Thursday, February 28, 2013

Huge new campsite :)

 Katie and I have moved to a new campsite.  The site below is the old one, tucked away right next to a side road.  Our site was between the lights you see and the bushes immediately next to us on three sides.  I liked it very much, it was cozy, but I kept my dinette curtains closed all the time for a little privacy.

On Tuesday we went into town (Holtville) six miles from Hot Springs.  It's a nice little old town with everything I needed, even free wi-fi while we were parked outside the library.  I have wi-fi of my own, but couldn't get a couple of apps downloaded to my phone, and as soon as I connected to the library's, my apps immediately downloaded.

The propane is right across the street from the dump/water place.  I paid $7 to dump and $2 for a tank full of water.  I thought the price was good.  Happily, I had no problems taking the sewer cap off when I dumped the tanks.  That was a relief.  (I'm still applying heat and taking Ibuprofen, and every day my wrist and thumbs feel better.)

I also visited the pharmacy and got some Icy/Hot cream for my wrist, and went to the local grocery store for a few things, including some new Ibuprofen to replace my out-of-date bottle.

Sometimes when I'm doing these chores, I'll drive around the campground a little, to see if there's a better site available.  When we got back we did just that - and in the process found Bea and Peter at home.  They are fellow bloggers who I found through Denise's blog.  They had left a message for Denise, saying they were at Hot Springs, so I knew they were here but I didn't know who they were.  Bea sent me a message and we finally met on Tuesday.  They are a beautiful couple from Canada with a big, beautiful dog who was very friendly.

Peter told me about a campsite near them, right around some bushes, that is very private.  Katie and I walked over to see it, and unfortunately it would have put us in the wrong direction for optimal solar collection, but we walked a little further to check out the area.  A man named Fred came up to me and asked if I was looking for a campsite - he was leaving the next morning.  So I went over to his site, which is huge, private, surrounded by bushes and trees, and actually has two driveways leading into it.

This photo is taken from the main road, you can see the left driveway, the other comes in behind The Palms.

I told him I'd like the site after he leaves, and he said to pull in my motor home that day and I'd be there and settled when he left.  And that's what I did.

Fred invited me to a campfire that the people across from my old site, right down the road a bit, were having, so we walked over and enjoyed the company of three couples who are camped near each other.  The people who were having the campfire have a HUGE dog, and he was so distressed by having Katie nearby but he couldn't get to her because he was tied up outside the campfire area.  I finally took pity on him and Katie and I left.

When I woke up at 7:15 the next morning, Fred was gone.  He had a truck pulling his 5er, and a car behind that.  He's a solo traveler, too, but in addition to the truck and car, he also had a motorcycle that he stows inside his RV when traveling.  Quite a lot of machinery there!  I couldn't believe he got everything hooked up and drove away without making enough noise to wake me up.

This is part of the site, with lots of room in front and back of The Palms.  It would be a perfect site for two or three RVs if they were friends.  Fred needed the space for the vehicles he had, but I don't think I'd take this site with just my little motor home at the beginning of the season.  People are starting leave now and there are more spaces available, so I don't feel bad taking this large site.

So, here were are in a beautiful huge site, where I've seen lots of little birds, so far. 

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

House Finch

Note:  Hazel of  Class A Greyhounds, RVing with the Big Dogs is a Birder and left  a message with the names of these birds.  Thanks, Hazel! 

Fred said the Roadrunner has come through this site, so I'm watching out for him.

This morning I was putting out some seed under the bushes these birds are resting on, and heard a loud humming.  Right there in front of me was a beautiful humming bird, so he found my feeders and now I hope to see more hummers.   No bunnies yet in this site, but I know they are around.

It's very quiet here, and I'm really enjoying my stay.   

WELCOME to our newest follower, Hobbea!  Hobbea is Bea of Bea and Peter mentioned above, who I met here at Hot Springs.  Husband Peter has an RV blog, and Bea posts a Dinner for Two blog about quick, easy meals she prepares on the road.  Bea, I enjoyed meeting you and Peter, and your meals look very good and easy to prepare.  I'm going to follow your blog, too, and see what's cooking!  Welcome aboard and thanks for following along with us!! 

From me and Katie, have a great Thursday, everyone!  :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

We have a Roadrunner. :)

Yesterday I saw a Roadrunner.  I was so excited, I grabbed my camera, opened the curtain and started snapping.  I got a few good shots, and was so happy to have a Roadrunner in the vicinity.

Roadrunners look so funny when they run - it's like their little legs and hips are so far apart on their bodies, as in the second photo. I have other pictures of Roadrunners I've taken while they were running, and they look the same.

Thank you all for the space bag recommendations.  I'm going to check with Walmart and Target and see what I can get. I want the kind you sit on to deflate, instead of having a vacuum cleaner hose.  My vacuum is too small.

Thanks also for all your advice on my wrist.  My left wrist and thumb are still AWOL, but I think I'll be able to use them soon.  One of our followers, Tammy, suggested putting heat on my wrist, and I started it right away.  I have a lavender filled neck warmer, a spa type thing that my daughter gave me years ago, and I heat it up in the microwave.  I've been laying it on the table and wrapping it around my wrist.  I felt some relief that first evening, and every day it's getting better.  Along with Ibuprofen a few times a day.

Works like a charm!

I got a call back from the bone specialist, and she agreed - tendinitis.  She said what I was doing was fine, and it might take a couple more weeks to recover.  She said if I was having a reaction to the pills, I would have overall pain, not localized in one area.

I know that some people have a terrible time with these bone meds and have to stop using them, but most people do fine, and if I am one of those lucky ones, it will benefit my bones for the future.  The specialist felt that my chances of breaking a bone are far greater than having any difficulties with this medicine.  I don't have Osteoporosis, just normal bone loss for a woman my age, and taking the medicine now stops any bone loss and starts rebuilding.  As long as I seem to be doing fine, I think it's worth taking the chance.

In answer to one of the comments, I wasn't able to stop anywhere because it was over a mountain, or mountains, and there wasn't anywhere to pull off, except the side of the road.  In that wind I was afraid someone might blow into me if I was parked there. Not enough room, but I sure would have loved a Walmart, that's for sure.  I was surprised that other RVs and big rigs continued driving like I was.  I didn't see anyone stopping.  Next time I'll wait it out on the side of the road.  You know, live and learn!

I'm going to need to dump my tanks and get water soon.  The most urgent thing is propane, I'm down to a little less than an eighth of a tank, or a little less than one gallon, and of course I need the propane to run my fridge.  Also my Wave 3 heater, but I don't have the strength in my left thumb to push the Piezo button to get it started while my other hand holds in the other button, so I haven't been using that heater since I hurt my wrist.

I've been watching the propane, trying to put off my trip into Holtville to get these things done because I'm not sure I have the strength to get the grey/black tank sewer cap off.  It's on there pretty snug, and I have to manhandle it off.  Not something you want to ask a stranger to help you with, but I may have to.  And then to get it back on.

I think tomorrow is the day.  I'm hoping my wrist will be able to handle that job by tomorrow.  Positive thinking... 

I am still downloading programs onto this new laptop - my digital scrap booking program was lost, as well as all the free "digikits" that are free to download, so I sent off an e-mail to them.  They allowed me to re-install the programs and the ones I've purchased - and all the free kits are still on their website.  I went on the site and was surprised at the new free kits they have added.  :)

If any of you are interested in digital scrap booking (this is the program I use to do most of my graphics, digital card making, logos, etc.), the one I have is no longer available, but they have an upgraded program and you can download it for free.  I originally downloaded a free Digital Scrapbook Artist 2, and then bought the full version.  The current program available is CraftArtist and you can download the free version plus a lot of free digikits by clicking on that link.  There are 48 free kits.

The link will take you to this website:

Serif is the parent company, I think, and CraftArtist Compact is the free program that uses the free kits.

I also downloaded the current free one because the free digikits are now only made for CraftArtist.  There are also many kits you can purchase. I'm not an affiliate for them, so this information is just that - information.  I was so happy they let me download the programs again, I thought they were gone, and I thought I'd give them a shout out.  :)

WELCOME to our newest Followers, Julie and Tom! Their blog, RV and Outdoor Adventures of Julie and Tom have lots of outdoor photos taken during their many hikes. They've been on Blogger since January 2013, but have a few posts going back to 2011.  Check them out.  Thanks for following with us, Julie and Tom - Welcome aboard!

From Me and My Dog, have a great Tuesday, everyone!  :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Back in Hot Springs LTVA

Hello!  I'm back in the desert!

Katie and I spent Christmas in San Diego, a month in Vacaville, and back to San Diego for a week of annual medical/vision/dental appointments and everything is A-okay.  We're now in Hot Springs LTVA, and it sure is nice to be back!

I spent some time overlooking one of the beaches in San Diego between appointments.  They are re-doing this one, and had planted a huge palm tree in the sand.  I wonder how deep they had to dig the hole to anchor it, and keep it from falling in future windstorms and sand erosion. 

The beach was blocked off but we had a nice view from the parking lot above.

It will sure make for some beautiful sunset photos for many years to come.

I haven't posted for a while because I've had some issues.  I was having a lot of problems with my laptop and it finally died.  Luckily I have Carbonite and a Seagate back-up drive. I ended up buying a new computer and have spent a week re-installing programs and documents, photos, etc.

After my last appointment on Friday I took off, driving through the mountains on I-8 headed for Hot Springs.  I've never driven in such wind!  It was so bad I was being blown all over the road and it took all my concentration and strength and constant gripping of the wheel with both hands to stay in my lane.  My fingers were numb and I was having to shake them to stop the numbness.  It was a gruelling drive.

A word of advice:  If this happens to you, get off the road and wait it out.  I'll never drive through a windstorm like that again.  My main concern was keeping The Palms in our lane and somehow I felt I was committed and just kept going.  I didn't think about what was happening to my hands.  I finally made it, and found a nice little site and settled in.  Saturday morning I woke up and started cleaning, arranging, re-arranging... pretty much the whole day was spent getting organized.  I was just a happy little camper!

I woke up on Sunday with such pain in both my thumbs and my left wrist that they were useless.  It's now Friday and so far there's no improvement, maybe my right thumb is a little better.

I did call my doctor.  I'm on a new med for my bones -  I'm at the right place according to my bone density scan to start taking a medicine to keep my bones strong and I thought maybe my thumb and wrist issues were a side effect of this new pill.  The doctor said the medicine had nothing to do with the pain I'm having.

The only thing I can think of is that I strained the tendons with the constant, hard gripping of the steering while driving through the mountains, and have acute tendinitis.  I have some pain meds from my surgery last year that I never used, so I'm taking those now, and they are helping.  I've fashioned a lovely sling from one of the neck scarves I bought in Vacaville and sometimes I'll rest my left hand in it. In the meantime, I'm pretty much left with four fingers on my right hand that I can use with no pain, but no thumbs and no left hand.  Hopefully they will heal soon.  I have been keeping up with your posts, but I can't type without it hurting, so I won't be posting for at least a few days, maybe longer, and that's why. :(

If you have any healing prayers, please send them up for me. It's kind of funny that I completed a week of tests and exams and have excellent health, my teeth are great, my eyes are just fine, and I'm pretty much useless because of a drive through the windy mountains.  I think God punked me.  :)

In the meantime, Katie and I are happily settled in a nice little site with birds and bunnies out the window to watch.  We're quite a ways from from the trash dumpster, so every day or so we take a good walk to take out the trash. We've had nice sunny days, cold cloudy days and some rain and wind so far, so the weather has been interesting.

We are right on a side road, off the main road going through the campground, so I have a nice view of all the people coming and going to the spa and the garbage dump.

I like bushes around The Palms, and have put out some seed for the critters.

The following was written and saved while I was still in Vacaville before my computer died. I'm still interested in these bags if you have any information:

I need to rethink they way I'm storing some of my clothes.  I noticed an ad in the The Costco Connection, a little monthly magazine mailed out by Costco with some articles, some ads, etc.  One of the ads this month is for Ziploc Space Bags.  I want to put some of my out-of-season clothing into vacuum bags and store them under my couch.  I've searched, but can't find them on-line.  According to this ad, they are "New" at Costco.  Do any of you have them?  If so, would you leave a comment and let me know - are they stand-alone bags or do you need a device to suck out the air.  And if they don't need a device, do they work well?

And...A BIG WELCOME to our latest follower, New Age Nomad - Adventure's of a Nomadic,Van-Dwelling, Minimalist, Living Rent Free, Off The Grid.  Sounds good, right???  I've got to go through the posts and see what he's up to, he started this blog in September 2012, so it should be pretty easy to start at the beginning.  So far I've learned he has a beautiful dog, Candy, and takes gorgeous photos of Yuma sunsets - just gorgeous!  Thanks for following along with us, welcome aboard, New Age Nomad! :)

From Me and My Dog, have a great weekend, everyone!  :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Safety for Solos

I recently read a blog post,  A Girl’s Guide to RVing: Self-Defense,  by Lynn at Winnie Views.  I've also written a post about that subject, and would like to add my thoughts to hers.

When I decided to hit the road full time, I also decided that I wasn't going to be fearful.  If I was afraid, I wouldn't be successful as a full-timer. This is still my life, my home, what I enjoy doing every day.  I'm not on a road trip or a vacation.  I'm living my life and doing the same things I'd be doing if I was living in San Diego in my two bedroom/two bath condo.  Except I have so much more.

I love having a different view out each window every few weeks.  I'm not the type of full-timer who stays in RV parks and sees the attractions of each city and town I'm in. I'm not usually parked close to another RV, don't usually have hook-ups, have no planned activities.  I also don't have a human traveling companion.

If a single person, man or woman, wants to be a full-timer and travel solo, but is afraid for his/her safety (men have fears, too), they can easily stay in RV parks.  The cost is more, bit it's safe.  There are lots of people around and lots of things to do. Club houses and pools and laundry rooms.  Some parks have lots more than that.  They are like small towns.  It's easy to meet your neighbors in an RV park.  If the people or activities or location aren't to your liking, you can just drive on to another park that you might like better.  If you find one you really like, you can pay by the month or year and the rates are reduced.

But for those of us solo travelers who want to be off the grid, park away from other RVers, live on solar power and occasional generator use for battery top-offs, it's a completely different life.  I can see why some people would be fearful living full-time in this kind of lifestyle.  But honestly, other than a couple of minor bumps in the road that turned out fine, I haven't had a minute's trouble or had my safety in jeopardy.   The minor bumps?  No problem - remember, people, we have wheels!

Can you imagine seeing these horses running past the front of your truck?
These free grazing horses were so great to watch - whether at the lake or in my camp site!

...and this was my camp site - overlooking the lake.

When I started planning for this full-timing lifestyle, I thought a lot about what kind of rig I wanted, how big, whether to get a motor home (Class A, B, or C) or trailer, slide outs or no slide outs, should I have a toad?  Eventually, after a lot of thought to my comfort, ease and safety, this is what I decided, along with some things I've learned while traveling solo.

Following the list below has allowed me to live every day without worrying:

1.   Small Class C motor home so I'm always near the driver's seat and can U-turn easily in the middle of a street if necessary.  I've done many U-turns, once for my safety, usually just to turn around.

2.   No slides.  I wanted instant departure if needed it and didn't want to take the time to bring in a slide.  (Or deal with slide issues/repairs.

3.   No toad - I didn't want to have to take the time to hook it up, or leave it behind if I needed to leave in a hurry.  (And I didn’t want additional insurance, registration, maintenance and repairs.)

4.   Unless I'm in a place with lots of other people nearby and plan to stay for a few weeks, I don't put out rugs, chairs, plants, bird feeders, etc.  Maybe two chairs, a couple of bird feeders and a welcome mat, but that's it.  If I have to take off in a hurry, I don't want to worry about or miss anything left behind. 

5.   Have a dog with me.  I had Katie when I bought The Palms and she has been a perfect traveling companion/guard dog.  Katie definitely barks if anyone comes near The Palms. Once a man tried to reach into the window on the dinette side. (I can't remember why, but I had the screen open to show him something and he reached in.  That wasn’t very smart with a barking dog right there - I thought Katie was going to take his arm off.)

6.   Never park anywhere without at least two other RV's close enough to hear me scream. FYI, I've never had to scream. :)

7.   Air Horn.  It's a pet air horn to stop Katie from barking, but it's LOUD and within reach.

8.   I bought two small $5 canisters ofpepper spray.  I keep one Velcro'd to the wall near the cabin door and the other up in the bunk near my pillow.  (I also have a Spray Shield – Animal DeterrentSpray attached to Katie’s leash in case an animal threatens us and we can’t get away.)

9.   Speaking of the bunk, if I’m not feeling safe, I wouldn’t want to open any windows, except that the bunk windows are high. I could open one and scream and blast my air horn without worrying about anyone reaching in.  And then jump down and start my engine and drive away. 

10.   Park in rest stops only if other RVs are there for the night and it’s very well lit around my parking space.

11.   Always carry a set of keys in my pocket. If I lose my purse or wallet, I still have my keys.  (And I won’t be locked out.)

12.   Keep an ignition key by the driver’s seat. In an emergency I don’t want to be looking for the key.

13.   When away from The Palms, always lock the doors.  Don’t trust that your things are safe inside when you are gone and the doors are unlocked.  Or that no one is waiting inside for you on your return. I usually lock the doors if I'm inside, too, unless I'm around people I know, or there are many RVs nearby.

14.   Use common sense.  If in doubt, start the engine and drive away. Don’t even think about it, just drive away.

Most of the above are the same things I'd be doing in San Diego in a house or condo - they are obvious safety precautions wherever we live - park in well lit areas and keep the car key in my hand while walking to the car, keep the house locked, don't go into dark places away from other people.

So... just have a plan, keep to it, and enjoy.  I've happily and safely lived in all these campsites, and many, many more - what an interesting life I'm living!   At the end of the day, I couldn't be happier.

If you can think of anything I've missed, please leave a comment.  I love this topic and am always open to learning new things to make full-timing as fun and safe as possible.

From Me and Katie, have a great Friday, everyone!  :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Katie's New "Dog Car Seat" Review

Here she is - Katie in her new Car Seat, the Snoozer Luxury II Lookout Car Seat!  As the name implies - doesn't she look like a good "lookout?"  And she loves it!

It was supposed to arrive this week, between Monday and Friday, but it came last Friday.  That was nice. I immediately took it out of the box to see what it looked like and I was happily surprised.

It was well packed, and I put Katie in it to see what she thought.  She just sat there, looking around and didn't seem to want to get out.

This model seats the dog high enough to look out the windows, even if they are lying down, so there's lots of room underneath the car seat to put a drawer for storage.  It's a good sized storage space.  I haven't decided yet what I'll use it for, my stuff or Katie's stuff.

I installed the car seat on the passenger seat of The Palms, and it was super simple.   I like the way the seat is held by the car's seat belt, not wrapped around the passenger seat with it's own straps, like the one I returned.  This is much more secure, and looks like the seat won't move in an accident.

The lap part of the seat belt holds the car seat down and the shoulder harness is used to attach the included tether, which is attached to the dog's harness.

It is recommended that the dog wear a harness for attaching the tether, rather than their collar.  I can understand this - if I stop quickly, Katie could have neck damage if I attached her collar to the tether and she was jerked forward.  She has a couple of harnesses and this pink one works perfectly.

I like that the clasp is a thick, sturdy metal and not plastic like the clasps on the car seat I returned.

I took photos from all angles and Katie just sat there and watched me.  See how high up she is?  She seems to like that pillow she's sitting on, but I might take it out and put in a blanket, which would put her lower in the seat and more enclosed if she wants to lay down and sleep.

You can see how large the Snoozer Luxury II Lookout Car Seat  is - this is a Medium. I'm thinking the small size would have worked - Katie is only 12 or 13 pounds, but I wanted her to be able to lie down.  You all know how long I drive sometimes - in fact next Sunday Katie and I are driving back to San Diego for my annual medical appointments.  We're leaving early in the morning, and will be driving all the way - close to 10 hours on the road. That will be a good test of how well the car seat works on the road, and how well Katie does with it over a long period of time.  I'll let you know. :)

Yesterday morning the sun was streaming in the front windshield and I put her in her seat to see if she would stay there.  I left her and went about my business, and she settled in and laid down for a long time.  Finally Lauren came over and knocked on the door and she jumped out.  I didn't see if she jumped over the back of the seat or down onto the floor between the two truck seats.  I'd love to get her used to hanging out in her seat.

If you are interested in checking out this car seat (it's pretty expensive, but there are smaller sizes and less expensive car seats that I considered, too) check on, hopefully using a link on this post. :)

P.S. -This morning with the sun shining in through the windshield, Katie climbed over the passenger seat back and settled down with her chin on the car seat arm rest.  She likes it!

Thank you to all our readers/followers who have commented and sent e-mails on my advertising - I appreciate you saying you'll support my site and use the links here.  I know it's important to many of us full-timers to have a little extra income, and I'll continue to support some of the other bloggers who advertise and will use their links when I'm purchasing something on  Put  my money where my mouth is!

From Me and My Dog, have a great Monday, everyone!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Camco Flying Insect Screen - correct size for Suburban 6 gal HWH

The end of November I installed my Camco Insect Screens on the vents outside The Palms.  That was something I had been wanting to do for a while.  As I blogged on November 23, 2012,  the refrigerator and furnace screens fit fine and went on easily.  However, the hot water heater screen didn't fit.  The screen I ordered said it fit my Suburban 6-gallon hot water heater (HWH), but it was too big.  It was shaped like a rectangle and my screen vent is a square.

This is the correct package, #WH400 - a square shaped screen

I did some research and finally ordered the Camco Insect Screen, Item # WH400.  If your hot water heater vent is square - you need this size for your Suburban Flush Mount 6 gal. Water Heater Vent.  Don't believe the information on the WH500 - it's the wrong shape and won't work. I don't know if mine is considered an older model or a newer model, but I think it has something to do with the year of your RV or HWT.  Not sure, but I think I saw that somewhere in my research.

So this is what comes in the package - minus one of the little screw attachers - there should have been two but my package came with only one. 

The last screens I installed went on easily, but I had trouble with this one.  Finally I took the Hot Water Heater cover off and brought it inside to attach on my dinette table.

First I used a wire to attach the screen in one corner, then I attached the wire/spring that came with the unit, and finally I found in my craft things another small wire with a bee attached.  I kind of liked the idea of using a bee attachment to keep out bees.

Guard Bee :)

Here's a photo of the HWH vent before I installed the screen:

Here it is after I installed the Insect Screen and re-attached the vent door:

Close-up - I wonder how long that bee will last...

I'm going to have to find some wire that's a little more sturdy than my craft wire, then I'll attach the corners more securely.  I'd hate for it to fly off while I'm driving down the freeway! (I'm happy to report the furnace and fridge screens survived all the horrible freeway roads coming through Los Angeles.  If they survived those washboard roads and freeway potholes, they should be attached for good!)/

So now all my outside vents are covered - the hot water heater, furnace and refrigerator.  And I have the vent covers on the roof for my bathroom and kitchen vents and the Fantastic Fan in the living area.

I  keep thinking I have everything I need for The Palms, but you know how it is - something else comes along.  Each modification makes full-timing easier, safer or more fun.  What's next?

I don't know if you'd consider this a mod, but I've received Katie's Car Seat and it's a real winner.  I'll post about it next time with lots of photos.


It's almost 3:00 pm in California and Matts parents are coming over for the game.  Kristy has the chili cooking in the crock pot and the pre-game nibbles are ready.

Good Luck, I hope your team wins - as long as your team is the San Francisco 49ers!  (Sorry Raven fans, I'm a San Francisco Bay Area girl - born and raised.)

8:30 PM PST

Well, after the way the game began, I'm happy for the 49ers that they had such a good showing during the second half.  And Kristy's chili is the best I've ever had - I NEVER like chili.

I thought it was a great game with lots of excitement - CONGRATULATIONS, RAVENS! 

From me and Katie, have a great Sunday, everyone!  :)