This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Monday 28 January 2019

A fun week and meeting other bloggers

Did we drive to Egypt and back last week?  Maybe I can fool you with the pictures I took on our way to El Centro in California. Although Yuma has lots of shopping opportunities, it has no Aldi grocery store. However, the Internet told us that there was one in El Centro, a town approx. 75km/47miles west from our RV Park here at Winterhaven, CA, and it is off the Interstate 8 on which also Pilot Knob is situated. I needed a few groceries and therefore we thought we go and check out that Aldi store and also have a look at El Centro. It happened to be a bit windy the day we went and in hindsight we should have maybe reconsidered as soon as we spotted a road sign, “Watch for blowing sand.”  Did I mention it was windy?  Well, the way to El Centro cuts through the Imperial Sand Dunes, approximately 5 miles from our park that make you think you are in the desert of Egypt and the other picture looks like the Suez Canal, right!  

The welcome sign at El Centro said: “Where the sun spends the winter” and I guess they know what they are talking about.  We found the Aldi store no problem and selected some groceries that we hadn’t seen back in Yuma, but our biggest score was a “Christmas Stollen” (fruit cake) we drooled over, and it was worth all the calories, believe me. 

On weekends an outdoor Market Place in Yuma attracts a lot of visitors. We’ve driven by it a few times and thought we check it out too.  There are several large tents housing vendors with just about anything you can think of.  I cannot list all of them but took some photos so you can get the idea.  Did we buy anything?  Nope.

Last Thursday we got up shortly after 4 a.m. I had set my alarm for 5:30, but somehow Benno beat me to it, and before I knew it, we were both awake shortly after 4 a.m. and decided we might as well get up and have a leisure breakfast and then head out toward Quartzsite. The big RV bash or show was still on and to get a parking spot next to the big tent to avoid walking for more than a mile to the show, you had to arrive early. On the drive to Quartzsite we passed the US Army’s “Yuma Proofing Ground” to Benno’s delight and he could enjoy the view of some military hardware during the drive by.

 A little before 8 a.m. we parked in the first row almost across from the entrance and it was free parking.  For the next hour we sat in the truck and waited for the show to open and when it was opening time, the parking lots around the tent had completely filled up. For the next few hours we wandered around looking at RV stuff and such. But what amazed me were the many not having anything to do with RVing vendors.  To top off that list I took a couple of photos of the “pets” that were for sale right there and then.

Once we’d seen enough and had purchased a few items for the travel trailer, we filled our tummies at MacD and then ventured out to find the group of Canadian friends that are camped out in the desert at La Posa South in Quartzsite, not an easy thing to do because of the vast area and the many RVs parked all over that place.  Smartly, Bill On Our Way and Patsy Patsy Is Chillin had a Canadian flag flying on a flagpole at their RV and that made our search of finding them a bit easier.  George and Suzie Our Awesome Travels were parked close by as well as Pat and Rob, all from Canada. Of course we said our hello and were invited to sit down for a visit. Time always flies when you are with a group of friends but we had another long drive back so we had to skip the happy hour and be on our way with the promise of a return visit in a couple of days for the “Bloggerfest.”

On Saturday we did the drive to Quartzsite again, however at a more sensible hour. Benno had decided to have a quick look again at a vendor for RV supplies at the show before we would be heading for the get-together at the “Bloggerfest.”  Of course there was no parking anywhere close to the big tent, so I dropped Benno off at the entrance and then circled the area in the truck for a while until we met up again.  Afterwards we looked at some beautiful cast iron artwork for sale by the road.  I have to say it was done beautifully and not as expensive as I thought it would be. We just couldn’t think of a way to transport these items back to Canada in our travel trailer. Too bad :-( 

The “Bloggerfest” was held at a pavilion in the Quartzsite La Posa South area. We arrived early and introduced ourselves to John and Aileen, John and Aileen on the road who had arrived ahead of us. A few minutes later Rick and Kathy Its About Time rolled up and then one by one other “bloggers” arrived for the event. It was our first time attending this get-together since its inception 5 years ago.  This gathering is a great opportunity to meet the faces behind the blogs we read and to get to know all the folks that are out there RVing and then write about it.  We had a great time there and wish this event could be held more often and perhaps in different locations.  I took the liberty to add some blogs to the list on our sidebar of the folks we met. 

Thanks again for following our trip and I hope to keep you entertained.

Saturday 19 January 2019

Week two at the park

Another update to the blog is overdue and here is a recount of last week. Our RV Park’s free wifi has only a hotspot at the office building and not throughout the park. For the few months that we are RVing we decided to forego a subscription to a wifi provider for the USA, so that means when I want to use my iPad or the MacBook I have to walk to the office building and park myself at a table in the community room. But there is one major drawback; the park management does not permit streaming or the use of Skype. Shoot, I like to talk to my mom in Germany every other day and to make that happen Benno loads me and the dachsies into the pickup for a ride to Yuma’s Home Depot parking lot to make use of the store’s superb strong free wifi signal thus joining the odd RVer there too who is longing for the Internet as well. Yep it works! But back to the RV Park’s hotspot wifi, it is good enough to sit in the community room to do email, search on the Internet or read blogs of interest etc. Benno spent a good portion of time to Google and search for info on travel trailer tires and to locate the best rewarding tire brand and the best price for them. We had to replace all four tires of our Jayco White Hawk 24 trailer. One tire from the blowout just before Tucson, AZ and the other three, which got damaged when the forward axle springs broke and the wheel wells were riding on the rubber at the West ramp to the Interstate 8 at Gila Bend AZ. That adventure turned into an eleven hundred dollar setback there, I mean US dollars not Canadian Dollars for us snowbirds!

Benno nailed his search for new trailer tires down to the Goodyear Endurance brand of tires, which seem to have good reviews on the Internet and have been made in the USA since 2017. Hey, time will tell! Last Monday we went to Yuma’s Goodyear Tire dealer to get our Jayco travel trailer new shoes! The tires were promised to come in the next day at noon and at the promised time we were there with the rim of the blowout tire and another wheel from the curbside of the trailer.

The previous night, with all the rain we had here, Benno had removed the wheel and had secured the forward axle with a 12-ton bottle jack and a 3-ton axle stand while the rear axle was still having the spare tire. Wouldn’t you know it, we didn’t bring any jacks and axle stands with us, they are nicely stored at home, so we had to get new ones from the famous Harbor Freight store in Yuma, both items were on sale, thanks God!

The Goodyear Tire dealer installed the new Endurance tires to the rims and balanced the wheels. Back at the RV Park after a quick lunch Benno mounted the tires and started to remove the two wheels of the trailer’s roadside, secured one axle with the spare tire and the other with the axle stand and bottle jack, having now gained plenty of tire changing experience, voila! 

Back into the truck and a quick drive to the Goodyear Tire dealer to get the other two Endurance tires mounted and balanced. The mounting of the tires to the trailer later back at the RV Park Benno managed to do still at daylight. The spare tire found its way back to the bracket on the rear bumper and is ready for new action, which hopefully is not going to happen!

While Benno fitted the new tires, he noticed that Petey, our roadside service chap from Gila Bend, who had removed the broken leaf springs and installed the new springs, had caught an electric brake supply wire at the rear axle with a U-bolt and squashed it between axle and U-bolt. Oops! This explained the error message on the truck’s dash display “check trailer brake wiring“, which showed up several times on our drive between Gila Bend and the RV Park. Benno had planned to search for this problem on a warmer day, as he would be laying in the dirt under the trailer.

After Benno noticed the messed up brake wire, which he swiftly fixed, (after a quick trip to the "you know which store" to get what he needed) he thought that Petey had worked hard from morning until evening and in the dark with a flashlight, he may have been pooped out, so decided to do a thorough inspection of Petey’s work. Good thing he did, because after further inspection he discovered four fine thread nuts that are securing four spring bolts, being loose. They were only hand tight and were screaming to become a big problem down the road to Canada. Petey had forgotten to use his impact wrench to tie them up. Oops again!  

To fix this, you guessed it, another trip to his favorite store Harbor Freight to purchase a set of impact wrench sockets (he needed a 11/16 and a13/16 socket, the impact wrench socket set was cheaper then the normal socket set and on top of this, they are of stronger steel as to Benno’s explanation). In addition he purchased a half-inch drive ratchet, extendible to 18 inch for extra leverage, luckily both items were on sale again. More tools for the tool collection, HaHa, lucky boy!           

All this fixing was done mostly by Benno laying on his back on top of an piece of cardboard while handling tools as a light breeze was blowing cooling Benno down, maybe a little too much, because my hubby now has a sore back or pinched nerve and is unable to stand up straight ;-(

And yes, the travel trailer finally got washed by the professionals, but we could have had some help from above for that because it rained quite a lot for a couple of days afterwards.         

So our planned sightseeing trips didn’t happen this past week, but I think we saw enough of tool supplies and such.  On one of our return trips from Yuma I spotted this Mexican riding his bike along Interstate 8, probably on the way to Mexico.

Oh, and because of the cool temps we had I put our two doggies into t-shirts, which they seem to like wearing when outside.

Thursday 10 January 2019

A week at the Pilot Knob RV Resort

After a few days into our stay at the Pilot Knob RV Resort in Winterhaven, California, we are feeling quite at home here and surrounding area.  Thanks to the super introduction from our Canadian friends, who both keep each a lively written internet blog, Bill and Patsy from Ontario, by taking us under their wings and showing us the city of Yuma, AZ. Benno is already confident navigating the streets of the busy city as if we had been here before. Bill and Patsy also indicated they would like to show us the border crossing to Mexico and the Mexican sister city to Yuma, the city of Algodones, too. I have checked out the various grocery stores and compared their merchandise and prices while making small purchases for items we had previously run out of. Benno got introduced by Bill to the toy store or Mecca for men, the famous tool center “Harbor Freight”. This is a must pilgrimage for all two legged males. When you are in the store, you will notice even the grumpiest male wears a bright smile, believe me!

Here at the RV Park there are several activities offered to participate and join for some fun, but so far we have been too busy to even look at the activity plan.  However, the ice cream social, which is offered at most RV Resorts, we didn’t miss last Sunday.  For a buck ($1.00) per scoop (a very generous scoop) of ice cream and toppings of your choice it is a good deal and great opportunity to meet and chat with other RVers. Upon walking out of the clubhouse after eating the ice cream, Benno found a cute painted rock.  Someone had placed it in the garden to be discovered.  Whoever finds it can decide if he wants to keep the rock or re-hide it for someone else to find.  The idea is to take a picture of it and post the picture and location on Facebook. Patsy and Pat have been working on several rock paintings as a hobby so they can hide their own creations at various locations throughout the park.

When we arrived at the Pilot Knob Park our travel trailer and the truck showed that we had encountered some nasty weather before coming here.  The management does not allow us to wash the trailer or truck in the park so we took the truck through a car wash in town.  As for the trailer’s grime we have to hire an outside company to come in and do the job, so one more item on the agenda list.  While we were setting up the travel trailer, Benno wasn’t able to turn the direction dial of our TV antenna after cranking it up on the roof. A small piece from the direction dial extrusion to the antenna base had broken off.  In town there is a RV supplier called: “Hilco RV Parts” and that is where we went to see if they had a replacement part.  We would have driven right by the store had we not had the address because there were no windows at the building indicating it was a store and the door is painted white to blend in with the walls.  Inside we found a huge amount of merchandise and perhaps a lot of consignment articles as well.  They had an extension tube for the direction dial at $3.25, which solved our problem.  At the back of the store, in another room, there were several axle springs of various sizes sitting on a shelf. Of course at a fraction of the price we had paid!

On Tuesday Rob and Pat (from Durham, Ontario) picked us up to come along for a visit to Algodones in Mexico. As well Bill and Patsy took Ken and Nancy along in their truck and the 8 of us would go as a group over the border to visit this touristy town.  After parking the trucks at the provided huge paved parking lot and looking at barbed wires on concrete barriers ready to be moved to block off the road to Mexico in case of trouble, we wandered over the border to Algodones, Mexico to meet all the vendors eagerly waiting to sell us their goods.

Many of the stalls carry the same items as their neighbors and if you are really interested in buying any of it, the game is to negotiate, or haggle over the price that is being asked as not even one piece of merchandise carries a price tag. I pointed at a necklace that I liked so Benno started the bartering game for it and shortly after presented me with it.

Bill and Patsy guided the way as they had visited the area already a few times so they showed us around pointing out the best vendors. If you need a new pair of eyeglasses or dental work done, you probably would not get a better deal anywhere else.  Also prescription medication is sold here over the counter and for a fraction of the price we would pay in Canada or the USA and not to forget, booze is also offered at a price that makes us Canadians just drool. 

At a vendor for custom painted signs we stopped to watch the artist create a painting from a clean canvas to a finished landscape completely done with only spray cans.  To paint the trees he used a scrunched up plastic shopping bag, which he dipped into a puddle of various colored paint. He jokingly called it: paint brush Mexican style. To create the birds he used a piece of cardboard dipped into splash of black spray paint. The whole painting took approximately 20 minutes including a coat of clear paint dried with a torch.  It was quite a show.

That was a really fun time going to Algodones, especially in company with all our friends, which made the experience a great outing.  You can really tell we had a blast from the picture while we were sitting in the food court for a snack and drink and a little rest from all that haggling.

Finally, I thought I tell you about an embarrassing thing that happened to me yesterday to give you a little chuckle. We take our dogs for walks several times a day. The RV Park has a dog walking area behind the fence, which has a gate with a padlock. When we arrived we were given a park brochure with the front gate access code. On the brochure is also printed a code for the padlock for the dog walking area. The gate had always been open all week long and I did not memorize the padlock combination number since the lock was not in use.  Guess what?  Yes, yesterday late afternoon I was in the dog walking area with our two dogs and when they were done with their business ready to go home, I found us being locked out. Someone hadn’t noticed us, although the area is wide open, and locked the gate.  I talked to several people walking their dogs on the other side of the fence but wouldn’t you know it, not a single person knew the access code! One fellow even made a phone call to his wife asking her to look up the combination numbers, but she could not find the code. (It is printed sideways in tiny print on the brochure) The office was already closed for the day and Benno had no clue we were out there and had gone to the clubhouse.  Finally, another helpful guy walking his two dogs located the night manager who came to our rescue.  

Thanks for visiting our blog and any comments are appreciated.