Waiting . . . and moving on

We continued to wait at Tucson Lazy Days.  I finally sent a message to a Tiffin Rep at Lazy Days Tampa to ask what needed to be done to break the log jam.  That was the answer, within 30 minutes we had the authorizations needed.  However parts for some of the fixes were not readily available.  We said ENOUGH!!! do what you can and ship the parts to Tampa!  We are headed that way to visit Carol’s brother and we can get in a couple of days early and if the parts are there and if they actually communicate and set up the schedule, we should be in and out in a day and on to Fort Desoto.  Like I really believe it is going to happen, yeah sure!

While waiting, we got together with Marjorie and Larry Aleamoni.  She and I went to #1 School and then Monroe High together some years ago.  We became reacquainted at the reunion in 2010 and decided to see if we could get the four of us together for a day.  We met at Good Egg for lunch along with their son Aran and then went on to have a lovely day together and finished with dinner at Shlomo and Vito, how’s that for a mix?  It was fine Deli.  As we walked around their house Carol spotted a faded, discolored family reunion picture and offered to scan it and prepare a reconstruction of what it might have looked like 40 years ago.  She used to do a lot of that work so it was fun for her to do a nice restoration.

We shopped.  This is a rarity for us, I seldom shop, I buy.  Carol seldom shops because very few stores carry clothes that will fit her.  Who wears a Petite 0?  She found stores that carry clothes that fit!  She shopped and she bought.  Thank you Margie for the guidance.

We decided that we would stay through Wednesday night and leave regardless of the need for more work.  the campground was filling with attendees at a rally we might have joined had we known we were going to be there.  But by the time it became clear there was no room and the rally would overlap the beginning of Pesach.  Carol found out that the National Touring Company for Wicked would open on Wednesday night.  We got tickets, way back but good seats nonetheless.  It has been a long time since we have attended a big Broadway Musical.  It was a lot of fun.  The performances were wonderful and the set and staging were positively mind blowing.  I know, where have we been? this show has been around and this is the fourth National Touring Company.  We loved it!  We also had a very nice dinner at Casa Vicente, we both had a selection of Tapas and the timing was perfect for the show.

Wednesday Afternoon before the show we came back to see where the coach would be setup for the night.  There was no longer any room in the campground, not even in the overflow areas.  Katrina promised us that we would be given a spot behind a service bay with water and electric and although not ideal it would work fine for us.  We are not permitted to drive our coach in the service area so we waited for a driver.  The driver was Kat and she is the manager of the parking in the service area.  When she learned that we were just staying for the night and wanted to leave on our own schedule in the morning, she put our coach in the line up with the for sale coaches with water and electric.  She said, “if security asks any questions just tell them Kat put us there.”  There were no questions and we returned from Wicked to our cozy home in line with many coaches that were going to be open to the public for sale the next day.  We determined to be gone before they opened the sales floor.

We were, and we are now happily settled into Saguaro SKP Coop in Benson, just 45 minutes east of Lazy Days and happy to be clear of the mobs.  The coyotes are sounding in the distance so it must be time to save and post for the night.  Next post I will try to remember to tell where we are going and when, as if we know.

Some Excitement, some boredom

The day after my last post we drove north to Florence where Dean Cross and Jane Eccelstone have been wintering.  After they visited with us in Tucson on Thursday they invited us to come and join them on a Jeep ride in the back country on Monday.  We drove up and met them and three other Jeeps (well two Jeeps and a Suzuki).  There were some double takes as Dean and I drove up, our Jeeps are almost identical Cherry Red four door Rubicons.  

After a short highway drive we turned off onto a dirt road and finally reached a turn off onto a lesser road and pulled up in a wide spot to air down the tires to 15 psi for traction and comfort.  I would love to describe the next four hours in detail, but will spare my readers and my fingers.  At one point as we made a switch back turn I saw our leader about to climb a cliff wall.  Carol said “there is no way we can drive up that” I engaged 4 L and the lockers on both my axles  (real traction aids)  and we drove up the incline on dirt and stone without a hesitation.  I felt like I was lying on my back and the only way I could see forward was to lean out the window and stare ahead.  I memorized the route before beginning the ascent.  After one of these, the road turned 90 degrees right and I just had to keep going straight until the hood came down enough to see.  On one climb the Suzuki had to back off the grade and find an alternate route after he made it to within 10 feet of the top.

As we were leaving the area Dean and Jane called to us that there was a hill we needed to play on.  I drove over and stopped and Carol and I got out.  Once again she said “there is no way to drive down that cliff and how do we get out if we do”.  We watched as Dean and Jane descended straight down the cliff face.  Not to be left behind, I once again engaged all my tools and drove down the cliff face, no more than 60 degrees, made the loop at the bottom and followed them right back up to the parking lot. Damn that Jeep is fun!  Carol says the Jeep is a mountain goat.

After airing the tires back up we had some time to chat and agreed we will see Dean and Jane in the same place next year.  We drove back to Lazy Days for dinner and some rest.  For the most part we have been hanging around the Lazy Days Campground reading, cleaning and sometimes chatting with neighbors.  The tech had fixed the red signal but left us without use of the dvd.  Rather than wait for him to get to it, I opened the wall of the cabinet, located the hdmi distributor and was able to see that it had four output cables and no input.  I located the input, plugged it in and once I demonstrated that everything was working for the moment, I closed it back up.  So far so good.  We used my handiwork  to watch Glenngary Glen Ross.  When it came out I swore I would not see it.  I was right!! It is a fine movie with great actors at their peak, the story is not one for anyone who has spent a life in sales.  It is way too painful and I swear I knew some of those guys in my office at one time or another.

We continue to wait, the temperatures have soared into the 90’s.  We have a date to get together with Marjorie and Larry Aleamoni this Sunday.  Marjorie is a high school classmate of mine.  We last saw each other at the 50th reunion a couple of years ago.   Carol and I are looking forward to this.

Oh, one other exciting stop.  We went to the Etherton Gallery to see the exhibits.  It is a photography gallery and when we mentioned that Carol was a VSW Alumna, Terry Etherton responded that Nathan Lyons had just been in Tucson and had spent some time in the hospital, flu.  It is amazing, how many people we get to talk with when we talk about Carol’s relationship to VSW.  She spoke to Joan today and Nathan is well.

Playing in Tucson

It looks like we will not get out of here until late in the week, maybe even that is wishful thinking.  There are parts to be ordered and approvals for warranty work to be received and who knows what else.  Fortunately there is plenty to do here so boredom will not be an issue.

Thursday night we went to Temple of Music and Arts for a performance by local talent of Neil Simon’s “Sunshine Boys.”  It has plenty of laughs and I think they extracted the maximum from it.  We had sore sides as we walked out.  The “Temple” is in bad shape, there are large chunks out of the plaster proscenium and that was just the most visual sign  of lack of funds for the venue.  Friday night we went to Temple Emanuel for Shabbat Services. The people were warm and the young Assistant Rabbi gave an emotional talk about the mistreatment of women and non orthodox in Israel.  There was no news, but it needs to be told and retold.

Saturday Jane and Dean came to Tucson in their 2010 Jeep that is in all appearances identical to ours plus some dings from serious offroading.  We never moved off the campground area and had lunch together in Lazy Days restaurant.  When the time for them to drive back to Florence approached They suggested that on Monday we drive to Florence and go “Jeeping” with them and another couple.  This will give us a chance to try out what we can expect to do with this toy of ours in company with friends who have much more experience – and equipment = should someone need to be pulled out of trouble.  We leave at 8 AM for the 90 minute drive to get there.

After they left we searched, for some reasonable  entertainment and Carol found that Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Jazz Band were playing on the AU Campus and there were tickets. The performance was phenomenal and we really enjoyed the show and the people.  The weekly alternative paper has been a great source of things to do here as it is in Rochester – go City!!

Today, Sunday, Carol finally got to attack her need to keep things clean, two weeks boondocking in the desert do not offer power to run the vacuum or water to wash floors with.  The interior of the coach is shining. The laundry hamper is empty for the first time since we arrived in Yuma.  The exterior will be clean before we leave here.

Our tech, Bob, got the satallite Red signal for the front TV working, it is fine.  In the process it appears that the HDMI cable for the DVD has been disconnected.  We could not watch the movie we had been looking forward to – that is why I have the time to write this now.  I suspect Bob will not be thrilled when he returns to work on Tuesday – his crew works Tuesday through Saturday.

Until we have new adventures or move on, which ever comes first!

Q to Tucson via Yuma

Shortly after we set up in the gravel pit I climbed on the roof to erect the new photo voltaic panels to maximize the input.  Carol came up to give me a hand.  As soon as Carol tried to lift the first panel we undid I discovered that the panel had been put up backwards.  all the electrical connections are at one end, that end has to be at the pivot end of the panel or I would need extra long cables.  The other panel had the electrical connections at the other (correct for my set up) end.  We put that one up and the electrical flow to the batteries really did improve.  Called Solar Bill and he was not a lot of help, we were already 70 miles away and he had no helpers anywhere near us.  The task would be up to me, if I could find an assistant willing to work on the roof with me.  Carol does not have the strength to assist me in this project.

A while later Dan and Beverly Armstrong, with whom we had been in touch, appeared with their motorhome and parked along side.  After a lengthy exchange of greetings based on our not having seen each other for over a year, Dan noticed my panels and asked the obvious question.  It was hot and we had other places to go so I said we should put off the roof work till the sun was a bit lower.  So after a ride to Bard to get some dates and fresh ground peanut butter, Dan got out his tools to add to mine and we ascended to the roof.  After about 30 minutes we had the rear panel turned around so I could point both at the sun.  Once again the meter should greater improvement in electron flow.  This left me needing to buy one new tool, a 7/16 box end wrench.  Carol and I drove to the Yuma Proving Grounds PX and found a very nice set for a reasonable price.  While there she found a mini Cuisinart and when I price checked, it was 20% less then the best price on Amazon.  Deal!

Wednesday Dan and Beverly left for Yuma Elks Lodge and we puttered around the camp site until we decided to take a ride to Mitry Lake and the PX.  We were planning on moving to the Yuma Elks on Friday because there were several events we thought we might attend in Yuma and the 30 miles drive back and forth gets old, especially after dark.  Thursday we decided to go ahead and move.  We had been checking the Host Sites several times a day looking for a Host to buy our permit from.  Never did find one present.  For that matter we saw no one authorized to issue the permit until we were filling the freshwater tank prior to departure.  He could not sell the permit we needed so we said “sorry” and left.

The Yuma Elks Lodge camping area is on sand with no hookups and developed in a day when RVs did not have slide out rooms.  It felt tighter than we are usually parked for a large Rally.  Actually I almost walked into the side of Dan’s slide room when avoiding my own slide room.  The location is really convenient being in the center of town.  The hospital is across the street and its helicopter landing area was right on the street.  We are given to understand that the Elks Lodge has sold its land to the hospital and will be moving farther out of the center of town and may not have RV space in its new location.

While in Yuma we drove up past YPG to Martinez Lake with Beverly and Dan and took a day trip on the Colorado River with Yuma River Tours on their smaller jet boat.  The skipper said the river was relatively high and thus we only spent half the time crossing from side to side to stay in the channel and avoid the sandbars.  Given that the jet boat has a very shallow draft this gives a clue as to how little water is permitted this far down the river below  Hoover Dam, most of the water in the river is spoken for by farmers in California’s Central Valley.  We enjoyed a tour of Norton’s Landing, a remnant of the steamboat era when it served as a wood lot supplying wood to the passing steamboats.  Today it is a campsite for city children to learn about the “wilderness.”  The 15 foot or more climb from the dock to the high ground where we picnicked is a reminder of how deep the river once was, the terrace where we sat was just barely above water before the dams were built.

Our other activities while in Yuma included a trip to Los Algadones in Mexico.  With a good referral Carol and I chose to have our teeth cleaned there.  Cash, $25 each got the job done.  The report is that there are 450 dentists in Los Algadones, a sort walk over the border from the Quechan parking lot about 16 miles from Yuma.  We also bought some more tequila. Carol had a $7 haircut and we had a lovely lunch before getting in line to wait a bit over an hour to cross back into the US.  This day they had four line open for ICE instead of the two the last time we crossed and waited over 2 1/2 hours in the sun to inch our way to the border.  Sequester may increase the length of the line and do further damage to the economy of this lively Mexican town, but that is almost politics, someplace I try not to go.

Although we were a day’s drive from Tucson, where we needed to be, the morning of the 6th, we left on Monday the 4th with intention of stopping in Sells, AZ for the night.  The reported parking area was not really large enough to suggest it would be reasonable for us to stay the night.  We moved on with reports of boondocking locations along 86 near Kitt’s Peak Observatory (well the road to the observatory).  We found one right on 86 next to the turn off and spent some time orienting the coach and disconnecting the car so we could go to the observatory.  As soon as we turned onto the road in the Jeep we learned two important facts: the road is closed from 4 PM to 9 AM unless you have a reservation for a tour and star party, we had neither; there was a very large flat dirt area just off that road, outside the gate, that called to us.  We moved the coach in there and had a quiet, dark night out of earshot of trains and most traffic.  In the morning we were joined by another coach bound to the west from Lazy Days in Tucson who was having engine heat problems.  After exchanging names and basic biographic data, we left them there cooling their engine.  We saw them again at Lazy Days as we were checking out where to go for our appointment in the morning.  We got to spend the night in the Service Overflow lot, plenty of asphalt, electric hookups and a chain link fence.  The price was right so I was not complaining.

Getting our service work done will take some time as it may be Monday before they can get clearance from Tiffin to do what needs to be done.  We decided to stay in the campground at a 50% discount for service customers and enjoy the blessings of full hookups (FHU).  While waiting for them to release the coach to us for the night we drove to Sabino Canyon National Forest for a bit of a hike to shake the rust out of our legs.  It felt good.  For those who are interested the list of stuff needing work is long, but keeps getting shorter as some items are intermittent, they have happened once or are not happening now.  Harder to diagnose and fix what isn’t broken.  Even the front TV has been regularly working with the red signal on satellite for the past two nights.  None of the items are really show stoppers, just mostly annoyances.

We meet with Jane and Dean on Saturday, they are driving down from Florence where they have spent much of the winter.  Not sure what else we will get to, but there are a couple of plays we may take in while we are here.  I’ll let you all know when that has happened.