Saturday, January 26, 2013

Our last full day on the road - The USS IOWA

With Friday bring our last full day on the road, we made the most of it. We took a day trip out to San Pedro to see the battleship USS IOWA.  This must be the trip of BIG things 'cause Thursday it was the massive shuttle Endeavor and Friday its the even larger USS IOWA. This massive ship, created in World War II is still to this day part of the ready reserve fleet. In other words, though it is floating museum today, it could be called back to active duty tomorrow. At over 800 feet in length, and able to feed and house over 1,400 crew, she is truly massive.

The USS IOWA is known as the ship of presidents. This is because the ship, when originally built, had a bathtub installed in the Captains quarters so that if, and eventually when FDR traveled during World War II, he would be comfortable on board.  It was also the mode of transportation on occasion for Ronald Regan and George HW Bush.

After we got done seeing the USS IOWA, we continued up the coast just a few miles to the point Vincente Light house. We came up here mostly, cause we heard a large whale pod of 27 had been spotted up there the other day. Though there were no whales to be seen today, we did see a group of dolphins!

For dinner we returned to Steve and Lena's for a delicious BBQ dinner with Steve, Lena and MorgAn and Marina. That evening was the perfect bight cap so to speak to another wonderful vacation. Today, we head home with another bunch of wonderful memories!

Happy Camping!

Eric and Carol

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Endeavor

As we awoke today, the weather in the morning had cleared a little bit, despite the weather being very rainy during the night. The sunshine gives the dogs as well as our selves, the ability to recharge our batteries.
Our main activity for the first full day of staying at Bolsa Chica state beach was to visit the California science center and see the space shuttle Endeavor. We awoke to rain driving down on the roof of the motor home. Guess it was a good idea we planned inside activities for the day! :-) After breakfast we made our way up to the area of the USC campus which where the California science center is.

This is a wonderful beginning to a facilty which, though temporary, allows for folks to explore the shuttle Endeavor.

There is also where the equipment from the Operations center for the Rocketdyn corporation was moved too, allowing folks to feel like they are at the nerve center for launch operations for shuttle missions.

The science center is more than just the home of the space shuttle. There are a great number of topics to explore such as communications, technology, ecology and even decay. There are also a number of aerospace displays such as the command module for the Apollo-Soyuz mission and the Gemini 11 space capsule.

The Endeavor display was amazing! It is a truly awesome machine to see up close. It is so cool to think that just a few months ago it flew over our heads in Sacramento. Even though there is a lot of aerospace stuff to see at this museum, they also have a nice aquarium area.

After we finished seeing the Endeavor, we went home and picked up the dogs and took them to Rosie's dog beach. The three dogs enjoyed running and playing and checking out the surf.

We then headed home to feed the dogs and get ready for our own dinner.

Steve and Lenna treated us to a wonderful dinner at Roman Cucina, a great little Italian restaurant in the seal beach area.

Today we are headed to see the USS Iowa and then maybe do some whale watching.

Stay tuned.

Happy camping!

Eric and Carol!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Heading to Bolsa Chica

On Wednesday, we headed out from Quartzsite to Bolsa Chica state Beach which is near Huntington beach. The good news is we both like the beach, but going to the beach is something Carol really looks forward too! The bad news is, there is rain in the forecast! :-( That's ok, we'll make the most of it!

We pulled out of  Quartzsite, heading west about 10:00 mountain time. We stopped just before the California border go pick up the last of the Arizona (cheap) fuel! :-) while at the truck stop there was a failed attempt to capture a little Chihuahua dog that was dunning around loose. None who  tried to catch him could get him, could get him to come any where near them! It was very sad.

Our next stop was the General Patton Museum, which is about an hour and a half from Quartzsite. This is a great little stop where there are a bunch of tanks on display as well as a lot of other military memorabilia from world war I through current conflicts. Neither of us remembered how general Patton died, but we found out that it was from injuries sustained in a car accident, just four months after VE day.

After lunch and a tour through the museum, we headed off to Bolsa Chica state beach.going through LA traffic is never fun, but we survived it unscathed. After setting up camp, carol cooked a wonderful dinner Nd then we unwound doing a little light house keeping trying to mitigate some of the dust we collected in quartzsite.

Today, we will go check out the endeavor at the California science center.

Happy camping!

Eric and carol  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our last full day in Quartzsite

Tuesday was our last full day at Quartzsite. And even though we stayed in Camp all day, we had a wonderful time. When hanging with the escapees group, there is no lack of anything to do. Today they held a class entitled "self defense on the road" which we missed but are sure it would have been great.

We did attend the chili cook-off which was very well attended as you can probably imagine! :-) we also made it to happy hour where we found out that there have been over 120 rigs check in so far. Though not their largest group over the history of the even, it was still a respectable number.

After happy hour, we checked on the dogs, fed them had some shakes for our selves, and then went to see  a presentation about "the slabs" at pace theater. Pace theater is a group of people in folding chairs parked outside the side of an RV that has a whole portion of it that is white. The Pace family is one of the experienced Escapee's who charges their batteries using solar. And, even though all they use at night is batteries, they have enough power to run the projector at night. It's amazing that even though were out in the middle of no where, there is no lack of anything to do!

Today Wednesday, we pull up stakes and head to Bolsa Chica state beach.

Stay tuned! Happy camping!

Eric and Carol!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day two at Quartzsite

On our second full day here in Quartzsite we had another very full day. The day started out with a seminar on solar power for hour rig. Not only was it informative on solar, but it was a great primer on how to keep your batteries maintained. We got to ask lots of questions and feel much more prepared going forward In our eventual solar panel purchase.

 These folks out here at Quartzsite really know how to get 'Off the grid'. Some, like our selves have batteries that get us through the night by turning on the lights and running Carol's CPAP machine. We then run the generator to charge the batteries back up to full strength. Others, like a good number of the experienced 'Escapees', use solar to bring the batteries up to full strength without increasing the carbon foot print.

After the seminar, we went back into town to see more vendors and to get a couple of bulbs replaced. We found that with a few exceptions this really is like Denios farmers market in Sacramento.  Even though that aspect is a little disappointing, we are loving the experience! We definitely plan on coming back here in the future! During our second trip back to the area of the 'Big Tent', we also had a chance to enjoy some delicious ice cream!

Though we are fine doing this sort of thing by our selves, doing it with a group definitely has its benefits. You get to learn from one another and people look out for each other. We've met some great people and are having a great time.

Today, day three, we are just staying at camp and relaxing. Tomorrow we head for Bolsa Chica state beach.

Happy camping!

Eric and Carol

Monday, January 21, 2013

The BIG tent

Well our first full day here in quartzsite we got our selves all settled into our camp site nicely settled between two other RV's amoung the Escapees.

This first full day here allowed us to get to the BIG tent. The interesting thing about quartzsite is that it is , for our Sacramento friends, like a Denio's farmers market on steroids! Vendors and swapmeeters, as far s the eye can see! The big tent is only part of what there is to see here. The big tent however is filled with probably 200 vendors selling LED lights, flag poles, solar panels and even teeth whitening and facials! Our big focus was to find LED to replace many of our incandescent bulbs in the motorhome. We found some great prices at a couple of vendors, so we stocked up!

We got some bad news though when we got back to camp. We were told that the dogs barked A LOT while we were out checking out the big tent. So, we had to pack up camp and move to a new location.

That's Ok, 'cause the new location brought with better views of the surrounding areas, including those of Sagoro cactus which is one of those things Carol has always wanted to see!

This part of the country is so beautiful in its own way! Its easy to see why snow birds  come down here in the winter time. The sun rises and sun sets are amazing. :-)

On Tuesday, we are going to  solar seminar put on by one of the escapees here at camp. Then, well go back into town and check out some more vendors. We also have to return one of the bulbs that was bad out of the box!

More postings soon!

Happy camping!

Eric and carol!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Our road to Quartzsite

In Friday the 18th we got an early start on the way to quartzsite. Though our main mission on this vacation is to see Quartzsite Arizona and the USS Iowa and shuttle endeavor in long beach, we also had a couple other things we wanted to see along the way. One of which was that we knew there was a scenic drive coming into Quartzsite from the lake havesue are. This also had a side benefit of not having to drive through the LA basin. So we took state route 58 from  Bakersfield through to Needles, which happens to be named after Needle mountain.

We covered 558 miles on our first days drive, in twelve hours, even though both of us are fighting a cold. :-( We spent our first night at a parking lot that doubles as a truck stop behind a Shell station. We Had dinner at a great little diner here in Needles which is right next to where we spent the night. It was called Juicy's famous river diner! Its a great place to eat if you ever find yourself in needles.

The scenic drive from Needles to quartzsite was absolutely worth the extra drive! As part of the drive, we also go to see 'London Bridge' in the city of Lake Havesue.

We got into Quartzsite early on saturday afternoon and set up camp. We are staying with a group of escapees called the boomers. They are a very friendly nice group of people. They have activities everyday for all to participate in!

It is amazing how many RV'ers there are here. Easily, there are over 10,000 of them.

More postings coming soon!

Happy camping!

Eric and Carol

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Only 24 hours to go

We are almost ready to leave on our adventure to Quartzsite. Not quite sure what the doggies are going to think of it, but they will be just fine. Eric will get up at 4:30 to do final preparations. Carol, though still fighting her cold, wants to get up at 6:00 so we can get rolling. She is such a trooper.

Stay tuned!

Happy camping!

Eric and carol

Monday, January 14, 2013

Doing the final preparation for our trip to Quartzsite!

Hi there everyone,

This continued as the second busy weekend in a row for us as we get ready for our trip to Quartzsite. The list of completed tasks included: Washing the Motorhome and the two cars, as long as I had the wash gear out! Checking the fluids on the diesel as well as on the generator to make sure they are all ready to go! I also checked the chassis batteries on the motorhome as well as the batteries (and other fluids) on the two cars while I was at it. Wanting to put on our best “show” I also put tire dressing on the motorhome as well as the two cars.

Since we are going to be out in the middle of no-where for a few days, I took the opportunity to purge the bays of stuff that we haven’t used in a while. With our new found space, I placed on board the extra dog food as well as bottled water and other beverages. Doing this work in the bay also gave me the perfect opportunity to re-organize the bays a little bit. My tool bay had gotten a little out of control lately and this was the perfect time to take things out of there that I probably wouldn’t use on the trip that would help to lighten our load!

In preparing for our trip, I wanted to drain the fresh water tank and re-fill it. I was looking for the fresh water dump valve, and if it had been a snake, it would have bitten me. But in my search for the valve, I opened up the cover to back of the water tank and the furnace. Though I didn't find the valve there, I did find that there was a hole in a heater duct. So, I sealed that up and closed things up. In the picture below, from the top, traveling clock wise. The Heater, the black water tank, the fresh water tank and the grey water tank.

Something else I worked on this weekend was to fix a design flaw in the computer desk. One of the things about the way I designed the computer desk originally, was the fact that I had the air duct feeding towards the front of the motorhome. Well, the problem with the location was the fact that it was also a great location for one of our dog beds. The problem with that is, it would block the air duct. So, I moved the duct around to underneith the desk so it would blow the warm air into the middle of the motorhome instead of the dog bed.

Even through it is winter, the last week or so has been dry. And, the forecast is for dry weather for the next week or so. Knowing this, I thought, I better check out the sprinkler system around the site and get things back in working order so that the lawn will get a little moisture while we are gone. So, I replaced a riser and a sprinkler and then gave the system a test run just to make sure everything was in working order.

The last couple nights have been especially cold, so I made a insulating pillow to wrap around our pressure regulator so that it won’t freeze when the temperatures dip down into the 20’s as they have been reported to at night.

Though Carol is fighting a cold the last few days or so, she was busy pruning the rose bushes as well as cleaning the bath room and balancing the check book.

Though we were very busy this weekend, we none the less got the opportunity to spend some quality time with each other and of course the dogs. We love this time of year, ‘cause this is when our favorite show ‘Pit Bulls and Parolees’ is on. We love seeing the stories about the dogs and the guys, who are given chances at new, fulfilling lives!

Speaking of Pit Bulls, Charlie continues to be a wonderful addition to our family. None of the pictures below are posed. Charlie just finds comfort in just about any position.

Well, that's all for now! Hopefully, we’ll see you all in Quartzsite!

Happy Camping! Eric and Carol

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Getting ready for Quarzsite!

Hi there everyone, well we didn't really get a vacation trip in last year, but we won't be very far into 2013 before we set off on vacation. On the 18th of January, we will be setting off for Quartzsite Arizona to experience the BIG TENT and boon dock with a bunch of other crazy RV'ers. But, before we head off to Quartzsite, we have a lot of work to do to get ready.

One of the problems we've had since we bought our Allegro Bus, is the toilet leaks. The bowl wouldn't hold water. Well, when you are dry camping in Quartzsite, water is at a premium. So, we went to our local RV dealer and ordered the replacement parts which consisted of a gasket and ball valve. Well, $90.00 and two hours later, the valve and gasket was replaced. It was an icky job, so rubber gloves and great care was needed in removing the bowl, the old gasket and then replacing the ball valve and then installing the new gaskets.

We found that the new parts were of higher quality than the originals. For instance a plastic control shaft that was replaced as part of the kit, had a new one made of brass. Also, the old one only had one 'O' ring while the new one had two 'O' rings.

We've started setting in provisions for the trip. When we went grocery shopping this weekend, we bought a case of bottled water so that we don't have to use water out of the tank for drinking. We're also working on refreshing our 'Smart water management' skills so as to get our most bang for our buck. For example, when we want to wash dishes, we will fill the dog water bowl with water from the hot side of the tap, while waiting for the hot water to make it from the Hot water heater!

For Christmas, we got a Camping World gift card, which we used for a pair of seat covers. These seat covers are perfect for making the driver and passengers seats whole again after Charlie remodeled them for us!

Our preliminary itinerary for our trip to Quartzsite and then the LA basin is as follows...

Friday -         1/18 - Drive to Quartzsite
Saturday -     1/19 - Quartzsite
Sunday -       1/20 - Quartzsite
Monday -      1/21 - Quartzsite
Tuesday -      1/22 - Quartzsite
Wednesday - 1/23 - Drive to Bolsa Chica state beach camp ground  - LA Area
Thursday -     1/24 - California Science center - Endeavor exhibit!
Friday -          1/25 - USS Iowa tour!
Saturday -      1/26 - Drive home

While in southern California, we plan on getting together with our family members Steve, Ellena and their daughters Morgan, Mia and maybe even Marina if we are lucky.

Stay tuned as we post pictures from our travels to Quartzsite and the LA basin.

Happy Camping! Eric and Carol Anderson

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fixing the cabinets that show some wear and tear

Hi there everyone,

So, we found this e-mail one day that showed how to fix how cabinets look, when they are showing some wear and tear. We bought our motorhome used, and as such, the Moho had some 'Character' as the sales person would call it, in some of the initial wear and tear on the motorhome. And, with the dogs, there has been some additional wear and tear on the cabinets. So, we went shopping this weekend, and one of our stops was a Sprouts store with a great bulk foods isle. Carol remembered this e-mail that we had read, and found a bin with Walnuts in it. So, we bought a half dozen walnuts to experiment with what was found in this e-mail. Check out this video that shows how the experiment turned out!

So, as you can see, we were surprised how well the Walnuts worked. Granted, this is probably resolved by 'Walnut oil', and the fix may not last for long. But, it should last about as long as any solution that doesn't involve the entire stripping and re-finishing of our cabinets in the motorhome.

So, give it a try and see how great it turns out!

Happy camping! Eric and Carol