Friday, December 31, 2004

GVWR - Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

We left Quartzsite yesterday and drove to Phoenix where there is an RV chassis repair place where Lynne and John went to have leaf springs added to their back end. It sounded like a good idea, so we figured we'd have ours checked out too. The issue is how much weight can a motorhome hold. When we first bought our motorhome, we were very impressed with the amount of storage space it had. As we learned more though, we realized that it has a lot more storage space than it has weight carrying capacity - if we filled every storage area we'd be dangerously overweight. Every RV comes with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating). Ours is 14,050 pounds. We've heard stories about RVs that come off the assembly line weighing more than their GVWR! Can you imagine that? The minute you step foot in it, before adding any belongings, you're overweight. Something to be aware of when you buy an RV! Ours isn't that bad. We have everything we own with us and, according to the technician yesterday, we are only a couple hundred pounds over. Not bad, we could probably get rid of some stuff if we worked at it. But, we could also have them install one more leaf spring on each side and then we'd be underweight!! What do you think? We plan to live in this thing for years to come. I say go for it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Home keeps getting homier

We've done more remodeling in our 30 foot motorhome than we ever did in our house. You've seen the pictures of my 'office'. The motorhome came with a couch on the port side of the coach. We took that out to make way for my computer station and filing drawers. All the while, Jim has been using the dinette for his computer. He's complained at how uncomfortable the dinette bench is for sitting and his laptop sits on top of the table, making it way too high for typing. So, while we've been here in Quartzsite with friends who have also done a lot of remodeling to their rigs ... He tore out the dinette bench so he could buy a regular office chair to sit in. Then he put the dinette table on a track like a drawer slide, so it could be pushed forward. Last, he installed a keyboard drawer big enough to put the laptop on. So, now he's happy because he has a real 'office' and I'm happy because we can still slide the dinette table back to it's original position for dinner. Our bedroom is getting decorated thanx to our watercolor artist friend Emily ... and some old tShirts. Emily has been watching our weblog regularly and really liked the photos from the Oregon coast - so she created her own version. I feel like we've been immortalized. Each morning I wake up and get reminded about our wonderful lifestyle and all the beautiful places we get to visit. And, that other people are sharing it with us by visiting our weblog. Cool! THANX Emily. As for the tShirts ... here's that story: When we sold our house and had to get rid of everything we owned, we were surprised to discover just how many tShirts we had. We threw them out, we took them to goodwill, we sold them at garage sales for 25 cents each and we STILL had lots of tShirts. So many of them had memories attached and, even tho we knew we'd never wear them again, it was just too dificult to toss 'em. I remembered the quilting lady who said she often made old tShirts into quilts. Brilliant! A memory quilt. I told her there was no hurry when I left her the pile of tShirts last April before we hit the road. Well, the quilt arrived just in time for Christmas. I love it. What do you think? Lynne and John left yesterday - headed to Florida where a job awaits them in Sanford (so, they're in our home and we're in theirs :-). We're staying here for a couple more days before going back to Palm Creek RV Park for the month of January. It's windy, rainy, and just downright stormy here in Quartzsite. It was a long night listening to the wind rock the coach and whip at the little awnings that we didn't bother to roll up. We did bring the big awning in - we learned that lesson the hard way when our first awning blew away in Florida. It is warming up tho - 60 degrees this morning instead of the 40s it has been. I think I'll go back to bed.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas Road Trip

So, what do people who live on the road do on a special day like Christmas? We go for a 'road trip'! About an hour up highway 95, then 7 miles on a dirt road in the desert, there's a place called 'Bar in the Desert'. And, it's every bit as intriguing as it sounds.

No electricity - just solar power, water from what must be a very deep well, and recycling for everything. That's how you run a bar in the desert. And, you're only open during daylight hours on weekends. That included Christmas day. If you look closely at the roof on the left of the photo you'll see it is covered with solar panels.

Seating was all outside so the dogs could even join us. The weather was exquisite. We had a delightful afternoon. We even had live entertainment. There's also a cute little chapel on the property. No doors, no glass in the windows. I guess if it never rains you don't need it. Apparently, lots of people get married here. On the way back we stopped on the banks of the Colorado River. That looks like a pretty cool RV park. Did you notice the full moon on Christmas night? Only to be surpassed by sunrise the morning after.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Lazy days at the 'Cabin'

I think I've found the 'commune' I always wanted. In my hippie days in California, reading 'Ecotopia' and various other live-off-the-land-in-communes kind of books, I thought that communal living made a lot of sense. But not completely communal, I am not always in favor of togetherness. I envisioned a community where everyone had their own private place AND there was a communal area where whoever wanted to could get together for meals or entertainment or lounging. Eureka! Take a look: We each have our own private motorhome, and the building (called the cabin) has a kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom and storage. No bedrooms in the cabin ... no need. We can eat dinner together, play cards, work on computers, or just 'hang out'. Yes, they even have a Christmas tree! Here we are, all 6 ... err ... I mean 8 of us. The Odie's Roadies Xmas 2004 Commune.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Not your average drive to the Vet

Once a year, whether they like it or not, a dog has to get some shots. And, it' s up to us pet owners to take them whether we're anywhere near their vet or not. When we were living in Fort Lauderdale, I took Odie to a Veterinarian that was only a couple blocks from the house. Now we're in Quartzsite, Arizona. There's not even a major grocery store here. Luckily, Lynne has been here a lot and she has taken Ariel to a Vet in Havasu City - 80 miles away. It was a beautiful drive thru desert mountains along the Colorado river and Lake Havasu. Lynne and I had lots of time for conversation - our furry kids got their shots and we picked them up a treat on the way back. All in all a very successful day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Bienvenidos a Mexico

It's less than 100 miles to the border from where we're staying in Quartzsite, so John and Lynne said we had to visit the border town of Algodones and yesterday was the day! The drive down was pretty spectacular. I'm just fascinated with these desert mountains. Algodones provides a very easy way to visit Mexico because they have a large parking lot on the US side and you just walk across the border into town. Kind of like an amusement park. You're greeted by dozens of hawkers telling you which pharmacia to go to for the best prices in town. There's even street entertainers. But, of course the main attraction is the shopping. I love the brilliant colors. Luckily, since we live in a motorhome, we're not tempted to buy stuff - nowhere to put it, and most of it would break in the first day. So, I satisfy myself with pictures and leave tips when appropriate. Food, however is another story. I love fish tacos. Thanx for a great day Lynne and John!

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Green Desert

Apparently, they've had a lot more rain this year than normal here in Quartzsite. There is a lush green carpet of little sprigs of grass. It makes for a wonderful walk.

Here is a bird's eye view of the 'Rainbow Acres' community where we are staying.

Jim says he would like to fly an ultralight around here ... I think I'd just as soon keep my feet on the ground. Forgive me, I just can't resist another photo of these cool Saguaros.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

A Day in the Desert

The rest of the troops arrived yesterday. Here's the 2 other RVs and Frankie, Jim and Lynne. We spent some time washing rigs. Boy did we have a lot of bugs on the cabover windows! Then we took their 'quads' and did a little 4-wheelin' in the desert. After you get a ways into the desert, you gotta stop the machines and enjoy the quiet. Y'know why it's called Quartzsite? Cuz there's a lot of quartz around here. John showed us a beautiful clear crystal he found in the desert here once and said we would do some crystal hunting this afternoon. Jim decided to spoof him and grabbed my special crystal off the shelf before we left - then he pretended to find it in the desert. Had 'em goin' for a minute! Last night we had movie night. We all gathered around the fire in the middle of the front yard. Jim set up the computer and projector and he used the new porch screen wall that Lynne made us as a screen - using rear projection. It worked great. First he showed a couple of our slide shows from the computer, then he put in the DVD for Shrek II. You probably have to take my word for it, cuz it's hard to see in this picture.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Coming Home to a Place We've Never Been Before

Since we left Fort Lauderdale in April, one of the few things we knew was that we planned to spend Christmas in Quartzsite. Lynne and John, the full-timers we met early on, and Lynne's parents (also full-timers) share a lot near Quartzsite with a 'cabin' and full hookups for their motorhomes. They've been coming here for the holidays for several years and we were invited to join them this year. Hi Honey! We're home! What a quiet, beautiful desert view. Both Lynne and John and Dick and Frankie are away right now. We look forward to welcoming them 'home' tomorrow.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Saguaro National Park

We're back in Arizona. This is where we plan to spend most of the winter. We stayed at a campground near Tucson and noticed "Saguaro National Park" on the map. hmmmm, never heard of Saguaro National Park, but I sure think Saguaro cactus are cool, so let's go take a look. From our little tour at the visitors center, we learned that it takes about 100 years for the Saguaro to grow this tall: Now we are in Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort. This is a Coach Connect park with thousands of sites. We plan to spend all of January here, and maybe more. It happened to be right on our way to Quartzsite, where we plan to spend Christmas. So we figured we'd stop and introduce ourselves and try to put together a schedule of our seminars for January. If you'd like to winter in Southern Arizona and you like golf - this is definitely your place! I don't know much about golf courses - but this one sure is pretty.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Rhythm of the Road

Yesterday was a nice driving day. I found myself thinking about Jack Kerouac "On the Road", William Least Heat Moon "Blue Highways" and my latest favorite road book by Larry McMurtry simply entitled "Roads". I wonder if any other country is as fascinated with road trips as America. It was instilled in me early on. My parents traveled from Florida to Alaska several times with a 'little side trip' to Guatemala once. Here's one of our rigs on the Alaska Highway. I think this is 1966. The Alaska highway (AlCan) was 1500 miles of dirt road back then. Yesterday's drive was a lot easier! Nice smooth paved road. The hum of the tires is hypnotic and the grand scenery scrolling by tends to take your mind to other worlds. Don't these mountains in the distance look like a painted scenery scroll? Since I wasn't driving I could actually use the time as a type of meditation. We also had to stop at a winery! St. Clair Winery. You may have noticed that we like to stop at wineries! This one had something we've never seen before. Bulk wine. You could bring your own bottle or buy one of their half-gallon jugs and they will fill it up from a tap! Cool. To fill up our 750ml bottle cost $2.50. To buy their jug cost $2 and filling it up cost $6.30. And you could choose dry white, sweet white, dry red or sweet red. You could even ask that they blend 2 parts dry red with 1 part sweet red. Wine by numbers. How civilized. I also bought my first tShirt of this journey. I just couldn't resist. After 250 miles and a little over 4 hours on the road, we pulled into a campground that we found in our Passport America book. They're usually 1/2 price, but apparently this is high season here in Southern Arizona so we had to pay the full price of $20. And, there's no Wi-Fi so we raised our trusty Datastorm dish so we could do all our Internet stuff like posting to this blog. Sometime I'll get out the tripod to take a photo at night. There's a cool blue light on the dish that serves perfectly to guide us home when we take Odie for a walk at night!