Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Poopy Work But it's Gotta Be Done

Ever since we bought the BMC the water tank bay has had me worried. The bottom of the bay was bulging out the bottom so I figured the plywood was probably pretty rotten. I had to study the tank bay quite a while to figure out how to get the tank out. With the bay door seal flange in place there just wasn't enough room for the fresh water tank to slide out. At first I thought I might have to remove the grey and black water tank also. Luckily I figured out that I could drill the rivets holding the flange seal on and get the fresh water tank to slide out. I'm not always real smart but I figured this one out without having to do a bunch of extra work.

Had to drill out 21 rivets

Bay door seal would let the fresh water tank out now.

Pretty rotten looking plywood. 2x10 board in the upper part of the pic was used as a persuader to get the fresh water tank out.

It probably would have lasted another 5 years or so, but I sure didn't want to be driving down the road and have my tank fall out.

Tank & old plywood

New plywood with one coat of epoxy - Added another coat the next morning.

It took 6 cans of Great Stuff to add foam insulation to the bottom of the new plywood. I added some bracing that the previous plywood didn't have. I probably should have made heavier bracing but it is certainly more than it had before.

JD Clayton came over and helped me slide the plywood in place and then the tank. I still have to reinstall all the plumbing and button some things up but the majority of this project is over. Yea!!

I'll post some pics of the finished product later.

Until next time.....


Monday, August 18, 2014

Staying Cool in the High Country

We recently went on a little trip to Colorado. Main focus of the trip was the Harada Annual Reunion at Ron & Marge's house in Fort Collins. Marge is Patsi's cousin and they've hosted the reunion for quite a few years, can't remember exactly how long.

Recently I'd had a friend help me trouble shoot the auto transfer switches that have been giving me trouble since we bought the BMC. The rear AC would not run on generator power. I've had numerous people look at it and couldn't figure out why the rear one would not run on gen power but run fine on shore power. Anyway, Brad Clayton came over one afternoon and he suggested getting rid of one of the transfer switches. He couldn't see any purpose the second transfer switch was providing so we tried it. It worked!

So we left on August 5 and drove to Buffalo Thunder Casino just north of Santa Fe. The AC's worked fine and we kept cool throughout the trip. We dry camped in the parking lot. The weather was great and it was nice and cool in the evening.

Very nice casino and we didn't lose a thing there. Didn't lose any sleep either. 

It was a about a 4 hour drive from the casino to Monte Vista where we dry camped in the Wal Mart parking lot. We scheduled a stop in Monte Vista to visit our favorite massuese, Kendra Ringle. We used to go to Payson, Az to see her natural doc dad, Dr. Gary Lalman and I'd get a massage from Kendra while Patsi would get a massage from her mom Margo. These two ladies aren't your regular every day muscle manipulators. They are really good and do the body a great service using a variety of techniques. Kendra and her husband moved to Monte Vista to help her father-in-law and she opened her practice there.

We had our appointment on Thursday morning. She worked on me nearly 2 hours. Patsi did a foot bath detox while I was getting a massage. I spent about 45 minutes in the infrared suana while Patsi was getting her massage. 

Kendra's Office - Alive! Bodyworks & Fitness

We got through about 2:30. We had time to fix a bite for lunch and drive to Walsenburg to spend the night at the Dakota RV Campground. Not the nicest rv park but we had full hookups, so that was kind of nice since we were beginning to run short of water. We had not tried to be real conservative with the water since we knew we were going to grab an rv spot every so often.

The next day we met Kirk and Donna (one of Patsi's cousins) in Castle Rock at the Outlet Mall. We had lunch at Chile's and visited for quite a while. I think we nearly ran out of our welcome in Chile's since we stayed so long. Luckily they weren't busy. We headed for up I-25, dreading the drive through Denver and the traffic and they headed for their property in Hartsel. We were nearly to the edge of Denver when Kirk called and he'd left his bag in the coach on the couch. Luckily we were just approaching the exit to the new Cabelas and it wouldn't be a problem finding a place to park and wait on them. Had a short wait while Kirk and Donna doubled back to pick up his stuff. Seems like we're always meeting them in some large parking lot.

We got through the Denver traffic without any stop and go traffic even though the traffic was pretty heavy. Not unusual for I-25 especially through Denver. I-25 is scheduled to be closed down Fri night thru Sunday. It was going to make getting through Denver pretty tough for lots of people. We cut northeast on I-76 then up to Greeley on 84. 

We had a spot reserved for 2 nights at the Greeley RV park. Pretty nice park and pretty full. I was surprised that there is as much oil & gas activity in this area. There were a lot of welders staying in the RV park. Greeley was picked because it is pretty close to Fort Collins and the only park within a 100 mile radius that had any open spots. Seems like all the campgrounds and rv parks fill up on the weekends all summer, except in the flat lands.

Saturday we drove to Fort Collins, about 30 miles away, to Ron & Marge's house where we meet for the get together. We got there about 11. Food was arriving and so were all the relatives. There was a short Buddhist ceremony remembering some of the ones that had passed on. Nice ceremony. We headed back to Greeley about 4pm.

The next morning we got up and got everything ready to head south to Denver again. I-25 was closed due to construction around 6th Avenue in Denver so we too 470 toll road around the east side of Denver. No traffic to speak of. We parked in the new Cabela's parking lot south of Denver and spent the night.

We had to get diesel the next morning. Stopped at King Sooper's since they had some type of promotion going. I didn't quite understand it and they couldn't quite convey how it worked. After 2 hours and 100 gallons later we were on our way again. We did save some money, got diesel for $3.29/gallon when it normally was going for $3.55-$3.65/gallon. Luckily we weren't in a hurry.

We drove to Lamar and camped at one of the local RV parks. Got up the next morning and drove to Borger to meet Roger Sepulveda. I found a set of bucket seats on Craigslist before we left and I told him we'd come through and pick them up. So now I have a set of comfortable seats for the Powerstroke flatbed. Just have to find time to put them in.

We drove onto Lubbock and camped at the 289 RV Park. We got there in time to go by and visit mom at Raider Ranch. She was pretty surprised. We took her to lunch at Cracker Barrel the next day and then we drove on home. Super nice 9 day trip.

Until next time....


Friday, July 18, 2014

Sixty-five is the New Thirty

It's been a while since I felt like writing anything, so I thought I'd try to update a little on what Patsi and I have been doing for the past 6 months or so. After our trip to Quartzsite, Az we had a rally planned at Marble Falls, Tx. The Lonestar Birds had a rally at Sunset Point at Lake LBJ in March and we were there.

This year marked a milestone for me - the BIG 65! Yep, I turned 65. 65 has to be the new 30!! Never imagined that I'd be this age. It kind of creeps up on you and boom before you know it, you're a senior citizen. We started going to Wrinkle City (the Senior Center), initially to take my mom. We'd normally go Monday Wednesday & Friday. We reconnected with quite a few folks that we'd not seen in quite a few years, so it was really a good experience. I had recently read Dr. Furhman's book, "Eat to Live" and I was experimenting with different foods because I was suspecting food allergies causing my headaches and stuffiness. I went on an all veggie diet for a while and I had less headaches and some of my stuffiness went away. So when we went to Wrinkle City I would take my salad. I got pretty good at making a very good tasting salad with a lot of flavor.

Just prior to going to the rally in Marble Falls Patsi and I had seen a doc in Lubbock. Turns out Patsi was heading toward type 2 diabetes and I had a yeast overgrowth in my intestines. So we had to drastically alter our diet once more. We cut out all the wheat, corn, dairy, and sugar products. We could eat all we wanted of vegetables & protein (steak, chicken, pork and eggs), and we did. So we were eating lots of salads, veggies, steak, chicken, pork, and eggs....AND we lost weight.

I've learned that what we eat has a lot to do with the symptoms our bodies produce such as headaches, allergies, muscle aches, excess weight that we can't get rid of, etc. And it takes a while to reverse the trend that one has spent a lifetime of developing. So, we're still watching what we eat, but we eat all we want of good wholesome food that isn't loaded with chemicals injected during processing. It makes it a little tougher when we eat out but it's doable.

Both of us have lost weight and are feeling better. I don't suffer from near daily headaches anymore and I can actually breath through my nose all the time. So, we're doing well.

We had a great time in Marble Falls. We got to visit people we'd met in Quartzsite, met some new friends, and got to visit some old friends and relatives. When I say old, I don't necessarily mean old people. Just friends that I've known a long time. But I guess that might makes us old. Ha.

We drove into Austin to visit Marvin, an old buddy I went to high school with and even went into prison with. When I say into prison I'm not talking about being convicted and sent to prison together. Marvin had a prison ministry and Patsi & I went down to Huntsville with him back in the late 90's. So we did go to prison together, just not in a literal sense.
To top that off, when we arrived an old friend, George, from high school was at his house. It had been over 45 years since I'd seen him. I found out that he'd been working in Austin when I went to school at UT back in 1976, but I never knew he was there at the time. He's retired from UT and makes pocket holsters as a hobby. You might want to visit his website -
He makes some pretty cool wallet holsters.

Then we went to Blanco to visit my cousin Gary whom I hadn't seen in quite a while. We got to visit with him and his family, plus have dinner with him and Jody, his wife. Then we drove down to San Antonio to visit Phyllis Peterson, Patsi's sister-in-law's mother. She is a 96 year old amazing lady. For 96 she is a very active lady, playing bridge, going shopping and still taking care of herself in the independent living retirement center in which she lives.

On the trip down and also on the way back we got to visit with Rod, my cousin's husband. He and his dad had the cement company in Brady, Tx and they both had a collection of antique cars. It was very interesting visiting with Rod, meeting his dad and seeing their collection of cars and antique things. So we had a very good trip.

Here's a few pics
 Our BMC with Jeep in front

Steve Guerasko's junkyard chevy pickup with custom tailgate. They be from Louisiana

Other birds

We made a couple of trips to Socorro, NM to visit our nephew, Kiichi who was finishing up his last semester before graduation. The last trip was for his graduation. He graduated in the top % of his class as a Materials Engineer with a metallurgical engineering option. We're pretty proud of him. He did all that without going into debt to get his degree.

We don't have any plans for trips this summer. Maybe a couple of weekenders but nothing until later on in the year.

I've been doing some yard art. I am actually building a trellis for 3 wisteria that we planted last year. Here's some pics of what I've got so far.



 Curly Pipe

 Gate Guard

Our Watch Bird

I also added the cross pieces (below) for the patio cover framework. I still have to get the c-purlin welded up and put the tin on for the roof. Maybe I'll get this project completed this summer.

I also built some racks for the rain barrel catch system. These 1st 3 fell over the first time it rained. I failed to put a big enough foot and they sank into the ground, tipping the barrels onto their sides.

Little better luck with the other barrels. I still need to build one more rack for about 7 more barrels. We should end up with about 900+ gallons of storage.

 After my 05 Dodge dually and 5th wheel left. I needed to get my old 94 Dodge running. It had not been started in 3-5 years so I wasn't sure if I could even get it running. When I went to check it out I discovered someone had lifted the batteries out of it, so I had to go buy 2 new batteries. I'm sure the old ones weren't in very good shape. But after batteries were installed I couldn't get fuel to the injection pump. I ended up having to replace the fuel pump and I replaced most of the old fuel line while I was at it.

My trusty old 'rat rod' diesel pickup.

Gate guard watching over our yard art.

Well, that's about all for now, so until next time......


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sunrises & Sunsets

The past couple of weeks we dry camped near Quartzsite, Az with nearly a million other campers, glampers and gawkers. Yeah, I didn't really think there were that many there either until we started to approach Quartzsite from the east on I-10 just before you get to the California border and you could start to see RV's by the 100's parked in the desert. Coming from Phoenix you take the first Quartzsite exit (I think there are 3) which takes you down through the east side of town past some of the local businesses and some of the RV vendors that are set up for the annual RV Show to Hwy 95 where we turned south to get to La Posa South where we were to camp. La Posa South is about 5 miles south of Quartzsite and is the only one that has RV dump stations and water stations. All of them have trash bins.

There are 4 BLM areas where RVer's dry camp. Here's a short description of the show:

  • Every January something happens that is hard to believe, unless you have seen it! According to the Arizona Highway Department, as many as 750,000 to 1,000,000 people, mostly in RV’s, converge on this sleepy little desert town, located just 20 miles east of the California border on Interstate 10, for the rock, gem and mineral shows, plus numerous flea markets and the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show. This phenomenon started over 40 years ago and is now billed as The Largest Gathering Of RVers in the World”...

  • DIRECTIONS TO SITE OR BEST ACCESS POINT:  Exit Interstate 10 at the city of Quartzsite, AZ. Take highway 95 south to the four campgrounds. The campground entrances are approximately 2 miles south of town.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SITE:  The La Posa Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) was created in 1983 to fulfill the needs of winter visitors and to protect the local desert ecosystem from over-use. The campground is approximately 11,400 acres in size, flat landscape, sparsely vegetated with plants such as Creosote bushes, Palo Verde trees, Ironwood trees, Mesquite trees and various species of cacti.
  • FACILITIES PROVIDED:  10 vault toilets (handicap accessible), dry dump station, dump station with water, water station (eight faucets), trash services, some paved / improved roads, dance floor and ramada.
  • FEATURES:  Cultural sites, rockhounding, watchable wildlife, unique desert scenery, solitude, hiking opportunities and security.
  • FEES / PERMITS REQUIRED:  A Long Term Visitor Area Permit is required from September 15th through April 15th each season. The cost is $180.00 and is valid for up to 7 months. A Short Term Permit can be purchased for a 14-day stay. This permit is $40.00. Permits may be purchased on site or at the BLM Yuma Field Office.
Here's a short pictorial essay of our Quartzsite experience along with 85-90 other Bluebird friends.

Couple of Sunrise shots

Couple of sunset pics

This is the beginning of our trip. We're all loaded up and don't think we've forgotten to load anything. That is until we get down the road aways and figure out what we actually forgot.

Our first stop was Socorro to visit Kiichi Harada, our nephew who is going to graduate from New Mexico Tech in May. We dry camped in the Walmart parking lot.

This is our first stop after Socorro at the VLA (Very Large Array).

Next stop was in Pie Town, NM to look at some property just west of Pie Town. Here is a cabin they are building to sell. We were looking at raw land tho.

Next stop was in Payson, Az for a couple of days. We see a naturopathic doctor there and get a tune-up about once a year when we go on some of our trips.

We left Payson on Thursday and stopped in Tempe to visit Patsi's cousin Donna. Here Kirk (Donna's husband) and I are going into their condo.

Arriving in Quartzsite Thursday evening.

ATV's  are legal in Quartzsite.

Lots of vendors everywhere.

Camping in the desert

Visiting with new friends

Makes a great parking spot for a RZR

Here's his wife

Patsi & I in the desert

One of many pot luck dinners

Arla cooking her wood fired waffles. She cooked every morning and you'd better be quick or lose out. Once she ran out of batter you were out of luck.

On top of Q Hill

Coming down off Q Hill

The Bluebird Chef - Ray cooked Prime Rib for everyone. They served 140 lbs of prime rib and boy, was it GOOD!

Crafts for the ladies.

Did I mention we have pot luck dinners?
Gathering for the Sword swallowing and Fire breathing show

Fire Breathing Goddess

 Her Sword Swallowing companion. They both did the sword thing.

Couple of the ladies gathered enough rocks to do this rock arrangement.

Food Vendor

Our foray into the desert

Tech tips. These are airtabs to reduce drag behind a motorhome or truck. Increases your mileage.

Our campsite for 10 days.

All good things....trips have to come to an end. When you run out of underwear it is time to go home and regroup. It was a great trip and we had a ball. It was our very first rally and we weren't sure if we'd like it, but I have to say it was a fantastic experience. We met some fantastic folks, made some new friends, got some superb tech tips and even fixed a few things on our motorhome. Looking forward to our next adventure!

Until next time....