Saturday, November 14, 2009

Today, I got shots of Ron using his new skill saw, cutting a piece of board to fit between the tanks in the bay.

Left to right; Gene Thaden, me, Ron, Dorothy & Chuck Adams

Lots of people standing outside, as well as inside

But, apparently, there was more room than he thought, because he was able to get it out of the bay without moving anywhere.

Last Wednesday, Veteran's Day, we joined fellow Boomers, Chuck & Dorothy Adams & Gene for dinner at Applebee's, who was offering free meals to military personnel, both active duty & retired. The restaurant was mobbed!

In this picture, you can see how fairly narrow it is

Sitting in Gene & Kathy Thaden's driveway, nice shade from the tree next door

Ron thought he would have to drive the bus forward so he could get the tank out, because we're parked in a rather narrow driveway as seen in these pics...

The black tank is to the extreme left, the fresh water is in middle and gray tank is on right

After sitting on the big one for well over a year, it seems so strange sitting on this one, it's so short! But, I'm sure we'll get used to it in time and it won't feel so strange...

The new, smaller version...

The old toilet, see how big it is?

Now, I just wanted to show you what the old one looked like compared to the new one we have, those of you who have seen it in person, know exactly what it looked like. You can definitely see the difference between the two. One added plus is we now have extra storage room behind the toilet...

Putting a riser down to raise the toilet a bit

A nice neat little hole right above the tank

Ron is using a special tool cutting a round hole right through the ceramic tile

Where the composting toilet once sat, notice the vent still in place...but, not for long.

Saturday, November 14

Hi everyone, well, we've just been hanging out with Gene & Kathy, visiting with friends around the Foothills area. One of the things we definitely wanted to get done right after we got back to Yuma was take out the composting toilet. Even though we thought it was a good idea at the time we built the bus, it just wasn't working for us. For one thing, we didn't realize just how much electricity it would take, it takes much more to run than our refrigerator! In hindsight, we think the 12 volt type would probably have worked a lot better for us, as well as a much smaller toilet, but, too late now. So, out with the old and in with the new. We got a porcelain bowl toilet, so it would be easier to clean.

The next thing we had to decide was, did we want to take the 100 gallon gray tank out and get two smaller tanks or... We found out that we would have had to special order the two tanks to get the specifications we wanted, so we'll just keep the big tank and use that for the black water and we bought a 45 gallon gray water tank. We did that when we drove to California last week and Ron has spent the rest of the week re-routing the pipes from the shower and two sinks out of the black and into the gray. He finished it yesterday, but, still wants to run the vent pipe differently, because with that big toilet out of the way, there is a lot of room now and the pipe is very visible. He's hoping to run it through the cabinet so it will be out of sight.

Friday, November 6, 2009

As you can see, it sits right under the engine ready to catch any drips

These next two pictures are of something Ron added to the bus after we attended the bus rally in Texas. Ron has been trying to figure out how to stop the oil from spewing out the back of the bus, getting the bus and car all oily after a days' driving. He learned a thing or two about something called "slobber tubes", an appropriate name, that's for sure. Well, apparently they were talking about it at the rally, so he found out how to stop it from happening and this is the result. Now, we just have to drive it somewhere to see how well it works....

These next two pictures are a little hard to see, because of the sun screen over the window, but, there was a bird that was fascinated with our side mirror. I'm sure he saw the love of his life in there, but, for the life of him, couldn't figure out why she wasn't playing with him. He would flutter up to the top of the mirror and then fly down, looking in, for about a half an hour for two days in a row. Poor thing, I think he just gave up trying after that.

Clockwise around the table; Patsy Cook, me, Gene & Kathy Thaden, Mary & Bob Schaal and Ron

Getting my birthday ice cream as the staff sang Happy Birthday to me

Lute's Casino in downtown Yuma

At one point, I was driving, so Ron took this picture through the upper eyebrow window

Coming into Willcox, AZ, we passed a cattle drive going across the bridge

An interesting sight we saw on a hill as we were driving down the freeway

The Bernhagen's house and spacious side yard where we parked.

November 6, 2009

Hello everybody, wow, I need to keep up with my posts in a more timely fashion. So much has been going on since we left El Paso, that for awhile, I just didn't want to write anything.

We did go to our Boomer friends, Paul & Stephanie Bernhagen's house in Las Cruces. They have built themselves a beautiful home in a nice location. Even though they live in a housing subdivision, we & another Boomer couple, David & Diane Sears, fit quite nicely in their side yard. I only got a few pics of the outside, never thought to take some of the inside or the backyard. We had a nice four day stay with our friends, with happy hours, dinner out for Mexican food and ice cream for dessert. We went on a couple of walks around the neighborhood and Diane & I got lost coming back, had to call for directions as it was getting dark and there were no street signs. But, we made it back okay.

We had been monitoring our friend, Dan's, progress with his cancer, that we had just found out about a month before. (he and his wife, Margie, have a bus like ours) On Sunday, we learned the
sad news that he had passed away earlier that morning. We were very sad, because we had hoped we'd be able to see him again when we got back west, at least to say goodbye, but, that was not to be. Since we were leaving that next morning, Monday, we had planned on stopping in Benson for a few days to visit friends in the area. We didn't know when the funeral was going to be, but, figured it wouldn't be for about a week, so figured we had plenty of time to get back to Yuma.

Well, as it happened, everything pretty much happened at once. We would miss the viewing on Tuesday night, but the Mass was Wed morning, early and the burial would be that afternoon. That meant we HAD to get back to Yuma pronto. We ended up just staying one night at the SKP park in Benson and did see a few friends, we'll have to go back to see the rest another time. We left Benson Tuesday morning and drove to Yuma, getting there around 4. We dropped the rig off at a fellow Boomer's house, (Gene & Kathy Thaden), took quick showers, got a few things together and drove over to another bus friend's house and we all drove to Long Beach, CA. We got there around 10:30 at night and stayed with a family friend who graciously opened her house to us. All told, we were on the road for about 12 hours and we were exhausted!

But, the important thing to all of us was that we were there for Dan, Marge & his whole family, to honor a good and dear friend and say one last goodbye. We were glad to see that Marge was holding up fairly well, and it was so good to see her. We are going to miss Dan very much, and as an extension, Margie, too. They were part of our bus club, so we saw them at every rally, as well, as personally getting together with them on a regular basis. Ron was in phone contact with him several times a week, just checking to see how they both were doing and what we were doing. As I mentioned to our other bus friends, it was Dan who died, but, we're also going to lose Margie too, as she won't be coming to any more functions. We'll be seeing her occasionally, but, in a different way, us going up to Long Beach to visit.

So, we're finally back in Yuma, our bus is still parked at our friends and Ron is in the act of changing out the composting toilet to a regular RV toilet. We got back right before my birthday, so invited a few friends to join us at a local eatery in downtown Yuma to celebrate our 30 year anniversary and my birthday. We celebrated being married 30 years back in March, when we went a two week cruise to Hawaii. We had a wonderful evening being with friends.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Like I said before, we are in El Paso, parked in the famcamp near the Ft Bliss Army base. The famcamp is not on the base, just outside, but, it has full hookups and they will give you a $2 discount if you're holding a golden age/golden access pass. It's not a 50% discount, like up at the North Dakota Air Force bases, but, it's better than nothing. Ron got his medications refilled and we met fellow Boomers Steve & Kay Krasovetz, who were already here. We had happy hour with them yesterday and also went out to a Chinese dinner with them. Too bad they were leaving so soon, but, they had already been here awhile and were on their way to Florida for the winter. It was so nice to meet fellow Boomers that we know of after seeing them post to the BBB now & then. We hope we have them talked into joining us for Quartzsite in 2010.

Tomorrow morning, we are headed out to Las Cruces, NM, to meet some more Boomers, who have since gotten off the road and built themselves a nice house. We're looking forward to seeing them again and seeing their house. I'm sure we'll have more pictures of our get together soon.

That building on the left is a house, the upper story is just a shell

After getting back to the main highway, it was only about 16 miles to the border to go back into Texas. We did make a brief stop at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park visitor center, just to see what there was in there. As we were going in the door, I took a picture of some walking sticks making babies. Apparently these two had been photographed a lot that day.

Driving up there was a gradual climb up to the top, here we are going down the windy road back to the highway..

Lots of parking available, but, get there early in the day

By the time we got back to the parking lot, most of the RV's and the tour bus were gone.
When we first went in, the weather was quite nice outside, but, after being underground and wearing my sweatshirt, coming up out of the hole, found the outside temps as being a bit warm. Ron wanted to walk down towards the natural entrance to maybe get some pictures of it, but, I didn't really want to walk in the heat. Instead, we browsed around the gift shop and bought an ice cream in the restaurant. We just took a picture of the path to the entrance and also the buildings you see on the side of the hill probably belong to all the rangers working at the park.

You might have to click on each one so you can see it better. Looking at it in person is different than seeing it on the camera...

These next two pictures are the same, but, I included both of them, so you can maybe see the ape man it appears to look like. If you have great imagination, there are some amazing shapes inside there. There were some stalagtites hanging from the ceiling that looked just like lion tails, but, our picsof them didn't come out that great.

We decided to stop and visit Carlsbad Caverns on our way by. We haven't been to the caverns for about 19 years, so wanted to see if there had been any changes made. When we went through, there were still guided tours and they also had colored lights throughout the whole cavern area. When we were there, in 1990, there was no visitor center and we parked out in the dirt.

Well, now there is a visitor center and a paved parking lot. We actually were able to find a spot to park the bus and car. The RV parking spaces were all filled up, so we parked on the other side in the regular car spaces. If you have a National Park golden age/golden access pass, you don't even have to pay for the tour. There is no guided tours anymore for the masses, you go at your own pace and they have an audio tour, where you buy a headset or two and at the numbers, you press the corresponding number on your headset and it tells you the history about that spot you're standing at. We just bought one and I carried it.

We couldn't go into the natural entrance that day, because there were some migrating bats coming in on their way south and since they don't live in the caverns, I guess they were a little leary of going so far inside and like to hang out around the entrance. So, they didn't want the people scaring them, so we had to go down to the caverns in the elevators. (When we first toured these caverns, we did go through the natural entrance and I couldn't believe it when we got to the end of the tour and went up in elevators.)

Once we got down there, another surprise was seeing the restaurant, (now closed for the season) and some tourist items down there. I know they didn't have all that when we were there last. The lighting down there wasn't very good for taking pictures and since the shutter speed was so slow, it was extremely hard to hold the camera so still, so a lot of our pictures came out blurry. But, a few of them did turn out okay, so those are the ones I'm posting.

We did talk to a ranger on our way back out and they are trying different lighting, like maybe LED, rope lighting or something that doesn't cause algae to grow in the cavern. They will be redoing the wiring in the whole cavern, because some of it goes back to the 1920's and all the remodeling will probably take about 3-4 years. Don't know if they will close the cavern or just close parts of it while they are doing all this work, but, it should be real nice once they are done.

One other thing we learned, well, I learned, while we were walking through. Remember, I have the headset. One of the things the rangers have to do on a regular basis is pick lint off all the decorations in the cavern because of all the people walking through. Tons of lint come off of our clothes on a daily basis, think about what the lint trap looks like in the dryer from just one load of clothes. If they didn't do that, I can't imagine what the stalagtites & the stalagmites would look like with lint all over them.

These windmills are still being used in the vast reaches of cattle country to bring up water for the herd

Wind turbines are alive and well in Texas, we saw several different areas full of them.

A rest area with the picnic shelters shaped like oil derricks