Saturday, January 29, 2011


Friday’s agenda was short, but the items crucial: order our new day/night shades and windshield wrap, then head to RV Renovators to drop off our new TV and Blu-Ray player.  We were anxious to see what work (if any) had been done.

Optimism turned to dismay at Blinds Co, where we were told that the manufacturer of the windshield wrap (three huge pieces of light-colored, pleated fabric that cover our windshield and side cockpit windows when closed) no longer uses a blackout fabric lining.  What good is that??  RV parks are notorious for bright streetlights or security lighting at night, so blackout lining is a must for us.

George, our salesman, suggested electrostatic cleaning, allowing us to recondition our current dusty, stained wrap.  After some thought and further discussion, my initial negative reaction softened.  George felt the fabric would clean well.  He promised to cut the trailing threads off the bottom and seal the frayed seam with a heat gun, and to replace/strengthen some of the little hooks that are borderline usable.  For $200 less that the cost of new curtains, the price was right, so we decided to go that route.  If we aren’t satisfied, we’ll do some online research and replace the wrap later – but can continue to use the cleaned curtains until then.

Mess in Front Dashboard torn apart

The couch is gone from the front slide.  That big black bar is the slide mechanism from the bedroom, temporarily housed in the living room.

The driver’s and passenger’s seat have been removed, along with the lower part of our dashboard, which is covered in carpet (soon to be NEW carpet).

Window coverings ordered and deposit made, we headed down to the road to RV Renovators and got an eyeful!   Scoopy was torn apart – and looked grand.  All of the old carpet was gone, revealing the plywood floor.  With relief, we saw no indication of dry rot (we’ve had a few leaks in the past).  In the bedroom, a new carpet pad had been put down, and the raised portions of the floor were already covered with the new carpeting.  Fun!

New carpet and new carpet padFor those of you interested in the renovations, I have included some photos of the construction site.  :)   In addition, here is a link to Judy’s blog, Travels with Emma.  Judy recently had her RV refrigerator removed (propane/electric), replaced with a household (electric only) refrigerator – a change contemplated by more and more fulltime RV’ers since a major RV refrigerator manufacturer has issues FOUR recalls over the past couple years (two in the past few months).

I found the process very interesting, and Judy found a wonderful place to do the job (in Louisiana, a state we always look forward to visiting).  She has several subsequent posts discussing the work – what a job!

With all of our purchases finalized and the renovations moving along, we felt ready to turn our attention to our new surroundings.  The Phoenix Downtown Farmers Market – open from 8 am until 1 pm on Saturday - is just five blocks from our temporary home, so we walked down to take a look this morning.  It is a middle-sized, open air market with one permanent retail building – The Urban Market - that is open daily. 

Collards, Kale, MustardThe variety and quality was excellent – cheeses, organically grown meat, a couple of bakery vendors, plenty of fresh produce including tomatoes, a few craft and jewelry vendors, and several stands serving prepared foods.  I breakfasted on a pork bao, a steamed bun filled with chopped, sweet and sour pork.  Odel had fried catfish, hash browns and a biscuit.  Certainly not our usual bran flakes and soy milk!    :)

I planned to hold my purchases to a minimum (one fennel bulb), but was seduced by a display of six different kinds of fresh, fresh, super-fresh greens.  We came home with three huge bunches: curly mustard, kale, and young collard greens… aka dinner!

After sautéing the greens in olive oil with chopped garlic and crushed red pepper, they went into the crockpot with two small smoked turkey legs and a cup or so of chicken broth.  Five hours later, we shredded the turkey meat and stirred it back into the crockpot along with lemon juice and vinegar.  Odel whipped up some cornbread muffins and dinner was served.  Nirvana.  :) 

The recipe is here, and in the recipe archive (left hand column) if you are interested: Greens, Main or Side Dish.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Eight hours a day sleeping.  Several hours a day running around doing renovation related errands.  An hour a day exercising and perhaps an hour or two eating.  The remainder of the day?  Wandering around our rented loft asking “Have you seen the [whatever]?” or “Where is the switch for THAT light?”

Moving out of our custom-fit motorhome, where everything has it’s place, we know where that place is, and it isn’t more than a few steps away, has turned our world upside down – and looking around the loft, you might say our world has been turned upside down and SHAKEN!  I don’t know if we will ever figure out where everything is before it is time to move back home.

Downtown with Library

We’re making the most of it, though, taking advantage of what the loft building has to offer.  On our floor, just around the corner from our loft door, is a small exercise area with two treadmills and an elliptical trainer.  Between Odel’s stiff knee and my bruised foot (don’t know how that happened), we’ve had to cut back on our long walks/hikes, but the elliptical trainer is a welcome, pain free way for us to exercise.

Happy HourFour floors up, on the roof, a small lounge area (complete with fireplace and grill) faces south, towards downtown Phoenix – the PERFECT place for our relaxing happy hour as the sun sinks towards the horizon. 

Yesterday was a day of decisions and spending: new Vizio 26” flat screen TV (to replace our clunky, HEAVY old TV up over the dashboard); new Sony Blu-ray/DVD player; new JVC wireless headset for Odel.  All that gear will be hauled over to RV Renovators today so they can plan the reconfiguration of the TV cabinetry (or we can exchange anything that won’t fit).  Carpet removal began two days ago, so perhaps we will get to see (and photograph) some progress on the carpet replacement.

Our other task for today is a visit to Blinds Co. to place an order for new day/night shades and our windshield wrap.  Their manufacture is estimated to take two weeks, so we need to get the process underway.

And then?  Back to the rooftop lounge, Costco margaritas in hand – definitely something to look forward to after a day of avoiding Phoenix’s crazy drivers.  :) 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Tuesday, our moving day, went just as planned – better, even!  Leaving Tonopah, we filled the diesel tank - better to let the RV sit for a few weeks with a full tank, plus… it might be a smart investment!  Who knows what diesel prices will be when we are ready to leave Phoenix??

Moving DayWe had planned moving day carefully before we left for Q, scouting out our route to the loft, checking the parking lot mid-morning to see if we’d have room to move and park, and scoping out a backup position if needed.  All the planning paid off. 

We arrived shortly after 10 am, maneuvered into position in the parking lot, and went straight to the parking garage for shopping carts.  We emptied the refrigerator and freezer first, turning off the unit so it could defrost. Then it was back and forth, back and forth with the carts.

I mostly stayed in the Scoopy, filling and refilling boxes, our supply of cloth grocery bags, and anything else that could hold “stuff”.  I’d fill a cart and, when Odel arrived back with the empty one, he’d take off with the full one.

On to the sidewalk, through the gate.  Stop and enter the front door code on the keypad.  Click, open the heavy front door.  Park at the elevator and push the button.  Enter, up one floor, exit.  Down the hall to the loft.  Enter, unload – onto the bed, the floor, the counter, anywhere there was space.  Reverse direction and grab the next cart.  And then there were the big things: golf clubs, my lounge chair, our grill.  It was a steady stream of goods.

By the time we stopped for lunch, the job was almost done.  Thank god for the shopping carts and the elevator!!  We spent another half hour moving stuff out of the cabinets and drawers of the slides (which will be removed during the renovations) into the spaces newly emptied.  Done!

Shortly after 2 pm, we were on the way to RV Renovators, and back “home” – sans Scoopy – before 4 pm, just as the commute got into gear.

We figured out the washer and dryer, did the sheets, and made our bed, working around piles of stuff.  Dinner.  By the time Pres. Obama began his State of the Union Speech, we could hardly drag our tired selves around.  We turned off the TV, turned on the radio next to the bed, and were horizontal at 7:30, intending to listen to the SOTU.  Of course, we were snoring by 7:40!   It had been a very, very long day.

Today we go back to RV Renovators to move a few shelves into their storage room, and to remove the “windshield wrap” (the front curtains), which we will take to Blinds Co. to be duplicated.  We need to wash out the refrigerator and pick up a short list of items I have already missed.  Anything else on the “to do” list will have to wait until tomorrow! 

So far, so good.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Ready to leave QThis morning we said goodbye to our many friends and drove away from Boomerville in a cloud of dust.  What a great stay we had – so many good friends we’ve made over the years, and new friends we will look forward to seeing somewhere down the road.  The fantastic weather made it a better experience than in some years past – high temperatures in the 70’s with lots of sunshine, lows in the 40’s with a lovely full moon at night.  Very little wind, a blessing!

I’ve seen estimates that Quartzsite, with a permanent population under 3,000 residents, hosts over a million visitors during January and February.  Vacation housing in Q is VERY limited (maybe non-existent); the vast majority of visitors arrive in RV’s, by the tens of thousands.

To me, it is fascinating – and inspiring – that so many people can converge on the intersection of US Interstate 10 and US Highway 95 for two months, a temporary community powered by solar and generators, carrying their own water, food, and fun, creating “neighborhoods” of friends and/or like-minded individuals… it is an amazing slice of life.  To those not part of the RV’ing community, I know it seems odd and likely unappealing, but for us, in our neighborhood of friends and soon-to-be friends, it is a special time.

BUT, it felt good to arrive at Saddle Mountain RV Park (click here to read our review and see photos) in Tonopah, about 90 miles east of Q.  Odel spent all afternoon getting the dust off of Scoopy and Jules, then replaced our water pump which began to malfunction at the end of our boondocking stay.  I got all the electrical appliances working – hot water heater, the satellite, antenna, and TV’s – and turned my attention to our upcoming move from Scoopy to our rented loft.  If all goes as planned, renovations on Scoopy’s interior will begin on Thursday.

Cranberry Almond ThinsTomorrow – the first of two moving days - will be a full day, with an early start.  Before I sign off, though, another Costco recommendation. 

I know I have mentioned Costco’s Kirkland brand pre-mixed margaritas before – which we now improve with just a splash of Grand Mariner (Triple Sec would work just as well, but they don’t sell it at Costco and we are into one-stop shopping) – and they were a GREAT hit when we partied with Mary and Elaine and their friends during yesterday’s football playoffs.  Here is another great, new-to-us Costco purchase:  THINAddictives Cranberry Almond Thins.

These are like super-thinly sliced biscotti, a crisp vanilla-almond flavored, not-too-sweet cookie-like treat.  Within this box are 20 packages, 100 calories each.  They make a great snack with tea, or for a simple dessert.  The price is $6.99, I believe, about half (or less) the cost of 100 calorie cookie packs from the grocery store (and AT LEAST as tasty).

Adios for now.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Saved from the shower drain-1Yesterday morning, while Odel helped with the trash run (a couple pickup loads of trash taken from Boomerville to the Quartzsite transfer station), I took a shower.  Camped here in the desert for seven days with a 100 gallon supply of fresh water, H2O is not to be wasted! 

See this?  About 1/4 gallon of water – clean, fresh water – that ran out of the shower head while I awaited the arrival of the warm stuff.  Captured in this gallon jug, it will be used to make tea, brush our teeth, or wash our faces.

When Odel and I first contemplated boondocking, Odel dreamed up an experiment.  While I took a “navy shower” – get wet, turn off the water, lather up, turn on the water, rinse off – he timed me (we do such romantic things together).  I ran the water for about a minute each time I turned it on. 

He then got out an empty kitty litter bucket and we marked a line at each gallon measurement.  Odel ran the shower water into the bucket for two minutes (don’t believe him when he tries to tell you that I am the obsessive planner), and doubled that amount, determining that the two of us can shower in about 5 gallons of water between us.  Not bad, eh?  So now, when I stand in the shower, I’m counting to myself one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand… :)

Gray water for the toiletShower over, Odel returned and we headed off to town to peruse the vendors.  We found two out of the three things we wanted (an LED light to replace a little hot-burning halogen bulb and a refrigerator bar, but no new bathroom door doorknob), getting most of our walking done in the process.

Back home, we walked over to the campfire circle for a seminar with “Mac the Fire Guy”, discussing RV fires and how to best handle them.  We first saw Mac’s presentation several years ago, and his advice made sense to me: instead of carrying a big extinguisher to try to put out the fire (unlikely to impossible) and save the rig, carry several small, convenient extinguishers and plan to GET OUT!   The four small extinguishers we carry in strategic locations (one by the front door, one in the bedroom by the escape window, and two in the kitchen) have one purpose, to let us get out of the rig no matter where the fire starts.  With Mac’s assurance that these small foam extinguishers are still viable, we feel prepared.

Next, we walked over for a quick visit with our friends Mary and Elaine, who rolled in while we listened to Mac, then it was time for the daily 4 pm happy hour, with introductions and recognition of new Boomers and new arrivals.  Odel was swamped selling Boomer decals; he came home with dollar bills hanging out all of his pockets.

Following a quick dinner at home, Odel cleaned up the day’s dishes, saving the once-used water  (photo above) for it’s next assignment: toilet flushing.  While boondocking, we turn off the water supply to the toilet, using “gray water” (water already used once) for flushing.  I wonder if (more likely, when) the day will come when this is considered a normal way of life for urban dwellers?  When clean water is more valuable than fossil fuel?

Beth, Sally, Odel, LaurieWe finished up just in time to head to Ken and Sue’s place for Movie Night.  Ken and Sue went to Burning Man in 2010, and put together a photo presentation on the experience.  While Sue projected the photos on the outside wall of their motorhome, Ken narrated for the 40-50 Boomers in attendance.  Great show!  We shoulda’ brought popcorn.

The full moon was high when the Burning Man presentation ended, so Odel and I followed our shadows down “main street” to visit Mike and Marilyn around their little campfire circle, and snagged an invitation inside their motorhome to see the renovations they have made over the years.  They’ve done a beautiful job with fabric and paint… painted walls might be in our future, too.

Finally, we were back home and sung in our bed, listening to the breeze ruffling the awnings. 

Up again at 7:30 am, dressed and ready to join the 9 am walking group (here we are with Beth and Sally).  Another day begins in Boomerville!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Our drive/ride from Phoenix to Quartzsite was smooth and sunny.  By noon, we had picked out our campsite for the week, and were fully deployed in 30 minutes.  We made the rounds of the other Boomers already here (35 rigs), helped newbies Ken and Cindy settle in, and headed to happy hour.

Scoopy at Q Our Campfire Circle View

We had a simple dinner (Green Chile Stew) around 7 pm.  Odel washed up the dishes with a few dashes of liquid gold (water) and we both took up resting positions for a bit… which turned into falling asleep at 9 am listening to bursts of laughter punctuating the low murmur of voices around the campfire. 

After ten solid hours of deep sleep, we’re up, computing, and contemplating our schedule: pancake breakfast, a walk, a look at a TV installation we might emulate, maybe a trip into Q (we want to look at a few things for Scoopy), then we are off to the boonies of Bouse to visit with Janna and Mike and John and Brenda.  Plus, I still need to get dressed and do the low-water personal grooming routine. 


Saturday, January 15, 2011


Rocks and cactusYippee!  After working like ants for several days, we’ve been able to carve out hiking time over the last few days.  Arizona surely is one of the least hospitable places for hiking – rocky and thorny – but it is always a pleasure to be out in the wide open spaces with views all around.  Rocky, thorny, and arid is gorgeous when the temperature is 72 degrees! 

We’re in good shape for the upcoming renovations.  We’ve finalized the list of work to be done and when we return to Phoenix after our week in Quartzsite, we will buy our new TV at Costco, along with a DVD/Blu-Ray player.   We'll go to Blinds Co. to order our shades and windshield wrap.  The carpet, which we ordered on Tuesday, has already arrived! 

We’ll have Scoopy back at RV Renovators on 1/26.  So far, our experience has been mixed… almost all good, but with a few glitches.  Our service writer, Eddie, walked though Scoopy with us, discussed all our plans thoroughly, and made many helpful suggestions, then gave us a verbal estimate on the time each item will take.  Before we left for Q, I wanted the estimate in writing to make sure we are all on the same page.  Eddie promised to email it to us three days ago, and it has yet to arrive, in spite of a reminder phone call.

Odel and I are obsessive about detail (perhaps you might even say “overly obsessive”), so I try not to read too much into this lapse.  Still, as every RV’er knows, having ANY work done on your rig is more often a negative experience than a positive one, so we’re trained to be sensitive to any hint that things are not happening smoothly and on schedule.  In the few days we spent at RV Renovators, we were impressed by the level of service we observed and experienced – but it was obvious that Eddie never had enough time in his day. 

Spines and rocksWe’ve heard a lot of good things about RV Renovators, so we’re expecting a good experience once we get underway.  (Pause for positive visualization – and repeat as necessary.)

Did I mention that we’ve rented a loft for the month that we are out of the motorhome?  It is just north of downtown Phoenix with light rail access right outside the door.  Our friends Margaret and Ian live in the same building.  The loft and the location are magnitudes of sophistication above than the norm of our RV’ing life - from the desert at Q to living across the street from the Phoenix Art Museum!  It will be a fun change to have convenient access to big-city amenities.

A couple of days ago, we scoped out the parking situation at the loft, hoping we could park Scoopy in the lot while we moved into the loft, and again a month later when we reverse the process.  It looks like a good plan – but seriously considering the amount of stuff we need to move totally motivated me to get rid of our excess baggage BEFORE the move.

GiveawaysYesterday afternoon, I spent a couple hours weeding through our shelves and cupboards.  You’d think that RV’ers wouldn’t carry around a bunch of excess stuff, but we’re just like everyone else – we save everything we have room to store!  From the kitchen, I dumped old spices and dried up condiments, along with plastic bags containing tiny bits of rice, grain, or flour.  A baggie with two old crackers.  Another one with a couple tablespoons of pecan crumbs.  Sheesh.

Next, it was on to the book collection, where I had to be painfully ruthless (yes, perhaps there IS a Kindle in my future!).  Games we never play, a small food chopper and a tea brewer from under the bed that went into the giveaway box, too.  This is the perfect time to get inspired, because the Boomers at Q will no doubt haul into their OWN rigs the stuff we are purging from OURS. 

It is AMAZING how much paper arrives and hangs around!  I collected a box full of old magazines and miscellaneous crap from baskets, wire organizers, files and horizontal surfaces.  Between papers, magazines, and my kitchen gleanings, Odel hauled two loads of trash to the dumpster.  I  have a box of good-but-unwanted stuff and two bags full of books – at least 50 pounds of excess baggage to eliminate.  

Nothing like the thought of moving to get one motivated!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


On Sunday morning, after a last walk at Usery Mountain Park, we moved around 15 miles to Apache Palms RV Park (click here to read our review and see photos) – a short drive, but a world away.  We are in the middle of Tempe, one of the many towns solidly embedded in the Phoenix metro area.  Very urban, very unusual for us – but it makes easy the research and purchases required for our renovations.

I’ve taken a lot of photos since we arrived; here’s a nice selection!

My morning chores New and Old carpet and tile

The left-hand photo above shows my work area, usually reasonably tidy each morning – but not these days!  Papers, notes, maps and a to-do list for the entire week, consulted and updated several times a day.  The photo on the right is a sample square of our newly chosen carpeting against our current carpet and our kitchen tile.  As you can see, the new carpet won’t be much of a departure from our current color scheme!

Ledge with lip Length of opening

And then I’ve taken LOTS of photos like these!  We spotted the useful, behind-the-sofa ledge on the left in John and Brenda’s motorhome and I knew right away that is an addition I would like to make to our own motorhome.  Ours will be 72” long and about 6 inches wide, a handy spot to set a holder for the remotes, a couple coasters for a beverage… maybe we’ll even have a magazine rack built in.

The big news today?  After endless hours of research, Odel found the TV he wants during our Costco shopping trip (stocking up for Q!).  Several Boomers have sent us great suggestions for how it can be mounted, and Odel has decided on a Vizio Razor, only 1.5 inches deep and super-lightweight.  He seems quite delighted – both by the TV AND by the fact that a decision has been made!

More decisions to come, one by one.

A margarita (Costco’s Kirkland brand pre-mixed margaritas – tequila included – custom-blended with a dash of Grand Mariner by Odel) just appeared at my workstation.  Work day over! 

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Twilight in Site 59Life seems to be speeding up – I guess we are cramming in much more than usual.  Thankfully, we are able to take a short break (until next week) in our renovation planning, so we moved 10 miles to Usery Mountain Regional Park on Thursday.  How we managed to snag a reasonably level campsite at this popular park is a story in itself (I’ll save it for slower news day!), but snag it we did and have settled in until Sunday.

Our first stay at Usery was a bit over a year ago, in December of 2009.  I reviewed the campground back then (click here to read that review and see more photographs) and nothing has changed – though we had forgotten that just about every site has some leveling issues.  Though the extremely well maintained sites (cleaned and raked between campers) are very spacious, the sloped parking pads are better suited to shorter rigs than to longer, and to 5th wheels than to motorhomes.  Big motorhomes settle into many of the spaces anyway (sometimes with a tire or two off the ground) - the beauty, proximity to the Phoenix metro area, the birds, the hiking and the ambiance are irresistible.

Sunrise in Site 59This visit had an added attraction for us: blogger JB (John and Brenda Brown, of John and Brenda’s Incredible Journey) let us know that they were already in the park – and it turned out that our site is a very short walk from theirs.  Not unlike ours (and many RVer’s), JB’s blog is food-centric – and we immediately accepted their gracious dinner invitation.

Two more guests – also known to me through the blogosphere – took a seat around the happy hour campfire, Rod and Loyce Ivers (Retired Rod).  Rod and Loyce are spending the winter in Mesa, and so it was by happy circumstance that we three couples, known to each other through the internet, were able to meet in person.

And even better that the meeting was in the Brown’s big, beautiful motorhome over Brenda’s wonderful meal!  Grilled steaks, garlic prawns (recently purchased in Louisiana), Caesar salad, garlic bread… and even a dessert of angel food cake, fresh berries and cream.  Incredible!  Thank you, thank you, thank you – it was such a pleasure to relax in the company of friendly fellow RV’ers over a delicious meal that required nothing from us but to show up and enjoy!  An excellent antidote to the rush of the past few days – and I picked up an idea for an improvement to our motorhome that I will be adding to the list for RV Renovators (a narrow shelf behind the sofa with a few cup wells and a magazine holder).

Bisquit 2 Biscuit 1

Rod and Loyce brought along their new puppy, Biscuit.  As John said, it is not possible to get a photo of Biscuit sitting still (let alone posing).  I would have loved to see her tear around in a frantic display of excited puppy energy, but the lush Sonoran desert simply isn’t puppy-friendly.

Time now for a quick breakfast, then we are off to Gold Canyon for a visit with our friend Gloria Burke.  I know several readers of this blog know Gloria and follow her blog, now an insightful journal of her life as she moves forward following the loss of her beloved husband and travel partner, Tom, a year ago.  We’ve caught up with Gloria in Kerrville and Detroit, now in Arizona.  I always look forward to our meetings with this remarkable woman. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Have you ever watched “What Not To Wear”? After deciding to put herself in the hands of “professional stylists”, a woman spends two days shopping in New York City for new clothes on a budget provided by the TV show. Needless to say, the budget for our interior renovations are not provided by a TV show… but in many ways, our experience has been similar these past two days.

On day one, we sallied forth to begin our “shopping process” – and ended up exhausted, overloaded, and wondering what the heck we were doing! On day two we awoke optimistic, rallied, and ended up feeling positive about the experience. Time will tell whether or not this is reality!

Parked at RV RenovatorsWe arrived at RV Renovators in Mesa, AZ, around 3:30 pm on Monday. This is a highly recommended, moderately sized RV repair and renovation facility with a tightly jammed parking/work area. Before long, we were settled in amongst the other RV’s with a 50 amp electric cord snaking across the parking lot. Workers bustled around, moving RV’s, large pieces of equipment, and rolling toolboxes from place to place. Lots of movement, generators, noise.

Once settled, we finalized our Master List of “Things to Be Done” (14 items ranging from “replace windshield” to “new knob on the bathroom door”), wandered through the office and customer lounge, met the service manager, and walked a couple blocks to the carpet/fabric/window covering shop he recommended. After scheduling an appointment with the service manager for 8:30 on Tuesday morning, we spent a happy, innocent night in the motorhome.

7:00 to 8:30 Tuesday morning: up and showered, a bit of computer time, breakfast… ready for our 8:30 appointment.

8:30: waiting for the service manager.

8:45: still waiting for the service manager.

9:00: waiting, waiting, waiting… raising our eyebrows, rolling our eyes…

9:15 to 12:45: talk, talk, talk with the service manager. Get an idea of what we have let ourselves in for – YIKES! Talk expenses. Talk budget. Tour a few RV’s looking at recently installed laminate floors and TV cabinet remodels. Get really, really hungry and overloaded with ideas and conversation. Start to crash. Become withdrawn and crabby.

12:45: step back into our own quiet, familiar, lovely, comfortable, almost-paid-for motorhome and realize how much we LOVE carpet – warm, soft, pretty, comfortable, cozy carpet. Eat ham sandwiches; alternately zone out and talk non-stop. Make two or three additional lists. Add more items to Master List.

1:30: walk back to the flooring shop to pick up samples of carpet and rolled vinyl flooring. Ask questions about grades of carpet. Ask questions about vinyl flooring. Ask questions about different kinds of window coverings. Ask how to decide between 879 carpet possibilities. Walk home, remembering things we forget to put on our lists.

3:30: revisit past discussions. Revise our Master List. Refocus on our priorities. Make notes on our individual “to do” lists. Wonder what is on each other’s lists. Wonder what we are forgetting.

4:00: move the motorhome to a vacant piece of blacktop that is near a sewer hookup – it is obvious we will be here for another couple of nights.

4:30: walk back to the flooring shop, exchange carpet samples, ask more questions, forget the answers, look at fabric for new curtains. Discuss possibilities for cockpit curtains.

5:30: eat leftovers found in our refrigerator. Slurp cocktails. Sit quietly. Eat chocolate. Look at our lists. Eat more chocolate. Ponder.

7:30: I fell on the bed, turned on PBS, and drifted off to the soothing monotone of a documentary about… something! Robert E. Lee? John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin? Felt great gratitude for my comfortable bed.

End of Day One.

Day Two:

6:00 am: start whispering to each other about our thoughts during the night. Jump out of bed, all fired up. Make tea. Computer time. Ah, good, a lead on a place to stay (out of the motorhome) during the renovation. Consult our lists. Fire off a couple of emails to keep things moving. Wonder aloud where we will put everything we have to move out of the motorhome.

7:00 am: Showers. Breakfast. Constant chit-chat and reminders.

8:00 am: Consult and combine lists. Highlight those items that are our responsibility – window coverings, carpet selection, TV purchase. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!

9:00 am: try to talk to the service manager, who is on the phone and busy. Walk back to the carpet store, exchange small carpet samples for large ones, smile and say hello to those employees who now recognize us, get samples of possible curtain fabrics.

10:30 am: service manager arrives and we resume discussions. Lots of details. Longer lists. Service manager walks through motorhome, estimating the time needed for each job. Total number of hours: approximately 90. Estimated cost for labor: $9000. Within budget – yay!

11:30 am: leftovers for lunch.

12:00: off to The Blind Company, Inc. to pick up samples for day/night shades and get cost estimate. More education.

12:30: Run through our lists again. Have we done everything critical while still on the lot? YES! Can we put off the remaining decisions until later? YES! Is it warm enough for a hike? YES!

So, we headed off to Usery Mountain Park to see whether they had a site suitable for us to move into tomorrow when we leave RV Renovators parking lot. Maybe, we’ll see. Did a nice hike in the warmest weather we’ve experienced in a several weeks. After a short rest back at home, off to a delicious dinner with Margaret and Ian at the Blue Adobe. Excellent food, excellent company, excellent margarita. Good lead for a one-month rental in their loft building in downtown Phoenix. Everything is looking up.

9:00: Odel hit the sack, and now here I go, too. All this research and decision making is TOUGH stuff!

End of Day Two.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Lovely LunaOdel and I are in complete agreement that 2010 was our best travel year yet.  We visited so many places we had never been, we visited with friends and family at the right intervals, and we had few mechanical problems.  Just one event marred the year: the death of Luna.  We still miss her.  :( 

The calendar change to the new year is a time many traveling bloggers review their travels of the past year.  I might have done the same, except we are so busy with our winter plans that I don’t have time!  Not much travel and sightseeing for us this winter, as we have some big projects on the horizon.

Tomorrow we leave Yuma for RV Renovators in Phoenix to get an estimate for the renovations we plan to make in February.  Scoopy is a 2002 model, and has been a fulltiming rig for all her life – she looks a little tired.  We renovated her exterior 2 years ago; now it is time for the interior.  We’ve got a long list of changes we’d like to make: new window coverings; replace the bedroom carpet; remove the kitchen and bathroom tile and the living room carpet and replace it all with vinyl flooring; replace/reset the windshield; possibly replace the compact washer and dryer with a new set; replace the big, old, heavy living room TV with a lightweight, flat screen TV and remodel the cabinetry. 

OK enjoys the injoy benchIn a discussion with RV Renovators on the phone, they estimated a 3-week timeframe to do the work.  Though we would be able to live in Scoopy most of that time (except while they carpet the bedroom), we would need to be out of the motorhome each day from 8 to 5.  Very unappealing – so we also need to find a place (home, apartment, condo, park model) to rent in the Phoenix area while the work is being done. 

Planning, planning, planning.  We have mile long lists, and seemingly endless discussions – it will be a relief to finally get started!

Beyond Scoopy’s renovation, Odel has decided on an upgrade, too.  Those of you who have had joint replacements will be able to relate: time for a new knee.  Once we finish our motorhome renovations, we’ll return to Sacramento to have that done, hoping he will be through with surgery and rehab by mid-May.

So, no time to reminisce about 2010 – we’ve got work to do!