Change of Plans – Forced

Something you never want to see!

We will not be living in our motorhome for some time now. The really good news is that no one was hurt! The short version of what happened: I was pulling into a roadside parking lot when I realized that I could not complete the turn without backing up. I set the Park brake with the coach in neutral and turned the wheel over to Carol so I could guide her in whatever maneuvering was to come. This is a normal procedure for us in tight situations. I wanted her to come forward about 3 feet to see if we could clear a parked car. For reasons unknown to us the coach would not move and then it showed a warning “shift inhibit” and the shift panel lights went black then it lurched forward through the parking lot hitting several cars along the way before Carol could stop it. Fortunately everyone was shopping or eating away from their cars and no little kids were running loose at the moment. Also fortunately I was not in my usual spot directly in front of the coach for Carol to see me clearly. 

We were headed for Toronto to see cousin Mitch and his wife Candy, plans to stay in the coach in his company parking lot. Instead we are staying with them, in their lovely house, until Thursday morning. The coach will be towed to Colton RV the dealer we bought it from, to arrive tomorrow July 20. Then we will drive to Colton RV in North Tonawanda NY – the Niagara Falls area – to further assess the damage and get more stuff off the coach to take to storage someplace.

We are a bit fragile emotionally, Carol in particular, but physically in the best shape we have been in since returning from our big trip. When we know what will be happening with the coach I will post about that. Until then I will try to resume my usual posts about things we are doing and seeing.

Bucket List . . . Continued

Leaving Grand Canyon we determined to stop at Four Corners. We made it in plenty of time, although we lost an hour as we walked around from Arizona to Colorado, then Utah and New Mexico. The site is on Navajo land and is a Navajo Park. There is a line of people waiting to take their pictures on the spot that marks the intersection.

Naturally Carol and I had to wait our turn to take no more than the prescribed three pictures.

So here we are each standing in two different states, no I don’t know which of us was where 🙂 – Carol assures me she was in Colorado and New Mexico which leaves me in Utah and Arizona. Surrounding the corner are booths lined up in each of the states selling a variety of goods. We did see some excellent craft work, I almost bought another Bolo, and a lot of less interesting “stuff”. There were only two T shirt booths. The last time this monument was revised was in 2010 and much work remains to be done, including finishing the toilet rooms and smoothing the parking lot, pavement would be nice. We drove on another 30 minutes to Sleeping Ute RV Park, behind the Ute Casino. The park is very nice and as a Passport America member we got 50% off the nightly rate. 
Planning ahead it appears tomorrow will find us at an Elks Lodge in Pueblo, CO and the following night will be another Bucket List item, the freight yard in North Platt, Nebraska. This is the largest freight yard in the country and it was a meeting of the rails in historic times. North Platt also figured prominently in the lives of many US Servicemen in WW II. It is midway across the country and troop trains stopped there to let the men stretch their legs. The locals learned about this and set up a regular service of sandwiches coffee cakes and more for the troops as they dismounted the trains. There is a fascinating book “Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen” by Bob Greene which we listened to years ago courtesy of friends.who gave us there copy which we passed on to other rail buffs. We have been wanting to pass through their ever since. I just learned that we can stay at the Golden Spike Tower parking lot courtesy of Harvest Hosts. The train station where the good folk catered to our servicemen was torn down years ago. 

Not sure what else will appear on our bucket list as we travel. It’s amazing that in our many crossings we still have so many new places to explore.

Change of plans

Today the plan was to stop at Four Corners monument where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet. We were ready to roll, just needed to pull in the slides and raise the leveling jacks. Carol pushed the button for the back passenger side slide and nothing happened. Nothing that was operated by hydraulic motor was working. The leveling jacks don’t require the motor to come up but the valves would not activate to permit them to raise.

The good news; Our road service, Coach-net that we have been members of since 2001 responded with a tech on the phone. Rob and I worked for 30 minutes and could not locate the breaker he was sure needed to be reset. He said he would arrange for a mobile tech to come to us. I thought “yeah sure, on a Sunday a mile from the South entrance to Grand Canyon.” Well, within the hour specified, Randall appeared and working together we had the slides working by 11:45.

More good news; We had no problem booking the site for another night and we had the afternoon free to see more of Grand Canyon NP. We had given the Village short shrift in our desire to take in the scenery. Now we were able to go into the park and devote exclusive time to the village. The three places we wanted to see were the Kolb Studio sitting on the brink of the Bright Angel Trail, The Lookout Studio further along the rim designed by Mary Colter and built by the Santa Fe RR and finally Bright Angel Lodge built for Fred Harvey and the Santa Fe. Links can be found at Kolb Art ExhibitFlickr Images of Bright Angel Lodge (none of these are ours) and Mary Colter’s designs.

Our plan for the morning is to get out early and stop at Four Corners and then move on. We have no cushion left in our original route up through Wisconsin into Canada and over the top of the Great Lakes. This route is over 4,000 miles so we will most likely stay in the US. Not sure yet how we will do this. We may drive though southern Nebraska and make it up from there.  Stay tuned.

GRAND Canyon

It has been on the bucket list for 50 years. We have always found ourselves driving “near” it in January or April. Way off season and we try to avoid cold, which at 7,000 feet on the South Rim it will be in those months. The bar mitzvah delayed our eastward migration until the first week in July. We endured much heat in Jojoba Hills and all the way through Phoenix area – average high of 107! Finally got to Grand Canyon and found tolerable temperatures in the 80’s.

We no sooner got set up in Grand Canyon Camper Village in Tusayan, as close to the southern entrance as you can be without entering the park, then we headed over to the airport to check out helicopter flights over the canyon. We waited 45 minutes for our flight with Papillion in their newest chopper. We took off and flew low over forest and desert headed for the canyon. We knew we were approaching the rim when the pilot dropped even lower and seemed to pick up speed. Then he turned on “Thus Spake Zarathustra” timing it so that the grand crescendo coincided with the ground dropping out from under us and the canyon being revealed. I laughed, I squealed with delight and I clapped my hands! OMG! We saw the key points one looks for in the canyon without really intruding on the tourists on the ground. We flew over the North Rim looking for buffalo (bison) that apparently had gone into hiding since the morning flight. Some saw an elk, Carol and I didn’t. After landing we drove into the park to get an overview.

Carol getting off the Helicopter. Better than words.

Somehow we still had energy so we drove into the park as far as the Village which is as far as a private car can go in summer season. We reconnoitered and planned for the next day before returning to the coach for dinner.

Friday we took in the NatGeo Imax, Almost across the street from our campground, then found a spot in the Visitor Center parking lot after a really good lunch at Sophies Mexican Restaurant. Carol was enticed because their signboard advertises vegetarian. We started riding shuttle buses and taking some walks to see the canyon. This is a great way to get around as there is limited parking, even in the visitor center parking lots and there is a shuttle that runs from Tusayan which permits one to avoid driving into the park. On our drives we also saw several cow and bull elk along the road. Exhausted we returned to GWhiz and put together dinner.

I am resisting posting pictures of the canyon. There are so many wonderful pictures on line and in books that it would feel foolish. This is Carol on the longest walk we took, just over a mile. We are both still recovering from our most recent trip and as we got exhausted from this really brief walk, I had to remind us both that we had come from sea level to 7,000 feet in a day.
Saturday we took the car and drove out toward Desert View Tower along route 64, still in the park. We stopped at the Tusayan Museum:
Figures made from a single twig split and bent

The “new” Kiva, replacing an earlier one destroyed by fire in the ancient Tusyan Village

and at the Desert View Tower:

which was too crowded and hot for us to consider climbing to the top. From there we turned back to G Whiz to rest and write. One stop along the way will provide what may be our exit photo from the Grand Canyon:
Duck Head Rock

Time Compression

Just two weeks ago we celebrated our anniversary, in San Diego. After a week back in Jojoba Hills we headed into Los Angeles in the Jeep for grandson Avi’s Bar Mitzvah. A Bar Mitzvah (becoming an adult in the eyes of the community) is always a special occasion. This one was particularly special since Avi is our youngest grandson. At dinner I mentioned that the next “simcha”, joyous occasion, was likely to be a wedding. I didn’t even look at the eldest, now 24 🙂 I swear that wasn’t what I was thinking.

When the Torah was brought out of the ark it was handed to my sister to carry through the woman’s side of this orthodox synagogue. After I was called for my turn to honor the Torah our grandson Azriel was called. We had never seen him called up so this was very special for us, and I got to stand with him. Finally Avi got to do his thing. Later, after the Sabbath had ended Avi got out his Sax and played several numbers for the family and friends. He has talent coming from our musical family and it showed.

Our boys in the middle
Sandy’s children to either side
and her youngest grandson

We returned to Jojoba via Astro Camp in Idyllwild where we and Dan, Malena and his clan dropped off Avi for two weeks of camp. Dan followed us back to Jojoba Hills where they saw why we are so very happy there. We toured a bit and then had a delightful dinner at our wonderful patio set under the glorious cantlever umbrella before they started driving toward LAX (stopping near Temecula for the night) for flights east.

We used Monday the 4th to prepare the site for our absence and the coach for the road. This morning we rolled out at 9:30 with a stop at Parkhouse Tires in Thousand Palms to torque the studs holding the tires on and to pick up the hub cap replacement that had been ordered for us. In and out in 15 minutes. Next stop was a lunch break at Chiriaco Summit along I 10 where there is a museum and memorial to George Patton!

This is where he developed a training camp for preparation for the Africa Campaign. 
We moved on down the road to fuel over the border in Arizona and then stop for the night in Quartzite. Ordinarily we would drive off into the desert and dry camp, but given the 100 plus temperatures I figured to burn $20 worth of diesel keeping the generator running through the night to keep the air conditioners going (gallon an hour for 8 to 10 hours). So here we are in an almost empty campground with the air conditioners struggling to keep it near 80 in the coach.
Tomorrow? Grand Canyon or some intermediate stop along the way.