twice calling one of the guys to add some wax. The bill was $182 US. Six guys and all the equipment and supplies for about an hour and fifteen minutes. Not bad and they did an excellent job. I will try to motivate myself to add a little more wax sometime over the winter.

Waxing the cap:

Brian checking the job:

Norma counting out her money:

Friday, November 21, 2014

Our Home For A While

Here is the pool complex at the Desert Oasis. There are three hot pools and one swimming pool. The hot pool (furthest from camera) is fed from the hot springs and is quite hot. As the water cools, it flows into the middle pool, then the nearest pool which is the coolest. From there it flows into the large swimming pool. I don't know the temperatures but the water is still very warm by the time it gets to the swimming pool.

That is Norma sunbathing. We had the whole complex to ourselves and the pools are about 50 feet from out spot!

 I will take more shots of the park soon. I am very lazy here!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Barstow To Desert Hot Springs

I really like Highway 247 from Barstow to the Palm Springs area. It meanders through the High Desert and is rarely busy. That was the case yesterday as we left Barstow by ten in the morning to start the three hour drive. There is one big hill on the way where the annoying "Check Engine" light came (and stayed) on. I know what the code will stay when I have it read, Low Fuel Pressure. The fuel pump in the Ford V-10 will simply not supply the demand for fuel as it tries to pull the motorhome and car up steep hills. I will find a place to have it reset when we leave here. This has been a minor annoyance since we bought the rig.

Speaking of "here", we checked into the Desert Oasis RV Park and paid for one month. We are one space away from our Campbell River friends Brian and Karen who have a permanent winter spot here. It is also just down the road from my Blogging friend Rick Doyle. Rick and his wife are still in Canada but our paths may cross when they head south. The weather here is perfect. Warm but not hot enough to need air conditioning in the day and cool enough to sleep easily without needing heat at night. There is a beautiful pool and three large hot pools, each increasing in temperature as they are fed by the local hot springs. The monthly rate is a very reasonable $420 plus electric.

I will take some photos today but in the meantime, here is our route.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bakersfield To Barstow, CA

It was a short day today but we are headed into nicer weather. The coffee maker packed it in halfway through making a pot this morning so that went on the shopping list. We will stop overnight in either Flying J or Walmart in Barstow. Walmart won out because we needed to buy a coffee maker.

We needed gas on the way out of Bakersfield and as we were almost out of town anyway, there were no gas stations close by. Gas has been pretty reasonable in California, if you search for good prices. Truck stops usually have it for $2.89 to $3.10 per gallon. We were getting low and we had the big Highway 58 hill to climb so I pulled into a small gas station and bought $50 worth of expensive $3.79 per gal gas, enough to get us to Mojave or Barstow. It hardly moved the needle on the gas gauge!

A while later something strange happened. I spotted a Love's Travel Center on the other side of the highway with a big sign offering unleaded gas for $2.99. I took the exit and there was a Chevron station, much closer than the Love's, also with a big $2.99 sign. I pulled up to the pumps and was about to gas up when I noticed the price on the pump said $3.79 per gal! I went inside and asked the woman about the $2.99 sign. "Oh", she said, "That pump is around the back". "So", I said, "The pumps in front are $3.79 and the pump at the back is $2.99, the same price as Love's". "Yes" she said with a big smile. I moved around back and filled up for a 25% savings over the front pumps. The front pumps had three or four cars filling up and the cheaper pump at the back had no customers. I guess people around here have so much money they just couldn't care less.

Gotta go, the new coffee maker just brewed me a pot!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bakersfield, CA

We had a great night in the Stockton Walmart last night. They have a huge parking lot so we drove over to the far corner where it looked quiet. We slept right through until the sun (!) poured through the back window and into our faces at just before 7:00 AM.

We hit the road and stopped at a Denny's for breakfast, After that it was the long, boring drive down I-5 to Bakersfield, CA where we stopped for two nights in the Orange Grove RV Park which really has orange trees and customers are encouraged to pick the plentiful oranges. However, not right now as they are not yet ripe. Oh well, we found a roadside stand where a Mexican family was selling fruit and flowers. Their oranges are perfect!

We quickly set up the StarChoice and are starting to relax after six days on the road. Hey! That would make a good title for a song!

It is warming up as we move south. I will have to start studying the weather forecasts for the Palm Springs area as the Fountain Of Youth RV Park has a sale on right now at $295 per month. This is less than $10 per day and they have great hot pools. I shall investigate!

Thursday, November 13, 2014


We stopped at the All Star Liquor Store on the CA side of the CA/OR border and stocked up with enough for most of the winter. The price difference between California and British Columbia is shocking to say the least. I even found a bottle of Glenfiddich Solara for $40, better than half price.

We got the oil changed in the motorhome at the Anderson, CA Walmart, one of the few with a motorhome bay. However, they refused to put synthetic oil in a motorhome. Stupid! "The computer will not give me that option and I cannot over-ride it." I offered to pay the difference in oil cost in cash but no, they would not do that. I had to take their default brand of Penzoil or nothing. I took the default. The price was right anyway, $50.

We were up really early for us anyway, at around 6:00 AM so we starting nodding off on the highway at around 3:00. This was fine for Norma to nod off but not so much for me as I was driving. We stopped for propane, gas and a dump for the motorhome at a Love's Travel Center and then pulled into a Walmart at Stockton, CA.

It is much warmer today, we are getting south!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

We Shall Survive

Mike, the service guy replaced the blown tire last night in the dark, working on the shoulder right beside the heavy traffic. He then followed us with his emergency lights flashing as I drove the twenty miles back to Wilsonville, OR at 30 MPH. We parked in the Les Schwap tire store and Mike gave us an extension cord to plug into. it was a pleasant enough night considering the stress level.

This morning we vented to the manager, telling him we always stopped at his store for a pressure adjustment and a safety inspection and were more than disappointed that they had let us go with at least three tires that were on the verge of failing. He agreed that they had screwed up.

He inspected all the tires and gave us a warranty adjustment of $40 per tire and they are busy putting all new tires on right now.

There is freezing rain headed this way so we are anxious to get on our way and over the Syscuse Pass into California.

Monday, November 10, 2014


We are parked on the side of Interstate 5 with a blown inside left dual tire. It does not look like there is any damage to the RV so that is a relief!

What pisses me off is that we had JUST stopped at Les Schwab Tires in Wilsonville, OR for a safety inspection of the tires and were told we were good to go. That was 12 miles back!

The service guy brought us one new tire to replace the blown one but he showed me where two other tires are ready to burst. We need a full set of six tires.

The guy is going to get us going and follow us back to their shop where we will park for the night.

Like I say, I am pissed off!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spread 'Em - OK, Slight Exageration

That was the toughest Canada/USA border crossing we have EVER had! We drove off the ferry at about noon and stopped at the customs booth. He was nice enough, inspected our passports, asked where we were going and for how long, the standard questions. He then told us to drive down the block, park along the curb and wait for the inspector.

The inspector eventually walked over, took our passports and then looked in every outside bin. He came inside and looked in every cupboard, lifted the toilet lid, looked under the seats and couch, fridge, freezer and just about everywhere you could imagine including under the bed, between the pillows and under the mattress! Then he did the same thing to the car. Checked the trunk, inside the cooler, in my StarChoice parts bag, everywhere. The only contraband he found was a quarter of a bag of wild bird seed from two years ago in Mexico. He told us this was a terrible thing to have and that he was going to seize it. No problem, we said, it is probably too old for the birds anyway. 

Anyway, we are honest and were not worried, let them search.

We are parked in our favorite WalMart in Chahlis, Washington. I set up the StarChoice and I am watching the Canucks. Life Is Good and we are on our way!

We Are On Our Way!

We are in line waiting to board the ferry to Washington State, $280 lighter in the pocket! More to follow. The adventure continues!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Easy Furnace Duct Repair

The duct guy arrived in a rainstorm this morning. He had me turn the furnace on, climbed into the crawl space and found the problem immediately. The duct heading to the master bedroom had pulled loose and was laying on the ground. The repair was easy, duct tape, but getting to the area involved crawling on his back over an old, abandoned footing. It was a good thing he was skinny and not claustrophobic! He was finished in about a half hour. They called me with the price of $78.75.

All that is left now is Norma moving her clothing into the motorhome and taking some food out of the house. There are stories about US customs not letting fresh food through this year so we will not test them on that. We will load the pantry with canned goods and fill the freezer with frozen salmon.

On Friday we have to move the motorhome out, hook up the dolly and load the Mazda. I would like to have everything done and the rig parked in the driveway Friday night, ready for our Saturday morning departure. The Black Ball Ferry leaves Victoria at 10:00 Sunday Morning and we will be aboard!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Last Minute House Repairs!

Once again disaster strikes just before we leave! I finally called the furnace repair guy to deal with the lack of heat in the back bedroom. We first noticed it after the duct cleaners did their thing last year. It was not that noticeable as we seldom have the bedroom vent open, preferring a cool bedroom. The duct cleaners put their camera into the duct and said there was a blockage that looked like a large wasp nest or a rock. This made no sense but we do not use heat in the bedroom anyway, we ignored it.

Last week I thought we should get it dealt with for the house sitter who might like some heat. I called the furnace guy and arranged a visit on Thursday (tomorrow). Yesterday I decided to open up the accesses to the crawl space and when I took the first hatch off I was met with a blast of hot air out of the unheated crawl space! The duct must be pulled apart somewhere and the 'rock' or 'wasp nest' the cleaners saw with their camera was actually the ground!

We have been pumping hot air into the crawl space for a year! No wonder my gas cost went up!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mexico Through New Eyes!

Remember the reaction you had on your first motor trip into Mexico? Well, I know many of you have yet to experience this but one person is getting that experience right now!

Our friend Rae has ventured south of the border, driving her pickup from Nogales to Mazatlan where she will stay in an apartment for the winter. She crossed the border very early Sunday morning and landed in San Carlos that afternoon.

Rae is a great Blogger and the chronicle of her adventure is going to make interesting reading. You may want to join me in seeing Mexico through new eyes!

Rae's Blog.