Friday, March 27, 2015

Good-bye HOT Springs

Here's Katie the other morning trying to decide if she's ready to get up yet:

The other night I started her sleeping on the couch at night - it's too hot to have her sleeping up in the bunk with me and more than warm enough for her to sleep down on the couch.  The first morning I heard her making little noises, tiny, quiet noises, and I figured she wanted me to get up.  I looked down at the couch and she wasn't there, I scanned our little house, and she wasn't to be seen.  Finally I looked straight down, and there she was, wagging her tail, sitting on the top of the dinette seat back.  Looking at me and waiting.  She's so polite.  :)

Yes, it's been hot inside The Palms.  We seem to have acclimated to the heat quickly this year, though.  Between some cloudy days, some breezy days, and the little rain we had, it really wasn't too bad once I got the hang of it again - when to turn on fans, open windows, when to keep everything closed up, when to bring out the neck wraps from the fridge.  And now it's done, and we've moved on.

Hot Springs is a nice campground, an LTVA which is free if you purchase the $180 season pass.  I always do, because it gives me different places to spend some time during the winter, and then when I'm heading to San Diego in the spring, I have LTVAs along the way.  

I met some really nice people this time around.  The only people I've met before at Hot Springs were Peter and Bea, and they have always been friendly and nice neighbors.  This year I met two more couples, both with little Deer Chihuahuas - half the size of Katie.  Katie loved their dogs and actually chased and played with them a little.  

This area has some really pretty sights, such as the palm trees and the hot springs and pool inside the palms.  There are areas with lots of trees and bushes, too, and if you get there early enough (or late enough) in the season, you can nab a nice site.  

There are also things that aren't so pretty, and that's why I usually don't get a lot of photos here.  Every sunset photo is jammed with wires - there are LOTS of above-ground electrical wires everywhere you look.   And not far away is a power plant of some kind.  It emits a humming noise - it doesn't bother me, but might be a problem for people who are more noise sensitive.  We are also right next to the I-8 freeway, so the traffic and big rig noises all day and most of the night are very evident if you're camped near the front of the park, especially on hot nights when you want the windows open.  For the campers further back, the traffic is probably not an issue. I've always parked about halfway back and I don't remember hearing traffic before.  I do like the campsites in the front, though.  I have to walk to the dumpsters every day, so I'd rather be a little closer.

I like Hot Springs and visit every year on the way to San Diego, and usually on the way back to New Mexico.  This year I'm going to be so late it will probably be too hot to stay more than an overnight on the way back. We'll see.  My season pass isn't up until April 15.  There are RVers, mostly Canadians, who spend the whole winter here, and have for years and years.  

But just to let you know if you haven't been here, it's not perfect.  Most places aren't.  I don't know about other bloggers, but I usually don't post photos showing the unattractive things, unless I'm making a point.  Usually I pick the most favorable shots in an area, or of our campsite.  Of course!

From Wikapedia:  "CalEnergy currently runs a geothermal plant that generates enough power for 300,000 homes and could tap into more for up to 2.5 million homes."

We left Hot Springs on Wednesday and drove to El Centro to get gas and do a little shopping at Costco, then over to Wal-Mart where I finished our shopping and we spent the night in their parking lot.  They are very RV friendly at the El Centro Wal-Mart.  

Thursday morning we left El Centro - good bye to another winter season - and drove to Alpine to spend three nights at the Viejas Casino.  As you've probably read in other blogs, they allow a maximum stay of three nights.  There is a large parking lot, but the fenced in area on the north side of the lot is for RVs.  We'll stay here until Sunday morning, then drive into San Diego which is an hour drive to where I need to be.  I'm staying at Home Depots the first two nights in San Diego to be near early morning medical/dental appointments, then I'll head over to my son and d-i-l's house.  

Here are photos from Viegas' RV area - I'm in the RV lot and the other RVs are in the employee parking lot.  The signage isn't clear, and I started in that lot, then moved over when the guard told me were the RV lot was.  He told us all we could stay where we were, it wouldn't be a problem, but I wanted to move.  The only thing is this is where the buses and big rigs stay, too, and some of them keep their diesel engines running for a while during the day.  It was quiet all night, though.  Anyway, it's free, it's green and piney, and I'm happy to be here.  

The Palms and the buses in the RV lot:

The other four RVs (in the employee parking lot):

You can see we are right across the road from the other RVs.  It's actually the same lot, just fenced in for the RV area:
Katie is doing fine - thanks for your questions about her ankle.  She enjoys a short walk in the morning and pesters me around 5:30 for a walk with the stroller, so she's still getting out and loves our stroller walks.  I'm so glad I got that stroller last year!  

I've heard back from Discount Tire/America's Tire.  I received an e-mail thanking me for my feedback, said he said they were forwarding my concerns to the store manager and also to the Regional Executive Staff for their review.  He wrote that they will be in contact with me.  I'll let you know what happens. 

From me and Katie, have a great day, everybody!  :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

My Discount Tire/America's Tire Feedback Form comment

After reading the comments received so far this morning on yesterday's post, I left a comment on the Feedback Form on Discount Tire's website.  Thank you to Dave for providing me the link. This also explains how I ended up with the wrong tires.  Yesterday's post was really rambling, not my usual style.  This is what I wrote to them:

I had a very unfortunate experience in one of your El Centro, CA stores (it's at 899 Danenberg Drive), and a VERY GOOD experience in the other El Centro store (at 2010 N. Imperial Ave).

I have an RV blog and wrote a post about the three days it took to resolve everything.  If interested, you can read about it here:

There needs to be a training class for your employees regarding tire stem-valve extensions for dual rear tires.  Whether your company approves of their use or not, some of your customers are going to have them, and want to keep them.  If your techs aren't trained in their removal and how to re-install them, or if you don't want to deal with valve-stem extensions, then you should refuse to serve those people.

Some of your stores also need a seminar on how to treat women and especially older women. We are not children.  We are not senile. We have brains and can make decisions.

I purchased 4 new tires and wasn't asked once what I kind wanted. I had phoned the prior afternoon and was told they only had four tires that would fit my rims - I assumed those were the tires I was being sold.  They were rated BEST, and that's what I wanted.  I ended up with BETTER tires, less expensive, but not what I agreed to on the phone. When I told them my name at the store and that I had called the previous afternoon about four new motor home tires, I assumed a record was kept of the phone call. Apparently there was not. If my salesman was unaware of the previous afternoon's phone call, how could he sell me tires without a conversation about what I was looking for in a tire?  He went outside and checked my existing tire, went back into the office and called Michelin for a warranty discount. I was never told the tire price, just that they gave me a 40 percent discount.

When I asked to see what he wrote on the order, I was given a very brief glance at the tire write-up with my discount for a warranty issue, basically shown what I was SAVING. He quickly pointed to a couple of spots on the paper, which was not right in front of me.  I still thought I was trading up for the Michelin LTX MS2 tires in stock for $182 each, less the warranty discount, that was discussed in the previous afternoon's phone conversation. He pointed out total price of the tires with your store insurance, and without the store insurance.  Then he hustled outside into the shop with the order. 

There is something wrong with that - and I'm not blameless, for sure. As I wrote in my blog post, there are a number of things I should have done, and didn't.

This first shop where I bought the tires - the employees were not overtly rude, they just ran over me and gave me no options. I was treated like a child, or an old lady with no sense. And my technician was young and seemed inexperienced. I have no issue with him, except he needs more training - and that's not his fault, but the fault of the management. He was very polite, just didn't know enough about my set-up to correctly help me.

On the other hand, the second America's Tire on Imperial Ave in El Centro that I visited the next day, Friday, and the following Monday, did EVERYTHING right.  I can't say enough about them.  They deserve an award for outstanding customer service.  Sam, the Manager, obviously trains his staff well, and shows them by example how to provide excellent customer service.

Service, either good or bad, comes from the top. Kudos to Sam!

I hope you take this comment seriously.  I know Discount Tire/America's Tire is the "go-to" company for many, many RVers, and I'm hoping that Sam and his crew at the Imperial Ave. store are still representative of the mission of your company.

NOTE:  As I hit "Submit,"  I received the following message - I'll let you know if I receive a response.  :)

Your eMail has been Submitted

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We generally respond to emails within 1-2 business days.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Little Katie and Good/Bad Tire Shops

First....   Katie photos.  

I looked at her the other day and she glanced over at me.  She had the tip of her tongue out.  So cute!  I got the camera and took a shot, then a close-up. 

She looked away, but guess what, Katie?  I can still see you - and I took another:

Second...   The new rear tires episode 

The BAD service

This was long and very boring post, but I decided I didn't want to document it all, so I've trimmed it quite a bit. And it's still very long... and probably very boring.  I have saved my original to a Word doc, though, so next time I buy new tires (or any large purchase) I can read it and not let this happen again. 
First, and this store is not recommended, I called Discount Tire/America's Tire in El Centro last Wednesday afternoon.  There are two stores there, and I picked the wrong one for my purchase.  It's at 899 Danenberg Drive.  Go there at your own risk.  (The GOOD ONE will be discussed in a minute.)  

From start to finish it was a bad experience.  I didn't get the tires I thought I was buying (my bad for not double checking), I was treated like I didn't know anything, lectured to about my valve-stem extenders by my tech, his boss and the manager of the store.  The tech broke one of the extensions when he was taking them off - I don't think he knew what they were - and the new tires were put on without re-installing the extensions, without asking me.  I told them: 1.  How do I check the psi on the tires if I don't have valve-stem extensions, and 2.  I have a TPMS and need extensions to attach them to.   So they agreed to put them back on, but they weren't happy about it.  Luckily I have extras in The Palms to replace the broken one.  They had to remove the new tires to re-install the extensions.

When I was following my salesman out to the rig to show me where to park it, he sold me their tire insurance.  At first I said no, but he talked me into it.  While I was waiting I changed my mind and when I went in to pay after the tires were done, I told the store manager I didn't want the insurance.  

He was not happy.  He said that would be a problem. The invoice was already prepared and the approvals with the discount were done.  The people back east at Michelin, who approved the discount, were gone for the day.  I stood there and said nothing.  Finally he said to take a seat, this might take a while.  

It did take a while.  After everything was rung up and paid for, he put my receipt in an envelope and gave to to me.  Apparently, I found out later, they are supposed to also include a warranty card that has the tire information, and info I'd need to register my tires on-line in case of a recall.  I didn't get one of those.   

As a side note, the reason I first purchased valve-stem extensions is because the Discount Tire in San Diego recommended that I get them.  Same company.  Weird.  I'd go there when I was in San Diego to have my tires checked and they always had to remove the outside rear tires to check the pressure on the inner tires.  He said when I got them, come back and he'd install them for me.  Since then it's been easy to check the psi on all the tires.
I had such horrible service, they rushed me, talked down to me, I was really given the bum's rush.  The office guy helping me did get me 40 percent off new tires through the warranty on the old tires, though, but that's about the only positive, and it's because the old tire sidewalls had ozone damage. 

I'm leaving out a lot of details, but much of this mess was my fault, maybe all of it because I let it happen.

I should have said, "Slow down.  Quit walking away from me.  Speak slowly so I can understand what you're saying. I have some questions.  Are you getting the discount on the tire we talked about on the phone?  What is the warranty?  How much is the cost of each tire?  What date was it manufactured?  I want an experienced employee working on my motor home.  Stop telling me the company policy on valve-stem extensions - I have them - deal with it or I'll go elsewhere."  I was so rushed by them I never did any of that.  And this is a BIG, important purchase!  I can only say, "Please, God, let me do this better next time."  I am as mad at myself as I am at them.  

BYW, the tires I got were cheaper than the ones I thought I was getting, so all in all it was less money. But I wanted the BEST tires, not the BETTER ones.  Honestly, I wish I could do the day over.

The GOOD service:

After I got back to the campsite and tried to re-do the sensors, one of the rear ones didn't work.  It showed 0 psi.  I also wanted to check the date code, but it was facing in on both rear-outer tires, so I couldn't get it.

The next day, Friday, I went back to town and stopped at the other Discount Tire.  This one is across the street from Costco at 2010 N. Imperial Ave., El Centro, CA 92243.  760-353-5519.  If you ever need a Discount Tire in El Centro go to this one.  

I wanted to get the date code and I needed the valve stem checked.  

Sam is the Manager at the Imperial Ave store, and he was very polite and concerned that when I left his store, I was satisfied and comfortable with the new tires.  Since I didn't buy the tires at his store, he didn't get paid for the time they spent working with me, but I was treated like a valued customer.

He had one of his techs, Temo, check everything out.  Temo was familiar with dual tire valve-stem extensions, looked at the tires, checked the psi and made some adjustments, and I told them I wanted to see the date code.  It's August 2014 - seven months since the date of manufacture.  Because of the date code and the fact that they were dirty and scuffed and I told Temo I didn't believe these were new tires.  I said I thought the other store sold me used tires. (At this point if Katie was missing I would have thought they took her.)

Sam came over and I said the people at the other store rushed around so much and talked so fast, I hardly knew what was going on.  I didn't even get the tires I thought I was getting.  He offered to call over and see if my old tires were still there, and I could go back and have them put back on, and then start over.  Wow, at that point, it sounded good, but I was hot, and unhappy, and exhausted, and I didn't want the other store employees near my RV again.  

Sam and Temo took me over to a pile of new tires they just had delivered to show me what they looked like.  Most had a stripe of colored chalk or a white number written on the sidewall.  My tires didn't have any of that.  I said I thought they are used.  Then we went back to my tires and Sam showed me the little rubber thingies sticking up from the tread of the tire.  He said new tires have those for a short time, then they wear away as the tire is used.  THEN I believed him - these were not used tires, and he proved it to me.  Thank you, Sam!  (I know I'm sounding like a royal b*tch, but I SO thought I had been taken advantage of, and I was so mad at myself, I didn't believe anything good about the other store.)  

So, that issue solved, Temo said everything looked good and we got the full DOT code on one of the tires.  Not knowing I'd need them all to register my tires, that's all I got. (Of course, Temo didn't know I didn't get the registration card with all that info from the other store.)  I thanked them and left.  

I parked across the street at the Costco and checked the psi myself but I still couldn't get the rear right outer tire sensor to register.  I was still showing "0" psi.  I called Dion, the man who sold me the TPMS at the Big Tent at Quartzsite, and told him about the sensor and he had me move it around on the other tires, and it worked on those, so he said it was the tire stem on that one tire - #6, and not the sensor. 
I hated to go back to the Good America's Tire and take more of their time - this is all free, they don't charge for checking tires - but I drove back across the street.  Temo came out and I explained what was happening, and that there was something wrong with tire #6. Temo checked the pressure again.  He had to take the tire off since the stem was on the inside of the tire.   He checked it with my gauge, his gauge, and finally with just the TPMS sensor, but he wasn't getting enough air through the stem, it was hit or miss.  He said he didn't trust the stem, so he took the tire into the shop and replaced the valve stem with a new one.  When he checked it again, it worked.  (I didn't know the tire stores put the stems on new tires.  I thought they came that way.)  I went on my way again with profuse thanks.
When I got home to our site, I tried to register my new tires so I'd be notified if there were any recalls. But to register them, I needed the whole DOT code for each tire, and I didn't have that, only the one that Temo and I checked to make sure they were new tires.  I called the Michelin number and asked if I had to have all four tire DOT codes, including the date code, and she said yes. Rats! I also asked her about the age of my new tires. She said 7 months is not a problem at all, so I felt better about that, at least.
When I hung up I decided to call the original store who sold me the tires, to make an appointment on Monday to get the DOT codes.

The BAD service, again...

When I called, the manager answered the phone and I told him what I needed, and that I wanted someone experienced with RV dually tires with valve-stem extensions if they had to take off the tires to get the codes.  He said they didn't need to take the tires off, but started lecturing me about how they didn't put the extenders back on tires because they tended to leak air, etc. etc. etc.  He went on and on.  I finally interrupted him and said, "Okay that's enough!  Stop lecturing me. This is MY motor home, these are MY tires, I want to check MY OWN tire pressure.  I also NEED extensions because I have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System.  I NEED extensions and I CHOOSE to have them.  I don't want to be driving around with flat inner dualies because I don't know what the pressure is in the tires!"  He said, "I'm NOT lecturing you, but etc. etc. etc, (fingers in my ears - lalalalalalalalala).   I said, "That's enough, I'll call another tire store."  He says, "No, we'll do it."  I said, "No, I'm calling another store.  Good bye."  And I hung up. 

The GOOD service, again... 

Then I called the GOOD America's Tire and made an appointment for Monday at 10 am to have them check all four tires for their DOT numbers.  I hated to do that - they didn't get any money from the sale of these new tires, but they seemed to be doing all the work.  

This would be my third visit at their store. But I really didn't want the other store to get anywhere near my motor home.  (I have to say, I'm usually very easy to get along with, and I'll put up with stuff and still be smiling, but when someone crosses the line, I'm done.  And I was done with the first store.)

Before I got there, I stopped and got two boxes of donuts for the staff as a thank-you for all the time they've spent with me. They were so appreciative, but they deserved donuts, and more - their customer service couldn't have been better.  All the way around.  And poor Temo, he has the patience of a saint - he was working outside in the sun, with no shade available, and it was 90+ degrees outside.  He was removing tires and replacing them by hand, using hand tools, and he so pleasant throughout it all.  I don't think he was there when I was there on Monday - I hope they saved him a couple of donuts! 
Matt, the Sr. Assistant Manager, came outside with me where I was parked in their lot and got down on the ground with his flashlight and was able to read all the codes using his light, either from under the rig or through the wheel cover holes.  I had to move the rig once to get a number where he could see it, but he got it done. 
Thanks, Sam, Temo and Matt!  Your Customer Service rates an AAA+. 

I can't say enough about your store, your skills, your service and your courteous treatment.  I'm usually on top of things and in control of whatever I'm doing, but after spending time at the first store I felt like a very discombobulated senior citizen who had lost it.  When I left your store I felt like a valued customer.  Thank you!

The Warning - in case you need to smog your rig 

This is the warning I wanted to give RVers from California who need to get their rigs smogged every other year to get it registered.  Don't do it in El Centro, CA.  Not because the service was poor, it was actually very good, but because of the set-up of the only shop I could find in El Centro that was authorized to smog an RV.  I almost didn't fit, and a larger rig wouldn't fit into his only space to be smogged. 

I needed a "Star" shop - something to do with the weight of the vehicle.  Which, of course, costs more.  $80.00.  Plus 5% if you use a credit card at D & L General Auto Repair.  Yeah.  
I don't get these smog places.  They all seem to be in very OLD garages, and hard to get in to.  At least the ones I've seen are like this.  This place was big, but getting into the bay to smog the truck was SO tight, I couldn't drive straight into it. I had to go in at an angle, through the steel columns of the bay next to the one I had to be in.  Daniel, the owner, offered to drive The Palms in for me, but I said I'd do it, so helped guide me in and then back out, but I only had about 1 to 2 inches on each side, literally, going in and backing out.  Less if you count my side mirrors. And I JUST made it. Or thought I did.

Later I noticed I barely scrapped the driver's side.  On one of those huge rust-painted steel columns that hold up the roof. (Luckily I was able to remove the paint scrape later that day.)  Remember, The Palms is only 24 feet long.  I wouldn't go there again, and if your rig is longer, you definitely won't fit.  :(

But now the truck is smogged and won't need it again for two years. 

Between the heat of the day, the tight quarters at the smog place and the stress caused by the first tire place, I was SSSSOOOOOOO glad to be back in camp that afternoon. I didn't get back until around 6:00 pm, and that's when the other camper was parked so close to our site that we moved.  What a day!  And no, it wasn't still better than a day working.  Thursday and Friday might have been the two worst days I've had on the road in four years.  Unless, like childbirth, I've forgotten other ones. Oh yeah, I guess I can think of a few that were worse.  The high speed 5-hour drive from Quartzsite to San Diego for major surgery that night comes to mind.  Remember that?  LOL  Like Jeanne says, If it doesn't kill us, we have a story to tell...   or something like that.  :)

So - if you want super tire service by a stop with a manager and crew who know what they are doing and who will treat you with respect, here's where you need to go:

America's Tire
2010 N. Imperial Ave.
El Centro, CA 92243.  

And yes, I'll add both tire shops to the website about RV Service

At this point, I'm very happy with my new tires and would definitely go back to any Discount Tire/America's Tires except the one that sold me my tires.  The BAD one.

Wow, this is still WAY too long, too may words and not enough photos, but it's done.

On a more positive note, it was cooler for three or four days, it even rained a little, and last week had Social Security Wednesday!  A GOOD day!  Tons of bills to pay.  Between my RV registration, smog certificate, RV insurance, new tires, dinette cushions and Katie's vet appt, this has been a very expensive couple of months.  Thank goodness for my shoppers!  You guys really helped.  I put any money I make on this website into a special account for tires (or other emergencies).  Even though I had to get them two years early, I did get the 40% discount on the rear tires, and had enough money in the account for the tires.  So, a big thank you to you all.  :)

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

And if you've made it this far, congratulations - your perseverance is commendable!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Baking at Hot Springs, LTVA - (no, this isn't a "Foodie Post")

Katie and I are slowly making our way west to San Diego to visit the kids, celebrate Easter with family, and get my annual medical, dental and vision appointments taken care of. 

We are at Hot Springs LTVA a little east of Holtville, CA.  Wow, is it getting warm!  It's been 93 degrees in The Palms almost every day since we've been here.  If I get on it early and set the rig up before it gets too hot with window coverings, fans, etc. we do okay.  Right around 93 degrees I pull the cold neck wraps out of the fridge and those cool us off.  Right now it's 4:30 and 95.4 in here.  Surprisingly, though it feels warm, we're not tooo hot.

One day I had to turn on the A/C, I waited too long and we were HOT.  Once it gets to that point, nothing works except the Air Conditioning.

We are late this year heading to San Diego.  Previous years at this point we had already left San Diego and were in New Mexico by now.  So this heat is new for us, usually when we're here the weather is a bit cooler, but we haven't had any high winds, and that's nice.  Mornings are wonderful, afternoons are HOT and evenings are buggy.  But somehow, Katie and I are having a great time. 

Most of the RVs are gone - this spot is full of Canadians for the season, and when it 's time to head north, Hot Springs LTVA empties out.   There are just enough people here now to make it friendly, there are lots of good campsite available, and it's pretty quiet.  Things are winding down.

We got a very nice spot at the front of the campground, close enough to the trash that Katie and I have had just a short walk each day to dump the trash.  This is our first campsite - I loved it:

Then last week we went to El Centro for new tires and to have the truck smogged, and when we got back, a fifth wheel had driven through our site to get to the one between us and our neighbor in front of us.  He was very close - especially considering there was a whole, long empty space along the posts behind our site - enough to fit five other rigs.  Somehow it was important that he park right in front of us.  I had left our mat, two chairs and a table there to save our site.  I couldn't believe it when I returned late in the afternoon, steaming hot and super tired - and saw that rig there.

I parked The Palms down at the other end of the empty row and walked up and back three times to retrieve our stuff.  This new spot is actually more level and I like it better.  I think.  Jeez, what's with these unconscious people.  "It's alllllll about you, I know.  It's okay - I'll move."  Well, that's not exactly what I was thinking...  Ha!  I gave their rig the stink-eye a few times as I was moving my things, and haven't looked their way since.  That'll show em'!

So this is our new spot:

 Lots of room and privacy - nice!  Here are a couple of neighbors:

There are lots of those old poles and wires here - plenty of places for the birds to stand and check out what's going on.  Or just sit and rest.  

 You looking at ME?

Our first afternoon here Katie and I walked down to the Hot Springs to check it out again this year.  It was much prettier than last year, when all the reeds were laying on the top of the water.  They must have come in sometime during the year and cleaned out most of the dead reeds.

The other day one of my neighbors warned me about walking Katie down to the Hot Springs area.  There is a sign that no dogs were allowed, but I thought that meant inside the fence that's around the shower/hot springs area.  She said no, a woman was walking her dog down in that area outside the fence and a Ranger came up and gave her a $300 fine.  No warning, just fined her.  Needless to say, we won't be walking across the street again.  There is a double vault toilet building over there, and that's the cut-off point.  No dogs beyond the toilet building.  I'm sure glad we didn't get caught past that point.  :)

I am SO enjoying my clean, waxed motor home! It was so bad, and now when I see a piece of dirt or dust I grab something to clean it off.  THERE WILL BE NO BUGS ALLOWED!  I'm keeping up with the tires, too, using the 303 Aerospace spray that is so highly recommended by my friends.  

I had to e-mail Dr. Don at Foothills Animal Clinic in Yuma on Saturday.  Poor Katie - her ankle mass was so large and hard I was worried.  She didn't act like it was bothering her, but I wanted more info from Don on the prescription he mentioned.  He e-mailed me back and said he would send an Rx to any pharmacy near us if I needed it.  In the meantime, I'm going to keep using aspirin.  I think between our morning walks to the trash cans and our campground strolls in the evenings, and maybe the heat, it's been too much for her.  Luckily the ground here is flat and smooth enough for me to easily push Katie in the stroller, and that's what we're going to do.

This is what her ankle looked like the last time we walked.  Poor thing.  But she LOVES riding in the stroller, so that's what we're doing now.

I had a couple of hot, tense, stressful days in El Centro last week, Wednesday and Thursday.  Then I went back this morning.  I'm going to post about them next time, when I've completely calmed down.  And I'll post a recommendation, a non-recommendation and a warning.  I'm so glad it's done and OVER.

From me and Katie, melting away at Hot Springs LTVA, have a great Monday, everyone!  :)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Gettin' things done...Vet, Wash/Wax, Re-Cushion, Battery Check, Tire Check

Jeanne and I moved over to Sidewinder Road last week.  We decided we liked this area better, and it's closer to Yuma.  We're here for a few more days, then Jeanne is moving north and I'm going to head across the freeway to Pilot Knob for a week, then east to Hot Springs, and finally to San Diego.  Medical  appointments are scheduled, and I'll be able to spend some time with Tom and Trish and the grand-kids.  Then my daughter and son-in-law, Kristy and Matt, and their kids are coming to San Diego for Easter and we'll all be together for five days to visit and catch up.  I'm sure looking forward to that!  I have a project - a little mod in the kitchen - that Tom is going to help me with, and I'm really looking forward to that, too.  I'll tell you more about that later.

Here we are, right before the rain the other day.  The sky in the north got SO dark, it was really pretty:

While I've been here - near Yuma - I've gotten some things checked off my list:

1.  Katie's Vet Appointment

I wanted to get a second opinion about the Seroma on her right ankle, and she has a new lump on her left ankle.  What's with Katie and ankles?

I've heard good things about this vet hospital from Gayle and Jim, and Jimbo, so I called to see if they could get Katie in and check her out. Katie is such a trooper.  She was so scared - she just sat in my lap, quietly, looking scared the whole time while other dogs came in and pulled at their leashes, barked, etc.  In the exam room she didn't want to be on the table, but she minded me and behaved.  Such a good girl.

We saw Dr. Don, and I really liked him.  He seemed to know what he was doing, was super nice to Katie, complimenting her and talking to her as he checked her over.  He checked out the Seroma and the other cyst, and said the Seroma was obviously caused by a very painful, traumatic experience for Katie.  But at this point, he thinks the joint is leaking the fluid, and said it looks like she has arthritis in that ankle.  Her range of motion is so much greater in the left ankle.

Dr. Don said he could prescribe something for the arthritis, some sort of steroid, or I could give her baby aspirin as needed if that did the trick. Other than that, he said she was healthy and he wouldn't do anything else.  That was a relief!  So Katie is good to go and no issues with either ankle mass.  He thought my idea of getting a dog stroller was the best thing I could do for her, and for me if I wanted to still walk with her, and we should continue using it when we walk.  :)

2.  Wash and Wax The Palms

The Palms was SOOOO  overdue for a total wash and wax, I had to get this done while I was near Yuma.  Katie and I went into Yuma to meet the guys from Benjamin's (see info below). 

The two young men who came out to do the job were so sweet, very polite, and did a fantastic job.  I really didn't expect The Palms to look so clean and pretty when they were done.  The price for a rig my size was $99, but he gave me a senior citizen discount, and my final cost was $90.  I gave each of the guys a $10 tip, so all in all, $110.  Cheap at the price!

They spoke Spanish (and perfect English), and while they were working right outside my window I could hear them talking away in Spanish, telling stories, laughing, really enjoying themselves.  It's so nice to hire people who seem to like their work, and have fun while doing it.

Check out that ladder!  When I came outside to see how they were doing, they asked me if I'd mind moving the rig a few feet to the right.  Geez, of course!  I let them know I was VERY pleased with the work they did. I'll definitely use them again.

3.  Check House Batteries

I went to Interstate Battery Systems in Yuma to see if they would check my house batteries. I wanted to see if I needed new ones yet, or if these were still functioning they way they should.  The guy checked them out and said they were just fine.  All the cells were good, and I don't need to replace them.  That was good news.

4.  Check Tire Pressure

I went to Big O Tires on Frontage Road in Yuma and had them check the pressure in my tires.  When I had the tire monitoring system installed, everything was good.  Then I got two new tires and the front tires were put on the right rear. That screwed up the TPMS, and I needed to have each tire filled 3 psi over the recommended amount.  The way to re-set the TPMS for the tires is to let out 3 psi from each tire, then re-set each monitor.  I figured I could release 3 psi, re-set each monitor, and then drive into town and have the tires pumped up, or I could have them filled, and add an additional 3 psi.  Then when I release the 3 psi, I can re-set the monitor and be done.  I haven't released the air yet, maybe tomorrow if this super windy spell stops.  But I'm almost done with that chore. 

5.  Re-Cushion the Dinette Seats

I sit at my dinette all the time, and after 4+ years, the centers of the cushions are sagging - in spite of the fact that I'm as light as a feather.  Ha!  Periodically I flip the cushions, then switch them out but honestly, the cushions were shot.  So, first Gayle and Jim mentioned the place they've used, and I also called Al's RV Service and Supply on Fortuna Rd in Yuma and they recommended the same place.

While I was in town getting The Palms prettied up and Katie checked out, I stopped by Action Awnings to see what it would cost me to have the seats re-cushioned.  I figured if it was under $200, I'd do it.  I brought in one of the cushions and Robert got a 5" piece of foam, put it next to the cushion and said to try them both out.  The new foam was so much firmer than the existing cushion, and he quoted me $189 for two cushions.  What I thought was nice was when I asked him what it would cost for one cushion, he quoted exactly half. I figured it would cost half plus a percentage.

Anyway, the price was right, so I ordered two foam cushions.  Jeanne and I went into town Thursday for shopping and laundry, and dropped off the second cushion, and a couple of hours later, picked them up.  They look perfect, and are so much better than the original foam.  They seem to be a better quality, a denser foam, so hopefully they will last and last.

When I was walking to the rig after completing all the chores on Tuesday, I looked down and saw a shiny quarter.  It was a good day.  Everything we did and everywhere we went, we had good news.  It was a busy, but very good day.

When Jeanne and I were heading toward the freeway on our way home on Thursday, we were behind a motorcyclist with his dog in a cart - so cute.  We thought the dog should have doggles, though.  What a set-up, huh?

Notice the hitch-hiker on the side of the road?  He had on a weird red wig, and the dog checked him out when they passed.

Here's the final photo for today.   Instead of a sunset, this is a sunrise the other morning.  I've posted a few sunrises, and honestly, I think they look just like sunsets.

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

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Photos from American Girl Mine and Sidewinder Road

Jeanne and I left Mittry Lake last week and drove over to an area off I-8 that I've been wanting to visit.  There are free boon docking areas along the 8.  The first, heading west, is off Sidewinder Road, and then further down is Ogilby Road to either Sidewinder Road  or American Girl Mine Road.

First we tried American Girl Mine Road.  Jeanne has camped there before and we went down the road a ways to a place she had been before.  After spending one night there, we decided to head back to the Sidewinder Road area so I could see what that was like.  We both agreed we liked this area better.  Plus it's closer to Yuma and we had things to do in Yuma over the next couple of weeks.

I've taken it pretty easy, but have gotten in a few short walks and done many inside chores as well as a couple trips to town. 

Below are some photos I've taken of this area.   It's just regular desert, like most of the places in this southern part of the State of Arizona, with beautiful mountains in the distance (actually not so distant in this area) and gorgeous sunsets.  We've had some windy days, some beautiful days, some cloudy days.  Today we're expecting rain around 5 pm, and according to my app forecasts, it should last all  night.  That'll be a good drink of water for this desert area.

The first photos are the views out my windows near American Girl Mine Road:

In town for Yuma's Tuesday Farmer's Market last week - I love this little cactus garden outside a law office on the main street.

We walked down one of the side streets to check out the little businesses.  This one has two doors, Enter and Exit.  The various businesses were painted different colors, and it was a nice little diversion from the farmer's market vendors.  We actually headed down that street because someone had told Jeanne about a candy shop there.  I think we forgot about it, though, after window shopping on the way.  The candy shop was at the end of the street and we didn't go that far - probably a good thing.

Here's the Bold Crew - Jeanne's Lazy Daze pulling her toad.  I followed along on the way to Ogilby Road.

Here we are in our little camp off American Girl Mine Road:

Then at Sidewinder - Jeanne took this photo of The Palms and the mountains in the distance.  Notice The Palms has her socks on.  After having to buy two new tires, she will wear her socks from now on when we're camped in sunny weather.  :)   (I put only two covers on the side that has the afternoon sun beating down on it.)

Here's Jeanne's motor home in the sunset - the pink reflection was so bright, but I wasn't facing the right way to get a good photo of The Palms in the sunset.  Just a little off.  But I thought this was really pretty and caught Riley in the photo, too:

The next four photos are sunsets on four different evenings - they were all just beautiful:

We've been throwing the ball for the dogs a little - they get tired of playing long before we do.  Katie has bright yellow tennis balls, but here she is stealing Riley's red/blue ball.

That's about it for now, there's not a lot going on.  Tuesday I'm taking The Palms to Yuma to be washed and waxed, and then over to the Vet's for Katie.  I want her Seroma re-checked and I've found a little growth on her other ankle.  Hopefully she is fine, but...  better safe than sorry.  While we're in town we have a ton of other stops to make, so that will be a long, busy day.

From me and Katie, warm and snuggley in The Palms waiting for the rain, have a great Sunday, everyone!  :)