Perils of . . . life

A broken bolt that I replaced was a cute story. Many of you responded accordingly. Today we learned of lives in peril. We’ve been following and including in our prayers for healing BJ and Beth for some time. There are others as well but no need to extend the list here.

We noted that we were going to be passing through Kansas City in a few weeks and sent a message to long time friends who live there that we would like to get together and offered a fairly broad window for that stop. The response was that they were planning to be in Europe for the entire window, but Dianne had some malady that needed to be tracked down before they knew they could travel. So if the medical news was bad we would be able to visit. If the news was good, we would have to wait until next year. In this case the news appears to be good so as we pass through Kansas or near we will think of them and be grateful that they are traveling in Europe and not hassling with doctors and the medical support community which would enable us to visit.

Got another message yesterday from RV friends in Sacramento (close enough) who have been having a rollicking good tour in Arizona with a caravan that they were back home a week early was there a chance we were nearby and could visit. We were passed them by a couple of hours and on the phone we agreed to meet sort of halfway for dinner. Then Anna Lee got on the phone with Carol and the news was less than wonderful and there was no way they could make the 90 minute drive each way for dinner.

While we were planning to meet Anna Lee and her husband for dinner in Truckee, CA we figured we would drive around Lake Tahoe starting up the west side. I’ll leave the review and pictures for another post, we noted that the Donner Pass Memorial Park was just west of Truckee and determined that we would take some time to visit. OY! talk about bad planning, bad execution and failed leadership. Every peril they could face came to seek them out and they brought some on themselves. The monument, put up in 1919, sits atop a 20 foot high plinth so they would always be above the snow to see the pass they were headed for. The Donner party were doomed the moment they chose to follow an unproven route over the Sierra Nevada.

Tomorrow we hope to meet up with Bev and Dan in Ely NV on US 50. This meet up almost failed because Kiki got sick (the cat). Kiki is fine, continuing to make them crazy and with any luck we will see her and the two who keep her home on wheels moving.

The other get togethers we have on tap are in Rochester on the 30th and the 1st then we return to the coach which will be in Salt Lake City and continue doing what we do.

Perils of Paul an Ongoing Theme

Some thing are made to break, others just break because they can. I am not sure which category this falls into, but it caused me a few minutes of aggravation and then some giggles when the fix turned out to be so easy. It started with my walking around the coach and just sort of looking at things to be sure everything was “okay” sort of “looking for trouble” and I found it.

This is looking up at the underside of the living room slideout room behind the driver. The very one that was repaired last Fall in Red Bay. That bolt lying on the ledge is a stop meant to prevent the mechanism from pulling in too far. It broke off the mount above.  Look at the next picture and you will see how it is supposed to look. This is the rearward arm of the mechanism.

I had several questions at this moment. Could I pull the slide in and go about our travels with no problem? Could I fix it or have it fixed somehow if necessary before getting under way? 
I posted these pictures and concerns on a forum devoted to Tiffin motorhome owners, and within minutes I had my answers. As one would expect from any internet resource they came out as “yes” “no” “maybe” I even had emailed Tiffin Service and had to wait over the weekend for Tony to respond that I could indeed bring in the slide carefully and travel without fixing it and that the fix should be easy, unscrew the broken bolt and screw in a new one and set the length to the former one (a bit shorter to avoid breaking it again). Easy to say, I suspected a bit less easy to do.
I got out my socket wrench and backed off the jam nut from the broken screw, it was just more than finger tight! Next I fussed about removing the broken screw, fully expecting it to be frozen. I got a vise grip on it and discovered it too was barely more than finger tight. Too easy! I took the broken bits to a manufacturer’s distributor (Grainger) expecting to buy whatever I needed there. Wrong. They didn’t have it in stock and I would have had to buy 25 for $20! The counterman suggested I go to Jackson’s Hardware, about 2 miles away and there I found the screw and bought 2 for $.79. Since everything had come out easily, installing the new screw and jam nut was a simple matter. All that is left is to be sure that I got the length right so it functions as a safety stop. That will happen in the morning as we prepare to move on down the road to Lake Tahoe area.
Oh yes, my Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) has been causing endless aggravation for 500 miles. I have reset all the sensors and hope that they will provide timely, accurate, readings of tire pressure and temperature as we merrily roll along.

Visiting not site seeing, sort of

I did it, I drove through San Francisco up 19th to the Golden Gate Bridge and over. We arrived in Marin RV park shortly after. Here I will give a brief review for any RVers who are interested. It is a nice if modest park. Adequate space for most any coach and plenty of room for 4 slideouts. FHU including cable which we have not hooked up. Location is wonderful. It is a 10 minute walk to the ferry to Downtown San Francisco, no need to drive and park. Less than 30 minutes to Berkeley in light weekend traffic and under an hour to Walnut Creek. Tourist attractions along the coast are not more than an hour away.

Having said all that we are delighted to be here. We have been very busy with people since we got here. First, on Thursday we had dinner with Marlene

Picture taken on GeeWhiz

at Il Fornaio. The food was fine, the service was a bit messed up. We had a lovely time with Marlene who we met over a year ago on an OAT tour. We do look forward to seeing her again as we transit these parts in the future. We may even take another tour together some day.

Friday night we headed off for Shabbat Services at Congregation Bnai Tikvah in Walnut Creek. This was very important to  us as our former Associate Rabbi, Rebecca Gutterman, is now the Senior Rabbi there and we had not seen her in the year since she left (and we left too). We had a delightful reunion over pot luck Shabbat Dinner in the social hall and we were there for a wonderful music service. then we had to move on, but not without having a picture taken:
Sorry about your head Michael

On or way to services we left very early and stopped by John Muir National Historic Site and spent over an hour touring the house where he penned most of his work and lived with his family while ranching and then exploring. 

Saturday found us waiting to greet Minda and Will at the coach with Leo, our youngest grand nephew, now 6 months old. They arrived as planned and Carol made lunch for us so we could get out for some hiking. Leo was a wonderful trooper and hardly showed any signs of stress from the long walk we took in Samuel Taylor State Park. Nothing in these parts is level and he climbed the hills with great verve prodding his dad to keep up the pace. Of course his position in a carrier on Dad’s chest did give him certain advantages. We returned to the coach where Carol conjured up a lovely dinner from veggies she had been hording and we all were very relaxed, Leo actually relaxed into nap land. 
Sunday morning we met at their home in Berkeley and eventually we walked to The Actual Cafe where some had breakfast and others had lunch. Leo was a sleepy observer to all this eating. His turn would come later.
Minda and Will guided us to two excellent markets were I was able to buy great grass fed beef and then we bought enough wonderful produce to keep us happy for at least a week.
We have two more days in the area and the sort of plan is to drive to Point Reyes by the coastal road, in the Jeep and to take the ferry into San Francisco for one day, we haven’t decided which day we will do which. 

Midpoint of Three Day Road Trip

At this point life is a road trip, but we have been staying put for a week or more and then moving on to our next stop in a day. As we left Malibu Beach RV and our family in Los Angeles we elected to turn what could have been one long looong day into three shorter days just because we could. The “normal” route from LA to San Francisco area is up I 5, about the same as Rochester to NYC on the Thruway. The next acceptable route would be to take the 101, especially since leaving from Malibu in a motorhome the only way to go is North on the Pacific Coast Highway/PCH/CA1 to Ventura. It isn’t even legal, much less safe, to take the motorhome over the canyons to get to the 101 directly.

Avoiding the reasonable and relatively direct we elected to drive as much of the route as possible on The 1. The other question was what stops to make and where to spend the nights. Having spent exorbitant sums for a site in Malibu (more than twice our average per night) we did not want another commercial campground or even a state park since California State Parks are now pushing the ceiling. I guess if you can’t raise real estate tax you get it from other sources. California makes New York parks look reasonable

Our first stop was the Elks Lodge in San Luis Obispo (SLO). I took the wrong exit and then took the wrong turn. After a turn around the block we found our way into the Lodge parking lot with 16 RV spots that back up against the 101 so we can enjoy the road noise right through the night. It isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, but it also isn’t the desert. We made a timely, for us, departure from SLO Elks at about 10 AM and promptly got on the 1 right out of town. I suppose I could recite the towns and the views we passed, but far better authors than I have written about them in novels and stretches have been seen in documentaries and movies. The road rises and falls seeking a foothold on the edge of the mountains that line the coast. sometimes you are almost at sea level and at other times the sea is far below as the road winds around yet another gorge that forms a cleft in the mountains. In places the road has been swept off the cliff by falling rocks and has been rebuilt either by clawing another foothold into the mountain or by building a bridge to carry the road along the face of the cliff. In places the road is so narrow that we felt we were going to demolish our passenger side on the rocks yet again and at times there were broad pull offs so we could let other drivers pass us.

Eventually we found a glorious pull off on the left, ocean, side where we could pause and have lunch and change drivers.

Looking back the way we’ve come 

The road ahead of us seems tame

Eventually, with Carol at the wheel, we found our way into Monterey only to find once again that the GPS Navigation required us to make an illegal and impossible U turn to get to the lodge. We ended up disconnecting the Jeep on a deadend in a commercial strip so Carol could jockey the coach back and forth to get it turned around. Remembering the route from previous trips I guided her back out to the main road and up the hill to the Lodge with its beautiful windows overlooking the bay. We are set up here for one night only and chose not to venture into town as we have done that several times and the drive had tired us both. 

Tomorrow, or today as you read this, we will continue on the 1 and over the Golden Gate Bridge on to Marin RV Park. I will be at the wheel as Carol had the pleasure of driving over the bridge the last time we made this jaunt.

Holiday time in Los Angeles

We are sitting in Malibu Beach RV Resort in one of our favorite campsites. Here is the view through the windshield:

We don’t even close the blind at night so we wake up to this view in the morning. We arrived just before the first Sedar of Pesach (Passover) and helped prepare for the holiday. First night we were just the 6 of us and we ended a bit early, about 11:45! We turned off the lights in the coach about 1:20 AM. Second night we were at a friends house with many more people. They had young children who went to bed at some point along the way. It was midnight when we left the house. It was a mile walk back to Yechiel’s so we had left the Jeep nearby and did not have the walk before we drove. Somehow it didn’t stop, the next afternoon we had dinner at another friend’s home where Miriam prepared the meal and we carried it with us since the husband, Steve, had had surgery recently and Cindy was not able to prepare for the holiday. It was a festive dinner nonetheless and we enjoyed meeting Cindy and her children.
As we relax on the coach today we are trying to catch up with our stuff and watch the birds that flit about on in the brush on the slope above the coach. I have mostly not bothered to identify them, just enjoy seeing them. Although there is road noise during the day, at night mostly we can hear waves breaking on the shore below us, if we hear anything. 
The holiday continues until Saturday sundown until Thursday night it is mostly about what we eat, no unleavened product. In the Reform movement the holiday will end Friday night, but in deference to the Orthodox world we visiting we will keep it, in our way, until Saturday. Last year we left for Japan in the midst of the holiday. 
I just read a blog “What to do when the Campground Sucks” and I thought about our many experiences where the campground has been less than ideal for a variety of reasons. The wonder of being self contained is that it seldom matters unless we plan to stay for an extended period. When going into a new area we will often only pay for a night or two so moving on is not a loss. Weekends in State Parks near cities generally are not a great idea for us since we are not campers. We do not revel in noisy families watching/playing athletics and drinking around a campfire. During the work week these parks can be grand and frequently we have them pretty much to ourselves. Dockweiler, near LAX, where we have often stayed can be party central on weekends, not so much in Malibu Beach. Somehow we have booked two campgrounds for a week each, one in Marin County and another in Salt Lake City. In both cases we need to be nearby for 4 days and taking it out to a week will give us a chance to see an area we have not spent much time in. I can only hope that we will not experience the Sucky Campground syndrome. 
Looking at our intent to “settle in” at Jojoba Hills I realize that this will be the first time we will have committed ourselves to an extended stay and to participating in the activities and amenities of the facility. The “requirement” to volunteer should not be an issue for us as we love to do that and it certainly will help us get introduced to more members quickly. Whatever you call what we will be doing there it won’t be “camping.” We will be entering a different phase and it remains to be seen how we will like it once we settle in. If our past history is any basis for judging, we will adapt just fine. We do not plan to give up our road travels nor do we plan to give up international travel, we just got new passports good for 10 years and had them issue the “big” book with 52 pages just in case we need lots of visas.
Our route through June 15! After Pesach up the coast to Bay Area for a week. Then along the Lincoln Highway to Salt Lake City. We fly to ROC on the 28th and return to SLC on the 3rd of May. From May 5 through 30 we will be working our way East to arrive in Gaffney SC on May 31 for Camp Freightliner where we will learn everything we might want to know and then some about the chassis our motorhome is built on. From there we head to Vermont for Daisy and Steven’s wedding. We will return to Rochester on June 15 just in time to prep for Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. That is as far as the planning goes for now. Well there is some foreign travel planned, but I’ll save that for another post.