Beautiful sights

Beautiful sights
Horses at blue water Lake state park

Monday, December 31, 2012

Sun Screens

I love camping/RVing in the sunny weather!  However, I do not really like the sun to shine on my skin.  I burn really easily.  I also don't like the heat which the sun can build up inside the motorhome or outside in the yard.  I have window awnings, and a long awning for the passenger side of the motorhome.  But even with all the awnings open there are times of the day when the sunshine goes around the awnings and creates heat which is too warm for my comfort. 

Many RVer's have sun screens hanging from their awnings, so I researched and bought a sunscreen to hang from my large awning.  I thought it was pretty nice until I tried to roll up the awning with it's electric motor.
It never moved.  I thought that the motor had failed , so I called the awning guy, and when he came, he discovered that it was not the motor, but the weight of the sunscreen that was too much for the awning motor.  So I returned the sunscreen for a refund, and went back to the drawing board.

One of my RVing neighbors (Delores) told me that she bought solar screening material at the Ace Hardware in Blythe, California, and that she hung it on the inside of her windows on a curtain rod.  I looked hers over and decided it was a pretty good idea. She said to make sure it allows for air flow through it.
Delores' extra screening
 I bought two rolls of the solar screening, and so far have just replaced the insect screening on the screen door.  This screen has kept a lot of heat outside the RV when the sun is shining under the ends of the RV awning.  I intend to make solar curtains to hang inside the other windows as needed to keep heat out.
I have a cactus garden on my motorhome dash.  I know these plants need sunlight.  I have to remember not to hang solar screening between the sun and the cacti, but will try hanging it to the rear of the cacti and block the sun from the motorhome living room.  I don't think I will get as great an effect that way, but the cacti will survive better, so it will be okay.
Cacti in motorhome dash area


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tiny yard...Big Fun!

 Our yard is a portable fence.  It is 35 ft long and 12 feet wide.
Fleur in our yard
Squeakers in all parts of Mother Bunny enhance the fun!
Mother Bunny and Power
Mother Bunny is a toy made by AIDE4GREYS.  They make toys that last, and squeakers in all, unless otherwise requested.  This is a group of volunteers who raise money to aid greyhound adoption.
I gave Power a stuffed toy from Walmart last week and it was used up and torn up by bedtime the same day.  Mother Bunny still looks new, except for the dirt!

The fencing folds and I carry in on the bike rack which fastens to the motorhome ladder on the rear of the motorhome.  Having this fencing adds a lot to the RVing lifestyle.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Destructive nature in a greyhound?!

I posted about the non destructive nature of greyhounds recently.
I now realize that our "kids" love to prove us wrong in life!  Last evening I was watching TV, and Fleur and Power were relaxing in the living room.  I heard chewing sounds but that didn't bother me because I knew I had put chewy toys down for them a bit earlier.  When I glanced down at one point and saw that Power had chewed off one complete side of his food bowl. 

 The food bowl was made of collapsible silicone, and I liked it for the small size it was when collapsed.  Now of course it will require even less room to store since Power polished his fangs on it!   His teeth are beautiful white color and strong.  He did a great job of using the food bowl to relieve his chewing need.  I have a stainless steel bowl in my kitchen which will now be Power's food bowl.  I hope he doesn't chew up the stainless bowl!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Chair Repair

A chair from a garage sale cost $5.00, but had a broken leg attachment.  Carol arrived with the chair and a pop rivet kit.  Neither of us knew how to use the rivets but we found out that the rivets were not long enough for this job.  Looking through the junk drawer we found a 3 inch bolt, a lock washer, and a nut.
rubber tip covers new bolt end
Then a drill and bit to drill the hole in the leg of the chair large enough for the bolt..  We are so fortunate that we have solar systems and inverters.  Our electric drills work fine on the inverter so we soon had the drilling done.  The bolt was inserted and the lock washer and nut inserted.  Then out came the Dremel to use the cutting disks to cut the extra length of the bolt off shorter.  Three cutting disks later we had the bolt shortened, the sanding disc smoothed the edges, and we were done except for the cleanup.  To do this small fun project we had opened 4 storage compartments in my basement, got out drill, dremel, screws, storage boxes, extension cord, connections, drill bit, pliers, etc.  The cleanup was as much work as the repair!
repaired chair

We had fun and enjoyed the challenge!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

RV Slideouts, are they just slideouts?

Slideouts are a great addition to RV's.  They increase the inside square footage without making one purchase a larger RV.

My RV has 2 slideouts, and so far the only problem I've had with them is the occasional error in which I forget to move the driver's seat forward when I close the slideout.  The slideout meets resistance, bends the chair and then the slideout stops due to the resistance.  Chair repair has been relatively easy.

My neighbor has a large slideout and today she couldn't get the slideout in, and later couldn't get it out.  She asked for help.  The first instance was the low battery (turning on her generator took care of it).  The second instance was due to her forgetting that the slideout locks had to be released.  When she got back from town, she tried to open the slide, but forgot the two locks had to be released.  She asked for assistance and it took me a while to figure it out since I'm not used to the slides having locks.  It seemed that she was having a day of slight memory loss...she'd forgot how to start her generator, then forgot she had slide locks.  A few minutes later after each episode, she remembered what was going on and I felt that she was okay to be on her own.

One of my other neighbors decided to advise her to hang up her keys. She told her that her memory was not reliable enough to be safe on the road and driving.  I felt so bad for the whole situation.  I hate to think of anyone having to quit while they are still able to take care of themselves.  My elderly friend is quite able to care for herself with occasional small amounts of help.
Delores and her dog Abby
She goes for a half mile walk each morning and each evening walking herself and her dog. She cooks for herself each day, and takes care of her RV herself.
Delores is an ex-marine, and a very smart lady, and also a full time RVer since 1986.  She is a single lady, and also has no children, so to age doesn't mean going to live with your family(in her case).

My question is, is a slideout problem just an incident or is it an indicator that it is time to hang up the keys?

When my Dad was still alive I  was able to help him keep going till he was 94.  
Each year he needed more and more help and eventually did not drive or cook.
He still enjoyed life though, and died on the road RVing with the family (me and my 4 pets).

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Patience... do I have it?

Today I found that all my progress in car restrictions was completely undone.

I was having back and hip pain, so not feeling well.  I decided to go to town to buy some solar screening, and stopped at McDonald's for a chicken sandwich on the way.  I ate half the sandwich and then put the sandwich under the driver's seat to deter dogs, made sure the barrier was in place between the driver's seat and the passenger's seat.  I went into the hardware store, and was back out in 10 minutes, and found my female Fleur in the front seat and my food gone!  I was surprised, and furious that she had done this after 7 years of never being allowed into the front seat or being allowed to get into any package in the car. 
Fleur, so innocent looking!

I was so angry that I wanted to beat her.  Of course I did not beat her, I did not yell at her, but it was difficult to calm down because I was feeling defeated. I had believed that she would not force her way into the front seat, due to the barrier, and I was so disappointed to realize that I have to use a better barrier, which means spending money again, and retrain.  I thought the problem was solved when I bought the first barrier! I remember the old saying" the best laid plans of mice and men".  So true, so true.

Monday, December 10, 2012


I have been working on genealogy for about 5 years.  

Two or three years ago I began attending the "Genies in the Desert" Genealogy Seminar held each year in the Parker Arizona Bluewater Casino Conference rooms the first Friday of December.

The speaker has been Geoffrey Rasmussen, the author of the Legacy Family Tree Genealogy Software.  He is a dynamic speaker and so down to earth and very knowledgeable on his topics.  

The subject of genealogy is dear to my heart since my grandmother gave my family a brown grocery sack with pencil written genealogy information from way way back.  This was the basis of my research.  Nowadays one doesn't have to drive across country to find info from censuses, military records, cemeteries, and relatives.  Some information is still necessary by personal visits, whether to visit relatives, cemeteries, or courthouses, but it is getting more common to find info on the internet.  The seminar I attended this week was about the technology of genealogy sharing and research. I learned that cemetery info is often found on .  There is also a site called This even has a mobile app which allows one to take pictures of a gravestone, and upload the photo along with the GPS location of the gravestone's location. 

Last spring I felt privileged to volunteer to help index the 1940 census.  I really enjoyed doing it and due to the hard work of many volunteers all over the world, the census was indexed in approximately 3-4 months!  This was all done while sitting in the comfort of my laz-e-boy recliner in my living room.  My computer was the only tool needed.  When someone needs information from the 1940 census, it is readily available online.  In the past it would not have been available.

I was interested in a divorce that occurred in my family in about 1925. I didn't even know where it occurred.  I went to visit a cousin, and she and I decided to try the courthouse in a nearby county.  The family had lived in that county when they were first married.  We drove to the courthouse and went into the clerk's office.  They allowed us to look but no one helped us to understand the  filing system.  We looked in the big books in the records room and wrote down what we found but it gave only coded info which we did not understand.  We were about to leave, feeling defeated, when we spoke to another clerk, who insisted in helping us understand the codes. She explained that the codes were references to the storage boxes that the original court papers  were stored in.  So that clerk showed us the boxes and in them we found the original divorce papers from 1926, along with the custody battles that followed the divorce.  None of this info was available online and a visit to the courthouse was the only way to get the facts.  If I had been unable to go to the courthouse I could have hired a genealogy researcher to do the legwork for me, but I really enjoyed the time getting to know my cousin. 

Sometimes family stories are happy, sometimes sad, but usually interesting regardless. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Awning trouble

2-3 years ago I spent $2600 to get the very best awning on the market.  I got a Carefree of Colorado through ShadePro.  The awning was electric and also had a wind sensor and automatic retracting feature if the the wind gets high.  I've never had a minute's problem with it until today.

I ordered a sun shade which hangs down from the awning tube and gives more shade under the awning.  I and a neighbor installed it, and it never entered my mind to check the electric function afterwards.  But this morning my mind said "make sure it is working with that sunshade on it".  I tried to get it to retract but nothing happened.  I read the owner's manual and then called the company(Shade Pro) to ask for repair.  They said the repair guy (Ron) was not going to be available till the next day late in the afternoon.  I worried (out loud) that if the wind came up and ruined my awning, I was going to be very angry that it was destroyed while I was waiting for repair.

Ron called me about dark today and asked me what the awning was doing and said that he thought the motor had gone bad.  He said that the company had been having problems with the gears or something like that and that they were putting something made from a better metal in the repaired ones.  He said if I got a rebuilt on it would be $255 and if I got a new on it would be $350.. He is getting it sent in on the night truck and will be at my place tomorrow between 3 and 5 pm.  He said if the motor is not bad he of course will not put a new one in and I would not be paying for it if I don't need it.

I was thinking that I should not have to pay for it at all since they know they have defective metal in the installed ones.

All this was for naught, after all because when the repairman came, he said that the motor was not damaged, but that it was just not powerful enough to lift the weight of the sunshade and the awning.  So the solution was to remove and return the sunshade, and now the awning works just fine.

My worry was wasted energy!  Again!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Exploring Ghost Town

Yesterday, a fellow Dingbat RVer, Carol, and I along with our dogs drove 75 miles to get to the ghost town of Swansea.  The last 30 miles was dirt roads and the last three miles was really bad dirt tracks.  I drive a Chevy Tahoe 4x4 so we made it without difficulty, and the townsite is a great historical area.
BLM information kiosk at Swansea
From 1909, Swansea was a mining town for Copper.  By 1944, the plant was closed for good.  It had been struggling for it's entire life, and the price for copper declined after WWII, and the company was not able to stay open.
Swansea townsite from mountain pass
The townsite is in an isolated site south of the Bill Williams River in AZ, west of Alamo Lake STate Park, and northeast of Parker AZ.  Much of the old mill town is still there in ruins, from worker's cottages ( well preserved concrete) to deep mining shafts (1000 ft deep), management housing (foundations only),

Foundations of old buildings

 and train depot(adobe bricks), foundry, power plants, etc.  The old place has several areas of trash piles(broken glass bottles, rusted cans), and old railroad scales and tracks( for bringing in coal).
Trash area with mostly green glass in huge piles
Campsite at Swansea
The townsite is administered by the BLM and they have built 5 campsites in the townsite, along with 2 vault toilets.
This area is really beautiful, surrounded by low mountains, saguaro cacti, ocotillo cacti, teddybear cholla cacti, and paloverde trees.  One special sight is a natural arch formation.
Natural arch formation at Swansea