Yuma to Vegas and First Night on the Strip

Saturday, February 27, 2010

We were loaded up and on the road before 10am, heading from Yuma to Las Vegas. The weather was perfect, Freddie had been filled with diesel the day before and we knew the drive was under 300 miles. Easy trip, took US95 most of the way with a short piece on I-40.

We passed some great boondocking spots, saw some interesting scenery, some not so interesting scenery, enjoyed two lane roads that were like a riding up and down an undulating snake's back and and just generally had a good trip.

The mountains to our west continued to grow in height and we slowly climbed in altitude with ever decreasing temperatures but still comfortable. We did stop at Terrible's in Searchlight, NV for some coffee and leg stretches. Little truck stop with a nice McDonald's attached...and oh yeah, a casino. This IS Nevada....LOL!

Once again I forgot to toss my camera in the truck so all the photos are from the iPhone. We noticed one very interesting vehicle...a bus conversion towing a Class C. You can't tell that it was towing in this pic but I snapped it anyway. Must be an interesting story there....





We arrived at the Circus-Circus KOA campground around 3pm...we thought we'd be staying in Mountain time...nope, now in Pacific. Oh well...works to our favor. We got a great spot....they have pull-throughs up to 80'. Nice!! Yes, it's nothing but asphalt camping but it's right on the strip which is good for us. The park is nowhere near full...surprisingly. We heard there was a big Nascar race this weekend and we did see a few signs of that here. But the interesting rig here is this one...





Don't think he's real happy....and he's not afraid to let the world know!

After we settled in we headed out for a walk down the strip, looking for dinner eventually. We've been walking 1-2 miles a day and on a moving day we don't get to do that. The weather was cooling down but the rain wasn't forecast until Saturday. We ended up walking over 2 miles total. Had dinner at the Peppermill which was like a diner. Great food, terrific service and desserts to die for. We splurged on strawberry shortcake...we couldn't finish it! Stu's cup of coffee was also oversized. LOL! Glad we walked some extra today....





Here are a few pics I snapped with the iPhone as we walked the strip. I know, I will remember the camera tonight! But we can't take photos in either of the shows...just other places.





As we walked through Circus-Circus trying to find the best route back to the campground, we were amazed at how large it was. We stopped on the midway and watched a short 15 minute acrobatics show. The photos aren't very good but thought I'd post a couple anyway. All the rest of the photos are in the SmugMug album.





When that was over we finally found the information booth and got directions. Along the way back we continued to be amazed at the stores, kiosks & Adventuredome. I think Stu wanted to ride some of the rides but we were pretty beat. LOL! Maybe tomorrow or Sunday...

Tonight we go to the Mandalay Bay to see Disney's "The Lion King". The rain is supposed to move in tonight and it's about 5 miles away so we'll take the Deuce. It's the local transportation....a double decker bus!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

Chores done, hitting the road north for a bit....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

We've gotten a lot of things done while sitting on the RV lot here in Yuma, well at least chores. Not much visiting with folks but glad that some managed to drop in on us!

Some were little things, the ones that get put off easily like gluing some foam back on the screen door. Others were a little bigger, needing the right parts like replacing some 12 volt outside lights with LED fixtures.


The heater install went very well...there was only one wall where we could install a heater. Turns out that is the wall where the propane lines ran from the tanks to the furnace. Easy to tap into. The furnace runs just fine and I suspect we will be testing it next week.

Then there are the regularly scheduled maintenance items that never go away, like changing the oil in the generator and various water filters. And finally the major items needed to make our boondocking experience easier (and better), like installing the Pro-Com blue flame heater that we bought in Quartzsite.

There are still a few things on the list but they will wait, nothing earth-shattering. Some of them have been on the list for a year....LOL! Others are newer like needed to restring one of the day-night shades (UGH!).

My main thing will be finalizing all the tax paperwork to send to our tax preparer. Not my favorite thing to do but it must be done...hoping next year will be simpler - we got married this year so a little more complicated.

Tomorrow we head to Las Vegas. Due to the cooler weather we opted to reserve a campsite at the Circus-Circus KOA for 4 nights. Originally we planned to stay about 100 miles out of Vegas and ride the bikes in, staying at the Wynn. I think this will work out better, especially now that there is rain in the forecast on Saturday.

There are three things we are planning to do while in Vegas. The first is to visit the pawn shop where "Pawn Stars" is filmed. We probably won't see any of the "stars/owners" but it looks to be an interesting store regardless.

The next is seeing "The Lion King" on Saturday night. Stu has seen it and he as well as several others assure me that I will love it. I'm looking forward to it.

The big event is seeing Garth Brooks perform on Sunday night...from the 10th row!! I've wanted to see him since the 90's and never had the chance. Stu saw him early in his career so we are both excited about this.

We will head back south on Monday, hoping to stay at the Big Bend Recreation Area outside Laughlin, NV. We'll stay a couple of days and do some local sightseeing, especially the quirky town of Oatman, AZ

Then we head back to the Yuma area, planning to boondock outside of town either in the Ogilby Road area or a little north of town. We will boondock until the following Sunday when we move to the Yuma Fairgrounds for the Gypsy Journal Rally. We also plan to attend the Midnight at the Oasis classic car show in Yuma.

After that we are thinking about heading down to Ajo for some boondocking, visiting a good friend of mine, Michael - da wolf did it - Baker, and hopefully catching some desert wildflower blooming while we sightsee the local area.

No firm plans from then until mid-May when we will be in the Denver/Colorado Springs area for a week or so. My oldest daughter is graduating from college after many years of working full-time, raising a family and getting her education on the side. Proud moment!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

For all the women in my life....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Please read this link and then forward it to all the women in YOUR life! Female Heart Attacks This was written by an ER nurse about her heart attack.

Cheers,
Donna

Wow! Does this mean we're famous? LOL!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A comment from yesterday's blog took me by surprise....we were presented with the Sugar Doll blog award. It was passed to us by reader, Michael Lockridge. It does come with some strings attached, but I think we can meet the requirements.

First, we must pass the award on to four other blogs that we feel are deserving and hopefully ones that can use an expanded reader base. Hmmm, that is the hard part. I read a LOT of blogs, but many of them already have a lot of other readers. Two of my favorite blogs, Nick's Gypsy Journal and Ara's Oasis of My Soul, already have huge reader bases so they were passed over. After much searching, comparing, reading, I made my selections and am honored to pass this award along.

Traveling Journey - Our Life as Full Time RVers
First is an RVing couple that I've had the privilege of meeting recently. They are new to RVing and are still working from the road. Motty was born in Israel and Patti was born in the US. Their blog combines their travels (with wonderful photos), recipes and a dash of work. I think you will enjoy it!

Rojo's Ramblings
Next is a new blog for me, I've only been following it for a short time but I love his view on things and his obvious love for his travel partner, Jeannie. I think you'll get hooked on his stories. 

Building a Log Cabin
Third is a blog I found my seeing what blogs others read. Greg & Shelley built their dream log cabin in northern Michigan. If you go back to the beginning you can follow along. Now that it's completed the blog is about their life there, their pets, the wildlife and even some fun decorating ideas.

RoadsideWonders.net
Last but not least is my quirky choice and is run by a good friend, Wendyvee, who is just as much fun as her blog. She is a lady motorcyclist with the most amazing sense of humor. I hope you enjoy the submissions on her blog as much as I do.

So for my fellow bloggers...here is YOUR award!


The last thing is having to post ten things about myself....I figured I'd let Stu off the hook on this one. LOL!

  1. I am mother to three, step-mother to seven and grandmother to twenty-five. Can you say WOW? LOL! We don't see any of them nearly often enough and treasure what time we do have with them.
     
  2. I tried out for two roles in community theater in my 40's and got both roles. I LOVED IT!!!
     
  3. I am a published author, non-fiction for the most part. Haven't done that for about 10 years now. Hard to tell, I know. My grammar & punctuation here isn't all the best. Ooops... Hoping to get back to fiction writing.
     
  4. I grew up in a very small New England town on the water. Quaint little town that has lost its charm now that it's a bedroom suburb to Boston.
     
  5. I haven't lived at one physical address longer than 3 years since I graduation high school in 1965. (Maybe the same town, but not the same address.) Think I was born to be a full-time RVer...
     
  6. In 2005 I toured the country solo on my motorcycle....42 states, 27k miles. What an adventure!!! A once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never regret or forget.
     
  7. I never had fried chicken till I was 19, a taco when I was 30 and anything Japanese when I was 45. Yup, led a little bit of a sheltered life.
     
  8. I've been a waitress, long distance operator, grapefruit packer, bookkeeper, car hop, and more before settling into a 30 year career in computers ranging from a data entry clerk to a VP of Client Services...all without a college degree. Hard work DOES pay off!
     
  9. I used to love to bake...but I ate it all. I used to hate to cook...but am learning how to do make simple, healthy meals for us. I've never been athletic, but I did own & show horses in my 20's. Now my exercise is pretty much limited to walking...and soon, more bicycle riding (no, the motorcycle riding isn't exercise...darn it!)
     
  10. I am truly blessed to have found a wonderful life partner who every day helps me become a more relaxed and adventurous person.
Okay, done....now you all know more about me than you ever wanted to...I hope you will check out my featured blogs.

Cheers!
Donna

The NON-Rally Rally [aka The Gypsy Journal Rally]

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's almost here...the Gypsy Journal Rally in Yuma March 8-12th. I am SO not a rally person....I've never wanted to go to a Good Sam or FMCA rally, way too many people. In fact the Escapade by the Escapees is even pretty big for me.

But I love the Gypsy Journal Rally (GJR) and the folks that attend. It's usually about 200 rigs and the atmosphere is informal and FUN! No pressure, lots of socializing, plenty of good sessions to attend if you want as well as a good smattering of vendors. That's why I've dubbed it the non-rally Rally. LOL!

I've know the hosts, Nick & Terry Russell for several years now. They work their hearts out to make this a fun rally, one that people will talk about and come back to every year. (They also try to hold two a year, one east and one west.)

For those interested, here are my blog entries from my last GJR, held at the fairgrounds in Casa Grande, AZ, Feb 2008.
The price is right...you can even stop in for a day if you are already within driving distance ($5 day pass). I hope to see many old friends and make some new ones this year...and it will be a first for Stu! Hope you'll give it a try, too.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

Not sure where the time goes....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Many of us full-timers that blog often wonder where the time goes....we turn around and it's been days, sometimes weeks since we blogged. We stay in an area for longer than usual and miss seeing more folks than we visit.

We are staying in one spot mainly because we have some chores that need to be done. Sometimes it seems as though we cross one item off our to do list only to add two more!

One biggie had to be done because we plan to do some boondocking, Stu needed to sanitize our fresh water tank and flush the water heater. We had already bought a new anode rod quite a while ago and as it turned out, we really needed it. LOL!



Another biggie on the list was to the hose needed to hook up our grill to our big propane tanks. We're 90% there, no more green bottles!! It will get finished before the weekend is out.

Today we went to the Arizona Market Place again to pick up some more LED bulbs for our friend, Ara, and do some general browsing. We picked up the bulbs, a new aluminum folding step for outside, a spatula for grilling, some used books for me (till I break down and get my Kindle), and a few more sundry items. We grabbed a quick hot dog for lunch and just before we left we splurged on some ice cream.

While sitting and eating the ice cream we noticed a rather unique scooter-tow arrangement. Seeing folks on scooters and even Segways putting around the market is pretty common. In this case it appears that rather than have two scooters in the family, a little modification was needed. The scooter tows a little trailer with a bar stool welded to it. The gentleman held on for dear life but the system seemed to work. We barely caught a photo...


We had just enough time after our shopping to take everything home and run out to catch a movie. We opted for Valentine's Day since I thought it was time for something on the less serious side. We both really enjoyed it, lots of laughs and two BIG surprises at the end.

Tomorrow the mobile repair service arrives to work on our bigger things...all covered under extended warranty, fortunately. No telling what this weekend will bring but I am thinking at least one motorcycle ride. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous!!!

Oh, and we have been walking an average of 1-2 miles a day. We are now striving for 2 miles on most days. We're grilling a lot of veggies (mostly peppers, sweet onions, zucchini & summer squash) and drinking more water. Both working on getting it right....

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

A good day, a bad day, a GREAT day!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Yesterday was a good day...we slept in and woke refreshed.

Yesterday was a bad day...we discovered that our brand new HDTV DirecTV receiver was fried and there was no power to our front Fantastic Fan. Stu spent two hours trying to track down the problems, all to no avail.

Yesterday was a GREAT day...we took about 100 mile motorcycle ride to visit with friends out in the desert, courtesy of Al & Kelly - The Bayfield Bunch.

I had met several of the folks but only the "wifely" half of our hosts, Al & Kelly. Al took quite a ribbing since he is known for enjoying the solitude of the desert and bypassing social events. What a great fellow...I look forward to spending some more chat time with them in the future before they have to head back to Canada in April. I did nab a few photos but spent most of my time just chatting.
BLOG: A Get Together in the Desert

Peter and his wife Patty are staying in Quartszite and I didn't get near enough time to chat with them. Our group was just big enough that combined with the wind it was hard to talk to everyone when we were sitting & relaxing. They don't have a blog but do follow Al & Kelly's.

Jim & Ellie were there and got to meet the fellow that swept me off my feet. Ellie was one of the first folks I ever met that was a blog follower. She and Karon came out to meet me my second month on the road while I was in Luling, TX. I last saw them at a lunch in Tucson back in March 2008.
BLOG: Yes it was a gathering in the desert...

Mike & Janna brought along little Emmi....oh what a sweetheart. She was enjoying playing with Al & Kelly's three pups. If you remember, we met Mike & Janna at the car show in Q....and I had met them back in MT while I was workamping.
BLOG: The Bayfield Bunch

Last but not least were Motty & Patti who are the newest to full-timing and have been following our blog for a while. We've chatted back & forth and had hoped to meet up. They arrived with their Boxer, Moe, who dearly loved being able to be lose & run a bit. He is only two so really wanted to play with the other youngest, Emmi (8 months) but the size difference really intimidated her. LOL! I expect they will have their blog post and pics up soon...work has to be the first priority for them...youngsters that they are. I look forward to meeting them again somewhere along the way this spring.
BLOG: Weekend of Friendship and Love
 
You can find all my pics at SmugMug but I hope you will take time to look at the other blogs...there were cameras everywhere and most of the other photos are WAY better than mine! LOL! The Bayfield Bunch host RV friends meet

We got home to a new receiver and life was good.... 

One last thing to pass along....50 Ways to Show You Care Without Spending a Dime. Some terrific ideas here...spread the word!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

Firefighter Reunion & other trip pics

Friday, February 12, 2010

As promised, here are some of the pics from the reunion and our trip back from San Diego to Yuma, AZ. Just an update on our friends, those driving have made it back. One couple made it out earlier than planned. The rest are now delayed until Saturday....now in Florida for up to 10 days. Good thing most are retired! LOL! More Pics: 10th Anne Arundel County Firefighter Reunion





We did go to the movies while in Orlando since we had an extra day. Saw Avatar for the third time...this time in 3D and IMAX. This sign by the concession stand took us back a bit though! LOL!!





Here are some of the pics I took with the iPhone as we drove back from San Diego to Yuma. Some are small, some are black & white...I was using an application for the phone that lets me zoom in and that makes them smaller. The black & white was because I hit a setting on the app and didn't realize it. LOL! Doesn't much matter since it was cloudy and snowing! The rock formations are amazing then you move into the Imperial Dunes area followed by lush, irrigated ranch lands. More Pics: Yuma AZ to San Diego CA & back





And here is that fabulous brownie desert we talked about from the Bonefish Grill. Decadent!!





Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

AZ to CA to TX to FL and back again!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Still will do a better write-up of our week with the firefighting "brothers" but I wanted to quickly catch everyone up to date. On Tuesday the 2nd, we drove the Freightliner over to the Best Western in San Diego. We chose them because they were close to the airport, offered a shuttle service and had a reasonable rate to park the truck there while we were gone.

Stu's former partner, Bill, and his wife, Dotty, picked us up for dinner. We ate close to the port (give me a break...it was dark! LOL!!). Great dinner but better company. The waiter took a photo but it's a bit dark.

Wednesday we slept in, had a nice breakfast at the hotel and then took the shuttle to the airport around 10am. Our flight was at 12:30, we had plenty of time even with the security checks. The flight was good, we changed planes in Dallas. We arrived in Tampa about 30 minutes late and headed over to get our rental car. Little defugalty there...Stu couldn't find his driver license so we put the car in my name and headed out. Just as the gate clerk handed us back the paperwork...he found out. We backed up and he went in to change the contract. LOL!!

It was around 1am when we finally pulled into Orlando (acutally Kissimmee) and we hadn't had dinner yet. American Airlines now charges for ALL food, including snacks. I had carried some snacks with us but we needed a real meal (lunch was a Nathan's hot dog in Dallas). There was a Denny's next to the hotel so we got a late dinner/early breakfast. Needless to say, we were wide awake when we got to the hotel so it was around 4am when we crashed.

The next three days were a blur of visiting with friends and catching up...and watching the weather. Most of the folks came down from the DC area and were planning on leaving Sunday or Monday. Needless to say, that didn't happen. Reservations were changed to Wednesday for most, some opted to rent a van and drive home on Monday. So Sunday we all watched the Super Bowl and extended our fun. (NOTE: No idea if any of the Wed folks made it home today but I highly doubt it...maybe Friday?)

Monday we moved over to a hotel in Tampa allowing us to enjoy a leisurely dinner before heading to the airport on Tuesday morning. We ate at the Bonefish Grill, delicious dinner with an even more delicious (can you say decadent) dessert. A hot flour-less brownie with raspberry topping along with vanilla ice cream. YUM!!!

Our flight back was uneventful, we ate a late dinner at the hotel in San Diego and drove back today. The weather was rainy and cool when we arrived at the airport and that continued all night. It was sunny and dry when we left today but as we headed through the mountains we saw.....SNOW!!!! I had forgotten once again and packed the camera so the photos are from our iPhones. Sorry for the quality...but you get the idea.

It's a great drive and I hope we can do it on the bikes one day. Still have to upload pics and will post them in a quick blog tomorrow. Got a busy couple of days coming up and we hope to get some riding in so bear with us!!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

How to do minimalism in steps

Monday, February 8, 2010

How to do minimalism in steps: http://xrl.in/4gym

Great advise here for wannabee RVers as well as though who know they need to cut back.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

Posted via email from 2takinga5th's posterous

How we travel.....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010



We get a few requests for information about our rig. Donna has been bugging me to write it up. So here it is. Don't ask me about the intimate details and specs as I am not a fan of that level of detail. I subscribe to the philosophy of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" and it has served me well for many years. Life is way too short for me to be concerned with every little thing. If me and mine are healthy, happy and secure, the rest is just "stuff" and some of you may know where to put the "stuff"

It all started with my late wife, Lin, asking me if I ever wanted to get a motorcycle. I said sure, since I was about 14. Family, job etc. kept me from pursuing it so it never happened. We were approaching the final days of a terrific 30+ year career with the Anne Arundel County (MD) Fire Department and our finances were very stable so off we went. '98 Harley-Davidson Champion Sidecar trike conversion. OK, so now how are we going to full-time RV and carry this 1000 lb thing around? Hmmmm...toy-hauler! Hmmmm, how are we gonna pull it....Freightliner! Well, that was easy...just write the checks, Stu. That is most of how we got where we are today.

Most of you know that Donna is not named Lin in this life or another, that story can be found elsewhere in our respective blogs etc. Check the sidebar, under "Personal Links".

"Freddie" the Freightliner

  • 2000 Freightliner, FL60, 4 door cab
  • Caterpillar 3126B
  • Allison 6 speed automatic
  • Tow body by Wilro
  • Original Dealer: Neely-Coble, Nashville, TN
  • 5th wheel Hitch: Trailer Saver Air Suspension
Since I purchased this used in 2007 I have added the following:
  • Garmin Street pilot GPS, 7 inch screen
  • Rear and side camera system from RVToyoutlet
  • Full synthetic lubricants (When it came time to change something, Amsoil went in)
  • 2 spare 40lb LP tanks
  • Tool box
  • Electric adapters for RV hook-up
  • Pressure Pro Tire Monitoring System (This was Donna's from her Class C, we added two more sensors and a repeater. Wouldn't travel without it!)
Oh yeah and 70,000 trouble-free miles on the road.




KaZy, the rig
  • 2008 KZ 41CKS, Escalade Sportster
  • Main features:
  • 10x8 Garage (Man Cave)
  • 40 gal fuel tank and pump
  • Storage area above garage
  • Pull down Screen at ramp opening.
  • Cherry wood cabinets throughout
  • Bed over garage (access from living room) converted to cabinet storage with custom cabinetry to match.
  • Queen bed, we drastically upgraded the original (upgraded?) mattress.
  • Shower, toilet etc
  • Bedroom A/C
  • Corian countertops
  • Dishwasher (won't get another one, a novelty but for the most part useless)
  • Fireplace, electric with heat (won't have another rig without one)
  • Convection Micro wave (no gas oven, RV ovens are about as useless as the dishwasher)
  • 3 burner stove
  • 32 inch Sony Bravia, LCD HD TV
  • Surround sound
  • Blu Ray HD DVD
  • Slendide Washer and Dryer, stacked (won't have another rig without one)
  • The always uncomfortable sleep sofa was replaced by a Lazyboy wall-away love seat (dual recliner seats).
  • 6.5KW Onan propane GenSet
  • Recently added Solar package, see future blog for details about that project
  • DirecTV HD DVR will be installed later this month. Includes DVR, Auto seeking Dish on the roof ans the occasionally needed (to see around the trees) portable dish and tri-pod.



OK, so that's the skinny on the truck and the rig. Now for some of my rants, good and bad, about our set-up. First of all, I wouldn't trade this rig for much of what I see in the RV industry right now. Too many gimmicks and goofy floorplans. KZ has one of the best warranty follow ups I've run into. Easy to deal with. But they also do a lot of dumb things when they build a unit. Cabinet doors that hit woodwork when you open them, switches mounted opposite of where you normally use them and other minor goofy things. However, at the time they were the only Toyhauler rig I could find that didn't look like you could hose it out with a fire hose. They wired the satellite dish using a splitter and that won't work for HD. I tried to get the factory to run extra coax and they said their system will work fine. HD installer tried, but can't take the HD signal through a splitter...alas, we are now running new coax.

I have had folks ask me why I use the Freightliner when a 1ton dually would work just as well. I try to be polite but it can be difficult. I usually make sure I am not traveling where they might be. I had a dually and it was a great tow rig, rated at 15,000 lbs. KaZy grosses out at 20,000lbs and yes my last weigh-in was 19,000 lbs. If your one of those RVrs saying things like "They always under-rate the numbers for a built in safety" or "I don't know I'm towing anything", let me know where your going because I'm going to go the other way. 'nuff said.

Keep rolling...we will...
Stu