Category Archives: Organizing

Beachcomber Bar

Sunday was another beach weather day as the temperature reached 84 degrees with clear blue skies. So, that’s what we did – we went to the beach. A little after 2pm, Donna and I went to Sini’s site and all three of us piled into her car for a short drive to Dana Landing. We met Gary Stemple at the Freedom Boat Club ( I posted about the club here).

This time, instead of a wake boarding boat, we took out a center console fishing boat with a 250 horsepower Suzuki outboard motor. Another friend from my school days, Rosemary Neff, joined us and we cruised the bay.

Donna and Sini – Gary at the helm, Rosemary partially hidden

We headed over to Mariner’s Point and picked up another passenger, Lance. Lance is a friend that grew up with Gary’s son. From there, Gary piloted the boat across Quivera Basin and out past the jetty to the Pacific Ocean. We took it easy and just puttered around.

Along the way we saw an impressive boat – a 60 Sunreef Power Meow. It’s a dual engine catamaran design with a length of 60 feet and a beam of more than 27 feet. It has a range of 3,000 nautical miles!

Sunreef Power Meow

Catamaran hull design

We cruised back across Mariner’s Basin and beached the boat near the Bayside Walk at San Gabriel Place. We set the anchor in the sandy beach and disembarked. It was a short walk to the Beachcomber Bar on Mission Boulevard. We snagged the last remaining table and ordered a round of drinks and talked while we waited for the Stiers Brothers band to set up.

While they were setting up, I talked to one of the guitar players – there are two guitarists – they’re brothers and both play excellent rhythm and lead guitar. I asked him if it was the same band that played in the area in the ’70s. He said it was more like the ’80s. Then he said unless you mean playing at backyard parties and keggers – we did that in ’70s and moved on to clubs and bars in the ’80s. Yep, that was what I meant and they were still at it.

Stiers Bros

They played a wide variety of music – you can imagine the repertoire they’ve acquired over the years. They still attract a younger crowd – the bar was full of people of all ages.

A younger crowd

Donna and me enjoying the music

Just before the music started, I asked Gary if he had checked the tide tables. He hadn’t. I looked it up on my smartphone. The tide was receding and low tide would be at 6:50pm. It was a little after 4pm. Gary and I went back to the beach and the boat was stuck in the sand. We were able to reset the anchor and push the boat into a little deeper water. I think if we had left it where it was, by the time we left the Beachcomber it would’ve been high and dry and difficult if not impossible to get it off of the beach.

A couple of interesting shirts at the Beachcomber

We left around 6:30pm after the band’s long first set. We had to get the boat gassed up and back to the boat club by 7:30pm. It was a good time on the bay and the band at the Beachcomber was great.

Today Donna is flying to Gillette, Wyoming where she’ll be the keynote speaker at a women’s expo tomorrow. She should be back home late tomorrow night. The forecast calls for clear, sunny skies but cooler weather with the high in the low 70s. I don’t think Donna will enjoy 70 degrees and sunny skies in Gillette. Apparently, they had a foot of snowfall just a few days ago!



WinCo, Rain and Wind

After writing my post on Monday, I rode the Spyder to my new favorite grocery store. I went to WinCo Foods a few miles away from here on Southern Avenue at Power Road. I first shopped at a WinCo store in Washington when my daughter, Alana, took us there. WinCo is an employee-owned business with stores in eight western states. They have a great selection of groceries in clean stores with great prices. The history of the company is interesting – you can read about it here.

I wanted to get a few things at the store, then cover the Spyder before the rain started. Right on cue, the rain came around 1:30pm. It rained off and on all afternoon and into the night, with heavy showers at times.

We still had a few showers lingering on Tuesday morning. Donna had a physical therapy appointment for her shoulder – she injured it ice skating when we were in Santa Fe last fall. Her appointment was at 11:20am and the rain stopped falling around 10am. We were thinking it was only a mile and a half or so to the therapist’s office and Donna felt like walking there. By the time I finally got around to mapping it out, I found it was actually 3.3 miles and would take at least 45 minutes to walk there – it was too late to walk and make the appointment.

I rode the Spyder and dropped Donna off at the corner of Brown and 80th. It was a mile and a half walk from there and she wanted to walk. While I was out, I made a stop at CVS to buy wine for Donna – they have a great sale on Lindemann’s Pinot Noir. The nearest CVS had sold out of the wine, so I went a few miles down Ellsworth to the next store. It seems like there’s a CVS Pharmacy every two or three miles around here. I bought the last four bottles they had.

I parked the Spyder and came inside and was surprised by the crack of thunder. Rain started pouring down!  It was still raining at noon when Donna sent me a text telling me she would walk back to the park. I told her it was raining here. She was west of our location and told me the rain had already passed and was moving east. She was confident it would move on before she got here. She was right, but only barely as the next round of showers started as soon as she arrived here.

Donna spent the afternoon working on a project she’s been thinking about. She has a greeting card company that caters to professional organizers (Organized Greetings). Ten years ago, we had boxes of cards on shelves in the garage and Donna would fulfill orders from our home. Later, she changed her business from stocking cards to a print-on-demand model fulfilled by Cafe Press.

Now she’s offering the organizing cartoons featured in her greeting cards under license to professional organizers for use in blogs, newsletters, and social media. I spent most of the evening formatting the cartoons and watermarking them so she could put up samples.

Donna made garlic and lemon roasted chicken thighs with oranges in her cast iron skillet – she started out pan frying on the induction cooktop, then finished it in the convection oven. Served with sweet potato and green bean’s it was a delicious meal.

Chicken thighs with sweet potato and green beans

We watched the president’s address to congress on TV. I thought Donald Trump gave a great speech, very Reaganesque with a message of confidence and prosperity ahead.

On Wednesday morning, the rain was just a memory as we had blue skies and a dry landscape. It was breezy though. I played in the 3.0-3.5 round robin pickleball match and got 10 games in – the windy conditions made it tricky and we switched sides of the court at six points. Then I made a quick run to Costco to buy Keurig coffee K-cups. It seems odd to many people to go to Costco for one or two items, but sometimes it’s worth it to me. Costco is nearby and you can’t beat the price for K-cups.

In the afternoon, I went through Donna’s greeting cartoons again and standardized the format for electronic fulfillment. The original formatting seemed haphazard with different resolution settings and sizing of the images. Then I kicked back and read a book outside in the sunshine.

Today we woke up to clear skies with no threat of rain in the forecast, but it’s windy. I would guess we have gusts up to 25mph – it’s enough to feel it in the coach. The funny thing is – the weather forecast calls for gusty winds tonight and tomorrow. No mention of the wind gusts we had overnight or the current gusty conditions. I checked three weather forecasts and all said the same thing – gusty winds later today and tomorrow. Hey, take a look out the window!



Face Down Under the Sink

I usually write my posts first thing in the morning. Not this time – I’m writing at 4:30pm on Friday afternoon. If you read on, you’ll understand why.

We’re really enjoying our time here at Viewpoint RV & Golf Resort. The people here are so friendly and it seems like everyone is active. They have two golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools and five pickleball courts. On Thursday, I walked up to our mailbox which is next to a baseball field and saw a ladies softball team practicing. The coach was hitting balls as they did infield drills. They were looking good – most of these women put my arm to shame as they threw to first base.

Ladies softball practice

Donna rode her bicycle over to our friend Lana’s house to help her with organizing some stuff stored in a guest room. While she was away, I took care of a couple of maintenance items. One thing that was overdue was replacement of the filter on our purified water spout on the sink.

Rick at the RV Water Filter Store told me I should be good for two to three years on this filter since we have two-stage filtration for all of the water coming into the coach. This additional filter adds bacteriostatic filtration and is supposed to be good for 1500 gallons of water. We only use the purified water spout for the coffee maker and cooking, so we don’t run much water through it. I’ve been putting off the replacement because I remember what a chore it was last time I did it.

The filter is mounted under our kitchen sink. It has quick release fittings attaching it inline to the PEX lines plumbing the spout. The quick release fittings make removal a snap – but installing the replacement wasn’t so easy.

Purified water filter – that’s the sink drain pipe in the foreground

Removing the filter is a one-handed affair. I just pull the collar back on the fitting and pull the PEX away from the filter. The replacement filter I had didn’t come with the fittings. You can get it with or without the fittings. I figure it’s simple to remove the fittings from the old filter and install them in the new one and save a few bucks.

Old filter on top, new below

A 9/16″ wrench was all it takes – plus some teflon tape to seal the threads.

The issue with getting the new filter attached is the sink drain pipe. It prevents me from being able to reach in with both hands – one to hold the filter and one to pull the collar back on the quick release fitting to attach it to the PEX plumbing.

Instead of beating my head against the sink pipe and stretching arms to limit, I tried another approach. I took off my glasses and put my head – face down – under the sink drain pipe. Then I visualized the task with my eyes closed and tactiley worked the quick disconnect fittings. It took a couple of attempts, but I got it done!

After that my only maintenance chore for the day was to dump and flush our tanks. I dumped the tanks when we arrived last Wednesday. On Saturday I was surprised when I heard a gurgling sound coming from the kitchen sink while the clothes washer was running. This sound is an indicator of a full holding tank. I immediately dumped the gray water tank.

The tank was nearly full judging by the time it took to drain. What I didn’t know at the time was Donna had done at least seven loads of laundry – catching up from our time at RV Renovators. This alone accounts for 70+ gallons of gray water. So, I’m keeping a close eye on the gray water tank.

Friday morning I headed out early for the 3.0 to 3.5 round robin pickleball match at 8am. Donna came to the courts around 9:15 for open play. Once again I was a glutton for punishment and played 11 games over three hours on the courts. I’m feeling it now.

Pickleball courts

It was noon by the time we came home. After lunch, Donna headed out for another grocery shopping run. After she returned, I rode the Spyder to Lucky Lou’s for happy hour with the guys. We firmed up our plans for the NHRA drag races at Wildhorse Pass raceway – formerly Firebird Raceway. I’ll be up early again tomorrow as Mike Hall and Ray Laehu will pick me up at 7am. So that makes two early mornings in a row without a chance to write a post. We’ll spend the day at the races.

A cold front is stalled in the area. It got cold overnight – it was 39 outside when we woke up this morning and 51 in the coach. Today we had clear sunny skies, but the temperature only reached the low 60s. The same is forecast for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the middle of next week when the forecast calls for upper 70s!


Enormous Pot Pie

The weather remains a topic of discussion as we’ve had more wet days again this week. Three quarters of an inch of rain fell in the last seven days. On average, January is the second wettest month in San Diego with a total of two inches of rain. We’re well on our way to exceed that average. February is the wettest month with an average rainfall of two and half inches.

We had some rain Monday morning, but it cleared up in the afternoon. I borrowed Sini’s car and drove over to Dan Diego’s for a cold one with the guys around 4pm. The parking lot at Dan Diego’s was empty and the sign by the door said “Closed.” I knew they changed their hours after the New Year, but I didn’t remember them closing on Mondays.

I went down the street to the Offshore Tavern and Grill and saw the guys at the bar there. I mentioned Dan Diego’s being closed and they told me that was news to them, they were about to go there. I looked up Dan Diego’s hours on my phone and it showed it open at 3:30pm on Mondays. I called Dan Diego’s and the owner, Ryan, answered. I asked him if he was open – he said, “Yeah, but the place is empty.” I told him he should check his sign! We went to Dan Diego’s for a cold one before the Alabama vs Clemson NCAA National Championship game.

I came home and tuned in the game at 5pm. Donna went out for dinner with her sister, Sheila and her nephew Connor. They went to Sushi Ota – where they serve the best sushi I’ve ever had. Donna brought home a spicy tuna roll and some nigiri for me – yummy!

As our time here is winding down, I’m looking forward to dry, sunny days in the forecast ahead, beginning Friday. I’ll need to organize the trailer and move things like our folding chairs, Weber grill and Traeger smoker/grill over to the trailer. Here at Mission Bay RV Resort, we have to leave our trailer in the overflow lot outside of the RV park.

Donna reorganized an overhead bin in the coach where she stores snacks. She used to have opaque plastic containers with lids that snap on and off. She labeled the containers so we would know what’s inside. The thing is, the labels are pretty generic and we would often forget about a particular snack inside.

Old container with generic label

She found a set of Oxo clear plastic containers with pop-up lids at Costco. She moved the snacks into these containers and now we can see at a glance what we have on hand. She’s planning to go back and get two more sets for other pantry items!

Clear Oxo containers

I repurposed the old opaque containers and used them to organize some odds and ends in one of the basement compartments. I had a few loose bicycle tools and lubes. Now instead of digging around in the compartment to find things, I can just pull out the container.

Tuesday, Donna and I went to Pacific Beach Recreation Center and played pickleball for a couple of hours. I’m going to miss the pickleball and the people we’ve made friends with at the rec center over the last three winters. We’ll find pickleball courts in Mesa, Arizona – our next destination.

On Tuesday evening, Donna cooked a chicken pot pie that she bought at Costco. Like almost everything at Costco, this was the biggest pot pie I’ve ever seen – it was over five pounds! We invited Tom and Kris Downey over to join us for dinner – they were the ones who told us about the pot pies made fresh at Costco. The four of us ate about two thirds of the pot pie – we have about two servings left over. It was tasty and I’m looking forward to reheating the leftovers for lunch!

Sini has to leave the RV park today. She’ll head up to Temecula with her son Beau. They plan to spend the night at a casino there and also visit an RV shop to get a quote on new flooring. She’ll be back tomorrow. This will be her first solo run. Although Beau is with her, he doesn’t have experience driving their 37-foot National Tradewinds motorhome. I’m sure she’ll be fine.

Speaking of returning, I posted earlier about the neighbor who left her bike in our site before Christmas. Her bike is still here. Yesterday I went to the office and asked if they could look up the person that was in site 114 and left on December 22nd. I told them about the bike and said I was leaving on Sunday and needed to figure out what to do with the bike. I only knew the woman’s first name, Lindis. They remembered her and looked up her info. We learned that she came back to the RV park two days ago. I’ll clean and lube the chain on the bike – it’s rusty – and return it to her today.

Rolling on the River

After lunch, we loaded up the Spyder with our floaties, pump and other gear to float the Boise River Monday. We rode the Spyder to the take-out point at Ann Morrison Park. I pumped up our floaties and we waited for the bus to take us a little over five miles east to the launch point at Barber Park.

Map of the floaters' route

Map of the floaters’ route

The bus pulled up right on time for the 1pm run. The bus picks up river floaters at the top of the hour from 1pm to 5pm. It was an old Bluebird bus with a rear door and storage area in the back where seats had been removed.

Ancient Bluebird bus

Ancient Bluebird bus

The bus ride costs three dollars per person. It was about a 20-minute ride to Barber Park. We debated whether we should lash our floaties together so we wouldn’t get separated, but decided we could hang together with our paddles.

Our gear ready to go

Our gear ready to go

Donna entered first around 1:30pm. I was immediately hung up as I got on my floatie in shallow water. The current started taking Donna downriver while I sorted myself out. I was able to catch her after a few minutes and thought it would be best if I held her floatie so we wouldn’t become separated. The current moved at a pretty good clip – I estimated our speed at about 3mph.

Donna ready to launch

Donna ready to launch

After a few minutes, we could hear the sound of rapids ahead. We watched as a raft with four people suddenly plunged a couple feet down and bounced on the water. We were in for a ride and our first splash. We were glad we brought paddles as the current would often push us toward the bank where we might get hung up on roots or low branches. Paddling with my right arm and holding us together with my left was giving my arms and shoulders a workout. We only hit the bank one time and I was able to push off with my feet.

We could float with the current effortlessly at times, but most of the time we were paddling to stay in the channel. We hit one section of low water and I dragged over a few river rocks, but no harm done. It was challenging at times when we approached small islands and had to decide which side was the best passage. The current would speed up over shallow areas with several areas of sudden drops over gravel bars where would splash and bob in the choppy current. The deeper water moved more slowly.

The water temperature was reported to be 58 degrees, but it didn’t feel that cold. The air temperature was over 80 degrees. We pulled out at Ann Morrison Park at 3:30pm. After I got out of the water and started deflating our floaties, I was chilled. Two hours of floating with my backside in cold water caught up with me.

We came home to a hot shower and got ready for visitors. A long-time subscriber to Donna’s organizing newsletter contacted Donna. She lives in Boise and wanted to meet up for dinner. Her name is Allie – she and her husband Rod came over just before 6pm. Donna gave them a short tour of our place, then we piled into their BMW X5 SUV and went downtown for dinner.

We went to 10 Barrel Brewing near Freak Alley. We loved 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. I knew they had another place in Portland, but I didn’t know they were in Boise as well. Rod and Allie don’t drink beer, but picked this place mostly because they knew I did and the food is good.

Rod, Allie and Donna

Rod, Allie and Donna

Once again, good food and great conversation made the time fly. Before we knew it, it was 9pm. Allie generously picked up the tab. Thanks, Allie! We were tired from our day on the water and Rod and Allie dropped us off back at Mountain View RV Park. It’s always nice to meet people on the road and for Donna it was the opportunity to meet face to face with one of her readers.

Today we’re thinking about a trip to the Basque Museum and Basque food for lunch. Later we’ll get together with Dina and Mike again for dinner at their place. Tomorrow will be a travel day as we’re planning to head for Wyoming.


Hot Days and Sad News

My last post mentioned a change at the Phon D Sutton recreation area on the Salt River in the Tonto National Forest. This recreation area was open to self-contained RVs for overnight stays – no hook-ups provided. It required a pass which cost six dollars per night.  That changed and it is now open for day use only.

Donna said the place really deteriorated and was in need of general maintenance. When RVers were there, we watched out for each other and bagged our trash and used the dumpsters. Now, the day-use visitors leave beer cans and trash all around the parking lot. We wondered why it changed. Our friend, Emily Fagan, already researched the issue and wrote about it in this post. The area definitely isn’t being managed with the public interest in mind. Something’s rotten in the Tonto National Forest. By the way,  the header photo for my blog was taken by Mark Fagan at Phon D Sutton.

On Monday night, Donna made yet another new dish. She prepared wild Alaskan cod fillets steamed in parchment paper with orange juice, asparagus and fresh tarragon. This was a tasty dish – the fish was so tender and yummy.

Fisk filet steamed with asparagus and terragon in parchment

Fish fillet steamed with asparagus and tarragon in parchment

Great combination

Great combination

Tuesday morning at the pickleball courts I heard some sad news. Our pickleball friends, Howard and Nancy, left the park on Saturday to head home to Arkansas. Howard was driving the motorhome with his 92-year-old mother-in-law in the passenger seat. His wife Nancy was following in their car. Somewhere near Tucson, the motorhome went off I-10 and crashed down a steep embankment. Howard and his mother-in-law had to be airlifted to Tucson. I was told he had a broken back. His mother-in-law also broke her back and both legs. I don’t know anything else about the accident. I searched online to see if I could find any more information, but couldn’t come up with anything. We’re wishing the best for them and hope they make a full recovery.

After pickleball on Tuesday, I had a delivery. The two Suncast cabinets I ordered arrived. I assembled the cabinets and mounted them on the wall in the trailer beside the cabinets I had installed earlier. Now I have two cabinets on each side. I used the same Munchkin Xtraguard latches I used on the first cabinet installation to keep the doors closed

Suncast cabinets mounted side-by-side

Suncast cabinets mounted side-by-side

After installing the cabinets, I spent the rest of the day relaxing and reading. The thermometer hit 90 degrees, so reading indoors with the air conditioners running was the way to go. Donna rode the Spyder to her piano lesson at 3:15pm. When she returned an hour later, I rode it to the store. It was not happy after a hot start in this heat. Apparently the refineries haven’t switched to the summer blend gasoline.

Gasoline in the summer has lower volatility than winter blend fuel. The switch to summer blend gasoline is federally mandated from May 1st to September 15th. In high temperatures, the winter fuel can boil in the fuel lines, fuel rail or injectors. This can cause hard starting, rough running and stalling.

The Spyder starts fine, but if it sits for a short time after running at full temperature, it runs rough for a minute or two until the fuel vapor clears the injectors. I’m sure it’s a fuel issue – it has only happened when we have high ambient temperature. I don’t think there’s a fuel pressure or injector problem. The engine starts right away and only runs rough for a minute or so.  I think I’ll try a fuel additive to lower the fuel volatility.

Today the forecast calls for the temperature to reach the upper 90s here in Mesa, Arizona. It should cool down to the lower 80s by Friday.


*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to make a purchase, you pay the same price as usual and  I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!

Directing the Dolphin

I finally got started on a couple of easy projects yesterday after a couple of hours on the pickleball court in the morning. We had much cooler weather – the high temperature for the day was 67 degrees. That’s a drop of more than 20 degrees from the weekend. It stayed overcast and windy all afternoon and a few raindrops fell – not enough to wet the pavement though.

I went to Ace Hardware to pick up some 3/16″ rivets with long 1/2″ shanks. I wrote about my rivet repair in this post.  The rivets I used for that repair were a little short and didn’t hold well enough. I needed to replace them again. The longer shanks on the rivets I used this time should hold up fine.

I planned on buying some carabiner clips to secure the doors on the cabinets I installed in the trailer. The doors are set up for padlocks but I didn’t want to hassle with locks every time I wanted something in the cabinet. I thought a carabiner would work if I could find the right size. Donna had a different idea. She’s been working with Procter & Gamble’s PR firm. They sent her a package that included Tide PODS and a few gifts. One of the gifts is from a company called Munchkin – they make baby products. The product Donna received is a latch to secure cabinets, drawers and anything you wouldn’t want a toddler getting into. They’re called Munchkin Xtra Guard multi-use latches.

Munchkin Xtra Guard latch

Munchkin Xtra Guard latch

Donna received four latches – I used two on the cabinet doors and it looks like they’ll work perfectly. They’re easy to install – they have an adhesive backing that sticks to the door surface.

Xtra Guard latch on the trailer cabinet

Xtra Guard latch on the trailer cabinet

There’s a button on the top and bottom of the pads – holding these buttons in releases the latch. They should keep the doors closed while we roll down the road but it will still be easy to access the cabinets.

Latch released

Latch released

I decided to order two more of the Suncast cabinets to install in the trailer. I like the way they’re built and it will make it easier to store and access stuff.

I took a few measurements and installed D-rings to secure the Traeger wood pellet grill/smoker in the trailer. That was the extent of my projects for the day. Today I’ll add a few more D-rings to secure the ladders and a few other things.

Last week, I stopped at Seńor Taco and had the daily special – fish taco with rice, beans and soft drink for $5. Donna and I like fish tacos – we always have them when we’re in San Diego. Good fish tacos obviously need to be made with a good fish filet. Then it’s the sauce that makes them special. The Seńor Taco fish tacos are good.

Fish taco plate at Seńor Taco

Fish taco plate at Seńor Taco

On Monday afternoon, I rode the Spyder to the Sprouts store at Higley and Southern. Donna sent me there with a small shopping list. I bought two fresh tilapia filets, a lime, a jalapeńo pepper and an avocado. Donna already had the corn tortillas, cabbage and cilantro. She made blackened Baja fish tacos.

Donna's homemade fish taco plate

Donna’s homemade fish taco plate

She seasoned and pan fried the fish filets in a cast iron skillet. Her sauce was made from yogurt, jalapeńo pepper, lime juice and cilantro. Very tasty and we each had two big tacos for a total cost of about seven bucks!

Last night, Donna made a spring minestrone soup with chicken meatballs. The meatballs were made with ground chicken, panko bread crumbs, minced scallions and garlic, egg, salt and pepper. Another tasty treat. We had leftovers for lunch and it was even better the second time around.

Spring minestrone

Spring minestrone with chicken meatballs

This morning when I rode my bicycle home from pickleball, I found a motorhome blocking our street. It was a 34-foot National Dolphin. I carefully went around the front of it where there was about three feet of clearance. Once I went around it, I saw a woman sitting on the steps in the doorway of the coach smoking a cigarette. I stopped and she said, “I’m wedged in here.”

I looked back and saw what she meant. Apparently she was pulling out of her site and turning left. She didn’t account for the swingout of the rear and the last basement door on the right rear was hard against a palm tree.

After looking at it, I told her she needed to crank the steering wheel full left and slowly back up. She was afraid of causing more damage. I told her it will scrape at first, then swing away from the tree. She did as I said and was able to reverse back into her site. Then I had her go forward and angle to the right to pull into an empty site across the street from her. Once she pulled halfway into the site, I had her reverse again and crank the wheel to the left. I guided her back then told her to stop, crank the wheel right and come forward. She was in the street now heading in the opposite direction of the way she first tried to go. It didn’t matter – it’s a short street and either direction will take you to the park exit. With a wave and a thanks, she was on her way.

She was alone and driving a motorhome into or out of a tight space without guidance isn’t easy. Although her coach was only 34 feet long, the National Dolphin is gas powered and the chassis has a lot of rear overhang. The longer the distance from the rear axle to the rear of the coach, the greater the amount of swingout.

We should see a high temperature of about 70 degrees today with partly cloudy skies and a gentle breeze. Very comfortable. This evening we plan to meet up with my friend from high school, Andy King, and his wife Donna for sushi.


*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to make a purchase, you pay the same price as usual and  I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!

Trailer Project – Part Two

After Donna proofread my post yesterday, she headed out on the Spyder to meet her friend Julia in Scottsdale. It was about a 20-mile ride each way. It was Donna’s first time riding the Spyder on the freeway – she took the loop 202 to the 101 to Old Town Scottsdale. They had lunch and visited at Arcadia Farms Cafe on east 1st Avenue. Donna thought very highly of the restaurant – food, service, ambiance. What more can you ask for?

When she came home, she told me she felt a vibration in the footpegs at ~5,100 rpm at 70 mph. Donna is pretty sensitive to these things and always tells me to see if I think there’s a problem.

I spent the afternoon working on the trailer while Donna was away. I wanted to get the SteepGrade bike rack installation figured out and finalized. I don’t have any affiliation with this company – Donna found them online and although not inexpensive, it looked like a good fit for us. With our new 8.5-foot wide trailer, I have room to secure the bicycles on the floor across the trailer. A little work with a tape measure had me visualizing how it could work.

I like to balance the load in the trailer as much as possible. This means some heavy stuff needs to be in front of the axles to offset weight behind the axles. Side-to-side weight is also a consideration. I think I have it pretty well sussed-out at this point. We have three bicycles – two road bikes and my mountain bike. They will travel just ahead of the axles cross-ways in the trailer. There’s enough room for me to walk past the bikes on the right side of the trailer to access the rear portion when needed. The SteepGrade racks mount the front fork with the wheel removed. The wheel is then fastened to a holder that fits over the top tube of the bike. This makes for a compact arrangement of the bikes. I needed to add some D-rings to the trailer to attach the tie-downs for the bikes.

D-rings and tape measure - measure twice

D-rings and tape measure – measure twice

I used one-inch self-drilling screws to attach the D-rings to the steel wall studs in the trailer.

This is how they'll ride

This is how they’ll ride

I think I’ll put a furniture pad over the bike in the center to prevent damage if they should move about as we travel down the road.


I wouldn’t want them to contact each other

This photo shows how the system works.

The set up on my Specialized Crave mountain bike

The set up on my Specialized Crave mountain bike

I also installed tie-down points for the rear of the Spyder. The front wheels will be fastened to the flush-mount rings that came with the Interstate car hauler trailer.

Meanwhile I’d treated the burn on my right leg – see yesterday’s post – with 100% aloe vera gel. It seems to be helping. Hopefully this doesn’t turn into any kind of a big deal.

I rode the Spyder to Red, White and Brew after Donna came home. I made a pass at 5,100 rpm at 70 mph to check out the vibration she felt. The Spyder is powered by a Rotax 998cc 60-degree V-twin engine. This layout is inherently unbalanced. The narrow 60-degree layout makes for a compact front-to-rear dimension – which is good for a motorcycle. Rotax compensates for the imbalance by employing counter-balance shafts in the engine. However, counter-balance shafts can’t eliminate all vibrations at all engine speeds. There will always be certain engine speeds that result in vibration. In my opinion, the foot peg vibration Donna felt at 5,100 rpm is a normal result of the inherent imbalance of a 60-degree V-twin engine.

Donna prepared turmeric chicken thighs for dinner. This is a dish she’s prepared before. This time she felt like the spice was missing its usual kick. The chicken was still tasty – just not the same as before. After thinking about it, she realized that she’s had that bottle of spice for 3-4 years – time for some fresh spice! In the future she’ll buy turmeric in smaller quantities.

3_23dnrplTimeric chicken with rice and asparagus

Turmeric chicken with rice and asparagus

Today we’ll have another typical March day in central Arizona with temperatures reaching 80 degrees. After pickleball, I’ll continue work on the trailer. I have a couple of other projects that I need to attend to before we leave here.

Last Weekend in Santa Fe

We’re not in Santa Fe anymore but I need to catch up on our last weekend there. On Saturday, Donna and I rode the scooter to the farmers’ market down by the Railyard Park. We originally planned to ride the bus, but took the scooter instead to save time. It was nearly noon by the time we got there and the market closes at 1pm. We were surprised at the size of the market – this is a big farmers’ market. We’d only been through about half of the vendors when some of them began breaking down their displays around 12:30pm. Donna bought a small bag of roasted Hatch chiles.

I was hungry and hoped to find tamales or street tacos for lunch, but the food vendors were sold out. We thought about stopping at the Second Street Brew Pub, but the food was overpriced and I didn’t want to have a beer that early before riding the scooter home.

We headed back south on Cerrillos Road and stopped at a Mexican restaurant called Los Potrillos. The salsas they provided with a bowl of chips were outstanding and I knew we were in for a good meal.

Tres salsa and chips

Tres salsa and chips

I had the enchilada suizas plate and Donna had chicken enchiladas con mole. It was delicious and we took home leftovers.

We made another stop to buy a whole chicken. Donna had invited our neighbors – the ones with the medium-duty truck in my last post – Audrey and Steve – to join us for dinner. Around 5pm, I fired up the Traeger smoker/grill and roasted the whole chicken which Donna prepared by lightly coating it with olive oil, salt and pepper. After about 75 minutes, my new Palermo instant read thermometer showed an internal temperature of 175 degrees. I turned down the Traeger to the smoke setting and basted the chicken with a barbeque sauce Donna had whipped up from scratch. Ten minutes later, we had a nicely roasted barbeque chicken.

Roasted barbeque chicken

Roasted barbeque chicken

I cut the chicken into quarters. This worked out well since Donna and Audrey preferred the leg/thigh quarters while Steve and I took the wing/breast quarters. Donna served it with fresh steamed green beans and cheesy cauliflower biscuits. Audrey contributed mashed potatoes and a couple of bottles of wine.

Chicken dinner plate

Chicken dinner plate

We sat together at the table outside and talked for a few hours. At one point Audrey said, “Look, you have a praying mantis on your back.” The praying mantis climbed up my neck onto my head. Donna snapped a couple of photos. I don’t think I’ve ever had a praying mantis land on me before.

Praying mantis walking up my neck

Praying mantis walking up my neck

Praying mantis perched on my head

Praying mantis perched on my head

We talked well into the night and finally went indoors after 10pm. Audrey and Steve planned to pull out of Santa Fe Sunday morning.

On Sunday morning, we said our goodbyes to Audrey and Steve. I watched the Formula One race from Singapore, then proceeded to be a couch potato for the rest of the day watching NFL football. Donna went out for one last bike ride on the Santa Fe trails.

The entire time we were in Los Suenos de Santa Fe RV park, there was a 45-foot Beaver Patriot Thunder parked two sites away from us. The Beaver Patriot Thunder is a high-end motorhome with lots of features including powerful engine options. This one had a 15-liter 525 horsepower Caterpillar engine. The thing that piqued my curiosity was the fact that we never saw anyone enter or leave the coach for nine straight days. It was hooked up to water, sewer and electricity and the AC was running, but it just sat there empty. This seems like an awfully expensive way to store a coach.

On Monday morning, I heard the rumble of a large diesel engine running. It was the Beaver. There were two guys walking around the coach, putting away hoses and disconnecting the electricity. There were two cars – one behind the coach and one next to it by our site. The older of the two guys got behind the wheel of the Beaver and drove away followed by the younger man in a Volkswagen GTI. They left the second car – a Porsche Cayman GT4 behind. Curious again. Why did they come in separate cars and leave the $85,000 Porsche behind?

Porsche Cayman GT4 left behind

Porsche Cayman GT4 left behind

I took my time packing our trailer and getting ready for the road. We had a short trip planned and I didn’t need to leave the park before the 11am check-out time. Donna had the interior packed early and walked over to the Ross store to buy a skirt she saw there the day before and decided to go back for. She came back just as I fired up the Cummins ISL. The Porsche was still in the empty site hours after the Beaver pulled out.

Our plan was to head down to Albuquerque where we will stay for two nights at the Sandia Casino & Resort. They have free overnight parking in their RV lot. Our route took us south down NM14 which is also known as the Cedar Crest Scenic Byway or Turquoise Trail. It was a pleasant drive. We went through a few old mining towns. I wanted to stop in Madrid – the town featured in the movie Wild Hogs. The town is quaint, but the road through town is very narrow and there’s no place to park a big rig. We drove slowly through and continued on our way. We turned west at the junction of I-40.

I knew there was a Pilot/Flying J travel center off I-40. I programmed it into the GPS and stopped there for fuel. Then I programmed the Sandia Casino as my destination. I should have studied the map. The Pilot/Flying J is about six miles past the casino, near the High Desert RV park which is our next destination.

We found a nice spot at the back of the RV lot at the Sandia Casino. We have a view of mountains to the east and the city in the valley to our west. Donna and I went into the casino where we were given $25 gift cards to play the slots since we’re first-time visitors. Afterwards, we had a beer at one of the casino bars. Then we checked in with security and they gave us a pass for up to four nights of free parking.

We had rain overnight and there’s more rain in the forecast. If the weather clears, we may take the tram up to Sandia Crest which is a 10,000-foot high viewpoint. If the low clouds hang all day though, the tram ride will not be worth it.

By the way, Donna’s doing a book giveaway and today (September 22nd) is the last day you can download her Kindle book, Secrets of Professional Organizer’s Volume I for free at Amazon. Grab your free copy and help her reach her goal of getting listed in the Top 100 Free Kindle Books by the end of the day!


King Tide

In yesterday’s post, I said we’ve managed to avoid the holiday shopping crowd. I spoke too soon. We had to buy some supplies for Christmas dinner, which we’ll prepare at my step-dad’s house in Menifee.

Our first stop was Costco – I wrote a little history of the Costco #401 on Morena Boulevard in this post. We pulled into the parking lot at 11am. I thought that 11am on a Monday should avoid the worst of it. I thought wrong – the parking lot was an absolute zoo.

Gridlock in the Costco parking lot

Gridlock in the Costco parking lot

I didn’t try to park close to the store. I pulled into the row closest to the boulevard. After a couple of slow laps, I found a car pulling out and snagged a spot. We only needed a few items, most important of which was the spiral cut ham. I also picked up a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne for Donna in anticipation of New Year’s dinner at Hidden Shores. We were in and out in a reasonable amount of time despite the crowd.

From there, we drove north to the shopping center at Nobel Drive. Again, the parking area had a lot of traffic, but there were plenty of spaces if you didn’t try to get too close to the stores. Donna went to Trader Joe’s while I walked to Cost Plus World Market. I replenished my supply of Tomolives there – they have them for $2.99 for an eight-ounce jar. This price is as good as anything I’ve seen online and there’s no shipping expense.

Donna had a coffee date with the author of The Homeless Hero, Lee Silber. Lee ended up cancelling – he couldn’t miss out on the high surf. We’re having a condition known as King Tide in San Diego. King Tide occurs when the sun and moon are in a certain alignment. The additional gravitational pull this creates results in very high and extreme low tides. This is accompanied by large waves. Yesterday, the swell was six to eight feet out of the southwest. This made great surfing conditions for experienced surfers.

The King Tide was made even more enjoyable for the surfers with clear, sunny skies and air temperatures in the 70s. Pretty hard to beat, right?

I spent some time working in the trailer. I deflated and packed up our Sea Eagle 370 inflatable kayak. I cleaned the trailer up a bit, but I still have much to do before it’s ready for travel.

I took a walk through the park after I left the trailer. I saw a rig that I don’t believe I’ve seen before. It was a camper on a pick-up truck with a driver’s side slide-out! I don’t think I’ve seen a camper with a slide-out before. These days everything has to have a slide-out I guess.

Truck camper wide slide-out

Truck camper with slide-out

Last night Donna prepared a simple dish of spicy Italian chicken sausage with a red wine sauce over whole wheat spaghetti. I enjoyed the plate with a bottle of Stone IPA while I watched Monday Night Football. The Cincinnati Bengals secured a playoff spot by intercepting Peyton Manning four times en route to a 37-28 victory.

Simple dish with IPA for Monday Night Football

Simple dish with IPA for Monday Night Football

We have beautiful weather in store once again today. The King Tide continues. I might take a ride to the beach and check out the surfers before I get to it in the trailer.