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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Desert Gardens RV Park or bust (Week 2)


Part of the mystery of this whole transfer switch saga has been that Chuck has looked for an easy access to it when he was installing the on board surge protector.
He and Chris had wired it into the unit inside the trailer.
It just takes a woman to do these things.
Sure enough, I found the access area and all it took was a few screws to open it up to the world.
Chuck has removed the old transfer switch, and I called a place in Casa Grande and they have one.  
The tires are being put on and we are to pick them up late afternoon so we ran to get the new switch at Norris RV.  
As we drove back to Coolidge the winds are really up and we went through quite a dust storm. 
It was like a white out.

Chuck is going to be busy this evening replacing and putting on tires.
We are no longer the ghetto trailer in the park!!!!
Tires are on and they look so nice.

Transfer switch is installed, and we turn the power back on and there is NOTHING!
Now we meet another neighbor and he has some experience with electricity.
He tells us that the switch is broken.
We need to take it back and get another one.
At this point Chris suggest that we just direct wire the trailer for power, and bypass everything.
We were told to get big blue wire connectors...the biggest they have, and stand back when you turn the power back on....LOL
At least we were able to use everything in the trailer again.
Man, this is getting really old!
I almost forgot to say that the maintenance guys came by and checked the power box and found a leg of the 50 amp was we don't know if this happened before or after or sometime in between, but this saga of the loss of power is getting really complex.

Tuesday 2-23-16
Chuck has met more of the people in the park since he has been working on this trailer.
We laugh and say no one would know him in person, as the only way they see him is his head in this little hole in the trailer with his back to them.

We get back to Norris RV and I let Chuck handle the mess.
The first guy that he talks to immediately says "well, you can't return that".....Oh man, don't make me come over there boy! 
The girl that waited on us told the guy, "they just bought that yesterday", and then the guy says that Chuck will need to talk to the man in parts.
The gentleman in parts was very nice, and come to find out it looks like our box was a returned item, and somehow got back in stock.
Our luck! 
With a new transfer switch and even instructions, we head back to the trailer.
Chuck is getting good at wiring them up but the big wire is a pain to work with.
He gets it wired and he plugs us back in.
Our surge protector was throwing a code so at this point he just direct wired and bypassed the transfer switch.
Contacted the surge protector people and they walked Chuck through a couple of tests.
They think a circuit board is fried, and will send a new one to us at the RV Park.
We will not be protected from any power surges, but at this point, who cares.
This evening was so nice to actually sit with lights on and watched TV.

Wednesday 2-24
I really need to do some laundry and I pack up everything and take the RAZR to the laundry room and do a few loads.
Chuck is busy removing the surge protector and installing the new transfer switch.
I am happy to announce that the switch worked!
Things are looking up around here...and pretty soon we are going to start having some fun.
Seems like someone is always having a happy hour around here, so it isn't hard to find one and chill.

Thursday 2-25
Glad to have everything working again....well, almost...the surge protector is still messed up, but at least we have power again.
We decide to go to Gilbert, AZ as I need some food from Sams.
It was fun exploring the area and seeing the sites.

We get back to the trailer and decide we need to take a ride on the RAZR and explore an area that some of the people had told us about.
With just a brief direction of what area we would be looking for, we take off.
Four miles from our park, there is a road marked with two tires hanging on the fence...yep, found it.

Drive straight, until it finally turns to the left....yep, did that.
Then drive just a little farther and you are going to see this awesome hugging saguaro cactus...yep, we found it.
Oh my gosh....its beautiful.
It is so much fun riding in the middle of the dessert amongst the cacti.

I see something that looks like a very large nest up in one of the cactus and tell Chuck I think there is something in the nest.
He turns around and sure enough, there is a big ole Owl sitting on that nest.
Now that is cool!
We no more get going again and a coyote runs in front of us.
Wow, we have really been a part of nature today!

We ride a little further and I guess we disturbed the cattle and almost were in the middle of a stampede.

The little outing was really nice, and we both enjoyed getting away from the trailer for awhile.
Back at the trailer we talk to some of our neighbors and enjoy one of the beautiful sunsets that we have been so lucky to experience.
I think things are looking up for us.  :)

Fast forward a few days to when Diana & Chris come and visit.
We are so excited to see them.
They have brought their RAZR and we have plans to ride with a guide on Monday.
Sunday we ride out to the area we found and show them the amazing hugging cacti.
Chris and Chuck ride together, and I am driving Miss Diana....LOL...not Miss Daisy!

We take our pictures and proceed down to the area where I saw the owl in the tree.
Can you believe she ( I assume) is still sitting on her eggs,( I am guessing).
We cook food out and have a nice peaceful evening.
The temperature drops pretty quickly so jackets were needed to keep us warm, but was so nice to sit and chill with our great friends.
We have to get up and around in the morning to meet our guide, so we hit the hay early.

Things I learned this week.
Met some really nice neighbors and enjoy the area very much.
Can drive to Casa Grande and find about anything we need.
Laundry dries really quick out here!
I am not good at cards...just sayin
We have some really great friends (Chris & Diana) but we already knew that.  :)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Desert Gardens RV Park or bust!

We are going in our first long trip.
Long to us anyway!
The plans are to go to Florence AZ and stay at the Desert Gardens RV Park.
We will be there thru March 13th.
Bronco is making the trip as well.
We are trying a new calming collar on her as well as a crate so time will tell!
We pull out from the house a little after 9am. 
Just as scheduled:)
Our plans today are to make it at least to Tucumcari NM. 
No excitement today but it was a very easy day and by the time we make it to our destination we decide there is plenty of day left so we drive on to Santa Rosa NM and pull into the KOA we had stayed at many years ago with our other toy hauler.

We put the address into Big Berthas GPS and amazingly she was trying to take us to Hawaii!
Too funny!
The park was pretty bare as we pulled in. 
We drive direct into our spot for the night. 
Seems they have a restaurant adjoining the KOA so it will be easy to have some dinner tonight!
Interesting part of the restaurant is they will deliver your dinner to you if you order by 6pm but we opted to just go up and sit there and eat. 
The KOA owner is a very nice and chatty guy. 
We sit and chill after dinner in the trailer and watch TV.

By the way, the calming collar worked miracles. 
Our nervous Bronco is very chilled!  
Day 1 is completed. 

Day 2
We are up and ready to hit the road.  
Little did we know that the wait at the truck stop would delay us about an hour.
We have to use the truck lanes so we can get DEF for the Big Bertha.
Seems the truckers fuel their rigs, and proceed to go in and either take a shower or eat....who knows....but I wish they had the courtesy to just pull the trucks on through, so others could use them. (my rant for the day) 

We drive the Mesalands scenic byway, as we make our way to Las Cruces, NM.  
The meandering Mesalands Scenic Byway is about beauty, solitude, cowboys and cattle, and even about dinosaurs, the inhabitants when the area was a vast inland sea.
You can imagine the dinosaurs wandering the area as you drive over the hills to the next vast area.  

Our stay tonight is at the KOA  in Las Cruces.  
It sits on top of a hill that overlooks Las Cruces.
The location is very nice....the size of the pull through sites are a bit short....or maybe we are just long!  
Bronco has weathered the ride quite well today, and seems to be happy wherever we are!
She is being a good girl, and seems to enjoy all the attention she gets from everyone while we walk her.
One of the ladies at the KOA was outside, and I asked for a recommendation for food in the area.
She directed us to a local Mexican restaurant.
It was not busy, but the food was quite good.
Always like to try the local places and haven't been lead to a wrong one yet!
Time to rest, as tomorrow we make our way to Arizona.

Day 3
We pull out from our spot and make our way down the road.
We make it through the border check without any problems.  
Not sure which lane we should be in so we follow the fellow truckers.
The lady stopped us and asked a few questions, and we were on our way again.
Just outside of Fleming we had a blowout.
Of course it is on the drivers.
Although we are on Highway 10, the shoulder is narrow, and it is really a bit scary out there while the traffic whizzes by at top speeds.
I was really glad to see the New Mexico Highway Patrol show up.
Chuck was able to use the automatic leveling system to get the tire in the air.
Due to the incline of the road, it took a bit to get it figured out, but he was able to do it.  
All in all we were delayed about 30 minutes, and I don't think that was bad at all! 
The only damage was to the side skirt, and just so thankful it didn't do any more damage than that!
Chuck did a very good job to get us back on the road so quickly.

Today has been a lot more stressful since we had the blowout.
Just concerned about other tires and we keep an eye on the tire minders to hopefully warn us if there are more issues.  
Of course from what we have heard and now experienced, it doesn't seem to matter if you have tire minders on them or not, cause when they blow, they just blow.
Yes, we have TowMax (Blowmax) tires on the trailer and they don't even have 2000 miles on them, but seems they are known for this, so we will be visiting a tire shop when we get to our destination.
I am totally shocked that they can put such crappy tires on a rig and get by with it.  
Seems we govern so many things, but this is one area that has no laws for the consumer.
Lesson learned  for sure. 
We make it to Desert Gardens RV Park a little after 3pm.
We have to unload the RAZR before we can move to our site.
Before you know it we are set up and ready to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Time to relax and get ready to start the search for tires tomorrow.

Day 4
This day is spent talking and looking for tires to replace the Towmax (blowmax) tires we have on the trailer.
We drive to Casa Grande to a Discount Tire and talk with them.
They aren't a whole lot of help on the trailer, as they are more used to selling car tires.
Chuck has researched online and really would like to get the G tires....but seems since we have 3 axles, they don't have a size that will work for us.
After getting no where with Discount tires, we head back to Florence.
I had noticed a RV repair and tire place in the little town of Coolidge as we drove this morning, so Chuck pulls in and talks to them about our issue.
These guys seem to understand big rigs.
After some discussion on what they suggested, it was decided that we would get a Hercules tire they highly recommend.
They take our blown out tire, and it is agreed that Chuck will bring 2 other tires in the morning and they can mount them, and he will put back on.
After we get one side done on the trailer, he will bring the other three.
A plan is made, and it looks like we will have new shoes for the trailer very soon.....oh but wait!  
Not so fast.

Fast forward to the next day, and Chuck takes the tires off the trailer, and we take them over Coolidge.
We leave them, and are told to come back around forward to 2....well, seems the tires haven't been delivered or even now we have to wait until the next day but since it's Friday you know what that means. 

Gosh, this tire thing is getting really old very fast.
Basically we had to wait till Monday to get the one side of tires, and then we had to take the tires off the other side and get them replaced.
Things didn't go quite how we thought they would, but all in all, we finally got new shoes on the trailer.  
Now we can just hope and pray they are good enough to get us home in a few weeks.

So far our trip has been pretty stressful, and not quite the vacation we had envisioned.
The neighbors around us have dropped by and heard all about our tire mess.
We were invited to go play Card Bingo on Friday.
Not that excited to do it, but we need a break.
I have never played Bingo and for sure didn't know anything about Card Bingo.
It was a lot of fun, although in true blondness, I had trouble keeping up with the suits of the cards...
Like I said, we just weren't a card playing family....HAHA
Danny and Linda were a lot of fun, and we had a lot of laughs that night.
Enjoyed the diversion even though I still can tell a club from a spade!  

Saturday we finally get to meet some of the neighbors, and check out the RV Park.  
Heck the tire issue has consumed us for the past few days.
We go into Florence and experience the small town.
They have a wonderful True Value Ace Hardware store.
Back at the trailer Chuck is outside working on getting the lugs loosened on the tires, and I am inside the trailer warming up some dinner, and have the microwave on.
All of a sudden I have no electricity.....and there is a very loud buzzing below the kitchen floor.
I yell at Chuck that we have no electric, and he runs and pulls the plug on the unit.
Back in the trailer you can smell something has burned....electricity smelling.

Chuck checks our on board serge protector, and it is throwing all kinds of error codes. 
Geeze, can anything else happen!
Yes, yes it can....
Seems after some inspection the transfer switch is fried.
How nice is that....
No electricity for us tonight!
We use battery power and try to conserve it as much as we can.

We wake up Sunday to very limited power.
Since we can't do anything about the transfer switch today, we go ahead with our plans to meet up with a longtime friend of mine that lives in Tucson.

We meet up with Cindy and Terry at their home around 10:30, and get to visit with them before we make our way to eat some lunch.
Bronco made the trip as well, and she and Simon (their cat) didn't hit it off very well, but I am sure they will become life long buddies just like Cindy and I are...
Cindy and I go way back...and when I say way, I mean way!!!
We were friends when we were 4 and 5 yrs. old.
Our mothers met and became friends when we took dance classes together.
I have to say, our friendship has had a lot of distance and time away from each other, but it was so heart warming to me to get to give her a big ole hug.
We re-connected via Facebook, and have been able to connect the dots from the times we had missed.

I know you have heard it said before by many people, but there are just some people in the world that we meet that just have a special place in your heart, and this girl is one of them.
Cindy and I have a lot of parallels in our lives.
Seems we always kids we were always wearing the same clothes or shoes, and would just laugh when we would see that we had the same things.
Our lives have kinda been the same way.
There are so many things that are so similar.
Terry her husband takes the bloom stems from one of the cactus plants and sands them down, and makes beautiful walking sticks.

He gave Chuck and I each one.
Along with coyote gourds, tangelos and limes from their trees.
Cindy and I both love the solar weeble wobbles, and she had a cupid and devil for us for Valentines.
I even got a Harley jacket.
Seems Terry has a vintage jacket that he thinks I need, and sure enough it fits, so I am pretty excited to have this vintage jacket.

The best part of this whole trip so far has been finally getting to give my sweet girlfriend a big hug and meet her is truly a blessing I can't even describe.
Tomorrow starts a new week and hopefully we can get all our issues fixed and enjoy the rest of our vacation.
Time will tell!

Things I learned this week.
How to pronouns Saguaro correctly. (Thanks to Terry)
I know what a palo verde tree looks like and love its small yellow blooms
Chuck is an electrician and a mechanic
Arizona has beautiful sunsets
Cindy is as sweet as I remember her being, and we love Terry too!
Terry makes a really nice walking stick out of a disgarded bloom stalk, and we love them.  :)
Bronco is a wonderful dog and can adapt quite well
Although it has been a trying few days, we can do this!