Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

It's a beautiful Thanksgiving Day in Quartzsite and I have a lot to be thankful for.

When I first read the quote below, I thought:  That's exactly what's happening for all of us who live in our RVs.  Even when we stop full-timing, we'll always know what it's like to be a traveler, on or off the grid, seeing new places, meeting new people, trying out new things.  Driving our homes down the road to a new place, a new adventure, a new challenge.  Solving problems and helping others solve theirs.  A very simple life, at least for me, but still very full and rich.  We've climbed to the summit.

You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. . . .  
So why bother in the first place? 

Just this:  what is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. 
One climbs, one sees.  One descends, one sees no longer but one has seen

There is an art to conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up.  When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.
--Rene Daumal

A very short quote that says so much about why we should go after our dreams and get out of our comfort zone from time to time, learn new things, and create lots of memories.

Then I thought about my kids and grandkids.  Today I am most thankful for my son, Tom, and my daughter, Kristy.  They are both married, have kids and are doing well.  As married couples they and their spouses spend a lot of time with their kids and allow them to experience all kinds of things.  They allow all five of my grandkiddles to "climb and see."  Those five kids, aged from 4 to 10, have done so many things I've never done and traveled to places I've never been.  They are learning things I'll never know. 

My grandchildren are all living very full, rich lives.  They are happy, intelligent, interesting people. They're expected to do chores around the house, complete their homework, get good grades, and be good citizens.  They all participate in sports they love, and whether they do well or have a bad day, their parents are there supporting them.  They have lots of friends, and are kind, generous young people. 

I'm really proud of them all.  For that - I couldn't be more thankful today.

I was looking back in my blog to my two previous Thanksgivings on the road.  The first one, in 2011, was my FIRST dry camping evening.  I had my solar panel installation completed that day and drove to Buckeye Hills Recreation Center to try them out.  I think I was the ONLY rig in the entire area.  It was so black that night, not a light anywhere in sight - and a little scary. I learned some lessons that Thanksgiving.

The second Thanksgiving on the road was last year, 2012.  I was in Quartzsite for the second year and had my Thanksgiving Dinner with my Quartzsite friends.  We drove to the Bluewater Casino in Parker, AZ for their Thanksgiving Buffet and it was delicious.  That was the post I wrote that included coyote sightings and my photos of the insect screens I installed  over the vent covers outside The Palms.  That was a job I was happy to complete - I was worried about having the vents open and getting insects and their nests inside them. 

This is our third Thanksgiving on the road, and Katie and I are taking it easy today.  We've been invited to a pot luck dinner, but I'm not really a pot luck kind of person so I'll make a frozen turkey dinner and add some trimmings of my own.  It will be delicious!

I don't know why, but it seems each Thanksgiving week I've made improvements to The Palms.  I have to say, it's sure nice to have my "mods" this Thanksgiving week include a butcher block stove top cover instead of a solar panel installation and insect screens.  Much easier, and far less expensive this year... 

From me and Katie, Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!  We hope you have a wonderful day.  :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Hobbit Home

Bonsai Version of the Baggins Hobbit Home By Chris Guise 

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A couple of small mods

Last Friday when it was raining so much, I decided to drive into town.  I was so overdue with my laundry it was almost criminal.  I was literally running out of clothes, which I've never done before, so we got The Palms ready to roll and drove into town.  It was such a wet, gray day outside, everyone had the same idea and the stores were pretty crowded.  When I was drying my laundry, almost every drier was being used.  And this is a BIG laundromat.

Then we went across to Beals Outlet, a kind of department store that's like Marshall's.  They have clothing in the front and housewares, etc. in the back.  Whenever I want something special, I go there.  And I found exactly what I was looking for.

I have a black silicone mat that I've been using to protect my cook top cover.  The cover is a black metal bi-fold top that folds back out of the way when cooking, and covers the burners when they aren't being used.  Well, having a black stove/cook top and living in the desert, you can imagine how many times a day I wipe it clean.  The metal cover wouldn't be so bad, but I didn't want it scratched, so the black silicone cover solved that.  But it really collects the dust, and I need a wet sponge to clean the silicone mat, not just a cloth or duster.  I've been wanting a wooden cutting board to put there and I found the perfect size at Beals. 

Perfect fit!  This is the smooth side, the other side is for cutting meat, it has a well around the board to catch juices.  It almost matches the color of my cupboards, too.  And did I forget to mention it was only $14.00?  Now that's a deal!  One of the easiest mods I've done.  Directions:  lay on top of stove cover.  LOL.

The other thing I've been thinking about is a large sturdy box that would fit on the dinette bench seat near the window that could hold my Bose radio. The storage boxes I had it on were a little messy looking and not as steady and secure as I wanted.  It would be better to have just one large box, hopefully with a lid so I could turn the lid upside down and have a lip to keep the radio from sliding off.  When we travel, I could put the Bose IN the box to keep it safe if needed.  I found the exact size I was looking for, the colors weren't bad, and I bought it.  It's covered with a cloth material and the top is padded. 

Not the perfect mod, but it works far better than the three "book boxes" I had there before.  I put them and my Wii console and remote inside the box for now.

But NOW I'm thinking, as much as I LOVE having the wonderful sound of good speakers, I'm worried they might be using too much power.  I've been wanting a small, battery operated speaker with volume control for my Sirius radio, Zen MP3 player, and for the computer, when I need higher volume than the laptop provides sometimes.  I used to have a nice little speaker with volume control, but it finally stopped working and it's hard to find small speakers with that volume control.  And I don't want wireless, just AA batteries.  I've actually been looking for one for some time now, and finally found one on-line that I think will be perfect.  I'll show you when it arrives.  It'll be here in a week or so, and if I like it, I might attach my Sirius radio to the new speaker and put the Bose back in it's storage box under the dinette.  Changes, changes.  Makes life interesting.

I had to get out my printer to print out some documents the other day (more about that in a future post), and as it was sitting on the bench seat next to the new box, I thought - I'll bet it will fit into that box.  It will be close, but I might have a good, easy way to store the printer and have it nearby to use when I need it.  Right now it's in a box at the foot of my mattress in the over-the-cab bunk, and it's a pain to get out.  I have some Birthday cards to make and print, and when they are done, I'll see if the printer fits.  If so, bye-bye Bose.  For now.

There was a cooking frenzy in The Palms on Saturday, and I now have a fridge full of left-overs that will last for three or four days of lunches and dinners.  Every so often that happens.  It was especially fun on Saturday.  It was raining, cloudy, and cold outside.  I put a good audio book on, the Wave heater was throwing out some hot air, and I was super hungry.  All the right elements for a cooking fest.   I boiled eggs for sandwiches, to put in salads, and for deviled eggs, cooked rice, made a huge potato salad, big batch of Spinach Surprise, and roasted chicken breasts.  Nothing fancy, just good food and now a full fridge.

Don't you just love it when the fresh water tank is full, the propane tank is full, the gas tank is full, the black/grey tanks are empty, the freezer is full, the fridge is full, laundry is done, the on-line orders have been placed and there's nothing on the shopping list or wish list, the sun is shining and all is right in your own little world?  That's me today.

This is Thanksgiving week, and Katie and I have a lot to be thankful for.

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

A new campsite

As I wrote in my last post, last Friday was a very rainy, stormy day here at Quartzsite.  I decided to drive into town to do laundry and a little shopping.  We left our very nice, cozy site and drove away.

When we returned, there were large puddles in the site, and it didn't look quite as inviting as it did when we left.  Rather than backing up into our previous spot in front of the "living room" with our chairs and table  - right into the largest puddle, I decided we should be on the other side of the fire pit, where there were no puddles. 

There were a bunch of rocks right where I wanted to park, so I got out in the drizzling rain and moved them over, tossed a bunch in a pile, and then backed in.  I seldom just "back in."  I check my compass to make sure I'm pointing West, then back in, check the leveling app on my phone, go outside and look around, climb back behind the steering wheel, adjust, etc.  Sometimes it's quick.  Sometimes it's not.  I'd rather go through this a bunch of times and be level than have to use leveling blocks.  I have two sacks of levelers, but they don't come out unless I have no choice.

When we woke up Saturday morning I looked outside and noticed my neighbors left early that morning.  This motor home came in two nights before and parked in the next site (we were the ONLY two sites occupied on this entire "street" along the washes on either side.  Interesting how that always works out, isn't it?  :)   When they pulled up, I'm saying to myself, "Are you kidding me???"  At first I thought they were visiting me!

So Katie and I went out for a little walk and checked out that now-empty site and I decided to move over there.  It was a really easy drive in and back up kind of location.  Very level. 

When we were pointed in the right direction, I walked back and forth in the rain retrieving our chairs, table, solar lights, hummer feeders, and welcome mat.  I was soaking wet.  I changed into dry clothes, hung the wet top and jeans in the bathroom to drip dry and got The Palms back in order.  And that was that.

Here are photos of the new site:

A little pathway to the wash behind us.  A previous camper put the initials KD here, and I made a slight adjustment...

This is our new living room with a nice big tree canopy:

Here's Katie, enjoying her walk around the BD garden path area:

This is our fourth site since we drove into Quartzsite the beginning of October.  I like staying in the same place for a while, but moving around within that place into different sites, and I always enjoy my new site more than the last. Every site we've been in - since the start of our full-time adventure - had something special.  Space, coziness, trees, wide-open spaces, nice neighbors, no neighbors etc.  (I'm soooo good at finding the good side - you can imagine how well I did when I was a Real Estate Agent with that one-bedroom condo I was selling in San Diego that had the main inside hallway on one side and a tall brick building on the other side.  All the windows had a view of brick.  Very close.  Nothing else to see.  Oh yeah! That one was a challenge! )

Katie and I are enjoying this new site - but I doubt this will be our last campsite here in Quartzsite. There are lots of choices here - just how I like it.  :)

Two photos of Katie from the last week...

Watching for lizards - sorry about making your butt look fat, Katie.  (It's really not.  LOL) 

Katie playing with her baby, both ears up!

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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Quartzsite weather

If I have a good sunset shot I usually end the post with it, but this was just too good to wait till the end.  This was our sunset last Tuesday.  It was just gorgeous. 

These three photos are all taken in the same spot, further away, closer and close-up.  I don't remember ever seeing this kind of cloud formation/sunset before, only in Arizona.  The roughed up clouds below almost look like red desert sand or rocks or cliff sides, not clouds in the sky.

The photo below show that part clearer.  It was an interesting sunset, lots of different things going on, different colors, shapes, and textures.

It was a beautiful evening.  We've had such nice weather since Katie and I got here, a few really hot days and a few cloudy windy days, but for the most part, perfect weather.

On Friday the weather turned - it's been stormy and cloudy and rainy for a couple of days.  I don't get to see too many rainy days here, and it was really nice.  Super cozy inside The Palms with the Wave 3 Catalytic Heater keeping us warm and toasty.  :)

Clouds covering the mountain tops.

WELCOME to our newest Followers:

Becky & Drew, who are not showing a blog or any info about themselves.  If you do have a blog, or start one, let me know.  Thanks for following along with Me  and Katie, we appreciate it.   Welcome aboard!

I have a couple of mini-mods to show you next time.  I was going to include them here, but the post was far too long.  I'm trying to be a little less wordy and picturey.  I know my posts are toooo long, I'm working on it, but once I get started... 

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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya  
| The only hotel in the world where you can eat breakfast with giraffe.| 

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

New solar engine lights

Denise was nice enough to let me know she was ordering some new solar lights on  Her plan was to put them on the ground under her engine area to keep away critters.  She asked if I wanted to get some, too, and she'd add them to her order.

After the RAT chewed through my very cool set-up, I decided to go with the solar approach.

The lights arrived the other day and after getting them all power up in the sun, I've set them up around the top of my engine and they've been there for two nights.  And they are working very well!

The lights look kind of messy, I could arrange them better, but they are working and I'm not tying them down, so I'll just remove them when I drive and plop them down again on top when I'm stationary.  Excuse my dust - I like a dusty engine.  Then I can see footprints and take more action. :( 

These lights have two options:  steady or blinking.  I have mine set to blinking; I figure that might confuse critters and scare them away.

I put a medium sized rock right near the hooking mechanism for the hood, so it won't close and latch.  I have the solar panel parts of the lights coming out to get the full sunlight every day to keep them powered up.  

I still have the 2 foot section of the old lights in the engine on the right side (click here for that mod), and that's a really powerful, very bright section of lights, so I don't have any of the new lights in that area.  The new ones aren't nearly as bright, but I think they will be fine.

If you are interested in ordering, here is what they look like when you get them.  Click here for the website.   I'm putting the link on the right sidebar, too, in case you want to see them in the future.

I didn't use the stake that comes with the lights, I'm just hanging the panel out of the engine, but you can stake the panel into the ground.  That's what Denise is doing.

I'm not sure mine are this bright, but they are bright enough for what I need. Denise, thanks for the great idea and including my lights in your order!

Katie waking up yesterday morning - I love her first "face" when she wakes up.  :)

And here's Katie looking outside.  I wonder what she's looking at.

Oh, yeah, I should have known.  Here's that lizard again with the turquoise coloring.  Hazel did some research trying to find out what kind of lizard he is, but no luck so far.  Hazel, here's another clear photo of him.  Click on the picture and then click again for a good really close shot.  Let me know if you find out what he is and I'll include it here. :)

Here's our beautiful full moon on Saturday night:


This is the best moon shot I've gotten with this new Canon PowerShot SX500 IS.  It looks like we can even see some sunspots in this photo.  It was a beautiful evening.

We've been having the most beautiful weather.  A few days have been cool, overcast or windy, but still, a little variety is definitely my idea of perfect weather.  The rest have been calm, warm, gorgeous.  Hopefully it will continue.

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Contagious

Let this play twice and it will go faster.

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Attaching the Sirius antenna

I recently got a new Sirius radio with an audio kit. It comes with an outdoor antenna that is supposed to be put in the middle of the car/truck roof, over where the radio would be installed in the dash.  I'm using mine as a portable radio - in the dinette using my Bose radio as it's speakers, and in the sleeping loft with a portable speaker at night.

I guess this is the entertainment corner:

I'll be moving it around, and will also have it up front with me when I'm driving.  I tried the antenna inside the dinette area, but having the antenna outside appears to get the maximum signal, so I had to do that.  Unfortunately, my sleeping loft is over the truck cab, so I had to put the antenna on top of The Palms on the roof.  The antenna is a strong magnet, so that it would stick on the car/truck roof, but it won't stick to fiberglass so I had to attach it another way.

I cleaned the areas well, then put 3M SureLock on the plastic going across the roof and on the bottom of the antenna. 

This SureLock is a heavy duty, indoor/outdoor Velcro type product and it looks like it is sticking well, so far.  I'll keep an eye on it.

I used a couple of pieces of duct tape to anchor the "tail" of the antenna and the wire up to the plastic strip.

I should have used EternaBond Tape for the wire going into the sleeping loft window, but I didn't have enough, so I'm trying white duct tape.  First I cut small pieces and placed them along the plastic piece going over the roof, then I pulled out a long piece to cover it all up, so it's double stuck.  

Then I fed the wire across the top of the water drainage strip, and down into the loft window.  I stuck it down with the duct tape and shut the window. 

It's nice having 3 bars on the radio, I listen to it a lot and good reception will give me a much more enjoyable listening experience. 

This has been a productive day for me.  After getting the antenna on the roof, I came inside and had lunch then grilled up some chicken breasts and a fish fillet for future meals.  Then I made a bowl of potato salad for future meals, got the dishes done, cleaned up the kitchen and I'm done.

I've been re-arranging some of the things in The Palms the last few days.  Little by little things come out and when they aren't used in a while, I find a new place to tuck them away.  The old rolling home is looking pretty nice, if I do say so myself.  :)

As I was finishing this up, I looked out the front window and guess what I saw walking right in front of The Palms?

I saw something white near the rear of Denise's rig and was worried it was Benny, and the coyote was heading that way.  I opened my window and yelled, "Coyote!" twice.  Just in case.  And also for other campers in our area.  It wasn't even 4:00 pm yet.  Pretty early.

I've seen more coyotes so far this year than the other two years combined down here.  There must be a lot of them, or else they are hungrier than other years.  I have to admit, he is a beautiful animal.

WELCOME to our newest Follower, jhm522000.  She doesn't show any information at all, so I can't point you to a blog, but we are very happy to have you along with us on our RVing adventures, jhm522000!

Also... I have some blog housekeeping duties. I've done some digging into my recent new followers - the number keeps growing but I'm not seeing any new faces in my "members" gadget except for jhm522000. So I went back into the new followers that don't have photos and I've found some new names.   Many don't have blogs shown or any other information, but for those that do, I've listed it. I hope I haven't missed anyone.

So.... a BIG (and for some, belated) Welcome to:

Jean and Skip - they do have a blog, and I've actually just met these RVers.  They are friends of Denise and Benny and visited me the other day.  It was great visiting with you guys!  Jean and Skip live in Nanoose Bay on beautiful Vancouver Island, with their three dogs and are snowbirding here in Quartzsite.  Check out their blog here.

snowbirdy has a blog called Solo snowbirds.  As you can tell from the name, snowbirdy is a solo snowbird.  Check out her blog, too.

Glenda Laine also has a blog, Casita Escapes.  She and her partner, Jeff, have been traveling in their Casita with their dog and two cats since 2008 and have traveled to most of the states.  I met Glenda and Jeff at City of Rocks when we were camping there in March of this year. (Remember the great Raven photos in the rocks in our campsite? That was a really fun place to be.)

Carla Hall - Carla doesn't show also has a blog, thank you for letting me know, Carla - and it can be found here.  This is what she has written in her Profile:  "Author of "Obliterated-Would You Know How to Survive?" ebook (a science fiction thriller). Planning my escape to full-time vandwelling within the year."  I checked on for her book, and it looks really interesting.  Carla, have you started full-timing yet?

Diana  has no blog yet, but this is what her profile says, "Planning on full timing within the next year. I have no blog yet."  Good luck with your plans, Diana - when you start blogging, let me know.

Welcome to you all, Katie and I appreciate you following our blog!

And now, I'm eating some cubed watermelon and watching Dr. Phil.  As I said above - I'm done for the day.

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