Monthly Archives: May 2013

Day 2 Boron, CA to Williams, AZ

Left at 7:40 am this morning, got gas and headed down the long, somewhat hilly Hwy 40 to Williams. Hwy 40 replaced Route 66. Ralph is doing all the driving thus far. And he must be feeling really comfortable…he’s driving 60 to 70 MPH. Yesterday it was 55 to 60. Ralph wanted me to add that the 70 MPH was downhill so we had enough momentum to get up the next hill. The high speed sucks for gas mileage, but gets us there faster. Even at that, the trucks on the highway passed us like we were standing still.

We needed fuel and in California (where prices are much higher than Arizona) we got 35 gallons, enough to get us to Kingman, Arizona where fuel was 80 cents a gallon cheaper.  That adds up when you have a 75 gallon fuel tank and average 7.75 miles per gallon.  Ok…I heard that gasp. 

Simple Simon (thanks CJ for the new name) found a new hiding place today. Unlike at home where he can hide under the bed, sofas, and chairs, in the MH he can only get under the driver and passenger seats. After we stopped for gas, I looked for him and couldn’t find him anywhere: not in his cage, not under the front seats, no where…and I panicked. I thought maybe he slipped out the door either at the camp ground or at the gas station. The only place I couldn’t check was under the vanity/desk in the bedroom because the slide out was blocking that space. We’d have to pull over and stop so I could move the bedroom slide out and check. And there he was…hiding in a very small space under the vanity. Yesterday I had my briefcase in that spot, but today it was out on the bed and that 8 inches was available for a cat to hide. I was so relieved! If I had lost that cat it would have ruined my entire trip. Ralph says “He’s too afraid to venture out the door”. He’s probably right.

 The Sleeping Arrangements

Our home away from home has a Queen bed. We sleep on a King at home, so it’s a little cozy now with the three (yes, three) of us in bed. When we woke up this morning Ralph said, “We are going to have to make other sleeping arrangements” and I said, “Whatever do you mean?”. Evidently when Ralph woke up in the middle of the night he was on the very edge of the bed and Simon and I were spooning taking up three quarters of the bed. I gave him permission to wake us up and tell us to move over. I don’t know what the heck is going on while I’m sleeping!

 Speaking of the bed…

When we purchased the MH they gave us a new mattress.

The Princess and the Pea...that's me

The Princess and the Pea…that’s me


Now I’ve heard that MH mattresses are notoriously lousy and right they are! I think the problem is more that the mattress is on a plywood platform and it feels like you are sleeping on a board. The platform does lift up with a ton of storage underneath. That’s where we stow all our motorcycle gear so I’m really glad that space is available. I knew I had to get a memory foam topper if I was going to get any sleep, which I did AND it had a feather topper in addition to the foam. One weekend at Lake Comanche sleeping on that bed and I knew I had to get more foam on top. So I purchased another two inch memory foam mattress topper and now it’s just right! It’s a little high and the fitted sheets don’t really fit…but I’m sleeping like a baby. My friend is now calling me the “Princess and the Pea”.  Ralph also admits that this camping in a motorhome is a lot easier and more comfortable than his tent camping while on his motorcycle trips and he could “get used to this! “

Ralph drove the entire time today and fought 20-30 MPH winds and as we were nearing Williams I said, “I need a nap!” He laughed and said, “Rough day, reading, listening to music and dozing?” He’s doing a fantastic job managing this beast (and baby beast behind us). What a man I have!

Pretty decent dinner tonight: Steak and lobster with a nice Cupcake Chardonnay. Guess who had the steak and who had the lobster? Ha! Ha!

We couldn’t grill outside because it was too windy so we pulled out the ol’ camping staple the induction burner. Ralph fried up the steaks in a frying pan. That brought back memories of my Grandpa making dinner for Dale and I after school and frying steaks in an iron skillet. I cut up the lobster tail and sautéed it with butter. Yummy…great camping food, don’t cha know? We made a run to Costco before we left and stocked up on food. That’s where the lobster tails are from and I have to say they were delicious. Our freezer is stocked and so is the Coleman cooler. Ralph did research and we have dry ice in the Coleman with meats, etc for the next several days. The dry ice is doing a great job of keeping things frozen.

Another lesson learned today. We used the showers at the campground and while I was in there a woman came in and was knocking on all the shower stall doors. She knocked on mine and asked if anyone was in there. She then apologized and told me she always checks all the stalls to see who is in there before letting her husband leave for his shower. She said, “You never know…someone could be lurking that shouldn’t be”. I never thought of that. Am I too trusting, naïve, or just not thinking? I think I will add that to my personal policy manual.

 Another day roughing it, smoothly. (I have to give credit where credit is due…that’s the Tiffin slogan on our spare tire cover. Certainly fits!)

Laters…

 P.S.  Still cannot get photos to load.  Maybe it’s my MIFI.  I’ll have to research further.

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Day 1 – Sacramento to Boron, CA

Up at 5:30 am. Sure hope this isn’t a normal routine on our Southwest USA adventure! I am not an early riser. But since we have 350 miles to cover today, we wanted to get an early start.  We were out the door by 6:50, slightly past our 6:30 expected departure. Simon, the guard cat, knew something was up and hide behind the sofa hoping we would forget him…but to no avail. Ralph plucked him up and out to the Motorhome he went. We put his cage in the back bedroom and left the door open.  This is the only time he goes in his cage voluntarily. Cage usually means Vet, so we were a little surprised he headed straight to the cage to hide. His first trip to the litter box was amusing…he doesn’t have his “sea legs” yet…also a little surprising since cats are supposed to be good on their feet. Peeing completed and back to the cage.  Sure hope the little guy survives this trip.
 
We will spend the night in Boron, Ca and then another 350 miles to Williams, AZ where we will stay for four nights.  While in Willaims we will visit the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and Sedona. The Grand Canyon and Sedona have been on my must-see list for many, many years.
 
We will spend one night at the Arabian RV Oasis in Boron. It’s only $12 a night with the Passport America half price discount ($24). Arabian Oasis brings to mind all sorts of exotic things.  We will see… The 20 Mule Team Borax Museum will probably be closed by the time we arrive.  Bummer!
 
 
Driving south on Hwy 5 through California’s Central  Valley (fruit and vegatable bowl) is a site for hungry eyes. Spring has brought with it lush, green fields of plants and orchards for mile after mile after mile. It’s one of the many things I love about living here.
 
Speaking of food…I think I’ll make some lunch!
 
I’m back…we arrived in Boron at 2:30 pm and I must say that 350 miles went really fast!  Ralph ended up driving the entire time with one short half hour rest stop for lunch.  It’s goes very fast when you can have all the confort breaks you want, can read, play with one ithing or another and get a few snacks, all without stopping or having to say “I have to pee again”. 
 
I know what the oasis part is for at the Arabian Oasis RV Park…there are trees and this is an oasis in the desert.  It has full hook ups (for those unfamilar with the RV lingo that means electricity, water and sewer. And the Oasis has an added bonus!  Basic cable TV.) 
 
We passed a few local sites on the way.  The airplane graveyard (a lot of large jets parked in the desert waiting for…?  I don’t know what), the Borax factory, Edwards Airforce Base (where the space shuttles sometimes land),  and a lot of sand and sagebrush.  Not really a place you want to stay for long. 
 
I have great AT&T and Verizon signals, however, photos are not loading very well.  I’ll get to photos later.
 
We will be leaving early in the morning for the next leg of our trip: Boron to Williams, Arizona.
 
Laters…
 
P.S. Yes…I’m listening to the 50 Shades of Gray audio book.  Had to see what all the fuss was about.
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How it Began

I think it started when I was a child.  I was biten by the travel bug at four years old when my grandparents took me to Florida.  It was in the middle of a Michigan winter and going to the warm Florida sunshine was like pure heaven.  The blue sky, the sandy beaches, the warm weather were all enchanting.  And to this day when I visit family in Florida those wonderful feelings reemerge.

Several trips to Florida occurred over the years, some with my grandparents as a child and in my early 20s with friends.  Shortly after high school graduation, the fantasy of a road trip touring the United States would pop into my head.  Some of my friends took my fantasy trip which made the possibility more real in my mind. I was able to take a road trip out West and got as far as Moab, Utah before getting a serious case of food poisoning that landed my traveling companion and me in the emergency room .  That put an end to traveling further West…we headed back to Michigan.  The fantasy of traveling the United States has resided in the recesses of my mind for the last 40 years.  I’ve been many places in the world:  France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, England, Spain, Mexico, and the Netherlands, all beautiful in their own way.  However, my own country has places and sites that rival anything found in other countries and I want to see those up close and personal. 

Since taking up motorcycle riding five years ago, I’ve had the vision of touring the US on my motorcycle.  But the reality is that I’m almost 62 and touring on a motorcycle is best left to those a little younger.  Next idea…a motorhome with a trailer containing the motorcycle.  The idea is to drive to a central location, park it for 3-5 days and use the motorcycle to tour the area.  Best of both worlds, right? Yep!  That’s the plan.  So we started the search for a motorhome.

How the search went, why we bought what we did, what we’ve added and our plans.

Buying a motorhome is a big investment…and I use investment very loosely.  Just like a car, motorhomes depreciate 15% the first year, and 10-12% every year thereafter.  Buying new was not an option; it’s like buying a small home.  So used it was. But, how used?  In talking with various salesmen and with an eye towards resale, the year had to start with a two.  We wanted a quality brand, so we researched and came up with a short list and started shopping around.  We purchased a 2002 Tiffen Allegro. It’s a 33 foot with two slide-outs.  Large enough to be able to live in for weeks or months at a time. 

We immediately started adding things we thought we needed (sure hope we end up needing them!) like a solar panel to keep the batteries charged, an inverter and battery monitor. Then we loaded up with household items, packed our clothes, added food, hooked up the trainer with the motorcycle and off we went!

The Alley Cat and Me

The Alley Cat and Me

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