Who knew it would be so hard?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

What in the world happened? Where did they go? Have I been asleep for 50 years? Today I started looking at bicycles, figuring the I need some way to keep my face in the wind and hanging it out the motorhome window isn't going to cut it. All I wanted was a simple 3-speed like my bike growing up. Simple task, right?

Wrong....somewhere along the way bikes went high-tech. Now I was aware of the 12 & 16 speed thing as well as mountain bikes. But what I wasn't aware of was a whole new world out there, a world that had terms I've never heard of: DX-7300 ASR suspension, 18-speed ENZO twist shift, 6-speed FIS deraillur, steel linear pull brakes, steel 3-pc. crank, bash guards. Huh? Okay, guess a bash guard might be like the engine guard on a motorcycle (previously called a crash bar until that was determined to not be "polite") but what the heck is a deraillur and why does a bike need a 3 piece crank? Who in their senior citizen right mind needs 18 gears (although there was a mountain bike with 21!)? My motorcycles only had 5!

There are a few familiar brand names....Huffy, for one. That was the bike that my kids wanted (and got). Schwinn for another. That's the brand from my childhood, single speed and three speed. But there are others that are totally foreign to me...Tomasso, K2, Dekra, Anza and Van Dessel. Then there are the unexpected brands...Polaris, GMC, Jeep, Cadillac and Lamborghini. The manufacturers have obviously taken a page from motorcycle popularity. I saw the several Iron Horse models and even Kawasaki is represented (and for my motorcycle friends, they even have a "Hardtail"). Who knew?

But the biggest shock of all is price....I expected something in the $100-150 range. Yes they are out there (but with WAY more than I need for features) and even a few under $100. But the majority are in the $400-$2000 range with several over $3000. Boy, do ya think they saw us coming? Jeesh!

I don't want a single speed so now have to concentrate on reasonably priced multi-speed bikes and try to find one that has a natural seating position (no way am I going to assume that bike racing position...I'd never straighten back up...makes me feel like a pretzel just thinking about it), and is lightweight so I can easily lift it on and off a bike rack. Right now the mountain bikes actually seem to be the best solution...they have the upright position and are typically lightweight, whereas the "cruiser/comfort" bikes are much heavier. Factor in that I would like to be able to ride in less than stellar road conditions, the mountain bike makes even more sense.

So do I go with the bike crowd and get a Kawasaki, or maybe the sports car group with the Lamborghini, or even maybe my gun friends with a Smith & Wesson model? Actually, right now a Mongoose seems to be at the top of the list. Do you think someone offers training classes to learn how to shift all those gears? ;-)

Till next time - keep on rollin',

P.S. Just in case you think I'm not safety conscious, I even found the perfect addition to a bike helmet. ROFLOL!!!

Can you find me now?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

If you have been following my blog, you remember my post about passing out and hitting my head one night while sick. Several folks made comments about setting up a way to have others local to you check in on you, nightly/daily check-in phone calls, etc.

None of these are perfect...if you like to boondock in the middle of nowhere, there isn't someone you can ask to check on you. And if you're a solo lady, that in of itself is a bit scary (asking someone you don't know....). A daily check-in by phone can be difficult as well...you might be out of cell phone range is the first problem. The second is inconveniencing someone on a daily basis.

In one of my favorite motorcycle forums they have been discussing Personal Locator Beacon solutions.
"The PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is a pocket-sized emergency 406MHz beacon, a scaled down version of the EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) and ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) that boaters and pilots, respectively, have had available to them for years."
Landfall Navigation

These items were brought up in a boondocking session I attended at RV Life on Wheels recently. While a nice option, they are pricey...VERY pricey at $500-700 although there are no annual fees.

Recently some new products have come into the marketplace. One is the TracMe Beacon, only $99 and again, no annual fees. Note that this is not satellite communication and it does not automatically start a search & rescue operation. Not does it allow you to notify someone that you are okay. But it is one newer solution to be considered.

The new product now being discussed in The Motorcycle Tourer's Forum is the SPOT Satellite Messenger. Priced at $170 by the manufacturer, it is in the affordable range. (The cheapest price I found was at Amazon.com, at under $135.) There is an annual fee of $99 for the basic services with a couple of upgrade options. But for the $99 you get a lot...
  • ALERT 9-1-1:
    Dispatch emergency responders to your exact location. Unlimited usage included.
    Let contacts know where you are and that you’re okay. Unlimited usage included.
    Request help from friends and family at your exact location. Unlimited usage included.
This means you can easily use it to notify family/friends that you are okay. Run into a problem, then you can ask for help via the SPOT Messenger. And in an emergency you can send a message to the control center who can notify your emergency contacts for you.

It's not perfect...like any satellite solution it needs a clear line of sight for the best signal. It can take up to 20 minutes to lock onto the signal. Too many trees or other obstructions and the signal may not go out. But if you have been using the CHECK IN feature, then your last location sent is available as a starting point.

Here are some reviews I found, Lets Go Mobile and Wild Snow, as well as a good FAQ page on the emergency service. One of the motorcyclists has sent check in updates to his blog! I really like this product and think it will only get better. I think I see one in my near future....

UPDATE 5/12/08: I have purchased a SPOT Messenger - see the link in the sidebar or click HERE for the best price including Priority Mail shipping.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Tough life....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I just took a peek at my home portal page where I track the current weather where family & friends live. Granted, it's two to three hours later in all cases except Denver but take a peek...

With highs in the mid to upper 80's, I am running the A/C in the afternoon but by 6:00 I can shut it off and open up the windows. Right now I will be in the campground until April 5th and then either move to local BLM land, if the highs don't stay in the upper 80's, or move northerly. I just hope I can get everything done that needs to be done so I can move north...

Right now I have appointments for the car to get the oil changed, get two new tires and get detailed. I have been thinking about what to get for a vanity tag....maybe POLIWOG? LOL! I still have to make appointments for the RV at three different places - Ford dealer for oil change and recall, Quality Bumper to get the tow setup done (will require the RV and the car) and either a mobile mechanic or LaMesa to get a short laundry list of things fixed. Why is it that just when you think you are simplifying things your to do list triples?

On a side note, last night shortly after the sun was down the coyotes started running the wash down behind the RV park. It may not be to everyone but it was like music to me....hated it when a train had to pick that time to come through and drown them out.

Hoping spring is truly just around the corner for those not enjoying the southern climes....

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Two steps forward, one step back...

Monday, March 24, 2008

That's how I feel lately...but at least that still means forward movement! For some reason my listing in Craigslist keep getting flagged and deleted....I just added it back again tonight. Jeesh! Not sure what's up with that....hoping to get some leads tomorrow when I call some of the motorcycle dealers, if not then I will start looking for some place that will take it on consignment.

Tomorrow I will complete the paperwork on my new-to-me car and I am really excited about that. Yesterday I tackled my motorcycle gear and got the keeper stuff down to one large duffel bag (from three). Some of the other stuff will be sold and some just given to friends that can use it. The remaining bag will go into the back of the car along with two crates/totes full of files. That alone will get some weight out of the RV (impacting both the back axle and the left side).

I donated a tote and large shopping bag full of "stuff" to the community room here at Tra-Tel RV Park. The rest of the office supplies that I am keeping are being moved inside, my camping gear will move inside and to the front while my large but lightweight extra bedspread will move to the rear behind the bed. I keep making adjustments to the front to rear and side to side placement of the heavy stuff while trying to reduce what I'm keeping.

I have yet to tackle inside...I REALLY have to cut down on clothes and that is hard for me. It's spent money and things that will have to be replaced at some point. Being on a fixed income, I'd rather keep what I can but the weight issue nags at me.

I will lose some weight when I move from towing the trailer to pulling a car flat (4 wheels down). I didn't realize that there is no tongue weight when you tow flat. I don't know how much that will gain me but it all helps!

I have a ton of things to get done in the next two weeks (actually less than that)...I want to get the car detailed to help protect it on the road. I'm getting two front tires for it, I could run a bit on the current ones but they're at that point where they will wear quickly. I want to get up to Moab and do some riding around the area so I figure I will get them while outfits like Discount Tires are close by.

I also will need to get two more tire sensors for my Pressure Pro tire pressure system and get out the book to reprogram the monitor. We all know how bad I am with manuals....LOL! I might just email Mike & Pat McFall and find out where they are and see if we might cross paths soon.

When my mail finally arrived, I found another recall notice for my motorhome...something about a wiring harness that needs to be replaced. I also need an oil change so will try to get both of those done before leaving Tucson.

Sorry if this is a bit disjointed...guess my mind is a bit disjointed right now....LOL! After SLAVING yesterday, starting my sorting procedure, I stayed up till almost 1 am and worked on email replies. Woke up at 7 am and got up before I fell back to sleep. I needed to do a few things before my RVing friends JoAnn & Ellie came to pick me up for lunch.

They are staying out at Doc Justin's Diamond J RV Park and had invited me to a leftover pot luck lunch. I first met Ellie when I was parked in Luling, TX. She and Karon came out to meet me since they were both blog readers. I had never met her husband Jim and I wanted to see the new GORGEOUS Tiffin Phaeton diesel pusher they just moved into. I last saw JoAnn and her husband Doug at the Gypsy Journal Rally in Casa Grande last month. We both attended the RV Life on Wheels in Bowling Green, KY back in the spring of 2006 and we both ended up delaying our move into full-timing.

The ride out to the park was breathtaking...I couldn't take my eyes off things long enough to bother taking any pictures. When we arrived at the park, Ellie noticed that Sandra was back home. JoAnn went over to invite her for lunch. Sandra is another blogger that I have followed for some time but we had never been in the same place at the same time. We were joined by Ellie's sister and cousin we are down visiting from Colorado for a week.

Lunch was delicious and I ate WAY too much...no need for dinner tonight. LOL! Got back and vegged the rest of the afternoon and early evening. I thought back over our conversations...we're all RVers, some full-time, some part-time. We're all from different parts of the country. But we all agreed about one thing....we're having a blast and we're living life to the fullest!

Here are the links to Ellie's blog, JoAnn's blog and Sandra's blog. Such wonderful folks, all of them...I feel privileged to know them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do....oh, and sorry for no photos. I took a couple but they didn't turn out too well so won't embarrass anyone by posting them. LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Bikeless in Arizona

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Yup, the deed is done! Squirt is on the way to his new home in New Mexico, owned by a new lady rider who fell in love with him. I have cash in hand and will be looking at a car tomorrow (which may or may not be THE one).

So to backtrack a bit...about 3pm I arrived at Tra-Tel RV Park on the west side of Tucson. Got checked in, paid for a week and headed towards my site, following the owner. Suddenly he signaled me to stop, headed back to the office and asked me to wait. Long story short, one of the instructors hadn't left yet and he was in the spot that would be mine. Seems as though he thought he wasn't leaving until Saturday. They asked if I would mind parking in the overflow...not a problem. That gave me power if I felt like running A/C and I still had plenty of water. As I settled in, the instructor (who I had met earlier in the day), called to apologize about the mix-up. I told him it wasn't an issue and to not worry about it.

I settled in for the night, watched some TV, read some emails & forums and headed to bed. A good night's sleep and I rolled out out bed ready for the day....but what a day it turned into! It started slowly with my taking advantage of my close proximity to the laundry room, stripped the bed and read while I waited.

I read for a bit and then the phone rang. It was a lady who had talked to the local BMW dealer and had been referred to me about my bike. They were on their way down from Phoenix and were only about 15 minutes from me. They both took a test drive, I dug out my gear and managed to sell not only the bike but two jackets and one pair of pants. Still have several pairs of boots and probably some other stuff, like the custom seat, but it was a start!

They headed out to the bank to get the money for a deposit so I would hold it for a week. I was on the phone when they called and let me know they were at the bank and would be back shortly. Well, instead of putting down a deposit they decided to just pay it all and save themselves a trip. We unloaded Squirt and I watched him head off into the sunset, lots of new adventures in his future.

I then started getting the RV ready to move to my spot, pretty wiped out from unloading, reloading the bike & all the "stuff" in the trailer. Fortunately the folks buying the bike did all the final unloading & reloading the trailer...very nice folks! The phone call I had been on earlier was the lady selling the Suzuki Grand Vitara that I'm interested in. I was supposed to call her yesterday afternoon and just ran out of time and obviously was too busy this morning to think of it. Anyway, they will be bringing it by sometime tomorrow....keep your fingers crossed that it works out. If so, I could have a car....of course then I'll have to get it set up for towing. And more importantly, I still have to get the trailer sold. Kind of difficult to tow both it and a car. LOL!

Besides working on the car & trailer issue, I intend to spend some time culling out "stuff", as I said yesterday. Some stuff will get set aside to sell online, some will get taken to Good Will (or something similar...once I have a car) and some will get donated to the community room here at the park. Got a lot of weight to lose.....ruthless I intend to be....

Everyone keeps asking me where I am going after this and I truthfully have no plans. I may go out the the BLM area here and do some boondocking, I may head northerly a little, or westerly a little....taking it one day at a time! I am making great strides in my quest of a Type Z personality....long ways from my 60 years of Type A life. I think I might be at about a B- now....LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Tucson RV Life on Wheels - Part 2

Friday, March 21, 2008

Okay, so the title is about the same. Guess I should have renamed yesterday's when I realized it was too long to include everything. Oh well...in five years no one will care (I suspect no one does now...LOL!)

As many of you know, I attended my first RV Life on Wheels in Bowling Green, KY in the spring of 2006 and really enjoyed myself. I attended a lot of technical classes to help me better understand some of the mechanics of RVs as well as learning how to look at used rigs and make an informed decision.
Many wonder why anyone would attend more than event like this...factor in that I have also gone to two Escapades, which are also learning events, and recently attended the 2nd Western Gypsy Journal Rally as well.

Well let me tell you....by the end of day two of the RV Life on Wheels, I was on overload...head busting out with information and voice hoarse from talking with everyone. What a blast! I took sessions on solar, boondocking, motorhome driving tips, taking better digital photos, towing a car, exercising and more.

I realized that each time I attend events like this, my focus will have slightly shifted and I will be interested in new and different things or will have moved to the next level in other areas. There wasn't one session that disappointed me and at least two could have been split into two sessions (each for different reasons).

The staff, instructors and volunteers all went over and above to make sure that everyone had a good experience. I got parked easily...pull in and then out. The last minute class changes due to the unexpected death of an instructor, Dave Baleria, was handled extremely well. Some instructors added classes they had done before and were similar to the ones originally planned. Others pulled something related together in less than a week. The final openings were filled with unrelated classes. But it all came together....

The first night we were welcomed at Beaudry RV with a delicious dinner of lasagna, Caesar salad and breadsticks. That was followed by a cheesecake desert at Camping World. We got to wander through many open rigs as well as shop to our heart's content at CW (no, I didn't buy a thing).

The second night was RV open house....RV owners could put a pink sign in their window showing that they were willing to let you in to tour their rigs and ask questions. Just prior to that a group of solo RVers gathered together to socialize....everyone brought a chair, drink and a snack. Delicious! The last session of the day had been a roundtable discussion that was very good.

I met so many wonderful people as well as seeing old friends again. I was totally floored by the number of folks who came up and told me they read my blog. Thank you one and all...I'll try to keep it enjoyable and sometimes educational but still fun to read. You all honor me....

Today I ended up sleeping in....and not attending any sessions (there were only two). An online friend stopped by and we ended up chatting for over two hours! Enjoyed it though... From there I attended the closing ceremonies and door prize drawings. As usual I won nothing...but that's okay. LOL!

I decided to grab lunch in the cafeteria, I had been eating in the RV, and sat down with two Escapee form "gonnabees", Dave & Linda Sands. They plan to go as green as possible and full-time in a custom built Class B. They were amazed at how much they learned and how valuable the information was....they plan on making several changes & adjustments to their future home.

As I got ready to leave, one of the parking crew, Jim, stopped by and told me that he needed to buy my Solar Oven for one of the instructors. Seems as though the instructor was waiting for his wife to arrive...she did but since I wasn't in my RV, we never connected. They left and directed Jim to buy the oven for them, if I hadn't sold it. Thank you Mike Steffan and hope you enjoy the oven.

I had also posted my Kyocera Router (never taken out of the box) on the bulletin board and Rick & Joyce Lang from RVSEF decided to buy it. They were the folks that weighed my rig at the Goshen Escapade and although I knew I was overweight, Rick convinced me it was better to know how overweight and where. Now that I know, I have to get serious about reducing some of the rear weight. I'm actually a little lighter in the front but that is probably due to the added weight at the rear. Side to side I'm pretty good...not as good as I was previously but not as bad as I thought I would be. So the next month will see me doing some wholesale cleaning...gonna get vicious. Anyone need any office supplies? LOL!

When I sell the motorcycle/trailer and move to towing a 4 wheels down car, I will actually reduce the rear weight. I didn't realize that towing flat has no added tongue weight. I like that!

This weekend will be very busy...I hope to look at the car I am interested in buying. I will continue to find ways to advertise the bike and motorcycle here locally in Tucson (already on Craigslist). I will answer the over 50 outstanding blog comments that are in my inbox as well as the other 30 backlogged messages. I will catch up on some client billing. I know there is more but that's a start. Phew, tired already!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Tucson RV Life on Wheels

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Busy, busy, busy...have barely had time to read emails, never mind replying to them and needless to say, the blog has been at the bottom of the priority list. Several things to catch up on:

Garmin Nuvi GPS updates
- Garmin is snail mailing me software for routing on the computer....FREE. Now why didn't they just put it in the box? (Thank you to those who helped me find out about this.)
- When following a route it will display my current speed if I go to an alternate screen. Aggravating but at least it's there.
- Still haven't found elevation (grrrrrr) or direction. Wouldn't you think any GPS would show you what direction you are heading? BIG aggravation

Missing Mail
Well, the package DID show up in Bouse on Monday. But the Postmistress was out till Wednesday and she was the only one who could authorize a one-time mail forwarding. Called on Wed and she was out till Thursday. Called today and she promised to get the package on it's way to Tra-Tel RV Park where I will be staying until at least the package arrives.

Inverter/Generator/Air Conditioner issue
Not sure where I left this in the blog...I learned on a very hot day while outside Yuma that my A/C would no longer run on the generator. I also had three complete shut-downs when running the microwave at night with the generator on. Discount Solar tweaked the inverter settings, raising the high incoming voltage limit from 130 to 135 (maximum for safe usage). I haven't had a change to test it out yet since I've hardly been in my rig all week.

They also tried to troubleshoot the A/C issue and ended up deciding that it was an A/C problem. I needed a new relay or maybe the thermostat was bad. Fast forward to my 2 nights in the Gila Bend campground. Plug into shore power and just for the heck of it, I try the A/C. Works just fine....not a blip. Hmmmm.....

So I arrive at Pima Community College for the RV Life on Wheels conference (after fighting Sheila who kept insisting that I needed to get back on I-10 which was impossible due to construction). I was early so people were only trickling in, other than the instructors who were already here. Met with my friends and got to talking about the issue. They informed me that Greg Holder of AM Solar (who is the most highly recommended solar person I know of, from multiple sources) was here from his home in OR and suggested I talk to him.

Turned out that he was parked just across from me but with all the hullabaloo going on around me, tons of old friends coming by and new folks introducing themselves mixed in with registration and orientation, I didn't get a chance to talk to him until after his Boondocking Class on Tuesday. He thought it was one of two things....the easy fix would be if my inverter was set too high for the low voltage side and that when my A/C kicked in, the generator power dropped low enough to kick off the inverter.

So he told me I needed to check the setting....brave soul that I am (NOT), I dug out the book and actually managed to get to the place in the menu to read all the settings. Turns out that it could only be set down by 5 points...and after trying the A/C with the generator again, no go. With the inverter running, it worked.

This means that there should have been a sub-panel installed that would isolate the A/C from the inverter. About a $500 item at initial install time....much more expensive to go back and retro. But he said that it wouldn't hurt the inverter to have it enabled along with the generator and since the generator would be charging the batteries, it shouldn't hurt them to run this way. We agreed that I would try it for a couple of months (hoping to NOT need the generator for A/C for a while though) and if I felt it was a problem, I'd schedule an appointment for late summer/early fall to get it retro-fitted.

Needless to say, I will be sending a letter to Discount Solar. I feel this should have been done or at a minimum I should have been offered the option to have it done and the reasons behind it fully explained to me.

Bike Issues
Once again, something new jumps up and bites me in the a$$. Jeesh....just before Nick & Terry stopped by to say hi, I had opened up the trailer and peeked in to be sure all was okay. Well it wasn't.....the bolts holding the chock to the floor had vibrated completed out and the chock was loose. The bike was leaning to the left with only the tie-downs holding it. Nick & Terry helped me unload the trailer, back up the bike so I could put the chock back together, get it strapped down again and reload the trailer.

I have been thinking for some time whether to keep the bike or move to a car. This was kind of the clincher. Looking back over the last 5 months, I have done almost no sightseeing. It has been too much of a hassle to unload/reload the bike for short stops, weather also makes a difference and I have had help with the loading/unloading every time and STILL had problems.

Factor in that I've never truly bonded with the BMW.....don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful bike and it rides really well. But I guess I'm a cruiser (read...HARLEY) gal at heart. Now, if there was any way to keep a bike AND get a 'toad', I would do so. But financially it's not going to happen. I need the funds from the sale of the trailer & bike to pay for a car.

So today I listed the bike and trailer in the Tucson Craigslist and I will stick around to sell them. This weekend I will be looking at a 2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara, loaded. It used to be a toad and needs a good home. The price is right as are the options so if it's in good condition and runs well, I may be able to offer that good home. LOL!

Tomorrow I will post about the conference itself....it has been wonderful. In the meantime, our last night here the sky EXPLODED with color to the west and the full moon shone to the east. Here are a few shots to enjoy.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Stu: Back in Maryland

Back in Maryland
Mar 20, 2008

Made it back to Maryland. Thank you Heather and Melissa, for being with me during my long journey back to Maryland. I was able to get back in time to have dinner with our old Thursday night dinner group. Surprised them all and it was really great to see them all. I will be staying in Bev's driveway on Kent Island. The next few weeks will be spent getting in touch with the many friends in the area. I'm cold (Houston was in the 80s) but it's good to be back here for a while. I really missed the grandkids.


Stu: Day 3, Had to skip the Smokies

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Day 3, Had to skip the Smokies, too much rain
Mar 19, 2008

It rained all day, decided to skip spending the day at the "Smokies". Too bad I would have liked to show the girls some of what Lin and I enjoyed so much in this area. Perhaps at another time. Staying in a real campground, getting wash done and preparing to get back to Maryland early.

I have really enjoyed having my girls with me. Sharing a lot of old memories and learning of some new ones. (My kids were more like me growing up then I realized). Tomorrow back in Maryland.


Stu: Day 1 On the way back to MD

Monday, March 17, 2008

Day 1 On the way back to MD
Mar 17, 2008

Pick the girls up from the airport yesterday. Left from Houston on our way back to Maryland. Hope to arrive by the weekend. Looking forward to some quality time with my girls.

Day 2, Didn't know Tennessee had a Cleveland
Mar 18, 2008

Day 2, the girls and I have adjusted to the rythms of Rving together. I'm not used to all the many items that young ladies need in order to survive. but, we have been having fun. Staying in a WalMart parking lot tonight. Had to listen to all the "redneck" comments. I may not feed them tomorrow.

If the weather holds out we will take the day to visit the Smoky Mountains. Lin and I spent many a vacation here and it was our favorite place in the world. We always came away from here with a great sense of peace.

Number 2 daughter, Melissa, drove the rig for a couple of hours. She did a terrific job.


Stu: Lin's "Do Not Cry" Memorial Service

Lin's "Do Not Cry" Memorial Service
Mar 17, 2008

Lin's "Do Not Cry" Memorial Service will be on April 6, 2008

3:00 to 6:00 PM

Long Point Improvement Association
1534 Long Point Road
Pasadena, MD 21122

Donations in lieu of flowers requested to:
Escapees CARE, Inc. (http://www.escapeescare.org/)
155 CARE Center Drive
Livingston, TX 77351

Always a new adventure.....

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yup, a NEW adventure for me. I had requested that my mail be forwarded on the 7th rather than the 10th because my plans had changed and I wanted to leave the Bouse BLM boondocking area on Friday morning, the 14th and wanted to be sure my mail arrived in time. No problem...right? You would think so....LOL!

After checking on Tues & Wed and still no mail, I contacted my mail forwarding company. Turns out my mail went out on the 7th but it went to the previously requested address in Winterhaven, CA (when I was boondocking outside Yuma). Can you say OOPS? They had it redirected to the Bouse General Delivery and I was told it would be there on Thursday or Friday. So instead of bumming rides over there (I was expecting three boxes so not something I really wanted to do with the bike), I decided to call on Thursday. No mail....sigh...

Friday morning I head out to Quartzsite to get my inverter looked tweaked. When done, I get gas then go by the RV Pit Stop to top off my propane, dump & take on fresh water. When I was done I headed to Bouse and the Post Office, REALLY hoping all the mail would be there. Well, one box was....at least it turned out to be the one with my new Garmin Nuvi 760 GPS in it. Phew! But that meant I needed to hang around for at least one more day, hoping that the other two boxes would show on Saturday. They were open for packages between 9-10 am.

So I headed back out of town and parked on the first 14 day BLM area I found....yup, my first REAL night of boondocking solo. Okay, so there was another RV barely within sight, but it wasn't anyone I knew and we could barely see each other. Peace and quiet...totally mesmerizing.

Many people don't realize that I am actually somewhat of in introvert and basically shy. Normally I spend a week or two with others and then go off by myself for a while. I've been with friends since I hit Quartzsite in the middle of January! That is a record for me...LOL!

Okay, back to the saga of the missing mail. I was wide awake last night and ended up sleeping in a little bit. I made it to the Post Office about 9:30....box number two was there. This one had more stuff that I had ordered (but not all of it) and still no "real" mail. Guess all that is in the LAST box.

Fortunately the Post Mistress had told me on Friday that she would hold it for 30 days and could do a one time forwarding for me. I called the campground in Tucson where I will be staying for a week after the RV Life on Wheels and got their permission to have the mail sent there. With that set I hit the road. I needed to stop at the Super Wal-Mart in Buckeye and get some groceries and other stuff. Ended up getting a haircut while I was there since they could fit me in right away.

After spending a couple of hours there, opted to hunker down in Augie's Quail Trail RV Park in Gila Bend. I had spent one night there before and liked the park and the folks that run it. I desperately needed to do laundry after spending 5 weeks in the desert. LOL!

I arrived just before 4pm, unloaded my bags from the store, loaded up all the laundry and headed over to get it started. I ended up with 4 loads and I still need to do my sheets...think those will wait till Tucson. Nasty weather is forecast to move through tomorrow. The wind is already blowing and there is a good chance of thunderstorms.

I'm very tired, achy tonight and have a sore throat. Often this happens when I overdo things...toss in a little stress and you have a perfect recipe for a flare of Fibromyalgia. So tomorrow really sounds like a good day to do NOTHING...

I did use my new GPS for routing today....my old one was just too small for the dash and my old eyes. Since it's pocket size, I will keep it for hiking. The new one, Garmin Nuvi 760, has a touch screen which makes it much easier to use than the old one, Garmin Quest 2, where I had to figure out what button combination to push.

While I love some of the new features on the Nuvi, there are some things that went away. Things I really liked....for example, while traveling I could see the current time, elevation and my travel speed. Boy do I miss that! I tended to use the speed rather than my speedometer since it was right at eye level. The elevation and time were handy.

On the Nuvi I can choose between male or female voices as well as American, British or Australian English (as well as many other languages that I don't speak). I tried all six combinations. I liked the idea of a male voice but find my hearing isn't the best in that range so ended up settling on the Australian female. So my GPS now has a name....Sheila. My old GPS is now Ernestine (think Lily Tomlin's switchboard operator character).

Oh, and believe it or not, the Nuvi came without a manual....just the quick start guide. I have downloaded and saved both the manual from Garmin as well as a great review of all the features from one of the GPS review sites. So far the BIGGEST dislike is the lack of a way to build a route on my computer and upload it....if I do that I have to input each of the waypoints and build the route manually. Sort of going backwards to me....hmmmmmmm

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Stu: My Kids are the greatest

Friday, March 14, 2008

My Kids are the greatest
Mar 14, 2008

I am heading back to Maryland. Many of you have offered to come down and ride back to Md with me, I just don't have a big enough rig. (Imagine me saying that). Thanks for all the offers. However, both of my girls are flying down to Houston on Sunday. We will begin our trip back first thing Monday morning. I am looking foward to spending time with them and getting back to Md. and all of Lin and my terrific friends. We should be getting back around Friday +/-. I hope to have Lin's "don't cry" party about two weeks from then (April 5/6). We'll figure out the exact when and where soon and let everyone know.

I am absolutly overwhelmed by all the emails, phone calls and messages on the web site. Thank you from the bottem of my heart for all of it. Lin would be as well.

Thank you, more from the road in the days to come.


Stu and Lin: Lin McNicol 8/24/45 - 3/13/08

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lin McNicol 8/24/45 - 3/13/08 "Do Not Cry For Me"
Mar 13, 2008

Lin has moved on, we are left to remember her and miss her. She had read this poem years ago. She told me that it really summed up her feelings. She insisted on no funeral or a having a bunch of folks weeping away over her. She wanted to have everyone at a bar remembering all the good things and celebrating a life worth living. So that is what I'm going to do. I will be returning to Maryland and will set a date for the festivities. Kapish?
Do not cry for me.
I am still here,
You may not be able to see me,
But I am,
I am here in spirit, not in person.
Do laugh for me.
I know I am not here,
But laughing will help ease the pain.
Laughing will let you see me,
See me in the good time.
Do not grieve for me.
You may think I'm gone,
But I'm not.
I am still here,
Here in your heart and memories.
Be happy for me,
We had the good times together,
And the bad,
But life was fun - still is fun,
And it will go on and on.
Be happy and laugh.
Just remember the times we shared,
And laugh.
See me laughing with you.
Please be happy for me,
Please laugh for me,
But please remember not to cry for me...
I will miss my best friend...

Bless you all,

Too Much.... Too Many.... Too Little....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Too much going on every day, too many photos taken, too little time to post it all! LOL! Yes, this is what retired life should be....living life! So I will try to create a short synopsis of the last several days.

  1. Beautiful morning sunrises
  2. Gorgeous evening sunsets
  3. Hours spent meeting friends, old & new, around the communal campfire
  4. Some great campfire meals
    ~ Eggs in a Bag breakfast
    ~ S'mores
    ~ Potato Bake & Pot Luck dinner
  5. More great meals
    ~ Grilled steak shared with friends
    ~ Community center breakfasts with the group
    ~ In town breakfast (delicious omelette)
    ~ In town lasagna (still have the leftover to enjoy)
    ~ Upcoming pizza (same place as the lasagna)
  6. Perfect weather
  7. HOT weather
  8. Six hour motorcycle trip to see Parker Dam & the London Bridge
  9. Several nice walks around the BLM are where I'm parked
    ~ Desert flowers blooming
    ~ Interesting deadwood
  10. Views that I will never forget
I'm sure there is more but those are the highlights. Here are some of the photos!







On Friday morning I head out of here and wend my way to Tucson and the RV Life on Wheels conference. So I suspect blogs will be infrequent for the next week as well. I will try to check in from time to time though.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

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