Sunday, January 31, 2010

On to Tucson - Aguave Gulch

We left the Quechan Casino RV campground after breakfast. We took advantage of the $2.95 special and had ham, eggs, sour dough toast and potatoes. It was great.

Then we hitched up, headed out and got on I-8 going east. It took us about five hours and we arrived in Tucson about 2:30 P.M. The RV campground at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson is called Agave Gulch FamCamp. We registered at Agave Gulch and went to their overflow parking for a few days of dry camping.
No problem-- we know how to do that. We are number 45 on the list. The RV park has 50 spaces in the overflow area and 140 spaces with full hookups. Campers can stay in the park for 21 days and then they have to move to the overflow area until their number comes up again. We figure we will be in the overflow area for four or five days.

Agave Gulch is very well organized and it is an award winning campground. In fact it has been named the best military campground for RVers in 2007, 2008, 2009. We can see why. We are looking forward to staying here for the next few weeks.

After we got set up, we drove out to Desert Trails RV park were we had stayed before Christmas and said a quick hello to Bill and Marty. On the way back, we stopped and picked up a Little Caesar's Pizza for dinner and got back in time to take a few pictures of the sunset.
This morning I took another picture of some interesting clouds. Beautiful skies in Arizona.

Our friend Judy has spent the last four winters in Tucson. We met her and other RVers while volunteering with the NOMADS this summer in Pontiac IL. We called her and spent the afternoon with her at the Far Horizons Tucson Village Park.
We got a tour of the grounds and saw the great facilities. I was very impressed. It was a beautiful afternoon and we spent time soaking up the rays while we talked on her patio.

Then she came over to Agave Gulch and joined us for dinner and more fellowship. It was a great start to our first weekend in Tucson.

Yesterday, some friends and followers notified us that our blog post of last Tuesday made it to the online RV Travel.com magazine:
What a surprise! And what a hoot to have our photo published with Bob Tiffin. -This lifestyle continues to be full of the unexpected...

Thank you so much for following and checking in today on the Roadrunner Chronicles.

And thank you for your prayers for Meghan and her family and Adam. We all need them. She sees the doctor on Tuesday and will have more to share after that.

Hope you have a good week.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Los Algodones, Mexico

We are about two miles from the border town of Los Algodones, Mexico, right on highway 186 in California. I needed to get some cash, so I went in to the Quechan Casino & Resort, where we are staying. Well, we are staying in their RV / Truck parking lot-- not the casino resort hotel.

I found the ATM machine which also serves as a machine where people can redeem their winnings. Everything worked like an ATM and it was a bit of a surprise to see that I could get some money for the price of $13.99!

I am used to seeing high priced ATMs and try to avoid them. High priced is charging more than $2.00 to get access to your own money! $13.99 is nuts and it saddened me more than anything. You know there are people at these places who to pay that kind of money for the chance to lose a lot more. You get my drift...

It was only a few miles into Yuma so we went there and found a convenience store with an ATM that charged $1.90. And we were on our way.

The first thing we noticed as we approached the border was all the cars that parked along the side of the road instead of paying $10.00 to park in the big empty parking lot.
Once across the border, it seemed like a border town.
It was a bit cleaner than the border town of Nuevo Progresso south of Mercedes, Texas. And a lot smaller. But it seemed safe enough and there were hundreds of us retired Americans looking for something that we couldn't do without...

I looked for some glasses at Algodones Optical. They were probably a good price, but I didn't feel like I had the time to really check things out. This was going to take longer than I expected. If we were going to be here a few days I may have gotten some.
We were pretty hungry and found an open air restaurant with a patio. There seem to be a number of these places in Algodones.
It was a pretty day, there were mariachis and music and it seemed to be pretty festive.

We shopped for a hat, handbag, tablecloth, chewing gum and that was about it.

We wandered through a number of neighborhoods and went through lot of shops. One guy was selling pine needle baskets which I had never seen before.They looked sturdy and like they would last for a long time, but I didn't want to part with a $20 bill so we passed on one.

Down another street I noticed some building going on.
I liked the design and the way they put together the porch roof.

It always is an experience at these places. Some Mexicans are amusing and have fun with the bartering and sales pitches. Others are a bit aggressive like hawkers at a carnival. Then those are more needy and bargain as if they are desperate for a sale today. It is hard to tell if it is reality or just part of the persona.

We felt like we did a good job of not buying more things we don't need. But I needed another hat (sort of ) and got one that will do nicely when I am on the golf course or just working on my tan... :).

We got back to the border in time to join a long line of other shoppers.
It took about an hour to get through and we got back to the RV campsite at the casino in the late afternoon.

We went over to the casino (Quenchan Casino and Resort) and ended up having dinner there. We got the steak and shrimp special for $7.77. Gambling doesn't really interest us, so we went back to the Roadrunner and decided to go for a short walk.
The sunset was beautiful again. We watched some TV and went to bed and called it a day.

Hope you are having a good weekend and thank you for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.

Friday, January 29, 2010

On to Yuma

First of all, thank you for your supportive and kind words on behalf of Meghan, her family and Adam. They need them, so please keep them coming and keep them in your prayers.

And I know there are many of you out there that have had through your own hard things in life. I struggle to know how to say it, to be more compassionate, to make sense of it -- to have the right perspective. We all do. We don't quite know what to say--- here's what daughter Kelly had to say which I liked very much: Kelly's blog

We continue to try to act if life is normal at the moment, knowing full well that a lot hangs in the balance. We know she can be healed from this and continue to pray that way. Join us--the fight is on!

Meanwhile, we left La Posa South BLM area near Quartzsite on Wednesday
and stopped in at the Army Base at Yuma Proving Grounds. It was a fine although they had no vacancies and was 20 miles from Yuma. We continued on and found the VFW/BLM area outside of Yuma on I 95 and stayed for one night.

This morning we checked out another RV park off I-10 but it wasn't that great. We went to the main road to Algodones (Hiway 86) and ended up finding a place in a casino RV/truck parking lot.

That took us until about noon, and we went back into Yuma for an In-N-Out burger.
Then we went over to the Yuma Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) and did our wash and went to the commissary (groceries).

When we returned to the casino RV park, we decided to go see the casino. I don't know if Pam and I have ever been in a casino before today. I have been in a few--the last one might have been in the late 1970's.
We walked around for a few minutes and ended up getting a Shrimp and Steak dinner for $7.77. It was really quite good.

After that we returned to the Roadrunner and made some phone calls and watched some TV before we went to bed.

Thanks for joining us in the journey...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hard Day and the last one at Quartzsite

It was pretty nice at Quartzsite yesterday. Pam and I talked a bit with Paul and Eugenia before they took off on a day trip to Parker and Lake Havasu City.

Art and Gerri were deciding whether or not to stay a few more days and left the campsite early to go dump their tanks and take on some water in case they decided to leave. They returned and ended up leaving about 1:30.

Our task for the morning was to get a rug to match the runner and mat we purchased a few days ago at Tyson Wells swap meet in Quartzsite. We also wanted to pick up a new ceramic heater that was priced well at RV Lifestyles on the edge of town.

So off we went and we landed at the swap meet first. We went to the vendor and to my mild surprise, she had a the matching 5' x 8' rug we were looking for. Next we found RV Lifestyles and looked around their Supply section. Sure enough--- we found the small ceramic heater we were there too.

By then it was after 12:00 and we decided to go get lunch at La Mesa RV.

While we were there, Adam called with troubling news. Meghan's breast cancer has metastasized and is now in her brain. We are shocked and broken hearted... We don't know what to say...

Meghan went to ER on Tuesday because she has had some bad headaches over the last three weeks that will not go away. The doctor ordered a CT scan and she later found out the cancer had returned and traveled to her brain.

She went back to the doctor today and begins more radiation next week.

Our plans yesterday afternoon changed and we didn't feel like doing much. You can imagine how sad we are. At the same time we will be hopeful and continue to send words of encouragement and our prayers her way.

If you'd like to pray also for her and her family, please join us. We appreciate it greatly.

We called her parents yesterday and offered our prayers and support as she engages in this next battle. Marg and Bill are good folks. Obviously they have been through a lot with Meghan's earlier episode of breast cancer. She went through a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation earlier in the year. When she finished up in July we were hoping that was it.

Thankfully we got to see her and meet Marg and Bill in August while we were in Michigan and Canada, and recently saw Meghan in San Diego over the holidays.

Meghan kept a blog during her first bout with cancer and has pledged to keep it updated again. If you'd like to send her a word of encouragement, click here to get to her blog:

So that is what we were working through yesterday. We love the full-time lifestyle and have been blessed with so many wonderful times. And we know hard things in life happen no matter where we are.

We are sad, concerned and yet very much appreciative to be included in this with Meghan and her family. We will be praying for her and them and keeping you posted on her progress.

Thank you for joining with us.

And thank you for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Meeting Bob Tiffin plus more at Quartzsite

We heard Bob Tiffin was going to be at La Mesa RV at Quartzsite so we were over there early --- about 9:15 AM to see if we could meet him. Sure enough! We got to talk with him for a few minutes and got a picture with him. He is very personable and approachable.
Our mission was to ask if he would fix our windows that get fogged.

We love our coach and I told him that and also that we had a problem with our windows which were 'out of warranty'. He immediately said he would warranty the windows and asked us where we wanted to get the work done - La Mesa in Tucson, the factory in Red Bay or somewhere else? Since we are headed to Red Bay in April we will have it done then.

What a relief! Some of those windows cost $350 each plus $85/hr labor. It could have been very costly, instead--he will do it all and extend our warranty. To say we were pleased is an understatement. We were ecstatic!

So we join the long list of those that have had a great experience with Bob Tiffin. There must be thousands of folks that Bob has taken care of!

How about you? Are you one of them? Or do you know of someone he treated well? I would love to hear YOUR story...

After talking with Bob we met with our campsite buddies Art and Gerri at La Mesa RV for a free breakfast. They serve pancakes everyday except Sunday.
After that we went and got a couple of new rugs for the Roadrunner and then went back to La Mesa to see what they were having for lunch. We were not alone-- there must have been a hundred people lined up out the door.

That is where we met sisters Sharon and Delores. It was fun meeting and talking with them.
After lunch we drove out the other side of town to see if we could find the Escapees Boomers group.
We got directions and they were right--it was way way way, out of town in the middle of the BLM area.

When we returned to La Posa South where our campsite is and Paul insisted Pam and I take his ATV for a ride.
We took off and rode out in the desert for a good while and had a lot of fun!

We got back in time to start setting up for our cookout and campfire. New friends Ken and Vickie who are spending the season at an RV park in Quartzsite came out to see us and enjoy the evening.
Before long we were sitting around and telling stories. Then we got with it and started grilling hamburgers and chicken.
Vickie brought some chip and dip and we stood around and talked for a while.

We lit the campfire before we sat down to eat. It wasn't long before the sun went down.
We had a great time around the fire and finally headed into our rigs went it got chilly.

The sunset was memorable -- it was one of the more pink / red sunsets we've seen.
We are really enjoying boondocking. We are new to it but learning more each day about how to do this.

How about you? Do you boondock (dry camp?) If so, how many days per year?

Thanks so much for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles! Hope your week is going well.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunday in Sunny Quartzite

It was a beautiful day yesterday - all day. Here are some early morning pictures of our campsite.
Later in the morning, we downloaded a message from McLean Bible Church and listened to a recent sermon from Lon Solomon. We like his clarity and everyday application.

He always has congregation participation during the service by asking his most important question, "So What?". He does this after going through a portion of scripture and delivering his message, as if he were in the audience. 'So what does this story from the bible or this portion of scripture have to do with me?'

Asking 'So What' is a pretty effective transition from the esoteric/interesting category to a call to action or personal challenge. So after we went to the 'Roadrunner Chapel' (as we call our Sunday online sessions when we don't have a church we want to go to), we traveled the three miles into town.

The Tiffin Tech Rep who was out here on Saturday night confirmed that Bob Tiffin, owner of Tiffin Motorhomes, was going to be at La Mesa RV in Quartzsite. We wanted to meet him. He has the absolute best reputation of any businessman I have ever heard of.

We you hear talk about Bob Tiffin, you hear of what a gentleman he is and how he helped someone who had an issue with their motorhome. No one else in the RV industry has a better reputation that Bob Tiffin.

Aside from meeting him, we want to see if he will replace our windows. All of our windows are thermal, duel paned windows and they fog up. We have been to hot and cold weather (not real cold thankfully)-- and they fog up. We are told it is a common problem with Tiffins and I really have no idea why since they do everything else so well with the coaches.

Anyone else out there have a problem with fogged windows?

Our issue is that they are covered under warranty for two years and our coach is three years old. So hopefully he will give the OK to get them swapped out when we are back at Red Bay in April for other work.

How about your RV? Do you get fogged windows? If so, what do you do about it?

At Mesa RV, we confirmed Mr. Tiffin and his wife would be there Monday, so we intend to see if we can talk to him.

After that, we went to Family Dollar and picked up a toilet treatment called 'Fabuloso'. Some friends recommended it, so we thought we'd give it a try. Anyone else use that brand?

Our next stop was the RV tent. It was the last day of the event and the crowds were not there.
Attendance looked like it was way down. The aisles were very passable and it was a good time to be there.

We checked out a wifi booster antenna from Wilson, but we were not sure which one to get to interface with our Autonet 12-volt router.
So we decided to wait on that.

Back at the Roadrunner it was a another beautiful sunny day here at La Posa South, BLM Long Term Visitor area. We paid $40 which gives us 14 days and access to the dump station and they have an area we can get clean water for our tanks. We are in good shape since we filled up last Wednesday.

Our time here 'boondocking' or dry camping (not dry-docking as Adam says :) ) has been very enjoyable. We keep an eye on the tanks with our new SeeLevel gauges and are confident we will not have to dump or fill up until Tuesday afternoon before we head out on Wednesday. We took quick showers last night and that was good...

One of my new jobs (definitely a Blue Job and not a Pink Job) at the Roadrunner yesterday was cleaning out the toilet bowl and trap. I wanted to do that and see if I could get a tighter fit on the rubber gasket on the trap door. My concern has always been keeping the trap open while I cleaned it. I didn't want to break it by forcing it open.

Pam figured it out by removing the fuse to the electric toilet. Then I used the manual override button and wa-la! the trap opened and stayed open while I cleaned it. After I cleaned it I rubbed vaseline around real good on the gasket hoping it would make a tight seal.
I replaced the fuse and gave it a try and ---- no luck. The bowl would still not retain water. I may give it another try today an see if I can adjust the gasket a little.

While I was doing that, Paul and Eugenia took off in their Razr ATV for a trip through the desert to Dripping Springs. They had a map, a GPS, some drinks and headed out for a trip through the dirt roads and trails.
We gave them a short send off. Hours later they returned and had a great 20 mile trip. Lots of people have these machines and they look like a lot of fun.

Again - I never tire of saying thank you to our readers or get tired of sunsets. Here are some from yesterday.
By that time the NFL games were on and the Colts ran away with it in the second half, while the Saints took the Vikings to overtime. My guess is that Brett Favre will hang it up this time for good but it has been fun watching him have a great season after his last try at retirement.

I cooked some hamburgers on the grill, we read some and that was it for us on a sunny Sunday in Quartzsite.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sunny Skies at Quartzsite

Today was a beautiful day in Quartzsite. The sun shined early and stayed all day.

I had scheduled an appointment with Rick at RV Safety and went over to the Bluebird area at the La Posa South Long Term Visitor Area of the Bureau of Land Management area where he and his wife were set up to weigh rigs.
We are parked about 500 yards away so it was easy to find them. I met Rick and his wife who were doing the weighing. I got an appointment for 10:20 and they gave me some paperwork to fill out. I had to note the Tiffin manufacturer recommended weights for the coach, the front axle, rear axle and also write down information from our coach tires.

Then we went back and got in line and eased the Roadrunner onto the scales.
Before we knew it, we were done. The initial results were that we are 400 lbs under the maximum weight. In a few days, they will mail us more information and recommendations. Then we can take that and look up our numbers on Michelin's web site so we can find the precise psi for each tire.

Then we will reset our Pressure Pro Tire Monitoring system and be all set up.

It was a beautiful day we were going to go for a hike to a nearby mine in the foothills. We had some of Pam's fantastic leftover beef stew for lunch and then talked to Art and Gerri for a while. Art had contacted a Tiffin representative who was going to be at our campsite in the early afternoon so we decided to wait for him.

Then we heard about the Escapees 'Boomers' group that Art and Geri belong to and decided to go over to see them about 3:00 and join their potluck. Meanwhile, I worked on a sewer hose that needed repair. Pam read some and we watched a little of the Australian Open and also some of the golf (Bob Hope Desert Classic).

By now it was after 3:00 and the representative hadn't showed up so we scratched our plans for the potluck and hung outside in the sun.
For a while it was Geri, Art, Pam and I. We are what is left of the Tiffin RV Network rally that was here last week. After we weighed the Roadrunner we moved down to where they are parked so we have a nice little triangle of coaches.

Then Paul and Eugenia returned for the RV tent and joined us. We talked and had a good time for a while until the sun started to go down.
So we decided to circle the chairs and get a fire started from what was left of our campfire wood. We found out Paul and Eugenia (from Georgia) have been full-timing eight months, Art and Geri have been full-timers for six months. Pam and I have been at it now eight months.

Not long after that we were joined by Dennis and Jackie. They are from Southern California and staying in Quartzsite at a campground with full hookups.
They have a new Phaeton and we found a couple more chairs, offered them some beverages and it turned out well. They stayed and asked questions and told us about themselves and it was a good time.

The fire burned down and it was getting a little cold when Phil the Tiffin representative showed up. He offered some advice and helped Art with some things he needed. Then it was time to retreat to our coaches and settle in for the evening.

We watched another beautiful sunset while the stars started to come out.
Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles. We are looking forward to more sunshine the next few days and hope you join us :)

Boondocking in Quartzsite

First of all I want to acknowledge our newest followers:
Kenny and Angela
Tom Wright
Thank you for following! It is great to have you along on our travels of the Roadrunner Chronicles.

The last couple of days have been quite interesting. We kept track of the weather reports and were ready for the rain to come our way. And it did!

It rained like nobodies business all day. I took a few pictures throughout the day from our Roadrunner:
It rained hard for a couple of hours, then stopped for a while. And the the big one came. It rained hard for about an hour with winds at 45-50 mph and we had rivers running through our campsite area.

It finally quit about 6:00 PM and the sun started to come out.
After it was over, we had some nice cloud scenes.

Friday, it seemed like a lot of folks were in town. They had been cooped up like us so they were out and about. We made a stop at the little post office in Quartzsite. It was busy but the line kept moving. It took about 20 minutes to go through the line.
But that was enough time to meet Ken and Vickie who are from northwest Arkansas and are spending the winter here in Quartzsite. It was nice to meet them and we may have a chance to get together with them in the next few days.

We stopped by the RV Tent again. It was really not too busy. A friend is interested in seeing what new products and technology is out there for windshield repair. We found some displays but nothing new.

Then we went to find the Blue Ox folks. We need to get an auxiliary braking system for our towed vehicle (toad). It is something that has been on our list since we started full-timing. We looked at the Patriot system and decided on it.
Dave and his wife Joanne have been full-timing for ages and have been Blue Ox representatives for the last few years. They had a wealth of information and answered all out questions.
We wrote a check and will be getting ours shipped to us in a couple of weeks.

We hustled back to the Roadrunner because there were some dark clouds looming. It turned out to be a pleasant evening without any rain, but I am afraid the 70 degree weather has left us for a while.
But we still get some amazing Arizona sunsets!

Thank you for viewing today and hope you are having a great weekend. Go Colts and Vikings! Who are you picking in the playoffs?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day Trip to Parker and Lake Havasu City

We started out a little slow yesterday. A few guys were gathered around the campfire and it was a little nippy so we started the fire. We chatted for a while and watched as quite a few people got ready to leave.
They were packing up and before we knew it, they were gone. By the end of the day we only had nine rigs left in our Tiffin group. Many were leaving because they had reservations elsewhere or they did not want to handle the BIG rainstorm the weatherman promised.
After we said our goodbyes, Pam and I took a drive north to Parker, Arizona. There were some State Parks there that we wanted to look at for future stays.

The only one of the three State Parks and one commercial park we liked was the one at Buckeye Mountain State Park.
It was right on the Colorado River and the sites were pretty nice. Plus they were right at our budget of $25/night.

After Parker we drove up to Lake Havasu City to take a look at the London Bridge.

Yep - the real thing.

The London Bridge was completed in 1831 but by 1962 it no longer had the structural integrity to support the modern day traffic. So the City of London sold it to Robert McCulloch who was the founder of Lake Havasu and the Chairman of McCulloch Oil Company.
It was shipped from England and every brick and support was numbered for reassembly. Today it serves as a tourist stop in an out-of-the-way place. It was fun to see and a nice way to spend a couple of hours.
On the way back to Quartzsite, we stopped at the new Walmart in Parker. We returned a heater that didn't work and go some groceries.
Early in the day Pam had started making some stew. She left it in the crockpot, put we turned it off when we left for our drive. When we returned, she fired up the crockpot again and it turned out great.

After we got back, we switched on the generator. After about 20 minutes, we noticed it was not charging the batteries. Now what do we do. We looked through the manuals, but that was not very productive.

Art and Chris were outside so I went over and told them about it. Chris was thinking the circuit breaker on the generator may have popped. (Who knew there was a circuit breaker on the generator?) I pulled it out took a quick look and that is what the problem was! That was a relief!

We watched some TV, had the GREAT beef stew and called it a night.

Thanks so much for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!