Friday, January 27, 2017

Getting Geared Up to Go to Mexico….


I find it hard to believe we have been here nearly a month at Mesa Regal and will be heading down south toward Mexico soon. This has probably been the coldest January we have experienced in our 6 years on the road. Although it has been cooler and wetter than normal that hasn’t made us feel any better but  we realize warmer temperatures will come soon and hopefully continue as we travel down to Mexico.


Next Wednesday we will head south to Ajo Arizona where we will meet up with the other two couples we will travel with. We were happy to have the opportunity to follow these RVer’s who have been there before since we have never traveled to Mexico in an RV.

The first order of business was to purchase Mexico liability insurance and make sure our passports were up to date. As mentioned in a previous blog we had just changed our insurance carriers here in the USA this year  so we first checked with them only to discover that Progressive covers our RV while we are in Mexico but Geico will not cover our CRV. It will cost us about 70.00  for liability for the RV which also covers anything that is towed including the CRV. However if we chose to drive the CRV in Mexico we would need to purchase additional Mexican full coverage insurance. That would cost $155 so we have decided to leave our car in storage in Arizona and just take the RV down while using our bikes (or walking) as transportation.

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The only other major thing we needed to do was to eat all the meat out of refrigerator so as not to worry about anything being confiscated after reading that most meats and vegetables aren’t allowed into  Mexico. Our plan is by the time we roll across the border  our freezer  will hopefully be nearly empty. There are several grocery stores in Puerto Penasco, the town we will be staying at during our 10 day stay and we are anxious to buy fresh shrimp  we have heard is awesome there..


We are looking forward to traveling south to what we hope will be warmer weather, Even though Sharon is a bit nervous being a first timer traveling into Mexico in our RV we feel certain it will be very safe unless our new President screws things up with Mexico (fingers crossed). Nevertheless we have our passports and our vehicle registration all set and ready to show the officials. Bring on the sun baybeee…

NOTE: We are still at Mesa Regal RV Resort until the end of the month and then we will head south to Ajo on Feb. 1st. and then to Puerto Penasco in Sonora Mexico.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sharon Blogs About Her New Handmade Miracle Cleaning Dishrag!!!


As John mentioned in previous blogs we have scrambled for things to do since the weather has not been conducive for many of our favorite outdoor activities. Because of this I decided to tackle a do-it-myself project. Many of my friends would cringe upon reading this as I am very challenged when attempting craft projects. Although I have plenty of enthusiasm I just never seem to be able to transfer vision into a viable reality. I do not enjoy knitting, sewing crocheting, quilting and as a result most of my attempts fall short so much so that John often does his own sewing lol.


Recently a dear friend on the road made and gifted me a kitchen scrub cloth. She claimed it never smelled bad (like sponges often do) nor does it fall apart quickly. She claimed it would clean any pan with ease. Her instruction was to leave a little dish soap on it in the sink and often one will never need to fill up a sink full of dishwater to wash dishes. I just couldn't wait to try it.


Omigosh... it lived up to all of her claims and more! It has become my favorite all time kitchen rag. It cleans pans and even the grill with ease. It has not worn out by any means but it has inspired me to want more of them to use in other cleaning such as the shower. I also wanted to give one to my daughter and daughter-in-law because they really are wonderful.

imageimageWhat a simple concept it is. One goes to a fabric store or Walmart as I did. Purchase 1 yard of coarse tulle material in any color. This 97 cent investment yielded 10 cleaning cloths. John helped me cut them (knowing how spatially challenged I am) and I had 20 squares. As instructed by my friend I was to place two of these cloths on top of each other, go around the edges twice with a sewing machine then zig-zag the middle in any pattern I wanted. I did what was easiest and fastest for me in the sewing room. I just followed the square pattern inward then did X's across the middle. I worked up a little stress sweat but got 'er done. I gave one to John for the grill, I have one in the sink (the original) and now one in the bathroom.

Really and truly you wouldn't believe how this simply made cloth has enhanced my life. Thanks Renee! I hope mine lasts half as long as my tried and true original!

NOTE: We are still at Mesa Regal RV Resort until the end of the month and yes the weather is still cold and wet mostly, very un-Arizona like. We head south to Ajo on Feb. 1st.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Restore Your Own Headlights–It Really Works!!!

20170107_122249Man this sure has been a cooler winter than we have experienced during our last stay in Arizona. We do occasionally have a nice day here and there but for the most part it has been chilly. I haven't had to wear blue jeans but dang I have been wearing a sweatshirt with my shorts way more than I would like to.

We have been continuing our workouts at the park’s fitness room, playing a lot of pickleball and of course attending the afternoon happy hours at the pool listening to the various bands (including some dancing for Sharon). We really haven’t been doing much of anything else except what I call winter chores.


One thing I did that wowed me was to order a SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit for our Honda CRV. Our headlights had yellowed to the point that when we drove at night (not very often) I could tell that we weren’t getting much light from our headlights on the road. I realized I either had to replace the headlights, restore them or quit driving at night!

After researching the options it was obvious I wouldn’t quit driving at night even though we rarely do, Resolving this safety issue would be expensive if I were to purchase new headlight lenses so restoration seemed to be the best choice. However, almost everything I had heard was that restoration was at best only a temporary solution.

Yet the more I read I came to the conclusion that if done right restoration would last a long time before needing to be redone. Done right means sanding the headlight lens to get rid of the weathered (and yellowed) product but the downside being this sanding also sands away the protective UV layer which prevents further yellowing. We decided that this was not so much a downside since they were really horribly yellow!!!


After lots of research I came across the SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit which won me over with all of its positive reviews and the fact that Sylvania offers a life-time warranty on the product (so we will certainly keep the receipt). Since it was under $20.00 I ordered the kit and as soon as I received it I got to work…


First there was a solution to apply to the lens that “melts away” much of the yellow outer UV protective covering. Then it required wet-sanding the lens starting with a 400 grit sandpaper and working up to a 2000 grit sandpaper. As directed I wiped the lens clean after each sanding until achieving a smooth, non-scratched lens. Next was application of the same cleaning solution I started with and then waiting for it to dry. The last step was applying the UV protective layer with an included microfiber cloth. Voila! Total time took about 1 hour for the whole process for both lenses.


The end result was stunning!!! They truly looked brand new and although for some reason I forgot to take a starting photo (the before picture is an older one) but I assure you mine were pretty bad. My guess is that they were so bad that only about 40% of my available light would actually reach the road!

I will also add that there is really enough to do two cars if you are frugal with the supplies. I highly recommend this product for anyone needing to restore headlights (and no, Sylvania did not give me the product to review). I bought it and was so impressed I decided to share my experience.

After a couple more weeks in Mesa, off we go. I sure hope we can find some warmer weather soon as I am about to run out of projects…

Friday, January 13, 2017

Insurance Hunting Season and Tips on Reducing Your Costs…


Every year I solicit new bids for insurance for both the Honda CRV and for our Tiffin Allegro Bay motorhome. One thing I have discovered over the years is that one can almost always find a better rate for the same coverage from a different company than the one you have currently.

Why is this? My best guess is that each company will give you a very favorable rate to entice new customers. Then after a year of coverage the next year they tend to raise rates considerably even though both vehicles are one year older and thus worth less if they are totaled. It simply doesn’t make any sense! I guessing they are simply hoping you won’t change!

Insurance companies have three basic business models: acquisition, retention and cross-selling. Thus, they hook you with a lower rate and hope that when the rate increases you will simply sign on for continued service. In addition they hope to sell you other products to further increase their revenue stream.

Acquisition leaders tend to attract customers who are highly price-sensitive, like us. Demographically these people tend to be younger (not quite like us :) ) and carry less insurance. Furthermore, data shows that very few insurance companies excel in both acquisition and retention. Companies that value retention have a greater share of people who tend to value “peace of mind”. As a result their demographics tend to be less price-sensitive, more affluent, carry more insurance and are older people.

So why do people change carriers? The two most significant reasons are price and service. No surprises there. We are currently carrying National General as they gave us the best rate last year. Their service has been great and we had one claim with them that they handled adequately. So why are we looking for different carriers now? Well due to my claim (around $1800 and we paid the first $1000 as a deductible) and payment of $800 for repairs National General decided my insurance this next year should increase $600. In other words they want their money back!

Well after contacting many carriers we will change to Progressive for the RV and with GEICO for the CRV. This resulted in a saving of $350 dollars this year compared to what National General would have charged. I did find it odd that the companies would charge us more to insured both our vehicles than they would alone. Even more amazing to me was that although I have never made a claim on our Honda or for any car in more than 10 years my insurance rate for driving the CRV is penalized for the damage to the RV. Seems to me claims for the RV should be different than for a car!

One last informative rant is that when filling out quote information on-line and you have had a claim over $1000 in the last three years don’t expect the rate seen on the on-line quote to be the rate they expect you to pay. In all but one (GEICO) I had to speak with an agent who then modified the rate much higher due to our claim even though all the online quotes had asked if we made a claim and we answered every question honestly. So why ask us about claims and give us a quote if it isn’t correct??!!!

So here are some tips for lowering insurance rates:

  • Shop Around.
  • Don’t Be Blindly Loyal.
  • Choose a Higher Deductible.
  • Don’t Make Claims That Are Not Significantly Over Your Deductible
  • Maintain A Good Credit Score
  • Reduce Physical Damage Coverage on Older Vehicles
  • Ask About Other Discounts

Well at least insurance hunting season is over for us and once again even though our vehicles are again one year older our insurance will be $275 more this year…. Happy hunting…


NOTE: We are still in Mesa RV Resort in Mesa Arizona. We will depart here on Feb. 1st to move down to Ajo, Arizona… Today’s pictures are simply the sunrise and the sun set reflecting off our RV. Desert sunsets/sunrises are the best!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

What Have We Been Doing in Mesa AZ?


Not much… really. Since arriving at Mesa Regal RV Resort it has been generally cooler than image[8]average for this area keeping us close to home. We have therefore been unable to go out for a hike or do anything much outside the park. On Christmas Day we had an awesome invite to spend the evening with some old softball friends, Rob and Cheryl along with their daughters Lauren and Kristin.  What a fun evening we had and we are so grateful they shared Christmas dinner with us.  We also had a quiet New Year’s eve but made sure to eat all the “good luck” foods.

After New Year’s we have just been taking care of a lot of little repairs, ordering items from Amazon (taking advantage of having a temporary mailing address here) and doing some cleaning and organizing.

imageWe had lunch one afternoon with RV friends and fellow bloggers Nanc and Jim who pen the Running Down Our Dream blog. Also there for a wonderful Gumbo that Nanc made was Jim and Bobbie, former RV’ers and now Arizona residents. We had great fun reconnecting with all our friends that we all met at Betty’s RV Park. We even got an entertaining selfie made by Jim to commemorate the event.

On Jim and Nanc’ last evening here we enjoyed dinner and craft beer at a cool little regional pub called Red, White and Brew. The wood fired pizza was pretty tasty and the Arizona IPA’s were even better. We lingered to enjoy extra time for laughter and conversation since they would be pulling out of Mesa the next day.  We will likely see them again in February in Tucson if indeed we stay there.


One thing we bought from Amazon that I will share is that we replaced our cloth hot pads (we seeming had forever) with a newer silicon version. We really hated using cloth hot pads as they were always getting dirty and had to be washed frequently. We read many reviews online and finally settled for the Honeycomb Silicone Hot Pads. Wow, at only $5.19 each we really love these little gadgets!

Not only are they rated for handling high temperatures but they are very flexible and and perform as well or better than our old cloth versions. Sharon loves them because she can also use them as spoon holders to keep a mess off the counters whiles cooking. They also double as jar lid openers and even better, they can easily be cleaned in the sink, put back in the drawer, ready for the next use. Sad that we are so entertained and amazed by a simple gadget which has made our lives just a little bit better…

Lamson HoneyComb HotSpot Pot Holder, 7" x 7", Green, Silicone   

Image may contain: 1 person, drinkWe also ordered a new bicycle seat for Sharon as the weather deteriorated her old bicycle seat cover. I looked online for seat covers but have never really liked them as they tend to sag, slip or not fit very well.  I found a cushy seat for less than $13 with great reviews. I hadn’t considered replacing the seat but this seemed a perfect solution. We order the Zacro Gel Bicycle Seat from Amazon, found it to be easily installed and Sharon believes she is going to love it. Even if it doesn’t hold up in the weather well it is inexpensive and we can simply replace it again if needed down the road.

When not working on the RV or our toys we have been getting in shape while here at Mesa Regal RV Resort. They have a nice (but small) fitness room. Both Sharon and I have been taking advantage of the facility to workout in a warm space. On the few nice, sunny days we have also been enjoying playing singles pickleball and taking walks around the large RV Park. We also have enjoyed the Happy Hour music and inexpensive beer served at the pool (or in the dance hall) everyday from 3 to 5 for Happy Hour.

Warmer weather is predicted soon so we are looking forward to it and maybe we can get out and find a nice hike nearby…

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Reflections on 2016… The Last Part!

rom Idaho we moved into Washington state and stayed a total of 12 nights. Our reasons for a visit were to see an old college friend and to drink a little wine in the wine country.

Best Washington MemoriesUrban hiking in Spokane, Gonzaga University and visiting friends.

Worst Washington Memory – Finding out our favorite park in the Tri-Cities area (Hood Park COE campground) closed after Labor Day.

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The next state we entered, Oregon, is another of our favorite summer spots to visit but this time we visited in the fall. We would have normally stayed longer in this beautiful state but we were late in the season so we only spent 21 nights there.

Best Oregon Memories – Hiking the Columbia River Gorge, revisiting Crater Lake,urban hiking Portland with friends and enjoying a stay in Bend to visit more good friends.

Worst Oregon Memory – Seeing a tire bubble and waiting forever for it to be replaced. Chilly weather (mental note stay in the summer). Driving the RV at night in the mountains… YIKES!!! Never again!!!

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Sadly we left Oregon and cut through the northeastern corner of California, knowing we would later return to the state to spend time in San Diego. We stayed only one night before moving into Nevada where we would stay eight nights.

Best Nevada Memories –  Casinos, hiking in Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and the Red Rocks.

Worst Nevada Memory – No bad memories here as the weather warmed up and things were looking up…

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We loved our brief stay in Nevada but we had reservations in San Diego so we re-entered California and ended up staying for a total of 44 nights in California. This included a long stay at one of our favorite parks in San Diego – Mission Bay RV Park.

Best California Memories – Having our daughter and her boyfriend visit us, seeing the San Diego Chargers Football team, Thanksgiving with friends and family and hiking at China Date Ranch.

Worst California Memory – Having our side camera and surround sound receiver fail making for a costly month and of course more work for me…

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After leaving San Diego we finished the year off in Arizona where we will have stayed 6 nights by the time January 1st, 2017 rolls around and will be here until the end of January. Since we  just arrived we won’t add a best and worst memory since… well, we haven’t left yet!

What a great year we had as we traveled through a total of 19 states this year but only stayed in 17 of them as we just briefly drove through both Mississippi and South Dakota. A total of 7556 Miles for this 2016 journey and we camped at 84 different locations including commercial parks, state parks, Corp of Engineer Parks, Casino Parks and Parking lots and even our first boondock at an overnight spot (in our case it was a Cabellas).

And so we are ready for the next year to come along. Bring on 2017!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Reflections on 2016… Part 3

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With our annual physicals behind us and receiving good results we moved on to another new state for us, North Dakota. Even though we only spent 8 nights in North Dakota we sure enjoyed our brief stay there and with summer winding down we had to move on westward.

Best North Dakota Memories – Visiting the state capitol and its natural heritage center and the best was finally seeing the wildlife and scenery at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Worst North Dakota Memory – Hearing a loud crashing sound while driving the RV which turned out to be our closet rod breaking!!!

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By this time it was already August and we were wanting to stay a month near Glacier National Park so we entered Montana and scooted across the state until arriving in Kalispell. No doubt this is one of our very favorite summer destinations. We spent a total of 38 nights in Montana.

Best Montana MemoriesHiking Glacier,Seeing Glacier, Experiencing all of Glacier National Park!!! Seeing the first snow on top of the peaks in Glacier. Discovering a gem of a place to see wildlife at Bison National Range. Visiting with former and new friends.

Worst Montana Memory – The only bad thing that happened to us was being unable to take the National Park ferry over to hike the Grinnell Glacier because it was either full or the weather would not cooperate. (metal note – make reservations early),

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With summer quickly disappearing we wasted no time heading west. As a result we only spent a brief three nights in Idaho.

Best Idaho Memories – Visiting the Kootenai Falls and Swinging Bridge and hiking the Ross Cedar Trail.

Worst Idaho Memory – With only a three night stay we didn’t have time for any bad memories ;) other than it was chilly!

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