Thursday, April 30, 2015

Home Work

It is nice to be home but now the work starts! The house sitter left the house pretty clean but once you dig beneath the surface it is easy to see the place needs a good cleaning. We spent the first two nights in the motorhome and are moving into the house tonight.

The landslide damage is pretty much repaired. They put up a new fence instead of repairing the old one. The new one is of equal quality, 8X8 posts all rough cut (full dimension) lumber, 1X8 boards, six feet high. It does not go all the way to the back of the property but neither did the old fence as it is 200 feet up a steep, densely wooded bank but it does go as far as the old fence did. The back is open to the deer so we will have to put in a couple of posts and add some wire farm fence to the existing farm fence to keep the flower eaters out. I will take the boards off the damaged sections of the old fence that they left leaning up against the house and there might be enough material for Brooks to do something with in the way of a permanent fence. Four of the old 8X8 posts survived, two long ones and two shorter ones,

Speaking of flowers, there are few left. The topsoil from the old flower beds is gone, replaced with rocky dried mud from the landslide. One of the down pipes from the roof gutter is missing and the perimeter drain is plugged with mud. I don't know if the Roto-Rooter can fix it or if has to be replaced.

On the other side of the house there is a year round stream that used to go into a rock (gravel) filled ditch and then into our drainage system. The ditch is plugged with silt and the stream is running across the lawn and down the driveway. The ditch has to be dug out, the gravel moved over to the low spot where we park the car dolly and a half load of larger rock put back into the ditch. This is work for someone with a much younger back so Beau, Norma's lawn boy, is coming over today to dig out 15 - 20 feet of the ditch or at least start to. We will then order the rock and he will come back and fill it. I told the sitter twice that she would have to watch for this same problem as it happened once before when the stream swelled up from too much rain and brought silt down with it and plugged up the drainage. It is a shovel and wheel barrow job as it goes across a lawn. I should have used larger stone to begin with, gravel plugs up too easily.

It will not be a quick process. I turned 70 yesterday and just do not have the drive of a 20 year old. Brooks is tied up working for the next month and will not be able to deal with the fencing problem so the deer will have the run of the place till then unless I can get a temporary fence in. I will have a look at it with Beau. In the meantime there are pounds and pounds of nails and screws to pull out of the old fence.

Time to get started.

New Fence:

Full Dimension Lumber

Plugged up drainage

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


More to follow..... Tons of work to do.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Back In Canada, eh!

The crossing went very well. We had reservations on the Port Angeles - Victoria ferry so there was no stress about not getting on. It was not cheap, $240 US. We used up all the leftover US cash and paid the balance with the credit card.

We were allowed to bring $1,600 CDN in goods home and we had just under $1,500 worth. We had too much booze of course but we were honest in declaring it and the friendly inspector said, "I suspect some of that was already in the RV when you left Canada, right? So you didn't buy ALL of it in the US, right? Welcome home and have a good day."

We drove to Brooks and LindaLee's house, parked and Brooks made a delicious salmon dinner. We will stay here tonight as well and then head home to do taxes! Life is good!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Port Angeles, WA

We are safe and sound in Port Angeles, Washington. We have a reservation on the 2:00 PM ferry to Victoria tomorrow.

We got our last fill-up of cheap gas ($2.68/gal), our last top up of the propane tank ($1.99/gal) and our last dump ($5 at a State Park). Norma is over looking to get a haircut and I am getting ready to watch the Canucks play Game Six!

We still have to make a list of what we bought for Customs tomorrow. We are well under our $1,600 limit so it should be smooth sailing.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Chehalis, WA

We did not make it all the way to the ferry. It was raining and there was a lot of traffic so we decided to stop at the RV friendly WalMart in Chehalis, Washington. There was no point pushing it all the way and arriving exhausted. We want to be home on the 28th so this will allow us to take the ferry on Sunday, spend time with Brooks and LindaLee and then head for home.

We used the stop to stock up on a few things we cannot get at home, like Tillamook Cheese, and get haircuts before crossing the border. Tonight we relax and watch TV. Life Is Good!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ontario, Oregon to Hood River, OR

It was a fairly long day today but we still did not make it as far as I wanted. Norma started to cramp up from sitting too long so we pulled off into the WalMart in Hood River, Oregon. We have stayed here before and their policy has always varied when it comes to RV's. They never allowed it in the past and on at least one occasion were quite rude to one RV'er who asked. Two or three years ago a new manager took over and started welcoming RV's. When we stopped today and asked, we were told that WalMart does not own the property so the city is in control of the parking lot. It is OK as far as they are concerned if we park but they warned us that the local police could enforce city policy and kick us out. We will take the chance.

It is cool and spitting rain. We are getting closer to home.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Two Lost Days!

We just went two days and one night without Internet! We left the Road Runner RV Park at about 9:30 yesterday morning and headed for the Blue Beacon Truck Wash. It was time for a wash and wax. Their price was $35 but that did not include tire treatment or a final Rain-X spray. The final bill was $48 and it looked really nice until we ran into the first volley of flying insects.

It was a tough day on the road. The stretch of Hwy 93 to Ely gains a lot of altitude so the gas gauge dropped rapidly and we did not have a heck of a lot left when we pulled into Ely at about 4:00. We gassed up and drove to the Prospector Casino RV park but they had no pull throughs left. Not wanting to take the car and dolly off for a one night stay, we ended up in back of the casino in a little used part of their parking lot. It was very nice until we woke up at 3:00 AM FREEZING! It was 39F and our blood is way too thin to handle that extreme temperature! We found a heavy blanket and slept through to eight this morning. They had free WIFI but it did not reach us and I was too tired to worry about it.

A couple of things happened on the way to Ely. First, we were fighting a side wind all day and a large tumbleweed rolled in front of us that I could not avoid. I thought it would disintegrate in a cloud of seeds and twigs but no, these things are tough! The rig actually slowed down as it became enmeshed in either the drive shaft or the wheels/brakes and then it was spit out where the much lower dolly hit it. Aside from loosening one of the wheel straps holding the car down. no damage done but it woke me up.

Shortly after that (and maybe because of it) some minor lightweight stuff fell off the overdead and landed on Norma. Aside from the shock, no harm was done but shortly after that there was a loud noise above my head and the door of the extra fridge flew open. Something heavy (a bottle of juice) hit me on the neck and shoulder. It turned out that a plastic strap I had added to keep the door closed had come off. It was held on with double face tape and I guess the past few months of hot weather had taken its toll and it came loose. I was not hurt and was smart enough to know my first job was to control the vehicle, which I did. Anyway, as you can imagine, we were not in very good moods when we finally got parked.

Norma made up for a bit of this drama by winning $80 at her Wheel Of Fortune machine after dinner! I lost $5. Anyone noticing a trend here?

The drive today to Jackpot, Nevada was much better. It was much flatter and there was very little wind. We pulled into Jackpot at about 2:00, set up the StarChoice so I can watch the Canucks in Game 4 tonight and walked over to the casino. Norma broke her well established trend and lost most of what she won last night. I did as expected and lost $5. This was after also losing the free $15 they applied to each of our players cards when we signed up. Not a good night for us gambling wise and Norma told me not to tell you about her loss but she is still way ahead so it is not a significant loss.

Well, all for now. I am off to watch the game. Who knows where we will be tomorrow night! You will know shortly after I do.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Strip

Norma's back is finally feeling better so we added a day onto our stay here and headed down to Harrah's on Las Vegas Boulevard. We followed Shadowmoss' advice and used the free parking garage behind the casino. I had failed in my research and the "Big Elvis" show was dark on Saturday nights, replaced by Karaoke. That held no interest for us so we walked around the casino. Norma found an unoccupied Wheel Of Fortune machine, the one she is usually lucky at, put $60 in and took $140 out! Well, there was our $80 budget for the night (and we stayed within it)!

We walked up the Strip to The Linq but not much was happening there, no free bar shows so we wandered back to a side street and found O'Shay's, a small casino that had a very good two man Blues band playing at the bar. We sat through a set, had a drink and watched people play Table Pong aka "Beer Pong". It looks like fun and we may put one together for our annual lawn party when we get home.

Leaving there, we wandered into Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville where we stopped for a margarita for me and a wine for Norma. This was a much better (more sober) experience that the last one at Cozumel's Mergaritaville and I enjoyed my drink and the atmosphere!

We now found ourselves back at Harrah's where we stopped at the Oyster Bar for a final drink and a shared plate of perfectly fried oysters. I had limited myself to my "less than one drink per hour" rule and was fine to drive home. We had a great time and it was paid for with Norma's winnings!

The biggest margarita in the world:

The bartender was actually dispensing drinks from this huge pitcher. I don't know how many drinks it holds but there must be gallons and gallons of tequila in it. Quickly recovered at $10 per drink.

It was a fun night but the attraction of Las Vegas has kind of worn off for me. It is noisy, crowded and expensive. It is more for much younger people. I am not a gambler which is a good thing because I am not lucky and would quickly eat away at Norma's profits. I put $10 into a penny machine which I generally quickly lose and then walked around watching the action while Norma plays and generally wins at her $1 Wheel Of Fortune machine.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Quiet Times

We have been quiet here since our trip to the casino. The weather turned windy and very dusty so we did not feel like walking around The Strip in that. It also filled the mororhome up with very fine dust, tons of it. And that lead to the next problem, Norma bent the wrong way to clean and tweaked her back so she is whining around the place.

We had a nice break yesterday when Kevin and Ruth messaged us that they were driving by and were we home? They stopped by and we had a nice chat for an hour before they were on their way again. They are on their way to Saskatchewan where they have a campground hosting job for the summer. It was nice seeing them, it has been a while since we were neighbors at Hacienda Contraras south of Guadalajara.

We are resting again today and if Norma is up to it later, we will head over to Harrah's to see the "Fat Elvis" impressionist. They say he puts on a great show and best of all - it is free. Well, "free" after the valet parking and the mandatory drink or two. If we have to wait till tomorrow that is fine too. She has to learn to stop the gymnastics. Unless she is doing something more "fun" if you get my drift....

Norma, Ruth and Kevin. Not a great photo, I had to lighten it as Kevin's face was shaded by his hat.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Viva Las Vegas!

As Elvis sang!

We booked into the Road Runner RV Park on the Boulder Highway for one week. The weather is great (hot) and we will be able to finish up our tans before we head into less welcoming climes. This is our new go-to RV park in Vegas. It is reasonable at $16 per night for the first three nights and $20 per night for the next four. They have a cheaper weekly rate of $89 but that is for a smaller back in space and you have to pay electric on top of that. Electric is included with our daily rate and with the air conditioner running 12 - 16 hours a day, that is a good deal!

We downloaded and printed a list of free lounge acts in town and will take a couple in. We will also go out for dinner a couple of nights. If we spring for a paid show it will probably be Bob Anderson doing his impression of Frank Sinatra. Even these tickets are $90 each but can be found on one of the half price sites for... half price. One free show I want to see is a "Big Elvis" impersonator who they say puts on a great show at Harrah's Las Vegas Piano Bar.

This afternoon we went to Sam's Town Casino just down the road. We signed up in their Gamblers Club and fed a few slots. Norma won $73 and bought us two buffet dinners. I lost $10 and bought nothing. Norma accumulated enough points on her gamblers card to qualify for a "gift", her choice of a baseball cap with "Sam's Town" on it or a cute little stuffed puppy. The puppy is sitting up beside the TV set. She also qualified for a cooler bag full of ice tea which I will dig into tomorrow. We walked around the full square block casino at least twice and are now home watching three taped episodes of The Good Wife.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dazzo's Birds

The woodpecker started his construction project right outside our window just before 6:00 AM. I listened for a while before I got up, grabbed my camera and went out to see what he was up to. There are Saguaro Cactus spread throughout the park and every one had a bird of some sort living in a carefully carved out hole.

Our noisy, early rising neighbor! It sounded like he was pecking on the side of the motorhome!

These cactus make great houses!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Back To Dazzo's

We woke up early this morning for some reason. We decided to get up and get an early start as Norma wanted to watch curling at 1:00 and we had a four hour drive to the next stop, Dazzo's RV Park in Wikieup, AZ. Shadowmoss and her mom were over last night to say goodbye and as we were working this morning the spry 89 year old neighbor behind us knocked to say goodbye. We really enjoyed meeting these women and managed a couple of dinners out with them.

We headed north on a new route, ignoring the complaints of the GPS and eventually found AZ 60 to Wikieup. It was about 1:30 when we pulled into Dazzo's and paid our $10 Passport America rate. We were assigned a pull-through with 30 amps. We are only here for the night and did not bother with water or sewer.

Starchoice is always very easy to set up here. The path to the bird is lined up with the side of the RV and after setting the elevation to 50 degrees, I had it. Easy.

After Norma's game we walked over to the small attached restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner. I had a fish burger and Norma a regular burger. Both were reasonably priced and very good. Norma says she is going over later for one of their Chicago Hot Dogs.

 I don't know what Dazzo's politics are but if items for sale in his restaurant are any indication, it would be interesting to have a conversation with him!

 Norma is coming back later for one of these!

The menu.

OK, OK, I've been called worse!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hi There

What's your name?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Virgin Broadband

When we first arrived in Mesa my Virgin Broadband worked fairly well. I had to be careful where I placed my CradlePoint modem, it was very slow if I placed it on one side of the motorhome but acceptable if placed on the other side.

Over the next week service got steadily worse up to the point where it would drop off after a few seconds. At this point I called Virgin. After his initial, expected attempts to blame me for whatever was wrong the rep actually did try to fix the problem. After a few minutes he said he was going to reset something and suddenly my connection improved and did not drop off again during the time we wrapped up the call. However, a few minutes later it was back to the same problem.

At this time I discovered my Samsung Tablet worked fine. Maybe because it is more text based and required less broadband or whatever, it worked where neither laptop would work. I resigned myself to using the tablet for everything but my banking.

When I did my banking at the end of the month I found I had great Internet! It was fast and stayed connected! I don't know what they did but I suspect they did some changes or repairs at the tower. Whatever they did, my complaint seems to have initiated some effort on their part.

Thanks Virgin Broadband.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Catching Up

It has been quiet times here in Mesa as we start preparing for our return home. We are leaving here on the 10th, spending a few days in Las Vegas to see the lights and get the last few days of good weather before heading into cooler climes. We will be staying at Road Runner RV Park where they have their $16 per day / 3 day stay special on again.

Back here in Mesa Village, we went to Brian and Sue's for dinner on Wednesday afternoon. Sue made a delicious pasta dinner and we had some great conversation on their patio until the sun went down and we drove home. I stick to my "less than one drink per hour" rule and never have to worry about this part of going out.

Last night we went to a local Chinese restaurant for dinner but I have to report it was not very good. I am sure there there is great Chinese food here and I should have done some research instead of just looking for the closest place. It was cheap enough and we brought half of our $25, three dish dinner home but as I say, it was nothing to write about. I will eat some of it today but I think Norma is done with it.

Our neighbor Shadowmoss flew home to move her mother out to the park here in Mesa. She dropped by yesterday to see if we were interested in going with her, her mom and the neighbor back to Organ Stop Pizza as her mom wanted to try it out. We will be doing that on Tuesday.

I was doing my month end finances the other day and really noticed how much less we have spent this year as compared to last year when we traveled all the way to Florida. The main savings is of course in gas. Dining out is similar to last year. We have gone out fewer times, but to more expensive places. Our RV parking expenses are not that much less because last year we boondocked so much when we were on the road. This year we were in monthly paid parks nearly all the time. I will do a detailed comparison when we get home. The devalued Canadian dollar has accounted for the majority of the difference in daily costs this year. It makes a huge difference as our Canadian dollar is worth only eighty cents this year compared to well over ninety cents last year.

We were talking about how we felt about staying in one place this year as compared to previous years when we moved about much more. There are advantages to both but we both feel we had way more fun moving around. I want to do at least one more winter in Mexico and that is what we will be looking at next year but maybe staying longer in each place. We have explored Mexico and have our favorite places (and people) so our plans will be centered on this. Stay tuned.

I am generally happy with the performance of my mutual funds so far this year. The gold (precious metals) fund is not doing so well and that is the one I cashed a bit out of to pay for my dental work. I will have to dip into it again in September when we fly down to have part two done. The major portion of the fund has been increasing in value by about 1 1/2% per month since January 1 so that is not bad in these days of market unrest. If things continue the way they are going I should be up by 15 - 20% by the end of the year. Not bad. Worse than some years, better than others.

Well, all for now. We will soon be headed home!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Yesterday morning Norma asked me if I knew what was happening with my niece, Robin from Lacombe, Alberta. Her and George spend part of the winter in Mazatlan and we have not heard from them in a while. A few hours later the phone rang and it was Robin asking if we were home! They had left Hermasillo, MX yesterday morning and were in Tucson. We told them to stop in and in two hours they were here.

Robin is my late brother's daughter and her and I have always had a close relationship even though we do not see each other very often and George is always a lot of fun! We brought each other up to date on our respective winters over a couple of drinks and then Norma and Robin made dinner while George and I spoke of manly things on the patio.

It was a great evening and was over much too soon! We found them a room in a nearby hotel and they left at about 10:00. Maybe we will see them this summer.