Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hello Happy Campers!! This will be the last post on this blog at this blog address. We have integrated a Wordpress blog on our new website. Still www.livingthervdream.com and the blog is on the "Our Blog" page. the blog page URL is http://blog.livingthervdream.com/ I will attempt to redirect this page to that one.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

54th Escapees Escapade, Goshen, IN

We just returned from the Escapade in Goshen, IN at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds. We had a really great time there! Many, many of our RVing friends were there. We hooked up with Bill and Kris Osborne (We are....... seeing the USA), and Bob and Bonnie Jae ( Our House on Wheels ) when we arrived and had dinner at King Wa in Elkhart. We also spent some time with Nick and Terry Russell. Nick is the editor of the Gypsy Journal and many books as well as an excellent daily blog ( Gypsy Journal RV Travel Newspaper ). Jim and Chris Guld, aka the Geeks on Tour were there to present many technology seminars. Their blog is ( Geeks on Tour Blog ) Mac aka Mac the Fire Guy MaCoy was there doing his fire and safety seminars. We finally met Cherie Ve Ard and Chris Dunphy, the Technomads. ( Technomadia ) They provided us with a great interview for our podcast. We finally got to see David and Lynn Cross again. We first met them at Nick Russell's Rally in Celina, OH a few years ago.
Unfortunately, the weather was pretty bad almost every day but one. We probably had almost 5 total inches of rain, and we were parked in the infield of the Fairgrounds racetrack, a low area. They brought in 5 or 6 truckloads of gravel, and that allowed us to leave on Saturday morning.

I know there were many other folks we met, both new friends and old. There were many seminars on almost every aspect of RVing and technology. There was entertainment in the evenings as well as many opportunities to socialize. Unfortunately, Kathy was quite sick from probable food poisoning from a local Chinese Buffet for 2 days. She is fine now and on the mend. The next Escapade is next March at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson, AZ. We will try to make it there.

The last night was the awarding of the grand door prizes including an Adventure Caravan's prize worth almost $3000. We were fortunate to win the volunteer prize of a Catalytic heater. If you get the chance, besure and attend an Escapees RV Club Escapade.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dead Horse State Park and Planning ALaska

We are finally on the move again. After the FMA rally in Yuma we were ready to head out.

Monday
We left Yuma about 9:00AM. Charlie our dog decided to get up at 6:00 AM. You know if he is up, we are. I don't get it sometimes, he sleep in until 7:00 AM and of course on the day we want to sleep a little later he's up at 5:30 or 6:00 AM. So, anyway we were ready and "hit the road" around 9. Our first plan was to stop in Gila Bend for the night, but we arrived there at 10:30, way to early for a stop so we headed onto Verde Valley TT park. We arrived here about 2:00 PM and got a real nice 50 AMP site H-17. The views here are so beautiful, the park is down in a valley and there is a river running thru it. The cliffs and trees are so wonderful. Red and sand colors and when the sun shines on them it is incredible. We are about a mile off the road so it is quite and just sitting outside watching the clouds move across the cliffs is fantastic.

How awesome is this place!!
 
Tuesday
Spent the day setting up and getting a Walmart fix. I was so mad that their were people parked at Walmart with their slides out and chairs, one guy even had his grill out. This is a gift that Walmart gives us, for overnight stays. NOT a campground!!
We had a dinner appointment with Greg Gurber of RV Dailey Report at the  Rock Springs Cafe. What a place!!! Greg was already there so we went in to the Cafe, their specialty is pie, berry pies, creme pies, and pecan pies. It was so good. I had a blueberry pie and it was just like my grandma use to make. Lot's of fresh blueberries and John had a apple pie with ice creme, Greg had chocolate creme pie and we were all savoring the flavors.
Greg is a new RV'er although he has been doing the RV Daily Report for quite a while. He just brought a Winnebago Adventurer and is starting his own adventure. He will be on the road for About 7 months visiting all kinds a people and places. One is the WIT rally in Forrest City IA., he will be giving a seminar on Blogging. If you are going to the rally be sure and say HI. He has some great information on starting a blog and writing a blog.
Wednesday
As we were out walking Charlie for his morning walk, we stopped to talk with another dog owner and she told us about the casino's senior day. Breakfast buffet for $3.50, wow. We went back to the rig and off to the casino. Now the one thing she warned us about is that the buses get there about 8:45 so we needed to be there before then. We arrived there at 8:30AM and got our club card and the discount. It was good food and then we played a little. We always take $20.00 each and when that is gone we are done, or if we make enough to pay for the breakfast we quit. Well, we played for about and hour and we both won enough for breakfast to be paid and our $20.00 back.
We came back to the rig because John is working on getting our web site Living the RV Dream transferred to another server.
Thursday
Thursday for us is show day. We gather all the information to talk about and set up the equipment and sit down and do the show. It takes John about an hour to get it ready for prime time listening. Once the show is "up" we washed off the rig. I couldn't believe how dusty it was. Right before we left Yuma we had it washed and waxed, but then the wind really got blowing and the dust was everywhere especially on the rig. The rest of the day was to relax sit outside and enjoy the beautiful views we have here.
Friday
Today we planned to go to Dead Horse State Park here in Cottonwood, first off we stopped at the Chamber of Commerce and got some good maps and information. Dead Horse State Park is a old ranch that was given to the state to use as a park. The sites are large and have water and electric (30AMP) They have several lagoons to fish in and the river runs thru it.



 We took Charlie with us and on the way home we found the city dog park. Charlie had the time of his life, running, and playing with other dogs. By the time we headed home he was all done in. I don't think he really got moving until we got up the next morning. It is sure fun to see the joy of a dog running full out in the sunshine.
 OK mom, throw the ball!!
I got it, I got it!!!
 Man, this is thirsty work!
Saturday  
We got an e-mail from Dennis and Carole Hill, what a great couple. They do the Loosy Goosy group to Alaska, and they have been there many times. The group is really loose, kind of the way we want to travel.There is a loose itinerary of the route but if you want to see something else, go ahead and catch up later. We decided to go to dinner at a place called La Fonda Mexican Foods. Boy was the food excellent! The night was spent talking about Alaska. Dennis has done many seminars on going to Alaska and we are planning on interviewing him next week for the Podcast on how to prepare for the trip. You all know we will be going in 2015, it seems like a long way off , time moves fast. Some of the best information  is to be sure to get the Milepost Alaska book and the Church's Alaska Campground guide. Carole is an avid reader and recommended several good fiction books with some truth in them to read. One of them being Alaska by James Mitchner. Good food and good friends. It doesn't get much better than this.
Sunday
Again a beautiful day, a little windy but the sun is shinning and the birds are singing. Dennis and Carole invited us for dinner and we went to their new rig. I like it a lot. It is a 37' Winnabago Journey with 4 slides, the living area is large and spacious, and the bed is in a north,south configuration. Lots of storage and very comfortable. Again we spent the night getting to know each other more and talking about Escapees and all the people we both know. Of course Alaska was the main topic. This is what Living the RV Dream is all about.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Fleetwood Motorhome Rally

Busy week this week. We had the chip repaired on the front window of the rig and the front window of the car. Dan the Chip man did a great job and also shined up the headlights on the car. Then as long as we were here we had the black and grey tanks cleaned out. We had never had this done and All Pro Water-Flow people did a fantastic job. Their web site is www,allprowaterflow.com  If you see them around have them take a look and see if you need the tanks cleaned. This was all done at the FMA rally here in Yuma, AZ. We got our dates mixed up and thought it was starting on Tues. but no it was Wed. so, we had a full day to get some things done in the rig before we attended the rally.
 Wednesday
 I sure hope that you will go to a rally. They are great fun and very informative. I would suggest if possible to attend a smaller regional  first. Sometimes in the larger rallies you can get lost. They will have seminars, we were able to give a full-timing  and a workamper seminar. It was fun and we plan to do it again. So, we arrived on Wed. and were greeted by 2 couples, and Mr. Happe escorted us to our site here at Fortuna de Oro RV Resort. This parks is in the Cal-Am systems of parks and they have just acquired this park and are working very hard to bring it up to date. FMA (Fleetwood Motorhome Association) first gathering was for first timers and it was a huge success. All of new attendees gathered together and they gave a run down on what to expect and introduced all the officers of the club. They really made us feel welcome  We had a wonderful dinner and the rally was off to a fantastic start. Fleetwood brought in 11 new rigs for us to view or purchase, they came from RV World of Yuma, I must say the new designs are looking good. However, some of the color choices were not really to my liking. Everything seems to be dark woods and counter tops. Oh well, I'm sure someone likes them,
Thursday
With a full breakfast under our belts we headed off to Martha' s Gardens Date Farm Tour. What an interesting place. It's hard to believe there is so much work to farm dates.
The seminars got started with the All Pro Water-Flow giving a talk about the black and grey tanks, it seems that crystals form  because of interaction of the sewer gases and sludge in the tanks and should be cleaned out every year. I'm not sure about every year, but if you have had your rig for a while it might be a good idea to get it done. I know there are other companies that do this service and just make sure they have a camera so you can see what's happening. This is the first time in about 8 years that the gauges did not read full. We also had a water valve fixed. At rallies that are manufacturer based, the manufactreer will bring in a team of repair guys from the factory. The will usually do minor repairs and do not charge for the labor and give a discount for the parts. What a deal. One couple we talked with felt it paid for the rally fees, just to have some of the repairs done. There were also seminars done by a Yuma Historian, and the Bureau of Land Management. The women had a Fashion show and lunch and the men had beer and brats, and lots or bragging. At this rally we had several of the top management of Fleetwood here and we were able to interview John Lowery COO of Fleetwood. What a very interesting guy. He's only been on the job for about 7-8 months and formerly worked at Harley-Davidson. He really put my faith back in Fleetwood.  Nice man.  It turned into one very enjoyable day.
Friday
'This was the day for us to do our seminars, they had 90 rigs here at the show and we had about 16 people come to the full-timers seminar. Everyone seem to enjoy the talk we gave, some had been full-timing for a little while and all felt they learned something. In the afternoon we gave a talk on workamping, again it was well received. John and I both totally enjoyed doing the talks and I think we will pursue this more. We were asked to speak at the National FMA rally in DeQuoin Il in June and the Eastern FMA rally in FL in Jan 2015. That was a real boost to us. The National President of the FMA Linda Coleman gave a talk and updates and had a Q & A time. What a wonderful lady.
Saturday
This was our fun day for us. We had done the seminars and we were now ready to have some fun.
When we received our rally information and there was a Colorado River boat trip scheduled so we signed up and boy were we glad we did. I hadn't paid much attention to the specifics of the trip, as we had been on a few so I kind of expected it to be a short 1 hour ride. We spent 3 hours ride up the river and what they had done is half of the people went on a paddle boat for 1 1/2 hours and the other have went on a fast smaller boat. Then we switch places.The smaller boat was able to get into smaller places and it was such a get trip. The gave us a box lunch and the sun was shinning and the birds were on the water. Another wonderful day.
Sunday
Today was the day to leave. We had a continental breakfast and a church service. It was time to say goodby to all our new friends. We had wonderful food, great fellowship and we are looking forward to the National Rally in June.
 We have a leak around the water heater and when we sign up for the rally we asked to repair the leak around the valve where the water comes in. However, when we got here we asked about repairing the leak around the water heater. They said they probably would not have time to do anything as they had a full schedule. So, we paid to stay an extra day and thought we would have to use a local repair service to repair the problem. What a pleasant surprise when about 11:30 the repair guys show up to help us fix the problem. What a team. Randy and Tim are here and they are doing everything possible to solve this water leak. It looks like the people at Classic Coach have struck again. They put a nail into the water line and over the last several years it has been slowly leaking and now the dam has burst. That place has cost us a bundle with repairs to problems they have caused. You know we don't like to give any bad news but these people have been a mess.

Last week in Yuma AZ

I can hardly believe another week has gone by. We are getting ready to move on down the road and I must tell you I am ready. Sitting in one place for 3 months is too long.
This week we had dinner with David and Karen Grossman and it was great. They travel extensively  not only in  the US but overseas as well. They went to Alaska last year and brought all their used books on the places they went and we drilled them for about 3 hours on the one place they would go back to, and what was their favorite. They really loved the Kenai  Peninsula and would go back there to see it all again.   They gave us a wonderful book called Kenai Wildlife Viewing Trail Guide, I know we will get a lot from this one and it will help to plan our own trip. We hope to go to Alaska in 2015 and we are starting to plan the trip now.
Our son had a back operation this week, you know it is really difficult to decide whether to go and be there or to stay and wait. Even thought he is 43 he's still my "baby boy". He did great and is home but we were worried the whole time. I have decided that the next time we will go. This waiting is just to nerve wracking.
This week we will be at the FMA rally (Fleetwood Motorhome Association) here in Yuma, we are looking forward to presenting the full-timing and workamping seminars. The best thing about going to this kind of rally is that you can get work done on the RV and only pay for parts. We have a leaking water connection and they are going to fix it for us.
Then we will head on up to Verde Valley, it is north of Phoenix and a really beautiful place. We plan to stay there for two weeks and then on to the Grand Canyon. I know some people have called it just a big hole in the ground, but what a hole. I am really looking foreword to the sunrises and the sunsets.  So we will see youall down the road.
Kathy 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yuma, AZ is the most RV friendly town in America



This is our third winter in Yuma. From the first time we came here, we knew this was a very RV friendly town. There are numerous mobile RV technicians, RV wash and wax businesses, holding tank flush out folks, and many others.  There are three or four large RV dealerships with service shops including LaMesa. There are also many RV consignment lots with everything from pop-ups to older Prevost buses for sale. Several propane dealers have lots large enough for the largest RV to turn around.

Of course there is WalMart. There are three of them here, all with RV departments. Then there is the ultimate "Guy" store, Harbor Freight. Lots of tools there, and much else to offer the RV do-it-yourself er.
In January, the huge Quartzite RV show is open and we are only about eighty miles away on a very scenic highway.

There are over seventy RV parks in and around Yuma. Five miles from downtown Yuma  is Algodones, Mexico where you can get deeply discounted drugs, eyeglasses, dental work, and even a hearing aid clinic. Back in Yuma are two large flea markets and a smaller inside market where you can find almost everything you might need to support the RV lifestyle and much, much more. And if that's not enough, there are four casinos in the area.

Among all these, I have picked out some of my personal favorite RV centric businesses. Coincidentally, they are all within five miles of one another and are either on or just off 32nd street which becomes the South Frontage Road.

I made this list by driving from our lot in the foothills west on the South Frontage Road towards downtown. First, up is Wally's World. This looks like a small place from the parking lot, but inside is huge! They have just about everything you will find in a Camping World store but cheaper. There are bins and bins of hardware of the common sizes an RVer would use. These folks also have a large store in the Arizona Marketplace flea market. The owners of Wally's World also operate Novus Auto Glass where you can have your RV or tow car's windshield repaired or replaced.

Next up the road is RV Decor. This is a nationally advertised RV refurbishment business. They have a large showroom with examples of flooring, furniture, lighting, and many other items they can add to your rig. They are building a fifty foot paint booth to augment their collision business. This summer, they will be opening a custom sofa factory in one of their bays. The magic happens out back in the service bays where they can totally change your rig's interior and exterior. This business primarily caters to folks with mid to high end motor homes. This is top drawer work and you will pay accordingly. The website is http://www.rvdecor.com

The South Frontage Road has turned into Thirty Second Street when we come to Sewmasters of Yuma. These folks' specialty is custom sun shades for windshields and side windows of motor homes, but they offer so much more. We had them make a new set of window shades for us which fit perfectly and look great.


Moving slightly east, we cross over to the south side of Thirty Second Street and enter the Arizona Marketplace. This is a very nice flea market. All the stalls and walkways are covered by metal roofing and the floor is concrete. There are several hundred businesses here and room for several hundred more. Many of these businesses have RV stuff, but there is much, much, more. Clothing, furniture, hot-tubs, fresh vegetables, and so much more is available here. The website is  http://arizonamkt.com/







Among all the places here are two more of my favorite RV businesses. First up is the RV Water Filter Store. I have been buying filter canisters, filter media and custom water hoses from them for over six years. They also can make up a custom water filter system for your rig. Their specialty is whole coach reverse osmosis (RO) systems. They also can provide all the little bits and parts you need to build your own like I did. The web address is http://www.rvwaterfilterstore.com



A few aisles away in Row E Space 35 is Great RV Products. These folks carry the Truck System Technologies (TST) line of Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) that I have been using for almost five years. They also have an extensive selection of Wilson Electronics cellular amplifiers and antennas. You can satisfy your electronic gadget fix here. The website is http://www.greatproducts.com





I left the Arizona Marketplace and headed east on the South Frontage Road a short distance to the RV Connection and Satellite Electronics, Inc. This has been my go-to place for RV parts and other stuff since we started coming here. The Satellite Electronics part of the business is at one end. These people know satellite TV. Period. If you have a question, they can answer it. They stock a large assortment of systems from Dish and DirecTV as well as antenna components from Winegard. In the parts store is a huge collection of almost everything you could need in a well laid out store. Their website is http://www.rvconnectionparts.com





Next we continue east on the South Frontage Road to the Southwest Exchange Home and RV Superstore. Even Kathy likes this place as they have kitchen stuff, rugs and carpets, and other household items. The main event is the huge selection of RV items to rival a Camping World. On the side of the store near the door is the Pooch Parlor professional grooming and self service dog wash. The website is http://www.southwestexchangeyuma.com





We continue east on the South Frontage Road to Fortuna Road. We turn right into a strip shopping center where we find Al's RV Service and Supply. This store is operated by RV service technicians. The large store filled with RV stuff is complimented by a service center where they will come to your rig. Good prices here. The website is http://www.alsrv.com




On the east side of Fortuna Road is another small strip shopping center just south of Fry's grocery store. Here we find Zepp's Water Treatment Systems, LLC. Their business is water softeners and reverse osmosis water filters for both homes and RVs.



This is certainly not an exclusive listing of RV parts places in Yuma, but they are my personal favorites as I have done business with them and have been well pleased with both products and service..

Friday, March 14, 2014

Boondocking at the Imperial Dam LTVA

We decided to go out to the Imperial Dam long term boondooking area. This is the view on our way.

This is a patch of something being grown and the beautiful view of the mountain range.
 Watering the plants.
The mountains close up with the sun almost up.
 Castle Dome rock
 Castle Dome on the left and the rest of the range.
 We have found the turn off of route 95 north of Yuma, AZ
 Entrance to the Proving Grounds and the road to the Imperial Dam.
 What a fantastic view.
 US Army proving grounds.
 Here's our sign.
View from the hill side at the sites by the lake.
 Dumping station sign and directions.

 Class C using the dumping station and water fill up.
 Need to have a place to dump your trash?
 Rates, not to bad a price.
 Camp Host site and bathrooms, no showers but toilets.
 This is the picnic area, there are no tables on the plateau.

 These folks have thought of everything, even a Library spelled Liberry.
 They are ready for the season, solar, covered chairs and satellite dish.
 Another example of solar in use.
 The ocotillo plans are in bloom and the different size of solar panels.
 People park where ever there is space and in the direction they desire.
 The open area that is available for camping.
 Some have solar and some do not, but look at the view.
 Friendly burros visit regularly.
 Another view of the lake side camping. It was a very windy day and there were white caps on the lake.
 Camping on the ridge overlooking the lake. What a beautiful site.
 Emergency services are available and they take care of each other out here.
 Almost everything you could need is close by.
 Even church services.
The area is noted for the date farms and this is what they look like. One of the things that is a must have here is a date shake. I think it must be an acquired taste.