Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The last 1,000 miles

We finished up the business we had in Albuquerque on Friday and decided to head for Texas on Saturday morning. It would have been nice to see a lot of old friends in Edgewood, be we were just anxious to see the kids and get to a place where we could stop traveling for a while.

Rather than take interstates we took a more direct route with less traffic. We drove to Clines Corners, then down to Roswell (no, there are no aliens there) and then we followed US 380 all the way to Denton. Saturday night we stayed at a rest area near Caprock, NM that is designed for overnight stays. It was peaceful and free.

Sunday we continued on US 380 to Haskell, TX where they have a city owned and operated RV park with full hookups. It is free for the first night. Several of the small west Texas towns have such a set up. They hope that visitors will spend a little money in their town.

First thing Monday morning we called Lincoln Park, the RV park we have used the last 3 years, to see if they had space for us. They said they were full and did not expect anything to open up for at least a couple weeks, or more. So, we made a few more phone calls and searched the internet while discussing our options. Finally we learned that the monthly rate at a very nice RV resort located near Sanger, TX was very reasonable, so we decided to go there.

Sanger is north of Chris and Dayna about 25 miles, but there are rural roads we can take on the scooter to get to their house. Texas Sundown RV Resort is a very large place that is less than ¼ full. The spaces are huge, there is a pool and hot tub, a conference center and even a small golf course here. It is located about ¼ mile off I-35 so there is some highway noise and we can hear a train that runs about ½ mile away, but the noise is certainly less than many places we have been. All in all it is quite peaceful here. Probably the biggest drawback is the lack of any shopping nearby. We will have to go into Denton for that as Sanger is quite small.

We arrived here Monday afternoon about 3 and set up our rig for a long stay. We will probably be here for about 3 months. We went to Jennings for the evening and had pizza for dinner. Everyone was happy to see each other. The kids even stayed up past their bedtime.

This is our first day at our new home for the next 3 months. Both of us are really looking forward to a rest. Since June 1 when we left for Alaska we have traveled 15,000 miles for an average of 100 miles per day. The longest we stayed in any one location was 14 days, and that was the city campground in Anchorage while we flew to Phoenix for Dayna’s graduation.

Traveling so far and for so long takes a toll on both people and rigs. We definitely need to rest up, and we have many projects to do on the truck and trailer. Some of them fall in the maintenance category and some are improvements we want to make.

Posting on the blog will probably become much more sporadic. We will update our readers with anything we think you might be interested in, but it surely will not be nearly as exciting or interesting at the past 5 months. We have enjoyed sharing our trip with all of you.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


We played tourist today. Since we left New Mexico a new National Monument has been created between Albuquerque and Santa Fe near Cochiti Lake. It is called Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and consists of some interesting rock formations similar to those found in Bryce Canyon. Although it is relatively small it was a fun place to visit.

There are two trails available to hike. The first just loops around the area below the cliffs for some close up views of the hoodoos. The second trail is the one that makes the whole place so interesting and fun. It enters a very narrow canyon and winds for about a mile through some beautifully sculpted rock. At the end of the canyon the trail continues for about another half mile up a steep incline to the top of the mesa where there are great views of the Sandias, the Sangre de Cristos and the Jemez Mountains as well as the Rio Grande Valley down toward Albuquerque.

After our hike we stopped at one of our favorite New Mexican restaurants, El Pinto, for dinner. Of course we both had green chile enchiladas to satisfy our cravings for that special New Mexican flavor. We probably miss the food here more than anything else about the state.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


We packed up and pulled out around 11 on Tuesday. We took Usery Mountain Road up to where it meets Bush Highway and then to Highway 87 toward Payson. We stopped for lunch at the rest stop along the way. In Payson we turned east toward Heber and then on to Show Low. It sure was fun pulling up those mountains at the speed limit. Our truck is amazing.

The evidence of the fire of a couple years ago was still very evident, especially between Heber and Show Low. We saw several other fires burning along the way, including one very near Show Low.

We continued on east through Springerville, into New Mexico through Quemado and Pie Town, and finally to the Datil Well BLM Campground near Datil, NM. We traveled way too far today, but Dianna made an appointment in Albuquerque for Friday and she wants to go to Santa Fe on Thursday so we have to get there tomorrow to make all that work out. I thought we were retired and did not have a schedule anymore!

The BLM campground is only $5 a night and has only one spot that is big enough for us. We stayed here a in June of last year when we had Deidra and Dom with us. It is a nice rustic campground where I would not mind spending the 7 days limit.

I’m not sure if it froze overnight or not, but it was cold. We got on the road at a little after 11 again, but since we lost an hour by crossing into New Mexico the late start was understandable. The trip over to Socorro and up I25 to Albuquerque was uneventful. We went to the Loves Truck Stop in town to fuel up and then drove out to Hidden Valley RV Park in Zuzax. They are a Passport America park so with full hookups and tax it was only a little over $14 a night.

This evening we went into town to WalMart for groceries and prescriptions, then home for TV and surfing. Tomorrow we will explore our old stomping grounds.

Monday, October 22, 2007


We really need to catch this up to date!

We returned the next day to Algodones to get Dianna’s crown put in. The following morning we left for Mesa.

The drive to Phoenix was uneventful. We took a road we had not been on before from Gila Bend to Maricopa, then up to the 202 freeway, then the 101, then the 202 and up to Power Road. We went up into the foothills northeast of Mesa to Usery Mountain Park where we paid for four days camping. They have electric and water hookups, but no sewer. It is a nice place that is set up more like a campground than an RV park. There is lots of room between sites.

The next day we rode the scooter down to see Mom today and spent most of the afternoon with her. She seems to be doing very well.

Saturday morning we took a hike up to Wind Cave. It was 1.6 miles each way and a pretty good climb. We were both pooped when we got back. On the way down we saw a lady who had twisted an ankle. The fire department was bringing a stretcher up to get her.

About 4 PM we took the scooter to Donna’s house where we had dinner with her, Mom, and Daryl’s family. Even Derek came over for dinner. It was after 10 PM when we got home.

Sunday morning I rode the scooter over to Daryl’s and had him help me upgrade the blog to the newest version. It was a windy ride as a front was moving through and the temperature dropped about 10 to 15 degrees from the day before. While I was gone Dianna worked on embroidering a top for Mom.

We had planned to head toward Albuquerque Monday but the wind was forecast to be pretty bad up in the mountains so we decided to stay another day. We left the park about 11 and rode the scooter down to Mom’s where Dianna gave her a top she had embroidered for her. We stayed until about 3:30 when we went down to the WalMart at Superstition Springs so Dianna could get her hair cut.

After we got home we took a walk through the nature trail here at the campground and then had dinner. We spent the evening watching TV except for the few interruptions while I talked Carrie through burning a CD with some photos on it.

Looks like we will be heading east in the morning.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mexican Dentistry

Well, American dentists can learn a lot from those in Mexico. We got to Algodones about 10:15, walked in to a dentist's office and since we were the only ones there were seen immediately. After I told her what I needed Dr. Sonia Moralles, the dentist, called the surgeon who does root canals and he was there before she finished my cleaning. He did my root canal and then she did the impression for my crown. I go back tomorrow to get my crown. Total time: 2 1/2 hrs. Total cost: $355.

Richard went in for his cleaning and to get his filling replaced. Total time: 1 hr. Total cost: $65.

She was very good and we'd recommend her in a heartbeat. The cost was about 1/10 the cost of a crown in the States and about 1/4th that of a root canal here. Unbelievably great experience.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


We got on the road yesterday a little after 11 and drove behind the mountains to Victorville, and then down to Yucca Valley. The road was two lane most of the way and not very smooth. After Yucca Valley we descended into Palm Springs where there are now a gazillion windmill generators. We stayed on I10 until Indio where we took Highway 111 down the eastern side of the Salton Sea.

We stopped first at a state recreation area but they wanted $17 for no hookups. Then we tried a couple RV resorts north of Niland but they both wanted over $30 a night. So, we drove into Niland and out to Slab City. On the edge of town we waited at least 15 minutes for the slowest, longest freight train I have ever seen.

Slab City is about three miles east of Niland. It is an abandoned military base that now only has some concrete slabs. RV boondockers have taken the place over. We have heard conflicting reports about the place and our opinion is that it is mostly populated by people who are down on their luck, living free. It has a sense of permanence about it since most of the people there are permanent residents in their older RV’s. I don’t think it is a dangerous place, but there are certainly some characters there. I am betting some of them did/do a lot of drugs at some time in their life.

It was fine for one night, but it is not a place I would spend any time. Unlike Quartzsite this place has junk everywhere. Obviously a different class of people from Quartzsite or Imperial Dam.

Today we drove down to Yuma. As we passed through some of the towns in the Imperial Valley we noticed that many of them have really gone downhill since we used to come this way many years ago. I have no idea why that has happened since there is still a great deal of agriculture in the area. Maybe all the people with any money have moved to the larger towns like El Centro.

We are staying in an RV park located right on the Colorado River. It is an older place, but OK. The winter visitor surge is just starting, but most people do not arrive until January. This park is more than half empty.

We will be here for a few days.  We plan to check out the Mexican dentistry in Algadones. Many people think it is every bit as good as what we get in the states, but about 1/3 the cost. Since we no longer have dental insurance it should save us some money.

Monday, October 8, 2007

New Laptop Computer

We bought a new laptop for Dianna to use when we are running off batteries. We have discovered that our desktop system sucks a huge amount of power so we will now use it mostly when plugged into power. It will allow us a lot more flexibility in using our solar system and enjoying our lifestyle without having to make compromises.

Fry's had a Compaq on sale for $499 and it seemed to have everything we needed. The only bad thing about it is Windows Vista. What a mess! Why does Microsoft have to keep making our lives more difficult? I know the answer is so they can continue to make Bill Gates richer. My backup software will not work with it and they have removed support for an older style of help files. I found a fix for that on Microsoft's support site, but of course the fix does not fix it. Who knows what else we will find.

It has a large screen (15 1/2 inches) and a larger disk than in my laptop. It is nothing fancy, but every year you get more hardware for less money.

We also purchased a wireless mouse for her, and we bought a new router. The one we have been using is only a B so we now have a G. It will allow my backups to run across the network faster, but I'm not sure what I am going back up the new laptop since my backup software does not work. I may have to plug it directly into the external hard drive and use Vista's built in backup feature.

Donna and Daryl can quit reading here. The rest of the world can hear the reason it was only $499. It has an AMD processor.

Friday, October 5, 2007


We are now in Lancaster, California. It is in the high desert about 48 miles from Dianna's parents in Granada Hills. On the trip down Tuesday we had the truck and trailer washed so it looks presentable again. We came down highway 99 to Bakersfield, then over Tehachipie Pass into Mojave, then down to Lancaster. The pass is much easier to go over than I-5 over the Grapevine.

We are staying at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds RV park. It is only $25 a night instead of the $55 per night at the park we used to stay at in Valencia. We plan to be here for a little over a week so the savings is significant. It is farther away from her parents but it only takes an hour to get there.

We went down yesterday and Dianna is going again today. We did some yard work for them and had dinner with them as well. The ride down on the scooter was not fun due to the horrible winds here right now. Dianna drove their car back but I rode the scooter. It was dark by then and I had forgotten to take a warm jacket so the ride back was even less fun than the trip down. I forgot the Boy Scout motto!

Today and tomorrow the winds are forecast to be nasty as a front passes through. I even had to tie a rope from the end of my satellite arm to the truck to keep the wind from twisting it. Lovely place.