Friday, February 28, 2020

Coronavirus–The facts and what it means for our travels?

I am finding it difficult to make travel plans with all this talk about Covid-19, the novel coronavirus. What apparently started out in the Hubei Province of the People’s Republic of China has now spread to many other countries creating a bit of panic.

Is it real?  Well, on January 30, 2020, the WHO (World Heath Organization)  Emergency Committee declared a global health emergency so there is great concern in the health industry. While the incidence in North America remains low so far that could all change very soon. So what does this mean for us full time travelers?

First I would like to share some facts I have researched regarding the coronavirus. There are many coronaviruses and they were first described in 1966. Among the subtypes of coronaviruses which may infect humans, the so called beta‐coronaviruses could result in severe cases and fatalities. The less problematic alpha‐coronaviruses result in asymptomatic or mostly mild infections.

Remember the SARS (SARS‐CoV‐2) outbreak? It too is a beta‐coronavirus which also apparently made its transition from animals to humans in Wuhan, China. (What is it with Wuhan, China?) Therefore, we now have Covid-19, coronavirus.

People who contract Covid-19 may remain asymptomatic and show no signs they have (the disease making it difficult to detect in some. While others who are symptomatic will, after less than a week, show symptoms of fever, cough, nasal congestion, fatigue and other signs of upper respiratory tract infections. In more severe cases infection can progress to severe chest pains due to pneumonia which mostly occurs in the second or third week of infection.

While Covid-19 appears to be more infectious than SARS was, it also appears to have a much lower mortality rate, 2.2% vs SARS of 9.6%. Mortality rates for Covid-a9 are lower in children but highest in those over 80 (14.8%). Those over 70 are also high at 8%. Also significant is that mortality is much higher for those with compromised medical conditions. It is 10.5% for cardiovascular disease, 7.3% for diabetes, 6.3% for chronic respiratory disease, 6.0% for hypertension, and 5.6% for cancer.

Now the good news! Those with the disease are categorized as Mild, Severe and Critical. A recent study showed that Mild cases were at 81%, Severe at 14% and Critical at 5%. Those with Mild or Severe case, or 95 percent of those with Covid-19, do not die due to the disease. Apparently even if you get Covid-19 it may be somewhat similar to contracting the flu. However, the mortality rate for those in the severe category is nearly 50%! Yikes!!!

What does this mean to us travelers?  For us, first and foremost we will avoid any travel in confined quarters. That means we won’t be flying anywhere for awhile and certainly won’t be taking any cruises. We will continue to travel as we have in the past in our RV but we will be avoiding densely populated communities and any areas with more widespread infection. In addition we will pay extra attention to our hand washing in accordance to the CDC guidelines

I guess there is an advantage for us in this lifestyle as we can move whenever and wherever we feel the safest until this passes…

NOTE: We are currently in Mesa Arizona until March 11th 2020, then over to Tucson for four nights.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Minor Repairs and Having Fun, Mesa AZ…

One thing we love about our longer winter stays in these larger “snowbird” parks is the opportunity to fix a lot of the little things that have piled up. Being in a larger city a longer time time allows us to receive items in the mail easier or allows us to go to stores necessary to find replacement items and/or necessary parts for repairs. Another thing these snowbird parks offer besides more amenities is opportunities for  social interactions.


We have been doing a little of all these things. Some of the items needing repairs have been done so we checked them off the list. My first task was to repair the annoying light in our Norcold 1210 refrigerator. What was happening was that the light would only work intermittently.


After removing the light cover by squeezing and pulling on it I finally was able to get this stubborn cover off. Doing so exposed the “fuse like” light bulb that squeezes into the metal contacts. After jiggling it to see if it was getting contact one of the metal pieces broke off revealing my problem. The broken piece of metal was not getting enough contact to make the light work all the time.


Consulting the tech manual for our refrigerator I was able to find the part on Amazon and ordered it. When it arrived all there was to installing it was to unclip the wires and take out two screws. Attaching the new was simply the same in reverse. Once installed I put in the bulb and now the light works as it is supposed to.


Another task was installing our new kitchen faucet but I discussed that installation in an earlier blog. I also discussed in a past blog about our blind replacement. Well one of them wasn't working right but thankfully Select Blinds has a three year warranty on them so I have a new one coming soon.


While chatting with the blinds sales rep I discovered they now had a blind that would fit our 16 inch wide bedroom windows. Both of which I couldn’t replace before as they didn’t carry blinds that small. Since our initial blind replacement project those two have been broken for some time so I ordered replacement blinds and installed them in our bedroom windows. We love our new blinds!

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As I mentioned in the first paragraph we have been socializing a lot here as well and have made several new friends. With live music being played at one of the pools every day we have been enjoying the afternoons listening to music and Sharon has been getting in her fair share of dancing.

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Another fun thing that occurs at larger snowbird parks are block parties and we have participated in a few of those, Mostly these parties are celebrating birthdays and the entire street is blocked off to make room for a band. Our favorite one so far was one where a really nice Cajun fellow who was turning 90 had a party his daughter and son in law threw for him complete with a Cajun band and some excellent catered Cajun food. It sure was nice hearing some Cajun music and eating some of our favorite Cajun dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya and red beans and rice…

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Despite all the amenities here in Mesa, I am feeling the itch to move on and have begun making our travel plans for the year.  Just two more weeks and we will be on the road again!

NOTE: We are currently in Mesa Arizona until March 11th 2020, then over to Tucson for four nights.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Hiking Lost Dog Wash Loop with Friends, Scottsdale AZ…

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Friends of ours we met RV’ing were going to be in Mesa for a few days and wanted to get together. John and Jane were full time RV’ers but are now living in Iowa near their granddaughter. This trip was scheduled because they wanted a break from the cold and enjoy some warm weather.

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We met them at the Oro Brewery in old downtown Mesa and enjoyed a few craft beers there. Next we visited a place called Chupacabra which had a nice happy hour. It was fun catching up and the time flew by. Toward the end they mentioned they’d like to do a hike at our next get together.

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After a bit of research I found the Lost Dog Wash Loop which is on the southern edge of the McDowell Mountains and is part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. It’s a hike that Sharon and I hadn't done either and after reading reviews it seemed to be  a good hike which also would only have a few other hikers on it.

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We started at the Ringtail Trailhead because our GPS couldn’t seem to direct us to the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead. We made the best of it and hit the trail. The hike would consist of hiking a 4.25 mile loop taking us through some protected washes, bajadas and foothills of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

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The hike was a relatively easy trail but is rated moderate mostly because of the rocky and rough terrain. We experienced only about 400 feet of elevation changes and the trail took us through typical Sonoran vegetation with some fairly dense concentrations of saguaro, barrel cacti, Teddy Bear and Cane Cholla, interspersed with Ocotillo, Lead Trees and Palo Verde trees.

There were plenty of good signs marking the trails making it easy to find our turns. One nice thing about our hike this day was that the early blooming spring flowers were beginning to bloom due to the heavy rains we had one day last week. While the flowers weren't abundant there were plenty to make us smile at their beauty…

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With John and Jane leaving the next day we headed down Gilbert, AZ to visit one of our favorite breweries there called O.H.S.O. brewery where they have good beer and a great happy hour selling 32 ounce mini pitchers for $7.00.

We ended the day back at our park for some snacks and last minute conversation before it was time for Jane and John to head back… Until next time friends…

NOTE: We are currently in Mesa Arizona until March 11th 2020, then over to Tucson for four nights.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Mayo Appointment and a Nice Hike…


We are still enjoying our resort stay at Mesa Regal here in Mesa Arizona. We can’t believe we have already been here a month so upon that realization we have begun making plans to head back east once we leave in March. We decided our first stop will be Tucson and we will make our way to Texas as we love to be there in the springtime for the wildflowers.  We know after leaving Arizona there aren’t many resorts as nice as this so we are going to make it our goal to really savor the many amenities offered here this next month.

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While here we also made our appointment for our annual checkups to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale AZ.  We would wake really early and have a full day of visits but what we like best is EVERYTHING can be done in one day. My appointments were over early in the morning but Sharon had more appointments in the afternoon.

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Since we had a few hours of time in between we headed back over to the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.  We pulled into the visitors parking lot we where we had no problem finding a parking spot. We figured we had time to hike the 1/2 mile nature trail we didn’t do the last time we were here.

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Since we had plenty of time we strolled slowly along the well marked trail to listen to the birds singing and to really enjoy each small plant we would normally pass by without noticing. The desert was in bloom even though most of the flowers were very small.

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There were also informative plaques along the trail providing some historical and nature insight. Certainly we were glad we had time to return to the conservancy for this easy and very short hike. It was a nice break in our day of appointments. Thankfully we received all good news at the Mayo Clinic so we are good to go for another year! We celebrated at O.H.S.O. Brewery in Gilbert and now I can go full steam ahead in making travel plans for the rest of the year!

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NOTE: We are currently in Mesa Arizona until March 11th 2020, then over to Tucson for a few days.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Blogger Meetup and Hiking the Gateway Loop, AZ…

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One thing we have really enjoyed about blogging is how close the community of RV travel bloggers is. So when we were contacted by Faye and Dave of the blog The Wandering Camels about trying to meet up we were excited for the opportunity to do so. Our paths have been close on many occasions yet we’ve never been able to meet in person.

Since they were north of Phoenix we chose a spot closer to them and also close to a nice hike.  We figured a good hike would also justify the craft beers we will enjoy during our visit with Faye and Dave.

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After doing some trail research I found a nice 4.2 mile hike we hadn’t done before which promised awesome views and beautiful cacti. My choice was the Gateway Loop in the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.  When we pulled into the visitors parking lot we we pleased to see that there were no fees to park. There were bathrooms at the trailhead and maps are available at the welcome center. We also noticed a 1/2 mile nature trail we plan to do another day.

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There was a short hike to where the loop began and after reading a lot about the trail we chose to hike counter clockwise to get the steepest part out of the way first. The trail was well marked and our loop began with a modest incline until we topped out at the Gateway Saddle. The the trail continued on looping around McDowell Mountain which is one of Scottdale’s most prominant features.


It was a great hike with some great views of the city of Phoenix in the valley below. After the hike we had a bit of time to kill before meeting Faye and Dave at the O.H.S.O. brewery and Distillery.We stopped at the Scottsdale Trader Joes and picked up some of our favorite items from there. Then we drove over to the brewery and nestled up to the bar for a brew while we waited for our blogger friends.

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It wasn’t long before Faye and Dave showed up so we moved over to a small table to engage in some friendly banter. We really had fun getting to know each other better . Time flew by and  happily we plan to meet at least one more time before we leave in March.

Another great day on The Road of Retirement…


NOTE: We are currently in Mesa Arizona until March 11th 2020, then over to Tucson for a few days.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Installing A New Kitchen Faucet…

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This resort life in Arizona has been tough! Between happy hours, dips in the pool, playing pickleball and good soaks in the hot tub it’s hard to find time for much of anything else. However, since we do live in our RV sometimes there are things to fix and sometimes there are items needing upgrading.

The upgrade this time around was to replace our kitchen faucet.  I am the type of guy who hates to replace something which works perfectly well such our our old kitchen faucet. Sharon, on the other hand has no problem with such triviality. Thus, we have a new Peerless faucet to put into our kitchen sink.

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The nice thing about replacing the faucet is that any residential faucet will work in the RV but anyone who does plumbing knows it isn’t a fun task. Add in the fact that there is hardly any space in an RV to do any type of work I fully expected this to be a not-so-fun job. My first task was to turn the water off to get ready to remove the sink.

You may wonder why I decided to remove the sink. Well there are two reasons. One is that the caulk seal around the sink was is a bit dicey. There were a few spots which let water through to drip below the sink. Also with the sink out of the cabinet it would be relatively easy to install the new faucet.

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Once I turned off the water I opened the faucets to let out all of the remaining water and water pressure.. Then I used a sharp knife to cut along the top of the sink between the sink and the countertop thus cutting through the old caulk. Next I had to remove everything from the cabinet beneath the sink to gain access to the brackets holding the sink to the countertop.

To get to some of the screws I had to remove all of the kitchen drawers in the adjacent cabinet. With all screws removed I took out the brackets holding the sink up. Then I unscrewed the PVC retaining ring just above the sink trap to free it from the pipes below and then unscrewed the hot and cold water pipes from the faucet.. Then the sink was lifted out (with a lot of wiggling around) to be cleaned up.


I then unscrewed the clamp under the sink that held the faucet in place. Next I unscrewed the retaining ring and the faucet was freed from the sink. With the old faucet removed I then removed all the caulk from the sink and the countertop with a plastic caulk scraper. Tedious but necessary and afterward I cleaned all the surfaces with rubbing alcohol.

Now I was ready to install our new faucet. Tightening up all the screws after installing the retaining ring and the faucet was on the sink. After a lot of jiggling I finally got the sink back in the countertop. The sink sat a few inches lower than the countertop allowing me to put a line of 100% waterproof caulk around the lip of the countertop hole.

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Now to get the sink to adhere to the countertop I inserted two 2 foot wood clamps through the sink drain by taking them apart and inserting one end through the drain. I put the clamps back together and after laying a 2x3 across the top of the sink I was able to ratchet the wood clamps up to tighten them against the 2x3 thus pulling the sink upward. This secured the sink to the underside of the countertop and then I simply cleaned up the excess caulk wetting my finger to wipe up the excess and wiped it on a paper towel.


I let the sink sit 24 hours to ensure the caulk had dried them reattached the sink brackets from below (they probably aren’t really needed but I put them back in anyhow). With the sink secured I took off the wood clamps and reinstalled the hot and cold water pipes using some Teflon Tape. Lastly I attached the drain pipes by tightening the retaining rings.

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I ran the water to test for leaks and viola! We have a new faucet installed… now back to the hot tub to soak my body from all the contortions I had to do to get this thing installed…

NOTE: We are currently in Mesa Arizona until March 11th 2020, then over to Tucson for a few days.