Friday, May 31, 2013

5/30–5/31/2013 Plan A Change 97

(Tucson, AZ)

I’ve never heard of anyone’s plans changing as much as ours do.  The plan was to stay here until Friday morning.  Scrap that.

As a rule we don’t like to travel on weekends so we decided to stay put until Monday.  This will also give us a chance to get our 5th wheel washed and waxed.  We made an appointment for Saturday morning.

I had kind of a reality check on Thursday.  When I call home to Delaware my mom, 90% of the time, will answer the phone when I call.  If she’s at the store, working in her flower gardens, at church or wherever then my dad would answer.  Those times that he did and she wasn’t home or available would be our time to talk.  We’d talk about what we’re doing, where we are or where we’re going, what we’ve seen, what books he’s reading, how our Phillies or Eagles are doing, the latest news about the National Guard, everything and anything.  We’d usually talk about half hour each time and averaged twice a week with shorter conversations when he did answer but mom was there.  He always said, “Love ya babe” as we were hanging up.  Stay with me here, there’s a reason I’m telling you this.  I called home Thursday morning.  Mom wasn’t home.  The phone rang and rang and rang.  Finally the answering machine picked up.  And it hit me.  My dad isn’t there to take my calls anymore.  There won’t be anymore conversations about our Eagles or Phillies or telling him of things we’ve done or where we’re going.  I’ll never hear my dad tell me “Love ya babe” again.  I sat here for a few minutes processing all this and then the floodgates opened.  That sobbing, gut wrenching, headache inducing  cry came.  And it lasted all day.  Now, I didn’t sob all day of course but it didn’t take much for tears to fill my eyes and that lump to form in my throat as memories floated in and out all day.  I miss my dad so much.  I just keep telling myself something that an online friend wrote me shortly after my dad passed on.  My friend wrote, “remember the great things about your Dad and know that he will still be taking care of you”.  I go back and read the entire email at least once a week.  Isn’t it strange how something from someone you only know online can give such comfort?

Our buddy Fred is going to be pulling out this weekend.  We wish we were following right behind him but it won’t be long now.  Monday morning can’t get here fast enough!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5/29/2013 Our Move To The Campground

(Tucson, AZ)

We are moving to the Lazy Days Campground since we are finished dismissed from the service department.  We just have to be sure the leak is fixed.

During the next few days we’ll decide where we’re going from here as it seemed we were never leaving and we really haven’t given much thought to it.  We’ll also do a good grocery shopping and go to the air force base to get our ID cards renewed.

Our site.


Pool time.  I’ll get lots of pool time while we were in the campground.  As it turned out we are in a site right across from the pool


The laundry room is right across from us too in addition to the gym and shower rooms.


Right next to the pool is a small garden which is nice to look at on these hot, hot days.


As we float and sit around the pool we have the constant sound of the waterfall.  The water here has a high salt content, can you tell?


All around this desert campground are large pots filled with colorful summer flowers.


This is the main building that houses the campground office, a lounge, a glass enclosed café, the Florizona Grille, a gift shop and meeting rooms.


To give you an idea of close we are to everything, I’m standing outside the pool and looking at our rig/truck.


It’s a nice enough campground for being In the desert,  Lucky for us we’re getting the “service rate” which is less than $20 a day.

Since we’ve been here so long now, we were starting to believe what these flags that are hanging everywhere around here say.


Well, it won’t be long now and we’ll be on our way.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

5/28/2013 We’re Done! er…DISMISSED???

(Tucson, AZ)

Service bay time at Lazy Days/Tucson for the Quinn’s today!  YAY for us. 
Today we will have our fireplace replaced because it made way too much noise.   The technician here said that he couldn’t hear any noise so therefore it didn’t exist.  Oh please.  I wrote an email to DRV, our manufacturer and before the day was over had authorization for a new fireplace to be shipped and installed.  This was brought up when we arrived in March and here it is May and its just being done.  I guess its ok because we certainly aren’t using the fireplace anyway.

We’ll also have our AC’s fitted with new grommets because they (the AC’s) vibrated so much that when I sat in the dining room chair my rear end vibrated and just this past week it had gotten so bad the when the AC came on in the bedroom at night the bed vibrated.  The walls vibrated!  The noise when in the bathroom was horrendous when the AC’s were running!  We had brought this up when we first got here and again after being here for about a month.  As the weeks went by it got progressively worse.  We were told they had done all they could do and that it is what is and we’d have to live with it.  Just the nature of the beast.   Oh no, no, no.  I contacted my buddy at DRV and told him what was going on.  Within an hour he got back to me and told me that this was a known problem with Dometic AC’s and that the fix was to replace the grommets already in place with new soft ones.  I went back to our service writer and gave her the info so that we could get this problem fixed once and for all.

We were also having a leak in our hydraulic lines fixed.  Again.

I do have to tell you that we had to request a different technician work our rig than has been.  We were finding that we always had to clean up after him when he worked inside our house.  If he had to strip a wire we would find little bits of the plastic covering on the floor or on the island.  When he installed our new speakers he put our TV back in crooked.  We would find grease spots on our carpeting and fingerprints everywhere.  We just didn’t feel that we had to do that.

Around 2:30 our rig was done and was being taken back to the parking lot to our spot.  Our service writer called me on the phone to let me know that paperwork was done and when I got the chance to come over to the office.  It didn’t take me long to get there because I had been hanging out in the very cool waiting lounge.  As temps near a hundred degrees one doesn’t stray far from the air conditioning.  I went over to the office area and she was ready for me.  She went over the items that were done and finished up with, “We’ve done everything on the list so I' guess you’ll be pulling out tomorrow.”  I replied, “No, I think we’ll stay a few days to make sure there isn’t any more leaking since that seems to be a problem.”  She came back with, “There’s nothing more we can do for you, you’ll have to go to the factory.”  My first thought was, “Oh my, we’ve been dismissed!”  I was pretty much stunned by what she had said and told her I wanted copies of everything done to date.  She said ok and that I could pick it up later that afternoon or in the morning.

I walked back to the 5th wheel where Bob was getting it set up again and I told him to sit down, that we needed to talk.  I told him what took place and what he said is not important.  Actually, it is but I don’t type words like that.  <<grin>>

In the end we decided that tomorrow we would move to the campground attached to the dealership.  We have to see if this is going to leak or not.  We just can’t take the chance of the landing gear coming down when we’re traveling 62 miles an hour down the highway.  We were assured it was fixed.  We’ll see.  We’ll stay in the campground until Friday morning.

We finished out the day having dinner with Fred in our blacktop yard and talking the evening away,

Seventy seven days.  We’ve been here seventy seven days!

Monday, May 27, 2013

5/26-5/27/2013 Memorial Day Weekend

(Tucson, AZ)
All over the country this weekend barbecue dinners are being eaten.  It was no different for us even though we are in a parking lot in Tucson.

We still remembered those who wrote that blank check made out to Uncle Sam.  Those brave military members who gave their all so that people like Bob and me could live our dream.  Travel in freedom where and when we want….well, maybe not when considering we’ve been here, for what, 76 days now????  But I digress.  We are both so thankful for our military, all branches, past and present but especially to the service members, and lets not forget their families, who made the ultimate sacrifice.  God bless you all.

Our new friend, Fred, has been sharing our barbecue dinners with us.  I’ve been trying out some of the recipes I’ve gotten on Facebook and I’ve had some happy men at the dinner table.

Bob and I are so ready to get on the road again.  It’s not all that bad here really, but its time to GO!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

5/25/2013 Mystery Diners

(Tucson, AZ)

Memorial Day Weekend and we’re not at the beach.  Instead, we’re still in Tucson.  Still in Lazy Days.  This is day 74.

A couple of weeks ago I told you that Bob and I and Bonnie and Steve went to dinner at the restaurant here on the grounds.  The Florizona, remember?  Bob and I both ordered steaks that were like shoe leather and we were referred to as “you guys” by everyone which a pet peeve of mine. 

Well, a few days later I called over to the restaurant and obtained the manager’s name and email address.  I wrote her a very nice letter explaining about our steaks and the “you guys” but also gave kudos where they were due.  Friendliness of staff, dinners enjoyed by Bonnie and Steve, freshness of salads and the quick smile of our server were some of the things I mentioned.  I didn’t hear anything for about a week and a half and then got a reply to my email.  The manager told me that she was glad that I wrote and brought the “you guys” situation to her attention and that she was sorry the steaks were not to our liking.  She went on to say that she would talk to the staff about how they address the guests and she hoped we would return to give them another chance.  That was it.

It is not unusual for me to write a letter to an establishment to bring something that was not to my liking to the manager’s attention.  At the same time I am also just as likely to write a letter to an establishment to bring something to the attention of the manager that pleased me very much.  An outstanding meal, an employee that went above and beyond and sometimes just because I liked an employee and they did their job right.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t send out a letter every week or even every month, but when it warrants it I will take pen to paper or in this case put fingers to computer keys.  Most times I will receive a note in return and most times will receive a token of the manager’s appreciation in the form of a gift certificate for a return visit.  That didn’t happen this time.  The gift certificate part that is and that’s perfectly ok, I didn’t write the letter for that purpose in the first place.  However, since we had less than acceptable meals I was surprised there wasn’t something said about coming in for dinner on the house.
A few days later I wrote the manager back and said that yes, we would very much like to give them a second chance.  I went on to suggest that she leave a gift certificate at the front desk of the campground and after we had dinner again I would email her or call her and let her know if her talk to the wait staff was worthwhile and taken to heart.  We would in fact be “mystery diners”.  Within a few hours I got a reply and my suggestion of being mystery diners was embraced wholeheartedly.

So tonight we went to dinner again.  It was their prime rib dinner night and the restaurant was busier than the last time we were there.  We happen to have the same servers.  The young lady who took our drink orders and brought us the bread was the same as was the woman who was our server for dinner.

We both ordered the prime rib and it was delicious!  Friendliness and smiles were the call of the day and we were never asked a question when we had food in our mouths.  The service was truly attentive but not overbearing and I can honestly say it was top notch.
Dinner done, we handed over our gift certificates and tip when presented the bill.  As we got up to leave our server called to us…..You guys have a good night.”

Friday, May 24, 2013

5/24/2013 New Tires and Dust Devils

(Tucson to Casa Grande and Back Again)

We were on the road to Casa Grande a little before nine this morning as we had a ten o’clock appointment at Glenn Jones Ford to have our new tires installed.

We settled into the lounge area and a conversation was started with another gentleman who was waiting for service work to be done.  One thing led to another and before you know it we find out that we lived not too far from each other back on the east coast.  He is from Havre de Grace, MD which was about 45 minutes from us.

This Ford dealership was have lunch for the public today.  Anyone who wanted to eat could stop in.  Of course since we were there anyway we took part in the lunchtime giveaway.  We had a choice of hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, potato salad, cookies and sodas and water.

By one o’clock we were done and stopped at the park model in Arizona City to pick something up on our way back to Tucson.

Traveling back and forth we saw lots of dust devils.


The dust devil pictured above was quite a ways away as we drove down I-10.  Dust devils come in all sizes, from small which could measure from a foot and a half wide by twelve feet high to a much larger one which could measure thirty feet wide to three thousand feet high.


Usually harmless, these well formed, usually long lived whirlwinds can on rare occasions grow large enough to cause damage to both people, pets and property.  Rare occasions are the operative words here.  An injury from a dust devil is reported once in a five to ten year span.  Of course there are exceptions, parachutists under canopy and small aircraft have to be particularly aware.  This area is known for skydiving too.


Dust devils form when hot air near the surface rises quickly through a small pocket of cooler, low- pressure air above it. If conditions are just right, the air may begin to rotate. As the air rapidly rises, the column of hot air is stretched vertically, thereby moving mass closer to the axis of rotation, which causes intensification of the spinning effect by conservation of angular momentum.  Now I didn’t really know what I just wrote, I confess, I looked it up.  If the truth be known I don’t have a clue what conservation of angular momentum is!  I just know I’m somewhat fascinated by dust devils.  I don’t even know why, its nothing but dirt and debris caught up in a whirlwind.


Did you know that dust devils aren’t only found on earth?  Nope, I didn’t either.  Actually this is something I have never given thought to but in reading up on these dusty whirlwinds I learned that dust devils have also been found on Mars.  Who knew?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

5/21–5/23/2013 Where is May Going?

(Tucson, AZ)

We’re still in this parking lot.  But hey, we’re making the best of it. 

Our neighbor John left to continue his adventure.  He had been here since December.  We’re hoping for his sake everything is finally fixed. 

Exit John.  Enter Fred.  Fred had been here a week or so but we didn’t see much of him or his wife as they spent the time that she was here exploring the area.  Cyndy had to go on to California as she is a traveling nurse and has an assignment.  They are full-timers but I believe she has taken on an apartment.  They have quite the story about their motorhome and I will share it, but not until we’re outta here.  Watch for it, its one helluva story!

So Fred is staying here in his motorhome and it is truly a shelter only right now.  He can’t empty the tanks so he can’t run the water for anything, kitchen, shower or toilet.  He does have electricity so he can keep his beer and water cold and he can keep his phone charged.  That’s about it. 

Bob and Fred spend hours talking about the downfall of the RV industry and service bays as far as customer service is concerned.  This will all make sense later.

Our temps are reaching the high 90’s and from everything we’re hearing the 100’s are just around the corner.  The interior of the truck is sometimes 100 degrees already if parked in the sun and closed up.

Tires.  We finally got a handle on the tires we need for the truck.  I had called Glenn Jones Ford in Casa Grande and was told the same thing that I heard from the Ford dealership in Tucson, “Those tires are not available in any Ford dealership in the state of Arizona.”  I thanked him for his time and went on to the next phone call to make.  I called Discount Tires and found that they could order them in from Nevada but that I would have to go to another place to get them installed at the price of $40 a piece.  Now granted, they could sell me the tires for $756.00 but add in another $80 for install,,,,well this Queen of Cheap wasn’t happy about that at all.  I told the guy I would call him back.  I just had to keep shopping around.  No sooner had I hung up and the fella from Glenn Jones Ford called back and said that he found tires and could have them in by Thursday.  He told me the price and I negotiated it down to $730.00, installed, all costs included, out the door.  It was the best we were going to do.

I’ve been working on my tan but you should see Bob!  Oh my gosh, he is so darn tan and its still only May.

Update on the 5th wheel:  There is still a leak in the hydraulic line but the service department is aware of it.  We’re scheduled to be in the bay next Tuesday.  In the meantime we’ll put a set of jack stands under the rig just in case.  We’ve been here for 71 days as of the 23rd.  It’s all good, free rent and utilities, we’ve got our dish, new friends, pool close by and everything we could possibly need within a 10 minute drive.

Monday, May 20, 2013

5/15–5/20/2013 Livin’ Life in a Parking Lot

(Tucson, AZ)

Yep, we’re still here at Lazy Days.  I spend some of my days at the pool, Bob sits with Dennis and John. 

We go shopping to pass the time too.  Oh my, do we ever go shopping.  We don’t go to Sears or Penny’s or even Walmart.  Nope, not us.  We go to……drum roll please……FRY’S GROCERY STORE!  You see, I’m active on Facebook and everyone is posting these wonderful recipes and we’re trying them out.  So we run to the store to get what we need and we always seem to go when we’re hungry and we end up spending seventy five to a hundred bucks. Each time.  Then take into consideration that things that we use are on sale and we’re stocking up.  I don’t know why, its not like these items are never going to be on sale again.  However, that said, there is such a huge sale on beer here right now and my Pepsi’s and we’re buying the maximum we can every time we go.  It’s not often you see a 30 pack of Bud for $17.00 here in Arizona.  Our basement is full but Bob is giving it his all to stay ahead of the game.

I’ve been spending considerable time trying to find tires too.  The tires I found for just under nine hundred?  They aren’t in stock, they have to be ordered.  So I keep looking for tire stores and I call and keep getting told they can order them.  I called the local Ford dealership to get tires for this Ford truck and they don’t have them in stock.  They can special order them if I choose to go that route but we’ll have to pay for shipping because of the special order status.  That ain’t happening!  What baffles us is that these are the tires that Ford puts on the trucks so we can’t understand why we can’t get them.  The fellow we’ve been talkin’ with says he’s checked every Ford dealer in the state of Arizona and there isn’t a set to be had.  Oh great!

I checked with our service writer to get a status on the parts we’re waiting on.  She said she would look into it and get back to me.  Well, she did and why were we not surprised to find out that the parts are expected to arrive in six to eight days!  Can you say, “She forgot to order them?”  I’ll have quite the story to tell when we get out of here!  I’m not saying a word while we’re still here.  I remember what happened the last time I wrote something on the Internet!  Remember THIS?

Our new friend Dennis will be pulling out soon.  He bought a new Redwood 5th wheel from Lazy Days five months ago and had so many problems with it he brought it back and traded it for a gently used toy hauler.  The small issues he wanted fixed on the used unit are done now and he’s almost got it all set up inside.  He’ll spend the summer out in the open desert, mostly by himself.  He says he loves it, gets the occasional neighbor but mostly by himself.  That wouldn’t be for me.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

5/14/2013 Saguaro in Bloom

(Tucson, AZ)

Even though saguaro cactus is plentiful and native to this area it wasn’t until today that I noticed that they are blooming.  I’m pretty sure they are just starting because it is mostly buds on the top of these thorny branches.

It was tank dumping day today,,,oh gosh, that’s sad.  The most important thing we’re going to do today is dump our gray and black water tanks.  Ah the life of full timers in a service bay parking lot.


These saguaro’s are very near the dump station.  By  the way, it’s pronounced sa-waur-o.




Tanks dumped, it was back in our space in the paring lot and I got down to the task at hand.  Today’s mission is to find two front tires for The Beast that don’t cost an arm and leg.  This could be a monumental task since my very first quote was totaled just under $900.00.  For two tires!

Bob spent the afternoon sitting under the awning, talking the time away with our neighbors Dennis and John.

Monday, May 13, 2013

5/132013 The Wild, Wild West

(Tucson, AZ)

Bob and I had every intention of touring the Desert Museum today.  We didn’t make it.  We got sidetracked.  It was a good thing!

Look how blue our sky was today. 


Instead  of the Desert Museum we ended up at Old Tucson. 


We happened to pass this on the way and Bob asked if I wanted to check it out.  Heck yeah!  Anything as long as we’re doing something!

The store/ticket office.


Old Tucson is a movie set that was built in 1938 as a replica of 1860s Tucson for the movie Arizona, starring William Holden and Jean Arthur.  Workers built more than 50 buildings in 40 days and surprisingly many of those structures are still standing.
Of course, some of the buildings are nothing more than facades.



We followed our guide and walked the very street that the likes of John Wayne, Gene Autry, James Stewart  and Ronald Reagan walked while making movies that everyone recognizes the names of.  Does Gunfight at the OK Corral ring a bell?


Some of the buildings in this movie studio turned theme park.



This is a real building and stage shows are held in it each day.


Park visitors have a choice of touring the grounds by stagecoach…..


…..or train.  Or walking of course.


This mountain below is in 99% percent of all westerns made here in Arizona and a lot of westerns have been made on this movie lot!  Cowboys and Indians have gunfights around it,  hide behind it and sometimes its just  background. 


It was time to take in a show.  We found seats  in the bleachers and sat back to watch three actors put on a comedy/stunt show.

This young fellow was pulled from the crowd and given  a Tucson dollar, worth absolutely nothing, to hold between his teeth. 


Now prior to this, one of the actors was doing tricks with a whip and he wasn’t that accurate with what he was trying to do, which I’m sure this boy saw too.  He was told to just shut his eyes and keep them shut….so he didn’t see the blood.  Of course just as the guy with the whip snapped it the fellow standing next to him pulled it out of his mouth.  I still don’t know if the kid knew what happened.


The show proceeded with a showing of stunts often seen.



Having the ladder your climbing pushed off the wall its leaning it against.



And what’s a good western without dynamite being throw into a building?


By now we were getting hungry and headed to one of the restaurants on the property,  BBQ sounded good to us so we chose Big Jakes.


We made a good choice!  Bob had the BBQ beef and I had the BBQ pork.  Even the coleslaw was good and I’m real picky about the the coleslaw I eat.  The inside was typical theme park restaurant, cafeteria style, with saddles on railings, wooden tables and chairs, cowboy pictures on the walls and priced on the high side.

Some pictures I snapped…..just because.






This is the Crooked Creek Chapel.  A modern day bride can choose to get married here but it would have to be a very small wedding.


Like every old wild west church it has a cemetery.




This is The Reno.  The locomotive was built for the Virginia and Truckee Railroad in 1872


This world famous locomotive worked Nevada’s legendary Comstock Lode (silver mine) before becoming the movie star it is today.

Famous passengers and co-stars have included:  President Ulysses S Grant, President Theodore Roosevelt, John Wayne, James Stewart, Katherine Hepburn, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood and Elizabeth Taylor.

The Reno has appeared in nearly 100 movies and TV programs including;  Rawhide, Twilight Zone, Posse, Joe Kidd, Tombstone, Wild, Wild, West and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.

The Reno is known as the most photographed locomotive in American history.
Bob and I next toured a replica of the General Store from back in the day.  This was truly the place to meet the townsfolk and farmers/ranchers from outlying areas.


It was where one went to buy flour, sugar, a new washboard, soap, and a slate if you had kids in school.


It was usually the pharmacy, the post office and the telegraph office all rolled into one.


The General Store was the towns menfolk gathered to talk about current events, tell a joke, discuss grain prices and of course to play a game of checkers.

The womenfolk would get to the General Store once a month or so if they lived in the outlying areas so this was their chance to talk to another woman, admire the fancy dress material they could ill afford and the place to buy sturdy cotton with which to make the family’s clothes.  I am sooo glad I didn’t live in the olden days.

It was time to take in another show.  The same three actors that were in the first show but now a young woman was also part of the cast.  It was short play about a sheriff gone bad and his son who was beginning to see the light about him.  The other actor played a preacher man who in his heart could not shoot another to save his own life.  Enter the young woman who is there for revenge against the sheriff.  It was action packed and in the end the son ended up dead.  Doesn’t it figure?





We went through a few of the stores and I bought one thing for the park model but I’m not showing it until I get it up where it belongs, so you’ll have to wait.

It was getting very hot by late afternoon and although there were a few more shops we could have looked at we decided to call it a day.

This was very enjoyable and we’re both glad we took the time to explore Old Tucson.