No Sale! The microwave is fixed! We Settle into Senator Wash . . . again!

I guess I haven’t written in a while. We toured several houses with Joanie and found one we might have loved if we were looking for a four bedroom house to live in with space for everyone to visit and room for our coach and a friend’s coach as well. Price was not the killer. We realized we are not looking to furnish a new house nor are we prepared to close our home in Rochester. We really want a place for the coach and at $400 a month plus electricity for a pad in a campground who needs to own land and pay taxes and do upkeep. Glad we looked, glad we did not make a foolish decision (for us), glad to move on.

We waited to hear from Richard (Richard’s RV Service) about our convection/microwave oven. And we waited, and we waited. Finally, a week and a day after he took it he appeared with our repaired convection/microwave oven at 5:30 on Friday night. By 6 pm he was gone with a bad check from us. . . oops. Carol got her hands on my money market checkbook and wrote a check on it to Richard.. She does not have signature authority on that account. Called Richard and arranged to leave him a good check with the campground office before we left.

We were finally free to head for Senator Wash. You can locate it by entering it into Google maps or just do a Google search for it. We are in the south shore camping area where we have stayed a couple of previous times. We are on the shore of a pumped storage reservoir just above the usual high water area. When we arrived the water level was about 30 feet from the high water mark and we set up camp about a foot or two above that. This seemed to be at about the usual low water mark . As we approached the camping area we were concerned because it was Saturday of the three day President’s weekend and from past experience we expected the place to be mobbed. We were both relieved and dismayed to find plenty of space for us. Where is everyone?

We have been here five days as I write this and the weather has been cool and there have been high winds and even some rain. Since we arrived they have continued to drain water out of the lake and so far as we can tell there has been no pumping to refill it. I am looking across the lake bed and see nothing but mud flats from where I am camped across to the far share. Yesterday we walked across the flats on our way back from a long walk. None of the beach camping area is on the water at the moment. I am sure that by this time next week we will have water up to the high water mark a few feet from the wheels. We have had the company of Kurt and Margaret Sauter from British Columbia since we arrived. They are not related to my assistant, Kathy Sauter Meintel. Kurt is Swiss and a Canadian citizen. He has a delicatessen on Shuswap the tourist area halfway between Vancouver and Calgary and gets away for the winter because business falls off significantly when the tourists and summer residents leave. As I write they are packing up to move on, having overstayed their allotted two weeks in this particular Short Term Visitor Area (STVA in government speak). We will miss their company, but there are others we have met who we have spent time with in past years.

I am hoping to post this today with a stop at the Yuma Proving Grounds (YPG) near where we are camping. This is a US Army proving ground for a lot of military vehicles and track mounted weapons. Also the Golden Knights parachute team practices here. We have free access to the base and many of its facilities and the bowling alley has free wifi available. So we will see if we can get on line there a little faster than here. Otherwise I may try using my phone as usual. 

We got distracted when we arrived on the YPG grounds.  Paratroopers were falling out of the sky all around us.  We took our lunch and chairs to the patch of public land  between the three landing areas and watched as the Golden Knights, the 82 Airborne, and the navy Seals took turns jumping out of planes and hitting the marks in the middle of their respective fields.  For a grand finale, well not finale as they do this once an hour from 0900  to 1530 five days a week, all the teams put up a total of 20 jumpers who fell from 6,000 feet while forming a large formation before breaking and opening their chutes.  Great fun, we watched one full cycle and wandered off to do other things.

The water is rising in the lake.  We may be on a lake shore again soon.


Extended Time in Las Cruces

Sometimes things work out the way you least expect. Carol’s new computer came on Wednesday the 4th and I thought we could be gone by Friday at the latest. Wednesday, as I noted, we had some interesting electrical occurrences with the water heater and the microwave. It turned out that the microwave was not a self repairing failure. Thursday we discovered that although the lights would light and the oven made the right noises, things did not get hot. Discussion with Samsung Tech seemed to indicate that the magnetron (the thing that makes the microwaves) was broken. The shocking news was that it was still covered under the original 10 year parts only warranty. Who’d a thunk? Then there was the matter of finding someone who could do the work and Samsung has no service support people anywhere near Las Cruces. Phoenix here we come! 

But wait a minute, that truck over next to the fifth wheel behind us says “Richard’s RV Service” maybe he will have an idea. In the meanwhile we have been searching the web for a new Convection/Microwave Oven to fit in our cabinet, no more than 24 inches wide. Not One! Richard listened to the tale of woe and looked at the oven and offered to call a local repair man who does this sort of stuff to see if he wanted to even look at it. The short answer is, 30 minutes later Richard brought his power screwdriver on board and undid the 6 screws on the front of the machine and slid the entire unit out in a matter of a couple of minutes. It has sat on two metal brackets with indented places for the feet for five years of hard road, secured by 6 little screws driven into the wood surround. We are waiting for the repaired unit to be reinstalled Tuesday. Then we will be off, slowly.

The weather has deteriorated. There is not a sign of blue in the sky, the winds have been nasty and the temperature peaked in the mid 60’s this morning and has dropped off to the low 50’s this afternoon. I know you northerners would think this is springlike, but here it feels like winter. The gray is too familiar, it feels like February. . . in Rochster.

What are we doing for entertainment? Well, we have spent the last couple of days moving all of Carol’s data from the Mac to the PC and installing the necessary software. The real issue is replacing Adobe Photoshop with The GIMP. $700 or free which sounds like a better option? We are going to go with The GIMP (that is an unfortunate name, it stands for GNU Image manipulation Program). If Carol absolutely can’t stand it, back to Photoshop.  We have taken a hike in White Sands National Monument and we have biked down to the Rio Grande River, about 5 miles from our campground. We have met with a realtor and will be doing some sightseeing with her on Monday. Although we are not in the market, we have come back here repeatedly and keep saying we might want a place here, so now is the time to take a look and see if we can find what we want. That will be hard because we don’t know what we want. It will have land so we have space for our coach and maybe a guest or two; it may have a house, or not. It will have some decent views, which are not hard to come by here. It will provide us with some entertainment and something to talk about. Neither of us is really ready to buy anything, but you never know.

The Kelter Zeitlin family have left for Rochester for Zvi’s (that’s Zvi Zeitlin, Leora’s father) recital in Kilbourn Hall. They have caught the best of what Rochester has to offer for weather at this time of year. We expect that they will be back some time on Monday. It is unlikely that we will get to see them again this trip, but I am sure Carol and Leora will talk before we roll out of here. You never know!

Its Broken . . . Its Not Broken


A couple of days ago Carol informed me that the shower water was tepid. This is rather astonishing given that the water heater is set to “scald” and has no temperature controls on it. This is how a 10 gallon water heater can provide as much hot water as your average 40 gallon home water heater, you just use less and add plenty of cold. Not great for kids, but ok for those of us adults who are supposed to be able to be careful.   But I digress.   Clearly if the water from the water heater was tepid, it was not working.   I immediately turned on the gas fired portion of the heater so my shower would be hot, but that did not resolve the issue of why the electric portion of the heater was not working.  I checked every fuse panel in the coach looking for something that was wrong or at least said water heater.  I found nothing.   All breakers and fuses were just fine.  Understand that getting to some of these can result in severe contortions, without the driver door I have no idea how I would reach the fuses above the driver’s left foot. As it is I have to stand on a step stool on the ground and lean in the open door, but I digress again. Having crawled under and into a number of places I had not known existed I determined that it was beyond my capability to troubleshoot much less fix.   Time passes.  Just as I was about to find out who to hire to fix this I opened the cupboard doors where the switches are and noticed that the last person to switch from Microwave (keep that thought in mind) to Water Heater had left the switch in the unmarked mid position, neither microwave nor water heater was on! This switch ensures that we do not attempt to use the microwave and the water heater at the same time, as the current draw would exceed our electrical system’s capability.  This is the second time this has happened in almost five years of ownership.

Tonight we had a failure that is less explicable.  Carol was ‘waving potatoes for dinner.  The cycle completed and the ‘wave went dark.  The control panel lights and the interior light would not light and there was no response to the control panel.  Knowing right where to go now, I checked the circuit breaker for the ‘wave and it was not tripped.   I pulled the plug and used my circuit tester to verify that there was indeed 120 volts at the outlet.  Stymied, I guess the microwave is kaput.   I go to the Samsung web site and am defeated by typical badly engineered consumer website design.   Nothing is straight forward not even the model number which is slightly different than that which is on the ‘wave itself.  I determine I will call in the morning, but I know there is nothing that can be done, it is broken and there is no warranty on a five year old microwave.  I’ll have to buy a new one.   Or will I?  When I gave up on my troubleshooting I left the ‘wave unplugged since, if it isn’t working it is better not to take the risk of fire.  For one last time I plug it in. It lights up with the installation screen, do you want to use KG or LBS? We are back in business for the time being.

Stay tuned for the next installment.