Wednesday, January 31, 2024

23 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 108

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 62 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

The day started out clear and a bit cooler than yesterday at 50°F, but hazy skies moved in around noon, and fairly heavy clouds after that. I mad a trip to Parker to get the truck washed - Chuy's (which has a different name on the building) hand washed & dried for $35.00. 

Since there is a 65% chance of rain tomorrow, even though my weather app says it won't start until 12PM, I decided to fill the fresh water tank & hook up the trailer this evening. All I need to do in the morning is disconnect the water & electric, stop at the dump station & head to Quartzsite.

Other than that, I spent the day as usual - reading. I'm currently reading Kismet by Amina Akhtar. Not my usual kind of book, but it takes place in Sedona, AZ, a town I enjoyed visiting a couple of times. 

Dinner was a El Monterey Chicken Enchilada Meal.

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

23 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 107

Tuesday, January 30, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 61 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

55°F for my morning walk. It was a beautiful day, hitting 80°F by late afternoon, and again, cloudless. 

Since tomorrow is suppose to be cloudy & Thursday is a 55% chance of rain, I decided to take down the Clam today. No problem pulling the 6" nails (I had problems with the longer nail like tent pegs), and while it did take more than a minute to fold it up and tuck it back into the case, it is still a fast set up & down enclosure. All that is left outside is the outdoor rug, although it will take a good part of tomorrow and Thursday morning to get the insides of the trailer ready to move.

I headed to Parker a little after noon for a haircut and the last resupply from Safeway before heading to Quartzsite. Back at the trailer I headed for the showers to wash off the itchy hairs left after a haircut. Went to Building 6 for a change - still the second best shower in the park.

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading in the shade of the 5th wheel next to me, then in the shade in front of my trailer, and finally in my hooded chair. Even at 4:00 the sun was strong. I ran the AC set at 78°F all afternoon. Most of the time it switched off & on on low fan speed so it wasn't as loud as usual. I finished listening to Ruth Ware's The It Girl, but the reduced speed Verizon doesn't seem to be allowing me to download another audio book. The book is 290mb, and only half of it was downloaded in 4 hours. I did finish Chris Norgren Mystery Book #2 - A Glancing Light by Aaron Elkins, and started #1 in the series - A Deceptive Clarity. Probably should have read them in order, but it is BookBub's fault - they offered #2 at $1.99 and I like the author but had not read any of the 3 books in the series. #1 is a library loan, and #3 is on a hold.

Dinner was a microwaved Saffron Road Chicken Tikka Masala bowl. 

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, January 29, 2024

23 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 106

Monday, January 29, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 60 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Another warm, beautiful day. Almost too warm at 81°F at 3:45. I sat outside in the shade of the Clam, deciding to leave it up until the last minute and took a few bird photos:

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

Northern Mockingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

I finished Charlie Donlea's Don't Believe It, and started A Glancing Light by Aaron Elkins. Still listening to Ruth Ware's The It Girl. I'd better finish soon; I only have a few days left on the loan. I'm listening at 1.4 speed, about as fast as I run the Libby app and still enjoy listening.

That was about it for the day.

Dinner was a Butterball Turkey Burger, and part of my last can of Bush Beans.

Until Tomorrow - 

Sunday, January 28, 2024

23 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 105

Sunday, January 28, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 59 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

I started the morning with the Weekend Edition Puzzle. While I've never sent one in, I do sometimes get the weekly puzzle, and play along with the week's winner.

After that is was a walk around the park. Building 11 is evidently having some problems - I stopped in on my walk to use the bathroom, and all the urinals & toilets were covered with plastic & yellow caution tape. The showers were OK, at least someone was in one of them.

After breakfast I did my usual forum & journal reading, then took down more of the stuff inside the Clam. It is now empty except for a chair - I'll take it down either tomorrow or Tuesday. I finished Cadfael #20 Brother Cadfael's Penance, and with that, the series. Started on Charlie Donlea's Don't Believe It, this month's unlimited borrow at all the library sites (at least the three I belong to). I've read some of her other books and enjoyed them.

I made my usual Sunday phone calls and all are doing well. It is snowing in the Catskills & Binghamton, and nice weather in Golden, CO. Here it hit 76°F this afternoon. It has turned a bit hazy, but little wind so it is nice to sit outside.

Dinner was a Healthy Choice Sweet & Sour Chicken Steamer.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, January 27, 2024

23 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 104

Saturday, January 27, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 58 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Just in case you are wondering how much advertisers find out about you, my latest example from a couple of days ago. I mentioned in my journal post that I was looking at my cell phone & cell modem providers. Starting yesterday, my Facebook feed was filled with ads by cell phone providers; never had any before the post.

Another cool morning at 47°F, but like yesterday, the near cloudless day warmed things up quickly; 73°F by 2:20. For my morning walk I headed to the Swap Meet. Everything the same as ever, except, no Verizon, not that I suspect they can do anything practical to make a temporary increase in my data allocation. As long as I was at that end of the parks, I went to the Black Pearl for breakfast. 

I spent most of the afternoon reading. I finished Cadfael #19 - The Holy Thief, and started Ellis Peters's last Cadfael book - #20 Brother Cadfael's Penance. Sorry to see the series end - I've enjoyed all of them.

 During a break from reading I took the sides off the Clam & moved everything but the table into the truck & the toaster oven into the trailer. I'll put both of them away tomorrow since I'm going to save heating up the trailer by cooking my dinner (a turkey pot pie) in the Clam. The trailer made it up to 82°F before I fired up the AC for a bit.

As mentioned, dinner was a Marie Callender's Turkey Pot Pie (the "new" smaller size).

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, January 26, 2024

23 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 103

Friday, January 26, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 57 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

I took a photo of the dirt section I usually walk through. Still puddles & deep mud as of yesterday evening. 

The Mud Field

A cool morning at 49°F, but not a cloud in the sky, so it warmed up quickly; 57°F at 11:00AM. I finished Ellis Peters's Cadfael #18, The Summer of the Danes, and started #19 - The Holy Thief.

While sitting outside in the 72°F, windy weather reading, a 3' tumbleweed went by my chair and stationed itself against the front of the Clam. While I've seen many tumbleweeds while driving, ever have run over one or two, this is the first time I was able to touch one. Like many "first times", lessons may be learned. If you are going to grab a tumbleweed and drag it away from your Clam, wear gloves, preferably leather ones. I spent the next 5 minutes picking out prickers from my hands. Not as bad as a jumping Cholla cactus, but bad enough.

My Tumbleweed

I'm now on Verizon's 600Kb data speed since I have gone over 50GB for the month on my "unlimited" Jet Pack plan. While they make it look like there is an option to add 5GB of high speed data, the only way you can actually do it is to go from the $20.00 per month 50GB Jet Pack plan to their $60.00 per month 100GB plan. Since I only go over the 50GB once or twice a year, it doesn't make sense to spend $40.00 per month more all year long for a once or twice a year need. I posted the images for this page (along with the page) at their 600Kb data speed & it works, but I sure prefer AT&T's method of just slowing you down on overloaded towers when using their unlimited plan.

After a shower at building 9 (which I walked to using the dirt parking lot & only sank in 1/2" - it is finally drying up), I did a bit more reading, then made dinner, which was a Butterball Turkey Burger & a salad. 

Until Tomorrow - 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

23 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 102

Thursday, January 25, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 56 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

The large class A next to me moved to a standard site this morning. He was having problems with the 30 amp power (all that is available here in the overflow) since his RV was designed for 50 amp connections. Going from an available 100 amps to 30 can be difficult. The RV has a power shedding system, but that still, at times, shuts off things unexpectedly.

My view of the California mountains didn't last long - a class C RV moved in later in the day. Fully equipped with a Jeep & a very loud 4 Wheeler. 

A quiet day. I need to start thinking about repacking the truck - I leave for Dome Rock in Quartzsite a week from today. It doesn't look like any rain is predicted between now & then, but I want to pack up the Clam while it is dry, and half the stuff from the truck is inside it. 

It is 70°F outside this afternoon, so I sat out in the GCI Outdoor Road Trip Rocker and read. A very comfortable chair since it doesn't have front crossbars that press on your legs. I don't do much rocking in it, but the only fault I have with it is that it is heavy.

Dinner was the left over half of yesterday's pizza.

Until Tomorrow - 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

23 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 101

Wednesday, January 24, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 55 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

While there was some fog early in the day, by the time I went for my morning walk it had burned off and the sun was shining. Still cool in the high 40's, but the sunshine feels great and is drying up the puddles (and my Clam).

Verizon completely quit this morning - I'm currently back on AT&T, which is slow, but working. Starlink sure looks tempting, but the monthly cost of my two cell modems is 1/4 the cost of Starlink if I keep the phones, and Starlink draws 4 times the amp hours of the cell modems. Later in the afternoon Verizon was back & AT&T became useless.

What looks like it has dried out can fool you. I decided to go "back country" (off the asphalt) on a walk to one of the bathrooms. Actually, it was through my previous site and while is didn't sink 3" into the mud, I did manage at least an inch. So, it is sticking to the roads for at least another day and a pair of muddy shoes.

Most of the afternoon was taken up by reading. I finished The Ice Orphan (and the series) and started Ellis Peters Cadfael #18, The Summer of the Danes.

I made an early dinner of a Safeway Signature Select Garlic Chicken Alfredo thin crust pizza. 

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

23 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 100

Tuesday, January 23, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 54 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Not much better luck with rain today, although it didn't rain on my morning walk; just heavy clouds. By the time I finished breakfast and a bit of forum & journal reading, there was a steady light rain. I decided it was now or never for laundry (or going commando) so I packed up the laundry basket and headed to the Kofa Laundromat. Like two Mondays ago, the laundromat was busy. And, again like two Mondays ago, I had no problem getting three washing machines and two dryers when I needed them, but others after me ended waiting. As I emptied my washer, a woman stood next to me and as the last item came out her first went in!

I've been reading a new series by Kathleen O'Neal Gear - The Ice ..... Started with The Ice Lion, finished The Ice Ghost this afternoon, and am currently reading the Ice Orphan. Fast reads, particularly compared to the large "North American's Forgotten Past" People of the ... series by her & her husband W. Michael Gear. A great series of historic novels.

Around 3:00 the sun broke through although there are still plenty of clouds. I hope it starts drying things up. There are still huge puddles hiding muddy bottoms all over the park. One is wise to walk on the asphalt!

I'm lucky that my site is on gravel and grass so I can walk around the trailer & picnic table. In fact, I'll be firing up the grill to cook a Johnsonville Bedder Cheddar Brat and a salad for dinner (well, I won't be grilling the salad).

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, January 22, 2024

23 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 99

Monday, January 22, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 53 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

No rain overnight, but it started around 10:00 off & on throughout the day. The plan was to do laundry today, but with the rain I'll put it off until tomorrow. My friends in the Bigfoot left this morning for Quartzsite & the ham radio gathering. I'll see them again at the Quartzsite gathering, and after that at the Western Winter Blast fireworks at the SARA Rodeo Grounds. 

Made some calls to reserve the two stops we make on the way to the Hungry Mother rally in October. Prices are up another $10.00 at the Twin Grove RV Resort in Pine Grove, PA - $70.00 per night less $3.85 with a Good Sam discount. The Creekside RV Park in Edinburg, VA is still the same price as last year at $35.00 plus tax. Creekside doesn't have the "Resort" name and is a bit more rustic (at half the price), but the babbling creek is nice, the bathrooms as nice, and both are just overnight stops. 

Around 3:30 the front edge of the storm got as close to us as it was going to get. Light rain up until then; now it is pouring, but radar shows only thin fingers of the storm reaching us. The puddles are now miniature lakes. You would think that since the surface is sand that the water would just sink in. Instead, it settles just under the sand on a hard packed clay like soil that doesn't absorb water. Step on some sections of sand and your foot will sink into 3" of mud underneath it. The radar map showed hat the main body of the storm never reached us, but sat over Yuma for quite a bit. Quartzsite & Blythe was in a lighter section of the storm, but a couple of the washes across US 95 south of Quartzsite were flooded.

Even though it is 68°F in the trailer, I turned up the thermostat on the electric heater to 72°F. The rain makes it feel colder. I have to remember to turn it back to 65°F when I go to bed or I'll wake up in the middle of the night sweating.

Dinner was a Boston Market Chicken Parmesan meal.

Until Tomorrow - 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

23 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 98

Sunday, January 21, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 52 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Lots of light rain overnight. Not enough to fill any of the washes, but there are puddles everywhere, and any dirt is now mud. It stopped long enough for my morning walk, but intermittent bursts of light rain are still falling.

On my morning walk I saw a fiberglass trailer from Wisconsin with what looks like a wood stove arrive. They headed towards the dry camping area - I'll probably see them during tomorrow's morning walk since I alternate directions & will be heading that way.

By 2:00 the rain stopped, but still heavy cloud cover and 60°F. It never got much warmer. 

Around 3:00 I headed to building 12 for a shower. While a nicer shower, today is was the wrong choice. Only lukewarm water. Since there wasn't any sun warming up the building, the combination for cool watter & a cool building made for a short shower & fast drying. 

I got a text from some friends heading for Quartzsite looking for a stop over with hook ups. They are going to be in site "G" next door sometime this evening.

Other than that, not much going on. I finished Charles Todd's audio book The Cliff's Edge, and started Ruth Ware's The It Girl. It is a 17 hour book that I only have for 14 days - no problem if it was reading, but I don't know if I'll listen enough to get it done in time.

Dinner was left over chicken & mac & cheese.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, January 20, 2024

23 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 97

Saturday, January 20, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 51 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Another warm night. On my morning walk I took my Verizon phone and headed to the Swap Meet. Of course, because I had my Verizon phone with me, Verizon wasn't there. I suspect they are at the Lake Havasu Balloon Festival. In any case, I stopped by the Black Pearl for stuffed French toast.

Lots of new neighbors on this side of the road. A class C next door, and a large Class A at least 4' into the site behind him. 

I did some reading, than around 3:00 headed to Lake Havasu City & the Havasu Balloon Festival. I have to say that of the 8 balloon festivals I've attended, this was the worst, including the 4th Annual Havasu Balloon Festival I attended in 2013. I have to admit that no one can compare with the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta with 500 - 700 balloons, but I've also been to some small ones that only had 3 - 5 balloons. Many, many booths (including Verizon) selling everything from kitchenware to hot tubs, a bunch of carnival rides, and, no balloons. It appears that the primary reason for having the festival to to sell booths.

They had a planned mass ascension at 4:15, and after dropping a couple of test balloons, decided that with the very light wind heading north, no balloons. While I have no problem with the balloon pilots deciding that the wind is wrong, and a north wind does put them in the surrounding mountains after they clear the power lines at the edge of the field. Still, this is the first balloon festival that didn't have some baskets set up, burners blasting every once in a while, even a tethered balloon or two. There has always been a few that filled the balloons, kept them up, but on the ground tied to the recovery vehicles for a half hour or so, then put them away. Their propane is free, so burning a bit just to give the audience something to see has always happened at all the festivals I've been to. A night glow is still scheduled for this evening but I left after the canceled the ascension. Enough of the grumpy old man - here are a few photos - more at today's LakeshoreImages page.

On the way home I stopped at Bashas for some chicken & mac & cheese for dinner. I went with the fried - we will see how the stomach holds up...

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, January 19, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 96

Friday, January 19, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 50 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

A warm night with a low of 52°F. Not a lot of sun during the day & it only got up to 72°F, but still 70°F at 5:30.

A water pipe broke somewhere that shut down the entire park system. They closed all the bathrooms, and suggested running the connection for a bit before re-hooking your RVs. It was off for most of the afternoon. I had a bit of water in the fresh water tank, enough to flush the toilet, etc but the indicator showed an empty tank - I was planning to fill it just before I left for Quartzsite.

Another project - sine Running Man gas station didn't have a working air station, I dug out my Viair compressor and topped off the trailer tires. Much slower than a gas station since I have one of the smaller compressors that will run on a 15 amp 12V receptacle. I've been meaning to add an Anderson 30 amp connector on the outside of the trailer for the compressor & anything else that needs 12V, but the only one I have is an input for my portable solar panel.

The rest of the day was reading & listening. I finished Nick Russel's Jackpot, and started In Praise of the Bees by Kristin Gleeson. The only problem with it is it is too close a story line to The Cliff's Edge by Charles Todd, the audio book I'm listening to. They take place centuries apart, but the characters are similar as is what is happening to them.

I decided to eat out tonight and went into Parker & the Crossroads Cafe. A family diner that has an American food menu. I had fish & chips; a bit greasy, but good, although their idea of crisp fries makes me really wonder how soggy their normal fries are. In any case, inexpensive, fast, and closer to the usual restaurants I frequent.

Until Tomorrow - 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 95

Thursday, January 18, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 49 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

I used my iPhone for a couple of photos during a walk last night. 

An almost too warm day at 78°F by late afternoon, not that I did anything to work up a sweat. I did run the AC for about 30 minutes.

I spent most of the day switching between the sun & shade reading. Around 5:00 my neighbor in the large 5th wheel stopped by to ask if I could figure out why her electricity stopped working. Her husband was away fishing, and her power had been off for a couple of hours. I started by checking the pedestal, and apparently the class C parked behind her shut off all the breakers on the pedestal when he left for the day. He is new to RVing (and 91 years old, making me feel like a kid). With a flip of a breaker she was back in action. The easiest fix I've had in a long time. I'll try to catch him when he gets back for the evening and show him which breaker is his.

I have to be careful when troubleshooting. When I was teaching, troubleshooting was an important part of all my technical courses. Because I expected my students to apply lessons learned (or at least, taught) to their work, I always assumed that at least basic troubleshooting had already been done before they called me in. I'd start with the obscure problems, and discover that the lamp was blown, the device was unplugged, etc. I tend to do the same with RV problems - immediately skip to the less likely but more interesting problems. I always have to remind myself to start at the beginning. At least this time I did!

That was the excitement for the day. I finished Ellis Peters's Cadfael #17, The Potter's Field. Only 3 more to go to complete the series. Number 18 is on hold with me next in line. I started Nick Russel's Jackpot. Nick is a fellow RVer. I enjoy his Big Lake series; this is the John Lee Quarrel series which I don't like as much. 

Dinner was a P. F. Chang's Chicken Lo Mein bowl. I like most of their bowl meals; first time for this one & it is OK. My favorite Chinese bowl meals are the InnovAsian chicken ones, but I haven't been able to find them west of the Mississippi, only their large family size single item packages.

Until Tomorrow - 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 94

Wednesday, January 17, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 48 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Happy Birthday Dave! Today is my brother's birthday. I talked with him around 3:00 - it is 12°F in the Catskills and 73°F here. Guess where I'd rather be!

I ran the trailer furnace last night rather than the electric heater. Since I will have to depend on the furnace starting in 2 weeks I wanted to make sure it was working in time to get it fixed if it wasn't. It ran fine and keeps the overall trailer at a more even temperature than the electric heater. That said, it is much cheaper to run the electric since I'm not paying for electricity.

Little sun today - it was 44°F during my morning walk, feeling colder without sun. 

I've been using Verizon lately for my data - AT&T is completely shut down as far as data, and the phone is only working on WiFi calling using the Verizon Jetpack. My AT&T cell modem (a Netgear Nighthawk MR1100) shows between 1 & 2 bars of signal with the MIMO antennas connected, but while I had data under those conditions when I first arrived, nothing now. I'm getting close to the 50GB high speed data my Verizon cell modem plan provides. I believe I can start using my Verizon iPhone as a hot spot for another 50GB, but the phone doesn't have the advantage of MIMO or the outside antennas, and although not as weak as the AT&T signal, the Verizon isn't all that robust. 

I checked out the air station at the Running Man gas station. They had one, but with an out of order sign on it. I need to add a bit to the trailer tires, and would prefer do it at a station rather than dig out my 12V compressor. I filled a half tank of gas at $3.16, then drove over to Safeway to shop my list.

Dinner was a Butterball Turkey Burger and a Avocado Ranch Chopped Salad, the Walmart brand which I like better than the one made by Taylor Farms sold at Safeway.

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 93

Tuesday, January 16, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 47 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Another quiet but beautiful day at the La Paz County Park. It hit 73°F by late afternoon. I sat out switching between sun & shade most of the afternoon. The huge Class A "Sun Blocker" parked next to me left this morning so my view of the California mountains is back. 

I received my hope to be final case for my iPhone 13 Pro and it fits, and works with my wireless charging stand. Not as protective as the OtterBox Defender version, but the OtterBox wouldn't work with my wireless charging stand, and I don't want to change from using it.

I thought about a resupply trip to Safeway, but there was nothing I couldn't do without until tomorrow, so I put it off. I did add a couple of gallons of spring water to my shopping list since the salt free water station here in the park was empty. I checked around 5:00 and they had refilled it. A gallon of good coffee water at $.25 is a better deal than $1.50 at Safeway. Speaking of money, I got my first of the year RMD (Required Minimum Distribution) deposit from my retirement account at TIAA. Rather than pay it all at once I have it taken out monthly. It is still more money than I need, but the federal government wants their share of the taxes so they don't let those over 70 1/2 leave all their money in tax free retirement accounts. I have no choice but to take it out or pay a 25% penalty. At least I'm currently making a decent amount of interest putting the extra in the bank. 

Dinner was a Marie Callender's Sweet & Sour Chicken dinner and a chocolate pudding for dessert. Of all the frozen microwave sweet & sour chicken meals, this is my favorite.

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, January 15, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 92

Monday, January 15, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 46 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

My morning walk was cut short - as I passed a section of RVs, the River Septic truck was pumping out a trailer. I thought they were coming tomorrow, but they are making the rounds today. Now since there are no sewer connections at the La Paz County Park except for a few volunteer sites, you have two choices. Pack up the trailer enough to make the short run to the dump station or pay $32.00 for a pump out.

If I was the normal amount of unpacked for a 2-3 night stay, I'd pack up when the tanks were full & head for the dump station. Unfortunately, being in one place for 46 days leads to lots of stuff that would need to be packed for traveling, even a short distance. So, a pump out. Only takes about 10 minutes. I was the last since the sewer truck was full. He went and dumped (not here in the park) and came back for three more RVs here in the overflow area. 

I always wondered how they could use the pump built into the truck for emptying a RV tank; it provides enough suction that it would collapse a tank if the vent was blocked, something that often happens when the tanks are full. If you look closely at the photo, you can see a "stand pipe" that is "Teed" into the suction hose. The operator puts a hand over the open end of the "T" to control the amount of suction. It works - my tanks didn't collapse.

River Septic Doing a Pump Out

After lunch I finished my morning walk. Didn't even need a jacket - 70°F at 1:30, lots of sun; a beautiful day. Around 3:00 I switched to shorts & a "T" shirt, sat in the sun until baked, then moved to the shade. Still 71°F at 4:45 when I headed in for dinner.

Dinner was the other half of yesterday's Tillamook 3 Cheese Pizza.

Until Tomorrow - 

Sunday, January 14, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 91

Sunday, January 14, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 45 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

It is finally warming up. 45°F for my morning walk, and it hit 67°F during the afternoon. I finally finished Ragnar Jonasson's The Island audio book. It is a translation, and I have the feeling that audio translations don't work as well as those on paper, at least for me. It was slow going; not sure if it was the book or me since it was "Shortlisted for the Crime Novel of the Year Award in Iceland, Third Place Novel of the Year Award 2016 in Iceland, selected by booksellers One of the bestselling novels in Iceland in 2016." In any case, it went back to the NYPL, and I started listening to Charles Todd's The Cliff's Edge.

A quick shower, then my usual Sunday phone calls. The Guido's drove back from Vermont today. The storm was suppose to have cleared; it didn't - down to 22MPH on the NY Thruway & I 88. They made it home to Binghamton, where there was almost no snow. The same for Kyle in Oswego. 1' of snow in Watertown, 50 miles northeast, 3' 15 miles east of Watertown, and 1/4" in Oswego.

Around 3:00 in the afternoon I sat outside & took a few hummingbird photos (as usual, an Anna's Hummingbirds, although I think the first 2 are a male & the second two a female):

That was about it for the day. I did make a run to Walmart for some stuff I forgot yesterday. No lines, and I picked up a Tillamook 3 Cheese Pizza, half of which was dinner.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, January 13, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 90

Saturday, January 13, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 44 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Back to being the only Escape trailer in the park (and probably the smallest RV). A cool walk at 36°F this morning, but clear skies that made it feel warmer. 

I didn't do much other than pick up a couple of packages at the office. The new Otter Defender Pro iPhone case was a struggle to insert the phone, and it won't allow wireless charging on my stand even though the specifications listed on the Amazon description page says it does; I'm about to give up on finding a case that works. On the other hand, the new wallet card sleeves worked fine.

I finished White River Burning, and started John Verdon's Dave Gurney #2, Shut Your Eyes Tight. I don't enjoy reading the books out of order, so I'll hold off on more of the series unless I start on #7. I received notice that my hold on Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin was available, so I downloaded it to the Kindle; it will be my next book.

It hit 62°F by late afternoon, so I sat outside in the sun reading & watching the hummingbirds feed.

Dinner was a Benihana Hibachi Chicken & Rice Bowl with Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia for dessert.

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, January 12, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 89

Friday, January 12, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 43 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Back to cold mornings at 34°F. I ate breakfast at the Black Pearl half way through my morning walk. The only inexpensive (at $9.00) breakfast item on the menu - 2 eggs, bacon & hash browns with sourdough toast. Add coffee, tax & tip and it is still an $18.00 meal.

After lunch I headed to the post office in Parker to mail my brother's birthday card, then a stop at Safeway on the way back to the park for resupplies. 

Back at the trailer I did some reading, still White River Burning on the iPad. Can't wait to get back to the Kindle. Paid some bills on line, and finally got through to the Physician's Care phone number to find out what I owed them. 

It has been over 3 months since I saw the last physician using their billing services, but the bills keep coming in from Physician's Care. They couldn't find that I owed anything even though I got a billing envelope in today's mail (in Oswego, NY) - it has to be one of the most messed up billing systems in existence. They do have an on line billing site, but the first thing they ask for is your account number - even before the bill amount, your name, etc. Since the account number changes with each bill, looking at an envelope using the USPS Informed Delivery email only lets you see the billing envelope, not what is inside. So, you need to call. You almost always get an answering machine asking the usual name, date of birth and a call back number. I have never, in many left messages, received a call back. So, you keep trying until someone answers. Most of the time, like today, they can't find the bill. Last year (a year I stayed home and got all my mail at the usual time and place) I had a $17.55 bill that I never received go to a collection agency. They were very nice about me paying them, and put no "dings" on my credit rating, and said it happens all the time. What a system!

My Escape owning next door neighbor is leaving tomorrow (she is heading to California but will be at Quartzsite for the fiberglass rally) so we went to dinner at the Black Pearl. Very different from breakfast. This morning I was the only person in the place other than the staff. Tonight there was a live (and loud) band, and it was full, in fact on the way out there was a line waiting at the entrance. I had halibut with asparagus, she had tuna steak & shrimp - expensive at $34.00 each, but so was everything on the dinner menu. Both were excellent.

Until Tomorrow - 

Thursday, January 11, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 88

Thursday, January 11, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 42 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

A little warmer this morning at 41°F, but I skipped my 8:30 walk because it was raining. The skies eventually cleared, but it got very windy. The Clam is dancing next to the trailer, and even with the big class A blocking most of it, the trailer was shaking at times. It even pushed in one of the sides of the Clam (but didn't fold it). Eventually the rain stopped and I got my walk in, but wasn't able to listen to my audio book while walking - too much wind noise.

I picked up my package at the office, a new iPhone cover to replace the one falling apart that I got from Apple when I bought the iPhone 13Pro. Unfortunately, I mistakenly ordered an iPhone 13, not the Pro, which has a larger collection of camera lenses. The regular 13 case doesn't fit the 13Pro. I'd send it back, but since the nearest UPS location for returns is in Lake Havasu City, it would cost as much in gas as I'd get back from Amazon. So, another item for the Quartzsite swap meet. I ordered the correct cover and it should arrive Saturday.

While I went for a couple of walks, even at 59°F it wasn't pleasant. Lots of sun, but still very windy. I found John Verdon's Dave Gurney book #6, White River Burning at the NYPL, and when I clicked on it it downloaded the Libby version of the book that reads with the Libby reader; no choice of the Kindle reader. I far prefer my Kindle since it is a comfortable size & weight. The Libby reader only runs on my Mac stuff (iPhone, laptop & iPad). The phone is too small, the iPad to big & heavy for reading handheld or in bed, and the laptop is not all that portable. It also doesn't sync between devices like the Kindle. I'll finish it, but do a better job of checking the available formats before downloading the next book.

The wind died down around 3:00, so I was able to grill outdoors. Dinner was a Butterball Turkey Burger, salad, and chocolate pudding for dessert. I opened a bottle of gifted homemade wine I was given by a fellow RVer that I helped diagnose a converter problem. I usually don't expect much from homemade wine, but it was a very good Chilean Carmenere. I've never had wine from the Carmenere grape before so I looked it up on the internet - "The obscure and almost forgotten grape variety of Bordeaux, Carmenère has been given serious attention in Chile, with very good examples to be found across the country." I'm sure the grapes were grown here, not Chile, but again, very good.

Until Tomorrow - 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 87

Wednesday, January 10, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 41 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Another 34°F night here at the park with a 39°F morning walk. It is getting crowded on this side of the road - there are now 7 RVs with little room for any more unless the management asks the 2 taking up 2 sites to move into one. The other side of the road here in the overflow area now has only 2 RVs so a few more will fit there.

I didn't do much other than read today. Current book is Wolf Lake by John Verdon. I read Think of a Number, the Dave Gurney #1 in the series; this is #5. I guess if I read any more they won't be in order. Current audio book is Ragnar Jonasson's The Island, a new author, and described as an Icelandic thriller.

I sat out in the Clam for a bit during the afternoon, but it is just on the edge of comfortable at 60°F. I refilled the hummingbird feeder and moved back inside. No hummingbirds arrived in the hour I sat in the Clam, but the bees were at it in about 10 minutes.  While grilling my chicken thigh a hummingbird found the replaced feeder.

Dinner was a grilled chicken thigh & a salad.

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 86

Tuesday, January 9, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 40 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

A new La Paz County Park low at 34°F at 6:00AM. I wore a quilted jacket & knit hat for my morning walk. Only 49°F by 11:30. The daytime temperatures are going to be around 15°F lower than average over the next week, with a predicted 30°F for a Friday low. I know I have been whining about the weather, and have no excuse - back home there is a winter storm warning (20 - 40 MPH winds with 60+ MPH gusts) and we are still getting into the mid 50's during the day, but I prefer walking around in 70°F weather wearing shorts! 

I broke my braided reversible belt - No getting fat jokes - I haven't gained weight. I like the belt since it is black on one side & brown on the other so I can match what ever pants I'm wearing, but I have now had two of them break the same way - the buckle pulls out of a post that attaches it the the rest of the belt. Lousy design. I couldn't find a braided belt here in Parker, so I ordered on from Amazon, sight unseen, and not reversible. 

Around 3:00 another Escape owner in a 5.0TA and one that I've known for a couple of years moved into site G next door to me. She decided that it was time to get away from the 4°F she encountered last night. She will be here for a couple of days, then head to California & the Mojave Desert, then Quartzsite for the February rally.

My New Neighbor

Dinner was a Barber Asparagus & Cheese Chicken Breast, and Broccoli & Cauliflower.

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, January 8, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 85

Monday, January 8, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 39 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Back to the cool mornings, 39°F for this morning's walk. After reading web pages, journals & forums, I headed to the Kofa Laundromat. Very busy - while I got lucky and found both, many had to wait for washers & dryers. Because I washed my Kokopelli bed coverlet, as well as a bunch of other heavy stuff, I ended up using 3 washers & two dryers, and 36 minutes of drying time was barely enough. 

On the way back to the park I stopped at Safeway & picked up a couple things, including an excellent hard roll. Unfortunately, their bagels are made from what seems to be the same dough and I don't believe ever see boiling water; nothing like a New York City bagel (although nothing, even our home town upstate bagels are anything like a real NY bagel).

One good thing about the huge class A & trailer blocking my view of the California mountains is it is also blocking the steady wind coming across the river. Only 56°F at 3:30, and, according to AccuWeather, the "Real Feel" is 52°F. Clear skies with lots of sun, but with the wind, outside is not all that comfortable. I can't hear my audio book through either my Mpow Flame earphones or hearing aids because of the wind noise. I'm inside the trailer rather than the Clam (which is holding up well in the wind).

Somehow I missed the original notice from Libby & the NYPL that book 16 of the Cadfael series was available. I got a "last chance to download" message this afternoon, so I'm now reading Ellis Peters's The Heretic's Apprentice. I finished Murder in the Hollows by Declan James last night, and while I didn't add it to my "don't bother with this author again" list, I hope he improves with practice. The overall story was good, but the telling was lacking. You get a lot of these with the Amazon Kindle Unlimited since many of the free books are first time or early in their career authors. A few are excellent from the beginning, while others take a few books to improve. Unfortunately, a few never improve...

I finished the bag of Avocado Ranch Chopped Salad by Taylor Farms during lunch, and have to say it is the best bagged salad I've eaten. Comes with various stuff to sprinkle on the chopped romaine lettuce, green cabbage, green onion, cilantro, etc and an excellent avocado ranch dressing. 

Dinner was an El Monterey Chicken Fajita Bowl with Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream for dessert.

Until Tomorrow - 

Sunday, January 7, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 84

Sunday, January 7, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 38 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

A warmer night than we have had lately, but it looks like some cold nights are on the way. My weather app still has us in the mid 50's as highs throughout next week, but many of the mornings are near freezing, with Tuesday & Friday at 30°F. 

A new huge class A with a large trailer moved in on the road side of my site. He is taking up two sites, but I am tired of trying to explain what the volunteers at the office should be explaining, so I kept my mouth shut. The only annoying thing is he is blocking my view of the California mountains. 

During my morning walk I stopped half way at the Black Pearl Restaurant at the Pirate's Den for breakfast. This time I had their Stuffed French Toast. Again, an excellent meal, fast service & good coffee. While more expensive at $20.00 with tip than most of the breakfasts I eat on my trips, the food is worth it.

Back at the trailer I added 5 more Fiberglass Rallies to the Rally Map, did some forum & journal reading, then more reading on my Kindle. The current book is Murder in the Hollows by Declan James. Not as well written as some of my more recent reads, but I suspect I'll finish it. 

I did make my usual Sunday phone calls. Upstate NY, both Binghamton where the Guidos live & my home town of Oswego where my son lives got between 6"-8" of heavy snow. Kyle tells me it is the first time he has to fire up the snowblower. Hope he appreciates the heated handles - it is 20°F in Oswego. 

Dinner was one of the saved bowls of chili along with a salad.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, January 6, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 83

Saturday, January 6, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 37 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

For some reason, my combined inside/outside thermometer clock jumped ahead by 4 hours. It is easier to see what time it is from it rather than trying to wake up my Apple watch, but looking out the window at 4:00AM and only seeing dark, I assumed it was wrong since it told me it was 8:00AM & I had missed my 7:00 eye drops. I may not go to the trouble to reset it since I have a replacement that gives more information and a larger time image arriving today.

I finished Minette Walters's The Echo and ordered her novelette, The Cellar, which I finished at 11:00 last night. She can write a very scary book, although I still find Stephen King the champion of hair raising novels. This morning I started I know Where You Live by Gregg Olsen.

After lunch I made a run to Walmart. Long lines at all the checkouts, including the do-it-yourself registers. I noticed that there was a Verizon pop up at the Swap Meet site, so after putting the frozen stuff away in the trailer I grabbed my Verizon phone (I usually only carry the AT&T phone unless Verizon is the only one with service) and headed to the Swap Meet. When I got there the Verizon pop up was gone. The rest of the booths were packing up, so I guess it closed early afternoon. I may never get my Verizon veteran's discount.

Back at the park I headed for a shower (Building 11) and read until dinner time.

Dinner was a Marie Callender's Swedish Meatball Bowl & a salad.

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, January 5, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 82

Friday, January 5, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 36 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

A cool walk this morning at 38°F. It did eventually get up to 62°F by 4:00, but we are in for a cool weekend as well as most of next week with highs only in the mid 50's. I know that sounds mild for the northeast, but during the morning walk everyone here is wearing their quilted jackets, gloves, and knit hats, and their dogs are wearing dog coats.

The west side of the overflow area is still crowded. I think at least 4 of the 5 RVs are all friends; they go out together in their 4 wheelers every day. 

It is another do nothing day. I finished off the orange chicken from the China Garden for lunch, so will probably have a light dinner. Still listening to Simon Beckett's David Hunter #4 series, The Calling of the Grave, and reading Minette Walters's The Echo

I'm trying to save some of my Verizon data allowance, and switched to AT&T. It is very sporadic - at times it is great, but this afternoon it was so slow that I found the park WiFi faster. I paid some bills & my 2024 property taxes by switching to Verizon for a bit. 

Dinner was cheese & crackers.

Until Tomorrow - 

Thursday, January 4, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 81

Thursday, January 4, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 35 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Woke up this morning to fog so thick I couldn't see the RVs on the other side of the road that goes through the overflow area. During my walk is started to clear; by the time I had done my mile I could see California on the other side of the Colorado River. By 10:30 the sun broke through, but it is still only 48°F at 12:00.

Another day of many changes here in the overflow area. My neighbor in the 5th wheel moved forward into a space that had him properly positioned, ie no one will be blocking him if he wants to leave. The site behind him that he was in is expecting an arrival soon, and a class C moved into one of the spaces left on the other side of the road. There is a trailer in my old site (M, the one I was thrown out of).

As usual, I spent the day reading or walking around the park. I finished Minette Walters's The Dark Room, and started her The Echo

I decided I didn't want to cook dinner, so I went to the China Garden, a sit down, no buffet Chinese Restaurant. Excellent Orange Chicken, although the broccoli served with it could have used a little more time (cold and very crunchy). $20.00 with tip.

Until Tomorrow - 

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 80

Wednesday, January 3, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 34 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Another cool, dreary day. It even started a light rain around 1:30. Lots of movement in the overflow section. A couple of RVs moved out and were almost immediately replaced. They also did some work on the concrete form at the edge of the area - they ditched the inside edge of the form and piled what they dug out on the outside of the form. No rebar or steel mesh yet, so if they are going to use it, they still have a way to go. One of my neighbors in Oswego put in a concrete driveway without rebar or mesh. They used a special concrete mix with added fibers designed to work without additional reinforcing and it has survived 5 Oswego winters, so I'm pretty sure it would work here.

Still reading Minette Walters's The Dark Room, but finished the Ben Aaronovitch audio book Whispers Underground & started a new audio book - #4 in Simon Beckett's David Hunter series, The Calling of the Grave.

Light to medium rain off & on most of the afternoon, never breaking 54°F. I spent most of the day in the trailer. I took a couple of photos of my new folding shelf. Since I use a West Marine High Backed Chair in place of the rear passenger side cushion, the shelf is handy for drinks, etc while eating at the narrow-when-folded dining table.

Table Opened

And Closed

That's about it for the day. Dinner was the rest of the slice of ham, and creamed spinach.

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 79

Tuesday, January 2, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 33 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Even cooler than yesterday for the morning walk. 39°F at 7:00AM, and only 42°F at 8:30 when I headed out. That didn't stop the water skier:

Water Skiing at 42°F

After breakfast I talked with my new neighbors. Their 5th wheel is fairly new to them (they moved from a Class A) and I noticed that their Victron stuff still had the default PIN codes, and showed up on my Victron Connect App on my iPhone. The problem with that is anyone can change their settings, insert a new PIN and the only way to get into the settings without a PIN is to do a factory reset, a PIA.

They are going to download the Victron Connect App & I'll show them how to update both the solar controller & the Smart Shunt as well as change the PIN.

Around 3:30 I headed to the ethereal building 11 for a shower. The first two years I stayed in Las Paz County Park building 11 required a key. Unfortunately, at least for me, there were never keys available unless you were a "good buddy" of the registration volunteer. Those that had keys went on about how nice the building was compared to building 6 or 9, the other two with showers. It wouldn't take much to be better than building 9, and 6 is no prize, but I always wondered what was so special about building 11. They switched from keys to a push pad door lock, so, when I signed up for January at my site, I asked the volunteer for the code for building 11. It is far enough away from Site E that walking in shower shoes would be a bit much, so I drove. 3 showers of which one is handicapped. A bench in each, shower curtain between the drying area & the large shower that keeps the floor dry, a rack for stuff in the shower & 2 hooks in the drying area. A nice shower head with a adjustable single handle control that works. All in all at least an A-, but not all that special.

When I got back to the trailer a sewer pump out truck arrived to dump my neighbor's tanks. The come every second Tuesday; $32.00 for the pump out. You need to register at the office before hand. 

Finished The Confession of Brother Haluin, and started Minette Walters's The Dark Room.

Dinner was ham, mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach.

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, January 1, 2024

2023 - 24 Trip to the Southwest, Day 78

Monday, January 1, 2024 - La Paz County Park, Parker, AZ, Day 32 - 0 Miles, 3,402.3 Miles for the trip 

Welcome to 2024!

To make the walk less boring, I switch directions each morning. The direction for today's morning walk was towards the Pirate's Cove end of the park, and when I reached the Black Pearl Restaurant I discovered that it was open. They usually open at 11:00 during the week, but I guess New Year's Day is an exception. I suspect they are expecting overhung party goers; they offered me their drinks menu as well as the breakfast menu at 9:15AM. I ordered their biscuits & gravy which comes with a hash brown side. Two biscuits, but still way too much for just me. Very good, but not inexpensive - $20.00 with coffee. 

Back at the trailer I finished up my 2024 spreadsheets for my various bank registers, retirement, and started on my 2024 income tax paperwork. I'm halfway through Whispers of the Dead, and received a notice from the New York Public Library that Cadfael #15, Ellis Peters's The Confession of Brother Haluin is available so I downloaded it as my next book. 

I looked at the total number of books I read or listened to since I started my books read database - 3,535 since 2003. Last year it was 325 with 71 as audio books. For anyone interested, I have an Excel spreadsheet version of the book list. There are 2 "Read Date" fields - My current database Tap Forms is not able to mix its "auto dating" fields with my previous database's date field, so I started a new field when I switched to Tap Forms.

I have a new neighbor with the usual problem of trying to decide where the RV goes. Since they are going to be here for a couple of months, I hope they get it right. The office isn't all that much help and there isn't much in the way of markings to tell which is the space for your RV & which is your picnic table area (and most of the overflow sites don't have picnic tables). Anyhow, he is parked, although if someone is assigned the location in front of his 5th wheel he will not be able to hook up - his wife preferred the view looking towards the road which placed his hitch towards the hookups - OK for a motorized RV, but not so good for a towed trailer. I went to the office to make my final payment & get new car mirror tags for the month.

2024 entered a bit cooler than the end of 2023. While the morning temperature wasn't so bad at 50°F, at 2:00 is was still only 60°F and a fair breeze that makes it feel cooler. There isn't enough sun to warm up the Clam, and sitting outside in the breeze is too cool, so I'm in the trailer.

I was still feeling stuffed from a big breakfast and lunch, so all I had for dinner was cheese & crackers. I'll have the planned New Years dinner tomorrow.

Until Tomorrow -