Saturday, July 23, 2011

The final week!

Almost a week has gone by since my last update on our travels.

Monday was pretty much a work day for me.  I had 6 insurance surveys in Carpinteria.  I got back to the site about 3:00.   I wrote up a couple of my reports, then spent the rest of the day relaxing.  Tuesday we were hosts to Rosie’s sisters, Helga and Gigi and their husbands Fred and Harlan, and Helga’s grandson, Shane.  We prepared a campfire dinner of chicken, potatoes, and veggies with some cream of mushroom soup and a little wine all mixed together and wrapped in six layers of heavy duty foil.  After 45 minutes over an open campfire, everything was fully cooked and ready to eat.  Add some French bread and butter and top it off with an apple tort baked by Rosie and we had a meal.   We sat and visited for a couple of hours enjoying the surroundings and each other’s company.  Of course we had to take a group photo.


From left to right; Fred, me, Rosie, Gigi, Helga, Shane and Harlan.

Wednesday was a day without any commitments or plans.  I wrote the rest of my reports and we chilled out at the site.  Thursday I had 2 surveys in Santa Barbara scheduled, but one of them cancelled while I was driving up the coast to Santa Barbara.  It has been at least 18 years since I have driven the Pacific Coast Highway.  It was strange to see the ocean again after living inland all these years.  I had also forgotten how crowded Santa Barbara is; small homes on narrow streets are the rule until you get into the mansions in the foothills.  Thursday evening Heidi had us over for dinner;  she picked up chicken and fixings from El Pollo Loco, one of our favorites.  We put our pooches in the back yard and Heidi kept her three little canines in the house during our visit.   It was good to spend some more time with our grandsons Robert and Tyler.   We are looking forward to being able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with them this year, since we have decided to spend the winter in our camper exploring warmer winter climates.  We stopped at Albertson’s in Simi Valley for a final stock up on groceries for our trip home.

Friday morning we hooked up and pulled out of the Ventura Ranch KOA, our home for the last 10 nights.  This is the longest we have stayed at one location since we started camping.  It was a good experience.  We had a great site.  There were many places to walk Sammy and Annie.  The local wildlife consisted of little bunny rabbits and peacocks.  The peacocks are birds with extraordinary color patterns.  This one came right into our camp one morning.


Friday was the beginning of our desert journey home.  We stayed Friday night in Barstow.  The campground did not have a single blade of grass anywhere.  Puppies like to pee on grass; so we took a ride to a local park where they could take care of all their business on lush green grass (a rare site in Barstow, CA).  We continue to meet Europeans in our travels.  A large Class C rental RV set up next to us.  A family from Switzerland; husband, wife and two sons.  Their English was pretty good, but their German was better.   Rosie really enjoyed a long conversation with them Saturday morning as we were getting ready to go.

I was dreading driving through Las Vegas; but it was not so bad.  The major road construction they have been working on for the last few years is completed.  I was able to stay in one lane all the way from the south to the north end of town.  The temperature kept climbing all day, by the time we reached our destination in Mesquite, NV, it was well over 100 degrees.  The only RV resorts in Mesquite are connected with Casinos and Hotels.  This means they are cheap, $20 with full hookups, because they expect you will drop some money at the tables.  The RV area is a large paved parking lot.  We lucked out with a corner site that is very wide and very level.  I plugged into the 50 amp circuit and we fired up the main air conditioner; and the circuit breaker in the camper tripped.  Not a good sign.  So I reset the circuit breaker and set the fan to low on the AC.  That seemed to make it better.  After about 30 minutes I set the fan to high and it has been running good every since.  Then I turned on the front (bedroom) AC.  After five minutes, that circuit breaker tripped.  I have been trying to run the front AC on low for a couple of hours and it always trips after 10 or 15 minutes.  Finally, I said to heck with it, I will run it on high for as long as it will go.  It has been going for about 40 minutes now without failure.  Maybe it is because it is cooling down outside and it doesn’t have to work so hard.  We were thinking about hitting the slot machines for a bit, but decided it was not a good idea to leave the pooches alone in the camper if the AC were to trip the breakers it could get too hot for them.

Sunday we headed out about 7:00 am for Nephi, UT.  We came upon a serious accident on I-15.  A SUV was upside down in the center median and many motorists had stopped to give assistance.  We saw one person sitting up against the vehicle holding a towel to his head; unable to tell if there was anyone else still in the vehicle.  First responders had not yet arrived, but many folks were talking into cell phones.  These things are always a reminder to us of how fortunate we are and how your life can literally be turned “upside down” in a second.  We arrived in Nephi about 2:00 pm (back in Mountain time now) and are set up in the High Country RV Camp.  We have a shady site on level gravel and are able to stay hooked up to save time in the morning.  Both AC units going full blast with a good 50 amp connection and no circuit breakers tripping in the camper.  Temperature is a cool (compared to Mesquite) 90 degrees.  Also have 26 channels of “over the air” digital television from our roof antenna.  How good is that?

So, part of our “lessons learned” on this trip now includes avoiding desert travel in the summer.   We will head home in the morning and be there for almost three weeks before we head for the family reunion in Colome, SD followed by a trip to our old neighborhood in Shawnee, CO.

I will write next time from Chadron State Park in Nebraska.

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