More from Texas

Riley and I spent exactly 5 months back at my folks’ place in Texas, arriving on November 14th and leaving on April 14th.  I had lots of time to spend with the folks, which was nice, and got some projects done.  This will wrap up the visit and then I will do a few posts about the major projects my dad and I did – new TV setup, upgraded solar system and adding a pantry closet.

In February my Lazy Daze friend Kathy came through Austin.  I had met her and some other LD women in Bluewater Lake State Park in October 2012, when they were heading home from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta that year.  Then we got to visit a bit more at Balloon Fiesta this past year.  When she posted to the Lazy Daze group site that she would be visiting Austin on the way to New Orleans, I sent a note offering a meet-up.  She spent some time at Pecan Grove RV Park near downtown Austin, then drove out to Inks Lake State Park where we met up.  We got a couple of nice sites on the lake.  The weather started nice, then got cold and rainy for a day, then was cold and nice after.  Inks is such a pretty park, on a constant-level lake.  It’s always good, no matter the weather.

Inks Lake1

At Inks Lake, my rig on the left, Kathy’s in the shady site on the right.

Inks Lake2

Riley likes to be outside, watching for birds and squirrels

Inks Lake3

Sudden cold spell caused a heavy mist to rise from the lake.

After 4 days at Inks Lake Kathy and I came back to my folks’ place and she enjoyed a bit of driveway camping for a couple of weeks.  My dad was able to answer some questions she had and helped with some projects.  Kathy wanted to learn to knit hats and I helped her to knit a couple, including the cutest baby hat.

Kathy

Farmer's Market

We drove in to Austin to run errands and visited the Lakeline farmer’s market.

One night there was a pig roast at the neighbors’ place.  There are wild hogs that run around the deer lease they have nearby, and Texas allows year-round feral pig hunting to try to help with the problem.  They barbequed/smoked 3 small pigs and we had a feast.

Wild Hog

Don, Donnie, and Alan cut up the meat, with my dad supervising.

On March 18th, we drove in to Austin to Pecan Grove RV Park on Barton Springs Road.  The place was full during South by Southwest, but we were able to get in when it ended. I wanted to camp in Austin, as I hadn’t done that with my RV.  Kathy had really enjoyed her prior Pecan Grove visit, and planned to spend a week or 2 back there before heading on from Austin.  I just wanted to have a few days in town as a tourist.  I got to ride the scooter around downtown Austin and to Trader Joe’s, which was such fun!  We checked out P. Terry’s burgers for lunch one day.  I had heard of the place, but hadn’t eaten there.  They have a location just a couple of blocks away.  Good burgers.  And Chuy’s is just a block or so away, too.  So I got to have my Chuychanga fix.  It was nice to have a little mini-trip while mostly stationary for 5 months.  On the way back to the lake I stopped to get my generator serviced at Gen-Tech in Leander.

Pecan Grove is densly packed and surrounded by condos, but there is no better place to stay in Austin.

Pecan Grove is densely packed and surrounded by condos, but there is no better place to stay in Austin.

One thing I was glad to get done was shampooing my carpet.  I borrowed my brother’s shampoo machine and it made a big difference. I did the section between the couches first and got a before and after shot before starting on the near section.  What a difference!  I didn’t realize it was that dirty.

Carpet cleaningFYI – this is how you remove mistletoe from your trees in Texas:

Mistletoe

Alan works the bulldozer and dad uses a saw on a pole

I got to have lunch with some Dell Credit team coworkers while back in the area.  Lori, our Dun and Bradstreet Account Executive, took my ex-boss Mike, co-worker Lynne and I to lunch at Louisiana Longhorn Cafe in beautiful downtown Round Rock.  I had not had Etouffee before.  Yummy.  Always good to see them.

Lori, Mike, Lynne

Lori, Mike, Lynne and me.  (Caught Mike in a blink and I look like I’m in pain.  Oh well, it’s the only pic I got.)

On another trip to town I got to have an Olive Garden lunch with the Marketing friends I worked with before leaving Dell.  So great to be able to visit with them and catch up on what they are doing, and how Dell is doing now.

Sanjukta, Chris, Remi

Sanjukta, Chris and Remi

We had another camper visit, my friend CB.  He was relatively close, visiting his sister in Eddy, near Waco, TX.  He brought his Airstream and set up a nice little spot for a couple of weeks.

IMG_0125 We helped my dad a little with the log splitter.  He had taken down a dying tree in the spot where my RV sits and stacked the logs until it was time to chop them up.  The log splitting machine makes short work of the job, but is easier with a helper.  We had a good visit before CB headed back to Eddy.

Log Splitting

Once the big logs are split they are carried to the other side of the house with the bulldozer-type machine.  Better than a wheelbarrow!

Riley got some stuff done, too.  He had his annual exam, 3 visits to the groomer, and a dental cleaning.  Not his favorite things, but he is in good shape for a while.

Just before leaving I completed one big item – I finally sold my car (2009 Nissan Altima).  I loved that car and didn’t want to sell it.  I didn’t have time to sell it when I was back for a visit Nov./Dec. 2012, so it sat in the garage for another year.  My dad drove it once a month for exercise, but it’s not efficient to pay insurance, registration and depreciation just to have it to drive during the winter.  My sister-in-law Bev was possibly interested when we talked about it at Christmas, but they weren’t really looking to buy at that time.  I ended up putting it on Craigslist at the end of March and posted a note to my friends on Facebook.  Bev saw it and the timing was right.  Ken and Bev decided to buy it, picking it up on the the weekend before I left to go traveling. I got a picture of Bev on Friday night, when we went out to the garage to go over the bells and whistles on the car.

Bev and her new car

I think she will enjoy the car as much as I did.

It was nice to have a car when I came back for the winter.  Not sure what I will do this winter.  Probably hitch a ride to town when my folks go, borrow my dad’s truck on occasion, and rent a car for the weekend when I need to get a bunch of stuff done in Austin.  Maybe in a couple of years I will trade the scooter for a towed vehicle.  I’m not ready for that yet, but maybe later.

It was sure nice to spend time with the folks.  It’s not often that adult children get to spend extended time with their parents.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to do that.  And it’s always great to have a nice (and free) spot to park.  By April it was getting warm, and I was ready to hit the road.  Riley, too.  More soon…

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Back in Texas For a Few Months

It’s nice to be at my folks’ place on Lake Buchanan.  We are about 75 miles northwest of Austin.  I have a nice parking spot with a 30-amp hookup and water, and access to the benefits of a house (nice washer/dryer, long/hot showers, big kitchen, etc.).  And mostly it’s nice to be with my family.  I decided last year that I would stay around for a while this time and skip Quartzsite.  At least until it gets warm, when I will head back to the higher elevations of New Mexico.  Probably be here until about April or so.  While here I’m working on several projects.  Big projects include – installing new solar panels and controller/monitor, redoing the TV cabinet and installing a pantry.  Also, there are always small things to do.

My spot at Lake Buchanan

My spot at Lake Buchanan.  The lake is so low.  Normally you could see water just past my RV.

Riley and I got back in mid-November.  We got to have a nice Thanksgiving with family.  Then, in December, we did several shifts with Austin Sheltie Rescue at Barnes and Noble.  We have done this for the past few years at Christmas, wrapping gifts for customers for donations.  Riley hangs out in the pen looking handsome and getting some lovin’ from the customers, while I wrap gifts and visit with the other volunteers.  We raised some good funds, which help to pay down our vet bill.

Riley is in the ex-pen while Lucas (with Sunne) sniffs around.  Fran wrapped and brought Oreo, in the pen with Riley.

Riley is in the ex-pen while Lucas (with Sunne) checks things out.  Fran wrapped with me and brought Oreo, who is in the pen with Riley.

Back in Las Cruces, at the Farmer’s Market, I bought a small triangle loom and started weaving on it.  It’s OK, but got me thinking about taking up weaving on a traditional loom.  I went by Hill Country Weavers when in Austin to check it out.  It’s one of my favorite local yarn stores, but had never noticed any weaving items when there.  I talked to one of the saleswomen and turns out you can weave on a small loom, called a rigid-heddle loom.  They had a class coming up in mid-December, so I signed up.  You learn to weave and start a project in the 3-hour class, then are allowed to take the loom home for 2 weeks to see if you like it.  I did, I loved it!  In that 2 weeks I made about 10 scarves.  I ended up getting a Flip loom that folds.  It will be easy to use and store in the RV.

We had the whole family up at the lake for Christmas, like always.  My brother and S-I-L (George and Marie) flew in from Seattle, where they had moved last year after George took a job at Microsoft.  It was nice to be able to see them.  I didn’t think they’d get back to TX this year.  Marie is crafty like me, so we had fun going through my yarn stash (and my mom’s, too) and working with the loom together.  I got busy and made a couple of scarves for them to take back for the cold Washington winters.  Marie picked out a nice combination of burgundy and grey, and George asked for shades of black and grey.

Scarves for George and Marie

Scarves for  Marie and George

I learned a dominoes game called 42 from my nephew, Kevin, and there was a game going on a lot of the time.  Kevin and George are really expert at it.

Playing 42 - nephew Kevin, my Dad, nephew Tyler and George

Playing 42 – nephew Kevin, my Dad, nephew Tyler and George

By mid-December my dad and I had decided on the equipment we needed for the solar project.  Having done one system on my prior rig last December, we had some ideas of what to do the same or different this time.  I ordered the panels, charge controller and monitor online and got regular parts locally.  By the end of the month, we had removed the existing 85-watt panel, the controller, and wiring.  It took some thinking, but we finally decided on the new wiring route and where to mount the new controller and monitor.  We did most of the installation in January.  I’ll write a separate post with pics about all that soon.  I’ll do a post about the new TV/entertainment setup, too.  That took a lot of work, but turned out really nice.

I’ve been keeping busy with other things too.  I spent some time switching the expensive, catastrophic-only insurance that I’ve had for the past 1.5 years for a good Obamacare plan. I was able to get my coverage set up in mid-December and able to get an annual checkup with my regular doctor in January.   Also, I spent some time going through the stuff I had stored with my folks.  I had some clothes and yarn in a closet inside and some boxes in a 4’x4′ corner of my dad’s garage.  It’s been mostly too cold to work in the garage, but I did some work on a nice day recently, and we’re in a warm spell, so can do more these days.  I would like to get to a point where everything I own is with me in the RV, but I can’t seem to make myself get rid of my books, and some kitchen and craft items.  Last month I opened an Etsy shop online to sell scarves that I have woven.  I call it “A Wandering Weaver“.  Currently I’m working on a table runner.  Scarf season is almost over.

In January I had a birthday and my folks had a cake made with my Lazy Daze on it!  This is hand decorated with a pastry bag, and is such a close replica I almost couldn’t believe it.  What a fantastic cake!

Birthday cake

And it tasted as good as it looks

Next, I will write about the solar system we did.  Lot’s of RV’ers are interested in how others set up their systems, so I want to document it a bit.

One more picture.  We saw a little baby goat at the farmer’s market in Austin.  Riley could not be any less interested.

Baby goat at the farmer's market

“Booorrrrring!  Where are the snacks?”

Albuquerque and the Balloon Fiesta

Last year I skipped the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.  I was in New Mexico, at Bluewater State Park, but hadn’t made camping reservations with the Lazy Daze group, so skipped the area.  When it was over I went to Elephant Butte State Park, where I camped with Christine and Andy, then to Caballo Lake State Park, and had a great time with CB, Randy, Tish, Carol, Myrna, Laurie and Christine.  (Really, it’s Chris, “Vermont Chris” as we call her, but I will call her Christine to differentiate from Chris of my recent posts.)  Last year they had all spent a couple of weeks at Sandia Casino and Resort watching the balloons for free!  The casino lets RV’ers camp there and it’s on a hill not far from the balloon park, so they could see the balloons from there.  After hearing what a great time they had, I made it part of my travel plans.

Anyway, I got to the casino late in the afternoon on October 1st, after having my scooter service done in Santa Fe.  I wanted to get there well ahead of the Fiesta start date of Oct. 5th, since I had heard the place fills up and wanted to be able to get a spot near my friends.  Carol and Christine were already there when I arrived and I was able to get a spot nearby. A security truck was making patrols through the parking lot, registering rigs and passing out a welcome letter.  I got my window sticker and info on services at the casino and hotel. They really treat RV’ers well at Sandia.  Of course, they rely on a certain percentage of the visitors leaving some of their cash in the casino, so it’s a win-win.

Sunset over Sandia Peak

My spot at sunset

Right away I met Pat and Buddy, friends that Carol had made there last year.  Super fantastic folks.  We all made plans to go to the buffet for lunch the next day.  It’s $5 on Wednesdays for seniors (anyone over 50) with a casino player’s card, so I made sure to get my card right away.  And what a fantastic buffet they have.  Wow!  We all loved it.

I was able to get the scooter unloaded off of the carrier by myself.  Making progress with that.  Gravity is my friend, so it’s easier to get it down than loading it up, but my goal is to be able to load and unload by myself.  Anyway, we all hung out and visited for a few days, ran errands, etc.  I wish I had been able to take a picture of all of the rigs parked at Sandia.  There must have been a few hundred. It was PACKED!

On Saturday the 5th I woke around 3:00 AM when I started hearing helicopters overhead.  I looked out the hatch above my bed, but didn’t see anything.  Eventually I got up a little before dawn to see the balloons going up.  The helicopters and small planes would fly around every morning during Fiesta.  I got used to it and it didn’t wake me up later on.  There were so many balloons, I couldn’t believe how many there were.

Balloons - Day 1

Balloons – Day 1

Balloons over the Arroyo

Balloons over the Arroyo

The arroyo (in the photo above) between the golf course and our parking lot was a great spot for playing with the dogs.  We weren’t allowed on the golf course, but at about 6:00 PM Christine and I would take Riley and her dog Edna down to the arroyo and let them chase balls and run off some energy.  We had a morning walk area on the other side of the parking lot to a natural area were the dogs could sniff and wander.  Sandia was a nice area for dogs, and there were lots of other dogs for Riley to meet.  He loves making new friends!

I hadn’t made reservations with the Lazy Daze group, but when we were camped at Abiquiu with John and Linda (organizer for the group at BF), she mentioned there were a couple of unexpected cancellations and might be spaces available if I wanted to come over for a couple of days. The Lazy Daze group was at the Balloon Fiesta Park RV camping site, down close to where the balloons take off. So, I arranged to move over for Wednesday-Friday.  There weren’t any balloons on Thursday morning due to weather. I woke Friday late, about 7AM, and opened the hatch above my bed to see the balloons all over above our site.  I quickly got dressed and headed out with my camera.

Balloons over the Lazy Daze site

Balloons over the Lazy Daze site

Wow!  Many cool balloons

Wow! Many cool balloons

There was something about the weather that morning and the balloons were coming back down very quickly.  Especially the large special shape balloons.  Some of them were landing very close to us.

Balloons Landing

Balloons Landing

Caution - cow crossing

Need one of those ‘caution – cow crossing’ signs right about here

I ended up staying an extra day, until Saturday.  On Friday evening I went with Jimbo, Kathy and her brother to the “Glowdeo”.  Just after sunset the balloons stay on the ground, the pilots fire up the gas and they light up.  Very cool, but it was too dark already to get good pictures.  Jimbo got better pictures earlier in the week.

Glow1

At the Glowdeo

On Saturday morning I got up early, early, like 5:00 AM early.  I wanted to go to the field to wander amongst the balloons as they are inflated and take off.  What a sight!  It was cool being down in the middle of several balloons being filled with hot air, and all the people down there doing the same thing. I could not believe how many people were there.  It wasn’t even light yet and there were masses of people.  Tons of people had made a real effort to be vertical well before dawn.  Amazing.  It was nice to be able to walk to the field.  The traffic on the way to the park was terrible!

Arrival

Approaching the early balloons

Amongst

In the middle of the balloons

Excited riders.  It costs a few hundred dollars to ride, but look how happy they are!

Excited riders. It costs a few hundred dollars to ride, but look how happy they are!

The take-off coordinators are called Zebras, since they wear black and white outfits.  Their job is to coordinate the departures and control the crowds.  They clear a cone-shaped area, based on wind direction, where the balloon is expected to travel as it rises.  Some of these folks are dressed more elaborately than others.  I tried to get a picture of this guy with a zebra shirt, zebra jacket and large zebra hat.  He was the best dressed.  Zebras move fast and this was the best picture I was able to get:

Zebras

Zebras

I also visited the midway, which was huge.  Lots of food and stuff for sale, which I didn’t need, but I got an official 2013 Balloon Fiesta pin.

Later that day I turtled up and moved back to Sandia, stopping at the Giant Conoco station on Alameda that has a free dump station.  Things were winding down at the casino.  A lot of RVs had headed out already.  It was a lot less packed than the prior weekend.  All of my friends were still there, but were each leaving within the next few days.  I was planning to stay a while more, since I had an appointment on Thursday at an Albuquerque Ford shop, Statkus Engines.  I was having an alignment problem and Statkus is known to be a good shop. Over the next few days I got some shopping and errands done (stocked up at Trader Joe’s) and finally did some gambling in the casino.  I didn’t hit big, but turned the $25 free-play money they give into $25 in my pocket.  It was super windy one day and that evening we had a weird super-glowy sunset.  Like something out of an alien movie.

Crazy Albuquerque Sunset

Crazy Albuquerque Sunset

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A Week at Abiquiu

After getting my scooter fixed in Santa Fe we headed north to Abiquiu Reservoir where we were meeting several Lazy Daze friends at the Corps of Engineers campground for a week – 9/20-9/27.  We had Lazy Daze folks John/Linda, Frank/Cookie, Roger, Jim, Ed/Carol, and Ken.  Also, John and Linda’s neighbors Owen and Carol are with us in their Airstream. Chris stopped at Elk Creek on the Conejos River to fish after Salida, arriving on Sunday.  Most everyone is on the way to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta in October.  Linda is the organizer for the Lazy Daze group (40 rigs!!) meeting at the fiesta.

Abiquiu Site

Abiquiu Site

Each morning we would walk around the campground loops.  Roger is an avid walker, and Linda, Ed, Chris and I would walk with him (and dogs Riley, Sadie, and Gopher).  Morning around the lake is just beautiful.

Sunrise

Just after sunrise

Most evenings we would meet for “Happy Hour” at 4:30 with snacks. One night Roger made ribs for dinner and we all brought sides/desserts.  They were so good, having smoked all day.  The guys (and their dogs) were all available to help Roger put the ribs on the Traeger barbeque:

Guys and Ribs

Ed, Frank (with Buddy), Roger, John (and Sadie), Owen (behind John) and Jim (with Chica)

On another night Owen and Carol made a big pot of chili in a dutch oven over a wood fire at their campsite.  Really delicious, also having cooked all day.

Chili Night

Chili Night

Last night Ken made a Caesar salad.  Plus, he demonstrated how to make it, in a wooden bowl with proper ingredients.  It was fantastic.  I doubt I will be able to have a salad with bottled Caesar dressing anymore.  But, now I know how to make one from scratch in about 10 minutes.  Yay!

Ken's Caesar Salad

Ken’s Caesar Salad

Internet signal is a bit sketchy at the campground, so one day I rode into the town of Abiquiu with Linda to go to the library.  It’s in an old plaza with this lovely adobe church:

Abiquiu Church

St. Thomas Church

I got to ride my scooter around a bit.  It was handy to use to carry my dish from my site up the hill for dinners/happy hours.  Also, I rode around on the nearby roads and checked out the river downstream from the dam.

Abiquiu Reservoir

Abiquiu Reservoir from Hwy 96 overlook

Dam and Power Plant

Dam and Power Plant.  Hwy 96 is above and you can see the road down to the river zig-zag down the dam.

The cliffs along the river downstream are really pretty.

Chama River

Chama River downstream.  Not running too fast, but kind of murky for fishing.

It sure was fun spending a week with friends (and making new ones).  We are heading out tomorrow to Santa Fe for a few days before Albuquerque.  Frank and Cookie, Ed and Carol, and Chris have headed down there already.  I hear gas is just over $3.00 in Santa Fe (under $3 in Albuquerque).  Can’t wait – my last fill up was $3.74 in Poncha Springs, CO.  That’s almost to California prices!

After getting my scooter’s first service done in Santa Fe on Oct. 1st, Riley and I will go to Sandia Casino in Albuquerque.  There we’ll meet Chris from Vermont (Christine) and Carol, who we camped with last fall.  They watched the Balloon Fiesta from Sandia last year with Randy, Laurie, CB, Tish and others but I missed it.  So, I planned to do that this year.  Unfortunately, CB is in Myrtle Beach, and Randy and Laurie are in Arizona.  But, I’m sure Christine, Carol and I will have fun and meet some new folks.  Looking forward to it!

Salida, CO and an Update

First an update – I’m in Santa Fe, NM for some warranty work on the scooter.  It wouldn’t start one day, and rather than drive over to Sportique in Colorado Springs I got an appointment at Centaur Scooters in Santa Fe.  We were already heading to New Mexico to meet some Lazy Daze folks at Abiquiu Reservoir on Sept. 20th, then to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta in Oct.  I just had to do a little side trip before getting to Abiquiu.  Good news – the problem was a failure by the starter solenoid and was fixed less than 2 hours after I dropped it off yesterday.  They diagnosed it quickly and had a solenoid available to use.  Also, they filed the warranty claim so I wasn’t out of pocket anything and was able to load up the scooter and be on my way.  Sometimes you get an early failure on a part, so I’m not worried about the scooter.  I really liked Centaur when Chris and I visited in June.  We had stopped in there to look at scooters and see about putting a rack on my prior rig (which ended up not being possible).  It seemed like a great mom and pop shop, well stocked and well run.  They sure did well to get me on my way with no delay.  So, I have scheduled my initial 200 mile service with them, before heading down to Albuquerque on Oct. 1st.

Anyway, after Leadville we moved down to Salida.  We had stopped in there for a week or so back in late June, early July.  There is a free BLM boondocking spot just east of town, on the Arkansas River.  Leadville was nice and cool (highs were in the high 60’s, low 70’s), but really cloudy and rainy.  My 85 watt solar panel couldn’t keep my batteries charged with just an hour or so of sunshine per day.  So, Salida seemed like a good next stop, usually sunny, hopefully not too warm at 7,000 feet, plus we had enjoyed it before.   Salida has a Walmart, dump station/water at the Chamber of Commerce and a decent laundromat.  I utilized all of them on the way to the campsite, that way I would be set and not need to move for 10 days.

Salida Campsite

Salida Campsite.  The Arkansas River is right behind our rigs.

Arkansas River at Salida East

Chris had fun fly-fishing in the Arkansas River near our site.

Chris and I unloaded the scooter that afternoon.  I was really excited to have it at this spot, since the town is cool (cute with a funky vibe) and just a couple of miles away.  The next day (9/6) I made a quick trip in to get something at the True Value hardware store.  The next morning was Saturday and I was looking forward to scooting to the Farmer’s Market and the big Fiber Fest (yarn and roving, spinning and weaving, etc.) in Riverside Park.  Unfortunately, the scooter wouldn’t start even though it ran fine the day before.  Everything worked except the starter button.  We checked the battery, fuses, whatever else we could see, but couldn’t find the problem.  I was quite bummed.

Then, I turned on the water heater and it wouldn’t start.  What is up with these failures?!?  I checked it all over, researched online for possible answers, cleaned the connections, etc.  When nothing worked we took the circuit board off of Chris’ unit (same Atwood model) and hooked it up to mine.  It fired right up.  So, it seems I needed a new board.  The RV dealer in nearby Poncha Springs quoted $323 for a new one, but I ordered one from Amazon for $124.  I had it sent to PakMail in Salida – they do package acceptance for $5.  (Some mail can come general delivery to the post office for free, but Amazon usually ships UPS or FedEx, which can’t go to the post office.)

Later in the day I rode into town with Chris in his truck.  We really liked Cafe Dawn downtown and went several times while in Salida.  Afterwards we drove by the park and Fiber Fest was still going on.  It was much bigger than I expected, lots of booths.  There was some really nice yarn, fiber art, felted hats, lots of interesting stuff.  I kept thinking how much our friend Melinda (who is on her way to Balloon Fiesta after summer in Alaska) would have loved it.  I meant to get a picture, but failed.  Here’s a shot I took of our favorite coffee place on July 4th:

Cafe Dawn

Cafe Dawn

Next on my failure tour, the batteries didn’t seem to be holding a charge, even though we had more sunny days in Salida.  Checking the cells with a hydrometer showed the batteries were only 50% charged.  I called my Dad and also my friend CB for advice.   They are both smart engineers and had good info, things to check/do.  Also, I spoke to AM Solar, the servicer for my solar controller.  I decided to check into the RV park next door and plug in for a day or 2 and get up to 100%.  After 2 days one battery was up to 75% and one was still barely above 50%.  There must be something wrong with them.  I had just gotten them at the end of August in Steamboat Springs, so I swung by Napa after leaving the RV park and explained the situation.  They had to order a set that would arrive the next morning as they didn’t keep the 6 volts in stock.  I asked them to put a slow charge on them and I would come by in the afternoon when ready (something I should have thought to do with the Steamboat Napa).  I picked them up Friday, the 13th, and this set seems to be doing fine.

While at the Salida spot Chris and I took the opportunity to wash and wax our rigs.  It takes a while using just buckets of water.  The wax didn’t seem to do well on the silver/grey paint on the part I waxed, leaving swirly streaks where I applied it.  Figures, everything that could go wrong was going wrong lately.  Now I had ruined part of my paint. Terrific.  I read online that 3M makes a restorer for heavily oxidized paints and was able to pick some up at Napa.  Haven’t had a chance to try it yet.  Hopefully it will work OK to restore the silver.  Chris’ rig looks really good all washed and waxed, though.

When I got back to the campsite after leaving the RV park I found that my friend Carol, who I had met in Caballo Lake last year, was camping near us.  I didn’t remember that she was from the Salida area.  She makes really beautiful sets of cloth napkins and potholders and had a booth at the farmer’s markets at Salida.  I drove in to town on Saturday to do the market and run errands. It had been raining for a few days and more was forecast, but it turned out to be a really nice morning, great for the vendors.  I hoped to get some cranberry/almond/cinnamon swirl bread at the baker’s booth.  I had gotten some in July and had lusted for more ever since.  Luckily they had some and I’ve been enjoying it for breakfast.  If you ever get to the Salida farmer’s market look for it, it’s fantastic.

Salida Farmer's Market

Lovely day at the Salida Farmer’s Market

Carol at the Farmer's Market

Carol (on the right) at the Farmer’s Market with her beautiful napkins and potholders.

I really liked Salida.  It’s a good size, has a nice Safeway and a Walmart, walkable area downtown with parks and residential nearby, renovation of historic buildings downtown, etc.  As I said, it’s got a funky vibe.  There are a lot of cool refurbished vintage bicycles that people ride around town (didn’t get a pic), they have thrift shops with names like “Free The Monkey” and “Wanderlust Road”, and houses of different eras are intermingled, like Victorian next to a mid-century craftsman, next to adobe… I loved looking at the houses as we drove into town:

Salida Houses

Salida Houses

Salida House

Salida Houses

Salida’s a town that I could live in, but it’s been ‘discovered’ and real estate seems to be  pretty expensive.  Well, it’s a nice place to visit for now.

House

The little house in the middle with the for sale sign was about $300k!

Just before leaving we had more Lazy Dazers roll in.  John and Linda (and Sadie), who stopped to see us at Rabbit Ears Pass, stopped by on the way to Abiquiu from their home in Colorado Springs.  Also, Frank and Cookie, who I had briefly met in Quartzsite, were traveling with them, so we had 4 Lazy Dazes at the campsite for the night.  It was great to have a visit with them, and we all went out to Amica’s Pizza for dinner.  Great pizza and company, a terrific evening.  Can’t wait to spend time with them and a whole bunch of Lazy Dazers in Abiquiu over the next several days.

Hanging out with Cookie, John and Linda (and Riley and Sadie)

Hanging out with Cookie, John and Linda (and Riley and Sadie)

I think/hope the troubles I have had recently are done.  Sometimes trouble comes in waves.  Hopefully it all doesn’t sound like too much of a bummer.  These things happen, sometimes all at once.  Just the normal life of an RV’er.  It’s all probably less than when I had a house to take care of – when the A/C went out a few times (replacing the whole HVAC was fun), sections of fence falling over in storms, having to fix sprinkler heads, replacing the roof, etc.  You have a moment of upset, breathe, figure it out, maybe replace some piece of equipment, and move on.  Literally – you move on to some new piece of real estate that offers stunning mountain views, or forests, or lakes and rivers.  You move to where the weather is nice and the town is interesting.  It’s all good, and I’m loving it.  🙂