Friday, April 20, 2018

'18/#9 Signs You Are A Traveler

There is no doubt that we are travelers or nomads or Gypsies. Just look back through our blogs. But signs that we are on the road are sometimes interesting to share. There are the usual stack of fuel receipts and receipts from various campgrounds. And then there are the signs that say "we're not in Kansas anymore!".

First there was the weather. Two weeks ago we had 90 degree weather and now I am looking out my window at 1 to 3 inches of snow. The terrain was another give-away. Leaving flat desert and now driving the red mountains of  Utah at elevations around 9000 feet is a different experience. Lastly there are the everyday things like going to the store. Hellman's mayonnaise is known as Best Foods west of the Rockies and what

do I find in the local market? As you can see we must be west of the Rockies!

Now that we are in the little town of Panguitch we took a ride and did some exploring in and around Bryce Canyon. A thousand pictures later we are once again amazed at the handiwork of Mother Nature. Being a quite a bit north of South Texas and at about 9000 feet the temps had dropped drastically and the winds had picked up. We were bundled up but still had enough of the cold. Today's weather is going to be nasty so we will be staying in and just relaxing for the day.

Tomorrow we will check out Zion National Park. After that we will head on north to Salt Lake City and the Bonneville Salt Flats. For now we are just staying warm in our home in Panguitch Utah because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Monday, April 16, 2018

'18/#8 Same Jello, Different Flavor

The two days we spent in Congress AZ were much needed. Saw some friends and just relaxed after all the excitement of the past few days. We got up Monday morning and got on the road at the reasonable hour of 8am. While traveling Mary called ahead to check on the campground we were planning on staying at. Guess what? As they like to say, there was no room at the inn. So Mary started calling around and there were no places in the Page AZ area with openings. We did find a place for the next night but what about tonight. What to do, what to do?

Well we were near Flagstaff and looking for a place to fuel up and realized how close we were to Williams. It was only around lunch time so why not spend a night in Williams? And since it was early enough why not take a drive up the road and take a peek at the Grand Canyon? Well why not shake the jello for a good reason for a change?

We checked in at the Canyon Motel and RV Park, unhooked the truck, packed a lunch, and took off for the south rim of the Geand Canyon just 52 miles away. We've been here before but being this close it was worth the trip to see it again, even if only for a couple of hours. We walked around a little, took a bunch of pictures, and were once again amazed at the majestic sight that is the Grand Canyon.

Tomorrow we will head out for Utah and we will try to see as much as we can in the Bryce Canyon area before continuing our trek north. The weather is changing as we head north with temps tonight expectd in the mid 30's and winds around 25mph. We will try to stay warm in our home here in Williams because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, April 14, 2018

'18/#7 Things Are Settling Down

The last three days have been less than ideal but we survived. With all the tire problems and the wind related issues we needed a break. It seems that one of the tire blowouts caused a little damage under the trailer. I was able to fix an electric line going to the fridge but there was a crack in a propane fitting that I would rather have a professional do the repairs. The morning of our third day on the road Mary made a few phone calls and found an RV repair company that absolutely would not let us go without getting the gas line fixed. They said to get to them as soon as   possible and we would be taken care of.                                                                           

Three hours down the road we arrived at On The Road Again RV repair in Glendale Arizona. The place was packed with RVs in different stages of repair. I figured we weren't getting in any time soon. Within an hour they juggled RVs, got us in, and immediately started working on our rig. They tried to make us as comfortable as they could and ensured us that everything would be just fine. They had some of the parts needed and had to get one part made. They also helped deal with the insurance company and had us "On The Road Again" in four hours. These guys will be put on our list of RV "good guys" and shared with the rest of the RV community.

We traveled an hour down the road to our next destination in Congress AZ. Friends that we work camped with this past summer were there to greet us and after hearing about the trials and tribulations of our journey they presented us with the gift you see above. How funny. touching, and appropriate. It's good to have friends.

Well this may be our home for a few days just to recharge our batteries, in our home in Congress AZ because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, April 12, 2018

'18/#6 Exploding Jello!

If you follow our blog you know that I always say our plans are written in jello. That just means that whatever we plan anything can happen, we just have to go with the flow. This time it was a tsunami that got in the way.

We left Pharr at 5am and made good time to San Antonio. Mary took over the driving and got us through the city and shortly after that the tire pressure monitor(TPM) started screaming and other drivers were pointing at the trailer. By the time we got off the road the tire was shredded. As we have done in the past we found a safe place to park and changed the tire. Not too far down the road we found a tire dealer and got a replacement because we DO NOT drive without a spare. We made it as far as Fort Stockton and stopped. We were about 120 mile short of our intended destination but like I say, the jello got shaken.

Day 2 we hit the road by 4:30am. About 2 hours into our travels the TPM started screaming again. This time we got off the road before the tire blew. Again we made the tire change like a couple of pros, just this time it was in the dark and just off the interstate. We drove to a little truck stop that had a tire dealer to get another replacement. Of course the the jello had been shaken now it needed to be stirred. The tire shop wasn't opening for another hour so the plans changed again. We decided to sit and have breakfast while we waited for the tire shop to open. Of course once they opened they didn't have the tire we needed. Shaken, stirred, and now into the blender! On to El Paso to get a tire from a dealer that had them in stock. But wait, upon arriving we were told they were mistaken and didn't have the tire! OK the jello just got thrown through the fan.

Fortunately there was another tire dealer that had the right size tire just not the brand we wanted. Not optimal but it will do. While we were getting the tire Mary decided we should get an extra just not mounted on the rim. We have the room for it and since our tires seem to be getting hard to find, why not? Back on the road and looking forward to putting some miles behind us, and then ....BOOM! Another tire blows up. The jello is now all over the floor. Enough is enough. We are tired of changing tires so we call our road service through Good Sam Club. Apparently the people who work for the road service can't read maps or understand directions. We were right on I10 west between exits 151 and 155. Easy, right? After 45 minutes of trying to explain where we were stuck we gave up and changed our third tire in two days in less time than it took for road service to find a provider. The jello is now getting slopped all over the walls.

The next town up the road we found a tire dealer to mount the extra tire and he didn't charge us at all. Ok, something has finally gone right. But we still had to get through New Mexico. No more tire problems. Now we are experiencing high winds and dust storms. Not bad enough to close roads or for us to stop but there were a couple of white knuckle moments. We stopped for fuel and a snack and got on the road. 30 to 45 mph winds while traveling at 60 mph and our awning starts to come unraveled. Another stop. This time in the wind and the dust to reroll the awning so we could continue down the road. I am now loading the jello into a confetti cannon!

Tires, idiots, wind, and dust and we find our way to our destination for the night. After a shower and a light dinner two exhausted travelers are ready for bed in their home for tonight in Wilcox Arizona because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

'18/#5 Running Away From Home?

Today will be our last day in Pharr Texas. Everything that needs to be stowed for the trip is put away and the rig is starting to look a little less like home. That isn't a bad thing. It just means that the pictures and trinkets we put out when we stay in one place for a while are not out. It also means that the rig looks a lot cleaner and neater than usual. As my Mom used to say "My home is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.". Another way of putting it is it looks "lived in".

We were contemplating leaving today but we were tired from all the pre-travel preparations. Also the forecast was rain most of the day. We don't mind breaking camp and traveling in the rain but if we don't have to, we won't. Another case of plans being written in jello. Flexibility is a necessary tool when living on the road. Today is just a lazy day of resting, reading, and internet activities so we can start fresh first thing tomorrow morning. First thing could be as early as 4am so tonight will be an early night.

We have said all our goodbyes to the residents in the park who are still here and also the staff who we worked with all winter. After being here for five months it feels like home. We will miss the friends we have made here but we will be returning next year so there were no tears this time.

We are looking forward to the summer in Montana and are sure the time will fly by soon to find us heading back to our home here in Pharr because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Friday, March 30, 2018

'18/#4 And The Wheels On The Bus Go 'round And 'round....SOON!

We have really loved our time here in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), so much that we have decided to come back next year. We don't generally return to places we have stayed. The reason we live this lifestyle is to see the country and we stay in one place for several months and use the time to explore the area. Once we have seen the area we want to move on and see new parts of the country. This park we are in has welcomed us and the area has so much to offer that we didn't see everything we wanted. So we will be here one more season before we move on to explore a new winter destination.

These past few weeks we have made lists and remade lists and remade them again. We have also been checking things off those lists in preparation for our departure to our next adventure. There is a serious case of "hitch itch" in our home and it is time for us to hook-up and move on down the road. This summer we will be in West Yellowstone Montana.

Our summer jobs are all lined up and we will have a place to park our rig while we are there. Yesterday we planned our route from Pharr TX to West Yellowstone and since we have several weeks to get there we will do some sightseeing along the way. RVing is still our favorite way to see things as we travel. Anytime we see something along the way we can stop and know that everything we need to enjoy ourselves is in our home right behind us.

Some of the things we will be exploring are Carlsbad Caverns, Bryce Canyons, Arches National Park, and (just because we can) a side trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats and Salt Lake City. Along the way we are planning to see some friends in Tucson AZ and maybe some near Flagstaff AZ. Our travels have allowed us to make friends from all over the country and friends, who like us, RV all around this land. We know that wherever we are or wherever our friends maybe we can always find time to get together.

I have to cut this short because there is a list that needs attention here in our home in Pharr TX because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Monday, February 12, 2018

'18/#3 Do My Eyes Decieve Me?

This blog is not so much about our RV adventures as it is about things we observe. I'm not saying these things are traits unique to the area or that it is anything worth noting. These are things that just start conversations. They are oddities, quirks, or any other thing that might have you scratching your head and saying "what the heck?".

This first thing I noticed when we first arrived here in the Rio Grande Valley(RGV). In our travels and over many years we have observed that most state and local laws prohibit certain lights on motor vehicles. Usually they are red and blue which I understand are reserved for emergency vehicles. I personally was stopped in Florida for red light-up valve stem caps on my motorcycle tires. No ticket but was warned and told to remove them. Researching this later I found out about the red a blue light restrictions. Now here in Texas just about any vehicle that is meandering down the road has flashing blue lights on it. Tractors, farm trailers, utility trucks (both public and private), construction vehicles, etc. Too many times I have tried to avoid what I perceived as an emergency situation just to find the local yard crew rumbling down the road. Lack of consistency can cause confusion. Maybe it's just me, but I am starting to get used to it.

I know I talked in the past about what many of the women wear just going to the grocery store. Clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination and teetering on 5 and 6 inch heels. Mary's latest observation is the seemingly acceptable trend of walking around in public in your pajamas. I'm not talking about little children riding in a grocery cart, these are adults with their children. We've seen it at gas stations, grocery stores, department stores, and most other places where we frequently shop. We have even seen it in restaurants! Where has common sense gone? I'm not asking everyone to dress up just to leave the house, but is it too much to ask that they not wear their PJ's out in public?

I know I am starting to sound like a cranky old man but I guess that is what I am. I know I'm old but I try to be accepting of other people and their personal choices. I just don't understand them. Maybe it is like when I was a little kid and we only wore our sneakers to gym class and not during the rest of the school day. I may not be as old as dirt or have been around since the dinosaurs roamed the earth but things have definitely change during my life time.

Well thanks for letting me vent a little from our home here in Pharr because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary