Friday, December 31, 2021

Back on the Road, Christmas and a New Addition…


With the RV repaired we left Water Valley town park cautiously optimistic there would be no further issues. Since we were a little behind schedule to be in San Antonio for the Christmas holidays we drove all the  way to the Gillespie County Fairgrounds in Fredericksburg Texas.


We skipped stopping at Mason Texas where I had hoped to meet up with a friend but we certainly felt a bit better making it to a more populated part of Texas given our recent RV issues.. We figured if we had more problems we would be more likely able to find mechanics. Since we have visited Fredericksburg many times before we just took a scenic drive through he hill country before settling in for the evening.


The next morning we made our way over to Potters Creek COE CG where would stay through the Christmas holidays. The next morning we drove the CRV to San Antonio to spend Christmas with our son and his family. It has been a while since we spent the holidays with family so we were looking forward to it. Besides, Jason, our son, wanted me to help him build an outdoor kitchen while we were there.


We spent most of the week working on the outdoor kitchen of which many of today’s pictures depict its progress.Jason and Kelly treated us to a huge feast on Christmas Day It was fun gathering in the kitchen for the preparations and everything was delicious. 


We also savored family time with our son, his wife, our grandson Cameron, granddaughter Adrianne and our new great grandbaby Christopher. Yes that’s right we are now great grandparents and it was fun getting to know the new addition to the family.The family dogs joined in the fun and also seemed very glad to see us as every time we sat down they came by for some love..


While the time we spent with Jason and his family went quickly we certainly enjoyed this extended stay over the holidays. Sharon especially enjoyed making different Christmas cookies each day as well as holding and cuddling with our new great grandchild. Wow, I still can’t get over the fact we have a great grandchild. Guess that means we are getting old… Nahhhh!


We hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas holidays and I am sure we are all looking forward to a Happy New Year!

NOTE: We are currently in south TX in La Feria…

Sunday, December 26, 2021

What every RV’er dreads happening (Part 2)…


The next morning we started up the RV, pulled in the slides and headed down the road. Well we only got 3 miles out of town and the engine died AGAIN! Sigh. I somehow limped over to the side of the road. I got it started again so we decided it would be best to just to go back the three miles to the RV park and stay until we could have a tech check out the RV.

Here’s where it got interesting… As we started a u-turn to head back to Iraan the RV died again straddled across both lanes of the road. Fortunately this road was lightly traveled but still a few cars had to wait until I could start it again several times to inch our way back off the road.


The only solution now was to be towed to a service center. We contacted Good Sams Roadside Service and after about a four hour wait we had a tow truck hooking up the RV for the long haul (about 92 miles) to the Odessa Texas Cummins Service Center. Having your RV towed as a full timer is a very disheartening thing to have to do.


While waiting for the tow truck I found an Air BnB in nearby Midland which we booked for two nights assuming nothing would get done the day of our RV towing to Cummins since it would arrive near closing time. After watching the RV arrive and plugged in for power to the fridge we headed to Midland to spend a few nights hoping for the best.


The next morning we were informed that the lift pump had failed which was one of the cheaper options. That made us happy. What made us sad was they had to try and find the part since they didn’t have one in stock. A few hours passed and we were told they located a new fuel lift pump and hoped it would arrive the next day. Sigh…

Well the fuel pump did get to Cummins and they were able to assure us that they would have it installed by closing time so we checked out of our Air BnB. While we were waiting for word of the part’s arrival we made backup plans to spend a night in a hotel should it not be finished in time for us to make our way down the road to a suitable RV park.


We found a disc golf course in Odessa to play a round of disc golf while we waited. Happily Cummins called to say the part arrived and they were working on our RV. After our round of disc golf we started looking for nearby RV parks to stay at for when the RV was ready. We picked several parks at varying distances away.


They were able to get the repairs done by 5 PM, their closing time. With little daylight left we drove about 90 miles down the road and stayed at Water Valley town park in  Water Valley Texas. It was a nice little park and we were the only one in it. When morning arrived we hoped our problems were behind us and luckily they were as we made it a few hundred miles further down the road into Fredericksburg Texas.

Whew, what an ordeal but such is life On the Road of Retirement…

We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays this year!

NOTE: We are currently in TX for the holidays…

Friday, December 24, 2021

What every RV’er dreads happening (Part 1)…


We left Deming NM and planned for a long drive into Texas because we were still trying to avoid a cold snap headed our direction. The drive down Interstate 10 was mostly uneventful as we pulled into our planned stop in Van Horn Texas.

We often stop in this unremarkable town as it is a great resting place on that long stretch of I10 through west Texas. Also there has always been at least one Passport America Park making it a cheap overnight stop.

As we pulled into Oasis RV Park in Van Horn I stayed in the RV while Sharon went inside to register. As she was inside the RV engine stopped running. Perplexed, I cranked it back up only for it to run about 30 seconds and die again. Well, this was not a good situation.


When Sharon returned I told her what happened, cranked it up again and it started running. However as I was driving over to our site,  it died again. Well after starting it and it stopping a lot we were able to crawl into a full hookup site.

After extensively researching what was going on I concluded we were having a fuel delivery problem. This meant it could be the fuel filters, the lift pump, the fuel injector pump or somehow the fuel injectors themselves were fouling out. Well the cheapest solution was to change out the fuel filters. Our RV has two of them.

So I crawled under the RV to take a photo of the filter I needed. I had a spare of the the smallest filter and luckily the NAPA in town had the replacement for the largest one. Not sure if I had all the tools we found a local roadside service who agreed to come by the next morning to remove and replace the fuel filters. After he finished I cranked up the engine and all seemed well as I let it idle for about 10 minutes.

After pulling in all the slides we were off once again for our next stop in Iraan Texas some 200+ miles further east. Fortunately the drive went well and we pulled into The Landing RV Park which was a nice little park. Pleased that the filter repair must have fixed the problem… or did it?

NOTE: We are currently in TX for the holidays…

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Goodbye Tucson and Moving on…


Well we certainly enjoyed our stay in Tucson and liked the Far Horizon Resort. With the weekly happy hours offering free beer/wine and music how could we not like it especially with the added amenities ( nice pool, hot tub, weight room, wood shop, etc)The month of November flew by in the flurry of activities..


As we planed our route down to central Texas for the Christmas holidays we ended up adding three more days in Tucson. We did this for two reasons. First there was a cold snap coming through with some gusty winds. Windy and cold isn’t a great combination. Also, two of the state parks I wanted to stay at were going to be closed one for renovations and one for duck hunting season.


Once we hit the road we spent our first night at Sunrise RV Park in Deming NM which lived up to its name the next morning. We’ve spent time in Deming before but not at this RV park. The park itself is mostly filled with locals as could be attested by the amount of clutter around their RV’s.


There was also one RV that  really should be towed out and we can’t even guess as to why it is still there since it has busted windows and is not powered up. It was a total eyesore. But on the bright side the manager Wayne was a super nice fellow who also informed us that the owners built a brew pub next to the RV park and had us hop on his golf cart to show us how to get to it.

The brew pub is called Happy Camper and had a nice assortment of craft beers on tap at reasonable prices. We tried a few different brews each night we stayed in Deming. We also met many other travelers from some of the adjacent RV parks. There are three or four RV parks all in a row, several of which are nicer but more expensive that the one we were in.


We had added a day so we could go hiking at the Rockhound State Park just southeast of town. It was only about a 20 minute drive to the park and was $5.00 per car for entry at a self pay station. We paid up and parked at the Park Headquarters which has a nice little museum inside as well.


The hike we took began at the HQ and basically took us along a hillside overlooking the campground which by the way has ample sites for big rigs all nicely laid out in a loop with panoramic mountain views. The hike was through typical desert terrain with mostly Opuntia cacti and thickets of Creosote Bush. We spotted a lot of desert birds including both Scaled and Gambles Quail along with several the of the best looking sparrows, the Black-chinned Sparrow.

With winds approaching the area we will leave Deming and sprint on Interstate 10 toward San Antonio…

NOTE: We are currently in TX for the holidays…

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Our First Time House Sitting…


As mentioned in previous blogs we have been investigating house sitting as a means to travel part time once we finish with our RV lifestyle. While in Phoenix we joined Trusted Housesitters, went through the vetting process and found our first gig. This assignment sadly fell through but we continued looking and while in Tucson we found one in Queen Creek that coincided with a medical follow up appointment John had for his eye in Phoenix. Perfect! Luckily we were accepted and began corresponding with the homeowners regarding their expectations for caring for their home and pets.


We were excited to learn that we would be caring not only for the home but for 2 boxers named JoJo and Doug. Our son has had three boxers so we know the breed to be very loveable and energetic. We had the option of spending the night before their departure or arriving the morning of. We chose the morning of so we packed the night before, woke up early and drove over.

Upon ringing the doorbell we heard the dogs welcome us with a little barking but as the door opened the lady of the house commanded them to “place” which meant they were to sit beside the couch until she released them with the command to “break”. We were very impressed because knowing boxers we knew it had to be difficult for them to contain their excitement.


We received a tour of the home and some last minute instructions. We had the choice of two guest bedrooms and would have our own bathroom. The house was beautiful with a resort like feel. The large backyard had a pool, outdoor kitchen, party lights and a gas fireplace. It was beautiful! Once the owners left we began loving on our two charges. They immediately indicated they wanted to play fetch so we happily obliged. They each have their own toy and will fetch until they are too tired to take one more step. We took turns taking them outside for play and watched as they entered the pool a few times too! I sent pictures and videos throughout the stay at the homeowner's request. It was fun!


The home was a smart home so sometimes we would hear Alexa command the robo vacuum each day. Thankfully the couple likes to cook at home as we do so we had all the cooking utensils we needed. Mealtimes for the dogs were twice a day and they were so good at the commands we were instructed to give. First we told them to sit as they watched us prepare their bowls then we would place the bowls in the designated eating areas and first told JoJo to “break” and then Doug to “break” . The dogs waited patiently until hearing the command and I filmed it with the owners permission as I wanted to show my son how awesome these two boxers were!


We had a blast and the time passed quickly. We left feeling great about our first real sit. The homeowners gave us a 5 star rating and we did a 5 star review for them as well. It felt like a great getaway and once we were back at home I think both John and I missed our two new fur buddies!

NOTE: We have now left Tucson AZ heading to San Antonio for the Christmas holidays…

Friday, December 3, 2021

Living on “Tucson” Time…


We have been in Tucson for nearly a month and we can’t believe how fast it has passed. When we first arrived my main project was to get our bicycles back in shape so I ordered new shifters, cables and handlebar grips to get it done. Sure enough as I was in the middle of this project I came to the decision to build a cabinet door instead of buying one.


Building a cabinet door took nearly a week and while that was ongoing we broke a window pane in our slideout window when we pulled the slide in for the workers to trim branches. Well our hummingbird feeder was still on the window and was apparently strong enough to break the window.


So, another week disappeared as I was taking the window out to remove the broken pane. Suddenly we were three weeks into the month and hadn’t been out a lot to explore. We did find a few disc golf courses in the area we were able to play.


Besides playing disc golf most of our excursions this November were out on short hikes or birding in some of the local hotspots. November is one of the best months for the fall bird migration so we were able to see a good variety of birds at several of the local parks.


We also made it out to the Saguaro National Monument to take in the loop drive and a hike through the fabulous Sonoran Desert habitat. One reason we love the Tucson is for the desert mountain views and numerous hiking opportunities. Seeing saguaros always makes us smile in contentment.


After hiking, birding or disc golfing we found a few favorite happy hour haunts with Zinburger being the one closest to the RV park so it isn’t surprising it is the one we have visited the most. They do have a great happy hour and pretty darned good food as well.


One other thing we were able to squeeze in was visiting a friend of ours who we met RV’ing. He has since settled down, for now, in the greater Tucson area. We drove over to his community to see his new home and what his 55+ community had to offer. There is little doubt that he is in a scenic place with great views of the desert mountains. It was great getting to see Bernie and we know our paths will cross again!z8

Other than the repairs and excursions we have otherwise enjoyed the resort amenities such as donut day, the gym, the hot tub and music at the pool on Fridays with free beer and wine Toward the end of the month we also did our first house sit in Queen Creek, Arizona but it will be the subject of our next blog.

NOTE: We are currently in Tucson AZ until December 4th…

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Building a Cabinet Door for our new Fridge Cabinet


I left the refrigerator project on hold when we left Mesa AZ because to finish it off I needed to find a cabinet door. I looked online and found that a narrow door in the same wood type as our rig, alder, was going to quite a challenge.


I did find a site which would build a cabinet nearly to my needs but it would have to be 1/2 wider than I desired. After remeasuring everything and taking into account that the door had to open to the right meaning the hinges had to be set in a particular spot to allow for the clearance of the door opening in toward another cabinet I figured I could make it work.


I kind of gave up on the project and thought I would reinvestigate it later. Well that day finally came because here at Far Horizons RV Resort I discovered the park has a wood shop. Since there were no fees associated with using it I decided that maybe I could build my own cabinet door.


Scouring You Tube videos trying to find a solution on how to build a cabinet door with minimal tools I finally came upon one that was perfect for what I needed. A You Tube video titled Build Shaker Cabinet Doors With Table Saw | New to Woodworking.


After watching the video a few times I knew this would work for our needs. And as luck would have it the local lumber center had alder wood and the same hinges we have in our RV. I bought a couple of pieces of 1x2’s and some hinges then I was off to the wood shop.


First I used a radial arm saw to cut the pieces to size for the cabinet door frame. Then I used a table saw to cut the groove on the edge of the frame pieces that I could later insert a 1/8’ piece of plywood that I had leftover from tearing out the old Norcold fridge.


Next was a tricky part to make the stub and groove tenon joints as can be seen in the above photo. These joints make the cabinet door stable and study to allow for the abuse of constant opening and closing that cabinets endure.The video showed me how to do this using only a table saw.


Measuring was critical and I lucked out as I was able to do so by only messing up one small piece. Once all the cuts were made I cut the 1/8” plywood cabinet face to fit inside the groves of the frame pieces. I dry fitted all the pieces together and once satisfied that all the pieces fit I glued it all together using wood frame clamps to hold it tight to dry overnight.


The next day I took off the clamps and gave all the pieces a light sanding including rounding the edges. Next I used a cherry stain I had previously purchased based upon Tiffin’s recommendation as one that would match our cabinetry the best.


Sharon and I couldn’t be more pleased at how the cabinet door turned out. After we installed the hinges and a door catch we now have a new storage area that looks as if it was always there and all built for less than $35.

NOTE: We are currently in Tucson AZ until December 1st…

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Repairing a broken double-paned RV window…


As the saying goes, sometimes caca occurs, or something like that. When we arrived at our site in Tucson Arizona there were a lot of tree limbs overhanging our site. We backed in figuring we would be able to trim them so they would not scratch the slideouts.

111I got up on the roof and trimmed all the ones touching the roof but there were several more leaning on our slideouts. Other than noise my biggest concern was that they might tear the slideout toppers since this tree had thorns. Well, I could only reach some of the limbs and a neighbor across the way said he would contact maintenance to come by and trim them on Monday for us. Great!

We settled in and after seeing lots of hummingbirds in the area we put our hummingbird feeder out on the side window of our slide-out. Sure enough, in no time we had hummingbirds feeding at our feeder. With our site all set up and birds at the feeder we felt pretty cozy.


Monday while Sharon was fixing lunch the maintenance guys came over to trim the windows. I offered to pull in the slide so it would be easier to trim the limbs. Well, when I pulled in the slide we heard a loud boom and feared maybe something in the slide got crunched. But no… it was the hummingbird feeder on the side window which as the slide was coming in caused the outside tinted window pane to explode into a zillion little pieces. CRAP!!!  We were amazed it broke the window rather than popping off the feeder. Gee whiz. I mean if you want a hummingbird feeder that will stick to your window this is it!


No problem, we bought a window from Tiffin for the other side and after finding the receipt I not only had the part number I needed for this 26x30 window but I saw we paid $220.00 for it last time so had an idea of what it would cost. After calling Tiffin I was astounded to learn this window would now cost $723.00 plus freight and shipping for a total near $1000.00, YIKES!!!


After calling every glass shop I could find here in Tucson and Phoenix only one could repair it in time but we had to take the window out and take it Phoenix. The shop said it could maybe be fixed before the end of the month for less than $350, but no guarantees it would be done by then.


Then I found  on the web and they could send me just the broken pane replacement for $125 but no guarantee I’d get it before we left due to supply chain issues. Left with little choice we decided to take the window out, disassemble it, remove the broken glass, measure the window glass for replacement and reinstall it back into the RV to be repaired later.


Let me tell you about a great YouTube video I found on taking a window out and apart. After watching it I felt confident enough to remove the window and disassemble it. Removing the broken glass was tricky but once I finished breaking all the little pieces off and disposing of them I just used a single edged razorblade to cut under the remaining broken glass for removal.


I measured all the details of the window for replacement and reinstalled the single pane of glass left in the broken window. It will need caulking if we get into a stormy situation but I will wait until then to do so since caulk is messy to remove. We decided we will likely order a replacement pane from and have it delivered to our son’s house in Texas where I can fix the window properly. Never a dull moment!


NOTE: We are currently in Tucson AZ until December…