Monday, March 28, 2011

Raider Picture Week 12–Raider FREE AT LAST


Without the cone on I can now sleep on MY Couch!

Yes, Raider is finally done with his cone he is one very happy puppy. The Vet gave him an all clear and he is good to go.



Raider the coneless happy puppy.

Yes, Raider is finally done with his cone he is one very happy puppy. The Vet gave him an all clear and he is good to go.


Last week was the most consecutive windy days of all of our visits to Pahrump. Not much you can do but hunker down and wait out the wind. So, far this week is the nicest weather this year. There is no wind and the temperature is in the 70s.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Raider Picture Week 11–Spring in Pahrump????


Raider is still a cone dog

Raider has a Vet follow-up appointment tomorrow so we are hoping that the cone will come off but, we won’t know until he is seen by the Vet.

What happen to Spring?

It was warm enough on Monday that we needed to turn on the A\C. Tuesday was windy, 30 mph with 50 mph gust. The kind of day that no matter what the temperature it wasn’t nice to be outside. The last three days however have been both cold and windy. Monday’s high was 78 and yesterday only made it to 57(not including wind chill factor). Today is windy, cold, cloudy and scattered showers.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Raider Picture Week 10–Spring in Pahrump and Beading


Raider the cone dog doing his ostrich impersonation.

Raider returned to the Vet’s on Friday for a follow-up visit. He says that Raider is healing well, but the cone will have to stay on at least until the next checkup in 12 days. Raider isn’t happy about this.

Spring has arrived in Pahrump with daytime temperatures in the high 70s. We have been in Pahrump 9 weeks; the longest we have stayed in one spot since we became fulltime RVers. We will be here at least a few more weeks until Raider gets an “all clear” from the Vet.

Back in December, when all of California and the desert southwest were getting a lot of rain, I thought this would be a very good year for wild flowers. It hasn’t turned out that way. I was reading about Death Valley they are saying that although they had a lot of rain in December, in January and February they had 6 very dry weeks. This was followed by high winds. Now they are getting daytime temperatures in the 90s. Due to these factors they are saying that this year won’t be a good wildflower year.


Here in Pahrump, where they had a record breaking 7 inches of snow in early January, there have been almost no wildflowers at all. We have just seen a few patches of these. They grow very close to the ground and it would take 2 of them to be as big as a dime.

Beading News

Apparently, there has never been a Beading Store here Pahrump. The closest one is 55 miles away in the outskirts of Las Vegas. Kathy claims that it is just a coincidence that Beading Store opened up here in Pahrump 2 weeks after we arrived in town. I am convinced that it is indicative of the impact Kathy’s beading has on the various small towns that we travel through. The new beading store, Bead Heaven, has asked Kathy to come and teach the Saturday beading class this week.

Note from Editor: the class was a fun group of ladies who picked up my design instructions right away! Hardly any teaching was involved and I received a 10% discount on purchases in the store as compensation for my time! After all, I need inventory of beads and crystals for my jewelry sales orders, thanks to my blog: Crystal Creations by Kathy

So, Kathy saved $10 by spending $100. What’s wrong with this picture?

Birding Note

The only birding news this week is that we added Turkey Vulture as a year bird to our Pahrump bird list. A lone Turkey Vulture swooped over the RV Park this week.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Our return to the West


This blog entry will end our 2010 trip travelogue as we describe our trip back to the west. Even though I am posting this in March of 2011. We did this trip in October of 2010.

Joliet, IL

After leaving Elkhart, Indiana our next stop was a visit with our oldest son Tim who lives in Aurora, Illinois. Like all urban areas it is is difficult to find RV Parks in the area. The closest RV Park to where Tim lives was at the Empress Casino in Joliet, it is a water and electric only RV Park but very nice. They were winding down the season so they had plenty of sites. They did tell us as we were registering that they were turning the water off for the season in a few days. Such is the problem of RVing in the Mid-west during October as RV Parks start closing for the year. A new year bird for us were Chimney Swifts buzzing around in their batty flight over head at the RV Park..

We Visited with Tim and Allen for a few days, Raider was so excited to see his big brother! Allen makes a great barbecue steak that we enjoyed one night. We all played Rock Band with the Beatles on their giant TV system (6' high & 7' wide!). However, we had to start heading west, but we enjoyed the time visiting. We had never been to Iowa, Nebraska or Kansas, so we decided to head to Texas by way of Iowa, Nebraska and Kanas.

You know how people says that Iowa, Nebraska and  Kanas are just flat with miles and mile of corn growing. They are right!

Kellogg, Iowa
Our first night stop was one night at Kellduff RV right next to the corn fields. Just as we set up camp, out comes the farmer to harvest the corn. We had a ring side seat to watch it being done, very interesting. Cobs and stalks get sucked up into the combine, corn is cut off the cob then spewed into a grain cart driving along side the combine to catch it and the remnants of everything is blown out the back of the combine. along with a lot of dust.




Lincoln, Nebraska
Stayed just one night, didn't even unhitch.

Salina, Kansas

We stayed 2 nights at the Salina KOA; we had to do laundry and get groceries. Salina is at the crossroad of I-70 and I-135, No, we didn’t see Dorothy or Toto and No Tornado Watches either!

Enid, OK
After weeks of every RV Park being near an Interstate we decided to stay the weekend at Camp Away RV Park, In Enid which is 30 miles from the nearest interstate. A nice and quiet older park outside town, no trains or highways nearby. Or so we thought, turns out there is a train that goes though Enid every night. Shortly after leaving Enid, we had one tire go very low in just minutes. Called Good Sam Roadside Assistance & had the spare mounted in it's place. Barely 150 miles later, as we're pulling into the ONLY rest area for hundreds of miles the right front trailer blew apart, all that was left was the side walls, the trailer was sitting on the rims! W
e had to purchase another tire since the spare was in use on the other side. $250 and a hour & half later, as an OK storm came barreling near by. We were on our way to have all of the tires replaced, it couldn't have waited another 220 miles across the Texas Panhandle to Farwell, TX and Tire Country!!!

Thankfully, there was a cheap off the road excuse of a campground a few miles from the rest area, we stopped the night in Texola, OK, just one mile from the Texas border.


Clovis, NM
We buzzed through the Texas panhandle, praying no more tire issues to Clovis, New Mexico. It is just a few miles from Farwell, Texas where Tire Country is, our favorite tire store. Lonnie the manager would take care of us! Next day drove the short drive to see Lonnie, he told us of the long line of complaints against Goodyear Marathons, some were pretty scary stories! We had all 5 tires on the trailer replaced with Bridgestone and had the wheel bearings repacked on the trailer. Lonnie is an RVer with a 5th wheel of his own, so when he gives advise he knows what he is talking about. We had Lonnie replace all the tires on our first trailer before going to Alaska and from the beginning planned to have Lonnie replace all of the tires on this trailer. Unfortunately, the Goodyear Marathons died 250 miles too soon. If you are think about buying new tires, go see Lonnie and his great crew.!

If you have Goodyear Marathons on your trailer, do a Google search on “Goodyear Marathons tread separation”  then REPLACE THEM you will see that it is only a question of when they will fail not if they will fail!!!
Thunderstorms, rain and wind delayed us in Clovis for 2 days.

Albuquerque, NM
Finally, the wind stopped blowing and the rain moved east, we made a beeline for Albuquerque We were going to stay until Monday when we heard that there was a nasty storm system coming in with 45mph winds, we left Sunday instead


Saturday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, notice the flag blowing straight out!


View out our back window onto the desert

Along I-10 in New Mexico



Williams, Arizona
We were going to stay the night in Holbrook, AZ, but it was around 1 PM too early to stop so Grant mushed on towards Flagstaff. Just as we approached Flagstaff, couldn't help but see a very dark cloud system over the town! At nearly 7,000 ft. in elevation, rain could turn to snow. Grant didn't want to learn how to drive the trailer in the snow, he mushed on further to the Williams KOA, a few miles from I-40. Along the way we saw the Camping World outside Flagstaff. It was the one that had just been blown apart from the tornado a week before.  All of the tangled wreckage of new trailers were plowed into a fenced area, the store was still closed. The drive from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Williams, Arizona was our longest distance day since we have been full-timing. 370 miles!  We hunkered down for a few days for the storms to blow over. Got the laundry caught up just as the power went out!

Scenes along I-40


Wide open spaces in eastern Arizona along I-40


Strom clouds over Flagstaff, Arizona

Pahrump, Nevada
We were considering staying for a few days and going up to the Grand Canyon but, we awoke to 16 degrees and snow in the very near by hills. When the sun returned we boogied for Nevada, driving over the new bridge in front of Hoover Dam. Kathy was petrified of the thought: the bridge is 1,075 feet above the Colorado River! Grant was excited to get a chance to see the Hoover Dam. Beautiful new highway Arizona 93 is paved, we were on the bridge before we knew it! The side walls of the bridge are over 5' high, you couldn't see down, so Grant  still hasn't seen the Hoover Dam! lol
Taking this route saved us many miles, and they have high profile trucks and trailers travel down the left inside lane for stability. We were in Las Vegas in no time and it was a clear day! Made it through the maze of highways in the city and sighed relief when we were finally on the outskirts. Just as we climbed up the mountain towards Pahrump, there were 2 dozen Desert Bighorn up on the cliff looking down on the road. Happened too fast, no pictures sorry! Up and over the top, dropped down the other side to our favorite Escapee Co-op RV Park of Pair-A-Dice. They had room for us to stay a month and unwind from our adventures! YES!


Brand new highway, a joy to be on a fresh smooth road!


We're on the bridge and can't even see Hoover Dam, it's below the right side of the bridge!


Las Vegas on a clear day... note the snow in October on Mt. Charleston on the left.


The view of Mt. Charleston from Pahrump, Nevada. Las Vegas is on the other side on Mt. Charleston.

More pictures of our trip West on the slideshow:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Raider Picture Week 9–More Surgery for Raider

Raider's new and even bigger cone!

Raider with his new and even bigger cone

Raider’s visit to the Vet didn’t go so well this past week. Since he can’t scratch his ear due to the cone, he has been flailing his head and flapping the ears with the cone. Unfortunately, this caused another hematoma on his ear and he had to have another operation on Tuesday. In the above picture you can see him in his new and even bigger cone. You will also see the padding that Kathy put in to the cone to protect his ears from the hard plastic of the cone should he start flailing his ears again.

He seems to be recovering okay, but he isn’t walking as much as he was. He has another Vet visit at the end of this coming week so we will see what happens.

The only other news is that the weather here in Pahrump has turned very nice. Spring maybe coming to the desert soon

Bird Note:

We have been seeing Gamble's Quail under our feeder. Also we had a visit from a flock of Cedar Waxwings one evening to the tree just across from us. They were here one evening and have not returned. I guess just passing through. Also after a 3 week absence we have once again seen Say’s Phoebes here in the park. This time we saw 2 at the same time. Of course we don’t know if one of these is the one we saw a few weeks ago or not. We still can’t imagine what they could be living on as we haven’t even any insects not even ants. Our resident Cooper’s Hawk comes by every day to check for a quick meal at our feeders. The other afternoon Kathy was sitting on the patio and saw the female Copper’s Hawk land on the trailer slide adjacent to the bird feeders! Fortunately, all of the goldfinches and sparrows had already evacuated the area.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Elkhart, Indiana and the RV Hall of Fame


Although we are posting this entry the first week of March 2011 we were actually in Elkhart, Indiana the first week of October 2010.

Elkhart, Indiana is known as “the RV Capital of the World” because so many RVs are made in the area. More than half of all the RVs on the road were made in Elkhart or near by Goshen including ours. Since we would be going through Elkhart as we headed west on I-80, we decided to stop in at Mor/ryde International and have the suspension of our 5th wheel beefed up.  We really like our 2010 Montana 5th wheel. However, all of the 2011 Montana 5th wheels now come standard with much thicker shackles than previous year models. We know of several people who have had their shackles wear through and we thought it best to upgrade. We have also heard in our Montana Owners. COM Group of too much frame flex causing problems so we also had Mor/ryde add frame stiffeners.

After leaving Niagara Falls we had a few days until our appointment at Mor/ryde. We stopped at the Erie KOA which is actually in McKean, Pennsylvania. This is one of the nicest RV Parks we have ever stayed at. It is well off of I-90 and very quiet. Also, it being so late in the season they had some great special deals going on. Although, it rained most of our time there Kathy did get out to take some pictures of the fall foliage and flowers before the storms blew away the leaves.



On the day of our Mor/ryde appointment while they worked on our 5th wheel we went to visit the RV/MH Hall of Fame. They have a large collection of Antique Trailers and Motorhomes from as far back as 1913. This place is a must see for every RVer. It is amazing to see how far RVs have come but, also amazing to see how early such things as in door plumbing was first available in RVs.


1913 Travel Trailer


1937 Motorhome


1935 Travel Trailer

Even with the great collections they have two things I noticed that were missing: 5th wheels and a Volkswagen Westphalia Van. Okay, so maybe 5th wheels haven’t been around long enough to be antiques. However, for a lot of Baby Boomers (us included) a Volkswagen Camper Van was their first experience of an RV.

More Pictures of the RV/MH Hall Fame on the slideshow: