December 2005 Archives

Awake: 5:45am Temp 39 Cloudy---then rain Overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

“Merry Christmas to all!” Kathy makes a sour dough pancake breakfast with
eggs and bacon for our breakfast……then we drive over to the
Footes…arriving @ 10:15am to help celebrate Christmas with our family.

Matthew is calm & relaxed when we arrive. Melissa did not sleep well but
says she will take an early afternoon nap with Matthew. Eriko & Nick slept
well & are doing fine; Katrina has a sore throat & a stuffy nose but
moving around rather lively; Zack however, is sick, has been lying
horizontal & is completely covered save for his mug. He may have the same
stomach symptoms that Melissa & I experienced. Kevin is busy cooking the
turkey with side dishes & being very cheery about it. Kathy of course, is
wearing a “frozen,” pleasant smile being surrounded by her family &
consistently happy husband.

Nick & I start a roaring fire in the 84 year old fireplace…..this warms up
the living room considerably. Around 11:00am, the presents under the
Christmas tree are distributed & the slow opening ceremony begins. Matthew
is very cute & curious about all this activity, but when opening a rather
large box, he discovers it’s a shopping cart just like the ones his mom
uses when she’s grocery shopping. He insists that it be assembled NOW!
Later he finds another box that contains plastic fruit, vegetables & small
boxes of assorted grocery items; and then another box with wooden fruit
and veggies and pizza with toppings. This cart & groceries alone kept him
occupied for quite awhile on Christmas day. The opening ceremony was
finished by 12:05pm.

All afternoon, most of us sit in the warm living room enjoying that
roaring fireplace & having some interesting conversations with Nick. Zack
remains horizontal & covered; Katrina was basically busy on her computer a
great deal of the time…. Melissa and Matthew took a nap and then Melissa
was kept busy with assisting Kevin or Matthew during times of need.
During idle moments, Kathy & I just looked @ each other & smiled…..happy
to be with our family again!

5:30pm dinner: Turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes & gravy, French
onion green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, Jell-O & homemade rolls. A
terrific Christmas day & great meal…..oh, by way, Zack did emerge from his
tomb….briefly to open his presents and eat & then returned to his tomb.

Just before leaving & returning to Nicktown, K & I go down in the Foote
basement & find some more winter clothes that the Footes moved for us.
They just might come in handy during our winter camping experience. Back
to the bus @ 8:35pm.

High temp: ? Lights out: 11:09pm

Awake: 5:46am Temp 39 Partly sunny Overnight @ Nicktown Pa.

This morning we take showers using our well water…seems to be
OK.....neither hard nor soft. @ 1:25pm we drive to Indiana…this afternoon,
all 9 of us will attend the Christmas vigil Mass @ St. Thomas More
University Parish @ 4:30. This early Mass is a favorite for parents with

The Foote family like the center section of church, up front in the 1st
row so Matthew can easily see the priest & what’s happening around the
altar area. So this wish can be fulfilled today, Kathy & I drop Katrina &
Zack off @ the church @ 3:35 to reserve that front pew…..the Footes with
Nick & Eriko will now have a little more time to get ready & will arrive

Meanwhile, Kathy & I have some last minute grocery shopping to do @
Wal-Mart before they close for the holiday. This Mass was super
crowded…standing room only was scarce in back of the church. Matthew was
amazingly attentive during this Mass.

Back @ the Foote home, we enjoy some wine before our 7:00pm dinner of:
beef stew with noodles & rolls. Matthew was in bed by 8:30pm & we return
to our bus @ 9:45pm.

Today’s high: mid 40’s Lights out: 11:29pm

Awake: 5:10am Temp 33 Mostly clear Overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

It’s time for us to purchase our own snow/dirt shovel. I drive over to the
Krumenacker Hardware store, look over the vast selections available, and
make the final decision. On my way back to the bus, I mail a Christmas
package to our godchild Monica.

With this new shovel, the opening of our snow drifted paths begins….Kathy
joins the fun & we both enjoy owning & operating our very own shovel.

We haven’t used our new well that was drilled last August 30th due to no
filters mounted in the pump house. Today, I let the water run thru the
hose without filtering for over 2 hours. Initially there was quite a lot
of iron present which we monitored, then eventually it cleared up enough
that I connected the 2 large filters in line @ the pump house, then ran
water thru the portable 2 filters setup I usually use when camping. The
water tasted fine & looked fine, so we filled our motorhome’s pure water
tank to the ¾ full mark. In lieu of running a hose with a heat tape
attached for cold weather, this arrangement is “ok” for now.

The time got away from us with the water works so after a quick lunch, we
drive to Indiana to spend the afternoon & evening with our kids. 30 min
after arriving, I drive Nick & Eriko over to the University of Indiana
library. Kathy, Katrina & Zack walk over & join us in the video media room
to watch an ultra sound video recording of the Kirsch baby taken during
Eriko’s 2nd trimester. The graphics were excellent with sound & it was so
impressive. We could easily see little hands, feet & legs….. & hear & see
the heart pumping, etc. Oh, by the way, we also saw that it is a boy!
Nick says he can relax now; the pressure is off…the Kirsch name will

Back to the Foote home where we sit & chat, then the ladies get dinner ready.

5:45 dinner: Kirkland spiral sliced ham bought in San Diego @ Costco,
corn, rosemary/parmesan baked red potatoes, leftover rice, & fresh salad.

Afterwards, I build a small fire in the fireplace & while the Footes are
giving Matthew a bath & getting him ready for bed, we all sit in the
living room, talking & enjoying each others company.

Back to the bus @ 9:05pm.

High temp today: 47 Lights out: 10:47pm

Awake: 6:28am Temp 24 Lower clouds with breaks Overnight @
Nicktown, PA.

Shortly after 8:00am, I call Melissa to let her know that I am definitely
feeling better & plan on visiting them mid afternoon. During our
conversation, the kids arrive (Nick, Eriko & Zack) from the Pittsburgh
airport using the University of Indiana shuttle.

Meanwhile, Gary & Rosemary had invited us to visit them late morning
including lunch pending on how I feel…I am feeling very good so the visit
is on.

En route to the G & R’s hangout, we stop & mail a few Hanukkah cards @ our
Nicktown post office. G & R give us the $5.00 tour of their newly finished
& furnished country estate in St. Augustine. This is a comfortable 2 story
home with basement & 2 car garage. It’s also well built with a relaxing
floor plan, has a lot of space & a warm wood stove in the living room &
more. We bring each other up to date on what’s been happening since we
were together last. After a nice lunch, it’s time for us to leave.

From G & R’s, we drive west for an hour to Indiana & the Foote home. The
kids all look quite healthy & Eriko is definitely pregnant and feeling
better. We sit & talk…then eat cornbread and chili made by Melissa using
her mother’s famous chili recipe for dinner.

It’s wonderful to realize that this Christmas rendezvous has come to
fruition: the Footes purchased a large enough home to host our family; our
cruise terminated with enough time for us to motor across the country to
be here; mother nature cooperated & was kind to us throughout our 2,744
miles from San Diego to Nicktown & the kids have arrived safe & sound.
It’s GREAT to be together again! Back to our bus @ 8:20pm.

High temp today: 29 Lights out: 10:52pm

Awake: 6:50am Temp 18 Light snow Overnight@ Nicktown, PA.

During the night & throughout the morning, the heating pad becomes my
newest best friend. My stomach continues to complain so I would rather
just lie around & stay in our coach today in lieu of visiting the kids.
But I do encourage Kathy to drive to Indiana, deliver the firewood, fill
the Foote’s cupboard with groceries, shop with Katrina, help prepare
dinner, etc., & she reluctantly agrees to do so.

Throughout the day, I begin to feel better & actually napped a little here
& there. Mid afternoon, I spent some time on the computer using the card
reader deleting & sorting through our cruise photos.

Kathy returns around 5:00pm with a disgusted look on her face…then I find
out: she was backing into our circular drive, wandered off the road & got
stuck in the unplowed snow in the 4 wheel drive Suzuki. It was like “white
out” conditions outside. I had difficulty backing in our driveway myself.

7:05 dinner for me: a cup of chicken bouillon with oyster crackers. For
Kathy: the rest of the left over stew and left over eggplant.

After dinner, I set up the Sony camera to have a slide show on our plasma TV.

I am feeling much better.

High temp today: 25 Lights out: 11:14pm

Awake: 5:12am Temp 10 Clear & windy Overnight@ Nicktown, Pa.

Call Al @ 7:40am to set up a time for getting more wood @ his portable
garage later this morning. Our plan today: get firewood, satisfy Kathy’s
doctor’s appointment, do a grocery shopping spree @ Wal-Mart to re-enforce
the Footes cupboards & deliver the goods to the Foote home by mid
afternoon. It was a good plan so I thought.

What I didn’t plan on was: somehow catching what appeared to be, the
stomach flu. It started around breakfast time but I ignored it. Then
during the Wal-Mart shopping spree, I decided to come clean & tell my
nurse. I wanted only to go back to the bus, lie down & do nothing. She
could continue to Indiana, unload the firewood & groceries, go shopping
with Katrina @ the Mall, have fun, laugh & enjoy the day. My nurse
murmured that she would think about it after returning to the bus &
talking with Melissa.

It’s still plenty cold outside, so when I pushed the button to open the
coach door, it moved in slow motion style…not normal….something’s amiss.
“NO” I say. I don’t want to do anything but lie down & do nothing. But I
have to do something…this problem of low air pressure needs to be
rectified NOW.

Our motorhome has 3 ways to create air pressure: the 500 hp Detroit diesel
engine when running; a 120 volt unit which runs on the house batteries
powered through the inverter, & a 12 volt unit powered through the
batteries. We use air pressure to open & close our entry door, the 2
inside sliding pocket doors, the bathroom toilet flushing & all 4 slide
tube seals.

At this time, the main (when camping) unit in use is the 120 volt
compressor & it’s not working now. The backup for this unit is the 12 volt
unit or the Detroit engine. Running the engine @ this time… 10 degrees
outside, would be tough & I would choose to warm up the engine first for
easier starting. Using the 12 volt compressor would be fairly ok but it
would be very slow to build pressure & would most likely run throughout
the day & night.

Kathy calls Melissa to let her know that Dad doesn’t feel well & she
chooses to stay & be his nurse…. & that’s OK with Melissa.

I begin checking circuit breakers, making voltage checks, etc. This is the
one technical area I am the least familiar with so: Who do I call? The
Newell experts of course! I talk with Tommy….make a few more voltage
checks but it’s going nowhere… Newell again & speak with Mike. Mike
admits that this is not his area of expertise & said that I need to talk
with Charlie.

Charlie was the man: he knew the short cut for by-passing the voltage
checks & simply had me turn on the ignition, push the switch for air
pressure on our HWH leveling system & select the RAISE function…. & if the
compressor is good, it should run….& it did!

Charlie theorizes that our well head pressure switch that controls the air
compressor may have some moisture in it & it’s not switching properly. I
tell Charlie I’ll put some heat on it using my drop light. It’s been
working normal ever since. Ah, the challenges of cold weather camping.
Thank you Charlie!

Tea & toast for dinner for me tonight; Kathy has leftover beef stew.

I lay around with the heating pad on my stomach during the evening while
we watch the Barbara Waters special; Heaven, Where Is It & How Do We Get
There? After an hour I join Kathy in bed and learn that this is a 2 hour
show; another 15 min is all I can hold out for. Kathy turns off the
bedroom TV and goes out to the living room to watch the rest of the
program. She slept on the couch all night, giving me space to be restless.

High temp today: 22 Lights out: 10:20pm

Awake: 6:06am Temp 18 Light snow Overnight@ Nicktown, PA.

We join the cool coffee club gang this morning for 1.5 hrs of “what’s been
happening around here!” It was good to see & talk with some of the gang

Today is Matthew’s 2 yr birthday. We decide to occasionally bring the
Footes some firewood on our daily visits….so @ 3:15pm, we meet with Al @
his portable garage, transfer a small amount of dry wood to our Suzuki &
drive to the Foote home.

6:30 dinner: Chicken schnitzel, white & wild rice & broccoli. For dessert,
Melissa had made a school bus cake on the occasion of Matthew’s birthday &
we have a choice of: Bryers-Mint chocolate chip…. or Turkey Hill- Mint
chocolate chip.

Matthew chooses to eat some candy lettering & a section of the front tire.
He only opened 2 of his gifts out of 8. He liked the first & second one so
much; he just wanted to play with those 2 & not open any more tonight.

Back to the bus @ 8:45….it’s very cold outside but, nice & warm inside.

High temp today: 23 Lights out: 10:49pm

Awake: 4:40am Temp 18 Clear Overnight@ Nicktown, Pa.

Casual morning for us…except it takes me 30 min to clean the windows &
door handles on the Suzuki. That car is a mess since following behind the
motorhome thru rain, snow & some cinders spread on the roads of PA….and
that Glass Plus cleaner solution freezes before I have the chance to wipe
the windows & door handles clean. Next time, I’ll heat the solution before
using it.

@ 11:05 Kathy & I drive to visit the Footes in Indiana, Pa. (30 min). Our
grandson Matthew did remember us, gave us a so-so hug & seemed happy to
see us. He has grown a lot & weighs 25 lbs now & is beginning to use word

The Footes give us a tour of their “new” 1921 home & show us the
improvements they have made & talk about…what’s next. They are doing good

Next, K & I drive to the Pittsburgh airport (1.5 hrs) to pick up Katrina.
Her flight was on time but her baggage was late arriving on the carousel.
En route back to Indiana, we stop for Ice cream @ Bruster’s & Wal-Mart for
groceries & 2 drop lights for me. We are back @ the Foote’s home @ 6:35pm.

7:00pm dinner @ the Footes: 2 bowls of veggie beef soup with bread. After
dinner, it’s Matthew’s bedtime & our time to leave for now. Katrina is
tired from her trip & we’ll visit them tomorrow.

Back @ the bus, I ask Kathy to make some popcorn as I am still a little


Awake: 4:40am Temp 22 Clear Elevation 2007 ft overnight @
Nicktown, PA.

1st thing this morning in daylight, I uncover the phone receptacle,
connect our land line & walk around the bus….it’s dirty but no scratches.
Next, I drive to the post office to get our mail, then to the Krumenacker
Hardware store to purchase a ceramic heater for our pump house.

Back to our property, I use Chuck’s (nearby neighbor) snow shovel to make
trails through the snow to the pump house, the main electrical box, to the
50 amp & phone receptacle site & around our motorhome. Kathy & I share the

I call Don, a recognized & reliable snow plower in town, to clean up our
St. Paul Street & our circular driveway. During the process, I had planned
to move the coach so he could do the entire driveway….but, the dual wheels
begin to spin again….I raise the coach, the bus remains bottomed out.
We’ll be here awhile anyway.

7:30pm dinner: Beef stew with whole wheat noodles & toast.

Evening time: we make calls to family, cousins & neighbors.

Today’s high temp: 33 Lights out: 10:49pm

Awake: 5:02 am Temp 31 Overcast sky Elevation 902 ft
Overnight @ Greenfield, Indiana.

This campground had a dusting of snow last night…even so, it was no
problem leaving the Heartland Resort @ 8:00am. The morning sky has that
look about it that says: “snow can happen at any time!” Through the state
of Indiana, visibility remained good…but through Ohio, we encountered snow
squalls off & on, some heavy @ times. With reduced visibility, all traffic
slowed by at least 10mph. As long as the roads stayed wet, we kept the
pace with space.

Maybe it’s the Christmas rush….I have never experienced so many trucks
lined up in both lanes as I have today….the passing lane was our place for
hrs…smoother too.

Our contact person, Melissa, continued keeping track of the snow
conditions & our progress eastbound. About 2 hrs from our destination,
Kathy gave Shirley a call in Nicktown for a head’s up on our arrival time.
Shirley commented that the sun was shinning & the snow melting.

We arrived in Nicktown @ 4:00pm….to a lot of snow around town but the
streets were plowed & some streets had cinders. Turning onto St. Paul
Street which was not plowed, there was extra snow depth at the entrance
due to the plowing of St. Joseph Street which added to the snow
accumulation…..we pulled in & immediately were stuck, unable to move
forward or reverse. We detached the Suzuki, it was also stuck even with 4
wheel drive, Kathy walked over to Shirley’s place & borrowed a snow shovel
& we dug the Suzuki out.

I tried rocking the bus with posi-traction……forward & reverse but my dual
tires just continued digging down into the grass, then the mud. We were
bottomed out with the snow & really stuck.

Down the street comes my ole classmate Barry. He’s the town’s action man,
wears a lot of different hats & has a knack for solving problems. After
looking the situation over, he comments that this is a really big rig &
it’s going to take some heavy equipment to pull it out. He tells me: “The
only one nearby to have that kind of equipment is Ralph down the road ½
mile.” Barry drives off to talk with Ralph. In less than 15 min, he
returns with Aaron, Ralph’s son, following him in a loaded 35,000 lb
manure truck. Using Barry’s heavy duty chain & putting the bus in reverse,
that manure truck pulled us back onto St. Joseph Street with little
effort. I ask Aaron if I can ride with him to make tracks onto St. Paul
Street & around our circular drive so we can drive the motorhome in those
tracks to park & hook up……he did & we were in our camping spot @ 6:00pm.
Whew! I thank the guys a lot & begin hooking up our shore power, it’s too
cold & dark to do anything else tonight.

8:15 dinner: Ivar’s clam chowder with toast & oyster crackers + leftover
eggplant parmesan.

Today’s travel: 8+13 hrs 429 miles 56.9 gal used 7.54 mpg
56.9 avg speed

It was a good day & it’s good to be home again.

High travel temp: 47 Lights out: 10:02pm

Awake: 4:40am Temp 29 Clear Overnight @ Miami, Oklahoma

We wanted to get an earlier start this morning but…it’s dark & cold
outside so I let Kathy sleep a little longer.

Leave the Newell service campground @ 6:55am. Another good traveling day
with reasonably smooth roads & little wind; however, traffic was heavy
with more trucks on the road than yesterday. Twice we passed 2 traffic
tie-ups in the opposite lane: The 1st being at least 2 miles in length,
the 2nd being maybe 3 or 4 miles. That 2nd tie-up was due to a very long &
wide load moving slowly with police escort. Getting slowed up by either of
those tie-ups would have us arriving late, in the dark @ our next
campground which I usually try & avoid.

En route, Kathy calls & talks with Melissa in Indiana, PA….then I talk
with Larry in San Diego…. & we both talk with my Uncle Johnny in Ohio.

Arrive @ the Heartland Resort campground in Greenfield, IN @ 5:30pm.

Today’s travel: 9+13 time 570.8 miles 65.75 gal used 8.68 mpg
62 mph avg speed.

This campground is relatively new, is big rig friendly & open yr around.
The roads & sites were plowed of snow recently & water is available.
Because of freezing temps, I filled up our pure water tank so we would
have water when arriving in Nicktown. More snow is falling as I am storing
the water hose & outside filters.

7:35 dinner: Eggplant parmesan, spinach salad & toast.

Kathy twists my arm & begs me to let her wash the dishes….I ponder over
this outlandish idea for a few long seconds, then reluctantly give in.

Melissa called around 8:50 pm….she’s checking on our travel progress. We
take turns talking….56 min.

High travel temp: 47 Lights out: 11:05pm

Awake: 4:12am Temp 41 Clear Overnight @ Miami, Oklahoma

Our door bell rings @ 8:45am. It’s Kyle & he is ready to drive our bus
into the service bay for some maintenance. Kathy rides with him while I
walk over to the service area & talk with Creslie & Mike who were former
top techs & are now the coordinators for assigning a suitable tech to work
on the each job order. They said how difficult it was yesterday trying to
bring in our coach….every time a coach would be finished & would back out,
they would try & bring ours in but it just wasn’t in the cards. Of the 8
write-ups I had listed, only 2 were of a more critical nature. In 4
working hrs, they had all 8 write-ups fixed to our satisfaction & our
coach was taken out & parked in the Newell campground. I’m convinced that
Creslie & Mike are, without a doubt, making a nice difference in the
service department.

6:00pm dinner: Stuffed pepper & toast.

Nothing worth our time to watch on TV tonight so Kathy continues to write
trivia questions & answers while I continue to open mail….to sort, file or

High temp today: 50 Lights out10:08pm

Awake: 5:37am Temp 29 Cloudy Overnight @ Miami, OK

Today we just hang out in our motorhome organizing things that one does
when there are idle moments. The tech guys haven’t contacted us all
morning or during the afternoon so it’s obvious our bus won’t be taken
into a service bay today. And….that’s ok; I know they’re working
diligently to please the customer & we’ll simply be patient.

Katrina calls from Denver…we discuss her thoughts on getting a Masters
Degree I art but not to specialize in studio or fine arts. Teaching art to
5th & 6th graders is her ultimate career goal at this time. We also talk
about our upcoming holiday gathering in Indiana, PA.

6:20pm dinner: Chicken stir-fry with brown rice & toast.

7:00 pm movie: 1933 version of “King Kong.” Fantastic & much better than
we expected it would be. Obviously, way ahead of it’s time. Next we watch
a TCM (Turner Classic Movie) on Marian C. Cooper, the director of King
Kong and many other notable movies. What a guy! What a documentary!

Rain late evening High today: 51 Lights out: 10:29pm

Awake: 4:30am Temp 37 Clear Elevation 757 ft Overnight @
Miami, OK

A good nights rest for me after that long drive. I began deleting junk
mail from our computer & by the time Kathy woke up, over 600 e-mails were

The Newell service workers began arriving @ 6:30am. I wait until 8:30
before going into the building & talking with Tommy. He is surprised to
see that we are here so soon….& wastes no time in making it clear to me
that no one cancelled their appointment & doubts that our bus will be
taken in for service today. In fact, they will do their best to get our
unit in by tomorrow afternoon. “It’s not like the old days” he says,
“there are no slow months anymore.”

Next, I walk over to the front office & talk with Sam, the sales manager.
I enjoy Sam; he’s running a smooth sales force & does a good job of
bringing us owners up to speed on the latest gadgets & improvements on the
coaches. We talk for 35-45 min.

Later I return to the front office & pick up our mail of 2 months…sent
down from Alaska to the Newell factory. Kathy’s been using the computer in
the customer’s lounge for a few hrs….when she returns to the bus, she goes
through her mail…then goes off to Wal-Mart for some grocery shopping. I
continue spending time going through the rest of our mail until national
news time.

6:30 dinner: Pork chops with whole wheat noodles, sautéed apples, broccoli
& toast.

Evening time: Larry from San Diego calls….he is back from his Los Angles
trip & wants to know “how it goes with us?” I let him know that perhaps I
have picked up one of his bad habits….driving over 700 miles per day as we
are @ the Newell factory already.

Today’s high temp: 52 Lights out: 10:20pm

Awake: 5:20am Temp 33 High clouds Elevation 2600 ft Overnight
@ Monahans, TX.

We wait until daylight to leave the Country Club RV Resort @ 7:31am. We
could have started earlier not realizing the clear blue sky in our
direction of travel. Now I am thinking about going “all the way” to the
Newell factory campground & avoiding the Monday traffic & road maintenance
slowdowns, etc. Kathy’s opinion: “It’s a long distance but you’re the
I sip only enough water to stay hydrated…& make 2 stops, one for fuel @
Flying “J” in Tulsa & a bathroom break. The last 3 hrs were night driving
with a lot of concrete barriers on both sides & single lane traffic….just
what I try to avoid.

Arrive @ the Newell factory campground @ 8:20pm & with 3 parking sites
available…lucky for us, many times there are none coming in late on a
Sunday night.

Today’s travel: 12+25 time 751 miles 88 gal used 8.64 mpg
61.4 avg speed.

9:45pm dinner: Leftover Italian sausage with whole wheat noodles, spinach
salad & toast.

We are tired but save enough energy to stay awake & watch the movie: “Dead
Men Don’t Wear Plaid;” amazing editing….staring Steve Martin.

Lights out: 11:00pm

Awake: 5:30am Temp 33 Clear Elevation 3580 ft Overnight@
Benson, AZ

We leave the Butterfield RV Resort campground @ 7:37am. It was another
great weather day for traveling X-country….smooth roads, little wind,
reasonable traffic volume, etc.

Today Kathy enjoyed hrs of cell phone talk as we motor along the highways
& byways. 1st Katrina calls from Denver….then Kathy calls her girlfriend
Marge in Grand Junction, CO…next I ask her to call my brother Don in PA…we
leave him a msg…later she calls our friends Gary & Rosemary in St.
Augustine, PA…then Donna in Nicktown…next she calls for her girlfriend
Jodi in Memphis, TN & talks with her husband. Listening to one side of her
conversations is better than listening to a talk show, very entertaining
trying to casually figure out what the other person is talking about.

Arrive @ the Country Club RV Resort in Monahans, Texas @ 5:20pm. Kathy
called this park about an hr out to confirm space availability. Due to the
nice driving weather today, we elected to go an additional 150 miles
further than originally planned.

Today’s travel: 8+37 time 518.2 miles 57.25 gal used 9.05 mpg 60.7
avg speed

7:30pm dinner: Italian sausage with spaghetti & mixed salad + toast.

Evening time: We watch the “weather channel” for tomorrows forecasted


Awake: 5:31am Temp 53 Cloudy Overnight@ San Diego, CA

Our bus easily eases out of our parking site, the car is hooked behind,
transmission checked, then lights on both vehicles checked & we leave
Campland on the Bay @ 6:58am. Our timing was good for missing the heavy
commuter traffic of the city. In 30 min, we were far enough East on I-8
that there was little traffic to contend with.

We make 2 stops today: Just 8 miles from Yuma, AZ, we exited the
interstate, drove south for maybe 1.5 miles, pulled onto a gravel area &
parked our bus.....then drove the tow car for another 2 miles to Alagones,
Mexico. A 5 min walk across the border where Kathy stocks up on some
medicine for future use. Our 2nd stop was for fuel @ Eloy, AZ @ Flying
“J.” Smooth roads today & a mild North X-wind with a clear blue sky in AZ
made for a pleasant day's drive.

Today’s travel: 8+00 hrs 459 miles 62.5 gal used 7.34 mpg 58.4 avg

Arrive @ the Butterfield RV Resort@ 5:38pm in Benson, AZ. It seems like
late evening but it’s not yet 6:00pm. I think it’s because it’s so dark. I
invite Kathy to eat@ the nearby Italian restaurant so she wouldn’t have to
cook & I wouldn’t have to do dishes.
7:30 Dinner: Italian hamburgers with salad & chips. The restaurant
Galleano’s is family owned & operated. Our hamburgers were very good.

Walking back to the campground, the stars are exceptionaly bright. Would
you believe, this campground advertises that it is the only one in the
states to have a 19 inch telescope and its own observatory on the
premises. We pass up the opportunity to check it out this time….only
because we are a little tired.

Call Katrina…leave msg. Call Nick….no answer.

Awake: 6:45am Temp 47 High scattered clouds Overnight@ San Diego, CA

Kathy remarks how wonderful it is to sleep in bed without her body moving
from head to toe to head to toe all night and without the noise of the
wind and sea hitting the ship.
Late morning, we visit with Larry & Sally & thank them again for watching
our coach & helping set up the slide show last night. They are driving up
to Los Angeles today & leaving around noon time.

We still have some odds & ends type shopping to do today so just before
noon, we drive down Ingriham Street to the Sports Arena area where Kathy
returns a blouse she hasn’t worn. Next, a quick stop @ Ralph’s & Baron’s &
Vons for groceries…then to Costco for more groceries and much snacking
before returning to the bus around 5:00pm.

7:30pm Dinner: Tuna salad & toast.
Evening time…we watch a Turner Classic movie: “Executive Suite” with
William Holden. A show with a good message!

Call Katrina….leave message. Call Zack: We take turns talking & sharing
over an hr of conversation. He has moved out of his apartment & into a
rental house on Queen Anne Hill with 3 roommates & likes his new hangout.

64 days + the journal continues...

Awake: 5:30am Overnight @ sea in the cruise ship.

The ms Amsterdam docks @ San Diego, CA about 6:00am. Our 62 day Asian
Pacific cruise has ended. I could have easily continued this surreal kind
of lifestyle for another month or so but my mate & I are both beginning to
miss our family & friends a lot. It was of course, the most enjoyable,
most adventurous, the best continuous meals served, the best almost
continuous entertainment, some of the neatest ports of call & cities
toured ever, the nicest & most people we could have ever met in two months
& the longest cruise we’d ever been on. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all
over again but first, we plan on doing a little cruising of our own in our
home-on-wheels before getting serious about sailing the seas again.

We have our last breakfast on deck 8 of the Amsterdam with our Alaskan
companions, Jackie & Ben + Barb & Joe. Before, during & after breakfast,
we are saying “goodbyes” to some of the other people we have met & enjoyed
hanging out with these 62 days.

We are asked by our cruise director Gary over the intercom to remain in
our stateroom until our color & number are called. About 9:10am the 1st
black 1 & 2 are notified, then 3, 4 &5. Next, red 1 & 2 are alerted, then
3, 4, & 5. There were some 1375 people on this cruise liner. We are lucky,
our brown 1 & 2 were called around 9:45. Our disembarkation went smoothly.
Outside now in the huge storage facility, we easily find our suitcases, go
through U.S. customs, wait 15 min in line for a taxi & we are back in our
Campland on the Bay campground @ 10:40am. Our bus was continuously watched
by Larry & Sally since we left for our cruise & it was a natural kind of
monitoring since their camping site was nearby during those 2 months.

After walking around the outside of our bus, we bring 3 suitcases & 4
handbags into the living room & bedroom. The machine looks great &
everything seems to be working as it should. Before I do any unpacking, I
walk up to the campground office & ask reservations if we could possibly
move into another pull-thru site for 2 nights to avoid being trapped in
the site we are in by the busy weekend crowd arriving on Friday. We were
given a site to my liking for tonight & tomorrow night. Next we visit
Sally & Larry, talk for 40 min & agree on getting together later tonight
for more talk.

In the meantime, our bus is sort of trapped already by 2 motor homes, one
parked closely on the passenger side, the other parked directly in front
of us. It would require a lot of maneuvering & close watching by Kathy to
pull out from this site as we sit….but my clever wife has looked beyond
this & suggests that we simply back out because there is no one behind us
+ a clear street. “A great idea” I say. It was an obvious solution. It
took us maybe 5 min to clear out & another 5 min to park in our next
temporary site. Then we extend 2 slides & Kathy begins her unpacking while
I do further checking of the basement compartments.

Next “a shopping we will go.” Costco for starts to stock up our freezer,
then Bookstar on Rosecrans Street for a video guide for Sally….Trader
Joe’s for my organic milk & Kosher wine for Sally & Larry for tonight.
Back in the bus, I do a little unpacking while Kathy gets some healthy
snacks ready…then she gives Nick a quick call in Seattle.

Larry & Sally arrive @ 7:30. Larry brings his card reader & we look @ some
pictures from our cruise on our computer. After a little eyestrain & a few
crooked necks, I ask Larry if we might try & get these photos shown on the
big plasma TV. 15 min later, we are all sitting comfortably watching a
slideshow of our Asian Pacific travels on the big screen. Larry was a big
help in setting up this slide show tonight. This was a terrific start for
leaving our former “taste of life on the seas” & continuing our “longtime
life on the lands” we have learned to love.

Lights out: 10:55pm


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