Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sunny Daze In Yuma

Wednesday: (01/30) Nice sunny day at home. I called and the part for the jeep is in town but won't be delivered until the afternoon so we'll go tomorrow. I finally installed the Wilson cell phone range extender and we now have a usable cell signal at our dining table. It isn't permanently installed yet but I know it works and how it can be mounted. Mostly we lounged around at home. Cereal for breakfast. Zucchini with sausage for lunch. Spinach salad for dinner.

Thursday: (01/31) Corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. First order of business after checking that the dealer had the part for the jeep was to reserve a flight for Dawn. We decided to drive up to Las Vegas for her flight since they had direct flights from there to San Francisco. I fiddled online trying to make a reservation but United's website wasn't working and I ended up with three charges but no confirm number nor email with it. Talking to a real person is very difficult but when I finally reached one, they were able to cancel two of the reservations, and manually send me a confirmation number. It only took a couple of hours. Isn't progress wonderful. That made us later than planned getting in to town. On the way into town we stopped at Imperial Dates for date  shakes. I dropped Dawn and Lou off on the North end of Fourth Street and they looked around at thrift stores then stopped for lunch of corned beef and cabbage at Brownie's Cafe. I dropped the Jeep off and browsed around nearby at various stores. The new leak detector pump part was installed in the Jeep by 3pm.  Lou and Dawn caught a ride and met me at the dealer and we dashed off to the Arizona Flea market for a quick peek. I nibbled my late lunch of stuff from the car. We then stopped at Walmart for a few things before heading home. Dinner was smoked pork with asparagus and rice. Lou and Dawn had squash as well.

Friday: (02/01) While Lou and Dawn were off showering at Squaw Lake (No not in the lake. They have showers in the campground there.) I was busy removing the TV and cell phone antenna and lowering the solar panels. Then I took a shower in the RV. I prefer the RV shower and you also need some gray water to flush the black water so I do my part. Breakfast was smoked pork chops and eggs. We said good by to our neighbors and then drove over to do our tank duties before hooking up the Jeep and hitting the road. We drove through the Army's Yuma Proving Grounds and caught Highway 95 North to Quartzsite. First stop was the general Store for more of their sausage.  It was lunch time so Lou and Dawn headed to Silly Al's for a Greek salad and I headed to the Grubstake for Fish and Chips. I like the fish and chips and since they are breaded Lou and Dawn don't eat them now. With all this important work done we continued up Highway 95 to Parker where I stopped and filled the LPG tank. I forgot to do it in Quartzsite and it was empty. Parker is getting busy with the Parker 425 race this weekend so we'll be missing that this year. We stopped in Lake Havasu for me to take a nap and Lou and Dawn to check out a thrift store. We continued on to Highway 40 where we stopped at Love's truck stop for gas. We finally made it to Bullhead City stopping at Davis Camp, a county park for the night. The camp is located across the river from the casinos.

Imperial LTVA From Above Hurricane Hill
Our campsite on Hurricane Ridge at the Senator Wash LTVA. We're the center RV.

Tanks At YPG Tanks At YPG
Some of the tanks on dispaly at the Yuma Proving Grounds. We tried to go see the museum there but it was closed and we didn't get back to it before we left.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Telegraph Pass Hike

Tuesday: (01/29) Opps! I was the only hiker other than the organizer but since I was 20 minutes late, the organizer had gone home. I decided to do the hike anyway. I drove out to the trailhead which was a short way out a 4x4 road then hiked up the mountain.

Telegraph Pass Night Hike Peak Bench Telegraph Pass Night Hike Yuma Night Lights
My new head light worked great lighting the way for my night hike. I had a snack on the nice dark bench at the top. I enjoyed the hike under the stars with views of the city lights below in the valley.

Telegraph Pass Night Hike Signs On Gate Telegraph Pass Night Hike Geocache
A lot of signs on the gate at the bottom with ominous messages. On the way down the mountain I did a little geocaching finding several caches like the one above right. Nice hike. Here is a GPS track for the hike up to the top of Telegraph Pass.  4.5 miles, over 1631 feet of climb, about 1073 feet elevation change.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Busy In Yuma

Monday: (01/28) Pancakes with smoked pork for breakfast. It was windy all day. We relaxed at home most of the day. Our major task for the day was driving a few miles down to the Bard Post Office to pick up our package of mail. We then stopped at Sun Garden Date Farm for date milk shakes for lunch and to stock up with some dates for snacks. Black bean chili with corn bread for dinner.

Yuma Bridge To Nowhere Yuma Bridge To Nowhere
Tuesday: (01/29) Oatmeal and yogurt for breakfast. We headed into town with our task list. We stopped by the McPhaul Bridge sometimes known as the Bridge To Nowhere. It's a suspension bridge similar to the Golden Gate Bridge as is said to have been designed by the same man several years earlier. Next stop was the Redwing shoe store on Fortuna Road to order new hiking boots. I bought some Vasque boots there three years ago and they fit perfectly. I then bought replacements two years ago and they were great as well. But they are now worn out. Since I've had such good luck buying them here in Yuma and have had such bad luck with other brands having to be broken in to be comfortable while the Vasque always are perfect from day one I'm going to continue coming here to get them. We also dropped off  package at the Post Office.Then it was lunch time for lunch at the Eat Chinese Buffet. Excellent food. Next task was a stop at the airport to ask some questions about Dawn's flight home. Them while Dawn shopped at Hastings media store Lou and I did the laundry. It looked like we'd finish in time so I RSVP'd for a hike this evening. I needed to get a head light so I could see where I was going for the hike so we stopped at Lowe's and they had one. I also got a couple of PVC conduit sweep ells to use to mount our Wilson Cell antenna to our TV mast later. We made a hurried stop at the market then dashed back home. I made a sandwich quickly and we unloaded everything and I dashed off to the hike about 20 minutes late.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Little Picacho Wilderness Area Hike

Sunday: (01/27) Lou made scrambled eggs with onions, peppers, sausage and spinach for breakfast. We relaxed at home most of the morning. We eventually took a walk over to some bulletin boards by the restrooms. We checked on local activities like the music jam that usually occurs on Sunday but it didn't happen today probably due to the recent rain leaving a big mud puddle where they usually meet. On the way back home the registration office was open as well and Lou and Dawn checked on whether they could use Dawn's metal locator here. We had a spinach salad with ham, cranberries, onions and oranges for lunch.

Little Picacho Wilderness Senator Wash Hike Start Point Little Picacho Wilderness Senator Wash Hike
After lunch they dropped me off where Ferguson Road crosses Senator Wash Northwest of the camping area, about a mile from our campsite.

Little Picacho Wilderness Twin Slots Little Picacho Wilderness Senator Wash Slot Canyon
I hiked up the wash into the Little Picacho Wilderness Area inside some slot canyons for a couple of miles.

Little Picacho Wilderness Senator Wash Hike Little Picacho Wilderness Senator Wash Puddle
The slot widened and narrowed several times. i found quite a bit of water remaining from yesterdays rain.

Little Picacho Wilderness Senator Wash Hike Puddle Little Picacho Wilderness Senator Wash Hike

Little Picacho Wilderness End Of My Hike Up Senator Wash Where Narrow Slot Begins Little Picacho Wilderness Slot Canyon
After a bit of normal wash i came upon this really narrow slot. it would be neat to be here, up on top, when a good rain storm filled to entire slot.

Little Picacho Wilderness Little Picacho Wilderness Mule Trail Home
I returned via the top of the plateau on this muel trail.

Little Picacho Wilderness Area

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Arizona

Lou and Dawn did a little metal locating in the exposed portion of the lake bed though there is much less exposed today because they've be refilling the lake. Chili beans with corn bread for dinner. Lou was out again doing some off roading with Dawn. They drove over to the old beaver pond to check it out. There was a big mud hole I didn't ant to go through yesterday but she checked it out and went through today. In the evening we had a little light show with the lightening and some good winds here on Hurricane Ridge. We even had a little shower. It was supposed to only be partly cloudy here today. Nice day around home.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Senator Wash, Hurricane Ridge

Friday: (01/25) We arrived at Senator Wash a little after 4pm. Senator Wash is near Imperial Dam about 20 miles North of Yuma, Arizona on the California side. Officially we are in Bard, California. We took advantage of their facilities to do tank duty before picking a campsite. We checked at Kripple Kreek, our usual campsite area and found nothing we liked. It was pretty well filled. We then checked Hurricane Ridge and found a site. We will probably look further tomorrow but we're settled good enough for now. Lou made beef noodles with coleslaw for dinner. Just after  dark it started to rain pretty good. Fortunately it didn't rain while we set up. Now all we need is a visit from the wild burros that roam all around here. We really enjoy watching them. I checked out for hiking groups here in Yuma. i found one but they seem to be a bit more advanced and tend to drive more than hike taking 4-6 hour drive to  3-6 mile hikes. They are also preparing for a day hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back. Not as long (only 20 miles not 27) or steep (<5000' not >6000') as my day hike up Mt Whitney but it is reversed with the steep part as the return. There's also the fact I'm 20 years older now. I'd love to go but I'd have to concentrate on training to survive it and that isn't in the plan to stay here for four months training to do the hike in May. It is on my bucket list to do the hike but I think I'll try to get a room at the bottom and make it a two day hike maybe next year. They seem to be the only meetup hiking group here. At home there are a hundred or so hiking groups so you can pick your preferred hikes.
(GPS: 32.90107, -114.4929)

Saturday: (01/26) Cereal for breakfast. We headed in to Yuma to the Jeep dealer to have the Jeep looked at. The Service light came on a couple of days ago and, for some inexplicable reason, Lou wouldn't feel comfortable heading out on a 60 mile jeep road trip with that little light on? We dropped it off, I stuck around and Lou and Dawn were out shopping nearby. Turns out the gas tank leak sensor failed. So we'll be back in Tuesday to have it replaced. That same pesky sensor was probably why we had difficulty passing a smog test a few months ago. It wasn't turning on the light but was causing test problems. I hope this really fixes both problems. Lunch at the Golden Corral buffet. We wasted the rest of the day looking around then returned home just before dark. Cottage cheese and fruit with a ham sandwich for dinner. It rained really well last night so there were some big puddles around. The road into town was flooded at several locations and the harvesting continued so they tracked a lot of mud onto the road as well.Fortunately the rain disappeared but the clouds remained most of the day until just as the sun set.

Burros At Senator Wash
We really enjoy our burro visits.

I spent some time this evening researching the Grand Canyon hike. It seems these folks here in Yuma are in just the right place to practice for the hike. Hot weather and steep trails. One of the Tracks I looked at on was about a Rim-to-Rim-Rim hike in 24 hours. Now that is an impressive hike. 45 miles and 10,350 feet up. I won't be doing that and am not even planning a Rim-to-River-and-Return  day hike but would still like to to do a two day hike. Now if I can only get reservations at Phantom Ranch for the night.

Senator Wash Hurricane Ridge Sunset 8460
An interesting sunset.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Quartzsite, Arizona

Saturday: (01/19) We made it to Quartzsite a little after 4pm. Our first stop was for some of their cheap gas, by California standards anyway. Gas was $3.79 in Blythe and most other places on our path yesterday. Here in Quartzsite it was $3.09. We checked in at the La Poza West BLM Long Term Visitor Area just South of town. After a quick tour we found that the the spot we stayed at a few years ago was available. There really are no specified sites. Campers just park 25 feet from each other in the desert and our spot was available and it includes a tree. Lou made pad Thai noodles for dinner. Quartzsite is a little town of some 3,000 full time residents that becomes a metropolis of maybe 500,000 peak during the winter. Most of the winter residents come in their RV's and park somewhere in the desert. It's the migration ritual of Snowbird's. More leftovers for dinner.
(GPS: 33.65026, -114.21905)

Sunday: (01/20) Dawn and I ventured out to look around. Dawn checked the vendors at Prospector's Gulch.

Outside the Big Top RV Show
I concentrated on the Big Top RV Show. Lots to see even the occasional new and exciting thing.

Classic Woody Golf Cart Classic Ford Mustang Golf Cart
I rather liked the customized golf carts.

Lou went to the market. Grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. After lunch I stayed home a while while Lou and Dawn took the Jeep out for a spin around town. I discovered our nice tree was shadowing our solar panels so I moved it away from the tree. I also cleaned the panels. Now they are doing much better. Later I returned to the Big Top tent and bought some LED lamps for the RV to replace some removed for use at home and also the lone remaining incandescent, the lamp in the range hood. Now we are 100% LED and florescent. For dinner we went out to the Mountain Quail Restaurant for their special of the night, mesquite smoked pork. We woke at 6am to 25 degrees but it as 35 degrees by 8am and by 9am quite nice. By afternoon we were in the 70's. Typical desert winter weather.

Quartzsite La Poza West Campsite
Monday: (01/21) Hash browned potatoes, Quartzsite General Store sausage, and eggs. I walked over to the Big Top and walked through looking for a pain eliminating ointment that we heard about that the people had picked up in the tent. There are a lot of old folks here so there were all sorts of pain sales booths. Some electric therapy, some insole for shoes and some others I forget but no ointments. I then walked by the shops at Tyson Wells, more than 100 tents. At one of the last I visited I found the SmoothGator ointment that the people we met last night were rving about. Now I can point Lou to where it's located to try it out. On the way home i stopped and picked up a fancy long range TV antenna. They are seen all over out here and a regular RV TV antenna gets nothing here and many places. The transmitters are about 90 miles away. I had brought our extendable handle that I use with brush to clean our house without needing a ladder. Now a multipurpose tool, it is serving as the mast for our TV antenna. I brought it to use with our Wilson cell phone antenna when we get to Yuma. I assembled it and erected the mast and it works great bringing in 16 channels. We had planned a late lunch at the Grubstake bar. I wanted to get their outstanding fish and chips but Lou and Dawn can't eat them because of their gluten free diet. The bar couldn't just grill the fish and we didn't have a menu to check so Lou and Dawn had lunch at home as I went off to my fish and chips. It was great as expected. I brought home a menu for reference later. They had leftover pad Thai noodles. When I returned they headed off with the jeep on another tour of town. I relaxed digesting my lunch. The above photo is of our campsite. Note the nice tree for Lou and the new TV antenna. Cottage cheese and fruit for dinner.

Tuesday: (01/22) Hash browned potatoes, sausage and eggs. We explored the West end of Main Street and the Main Event, a usually big flea market. it isn't too big but there were enough shops to keep us busy until about 2pm. Steamed cabbage with onions and sausage for lunch. After lunch we secured the RV and rolled down to the dump about 2 miles South of our campsite. Now with a full water tank and empty holding tanks we returned home. More cottage cheese with fruit and some ham and cheese cold cuts for dinner.

Quartzsite Sunrise  Quartzsite Campsite At Sunrise
Wednesday: (01/23) We enjoyed a really nice sunrise this morning. Oatmeal with yogurt, craisens, and brown sugar for breakfast. I dropped Lou and Dawn off near the Post Office where they could check out near by junk dealers. I then Stopped by Solar Bill's and Discount Solar looking at replacement batteries for the RV. Our existing batteries are only five years old but cant hold a charge. By morning when we run the heater fan the batteres are below 10.5 volts. This after being conservative in the evening. We should be able to go three days with normal use without becoming too discharged. I chose Fullriver AGM batteries from Discount Solar. That's one of the nice things about being here in Quartzsite. If you decide what you want early enough they have it so no shipping is involved. For batteries that's rather a big cost. The batteries are costly enough so it's nice to eliminate the shipping. The Fullriver batteries are from China but so are most batteries. These gave a seven year warrantee more then any others so hopefully they do last. They also cost only $259 each rather that $318 each. It took me a while to conform with myself that I didn't want to change from six volt batteries like I currently had to twelve volt. Also to determine I wanted six batteries and not just four. There was a sign on the wall at Discount Solar that said "buy what you really want, it only hurts once." So I got replacement six volt batteries that were the same size as the existing so that fit right in place using the existing cables.

New Batteries
It was a lot of work to change them. The shop was busy and the guy I bought from was elderly so couldn't load the batteries himself. So I did. A lot of times. First to the cart. But since I needed to make room in the Jeep to carry them I then had to lift them off the cart to the ground so the cart could be used for other things, They have one cart. I then loaded them into the Jeep when there was room. Then back at the RV I unloaded them, Then removed the old batteries from the coach and installed the new batteries then loaded the old into the Jeep. Back at the shop, I had to unload them a final time and got my core deposits back. the six batteries were moved a total of seven times. They are not light, weighing about 70 pounds, so I got a good workout today. Before I started installing the batteries I had a ham sandwich for lunch. I finished returning the batteries about 2:30 and meet Dawn and Lou. They had had a Greek salad for lunch at Silly Al's Pizza Parlor. They left me to look around where they had been and did some errands in the Jeep, things they didn't want to have to carry around. Lou was adventurous and avoided the traffic backups on the roads by driving back home through a wash. I wondered why there was so much dust caked on to the rear of the jeep.  Dinner was smoked pork chops with mashed potatoes with cauliflower served with broccoli. We had horchata fruit bars for desert.

Quartzsite Campsite
Thursday: (01/24) Potato pancakes and sausage for breakfast. We went over to the Pow Wow at the Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA). The Pow Wow is really mostly a rock and mineral show. We really don't care too much for rocks but there are interesting things to be seen among them. We had lunch there. The QIA served up a nice Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and green beans which I enjoyed. Lou and Dawn had Chef salads. After lunch we stopped by to visit our friend Jeanie who has a home here. Today was cloudy all day so our solar didn't help much. We had some rain last night but only threats today. Carrots, sausage and couscous for dinner.

Friday: (01/25) Toast and sausage for breakfast. We did our final tasks to be accomplished here in Quartzsite. Lou and Dawn were off to the bookstore, the market and the prospector store. Dam and Lou got lessons for using Dawn's metal detector.

Quartzsite Inside Big Top Tent
I walked through the Big Top at the RV show. I asked questions of the travel reps from Canada and pestered other vendors with questions. I also picked up some summer sausage for one of the vendors and bought a new sewer hose to replace the leaky one I threw away. As I finished, Lou called to say they would be finished shortly so I could start getting ready to depart toward Yuma. i had a ham sandwich for lunch before starting. I lowered the solar panels, removed the TV mast and antenna, and secured everything. When Lou and Dawn returned, they enjoyed Greek salads they picked up at Silly Al's Pizza Parlor. We got on the road about 3pm. Shortly after getting on the rod it started to sprinkle enough to keep the wiper on all the way to Imperial Dam.

Patton Museum, Indio, California

Saturday: (01/19) Corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast then we headed about 20 miles East on I10 to Chiriaco Summit to visit the General Patton Museum. It's located at one of the old Desert Training Center Army camps used to train troops for World War II. There is a lot of interesting material there including a huge diorama that was made to layout the path of the Los Angeles Aquaduct. It just so happened that later, the same area made up the Desert Training Center. The artifacts are mostly donated by veterans.

Patton Museum Sherman Tank Patton Museum Pershing Tank
They also have a tank yard with several tanks and trucks on display. We enjoyed our visit! More leftovers for lunch then we headed onto I10 East again to Quartzsite.

Patton Museum Old Tank Dummy Skeleton Patton Museum Mule
They used canvas dummy tanks mounted to jeeps in the tank training program. My favorite vehicle is the little 4x4 mule on the right above.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fantasy Casino in Indio, California.

Friday: (01/18) Cereal and bananas for breakfast. We had planned to get out on the road today but Lou wasn't feeling well so she visited Kaiser to get checked. All well. but the visit took a while so we didn't leave Bakersfield until 3:50PM. The weather was nice, rather cool but little wind. We made it to Lancaster before stopping for dinner of chili with hotdogs and chicken. We stopped for the night at the Fantasy Casino in Indio, California about 9:15PM. Lou and Dawn paid the rent by loosing a couple of dollars in the casino. Here in Indio at 10pm it's in the mid 50's. Nice!

(GPS: 33.72374745, -116.19620654)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Aunt Helen's Place In Bakersfield

Monday: (01/14) We made it to Bakersfield about 3:30 and pulled in at my Aunt Helen's place. We'll be here a few days to visit. For dinner we went to Milt's restaurant for deep pit BBQ beef dinners. I love deep pit BBQ beef! This trip seems to be a dining tour so far. So good! I'm hoping that the weather forecast of this cold spell ending on Thursday turns out to be true. Nice to be here again. I think my last visit was in July.
(GPS: 35.36532, -119.0511)

Tuesday: (01/15) Helen had an appointment in the morning so we relaxed then went to La Valerta Mexican Market for brunch. I had a chili relleno plate, Lou and Dawn shared a goat stew plate and Helen had tacos. We shared a champurrado (hot cocoa) and a horchata (rice) drinks with our lunch. Helen had another appointment in the afternoon so Lou and Dawn were out thrifting. I tinkered at home. Early dinner at the Golden Corral. Helen and I visited Lowe's and Home Depot for quotes on a new vertical blind for her family room.

Wednesday: (01/16) Shopping at Walmart. Helen picked up a new vertical blind for her family room. They had a nice one for $27. Quite a bit different from the @240-280 prices at Lowe's and Home Depot. Theirs would be name brand but Helen can replace it 10 times for the same price from Walmart. I picked up the new windshield wipers that I couldn't get to lock in place so had to return again to get a different brand. Now our windows wipe nicely. I also picked up a tripod of the Smartphone. I may make for better pictures and allow me to be in more shots when I get a timed camera app for it as well. I also found the replacement bumper I need for one of our RV's compartment doors there. I had checked several hardware stores and didn't find what I wanted. On the way home I stopped and had the Jeep's oil changed. I have sort of ignored it intending to get the oil changed for a while. Actually the last oil change was in Ancorage, Alaska 15 months and 6000 miles ago. The miles weren't bad but the time period was a 'bit" long. In the evening Lou and I installed the new blind. That last oil change was when the Jeep caught on fire afterwords due to a rag left on the skid plate. It turns out the skid plate is going to be a problem on every oil change. Changing the filter causes a spill of oil on the plate. I may have to look at how to create an opening while still protecting the engine. A late breakfast at IHOP. Steak and eggs for Dawn and Lou, Steak omelet for myself and Swedish pancakes for Helen. Lou made chili and Dawn made corn bread for dinner.

Thursday: (01/17) Cereal for breakfast. Lou and Dawn were out thrifting in the morning. Helen had an appointment. I tinkered. Lunch at the Roadhouse. I had pot roast, Lou and Dawn tri-tip and Helen a hamburger. After lunch we visited the Goodwill bookstore and Dawn came away with a big bag of books. Then we visited the Winco Market for a few things. Today has turned out to be a mostly nice warm day. Dinner was roast chicken and leftover chili. Laundry will be done by the time we leave tomorrow.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

On The Road Again

Saturday: (01/12) We started the day with breakfast at our local Subway sandwich shop. We were then busy getting ready to leave. I started by installing the new driver and passenger window valences. They do look better than the old stained fabric valences. I then packed my clothes and all my other stuff that wandered into the house. Lou and Dawn were busy doing their final packing and final cleaning of the RV interior. We went to lunch at LUU Noodle House. We finally pulled away from the house at 2:30. We made it a mile and a half but in reviewing things like do you have your phone? your wallet? your passport? we realized we didn't have Dawn's passport so we returned for it so our actual departure was about 2:50. We stopped for ice cream in Greenfield. Even though we're in a freezing weather period there's always an appetite for ice cream. We pulled in to the Pismo Beach State park, North Campground a little after 8pm. Ham, avocado and cheese sandwiches for dinner.

(GPS: 35.13032393, -120.63566358)

Sunday: (01/13) We took a little walk around the campground and decided to move to a site that was empty but not available last night per the sign at the entrance station. We considered it fair game in the morning. So we moved from #17 to #27 with our favored view of the dunes and a quick path to the beach.  ranger stopped by and we explained our campsite change and gave him our registration fee for another night. It turns out that this "Prime" site is held vacant so that some park worker can occupy it during the week. It seems to us that there are two things wrong with this type of management of our parks. First, why is the help using prime sites? Second, why do they hold the site vacant when it is not needed. No wonder California State parks are is such a mess. They need to think like a business and consider their customers. Enough ranting for the moment. We went over to Francisco's Country Cafe for breakfast. i had their corned beef hash while Lou and Dawn shared an International (a combination) omelet. We then stopped by a Smart and Final Extra market. The extra seemed to mean it is a full market. We did find most of what we needed there. Another stop for a thrift store and for me to look around an RV parts store and we returned to camp to relax from our hectic morning. While the weather is rather cold, in the sun it isn't too bad today. It's nice to finally relax some. We went to the Pismo Beach Fish And Chips restaurant for a late lunch. I had the regular batter fish with coleslaw. Lou had the same fish but grilled with no batter served with fries. Dawn had steamed clams. Now our culinary tour of the area is complete. Dawn visited Nan's book store while Lou and I toured the local hardware store and a view RV's at a nearby dealer. Another nicely wasted day. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes with steamed carrots and broccoli for dinner.
(GPS: 35.12924, -120.6357)
Pismo Beach SP Pismo Beach SP Site 27
Pismo Beach (left) Our site #27 at North Campgound, Pismo Beach State park (right).

Monday: (01/14) I made corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. Dawn and I took a walk on the beach on this rather brisk (mid 30's) morning. We also stopped by to look at the Monarch butterflies that winter here. When we returned, Lou was visiting with our neighbors from Washing ton State. While Lou and Dawn tried to visit some thrift shops, I prepared to leave, did tank duty and then met them in downtown Pismo Beach. They have a really nice magazine t=shop there Dawn likes to visit. Lou and Dawn had little luck thrifting to day as most of the thrift stores ar closed on Monday. We gassed up the RV and hit the road toward Bakersfield abou 12:30. Lunch was cheese, ham and crackers along the way. We made it to Bakersfield about 3:30.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

This Is A Sticky Mess

Sunday: (01/06) I prepared to go to San Jose to install a sump pump in the basement. For some reason it's been collecting water in the basement recently. On the way I dropped Lou off at Kaiser to have here foot looked at. That took longer than expected. While I waited, I stopped by Orchard Hardware for some hose fittings and jig saw blades. I also visited Harbor Freight and of course, picked up a few things like a wide jaw short handled crescent wrench. I returned to meet Lou but she wasn't ready yet so I returned to Orchard Hardware for a couple of downspout pipes and fittings for San Jose as well. Unfortunately, they no longer carry any downspot materials. How odd? I stopped by Home Depot and got my downspout stuff. Normally I do a good job of tying things on the roof rack but for some reason this job didn't go well and I had to stop suddenly for a signal and the pipes slid off the roof. No damage done but I did do a better job this time since they stayed on after that. We stopped by the Country Inn for breakfast/lunch. I had a wild mushroom omelet and Lou had ham and eggs. They both came with Swedish pancakes which I had to eat since Lou is eating gluten free. Good for her and me! Then we finally headed on to San Jose. I needed to install a drain line for the new sump pump under the house, about 40 feet. I really did not feel like crawling so yesterday I stopped by Best Buy and they had a nice cheap radio controlled truck for $15. I used it to fish a string through then a rope and finally the hose. The little truck had some difficulties because it was a small truck so it would fit through the vent and there are lots of obstacles under the house as well as dirt clods which were boulders to the truck. But it did the job that I didn't want to do. I pumped out the water but now I think I'll return and install a real sump for it so it can be automatic. Oh jpy, another project to do before we get out of here. Now if I can just keep the job simple. I didn't get to installing the two downspouts that I need to install. There is always tomorrow. We stopped by Lowe's to see what could be done about a sump and they have one I'll use but I didn't bring my store credit card so will pick it up tomorrow. Dinner was chicken with rice and broccoli.

Monday: (01/07) Lou and Dawn had hot corn cereal for breakfast and headed off to appointments. I had agreed to watch the neighbors two boys for 15 minutes after they had gotten off to work and until the boys carpool arrived to take them to school. With that done I finished loading the jeep with drain rock and base rock, 12 each 5 gallon buckets for use in San Jose for the sump pump installation. It gets rid of the excess I had piled here at home. I then headed off stopping at Lowe's to pick up the sump box then stopped for breakfast at La Victoria Taqueria in downtown San Jose for a chorizo breakfast burrito. I replaced a bad section of the new pump discharge hose, rat proofed the area around the hose exit from the crawl space and then moved all the rock to the basement. I then had empty buckets to use to get rid of the dirt (mud) I needed to dig out to place the sump below the basement floor area in the unimproved area next to the basement where the old furnace used to be. That is where the water collects and it is above the basement floor level. The water is obviously not coming from a high water table but from intrusion form somewhere like a shortcut from some downspout or the like. It needs to be pumped out because it has flowed over the short 18 inch wall and into the basement on a couple of occasions  With nine buckets filled with wet mud, sort of like jello, I had a full load. Bringing the dry rock I had stacked some of the buckets. Not a good idea with mud. Of course, I was carrying an additional bucket of mud on my pants. This is going to be a fun dig? It will probably take at least a couple of days to finish. That's OK since Dawn's friend from Africa has been delayed in their arrival a couple of days as well. My lunch was a Jack In The Box egg nog milk shake. Lou made spaghetti squash spaghetti served with avocados for dinner. Today started like recent days with a hard ice coat on the windshield. Fortunately the rest of the day was really nice and warm probably in the 60's.

Tuesday: (01/08) Lou and Dawn were off early to an appointment. I made it to San Jose, after poking along in a traffic backup on the freeway. While it was sunny in Palo Alto, there was heavy fog in San Jose so likely the backup was because of an accident, or several  When I arrived at the hose there, Lou and Dawn had already finished there meeting and looked my job over. I started by finishing replacing a couple of downspouts and making sure al the rest were set to keep water away from the house as best they can. With that done I had lunch, while I was reasonably clean. I then started digging out the hole for the sump. I needed it to be 50 inches deep  so it took a little digging. I trucked off a load of dirt before returning for another load. Before I left the sump box seemed to almost fit, just a little shaving needed tomorrow and to dig out for the drain rock to feed the sump.  I had filled all my buckets just as it was finished. Looks like I might finish tomorrow  Pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Mr Chau's Chinese Fast Food for lunch. Grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Wednesday: (01/09) Sausage, eggs and potatoes for breakfast. I was off to San Jose again. I finished digging out for the sump and drain area. Then I installed the sump and drain line and all the drain rock. The pump was then tested and worked fine but the float doesn't work right so I'll replace it tomorrow. I cleaned up all my tools and stuff just before it started raining. While I was working the neighbor came over to see what i was doing so I showed her. She showed me that her basement has the same problem so it is the high water table. Lou and Dawn visited the Crepevine for lunch. I didn't have any lunch so I called ahead to Lou and dinner was ready when I got home. Lou made hamburger patties with grilled onions, carrots and mashed potatoes for dinner.

12th Street Sump Pump 12th Street Sump Pump 12th Street Sump Pump
Above left is after getting below the 8 inch layer of mud. Above center ready for drain rock. Above right almost finished.

Thursday: (01/10) I had some leftover popcorn as cereal with honey and milk for breakfast. Lou and Dawn had conventional cereal. I started by emptying my load from the Jeep and cleaned it of some. Lou took it to our local car wash for a good cleaning and waxing so it's nice and ready for the highway mud to come. I was off to find a good replacement float that will work for my pump and sump. I struck out finding nothing at Orchard Hardware, and Lowe's as well as a full service local plumbing shop. I did find a good float type at Home Depot but none of the six they had on the shelf had all the parts, even when mixing the contents. I also checked at Harbor Freight where I bought the pump but they had nothing as well. I was headed to another Home Depot when Lou called for lunch. I found a good package with the new float switch then met Lou in Cupertino at the Country Inn again for lunch. I had the wild mushroom omelet and Swedish pancakes again. Lou and Dawn shared corned beef and cabbage. I went down to San Jose and installed the new float which worked perfectly. I then returned home avoiding a problem near the house where a construction crew had hit a gas main. I finished cleaning up the muddy buckets and can call this project complete.

12th Street Sump Pump
The pendant float didn't work properly for this size and depth of sump so I replaced it with a better float which worked perfectly.

Dawn prepared chicken and avocado panini sandwiches for dinner.

Friday: (01/11) Bacon, eggs and muffins for breakfast. We got word that Dawn's friend Abdul and his wife Anna and their new baby arrived early this morning so we went to visit with them. Leftovers for lunch.

Doghouse Crawl Space Fan Cover
I finished up the crawl space exhaust fan dog house. and prepared a mount for our pole mounted cell phone antenna. Then we met Abdul, Anna and our friend Barbara for dinner at our local Pizza Chicago for pizza, of course. Now we should be able to get out on the road sometime tomorrow. I still have to pack and do a couple of things to the RV but we should get away.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

In Hot Water

Wednesday: (01/02) Dawn was off early to San Jose for a class. Lou and I had an early lunch as breakfast at LUU Noodle House, Pad Thai's for us both. I had a deferred project, the leaky hot water heater. i sized up the project and started by disassembling the housing around it. It's outside in a little shed next to the garage. The addition of siding to the house didn't make the diasassembly easy so it too a while to get apart. I checked the measurements and Lou and I went to Home Depot to it the replacement and collect other parts. Tomorrow, weather permitting and car availability, I replace it. Seems like a car is necessary to chase parts on projects like this and one is in the shop and Lou will have the other parts of the day. Dinner was leftovers. Artichoke chicken, asparagus, kale, succotash and rice.

Thursday: (01/02) I was up early as was anyone who wanted a hot shower.. I wanted to get the hot water heater replace this morning while I had the car. Lou and Dawn needed it after 11am. Breakfast was biscuits and gravy. The old WH came out easily and the new one went in place fairly easy for a 125# object into a limited access space. Then the fun began hooking it up and getting the piping to not leak. I probably made it more of a project than it needed to be by adding a new spigot for hot water for Ernie's trailer. The problem is that the space to hookup doesn't have room enough for a wrench to move freely. We did have hot water for dinner. Lunch was leftover vegetable soup. For dinner we had baked potatoes and BBQ ribs with corn.

Friday: (01/04) Lou made ham and eggs with home fried potatoes for breakfast. Dawn had a job interview today so we drove her to it then stopped by and picked up the shiny fixed up Hyundai. Quite amazing. Wrecked to repaired in one week. Actually only 2.5 work days and it's fixed. Really good service from both Andersen Behel Body Shop and GMAC insurance. We had intended to depart today and they listened when we said we wanted the car back as quickly as possible. of course, now we're delayed a couple of more days before we leave. I stopped for lunch from the Hong Kong Bakery in Mountain View, a pork bun and a couple of egg tarts. When I got home, I tinkered in the back yard racking leaves and putting things away. Salmon with millet and green beans for dinner.

Saturday: (01/05) I fixed toast with Canadian bacon, cheese and fried eggs all stacked as open faced sandwiches for breakfast. I spent the morning visiting Orchard hardware, Lowe's, and Home Depot returning surplus purchase from recent projects. I also collected a few things for new projects. I also got rid of several gift cards, rebate cards, and store return credit cards along the way. Cottage cheese and fruit  for lunch. I added a piece of aluminum angle to brace our broken RV bed lid. It broke where they added the extra foot to make the bed 5 feet wide. Now it's stronger than original. More yard cleanup as well. Chevy's Fresh Mexican Restaurant for Super Cinco's for dinner. After dinner I returned to the shop and made a little dog house for the crawl space vent fan.

Wilton Hot Water Tank Replacement WiltonHot Water For Trailer
The water heater access was rather tight. I installed spigots for hot and cold water to Ernie's trailer.

Wilton Temporary Shelter For Crawl Space Fan Wilton Crawl Space Fan Doghouse Cover
When I placed a fan to blow air under the house I erected a temporary cover for it. Bricks and a tub didn't seem to permanent so I finally built a doghouse for the fan but got interrupted to do the sump pump in San Jose before finishing it.

Wilton Hidden Dirt Pile Wilton Arbor In Winter
I rearranged some plants to hide the dirt pile and cleaned up leaves from around the area. Above right Lou winterized the fountain by draining it and covering it with a big pot (black object in center of photo).

Wilton Greenhouse
The greenhouse plants seem happy.