April 2005 Archives

Awake: 5:40am Temp 61 Some clouds & windy Overnight @ Las Vegas, NV

After breakfast we make a quick trip to our nearest Costco (5 min drive) &
stock up on frozen blueberries, frozen crab cakes & pork chops.

Leave the Las Vegas Int’l RV Resort @ 10:40am. This place was great; a
terrific location, big rig friendly, quiet, lots of amenities, all new
condition, etc., but next month, the bulldozer cometh.

We don’t need any diesel fuel @ this time but if we follow through with
our mountainous travel plans, we probably should top off our tank while we
have easy access, so we make a 45 min stop @ the North Las Vegas Flying
“J” plaza. Further up I-15, as we enter Utah, we stop @ the Tourist Info
center for 30 min.

Arrive @ Zions Gate RV Park in Hurricane, Utah @ 3:30pm. Good traveling
day; very smooth roads & very scenic natural beauty, especially going
through the Virgin River canyon & mountains of Northwestern Arizona.

Today’s travel: 3+09 hrs 143.3 miles 18.13 gal 8.13 mpg 50.7 avg speed

We park, hook up our utilities, etc., and then I invite Kathy for a walk
around this old but big rig friendly campground. 10 min into our walk, we
shortcut our way back to the bus because those dark clouds suddenly have
lowered, the winds picked up & within a few minutes, heavy rain…off & on
throughout the remainder of the afternoon & evening.

7:30 Dinner: Pork chops with zucchini noodles alfredo, fried apples, fried
whole wheat noodles + mixed fresh salad.

Tonight we watch some of the Desperate Housewives & Gray’s Anatomy soap
opera…then watch something a little more intellectual: The bio of
President Ulysses Grant. Things we didn’t know about Ulysses that made him
such a popular president.

High temp today=71 Lights out: 11:34pm

Awake: 6:05am Temp 64 A few clouds & wind Overnight @ Las Vegas, NV

We sign up for yet…another day of camping here @ the RV Park.

Kathy spends time updating our 2004 photo album while I take some time to
read & be familiar with our new Samsung cell phone. During some of this
time, Mother Nature showers us with a few bursts of rain.

Then…outside, we give each other a haircut. This is only the 2nd time
Kathy has let me cut her hair. In windy conditions, it was a very tricky
ordeal for both of us, especially doing the layering style. She gives me a
“B” grade; I give her an “A.”

Next we attend 5:00pm mass @ St. Peter the Apostle church in Henderson (10
min). En route to the bus, we make a quick stop @ Wal-Mart.

8:30 Dinner: This is not a typo: Crab cakes from Costco, leftover
asparagus & roasted red peppers in a parmesan sauce.

No TV again tonight. High temp today=82 Lights out: 10:58pm

Friday 22 April 2005

Awake: 5:47am Temp 60 Cloudy Overnight @ Las Vegas, NV

After breakfast we drive to the nearest Sprint store again to make a
change in our cell phone service. Turns out, the lady we talk with this
time recommends we deal with another Sprint service store nearby if we
will be using our cell phone for data usage with computer. Total time
spent on this transitional setup was over 2 hrs. Michele did a good job &
explained the difference in having an air card vs. a cord for our computer
plus she was very personable & cute. We keep our same cell number.

Next we drive to the Vegas strip & find parking in a small lot next to the
Excalibur Casino….walk to the Tropicana Casino & spend over 2 hrs touring
the 300 artifacts on display from the sunken Titanic. A lot to read about
& a lot of pictures to take us back in time. The largest item on display
weighed 15 tons; a piece of the ship’s siding. Most of the smaller
artifacts were in Plexiglas containers which were temperature & humidity
controlled. It was amazing to see so many items in such good condition
after spending over 70 yrs lying @ the bottom of the ocean. It was,
without a doubt, a grim reminder of how such a tragic event could happen
to a proud ship that was advertised to be unsinkable.

7:40 Dinner: Crab cakes from Costco, asparagus and roasted red peppers in
a parmesan sauce + a fresh spinach salad with cranberries, walnuts, &
grapefruit slices.

No TV tonight. High temp today=75 Lights out: 11:03pm

Awake 7:02am Temp 56 Clear Overnight @ Las Vegas, NV

Sign up for 2 more camping days here @ Las Vegas International RV resort.

Leave @ 11:00 to lunch with Skip(Phil-Kathy's brother) @ the restaurant
Makino, a sushi hangout, & one of Skip's favorite. Somehow we missed the
proper off ramp & arrived 15 min late. Skip was waiting patiently outside
like a good brother would. What a luncheon experience, it was sushi galore
+ other good foods. Even Kathy enjoyed it. Our 1.5 hrs talking with Skip &
his recommendation for this great dining experience was one of the
highlights of our day.

Skip returns to his work & we drive across town to Lake Las Vegas to visit
Bill & Betsy. We met these people March 18, 2002 @ the Newell factory when
we were first picking up our new motor home. At that time, Bill & Betsy
had 2 yrs of full timing RV style in a 40 ft Country Coach. They were
visiting the Newell factory to have a new 40 ft, 3 slide Newell built for

Next time we see Bill & Betsy, Nov 5, 2002, they have their new 40 ft
Newell with 3 slides & are very happy. This was again @ the Newell

Over the following months, we heard rumors that they were having a few
nagging glitches with their new motorhome, but supposedly, still loved it.
Next time we see them, it's in Key West, Florida for the Fantasy Fest,
October 27, 2003. It's a different motorhome, a Provost Marathon. They
traded in the Newell for a Marathon....& they are very happy.

Today we visit them in their condo in Lake Las Vegas, NV. It’s very nice,
well decorated & has a comfortable open floor plan of 2000 sq ft. This
condo community is guarded, gated, & a mile from the town of Montelago, a
replica town like the real thing in Italy with streets, buildings, a large
Ritz Carlton hotel & a Ponte Vecchio built across the lake that will have
retail shops just like the one in Florence, Italy. They have now sold all
5 camping sites & their Prevost Marathon & they are still, very happy. I
have found it fascinating to keep track of these guys & their future
movements over the years. During today’s visit, we discuss their next
agenda. They are giving their condo life style program a year to “see how
it goes” before deciding their next direction. However, they are not just
sitting still for a year; on the contrary, they have months of auto travel
planned, & motel and B&B reservations made…it will an interesting watch!

En route back to our campground, we do some light grocery shopping @
Wal-Mart, buy fuel for the Suzuki @ Costco & milk @ Target.

Kathy calls an ole school friend Frank, now living in Carson City, NV.
We both call & talk with my sister, Mary Jo in Lodi, CA. They are doing fine.

8:00pm Dinner: Leftover eggplant parmesan with whole wheat pasta.

Today’s high temp=79 Lights out: 11:37pm

Awake 5:42am Temp 55 Clear Overnight @ Las Vegas, Nevada

We walk the campground for morning exercise(20 min).
Call Bill & Betsy on their cell phone. They are both having their hair
done in town so we'll talk later tonight & plan a rendezvous.

Drive downtown to the Convention Center. We read that they are having a
National Association of Broadcasters Convention(April 16 thru 21) &
thought it would be of interest to attend. Parking was tough to find &
eventually gave in & paid our $5.00. Each huge room display was guarded
with security who insisted we have a badge to enter. "Ok, how do we get
one?" One guard points to the information booth. When we tell the lady we
need a badge, she immediately gives us a bright orange ribbon neck badge
holder to wear..then asks us: "Where is your badge? You need to register."
She points to another bldg. Registration tells us the price each is
$200.00. No thanks! As we are about to leave & forget the whole idea,
Kathy picks up a magazine(The Hollywood Reporter),leafs thru a few pages &
discovers the Isilon Company is represented. Well now, this is serious as
we have 2 sons working @ Isilon & we MUST see their display.

The orange ribbon around our neck is exactly like all the hundreds of
other attendees walking around, so we study those guards carefully &
notice how distracted & overwhelmed they become as throngs of people enter
& leave the display rooms continuously. I tuck the end of my ribbon into
my shirt pocket, wait for the right setting & walk casually into the room
during a guard's distracted moment. I am in! I nod to Kathy & she smiles.
It took me about 15 or 20 min to find the Isilon display even with knowing
the booth number. There must have been over a thousand displays in this
huge area. I could have easily spent the afternoon looking & absorbing the
high tech stuff on display. I talk with the Isilon guys(Chris & Tom)about
their display & public interest for maybe 10 min. Then we talk about Nick
& Zack. They don't know Zack yet, different departments. Then I casually
begin making my way back to the exiting area. I didn't want to take
advantage of my free entry nor get caught breaching security. And, I
didn't know where Kathy was, maybe waiting outside?

Kathy held her magazing next to her chest, allowing her orange ribbon to
show & walked right past the security guys at another entrance to this big
room. But,we didn't join up inside. She visited the Isilon guys after my
visit (talked with Chris & Bruce?). We joined up outside later. We both
felt good about our short but innocent life of crime and wished we had
actually planned our little foray, so we could have been more casual and
stayed longer.

The remainder of the day was rather dull after that excitement but we did
manage to stop @ a Sprint store & talk about changing cell phone
companies....& then buy some good corn beef @ the Vegas Kosher Mart.

7:20pm Dinner: Ahi tuna, fried noodles & rice, asparagus, mixed salad, and
garlic bread.

Larry returns my cell call from Flagstaff, Az. He's driving his motorhome,
en route to Denver to celebrate Passover with his wife's family. We talk
about the Sprint cell phones & computer data options.

We call Bill & Betsy in Lake Las Vegas to finalize a time tomorrow for a
get together.

Today's high temp=76 Lights out: 11:02pm

Awake: 5:54am Temp Clear & windy Overnight @ Newberry Springs, CA

After breakfast, we walk over to the office & say goodbye & thanks to Jan
& Jen for their hospitality & our Sunday evening party.

Leave the Twin Lakes RV Park @ 10:12am. The wind is still from the
Southwest & we are traveling Northeast today so this is in our favor. I-15
to Nevada has several mountain passes & valleys...climbing to about 4000
ft, then descending to maybe 3000 ft, then back to nearly 4000 ft again. A
scenic route for sure, but not very good for gas mileage.

Today's travel: 3+11 hrs 145.3 miles 18.63 gal 7.85 mpg 48.2 avg speed

Arrive @ the Las Vegas International RV Resort @ 1:16pm. The is the newest
campground in Las Vegas(3 yrs). It's very nice, modern, of course, with
instant on phone service, 8 BIG & clean showers, BIG rig friendly & priced
right. When checking in, we are told that next month, the campground will
be closed; the property will be bulldozed & building will begin on single
family homes(105). The owners have calculated they can make more money on
real estate with less maintenance with the conversion.

Gary & Grace call from Pa. Gary's Mom passed away Saturday night
peacefully after we talked. She was over 90.

5:20 Dinner: Chicken broccoli stir fry with brown rice & garlic bread.

We drive up the road & do some light grocery shopping @ Albertson's.

Mid evening: Mark calls from Washington State. He reports that their
camping travels thru Oregon, Washington & Canada have been great.

Kathy calls her brother Skip(Phil) here in town. We are planning on a
rendezvous later this week.

No TV tonight...we read our magazines.

High temp today=74 Lights out: 11:06pm

Awake: 6:02am Temp 60 Clear & very windy Overnight @ Newberry Springs, CA

I call our next campground in Las Vegas to confirm they can accommodate
our size motorhome tomorrow...it's no problem.

Kathy continues going thru our BIG box of loose pictures--separating the
yrs: 70's, 80's & 90's. She is looking for young pictures of our son Nick.

While she is doing that, I spend about 2 hrs outside experiencing the
strong wind blowing thru my hair as I clean off our front windshield, side
mirrors, side front windows & some dirt and fine grit from our slide out
tops. Staying upwind was a necessity when using the Windex spray. The wind
was strong enough to rock our motorhome throughout the afternoon &

6:50 Dinner: Eggplant parmesan with whole wheat penne pasta, extra
spaghetti sauce, fresh mixed salad & garlic bread.

Mid evening: Zack calls from Seattle. He appears to be liking his job more
& more & even spends some time working on the weekends to keep pace with
progress. Proud parents we are.

Late evening, we watch the Massey affair of 1931 in Honolulu on public
broadcasting station. Shocking story!

High today= 78 Lights out: 11:00pm

Awake 5:38am Temp 59 Clear & windy Overnight @ Newberry Springs, CA

After morning coffee, we walk the campground again. It takes about 15 min
& as we pass the manager’s office, Jan is outside so we ask her if she
would take our picture in front of the lake with our motor home in the
background as a memory for our 34th wedding anniversary. She does & says
she will have to bake us a muffin for the occasion.

Amazing enough, out here in the desert in the middle of nowhere it seems,
we have good cell phone coverage. I use this opportunity to call Gary &
Rosemary…. & leave a msg. Call Gary & Grace in Pa. Gary’s Mom just had
another stroke & he is waiting in the hospital for the doctor’s report.
This is her 3rd stroke in 4 yrs. We don’t talk long but I do show my
concern for his mother’s health & wish the best for them during these
times. Then call Schrec of Alaska on his cell phone. He is currently in
Pa attending to his father & uncle who are both in the Pittsburgh
hospital. We talk for quite awhile about what’s been happening besides his
Pa visits. I also show my concern for his father & uncle & will say a few
prayers for their recovery.

Then Kathy calls her good friend Marge in Grand Junction, CO. They talk
for quite awhile & she makes plans to visit Marge & her husband, Tom,
sometime in May.

Then I call my buddy Ray in Washington state. We talk for about 40 min as
he updates his family activities & lifestyle profile. We hope to pay them
a visit later this summer.

Then we receive a call: It’s Melissa & Kevin. They are wishing us a “Happy
34th Anniversary.” We both get to talk at Matthew a little but only get a
few sounds from Matthew in return.

Mid afternoon, Jen, the campground owner, visits us for about 40 min. She
is probably in her early fifties but looks much younger. She herself,
bought this campground 5 yrs ago & is enjoying the upgrading & decorating
of the park. She is from Singapore & lives in the Los Angeles area & here
as well. We agree to call her sister in Singapore when we visit there
later this yr.

Late afternoon, again we sit outside by the lake & have some cheese &
snacks with wine….but only for a short time. The strong winds are
challenging our condiments, causing waves in our wine glasses & chase us
indoors to finish.

Just before we sit down for a late dinner, someone knocks on our door…its
Jan & Jen with lighted rings for our neck & wrist, sparklers & fireworks
to help us celebrate our 34th anniversary outside by the lake. Jen had a
wonderful supply of various fireworks which were a little difficult to
light because of the strong wind & gusts. All of a sudden, this quiet &
serene campground in the desert was echoing with loud noises & laughter
from our party of 7. It was a very thoughtful idea & we thanked them
9:15 Dinner: Mixed salad with rib eye steak strips.
Today’s hi=84 Lights out: 12:13am

Awake: 6:00am Temp 52 Clear Overnight @ San Diego, CA

Kathy walks to the campground office & makes a reservation for a month in
2006. It’s not the site we would like but the price is easier to swallow.
People can now reserve a site 2 yrs in advance & they do.

For the last 3 days, we have been parked in a pull thru site to make an
easier departure this morning. But so many rigs pulled in yesterday
across the street that it would be a maneuvering spectacle to make it thru
the maze. Backing out will work…we do so & leave the Campland on the Bay @
10:18am. It’s a busy driving day traveling on I-15 through Escondido,
Temecula, Eastern Los Angeles, etc. Where is everyone going?

Several hrs later as we exit I-15 onto a 2 lane road with broken up
asphalt, Kathy looks @ me & asks the same question I’m thinking: “Where
are we going?” Now our road takes a turn & there are signs up ahead: “road
work in progress” and the asphalt turns to dirt & sand. We begin to
question our campground choice when up comes another sign: Twin Lakes RV
Park 2.5 miles. The last ½ mile was dusty dirt, but we arrive safely@

Today’s travel: 4+16 hrs 206 miles 26.3 gal 7.86 mpg 50.2 avg speed

We have never been greeted like this place did when entering a campground.
Manager Jan stands by our door with her clipboard until the door is open.
I fill out the camp registration form & she assigns a site with my
approval. So we park, hook up our utilities & take a walk around the
campground for exercise & curiosity. Our walk time is short because the
Twin Lakes RV Park is rather small…but big rig friendly, 10 full hookups &
40 sites total. After being in the crowded atmosphere of The Campland on
the Bay, I felt rather relaxed to be in a place that really had nothing
much to see or do.

Before dinner, we sit on our folding camping chairs by the lake & have
some cheese with our wine. It’s a very quiet & serene campground in the

8:30pm Dinner: Tuna salad with corn chips.

With our TV antenna raised, we can receive 4 or 5 channels but there is
nothing of interest to watch, so we both do some magazine reading.

Today’s high temp…in the 80’s. Lights out: 10:48pm

Awake: 6:18am Temp 50 Clear Overnight @ San Diego, CA

Kathy & I walk the campground, checking sites to see where we would like
to park our coach next yr for a month when we visit again. After walking
nearly the entire structure & taking measurements on site length, checking
electrical power on site (30 or 50) amps + keeping notes on our campground
map, we stop by the administration bldg & talk with the reservation dept
about price & availability. Wouldn’t you know it, the sites we selected
were either already booked for the months we would like or way above what
we want to pay for a month’s stay. So it’s back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile, a shopping we will go...to Costco & stock up on some bare

When we return, I begin fooling around with my Suzuki tow hitch & Larry
drives up. We compare our hitches as we both have the same brand & a
similar model. Before he drives away, he invites us to join them for an
after dinner family visit as we are leaving tomorrow morning. We agree to
that idea.

While Kathy prepares dinner, I make a quick trip to Ralph’s grocery store
in Pacific Beach (10min). We had forgotten to stock up on milk.

7:00pm Dinner: Snappy swordfish, brown rice & for a salad, leftover snap
peas with red peppers & mushrooms.

Around 8:15pm we again visit Larry, Sally & family. All the names
mentioned yesterday + the 2nd daughter, Carrie; husband, Ben, & their
young baby, Molly, are over for dinner & this time they had set up the
site picnic table for their outside dinner. We arrived just in time for
homemade chocolate banana cake with pistachio cream topping to help
celebrate Larry’s birthday. We stay for an hr & then say our goodbyes for
now. We hope to meet up with them again somewhere, they really are nice

Today’s high temp=68 Lights out: 11:25pm

Awake: 6:24am Temp 56 Hazy Overnight @ San Diego, CA

Casual morning for both of us. later we drive downtown to the US Navy pier
on Harbor Drive. From here we can easily see 3 aircraft carriers, the USS
midway, the USS Constitution & the USS Ronald Reagan. A sight to behold,
for sure.

We spend over 4 hrs self touring the retired USS Midway aircraft carrier.
Using a small digital recorder device named Antennaudio, we are guided by
numbers & arrows throughout the ship from Bow to Stern, from port to
starboard & vertical for 3 decks: Hangar deck; second deck & flight deck.
To finish our tour we were escorted up about 40 stair steps to the primary
flight control tower, where the takeoffs & landings on the flight deck are
orchestrated. Here we have a fellow who served on this ship during the
active years that gave us a 15 min dissertation on how the operation
worked when they had a fleet of 20 jets departing on a mission & then
returning from that mission. A very busy & coordinated flight deck it had
to be.

Next, we walk toward the Bow & climb a few more stairs leading to the
Pilot House & Navigation Bridge. Another gentleman gives us a briefing on
how the navigation of the ship is handled & steered in & out of ports.
Keep in mind that this ship was built in 1945, weighs 70,000 tons & is
1001 ft long. Yes, it’s old technology today but during its heyday yrs, it
was the best there was. Without a doubt, it’s a very impressive floating
museum which is now being carefully restored to its former glory & is
permanently berthed on the South side of the Navy pier in San Diego Bay.
Back to our bus @ 4:20pm.

Just as we are arriving into our camping site, we see Larry pushing his
granddaughter, Molly, in a carriage on our street. We met Larry about 4
days ago & enjoyed some good conversation. He casually asked if sometime,
he & his wife could have a tour of our motor home. Today he reminds us
that he would still like to have a tour of our coach. We tell him 5:00pm
or later will be fine.

Shortly after 5:00, Larry, his wife Sally, son Alex & granddaughter Molly
in the buggy are here. Kathy gives them the nickel tour. Before they
leave, they invite us over to their motor home after our dinner.

6:30pm Dinner: Rib eye steak, cauliflower & red peppers, fried noodles,
fresh mixed salad + bread.

@ 7:00 we visit Larry & Sally in their motorhome & their visiting family;
son, Alex; daughter, Debby, and husband, Ethan, & 6 month old son, Zeb; &
their dog Mazel. Larry’s dog, Tigger, was also there. It was a busy time,
but a fun visit with some nice people.

Today’s high temp=65 Lights out: 11:14pm

Awake: 6:53am Temp 55 Morning clouds then clear Overnight @ San Diego

After coffee & before breakfast, we move our coach to another site about
600 ft away. We’ve decided to stay for 3 more days & the site we were in
is now rented out beginning at noon time. Then I walk to the office & pay
in advance for our next 3 days stay.

Mid morning, the mobile RV repair guy drives by & stops. He knows the
Newell motor home & we chat about that for awhile. Then he reports that he
lived in Alaska for over 30 yrs before moving to San Diego. Among other
topics, I tell Tony about my hub axle reservoir & the fact that I’d like
to make that repair here in this campground but their set of rules
indicates “no mechanical repairs.” Tony has been catering to this & 2
other campgrounds for over 20 yrs & tells me that my job is not a
violation of the rules. “Go ahead & fix her up” he says. He even let me
use some of his permatex sealant for the gasket. About an hr later, I am
finished installing the new axle reservoir hub & filled it with some new
75-95 gear oil. So far, I see no runs, drips or errors. I’ll leave the hub
cap off overnight to give it a thorough check in the morning.

After lunch, Kathy & I drive to Pacific Beach (10 min) & walk onto the
pier & watch the surfers in the Pacific Ocean. The waves are not that
strong this afternoon for the guys to get a good ride, but it’s still fun
watching their attempts. The pier we are on was constructed in 1917…then
10 yrs later, they added about 17 cottages on part of the pier so you can
literally sleep on the ocean. As we walk by these cottages, we see a
number of them being updated with new kitchens, flooring, railing on the
back porches, etc. We do a little strolling along the sidewalk next to the
beach soaking up the sun while enjoying the beach scenes & the cool ocean
breeze. It’s another beautiful day here in sunny San Diego. We do some
local shopping before returning to the bus @ 5:30pm.

7:30 Dinner: Ahi tuna, broccoli with goat cheese & balsamic glaze, wild &
brown rice, & a veggie salad of snow peas, mushrooms & red peppers. No
bread tonight.

Later evening: No good movie to watch so we do our own thing…reading &
photo album labeling.

High time today=65 Lights out: 11:17pm

Awake 6:42am Temp 52 Morning fog over the bay, then sunny
Overnight @ San Diego, CA

After breakfast, we drive to the nearest post office & mail our 2004 tax
return to the IRS. Then drive to the Sheraton hotel to spend our last day
for awhile with Matthew & Melissa. When we arrive, Kevin is on his lunch
break & certainly is enjoying his conference classes.

Yesterday @ the beach, Matthew did not want to leave…he was just having
too much fun. So today, we decide to do the beach thing again but this
time, @ our campground beach. Melissa wanted to get some pictures of
Matthew in our motor home so maybe he could be reminded of where his
G-Daddy & Yo-Mama are living, so we pose for that…then a short 200 ft walk
to the beach. Again, Matthew is mesmerized with the sand & needs little
attention. The only pauses he took from his busy schedule were for a few
snacks & to watch some sea gulls & pigeons eat a few bits of cracker we
were feeding them.
Matthew gets a sponge bath from one of the campsite faucets before we
board the Suzuki & head back to the Sheraton.

Kevin is patiently waiting for us in front of the hotel @ 5:15. They
remove their portable car seat & get their things from the Suzuki & are
ready to start packing for tomorrow’s 4:00am wakeup in prep. For their
6:15 am flight. We pose for a family photo before saying our goodbyes. We
are very happy that this rendezvous worked out so well with the Foote
family. Our time was well spent and thoroughly enjoyed. Back to the bus @

7:30pm Dinner: Leftover stew with noodles & asparagus in a 3 cheese sauce.
After dinner, we take a walk thru the campground looking @ the 5th wheel
trailers, standard trailers, motor homes, converted old buses, etc. It
appears that quite a few families are enjoying spring break with their
children during our time here. There are a lot of family activities
scheduled for the young people.

High temp today=70 Lights out: 12:11am

Awake: 6:40am Temp 48 Clear Overnight @ San Diego, CA

I do some ICQing with Kevin early this morning. We plan to have a homemade
dinner with the Footes in their hotel room later today. In fact, Kathy is
preparing her famous chili in our crock-pot now which we’ll take to their
hotel room. It will cook for several hours while we do other things with
Melissa & Matthew.

Mid morning, Kathy makes a trip to the campground store to buy a bag of
Tostitos corn chips for the chili & returns with the chips + a plastic
bucket complete with a small shovel, rake, scoop & sifter. Hmmmm...maybe a
good idea!

Visit the Footes @ 12:45pm. Kevin is on lunch break from his Sans
conference so we have a chance to talk a little about what he is learning.
It’s a 6 day program concentrating on Securing Unix/Linux from 8:30am to
5:00pm (the rest of the time there’s no security). His employer, the
University of AK, is sponsoring him. After Kevin returns to his classroom,
we get some beach towels; pack some healthy snacks, sun screen + the
plastic bucket & drive in our Suzuki to a small beach about a mile north
of the Sheraton Hotel.

Spend over 2 hrs @ this place called Spanish Park. Matthew is discovering
sand; digging holes in the sand, pouring water into those holes & watching
it seep into the sand, etc. He literally played by himself most of the
time using his shovel, sifter, scoop & bucket. It was very entertaining
just to watch his discovery & learning process. We are back to the
Sheraton hotel @ 6:00pm.

6:30pm Dinner with the Foote family: Kathy & I share a warm bacon spinach
salad with our chili & chips. Matthew is happy tonight, singing & making
some sort of wanting to talk noises. We think he really enjoyed his beach
time as did we. We leave the Foote hotel room @ 7:15pm.

Our mid to late evening was relaxing. Kathy surfed the cable channels for
a worthwhile movie &, in the process, lost control of the remote. I was
checking off credit card receipts for the month of March & getting our
2004 tax return finalized when I noticed her out-of-control state so I
quietly took charge. I tuned in some silent Buster Keaton movies from 1921
which were very clever & funny. Kathy did wake with laughter several

Today’s high temp=69 Lights out: 11:30pm

Awake 6:18am Temp 55 Clear Overnight @ San Diego, CA

Kathy does the resistance tubes for exercise during my computer use time.

Visit the Foote family @ 12:50. We all walk Kevin to his classroom after
lunch. During our walk, Brian Boardenave calls on our cell phone. We
invited him to join us today but he says it’s not possible….he’s in Los
Angles visiting his girlfriend. He didn’t know when we were going to be in

Again, we walk with Matthew & Melissa along the Harbor Island bay for
about 45 min. Matthew then finds some dirt to play in & get a little
dirty, so our next stop is back to the hotel pool. It’s another beautiful
day for being outside. We leave @ 4:50pm.

Call our son Nick in Seattle. He is doing well. He gives us 3 wedding
duties to take care of before June. We talk for 1 hr & 10 min.

7:50pm Dinner: Leftover meatloaf, penne pasta with tuna & mozzarella
cheese + fresh asparagus & fresh cantaloupe.

Evening time: watch “Desperate Housewives” & “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Call daughter Katrina in Anchorage. She gives us the Denver report on the
Job Fair interviews. It appears that her trip & interviews went well. We
talk for 1 hr & 15 min.

Today’s high temp=66 Lights out: 12:38am

Awake 6:02am Temp 55 Some clouds Overnite @ San Diego

We call Katrina in Anchorage....leave message. Then Kathy does the
aerobics class in the the white tent. I do the resistant tube exercises in
the bus.

We both use the computer before driving to downtown San Diego this morning
& locating the Cathedral for later this afternoon. Arrive @ the Foote
hotel room @ 12:45pm, in time for all of us to walk Kevin back to his
class after his lunch break and dedtermine just where we will pick him up
later for church.

Katrina returns call & leaves msg. We'll try connecting with her later

Melissa, Matthew, Kathy & I take another walk along Harbor Island. Today
is a little less windy which makes it a little more comfortable. We see a
class of maybe 20 sail boats doing tacking exercises in the bay. Then
Melissa & Matthew spend some time playing in the hotel's small pool.

@ 4:55pm we pick up Kevin from the Sheraton West hotel where his classes
are held, drive downtown to the St. Joseph Cathedral & attend 5:15pm mass.
This priest was speedy & finished in 32 min. On exiting the church, I ask
a few people where we might find a store to buy a flashlight bulb. One
gentleman told us of a Radio Shack located in the University area, about 4
miles Northeast. Sure enough, we get the bulb + shop @ Trader Joes &
Ralphs also.

Back to the hotel & we find out that Matthew has a loaded diaper & that
stuff is oozing out of his diaper onto the portable car seat. Matthew
wants to be held close & Melissa wants to hold him @ arms length until she
can change him. Following is a lot of screaming & consoling & I am outta
there for the peace & tranquillity of parking the car...like a good
G-Daddy should!

New clothes & diaper for Matthew...& dinner for us with the Footes in
their room: Pizza & salad from the hotel. Back to the bus @ 8:20pm.

I watch cable movie: "Dive Bomber" with Errol Flynn & Fred MacMurray.
Kathy started watching but lost interest & napped. A 1941 movie,
colorized. Great coverage of the period military aircraft.

High temp today=65 Lights out: 11:08pm

Awake 6:15am Temp 57 Partly cloudy & windy Overnite @ San Diego, CA

We e-mail with Melissa this morning to plan today's activities. The
e-mailing stops @ 8:30...Kevin uses his computer during class time daily.

We arrive @ the Sheraton @ 11:30...then Kathy, Melissa & Matthew walk to
the end of Harbor Island where the light house restaurant is located & I
drive the Suzuki. It's a beautiful day here but the wind is cool. Matthew
keenly observes the airplanes taking off from nearby Lindberg field, sail
boats in the Harbor Bay, a duck in the water & a sea gull here & there. We
all ride back to the hotel in our Suzuki.

After that, it's back to the Foote's 1st floor room with a sliding door
onto a small patio where we relax in the sun & warmth without so much
wind. We enjoy some good bonding moments with Melissa & Matthew over the
next 1.5 hrs. We leave around 5:00pm after visiting with Kevin for a few
minutes upon his return from class. En route to our campground, we
casually search for a Catholic church in the Point Loma area just North of
Harbor Island for tomorrow, which we did not find.

8:00pm Dinner: Penne Pasta with tuna & mozzarella cheese + fresh salad &

No good movie tonight so we read a little in bed.

High temp today=66 Lights out: 11:28pm

Awake 6:28am Temp 54 Morning clouds Overnite @ San Diego, CA

Kathy walks over to the activity tent & does the 8:30am aerobics class
while I use the resistance tubes & exercise in our bus. She picks up our
new hub reservoir for the tag axle sent by the Newell Factory after
exercising. This campground prohibits any repair work of that nature so
I'll hold off replacing this unit until the next campground. The silicone
coating I smeared on the hairline crack must be working as we've had no
more oil leaks
since leaving Lakeside yesterday.

Melissa calls @ 9:10am from the Sheraton hotel @ Harbor Island, just 5
miles South of our campground. Kevin is attending a Sans computer
conference @ the hotel for the next 6 days & they are ready for a visit.

After our late breakfast, we drive down to their hotel & visit with
Melissa & little Matthew for the afternoon. They were waiting outside the
front lobby for our arrival. Matthew seems to remember us with a faint
smile on his face. It's been 2.5 months since we've seen the Footes.
Matthew seems a little tired from yesterday's plane travel & San Diego Zoo
trip so he takes a 45 min nap while we visit with Melissa. Then we take
his car seat & fasten it in the back of our Suzuki & go North about 3
miles to Point Loma & shop for healthy snacks for the Footes @ Vons,
Henry's & Ralph's. Then...we drive further North & visit our Campland on
the Bay where we introduce Matthew to a small see-saw & sliding board. He
liked the sliding board a lot. We visit our motorhome a little before
returning to the Sheraton Hotel. Matthew is a smart little guy who @ 15.5
months already understands a lot of commands when asked...will pick up his
toys from the floor; knows the individual animals in his collection and
the sounds that several animals make; will select a diaper from the
drawer; nods his head for answering a yes or no; identifies the letters,
O, X, T. We think that's amazing for his young age. Anyway, the Foote
parents are doing a splendid job of raising our 1st Grandson. A proud
G-Daddy I am & a proud yo Mama Kathy is. Back to our bus @ 6:00pm.

7:15 Dinner: Leftover turkey divan with whole wheat pasta & fresh mixed

Evening time. Watch classic movie on cable: "To Have or Have Not." A so-so
flick with Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall.

High temp today=65 Lights out: 11:08pm

Awake 6:28am Temp 52 Partly cloudy-then clear Overnite @ Lakeside, CA

No need to leave early this morning...our next campground is only 25 miles
West & mostly Interstate. The cars that would normally be blocking our
leaving this tight & narrow site have been moved..so our turning area
should be OK.

We leave the Rancho Los Coches RV park @ 10:48am. Pulling out of our
parking spot was still marginal. Kathy stopped my forward movement twice
with hand signals to have me adjust my radius of turn. The top right rear
of our coach did brush a large tree limb unbeknown to us at the time which
left a little sap smear. We won't plan on any future visits to this
campground. Yesterday when talking to to the campground hosts, we
complimented them on such a clean & lovely park, nice tenants, quiet, etc.
But we cautioned them on giving notice to other 45 ft motorhomes on
limited maneuvering space.

As expected, a lot of traffic on I-8 & I-5 to San Diego. Arrive @ the
Campland on the Bay @ 11:37am. We are stopped @ the main entry gate to
register & get an assigned parking site.

Today's travel: 49 min 25.5 miles 3.0 gal 9.15 mpg 39.2 avg speed.

It's a nice park with over 600 camping sites.

One of the 1st things I do after parking is to get out the telescoping
ladder & clean off that sap from the tree limb. Kathy discovered that
brush mark as we were hitching up our Suzuki car before travel.

We call the Footes @ their Sheraton Hotel & leave a message.

6:35pm Dinner:Crab cakes from Costco, brown & wild rice pilaf, asparagus
with garlic cheese + fresh salad.

Kevin calls using a pay phone. They were @ the San Diego Zoo, missed the
last scheduled bus & had to take a taxi back to their hotel. A late night
for Matthew but he did good, says Kevin.

We watch a movie on cable: "The Palm Beach Story." Not that good. Feeling
a little cheated on entertainment, we watch another: "Mr. Deeds goes to
Washington." This movie was great! Well worth our time.

Today's high temp=80 Lights out: 12:29am

Awake 5:55am Temp 47 Sunny Overnight @ Lakeside, CA

Just as I am having my cold coffee & Kathy is having her hot tea, Melissa
calls from Anchorage. They have decided to bring Matthew's car seat with
them to San Diego. This is good news & will make it easier during our

I talk with the guy across the street about moving his car tomorrow so we
can pull out with less difficulty. "No problem!" he says. About an hr
later, the lady on our drivers side exits their motorhome & I ask her
about parking her car in a different spot so we can leave tomorrow without
too much maneuvering. "You bet!" she says.

I am not convinced that our tag axle hub leak is due to a weak "0" ring.
In fact as the coach is parked, I can see oil seeping down on the tire &
it can't be residual from our trip here on Sunday. Again I remove the axle
hub cap...& using a mirror, focus the bright sunlight on the reservoir
hub...ah ha! I can see dents on the underside of this aluminum hub....& a
hairline crack with oil slowly seeping out from one of the dents. Probably
these dents were caused by the sledge hammer the service guys were using
when changing the rims. With the dents on the bottom of the hub, the oil
seeps out slowly when parked, otherwise @ the factory, it would have
leaked out during our time there. Coincidentally during that time, the hub
dents must have rotated upright when parked each time & no oil seeped out
until our travels began.

Anyway, I call Tommy @ the Newell factory & explain what's happening. He
agreed with my theory & will air ship a new hub assembly to our next
campground in San Diego...paid by Newell.

Meanwhile, I move the coach about 3 ft to rotate the hub dents upright &
no more seeping oil. Then I clean oil off the hub with paint thinner, let
it dry & smear some silicone on the dented area to maybe stop any more
leaking on our trip to San Diego tomorrow.

Kathy & I walk the park for exercise 30 min. She walks an extra 30 min
while I wash the bugs & grime off the front of our coach & oil that slung
off the tag axle onto the right side of our Suzuki.

7:00pm Dinner: Turkey Divan with broccoli & brown rice, mixed salad, &
garlic bread.

No good movies tonight so we watch the history channel: Breaking Las
Vegas...counterfeiting tokens. Fascinating! Then one of us watches the
designing & construction of the Mackinac bridge in Michigan.

High temp today=78 Lights out: 10:45pm

Awake 6:02am Temp 54 Mostly sunny Overnight @ Lakeside, CA

After breakfast, Kathy starts house cleaning: wiping down the walls,
windows, mirrors, sinks, cabinets, floors, etc. Then she does 3 laundry
Meanwhile, I get the hose, the long handled brush & Windex & spray down
the lower half of the passenger side of our coach. It was getting dirty,
especially the rear area with a little oil leaking from that tag axle hub.

After lunch, we drive over to La Mesa(8 miles) & so some serious grocery
shopping @ Trader Joes, Costco & Wal-Mart. All 3 of these stores are
within 5 blocks of each other. Very convenient. Back to the bus @ 6:30pm.

8:45 Dinner: Kathy's famous meatloaf with gravy, pasta & a fresh mixed
salad, & cheddar cheese/garlic sourdough bread.

No movie tonight. Nothing worth watching.

High temp today=70 Lights out: 11:20pm

Awake 6:02am Temp 59 Some high clouds Overnight @ Yuma, Arizona

Leave the KOFA campground @ 11:11am. Smooth roads all the way with little
wind until we reach the mountain passes. Watching our GPS elevation page
on our navigation system in the motorhome, we see minus 90 ft while
passing thru the El Centro town of California. During our ups & downs of
crossing over the Vallecito mountains, our GPS would read over 4200 ft at
the highest, then read 2400 ft down thru a valley or two, then back to
4000 ft, etc. Obviously a good method for good gas mileage & brake checks.

We arrive @ the Rancho Los Coches RV park in Lakeside, California @
2:45pm. This park is over 30 yrs old with some updating & NOT BIG rig

Today's travel: 3+39 time 161 miles 22.9 gal 7.45 mpg 50.1 avg speed

Bill, the campground host, takes us for a golf cart ride to show us
options for a parking site. We narrowed it down to one of our three
choices. Luckily Kathy had 2 guys helping her with signals to me so we
could fit into site #24. Leo in my right rear mirror, giving hand signal
distance from a tree, Marvin in my front right window, keeping me away
from a parked car & Kathy in my left mirror watching the distance from the
electrical post & sewer connection left rear. It was tight!

When I called to make reservations, Carol told me that they have had some
motorhomes our size in their campground. Hmmmm!

We thanked Leo & Marvin for their help....then walked around this park for
for 30 min for exercise.

7:00pm Dinner: Pork chops, asparagus with fresh orange slices & olive oil,
fried noodles with croutons, & 4 bean salad from Costco.

Watch movie on cable: "G.I. Jane" with Demi Moore. A little heavy on the
action side.

High temp today=83 Lights out: 11:12pm

Awake 5:54am temp 53 Clear sky overnight @ Yuma, Arizona

After breakfast, we take our laptop to the campground clubhouse and take
turns using the modem line. Then take a short drive across the border to
Algodones, Mexico just to look around(12 miles). We were here last yr,
March 6, when Kathy purchased over 400 dollars worth of medicine for her
friend Jeri in Florida. Today, Kathy spends 4 dollars on some Amoxicillin
(a broad spectrum antibiotic)a prescription drug in the US. Nurse Kathy
wants to have this medicine in the event we should ever need it.

Back to Yuma, we do some light shopping before 4:30 mass @ Saint Thomas
Indian Mission. It was a full, well attended church where we learned that
our Pope John Paul II had passed away this morning.

After mass while sitting in our Suzuki & waiting our turn to leave the
parking lot, we started talking to the nearby couple who told us about the
great meals & low prices @ the local Casino 1/4 mile away. Bingo! I'm
thinking. Maybe Kathy would enjoy a meal out for a change. As we walk into
the Casino to get in line, who do we see but this same couple, John & Jo
from WA. So we have dinner with them & talk for 2 hrs. Kathy & I split a
salad and huge hamburger with fries.

Today's high temp=? Lights out: 11:07pm

Awake 5:54am Temp 44 Clear Elevation 4216 ft Overnight @ Willcox, AZ

No fooling around today...strong winds with gusts from the East encourage
us to get out on that Interstate & take advantage of a nice tail wind.

Leave the Lifestyle RV park @ 8:37am. We are moving quietly & efficiently
West on I-10 when suddenly...up ahead, both lanes of traffic are stopped.
As far as we can see, about 1/2 mile, it's a parking lot. I learn from my
C.B. radio from the Eastbound truckers that a car has overturned & a life
line helicopter will be landing soon on the Interstate. We have cell phone
coverage so I listen to our messages. Jeff had returned our call from
yesterday so I return his call to discuss our 2004 tax papers. He will
call our daughter Melissa & send the finished return to her before she
leaves for San Diego on Tuesday of next week.

We are parked on Interstate 10 for 55 min. When we do pass the smashed,
overturned car it seems quite possible that a X-wind gust thru this canyon
caused the driver to lose control. We say a prayer for their recovery.

In Eloy, Arizona...just North of Tucson, we make a fuel stop @ Flying J &
top off our tank with 64 gallons before going into California. We've heard
that CA has the most expensive fuel in the nation.

Before arriving in Yuma, Arizona we had been averaging over 11.5 miles per
gallon, our best ever....but driving thru city traffic to our campground
brought that average down somewhat.

Arrive @ the KOFA(King of Arizona) campground @ 4:00pm. This is an owner
escapee campground & they do not take reservations. When I called them
yesterday, they hinted that I would need to get into their campground
before 4:00pm if I wanted to stay for the night with a full hookup. We
were lucky, we got that last full hookup site.

Today's travel: 6+31 time 325 miles 30 gal 10.82 mpg 51.5 avg speed

We sit outside on our folding camping chairs & have our wine time...then
walk the campground for exercise.
7:00pm Dinner: Tuna salad with lettuce on peta bread.

Kathy surfs the TV channels while I look ahead for our next campground.

Nothing worth watching on TV so we do some evening reading.

Elevation for Yuma=912 ft. Today's high=85 Lights out: 10:27pm

Awake 5:10am Temp 38 Clear & windy Overnight @ Socorro, N.M.

Beautiful morning...still a lot of wind, but today we will have a
cornering tail wind as we drive South on I-25 to Las Cruces, N.M. Then
when heading West on I-10, the wind will probably be a direct crosswind.

Leave Casey's Socorro RV Park @ 8:43am. These smooth roads with little
truck traffic on I-25 + the scenic mountains with their ever changing
desert landscaping makes for some interesting window sightseeing as we
roll along. Kathy keeps my brain active while I drive the bus: asking for
words as she gives clues on her x-word puzzle, then later we play Trivial
Pursuit without the game board. It's always a little disturbing to find
out what we don't know & should know.

Arrive @ the Lifestyle RV Park in Willcox, Arizona @ 3:00pm. We were just
here February 17,18 last month. It's an easy off, easy on, BIG rig
friendly RV park with instant on phone sites which are handy for us to use
when we can. We can both be on the phone line @ the same time.

Today's travel: 6+13 time 343 miles 38.5 gal 8.92 mpg 55.6 avg speed

After parking the bus & extending two of our slides, we get right with the
phone calls:
Give our tax accountant Jeff a call in Anchorage...talk to his wife
Brenda. Jeff is in conference & will call back later.

Call the young & ambitious couple from Pahrump, Nevada who are now living
in their 5th wheel trailer in St. Augustine, Pennsylvania. April 25 is the
date to begin pouring concrete for the basement on their new home. These
guys are movers & shakers & don't waste any time with their plans.

Call my brother Don & his wife, Josie. Don is busy helping the new owner
of his business with the heavy tax season. Josie is newly retired & busy
driving to visit their kids & grandkids.

Call Gary & Grace from Eastern Pennsylvania. They are in Kentucky en route
home from visiting the Newell service facility in Oklahoma. His leveling
system on his coach was acting up & had the system sensors replaced. They
are trying to talk us into taking a rail tour in our coach February 2007
with them. We will think about it?

Call our son Zack in Seattle. He's been busy...still playing catch-up with
learning the Linux language in computers. Zack will fly back to Purdue
April 7th to visit his friends & girlfriend for 4 days.

Late 9:15 Dinner: "T" bone steak with baked potatoes, asparagus with
roasted red peppers in boursin cheese + a fresh mixed salad.

No movie tonight...no time. Today's high=65 Lights out: 12:30am

Awake 5:45am Temp 47 Clear & windy Overnight @ Socorro, N.M.

@ 8:50am, we drive up to Magdalena, N.M.(40 min) with an elevation of 7000
ft & do a sneak preview driving tour of the town. In it's heyday, the
population spiked to over 14,000, today it's about 1,100. The early yrs of
mining: lead, zinc, silver & smithsonite plus having a stockyard & being a
railhead town, put this place on the map. As we drive around, we see many
vacant bldgs, house for sale signs, boarded up homes, large bldgs using
one room as an office, etc. There is more to see in this historic town of
Magdalena but, for now, we continue driving West.

25 miles West of Magdalena & across the level plains of desert @ 7000 ft,
we begin to see the VLA area. Operating since 1981, this VERY LARGE ARRAY
of 27 dish antennas are spread out like a "Y" to focus on radio waves from
space. Open to the public, we spend 40 min watching a movie of how & why.
Then, thru wind and blowing snow, we walk to one antenna and do a self
tour of it to appreciate its size & see the transporter machine up close.
The 27 antennas are placed on 3 13 mile long legs & are movable on rail by
the transporter. Each antenna is 94 ft tall, weighs 235 tons(470,000 lbs)&
is 82 ft in diameter. Their aluminum panels are formed into a parabolic
dish which enables the antennas to focus radio waves into a wave guide
which is then analyzed by computers & computer operators. It's all very
scientific of course & operated by the National Radio Astronomy
Observatory. There were several movies made here. The one I've seen
staring Jodie Foster called "Contact" was Science Fiction & interesting.
During our outdoor self tour the temp was 42 with a wind chill of ? (very
cold to Kathy, the fake Alaskan) and a few snow squalls...we thought we
were back in Alaska again.... a chilling experience!

Back to Magdalena: we get the keys & do a self tour of the town's museum(a
railroad box car), with pictures & period items relating to the earlier
days of the old West, cattle drives to the rail head, cowboys, miners,
Native Americans, pioneer families, etc. Then we visit their library which
is in the old train depot building(5 steps from the box car museum). The
city offices also share the train depot. We are curious about the mining
town of Kelly, only 3 miles South of Magdalena where the only building
still standing is the Catholic Church which is still maintained.

Our SUV Suzuki easily climbs the hills to the Kelly mine....at least 700
ft higher than Magdalena. Sure enough, the Catholic church is well
preserved & locked up. Nearby, many foundations can be seen of the homes &
buildings of yesteryear. We walk around & casually search for pieces of
this mineral called Smithsonite. Originally the Kelly mine tossed aside
this mineral during their mining for lead, zinc & silver, but when the
mine ran out of those precious metals, a guy by the name of Brown shipped
a few samples of this mysterious rock to an assayer in Missouri. The
results came back & the long ignored green rock turned out to be a rare &
valuable mineral. Needless to say, our search turned up nothing even close
to this beautiful green, valuable rock. We did enjoy the ghost town
surroundings however & the exercise & a great view.

Back to the bus for 7:00pm Dinner: Leftover ham, broccoli, peppers,
leftover sweet potatoes & fresh mixed salad.

No movies tonight. Today's high=60 Lights out: 10:30pm

Awake 5:20am Temp 48 Mostly sunny Overnight @ Barnardo, N.M.

After breakfast, I walk to the campground office & use the modem line for
e-mail check.

Leave the Kiva RV Park @ 11:22am. Very windy today...set our cruise
control on 50 mph. X-winds with gusts. I am glad it's a short trip.

Today's travel: 56 min 29.8 miles 4.3 gal 7.5 mpg 37.1 avg speed

We missed the turn going toward the campground & spent 15 min in Socorro
finding a suitable place to make a 180 degree turn back to that
campground. Arrive @ Casey's Socorro RV park @ 12:22pm. It's big rig
friendly but we both mis-interpret parking site instructions & spend
another 15 min or more maneuvering into the proper site. We were pretty
proud of our efficient travel plans today & celebrated later with a glass
of our favorite wine before dinner.

Before dinner however, we drive the Suzuki into town(5 min) & do a driving
tour of Socorro, population around 10,000. An old town but keeping it's
downtown active.

7:00pm Dinner: Kathy's famous chili with Triscuits.

Late evening: Watch show on local channel: "The race across Africa."
Elevation: 4693 Today's high temp=65 Lights out: 10:26pm

Awake 6:02am Temp 35 High clouds Overnight @ Barnardo, N.M.

Yesterday when hooking up the water hose @ our parking site, the water
tasted real good & then a fellow(John)from Maine told me it's the best
water he's ever tasted(he's been in this campground for over 3 months)
plus he had seen the owner's test report from the lab....& it was
certified best. So this morning, I fill our pure water tank up with about
140 gallons to be used for drinking purposes along the way.

Mid morning, I call John @ the Newell Service department for enlightment
on our tag axle hub oil leak. He tells me to use an allen wrench & simply
take off the wheel cover, then pull off the plastic cup from the aluminum
reservoir which has an "O" ring seal that may need replacing.

Ok, so after breakfast, I clean oil off the tag axle wheel hub & the tag
rim so I won't get dirty working on this project. Sure enough, there
appears to be a lot of oil slung around inside of this axle area. It
doesn't take much oil spilled to make it look like a lot of oil. The
aluminum reservoir end is a plastic see through site gauge & it
reads...add more oil. I don't have any of this 75-95 gear oil now but I
was told it will be ok for a few hundred miles as is. The only thing I can
do now is to seal that small cap with silicone which has the "O" ring & is
attached to the plastic site gauge.

Late morning, we make preparations to go on a safari hunt in this high
desert area...elevation: 4683 ft.

Proper clothing, shoes, hat, binocular, sufficient food supply, water
supply & good map. We did get some rough directions yesterday @ the office
when checking in around 5:00pm. Now, on our way out for the safari, we
stop @ the office to confirm directions & it's closed. Oh well, we'll wing
it & go with the info we have. About 30 slow minutes later, we have seen a
total of (1) creature in the wild preserve we are in. In technical terms,
it is called a sparrow. Yes, it's a bird. We are on a bird watching
safari, just Kathy & me. We found out later, we were not in the ideal bird
watching area to spot many other varieties. Maybe next time.

From here we drive North on Rt# 304, which parallels the famous Rio
Grande River. Mainly our drive covers many acres of farm land until we
arrive @ the small town of Belen. Here we do some light shopping then head
back to our campground. I drop Kathy off @ the ramp of the
Interstate so she can get her walk time in while I unload the groceries &
safari equipment...& plan our next campground stop.

7:15 Dinner: Leftover cranberry roast with leftover asparagus, leftover
chicken in sherry & tomatoes with olives & garlic + a fresh salad.

No movie tonight. We are both tired from our safari.

Today's high temp=72 Lights out: 10:05pm

Awake 6:27am Temp 30 Clear Overnight @ Amarillo, TX

@ 8:30am, I am watching our nearby neighbor Ray, trying to clean the ice &
snow off his slides with a broom & not having much success. His slides
have an awning covering which retracts when the slide retracts but, with
an accumulation of ice & snow under the awning he is getting frustrated.
After my breakfast, I go outside & give Ray an idea that might work: Get
your water hose & shoot between the awning & slide top. Ray is skeptical
but he tries it, it works great & they are on their way to CA with a big
thanks for our help.

I don't need to spray water on our slide tops but I do get the ladder out
& brush off some snow from our roof & slides.

@10:50am we leave the Amarillo Ranch RV Park. A fair travel day with dry
roads, some rough areas but mostly smooth. Again we have those cornering
headwinds that keep the steering wheel cocked toward the one o'clock
We make a fuel stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico @ Flying J. Shortly after
fueling up & heading down the hwy, Katrina calls on our cell phone & Kathy
yaks with her for maybe 40 min. Her timing was good as we just so happen
to have great cell phone coverage during her call. Her ears were witness
to a scary moment when a blue sedan was seen stopped up ahead on this 4
lane Interstate. I noticed the car briefly but kept my scan searching as
usual until Kathy yelled that car's not moving & it's in our lane. Our
machine does not stop quickly but I did brake harder than usual, glanced
strongly into the mirror for a clear lane on my side, then swerved into
that lane to miss hitting that blue car. Then I needed to get back into
the right lane again to exit the ramp & transition to Interstate 25
Southbound. As I am turning back into the right lane, in my right mirror,
I see this same blue car at the same moment Kathy yells again that now he
is alongside of us & too close. Gee wiz! What's this guy trying to do??
Anyway, we survived unscathed & Katrina got an ear full.

We arrived @ our Barnardo, New Mexico campground(Kiva RV Park) @ 5:00pm
local time. Today's Travel: 6+55 time 352.9 miles 41.5 gal 8.5 mpg
53.2 avg speed. Kiva RV park is small(26 sites) but big rig friendly.

When doing the walk-around @ Flying J in Albuquerque, I first noticed some
oil splashes on the passenger side of our Suzuki, then noticed some oil
runs on the passenger side of our tag axle wheel. Hmmmm, oil seeping from
the wheel hub? I will need to call the Newell guys on Monday.

7:30 Dinner: Baked Ham with pineapple, sweet potatoes, broccoli, fresh
salad & garlic bread.

Nothing worth watching on TV tonight so we do some reading.

Today's high temp=64 Lights out: 11:19pm

Awake 6:01am Temp 37 Hazy..snow forecasted Overnight @ Amarillo, TX

Amazing enough, the weather guys are right on! Snow began @ 11:00am with
wind from the Northeast @ 15 to 25 mph. We Alaskans experience this cold
spring weather by walking to the campground office, pay our camping fee &
sign up for another day. Plus use their phone to make reservations for our
next campground on Sunday.

That Alaskan type weather keeps us inside for awhile & we get hooked on a
cable movie "Captain Newman, M.D." with Gregory Peck. A great flick for us

5:00pm Dinner: Cranberry pot roast, asparagus with blue cheese, spinach
salad & garlic bread.

Snow continues to fall with the temp now @ 33 degrees. We drive across
town to attend Easter Vigil Mass @ 7:30 @ St. Mary's church. Very crowded
with over 600 people attending. Tonight, 20 candidates will be baptized,
and/or receive the sacraments of initiaton, first communion and/or
confirmation. It was a beautiful service, beginning in darkness, followed
by candlelight to full electricity and officiated by a very charismatic
priest. Our Mass time was close to 2 and 1/2 hrs.

High temp today=37 Lights out: 11:57pm

Awake 6:28am Temp 46 Cloudy Overnight @ Newell campground

Our overnight water leak test was again successful with the heavy rain.
Only a few drops found in one of our basement storage units.

Leave the Newell Service campground @ 8:50am. We take the back roads(2
lane & smooth) to avoid the Oklahoma toll roads...which can be expensive
for our 5 axles. Unfortunately, in bypassing Tulsa & trying to stay on Hwy
75 South, we end up magically on Interstate 44, a toll road. We had our
GPS on min freeway travel & it must have led us to the toll road. Even tho
we were both watching, signs were NOT obvious. As soon as we realized we
were on the toll road, we exited @ the next toll booth. The lady @ the
booth didn't charge us for what road we used because "a lot of people get
misled" she said. "The signs are not marked very well." Getting back on
Hwy 75 took some time & back on the 2 lane roads again for about 40 min.
Did we save on that maneuver? It's a toss up!

Once on I-40, cornering headwinds fight our fuel mileage all the way to
Amarillo. Arrive @ the Amarillo Ranch RV park @ 6:25pm, just before

Today's travel: 9+43 hrs 521.5 miles 65.8 gal 7.93 mpg 54.9 avg speed.

We talked about not doing these long legs anymore...but this morning when
watching the weather channel, it became obvious that I-20 Southwest bound
would not be the way to go....heavy rains & thunderstorms forecasted. If
we could make Amarillo today, all we would have to contend with is a day
of snow/rain forecasted for tomorrow, then sunshine.

8:55pm Dinner: Crab cakes with baked potatoes & mixed fresh salad.

Watch movie on cable: "Superman II" with Chris Reeves. Good movie.

High temp today=61 Elevation 4762 ft. Lights out: 11:40pm

Awake 6:03am Temp 39 Today's weather: Clear, then Cloudy;
Thunderstorms with heavy rain, then fair. Overnight@
Newell campground

The beefed up replacement driver's base plates arrived this morning. Dee,
short for Dwayne, brings the swivel plate out to our coach with some of
his tools for doing the changeover. It takes him several hrs to install
the unit.

Meanwhile, Kathy uses the customer service computer in the lounge for e-mail.

I make some phone calls to locate a suitable & nearby campground to where
the Footes will be staying in San Diego. After a number of dry calls, I
did get lucky & found an opening @ the "Campground on the Bay" in San
Diego, about 4 miles from where the Footes' hotel is located. This
campground is in high demand most of the year. One can make reservations 2
yrs in advance for a site at this place.

Now the scary part of this visit @ Newell. I ask for & pay the

We attend Holy Thursday Mass @ 7:00pm @ Sacred Heart church.

During Mass, we can hear the rumble & see the lightning of a distant
thunderstorm approaching. By the time we return to our coach, the wind
gains strength & there is no doubt that our motorhome will be water leak
checked again. We retract our slides & disconnect the external water
filters...5 min later, a heavy downpour with strong winds & TRW's.

8:30pm Light dinner: Leftover stew with raisin/pecan bread.

Watch cable movie: "The Ipcress Files" with Michael Caine. A good movie.

I am undecided on our routing for tomorrow's travel. It will be either
Interstate 20 thru middle Texas or I-40 across upper Texas. We'll check
the weather channel in the morning.

Today's high temp=62 Lights out: 11:31pm

Awake 6:43am Temp 40 Overcast sky Overnight @ Newell campground

Around 7:30am, Tracy rings our door bell. He says we have to move to
another parking site because the environmental department of Miami will be
sending their heavy equipment here to dig up the soil on 2 sites due to a
fuel spill 2 months ago. It seems that a customer, when parking his
motorhome, hit the curb & ruptured his fuel tank...unbeknown to him as he
left his coach there over the weekend. Slowly his 234 gallon gas tank
drained into the earth.

Kathy walks into the customer service lounge & talks with John & Bub about
a small leak still re-occurring on slide #2. While she is doing this, I
ready the coach & move to another camp site. After I park, Bub & Tracy
show up with a ladder & caulking gun to re-seal our driver's side bedroom
window. We hope that will solve the problem.

@ 12:45pm Tommy rings our bell. The beefed up base plates for the driver's
seat will not be arriving today. It's our choice if we want to stay here @
Newell for another day. Well, we've been watching the weather channel &
agree that another day here would be to our advantage. Tommy says tomorrow
for sure the plates will be in.

@ 1:30pm We drive downtown Miami & do a serious tour of the famous &
historic Coleman Theatre with the manager of the restoration committee,
Barbara. This theatre & tour, without a doubt, was the best & most
impressive theatre exposure we have ever encountered. Built in 1929 by
George L. Coleman, Sr., a local mining magnate, the theatre was built so
well that it's condition remains well preserved.It has never closed since
it's opening, altho for 40 years it was used. misused, and abused aa a
local movie theater. The 2 upper balconies were constructed using steel I
beams & fastened together with rivets, like one would build a ship. It's
incredible. Barbara took us back stage where the curtains are hand cranked
up & down by ropes attached to counterweights. The light controls are huge
rheostats on a large control panel. There is a chandelier in the center
of the theatre ceiling, surrounded by a large circular area; both change
colors before & after the performance. Height from the stage floor to
ceiling is over 60 ft. The mighty Wurlitzer organ has been restored and
Barbara gives us an electronically controlled demonstration of the organ's
sound with a rendition of "Phantom of the Opera," fantastic! We just
can't find enough eloquent words to adequately describe this magnificent

Back in the Newell service building, we check on Jim & Betty's coach
repair progress. It's shaping up nicely.

7:30 Dinner: Italian beef sandwiches with lots of beef & juice from Lukes
in Phoenix. These sandwiches are oh sooo good but oh sooo messy!
8:15pm Watch movie on cable: "The Philadelphia Story" with Cary Grant,
Jimmy Steward & Katharine Hepburn.

Today's high temp=53 Lights out: 11:15pm


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