Crooked River to a Ghost Town…

Well, sort of a ghost town. There’s still plenty of people living there and in the surrounding area but it’s almost a wispy ghost of its past glory now. I guess it’s main claim to fame was sheep. Apparently there was good reason for running herds of sheep here back in the 1880’s. But to get there, we had to leave the Crooked River Ranch where we were staying, get back on US 97 and head north-east for around one hour to Shaniko. That’s what people would do if they didn’t need propane. I was down to around less then 1/3rd tank so I backtracked south on US 97 to the northern part of Redmond, where I found Oregon Feed & Irrigation. They sell propane, bulk, and way back early 2015 I’d stopped by and got a tank full for $1 per gallon. Whoa! So I thought I’d check again…fully expecting it to be much higher this time. Seemed to me back then that they were having a price war with the Terrebonne feed store just up the road.

But when I got to the feed store, it’s still $1 per gallon! Can’t beat that anywhere else in the US right now I don’t think. And on the way back north the Terrebonne feed store still had their’s at $1.25/gallon. Makes me get all pissy when I’m over here in Portland and see it at $3.59/gallon.

Anyway, here’s Crooked River Ranch golf course. Very nice.

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New entries to the RV repair blog…

For my readers interested in the ‘Repair’ section of my blog…

I’ve added an Ice Maker repair, and Modifications to my shower door. Check them out by clicking the links. The shower door mods are near the end of the shower blog posting.

Thanks for visiting!

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Fall River Fairgrounds & more…

Next morning, took a few shots at the fairground. It’s the end of April so not much going on here and not many campers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was just yesterday that we were in a snow storm. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Leaving Rosamond, and on to Oregon…

Details of the trip from Rosamond, to Fall River, CA. The sailing adventure we three salty sailors had off the Los Angeles coast was loads of fun, after that, there’s really not much that happened at my brother’s place, no work was done on the project car, and my brother didn’t seem to have any projects going on that needed to be worked at. So, since I had to go to Portland for my yearly VA checkup, and I wanted to give the newer RV a workout, I called my sister up in Walla Walla and tried to arrange a visit.

Well, you know how these things go, turned out her husband and she was going to be out of town around the time I wanted to visit. But still, my son lives there in Walla Walla too and it was time to give him a visit as well. So I talked Dan into traveling with me, and together we came up with a travel plan that included stopping at Lassen Volcanic National Park for a look see. Then drifting around a bit, and finally arriving in Walla Walla the day before Teri and Gary were to arrive back in town. We’d just spend the night before they arrived at a RV park.

OK, we had a plan. Dan bought his airline ticket for a trip back from Portland, which was my ultimate destination, and I talked him into taking the long train ride from LA to Lancaster (the trains last stop) rather then finding some way to get his car down to LAX in their long term parking lot. It’s a 2 hour train trip. Then I gave him the phone number of a halfway inexpensive taxi service from Lancaster to his house. After that was all arranged, we’re ready to travel in my newer, very comfy RV. We did delay our travel one day because of strong wind warnings all along our route. The prediction for the next couple days after that event were of the mild winds type. And the next day, as we passed over a freeway cloverleaf just past Mojave (the small town just 13 miles north of Rosamond) there were two semi trailers that had been blown over the day before!

We left Rosamond on April 26th, not in any particular hurry. We’re both retired but my brother is still the impatient type and freaked out when I seemed to miss the turn to I-5 and just headed straight north on CA-14. I was intending to go up through Tahachapi, Bakersfield, Fresno, etc. because I’ve been that I-5 route so many times, I just like taking a different route from time to time. And I’m retired, not in any hurry. My brother though, jeese, take a chill pill, dude. We’re not going that far out of our way. Anyway, after we’d traveled a couple hundred miles, I’ve been watching for trouble and asked what his reasoning was for wanting to head over to I-5? I thought maybe he’d seen a traffic report and knew of a current construction zone on the route I took but no…he just thought it was faster taking I-5 because you can drive 75 MPH instead of 65 like on this freeway. Really? Checking the map shows it’s actually 3 minutes faster going the way I did. Four lane highway the entire route too. And most of it signed 75 MPH. But I never drive that fast anyway so it’s a moot point.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust outside Bakersfield you get a great view from the hills of this giant valley filled with farms.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Another Sailing trip…

The 2nd weekend after arriving at Rosamond, Brennan, neighbor Bob, and I went sailing. It was short notice so the types of vessels for rent were limited but we got a 35 foot cruiser. And it turned out the weather was the best yet. Nice strong winds, fairly heavy seas (or at least a novice like me thought so), and lots of sunshine. It was a great day for a sail along the Los Angeles shoreline.

It takes and hour and a half to get down to Blue Water Sailing at Marina Del Rey so we leave early in the AM. Dodging traffic the entire way we luck out and are only slowed down a couple times, and just for a few minutes each time. Eventually, we’re signed in, pays our money, drag our gear to the boat, prep it (which entails removing all the covers from the sails, windows, door, helm, electronics, etc.). But soon, we’re on our way, motoring out of the harbor.

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At Dan’s…

After a couple weeks in Brenda, AZ, I headed over to my brothers place in Rosamond,  outside of Edwards AFB. My plan is to park in my friend’s yard next door to my brothers place and connect to his electric. But first I have to get there, so today is a travel day.

It is just a few miles from the RV park I’m staying at in Brenda to I-10 and here’s a pic of the countryside. It’s a bit remote, but I like it that way. Brenda is little more than a post office. Really not much around.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And pretty soon, I’m on the I-10 freeway.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Off to the West…

But I wasn’t going far…just a few miles north and west. Only 67 miles, so just over an hour of travel. Reason for the move was that I wanted to get to a RV park with a lower rate, and one in Brenda, Arizona seemed to fit the bill. It is 3 Dreamers RV Park, which is a Passport American park, allowing the use of that card year round. Most of the parks in the Phoenix valley are fairly expensive, and the few that are PPA parks have far more restrictions on PPA. Usually only allowing a few days stay at the reduced rate. That’s what the park where I was staying rule was. Three days max at the PPA rate. And, they have one of those annoying PPU (pay per use) WiFi systems. I knew I might be in this area another month and wasn’t about to pay $40 JUST for WiFi when it’s free just about everywhere else. I did go ahead and pay their outrageous $15 for 3 days though.

I was fairly productive while at the Tonopah park though, for instance, found that the hydraulic oil tank for the jacks and slides was 1+ qts low of oil. Dumped a quart of oil in the tank to be safe. Also found that my passenger side rear jack was ‘sticky’ and wouldn’t always retract quickly or smoothly. Of course oil level only applies when you’re extending the jacks as the oil pushes the jacks down to raise the RV, but the springs pull them back up. Also did some online checking and found that my RV has the old style jack springs with a known issue of being too weak so that contributed to the slow rise time of 3 of the jacks, not sure that applied to the passenger side rear one though.

Anyway, my 3 days passed, and I got back on the road…and around 45 minutes later, took this exit. Turned out it passes several very large and stinky cattle concentration camps. Stunk to high thin atmosphere.

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Another trip…

Grab yourself a large cup of your favorite beverage, this one has over 100 pictures from an arboretum to enjoy…

Nearly four weeks passed before I got my Winnebago back on the road. During those weeks, I did all sorts of stuff you’d associate with moving out of one RV into another. So much stuff to move. Certainly easier than moving out of a old house into another, but still, lots to do. Had a continuous yard sale on the picnic table between the sites where my RV’s were, but really didn’t sell too much. While doing all that, had to get the old Bounder all presentable for sale. Cleaning really took a lot of time but it’s easy work so I don’t regret having to do it. I was really excited about getting the Journey on the road again for another road test but I had a little argument with Progressive Insurance. I wanted to have insurance on both rigs for 2-3 weeks so called them up and trusted the salesman to give me a deal because I now had two rigs covered, but only one driver. Sounds like a good deal for them doesn’t it? But when I checked online, incognito, it turned out they were charging me $260 freakin’ bucks more than if I’d bought insurance for the Journey without mentioning I was already insuring the Bounder.

So I called them up all indignant like and got nowhere. They would not budge, or give me a discount. OK, screw them. I cancelled the insurance on the Journey and only used the Bounder to go shopping. So the Journey sat without being driven for nearly four weeks. It ended up costing me $60 extra over what I paid for those 3 weeks where it was covered. They have an admin charge if you cancel. And though I’d paid with a CC, they only refund by check, taking 2-3 weeks to do so. Seems as though they like to punish people for cancelling. A-holes.

What I did was wait those 4 weeks, until my Bounder sold, then cancelled it’s insurance, went online and re-bought insurance for the Journey. Saved $200. And yes, they do have the best price for RV insurance so I stayed with them. I did research online and using Progressive saves me over $300 per year.

By March 29th, the day I either had to leave the RV park or pay for another week, the Bounder had been sold, I had the Journey insured and ready to travel, I had purchased all the RV’ing accessories I needed, and it was time to get back to being a full time RV’er. My first stop was going to be a Passport America RV park out in Tonopah off US I-10. About 70 miles due west of Mesa. Hmm. That’s not far enough. OK, I’ll head back up to that arboretum I’d passed on the first trip I took (see last posting) and visit that for a few hours before heading out to Tonopah. Why stay in the Phoenix area? Well, I could not find the Bounders title so I had to reorder it, have it sent to my brothers house, have him ship it to me, then get together with the new owner and sign it over. This can’t be done by mail, has to be in person, so…I had to stay nearby.

And off we go for another RV trip east of Mesa on AZ-60 towards Global. Not that far this time, just up to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum and then due east to Tonopah. It was all cloudy most of the trip up into the hills.

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A trip!

I bought the Winnebago Journey RV on my birthday, February 5th, and picked it up on Monday Feb. 8th. On that day, I drove my old RV over to their lot and parked out in the back. The service tech gave me the tour on how to do things in my newer RV, most of which I soon forgot, but I had the foresight to make a video recording. After that tour was over, moved the newer RV over next to my old one and moved as much of my stuff as I could, but I had to get both rigs off their lot before 5 pm. The only really heavy thing, my tool box, I was able to get help from the tech lifting it out and over to the newer RV.

After I got as much moved as I could with the few hours I had, then drove over to the RV park I was staying at. Along the way stopping at the Fry’s grocery store to do my bi-weekly shopping. Because the road outside the RV park has no left turn into it, had to take the long route. Instead of just 100 feet from the dealer, had to drive 2 miles the roundabout way. Hah! Needed the experience anyway. Then had to go get the old RV and bring it over to the RV park too. Lucky for me, there was an empty RV site right next door. It was very nice of the RV park to let me do that without charge. However, if they did rent the space, I had to get out of there real quick and park over  at the overflow space a long walk away.

There was something I needed to do, before I sold the Bounder. Had to drive down to Mexico from Mesa and turn in the RV TIP (Temporary Import Tag). Can’t do that anywhere nearby except at 21 kilometers south of the Nogales border crossing. The day after I picked up my newer RV, had to drive the old one on a round trip of 400 miles. Lucky the weather was fine. Not too hot until near the end of the return trip and no rain.

Figured it out and knew with 1/2 tank of diesel, I could make it down and back without needing to stop for fuel. Trip down was boring, crossed the border, headed down to KM21, had them scrape off the old sticker, got my receipt and headed back north. And of course, had to pay Mexican tolls. Far too many toll booths in Mexico. For tourists. The locals get very inexpensive passes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince the RV was virtually empty, (it didn’t take very long the day before to move nearly everything), breezed through customs and soon back on the great roads in the Tucson corridor.

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Finally…a newer RV…

Like I mentioned several times over the last several months, I have been looking for a newer RV. I have a budget of around $58K which comes after months of thought about what I would be doing for the rest of my limited life. I know those of you under 50 probably can’t image it yet, but there will come a time when you realize you don’t have that many years left. I’m thinking that I probably have 10 years left of which I perhaps could travel in an RV for 8 years. Now this is all guess work of course, but hell, seems reasonable.

So because I also want to leave some of my limited funds to my kids, I didn’t want to completely decimate my retirement funds, so that  budget figure was a target. I’d been saving so I had around $24K in my savings account and only had to withdraw $34K from my IRA funds to reach the $58K target. I’d been looking for a newer RV casually for 3-4 years, and seriously for over a year and I’ll tell ya, it’s boring as hell. Hours spent online researching. I pretty much knew what I wanted…when I saw it. My limited criterion was my newer rig would be diesel pusher, with 1 or 2 slides for extra room. Reasonable miles, a genset, a patio awning with the metal cover when closed, slides, and a half way decent bathroom. I was convinced I’d find that somewhere, sometime, but it was turning out to be tough. And I didn’t really want to have to fly somewhere to inspect something I’d found online.

And then, I came up here to Mesa, Arizona to look at the Coachmen Country Coach that I found on Craigslist and mentioned in my last posting. It didn’t work out, and as I traveled the 3 miles from where that coach was to my pre-selected RV park to spend the night, I was struck by the number and size of the RV dealers near to where the RV park was. I went ahead and paid for a week here at the park because it seemed like a great idea to browse around to at least get a feel of what type RV was available in my price range. I did have a list of preferred brands.

The day after I arrived and settled in, rode my bike east on the street and just a block away, visited the lot of a consignment dealer that just happened to have on display a couple of the brands I was interested in. I toured 3-4 RVs in my price range and was thinking how great it was that my first try at visiting a consignment dealer and they had some RVs I’d be comfortable living in. One of them was a ’02 Winnebago Journey. I was immediately struck by how it fit exactly what I was looking for. But it was a little old. I was looking for a ’06 or so. But it was really nice looking. Only had 70,000 miles too. Didn’t look like it had much use or abuse at all. But, I didn’t put any money down on it. I went home and over the next few hours, did my research. Soon discovered that that particular Journey had a good reputation, that it was their top of the line model, had a well respected Freightliner custom chassis, and on and on.

So the next day, I rode over there with my checkbook in hand, and arrived just as they were selling it to a younger couple. The husband had visited the day before, and brought his wife this time for her approval. Damnit. Sold. But, I hung in there, 3 days later that deal fell through. And after a road trip, a roof inspection, extending and retracting the slides a few times, and a few more walk throughs,  I paid cash for my 2nd, and probably my last, RV.

And here it is while being prepped for delivery.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALookie there, even has the basement cabinets that move out with the slide.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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