Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas–and a little RV mod present from me to me!

Many miles have been traveled since my last post.  Katie and I left Elephant Butte State Park in New Mexico and headed toward Arizona for the winter.  We stayed at Hot Springs LTVA near Holtville, CA for a couple of weeks.   I had lab tests and an annual doctor exam scheduled in San Diego, so stopping at Hot Springs is our usual route.  Hot Springs is usually really crowded.  There’s always room and it’s not hard to find a site, but the good sites are always taken when I’m there.  This year, both the on the way to and from San Diego, I got fantastic, large sites.
The first one was right off the main road, a “cul-de-sac” site, very private and large.  We were surrounded by bushes and had a nice area to put the camp chairs out in the shade of the bushes. 

On the way to San Diego, I usually stay at least one night at a casino in Alpine, it's about 1 1/2 hours from Hot Springs LTVA so it cuts drive time and makes for a really short drive into San Diego.  And this is the sunset I was treated to right before the turnoff to the casino.  

We arrived right before it was dark.  It was one of those trips where, the afternoon before we are to leave I get everything put away and ready to go, and I think, “We're ready - why not go NOW?”  That’s what we did and we were treated to a gorgeous sunset.

The next morning we finished the drive to SD.  I love the views I get driving into the San Diego area.  These are my “coming home” views:

I always breathe a sigh of relief, I’m home.

There were some nice waves coming in from the Pacific Ocean.  Can you see all the surfers in the pic below?

My mail service is in Encinitas, which is right on the ocean, so I usually come in this way to pick up the mail, then head over to Carlsbad where my kids live.  I stayed with them for a week or so and we had a nice visit.  

My annual doctor’s appointment with my new GP went really well.  When I was there in April, my doc wasn’t happy with my cholesterol levels – they've been a bit high for years, and I was finally talked into taking meds to bring them down.  He prescribed 20 mg of a cholesterol drug.  I REALLY hate taking prescription drugs.  I had a bad result from one in the past and stay away from them if I can, but this new doc was persuasive and I agreed to try one. 

While visiting in April, my son told me about the healthy eating plan he and my granddaughter had been on and the great things it did for them – they are in fabulous shape.  So I tossed out any food in my fridge/cupboards that wasn’t on the list and made up a shopping list for when I was heading back to the desert.  And while at their house, I ate the same foods they did.  The whole family eats a pretty good, clean diet.  I dug out my Vitamix (one of the few things that I didn't put in the estate sale when I started full-timing) and put it on the kitchen counter so it would be easy to make healthy drinks for myself with all the fruits and veggies I got and planned to use.

So, fast forward seven months to November, and I've stayed on that plan pretty well since then.  I've also been walking more than usual and have lost a few pounds.  When I went to the doctor this time, a week after having lab tests to see what my cholesterol levels were now, both he and his nurse were really surprised.  Eating good foods, walking more and talking the Rx he prescribed in April brought my cholesterol down from 240 to 116.  I asked him if he would cut my prescription from a 20 mg pill to 10 mg dose every day, and he did.  So we’ll see what happens next year.  If my levels stay low with a continued good diet and exercise, I just might stop taking them completely. Smile

When I left San Diego I headed back to Hot Springs LTVA, but stopped overnight in El Centro, CA, about 30 minutes before the campground.  I had to renew my California Driver License and I figured that was a good place to do it, since it was still in California and I thought it would be less busy than the San Diego offices.  I had made an appointment, thank goodness, because it was VERY busy!  

I was worried about passing the written test (no driving test required), because it’s been so long since I took it.  But now they have the manual on-line, as well as practice tests.  If you need to renew your license, trust me, that’s a great way to study up.  I don’t know if I would have passed it or not without taking those tests a few times and reading the manual twice.  I was only unsure of one question, and answered it wrong, but got the rest right, so I’m good for five more years.  YAAAAAY!

Then we headed back to Hot Springs again, where we got another perfect site.  The sites here are so varied – I’ve been right out in the open with no bushes or trees, and I’ve had sites like this year’s with lots of bushes and trees for complete privacy.  This one was alongside the canal which is behind those bushes, so we had lots of tall reeds. 

As you can see in the photo below, there are areas here that are VERY dusty.  Look at the tire tracks in that deep dust.  

One morning when Katie and I were out walking we ran across this trail the dust.  Must be a snake, right?  Luckily all we saw were the tracks!

We again stayed a couple of weeks, then one morning I woke up to rain, packed up and headed for Quartzsite.  Nice having tires on my house.  Winking smile

That’s where we are now.  We’re back in a site we’ve had twice before.  Isn't it funny that out of thousands of places to park a motor home, a couple just feel right - and I keep going back to them.  This is our site, below.  As soon as we arrived, we were visited by a Broad-tailed Hummingbird, so I got out the feeders and set up a little Hummingbird Garden with three feeders.

I’ve a few more photos to post with birds and some new Katie pics, but I'll post them next time.

I always seem to give myself gifts this time of year, and this year is no different.  I really needed a new printer, and my Keurig single cup coffee maker had been leaking for a while, so I went to Wal-Mart and got a new Canon printer ($39! – and it does a nice job) and a new Keurig.  Thank you, ME! 

But the best Christmas present I gave myself – I’ve been wanting a 12V outlet up in my bunk area to plug my Sirius radio into.  I had wires running under my mattress to the one cabin 12V outlet at the foot of the bed, and this particular wire was too short and always a pain to get in the right place for a good signal.  Remember Brian, who installed my solar panel lifts?  Last year we talked about him installing a 12V outlet for me, and when I arrived in Quartzsite this year, he came over and got the job done.  He installed one that has the 12V outlet for my Sirius, two plugs for USB cords and also has a voltage readout for my house batteries.  He wired it right into my electrical panel which is hooked into the batteries.  I have some photos to show you, and will post them next time.

Thanks Brian, great job!!!  I’ve literally wanted another 12V outlet for years, so now I can cross that off the list.

If you need solar installed, or pretty much anything done in or around or on top of your RV, you can contact Brian at his new e-mail address: 

And that about catches us up for the last month.  I’ll try to post more in 2016 – and maybe more will be going on then, too.  2016 should be a different kind of travel year for us, we’ve made plans with Jeanne and her dog Riley to travel to northward to some new places in Arizona.  I'm looking forward to doing something different, and while we’re at it, I'm going to check out towns and park model parks to see if I can find a place I like with a park model I can afford so I'll have a home base part of the year.

I’ll leave you with a sunset from our site here at Quartzsite, they have just been gorgeous:

Close-up of one section so you can see the beautiful colors:

Thank you for using our Links or Search Box to order your online purchases this year!  (Remember to BEGIN your search with our Links.)  Katie and I sure do appreciate it!  :)

Merry Christmas to you all, and thank you for following along with me and Katie and leaving comments! 

PS – I’ve heard so much about the new OpenLiveWriter lately, I decided to try it.  And I LIKE it!  I think I’ll use it from now on.  Rolling on the floor laughing  Thank for all your posts about it. (Hope they get Spellcheck working soon.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Checking in...

I really need to catch up - here are the last photos from the Elephant Butte Lake and Caballo Lake State Park campgrounds in New Mexico:

First a few from Caballo.  This is what the campsites are like in one of the non-reservation campgrounds - lots of room.

Mountains across the water from the campground:

Here's a bit of the lake from one of the campsites:

We spent the whole summer, from the middle of July until the end of October, in the Elephant Butte/Caballo area to see how we would do in the heat of the summer with the high temps.  I decided that as long as we have full hookups, we're fine.  All it takes is air conditioning.  We just stayed inside during the heat of the day and it really wasn't that bad.  So now I know - just in case I decide to have my home base in an area with hot summers.

We spent most of our time in Elephant Butte area.  This was one of our sites:

There were Roadrunners coming through during the day toward the lake, and then later they headed back, so we saw a lot of them.  One day I heard a thump, looked up, and there was one on the hood of the RV's truck:  (Notice the Elephant Butte Lake view right out the front window - nice!)

Well, hello there.  What'cha doin'?

Then he flew off:

That was a first!

Here are some other Roadrunner pics:

He found a small depression in the sand and made it bigger.  Then he plopped down in it.

This is a photo over the lake at sunset one evening - it's of the eastern sky.  I love the softness of the colors from the east:

And here are three sunset photos from different places in the campsite at Elephant Butte as the sun was setting.  It was so pretty!

And here's little Katie, taking an afternoon rest:

Have a great day, everyone!  :)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Katie's zig-zag back

Every so often over the years, I've noticed a zig-zag pattern in Katie's back fur.  Lately, since she's gained a few extra pounds, it's much more pronounced:

I finally did a search on the zig-zags this morning, and the only thing I could find is that this is "raising her hackles," which is a sign of fear or stress.

"Various types of dog fur exist, from super short to so long the fur touches the ground. One thing all dogs have in common, however, is a patch of fur along their backs that has a different texture and appearance than the rest of the coat. That section of fur might seem insignificant, but it serves a greater purpose."

"All dogs have hackles along the base of their spines, which usually presents as fur that is coarser and denser than the rest of their coats. Depending on the breed of dog, hackles generally have a wrinkled or zigzag appearance and run from a dog’s neck or shoulder blades down to the base of his tail. Dogs can use their hackles to communicate their feelings or to appear taller in a threatening situation."

"You may occasionally see your dog raise his hackles. The section of your dog’s coat that normally has a wrinkled appearance will stand on end, or puff up. This is called piloerection, which is an involuntary physical response your dog will have to particularly frightening, exciting or stressful situations. Similar to how humans get goose bumps when they’re quite frightened or nervous, piloerection is a physical response to a surge of adrenaline caused by a variety of situations or stimulants."

Interesting, huh?  The strange thing is that with Katie, there doesn't seem to be anything different going on when the zig-zags are prominent.  She even has them inside The Palms when it's just Katie and me, doing normal day-to-day stuff.

The link in the third paragraph is the best explanation that I could find with a quick search on-line and they have more information if you're interested.  The site is The Daily Puppy.

BTW, Katie went to Sierra Veterinary Services again on Tuesday to have her teeth cleaned.  She had some gingivitis on the gum over her left canine and she needed her teeth cleaned to make sure it didn't become infected.  I was really worried about her; I've never had a dog with gingivitis before and was afraid she might lose some teeth, but when I picked her up, they said her teeth are great, very solid.  And now they are bright, shiny white again.  That was a relief!   So that is done and already her gum looks better.  I don't know if gingivitis goes away or not without meds, but she seems improved without any Rx.

We're at South Monticello Campground right now.  The campground road is so level and smooth, I can easily push Katie in her stroller.  The last two days we've walked 3+ miles each day.  That's also a sign that temps are coming down - when we were here in the middle of the summer it was WAY too hot to walk much.  This time the weather has been perfect, but last night and today are VERY windy.

BTW,  at Katie's first vet appointment on September 23rd she weighed in at 16.0 pounds (Ouch! Overweight pup!).  When she went in for her teeth cleaning 20 days later, she had lost 4 ounces.  That might not sound like much, but she's now 15.6 pounds and losing more every day.  Since she's feeling better and can walk more, she's getting a bit more exercise.  Also going back to the Royal Canin Chihuahua food is helping.  She should probably weigh 12 or 13 pounds, and hopefully we can get there.  The weight loss will also help her back legs.

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

This has to be a first!

Roadrunners for sale at Wal-mart!   LOL

I'll bet none of you has seen a Roadrunner at Wal-Mart.  I was walking around in the garden department of the Truth or Consequences Wal-Mart the other day and all of a sudden - there's a Roadrunner.  An employee was watering plants and when she saw him, she squirted him with a spray of water.  I'm sure they don't want large birds in their store, but that didn't make him leave.  He walked along, jumped up on the pile of bricks and bags of lawn soil, jumped back down, ran under the plant displays, he was having a gay ole time.  He let me get pretty close, too. 

Then finally he went under the pallets holding the large fertilizer bags and went out through the bars on the outer fence. 

You know me - that made my day!  Here he is:

Pretty cool, huh?

We had some real stormy weather last night - the electricity and free wi-fi in the park went out.  That's when it's nice to be set up for boondocking.  I went outside and unplugged from the electric post, just in case there was a surge when it came back on, and in just that minute outside I was drenched.  I had to change my clothes and get dry again.  It was POURING!  We had a brief bout of hail, and it sounded pretty big.  I opened the door to look outside on the ground to see the size of the hail, but it was coming down so hard, I closed the door.  Luckily the hail didn't last long.

It's cloudy and a little rainy this morning.  Katie and I went out for her potty break early (early for us - 7:30).  She usually stays in bed until 9 or 10, but today I made her get up early in case the skies opened up again.  Also, since it was pouring last night, she did't go outside for her last potty break, so she was ready.

The forecast is partly sunny today, the high is supposed to be 70 degrees.  Nice!   I think the really hot weather is finally gone for this season.

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

Friday, October 2, 2015

Lunar Eclipse in New Mexico

We were at Caballo Lake State Park in New Mexico for the lunar eclipse and we had a perfect view.  The air was clear, no clouds, no utility wires in the view and no other RVs in front of us to block our view.  It was a beautiful night.  I took photos intermittently until the eclipse was full, then stopped.  The rest of the eclipse would have been the opposite of the first half, so I didn't keep going out with my camera.  I remember seeing my first lunar eclipse at Quartzsite and it was amazing.  I think this one was even better. 

The moon itself started turning a rusty color as the eclipse evolved, but my camera - in order to get a good clear close-up - didn't pick up the red color except in one of the last photos that's not as clear as the others.

Here's the full moon coming up over the hill across from the campground.  You can barely see Caballo Lake on the bottom right.

Almost cleared the mountain, and it looks like the eclipse is beginning.

Isn't the moon beautiful in this closeup:

The lunar eclipse is starting.  We sure had a front row seat - it was right in front of The Palms:

Closeup of the lunar eclipse.

 Almost complete:

 Here's the almost complete eclipse with a different camera setting:

This one shows some of the reddish color - when I had clear photos, I lost the color:

Pretty much total:

And here's the total eclipse, you can hardly see it (move really close to your screen and you can see it right in the middle):

It's going to be a while before we see another one.  I wonder where I'll be for that one?   If it's in a city, I'll never get shots like this!

Katie is doing so well, she even wants to walk more.  I'm not wanting her to walk too much because it always enlarges her seroma when she overdoes it, but she's gained weight, and of course walking is good for her.  So, she's walking a little more now and riding in the stroller most of the time, still.  I took her to get a bath the other day and the groomer noticed she has some gingivitis on her left fang.  Luckily the vet is in the same building, so I went out and asked if they could look at her.  I thought the gum was infected, but not yet.  We scheduled a teeth cleaning for the end of October to get Katie's teeth back to pearly white.

Here she is sleeping with the tip of her tongue sticking out - I love that.  My little fatty:

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