Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rolling Magic, our new motorhome!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho it's a new chapter in our RV adventures we go. Yes I been absent for awhile not posting because 2013 has just been crazy! Yes we had some camping trips that I did not post, but yes we did do some travelling

One trip I want at least mention was that  I attended the 2013 Burning Man event at Black Rock City with the Tioga.

The Tioga did a great job helping us live comfortably in the Nevada Desert during our stay at Black Rock City.  The whole Burning Man experience was awesome! I went with two friends and made a few more while I was there. I highly recommend that you attend the Burning Man Event at least once in your life.

My Burning Man buddies Jennifer and Liz

Any way in October Jean and I went to the Southern California RV Show at the Pomona Fairplex to go look at all the new RV's at the show. Jean wanted to go with me to be sure I was not going to buy another new rig, but the plan changed.

I wanted to go to the show to go look at a motorhome that I was interested in, but when I looked at it I was not satisfied on what I saw. So we went to the Mike Thompson RV section at the show to see what they had there. One of sales persons from Mike Thompson had suggested a model that we should look at.

It was the Forest River FR3 30DS Class A Motorhome. Well we started to examine the outside and then the inside and we discovered that it had a floor plan we really liked plus it had all kinds of additional options included.

We sat inside it for awhile and really felt good. It was very comfortable and it just seem to fit. We looked at each other and said let's get it, and before we knew it we were signing papers and became the owners to a new motorhome.

On November 2, Jean and I traveled to Mike Thompson to go pick up our new motorhome and turn in the Tioga Ranger as trade. After a few more changes on the paperwork we were on the road heading home with our new FR3!

We call our new rig Rolling Magic or Romi, and we are looking forward to future camping trips with our FR3.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Arizona February Travels 2013

So why...read on!

Once again we hit the road with our RV for another adventure to Arizona. Our plan had many destinations; the Arizona Renaissance Faire near Apache Junction, a visit with my cousin Louie, a small concrete job for a friend in Wickenburg and a rendezvous with my buddy Mike and his wife Jennifer at Joshua Tree National Park.

We departed on Wednesday in the late afternoon and drove to our first stop - Chiriaco Summit. Any time we plan to head towards Arizona, we usually try and make this location to spend the night before we cross the state line. I have previously mentioned why we  stay the night at Chiriaco Summit on some of my other posts. (see Quartzsite)

Thursday: The next morning we got up, had breakfast at the Summit Cafe and headed to my cousin Louie's house in Peoria, AZ. At my cousin Louie's, it  was going to be an overnight stay, because we were going to camp at the KOA in the city of Apache Junction for a few days. 

Any time we stay at my cousin Louie's, one of it's advantages is he lives really close to Cabela's Outfitters. Oh I should also mention that Jean like the idea of going to Cabela's because there's a Cracker Barrel restaurant next door. 

KOA, Apache Junction
Friday: Over the years when we visit the Faire we have stayed at local hotels to  be close to the event. Now that we have a motorhome we now stayed at the KOA at Apache Junction. The KOA campground is not far from the faire, which makes it a good base location while visiting. This will be our second year camping at the Apache Junction KOA. When we arrived to the campground we were assigned a good spot under a large Mesquite tree, which provided some nice shade.

Sunday: For the past ten years we have traveled to the Arizona Renaissance Faire near Apache Junction. The first time we attended the faire was by accident. We were staying at a condo in Fountain Valley, picked up a local paper to find something to do and saw an advertisement for the Faire. That caught our interest and we were glad that we went. Now we try and make it an annual event to go to the faire!


Why? The Faire offers a Pleasure Feast where you get a delicious 5 course meal, some really great entertainment and a souvenir ceramic goblet. (We now have 20 goblets).We always make it part of our visit at the faire to be part of the feast. If you every decide to attend the faire, I highly suggest you get tickets to the Feast, it's a lot of fun and a raucous event!
Just cause I like Belly Dancers - Arizona Renaissance Faire
Great entertainment at the Arizona Renaissance Faire...Clan Tynker
The Queen came by for a visit at the Feast
Lady Jean Marie and the Notorious El Feo...

Pyrate's and Gypsies at the Renaissance Faire

Monday:After our stay at Apache Junction and visiting the Renaissance Faire we headed back to Peoria, AZ., to spend another night at my cousin Louie's before  traveling to Wickenburg.

Tuesday: Our next destination on our trip is Wickenburg Arizona. We planned  to stay a few days with my Old Chief Ranger and friend Ken and his wife Susanne. We were going to driveway camp at their home while we stayed there. 

Last year when we stayed at Ken's,  I made the remark about the broken up porch for his backdoor. His wife Susanne said, "well then you need to come back next year and fix it".  Of course I said I would and and that was the plan to fix the porch.

When we arrived I first started setting up the Motorhome for our stay. After that  I went right to work setting up the forms for the porch. The plan was to pour the concrete on Thursday because of a storm that was moving through Tuesday night and Wednesday. Sure enough the weather did get cold and on Wednesday it tried to snow. The cold weather didn't deter us from hanging out in town, we still manged to make to the Hog Trough for some delicious Ribs, and walk around the town to visit the various shops.

            The above photo was taken on Tuesday while I was setting forms for the porch concrete project.

Thursday: The day of the pour finally arrived and the concrete truck was scheduled to show up at 7:30 a.m. It was cold 28 degrees that morning and I was trying to figure out , while I was still half asleep,  how Susanne talk me into doing this. It has been awhile since I poured any concrete so this day was going to be interesting.

The Job..

Despite the cold weather the concrete did behave that morning and it allowed me to finish the project without any complications.The job actually came out looking really good. But wouldn't you know It, by evening it started to rain hard. We had gone to dinner and all I could think about was what kind of holes the rain was creating in the concrete porch. When  we finally made back to the residence, I was surprise to see that there were no craters or holes in the porch  The concrete had set enough during the day so the rain did not ruin it. 

The next morning I looked the project over and decided later that day I would be able to strip the forms from the porch.

Later that morning my friend Ken took me to get bowls of Menudo at a local restaurant in town. When we returned I stripped  the forms and the concrete porch came out looking good.

To celebrate Ken and I went to have a few drinks at the local Elks Lodge in Wickenburg. 

Wickenburg Elks Lodge

Saturday: On Saturday morning it was now time for us to move on to our next destination...Blue Water Casino, located in the city of Parker, AZ.

After a great breakfast that Ken had prepared, we packed up our rig and said our good-byes to Ken and Susanne and headed down the road toward Parker and the Blue Water Casino. 

From Wickenburg we took the Highway 60  and then took the Highway 72 cut off to Parker. We rolled into town around 2 p.m. 

While staying in Wickenburg I had made reservations at the Blue Water Casino for us to stay the night there so we could do a little gambling and have dinner in one of their restaurants

Since we got into town a little early, we stopped by the local Walmart to pick up a few RV supplies before we could check in at the Casino. While I was shopping at Walmart, Jean stayed behind in the RV and did some internet stuff.

The Bluewater Casino is RV friendly place. You can dry camp in their parking lot if you are passing through. But I guarantee you'll go inside and check the place out. They also have a RV Park there as well. See the link for more information about the BlueWater Casino.

Our view from the hotel room...Colorado River. That's California  we are looking at.


Sunday: Well I didn't make any money that evening, but I did have a good tasting Steak at the Casino. Jean enjoyed having an opportunity to take a bubble bath and do some relaxing in a hotel room.

Now on the road, today's plan was to travel to Black Rock Canyon Campground, located on the North West portion of Joshua Tree National Park. Actually the campground is near the city of Yucca Valley.

Black Rock Canyon campground is where we were to  link up with Mike and Jennifer and camp with them for a few days. From Parker we took Highway 62 all the way to Yucca Valley and the campground in the National Park.

Well we arrived early and found a nice campsite for us to stay. The site was somewhat uneven, but I managed to level off the RV for our time there. The campsite also had plenty of room for Mike to park his truck and set up their camp.

Our Camp, Black Rock Canyon

Eventually, Mike and Jennifer arrived to camp and began setting up their area for the stay. Within an hour we were already hiking around the area. We pointed toward a small hilltop and began walking and before long we had some nice views of the area.

Since we were close to the city of Joshua Tree, we decided to go into town and eat at the Crossroad Cafe. It has been awhile since we ate there and we all decided that would be fun to do.

When we got back from dinner at Joshua Tree we then examined the park map hiking trails and came up with a 7 mile loop hike for the next day. This would be the first time any of us have ever hiked in this part of the park. We were looking forward to seeing some new desert area.

Monday: It was a cool brisk morning, we all finished our breakfast and began preparing ourselves for the hike today.

By 10 a.m. we were off on our hike. Our trail started on the Black Rock Canyon Trail, then connecting to the Burnt Hill Trail and over a ridge connecting to the Eureka Peak Trail, next connecting on to the Short Loop Trail and then back to camp.

On the Burnt Hill Trail

The hiking party on the Eureka Peak Trail

Desert Travelers

By late afternoon we finally made it back to camp from our hike. The good part was we were all feeling pretty good. My feet were a little sore, but nothing to cry about. It was a good hike we took that day. 

Back at camp we started our dinners and kicked back to a nice campfire that evening, sharing stories and observations we had seen that day. Joshua Tree is truly a magical place to be.

Tuesday: Bummer, it was now time for us to start heading our separate ways back home. That morning we broke down camp, prepped the RV for travel and said our good-byes for now. We know that we will be seeing Mike and Jennifer again soon, but it's still not a pleasant thing to do with good friends.

The RV was ready to go and off we went back to our home in Thousand Oaks, California. This was again a fun adventure we took for the month of February and with many memories to enjoy.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quartzsite, Arizona 2013

Once again it was time for Jean and I  to travel and check out the annual RV Show and Big Tent at Quartzsite, Arizona.

Jean and I left on Wednesday afternoon first stopping at the Bass Pro in Rancho Cucamonga, California. At the Bass Pro we had dinner at the Islomorada  Restaurant and to spend a couple of hours to peruse the store. The plan was to wait awhile for the traffic congestion to lessen so we could have a smoother drive on the freeway to our next stop.

By 8 pm, we were finally on the road making good time and heading to our next destination - Chiriaco Summit.  Chiriaco Summit is a desert stop for truckers and tourists 
located at the summit on the I-10 Freeway route between Indio and Blythe in Southern CaliforniaYou can also find the General George Patton Museum there.

Chiriaco Summit allows truckers and RV's to spend the night while en-route with no charge. It's always a good stopping point for us when driving the Class C. We spent the night in the General Patton Museum parking lot.

On Thursday morning we had breakfast at the Chiriaco Summit Cafe and Gift Shop and eventually got on our way to Quartzsite.   http://www.chiriacosummit.com/

Tioga Ranger and Scout parked in the General Patton Museum

After leaving Chiriaco Summit it's an easy drive to Quartzsite and by 10 am we were setting up camp at Rose RV Park.


We were expecting some other friends to join us at our camp and by 4 pm they had all arrive. Camp was complete.

The next few days we spent exploring the RV Show and all the vendors located in the Big Tent and yes I did have a shopping list for RV stuff. Some of the items I purchased during our stay were: Battery Watering System, more LED lights,  Insect Furnace Screen, storage case for our RVi Braking System and manage to serviced our portable generator.

Jean and Susanne shopping at the Big Tent

At camp we had a pot luck dinner night and I planned to cook my Tamale Pie in my #12 Dutch Oven. Cooking was going well that evening until it started to rain, but rain or shine will not discourage me from cooking in my Dutch Oven. My solution was setting up my Class C awning and it made the difference. The Tamale Pie cooked and we had a great potluck dinner while enjoying the rain.

Like all trips ours was coming to and end, well almost. Everyone was leaving Sunday morning to head toward other locations including Jean and I. By 11 am (Arizona Time) we were all saying our goodbyes and heading in different directions. 

Our next destination was East Shore RV Park located San Dimas, California.

"East Shore RV Park is located on the banks of stream fed Puddingstone Lake, which is stocked with trout and bass several times a year for the fisherman. Bring your own boat or rent one to enjoy fishing, lake swimming, water skiing, sail boating or jet skiing on the Puddingston lake in Bonelli Regional County Park. Large county park within walking distance has picnicking, horseback riding rentals, 18 hole Mountain Meadows Golf Course, Raging Waters River Rides, Slides, hiking, bicycling trails and Hot tub rentals. Picnic areas to handle the needs of organized club groups and patrons of the park."

This was going to be our last night on the road till we made it home. Jean and I wanted one more night of staying in our Class C Tioga Ranger relaxing together. I've stayed there before and it was a good choice to break up the drive of 312 miles.

It was a pleasant night at the park for us and it even rained a little that night. Jean took some photos of the sunset and our camp.

Sunset at East Shore
Our camp at East Shore RV park

 Monday morning it was time to complete our trip and head home, big bummer, but we will be on the road again soon. It was a fun trip to Quartzsite and we plan to go again next year!

More pics from our trip...


Shelter and party under the rain...

Visiting fellow Elk members at another camp...

10-4 Good Buddy...

I have been wanting to install a CB radio in our motorhome for some time and I finally installed a Cobra 75 WX ST CB Radio on Saturday, January 17th. I selected the 75 WX ST because it's an all inclusive compact-remote mount radio, with the expected 40 channels, Cobra patented SoundTracker noise reducer, 10 NOAA National Weather channels and scanning capabilities all within the handset. It takes very little room and it is easy to use, even when you're driving. For more information on the 75 WX ST CB radio I suggest you  go to the COBRA link:


Overall, the radio installation work went well, but the antenna is another story.

It turns out that in order to mount or install an antenna on a fiberglass body, you need to acquire a No Ground Plate (NGP) kit in order for the CB Radio to work properly. Go figure, after I went to a local Off-Road shop purchasing a really nice 4 foot Firestik Antenna, 3-way mounting bracket and 18 feet of heavy duty CB radio cable,  none of that stuff was going to work because it was not NGP.

However, I did manage to locate and buy a Midland glass mount antenna (18-258)  for the time being until I can order a NGP kit. The glass mount antenna was attached to the Overhead Bed left window, and the cable from the antenna to the radio was easily hidden. The nice thing about this antenna installation was - no holes were drilled into the body of the motorhome. The only bummer about the antenna it is short which reduces the capabilities of receiving at long distances. I did try it with another CB radio close by and the reception was good. Soon we will be going on a trip to Quartzsite, Arizona and hope that I pick up some CB traffic on the Highway.


If you are wondering what NGP antennas look like, here is a pic and a link. I should mention that there are other brands out there beside Firestik.


Cobra radio mounted on dash board
Antenna mounted on RV above drivers side

• Warn of traffic tie-ups ahead.
• Provide weather and road information.
• Provide help fast in event of emergency or breakdown.
• Suggest good spots to eat and sleep.
• Make long trips more interesting, and help keep you awake.
• Provide direct contact with your office or home.
• Make friends as you travel.
• Provide “local information” to find your destination.
• Communicate with friends and family during outdoor activities.
• Help law enforcement officers by reporting drunk and reckless drivers.

*Taken from the Cobra 75 WX ST instruction manual.