Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Little Things


Although not anything major, we have had a lot of little things break down recently. Jim thinks more things go wrong living in an RV than when we lived in a house, but I think he’s just blocked those bad home ownership memories.

Wonder what’s going on here. Love, maybe?

IMG_1977

About a month ago the in-dash radio of the Lazy Daze quit working. Jim ordered a cheap used faceplate from Ebay and at first it worked fine but after using it a few times it would not turn on again. After lots of wiggling it came on again so we are just leaving the power on. Scott, the RV techie guy who worked on our inverter last year was doing a TV install for one of the camp hosts here so he stopped by to look the opening and will get back to us on a replacement. We may combine it with a backup camera monitor but haven’t decided on that yet. 

Not a hummingbird.

IMG_1984

A day or two after we arrived at McDowell last week the water pump quit working. We typically don’t hook up the hose to city water but just fill our tank and run off the pump. We’re so used to camping without hookups we forgot we could just connect the hose to the city water inlet, which Jim remembered just as I was about to go fill up some jugs to use until the next morning when we planned to install the spare pump we carry. A senior moment for sure!

Once the water was connected we heard the pump cycle, as we had forgotten to turn it off. It continued to work intermittently for a few days, but finally quit altogether. We ordered a new pump as the spare is an old one that Jim repaired, since he decided he would rather just install a new one and keep the other as a spare if we are ever in desperate need. It should arrive this week.

A few weeks ago I found some water in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. I felt all the plumbing connections but everything seemed to be dry. Then I realized the water smelled like vinegar, so I thought a bottle of window cleaner had leaked. I forgot about it until yesterday when I discovered even more water on the shelf, and this time saw a drip coming from the connection under one side of the sink. After pulling everything out and drying it off I also discovered a leak on the other side. Of course Jim didn't have a wrench big enough to tighten it with so we had to make a stop at Lowe’s for yet another tool to add to his collection. After tightening things up so far both sides are staying dry.

I also got a flat tire on my bike, which will only hold air for a day or so, and we finally remembered to stop by a bike shop today for another tube. I have gone out on a few rides and it’s held air, but I do carry a pump just in case.

There’s a new picnic shelter at the intersection of the Delsie and Pemberton trails since the old one collapsed last year after heavy rains. It’s decorated with hanging beer cans, and a retired mountain biker. It hasn’t rained here in over 80 days so everything is really brown and dry this year.

20171109_113230

I couldn’t get the toaster to work the other day and tried plugging it into the other plug where it worked. Later I tried it again and it worked in the first outlet. I made the mistake of reminding Jim he needed to check it as we were laying in bed around 10:30 last night, which got him worrying about it so he got up and took a look. The outlet looked fine so maybe the toaster is on its way out. Just one more little annoyance.

On a positive note, Jim was able to access our Progressive EMS box and check to be sure all the connections were tight. After Debbie’s experience we were a little concerned, but everything looked great inside of ours.

DSC08961

He also checked all the connections in our power management box and did find a couple screws that he could tighten just a bit.  He tries to do this once a year but doesn’t always remember.

DSC08964

Debbie finally got her new EMS installed on Saturday, and it would not allow power into her rig. She called Progressive and they informed the tech that there is an adjustment that needs to be made. Why they won’t include instructions for the installer is hard to understand, but that was the problem and now it’s working fine.

Debbie found a very lightly used Blue Ox tow bar for sale in Casa Grande and was kind enough to go check it out for us.  It was a great buy and almost new, so we will get it from her one of these days when we meet up for lunch. It will definitely give us peace of mind having a new bar, since after we discovered how bent the old one was we would never have wanted to continue using it.

This is a Blue Ox Avail.

1b335f2fe0460ac50da0fcdf84862bd1.jpeg.max548

The original owner threw in a bunch of other parts, too. Unfortunately he didn’t get a cover for it, so we will have to order one, since it’s a few inches longer than our old one.

Blue Ox

Speaking of more little things, we’ve been to Fearless Kitty three times now, and we’re having to learn the quirks and names of all the new cats. There are a bunch of cuties there, and quite a few have been adopted just in the last week. This past weekend was a big arts and crafts fair along the Avenue of the Fountains in Fountain Hills.

20171111_102933

Fearless Kitty is located right in the middle of it so they had an open house during the event and ended up with seven adoptions.

One of the rooms we have to clean is now occupied by five little kittens that were saved from euthanasia at a local animal shelter. They are the most adorable little things, and being around them made me remember why we kept Elvis and Sophie when they were brought to us around the same age. Unfortunately they grow up!

20171114_084814

20171114_092824

I forgot how crazy little kittens can be. Jim had them all mesmerized by the fishing pole toy.

20171114_093037

This is Ashley, one of the free roaming cats who likes to lay on the steam cleaner pads. Luckily today was a mop day, so we didn’t need to make her move.

20171114_094931

Guess that about sums up our first 10 days at McDowell. Unless something exciting happens I probably won’t be posting much since we’re doing pretty much the same stuff as the past couple of winters here. Not that it’s a bad thing, it just makes for repetitive blog posts.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Week of Frustration


We pulled into the lot in the Yuma Foothills on Sunday Oct 29 after an easy 85 mile drive from Quartzsite. We had a bit of trouble figuring out how to open the gates but a neighbor came to help, and the lot owner showed up a short time later. We got backed into our private spot, joined about a half hour later by our friend Debbie, who came from Casa Grande to hang out with us for the week.

DSC08944

DSC08943

You can hardly see our rigs behind the fence.

DSC08945

When Debbie plugged into power the circuit breaker at the pedestal kept tripping. It was in the low 90s so she really needed air conditioning. Jim suggested she turn off the solar controller and try again. This time the breaker didn’t trip, but she still had no power. One of the guys heard sizzling and told her not to attempt plugging in again. This is not what you want to happen when it’s hot and a Sunday, since there was no way to get anyone to work on it.

Jim immediately posted a message on the Lazy Daze forum about her dilemma and got a few responses, the most helpful being to call Progressive Industries, the maker of the hardwired EMS we both have. They have a 24 hour hotline, so Jim called and explained the problem. They said to have the repair person call before working on it, and if it was the EMS it would be covered since Debbie is the original owner.

Luckily she found a mobile RV tech to come out on Monday morning, and it turned out that the EMS was fried. The tech was able to do a work-around so she would have power until she could get a new one. She is still in Yuma awaiting arrival of the replacement, which was supposed to be here early this week but is now scheduled for delivery on Friday. We did learn that it’s important to check the connections for any loose wires once a year, although our EMS is located under the kitchen sink in a location that’s really difficult to access. That is now on Jim’s list of things to do soon, as it could be a fire hazard.

20171030_162815 (Medium) (1)

Progressive asked Debbie to email a photo of the cover, not the inside. The distortion in the print is a dead giveaway that excessive heat caused the failure.

20171030_170031 (Medium) (1)

Now onto our dental experience. Jim had an implant placed back in March by Dr.Carlos Rubio in Algodones and planned to go back to him for the abutment and crown. He was told when he came back it would be about 3 days to get the crown after they placed the abutment and took impressions. When he called a couple months ago to make the appointment they now said it would be 10 days for the lab to make the crown. Not really wanting to spend that much time in Yuma, we decided to see if another dentist could do the crown. A couple of friends recommended Dr. Maria Fonseca, so Jim had several email exchanges with her about getting the correct abutment for his implant, (he gave her all the specs) and she assured him it would not be a problem. She also quoted a price quite a bit lower than Dr. Rubio.

00

I also needed a crown, and she was able to get us in on Monday morning, so off we went to Mexico. When we arrived at Dr. Fonseca’s office she told Jim that she was not experienced in Straumann implants, and was going to take him over to the office of another dentist who does them. Had she told him that to begin with he would have just gone back to Dr. Rubio, but now that we were there he decided to take his chances and go with her to Dr. Roberto Arce’s office. I did do some research and he gets great reviews, and he uses Straumann implants, so we were hoping for the best. X-rays were taken and the abutment was placed, which Jim said was more painful than when he had the other two implant abutments put on. Then impressions were made, and he was told to come back the next day to get the crown.

office

Dr. Fonseca then prepped my tooth for the crown, took impressions, and said mine would also be ready the following day. She was very gentle, personable, and seemed very competent. I just wish she had been up front with Jim about her lack of experience with the implants, but then this is Mexico and things are done differently here.

On Tuesday we made the 25 mile drive back to Algodones, and this time I went first. The crown fit well but the color was not a good match, so Dr. Fonseca said she was going to have the lab remake it, and put the temporary back on. She called the lab and had the tech come over to her office to look at it. I understand enough Spanish to know that the tech said it would have been helpful if she had sent photos, and she promptly pulled out her iPhone and showed him the photos she had sent over the previous day. They took some more photos and he said the new one would be ready on Thursday, which meant another trip across the border.

Then Dr. Fonseca walked Jim back to Dr. Arce’s office to get his crown, and it unfortunately was not fitting well and he wanted it remade. More impressions were taken, and we were both given appointments for Thursday morning. At this point Jim was very unhappy, but I have had crowns made in the U.S. that were the wrong color or didn’t fit and had to be redone. The difference was that it always took a couple weeks for the next appointment and the temporary crowns would fall off by then.

We went back Thursday morning, with me going first again, and this time the color of the crown was perfect, and took just a bit of adjustment before being permanently cemented on. For $300 I was very pleased, considering it would have cost probably 4 times that in the U.S.

Dr. Arce had a bit more difficult time getting Jim’s crown to fit correctly, due to the fact that the implant was placed slightly off-center. He said he would have placed it differently, but didn’t actually say it was wrong. Anyway, the crown was screwed on to the new abutment, some adjustments were made for Jim’s bite, and he was good to go. He does feel like the crown is too big, but that could be just due to the fact that he hasn’t had a tooth there for a year.

We had mentioned to Dr. Fonseca that we would like to also get a cleaning, so she was able to do that when we got finished. She does the cleaning herself, and it was one of the most thorough cleanings we’ve had anywhere, at a charge of $40. We haven’t had our teeth cleaned since December 2015 but had started using a new, very expensive toothpaste back then, Livionex Gel, which is supposed to prevent plaque, so we wanted to go a while and see what our teeth looked like. She said neither of us had much plaque at all and our teeth looked great except for some minor gum recession around crowns. I do have a couple of old crowns which she said should be replaced sometime in the next year, but they are not bothering me even though there is a hole in one of them, and I hate to rock the boat. Looks like another trip to Mexico next year.

Jim didn’t floss around the new crown that night, but he did on Friday night and the floss would not go through without breaking. On Saturday morning he decided to drive back to Algodones to see if there was another adjustment to be made, since we were leaving on Sunday. Turned out the floss they used in Mexico didn’t break as it was thinner, and Dr. Arce didn’t want to do anything else as he said things would still shift a bit. He was right, and now Jim can floss without it breaking, although it shreds a little coming back out.

It was a stressful dental week and we’re glad it’s over.

After our tow bar incident in late September we have been very nervous about towing the car, but we’ve checked and triple checked and there hasn’t been a problem. After arriving in Yuma Jim noticed that it didn’t look straight, and when we looked closely we saw a bend that shouldn’t be there. Not sure what this part is called but you can see it in the photo.

DSC08937

We were so focused on making sure that there were no cracks in the metal and that everything was hooked up properly that we completely missed the fact that this piece of metal was bent. No doubt when the one bar came off the stress of the car pulling on one side caused it to bend. No more hooking up until we get a new one!

While in Yuma I took advantage of Debbie’s sewing machine and bought some new sunshade fabric to make a new Protect-a-Tow to replace the one that was torn up after the tow bar arm came off. It was great having a big table on the patio to work on. By the way, this lot is for sale for $58,000, a good price for this area, especially with all the improvements they’ve made.

DSC08946

Jim also replaced our gray tank valve which had developed a tiny leak. He had a little trouble getting the new one back on but finally was successful.

DSC08941

We did do a few fun things while there. Although I couldn’t talk Jim or Debbie into joining me I took an early morning hike up Telegraph Hill on one of our non-dental days. I really like this 5+ mile round trip trail, a great workout, nice views, and a good way to ensure sore legs for a couple days after.

DSC08932

DSC08933

It’s extremely steep but at least the steep part is paved.

DSC08934

We also rode our bikes and walked around the neighborhood. It’s really flat there so the biking was the easiest we’ve done in a long time.

Fiery sunset on one of our evening walks. It’s getting dark way too early!

20171031_175546

Debbie and I went to a thrift store and the Arizona Market Place one afternoon. It had just opened for the season on November 1st, so some of the businesses were not yet open, but we managed to find a few things we couldn’t live without. We also hit the new Yuma Sprouts that just opened in July.

One evening we all went out for dinner at Da Boyz downtown location. We like the atmosphere and the pizza and beer are always good. On the way we stopped to look at a used Blue Ox hitch, but it turned out to be older than the guy said so we weren’t interested.

The evenings were pleasant and we enjoyed sitting out for happy hour on our patio. One night we were joined by a fine feathered friend. It was too dark for a good photo but you get the idea.

20171103_181937

We left Debbie on Sunday and almost forgot to get a photo for Debbie’s mom, but Jim took this right before we left. Me, Elliot, Rupert and Debbie.

DSC08950

We drove separately for 230 miles to our home for the next three months, McDowell Mountain Park in Fountain Hills, AZ, with very light Sunday traffic. We’ve already worked one morning at Fearless Kitty, did a bike ride, had happy hour with some of the camp hosts, and signed up for Anytime Fitness. It’s nice to be “home” again.

Site 55

Saturday, November 4, 2017

On the Road to Yuma


We left Virgin last Friday, heading out around 9 (very early for us) since we had to dump, pick up a few groceries and stop at Lee’s Discount Liquor in Mesquite, NV. It was 175 miles to Boulder Beach Campground at Lake Mead, and we wanted to arrive as early as possible to be sure to get a campsite for Friday night. Luckily we gained an hour going from Utah to Nevada. I saw that John and Pam (Oh,The Places They Go!) were at an RV park in Boulder City, which was only 5 miles from Boulder Beach, and emailed Pam a couple days before we left to see if they would still be there. Pam suggested we come by their place to go for a Jeep ride, hike and dinner at a nearby brewery. Sounded good to us!

The trip was uneventful and we got a nice site at the campground, which was full when we got back that evening. This is part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the sites have no hookups but there are threaded water spigots scattered around, flush toilets, trash, and a dump. We paid $10 with the senior pass. And our site was perfectly level, something we rarely encounter.

DSC08921 - Copy

We even had a view.

DSC08923

After getting set up and eating lunch we drove over to John and Pam’s, then headed out in their Jeep to a 4 wheel drive road that was actually in Arizona. Don’t ask us where it was, since John was driving and we paid no attention to where he was taking us. After what seemed like 20 miles but was probably less than 5, we came to the end of the road (if you could call it that), and began to hike the rest of the way down a wash for about a mile until we reached the Colorado River.

We had a couple of impasses early on that required some acrobatics on our part.

IMG_1957

IMG_1958

DSC08911

DSC08912

But after that it was a nice walk.

DSC08915

Which ended in a lovely spot along the river.

DSC08913

DSC08914

DSC08920

Jim and John reading the sign.

DSC08918

We were at the site of the home of a river gauger, who had the job of taking measurements to determine the volume of water, rate of flow, and silt content of the Colorado River while Hoover Dam was being built.

DSC08916

You can see the remains of the catwalk and structure where the cable ran across.

IMG_1967

Here’s a closer look. It must have been quite a job.

IMG_1964

IMG_1965

After the hike and drive out on the road, which didn’t seem so bad going back, we stopped for dinner at Boulder Dam Brewery in Boulder City, which looks like a really nice little town, by the way. The beer and black bean burger were good, and we enjoyed our visit with John and Pam. Glad we were able to get together, even for a few hours!

The next day we decided that 289 miles to Yuma was too far for a day, so we hung around Boulder Beach until the noon check-out time, taking a walk and chatting with Mike and Patricia, fulltime RVers whom we had met as boondocking neighbors in Virgin. They were at Boulder Beach visiting family in Vegas and had told us about the campground. It was nice talking with them, and I’m sure we’ll cross paths again one of these days. Patricia is a landscape photographer and her excellent photos can be seen here if you’re interested.

With the low water levels in Lake Mead the “beach” is now a long way from the campground.

DSC08924

We had an easy drive to Quartzsite, stopping a couple times for lunch and at Walmart in Parker along the way. We arrived at 5 and it was still too hot, around 90, but the sun was so low in the sky we figured it would be setting and cooling off soon. We drove about a mile down Plomosa Road, a very busy area during January, but found just a few RVs scattered about. We found an easy spot to pull off and were able to leave the car hooked up. It was quiet and once the sun set it was a very pleasant evening.

Our nearest neighbors were a good ways off. After all the kids running around screaming at Boulder Beach it was a very peaceful night.

IMG_1972

IMG_1973

Took these next photos on a walk the following morning. If you’ve ever driven or camped off Plomosa Rd during the RV show in January you know it doesn’t look like this then.

DSC08926

DSC08927

DSC08928

Last Sunday we left Quartzite and have spent the past week in Yuma on the Foothills lot we stayed at in March of 2015 when we had our vinyl floor installed. We came mainly for dental work, a crown for me and an abutment and crown for Jim. Things were a bit shaky there for awhile but after four trips to Algodones I think everything has been straightened out. More about that next time.