Friday, 5 April 2019

Friday, March 6th

Well this is our last blog post of the season for the winter of 2018-2019.
  Our day started in High River as you may recall.  We woke up to a fog and temps of minus 4C, so for the Fahrenheit folks that would be about 24 F.  I went out to scrape the frost from the windshield and warm up the truck before breakfast.
  The hotel breakfast was very good.  They had a hot as well as continental style option and enough variety to suit anyone.  We filled ourselves and then headed out.  I was anxious as we seldom drive in fog, so wanted to get an early start and we were mobile by 8 AM.  The range of visibility wasn't too bad, probably around 200 yards.  When we got on the highway it was just enough so we could travel at about 100 km, I opted to follow a large truck for a while kind of on the edge of seeing his tail lights.  It didn't last too long and the sun started burning its way through, so that by the time we got to shortly before Calgary it was pretty much a non-event.  It was rush hour in Cowtown but we took the Stoney Trail, which is a bypass to the east side of the city.  It moved along at 100 km's and was much lighter traffic than going right through the center on the Deerfoot Trail.
  From there it was uneventful all the way to Red Deer where we fueled at the Costco on Gasoline Alley.  It was still pretty chilly, so we didn't spend any more time than necessary and back on the trail.  It can be a bit of a rodeo getting through there with the construction at the south  end of the city, but it moved along well.  By the time we got close to Edmonton, we opted to take the bypass at Nisku going through Devon.  We stopped at the truck stop in Acheson to top up the fuel and have a burger at A&W.  Marg doesn't care for their burgers as the onions are raw, but I find them nostalgic, as I ate lot of them when I was young and single.  It always amuses me as Marg's first job was as a car hop at A&W, so must have eaten her share of them.
  Traffic leaving E town was busy, at there was some construction on the westbound lane.  By the time we passed Spruce Grove it settled down and we pointed the needle to 118km [the RC's usually tolerate 10 over, so that is my safety margin].  It was pretty good going, but the highway is riddled with frost heaves, so lots of bumpy areas.
  We were stopped at a train crossing the highway right in the middle of Whitecourt and Marg said I wonder if that could be Kevin.  Want to phone him, sure I said.  Sure enough Kevin was in Whitecourt, but had pulled a train through that exact spot a half hour before, so he was not the culprit.  Kind of funny as I missed him and it went to his voice mail, so my message was I was stuck behind the train and if it was him could he move it.  When he called back we had a good laugh, just a coincidence that he was working there at the time.
   We got to Valleyview in good time and made a pit stop at the rest stop east of town.  By the time we stopped I detected the start of a migraine, so asked Marg whether she wanted to wait for a while or drive.  She opted to drive from there, so I put the eye mask on and kind of zoned out for a while, dozed I guess.  When I awoke we were through almost to the big Smoky river.  She really motored along, I guess that was about 40 minutes later or so.  She drove all the way into GP and we stopped for a few groceries at Superstore.  Last night she had called the pharmacist, so I checked and sure enough her medications were there and waiting.  Good thing too as she was on her last pill on one of the more important ones.
  I drove from there home [about 5 minutes] and within minutes of pulling on to the driveway Roger pulled up.  He helped me unload and then picked up Daniel who helped us unpack.  Roger left for work, they had a late pickup scheduled that he went to load.  Daniel stayed for supper, it was pizza and he was a big help.  When we finished, I went with him so he could drive himself home.  He was excited about that as he hadn't been driving a whole lot this winter.
  Our track record - we pulled into GP at 4 o'clock giving us 815 KM's or 506 miles, so a much easier day today.  That gave us 3,378 KM's for our 3 day total.
  Thank you for following our winter stay in Arizona.  It was fun and we enjoyed sharing it with you.  Signing off until the fall when we plan to go south again. 

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Thursday, March 4th

The day started off a bit cool and some cloud.  I think the temp was about 6C or about 44F. 
  We went to the breakfast provided by the hotel.  It was pretty much something for everyone with waffles, eggs, sausage, toast, muffins, cereal, oatmeal, juices, etc.  Marg had a few sips of coffee, I almost never have coffee on a travel day, so had orange juice.  Well fortified for a long day we were out of the hotel and on the road at 7:20 AM. 
  Our journey started with a turn away from the hotel and then a U turn on the main drag back toward the interstate.  They even had markings on the road and a big bay in the road to accommodate the move.  We had a full tank of fuel, I hesitate to use the word gasoline as it was E 85.  Although the truck is rated for it, this was my first experience using it.  It seemed fine, but I sensed a bit less power on the steeper grades, not certain if that is actual or my perception.   Traffic was light leaving Layton [its a suburb of SLC] so we made good time.  Passed by our favourite RV park in Ogden where we have spent quite a few nights in our motorhome travels.
  Traffic continued to be light through our turn off at Tremonton and the weather was great so we set the needle on 80 mph and let it roll.  That is until we reached a point short of Pocatello where they had the interstate blocked on one side for resurfacing.  This meant a reduced speed area as the northbound lane was split with barriers so the oncoming traffic had half.  At home that would have been a much slower posting, but here it was 65 mph, so about 100 KMph.  After Pocatello it was clear sailing with a slow down at Idaho Falls, but sunny with dry roads.  A real quick stop for fuel and wash the bugs from the windshield and onward.  Truck seemed to have better power with the gasoline in the tank, so maybe there was something to it.
  When we got to the end of Idaho and the dreaded Monida pass the roads were wet but good travelling.  There was lots of snow in the high country through the Targee forest area and still lots in the fields and ditches in the pass.  Something must have happened to the welcome to Montana sign as Marg asked when we would cross the state line.  My answer was to say check the mile post and it was 48, so we crossed quite some time before.  The rivers were open and running free but the dam reservoir and ponds were mostly frozen over.  Temps in the pass area were 4 to 6C, so cool.
  Once we got down into the valley the snow disappeared and the temps rose to in the range of 12C.  Still very light traffic and we held the needle at 80 mph, I saw a sign that said that speed meant a mile every 35 seconds.  Not certain about their math, but it must have been OK.  Cannot believe the amount of highway construction this early in the year.  When we got to Butte we saw more.  This time the entire northbound lane was closed and we shared the other side, this time with speeds reduced to 55 mph, if I recall correctly.  We debated taking the route around the pass, but elected to go for it.
  It was the right decision as the roads were dry and bare, traffic moving at the speed limit.  Well until we got to the markers, where they had both sides down to single lane.  Not really certain what was going on, but Marg took pictures of three guys in white hats and traffic safety vests on a high rock point looking down on the road. Made me wonder if there was something going wrong, these guys don't usually get very far from their trucks.  Got to Helena, still had lots of fuel, so kept the pace.
  Down toward the Boulder hill they again had our side down to one lane.  This time they had a pilot car taking us through and a line painting truck up ahead putting down a new inside margin line.  They kept us down to about 25 - 30 mph, so slow progress.  After the end of the endless line painting, it was like the Indy 500 with everyone putting the pedal to the metal for position.  There was snow on the sides of the moutains, but the road was mainly good, just wet in some places from earlier rain.
  There were boats fishing on the Missouri river and the temps in the valley were again in the 12 - 15C range, so quite pleasant.  I intended to get as close to the border as possible for fuel, but at Great Falls I decided to err on the side of caution and fueled up.  Again just washed the bugs on the windshield and filled up heading out from a pit stop that would do well in a NASCAR race.
  Put the needle back up to the prescribed 130+ rate and passed lots of slow moving old folks and rv's, especially on grades.  When we got to the border crossing we were pleasantly surprised.  We expected to be lined up, but not so, we were number 4 in line.  By the time we got to the booth many had caught up and the line was about a mile long.  Just like a NASCAR rate, to the victor go the spoils.  My response coach had me well prepared, so I started the yes sir no sir, 3 bags full sir replies to his questions.  When I described all the part bottles [there were about a dozen bottles varying from 1/4 to 3/4] I had to declare he said it appeared we were over on permitted alcohol, but was not sending me inside - Yahoo.  I may have been a bit conservative on how I reported the portions, but I had no other means than eyeballing them.  Next year I may put my glasses on for this.  LOL  He asked about cigarettes and total dollar purchases on which we passed under both limits.  So he bade us a good day and I thanked him for his time and got out of there.
  Back on Canadian soil and feeling very sanctimonious about our honesty at the border crossing I got to thinking about other things I could have told him.  I mean would have told him had he but asked.  The only way to keep on good terms with these guys is terse replies, DO NOT elaborate unless asked, but never lie when asked.
  In our home and native land we felt a certain amount of relief.  My response coach asked me about not mentioning some of the points I was proctored to provide, but hey it went just fine.  The Highway was smoother, the sun was brighter and we made good time at 115 KMph, not as good as in Montana, but better than average.  Into Lethbridge where we topped up the fuel, picked up some Tim's that we ate on the road.  Marg got a couple of chicken wraps that were very good and easy to eat on the road; talk about distracted driving.
  We opted to continue on as it was a nice day, roads were bare and it was still not too late.  We intended to go to Claresholm, but instead continued on to High River.  Marg went in to the desk for the room and having had success telling the clerk we were AARP last night today said we were AAA members, but her card was in the truck.  No worry, she got the rate again.  She asked for a ground floor room, but they are usually given to people with mobility problems and were all gone.  I guess that gal saw her limping, so upgraded us to a suite on the main floor at the same rate.  That's why she goes to get the rooms, I would have ended up on the top floor and been surcharged for it.  LOL  We had high winds today all the way from Great Falls through to High River.  So much that at one point the bike on the rear carrier was moved around and I had to go re-tighten it.  Seems that happens almost every time we go through here, but the temp was in the area of 14 - 16C, so very mild.
  Nice room.  When we got in she phoned the pharmacy at home and ordered refills on her medications.  Again she spoke to the pharmacist, gave her name and simply asked for refills, even without her prescription numbers, she was advised they would be ready tomorrow.  I really need to pay more attention to how she does that.
  Our statistics, well today we made 1,320km's or 820 miles and travelled 12 hrs 10 minutes.  We are well positioned for the final day tomorrow.  I expect our nice weather is over and we may have rain part of the way and snow as we get closer to home.  This will either be the last or 2nd last post for winter 2018-2019.  Thank you for following our adventures.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Wednesday, March 3rd

It was a gorgeous day again in Apache Junction.  The temperatures were in the high teens when we left.
  We were up quite early, as is typical for us on any travel day.  We don't use an alarm, don't need one as our internal clocks seem to be all we need.  Marg was up about 5:45 and put the coffee on while I slept in and was up about 6.  We had muffins compliments of one of our neighbours, so when we discovered them on our door step Marg gave the ones we bought away to the first company we had last evening. 
  We had a few last minute things left to load, so got them all in the back seat of the truck, which is now quite full.  I still had the drain in the bathroom sink to put RV antifreeze in, not that freezing is a problem, but it discourages any sewer bugs [cockroaches for example] and it does not evaporate so maintains that barrier in the trap.  Then I plunged the toilet and put zip lock bags filled, but left soft so they seal that sewer connection off.  Turned off the water and the breaker for the hot water tank, locked up and got on our way.  We had to stop at the garbage bin to dump a bag and in the process had farewells with 3 or 4 people.  It was 7:10 AM when we left the park gate.
  The traffic on the 202 was heavy, but thanks to the HOV lane we made good time.  Where we turn off on to the 101, it was very heavy, bumper to bumper but still moving.  It took a while to work over the 6 lanes to get in the HOV, probably a mile or two.  There it moved better, but still well below the posted speed limit.  In total when we got to the #17 highway north out of Phoenix, it was 1 1/2 hours from the time we left the park.
  We go up the 17 to the Carefree highway [Famous Gordon Lightfoot song - Carefree Hiway], taking it to Wickenburg, where we made a rest stop [see picture].  It must just about be the cowboy capital of Az, every time we go through they have a bunch of cattle penned and there are dozens of campers and horse trailers just north of town.  Traffic on the 93 was good and we made it to Kingman well before lunch.  Bought gas there for $2.87 a gallon, the highest I have seen since October.  The Highway 40 traffic was similarly light.  It was all good until we got to Las Vegas where the best part of it was the weather, sunny and 21C.  We arrived in the middle of the noon hour and the traffic was not light.  It wasn't too bad until we got about 2 miles from our turn off from the 215 in the area they call the Spaghetti Bowl.  The signage at the access to the I-15 is a bit confusing as there are 3 exit lanes from the 215: to Los Angeles, Reno & Salt Lake City.  As luck had it our exit to SLC is the right one, but at some point the signage appears over the middle one and in another in the left one.  Being as we go through there once a year and it was bumper to bumper from 2 miles back, I had time to nudge my way through to the middle lane, then the left one and then back over both to the right hand lane where I started from, in the end successfully getting on the I-15.  Oh yes we had to change our clocks forward by an hour in Nevada and that was the same in Utah, so we added an hour to our trip that way.
  We never stopped for lunch as Marg had made buns and we had some cookies from another neighbour as well as breakfast bars.  Our next stop was in Cedar City Utah for fuel and to use the facilities.  Gas there was $2.45 a price we had not seen for about a month back in Az.  With our fuel capacity and economy that is seldom a reason to stop.  Th I-15 through Utah is posted at 80 mph or 130 KMph, so we made good time.  For that reason I seen no need to speed, however we always see highway patrol with some pulled over on that route.  Hard to believe, but at 80 mph I had numerous vehicles pass me almost as if I was stalled.
  We got the Salt Lake City area late in the day about 7:30 PM local time.  So lets see that is a little over 11 hours on the road.  We made 1,243 KM's today, so even allowing the time for slow traffic in Phoenix and Las Vegas, as well as slower limits in Kingman, Vegas, St George, Cedar City and SLC we averaged a respectable rate.  We had some light showers on the road, but nothing serious.  More rain would have been good as we killed hundreds of unknown bugs on the windshield.  Salt Lake City is very long and narrow as it is sandwiched between the Wasatch [Rocky] mountains and the great salt lake.  Most of the road is 6 lanes [each direction] and at 65 / 70 mph it takes over an hour to get through the busy part.  There was lots of road construction this trip.  On our side [north bound] they had narrowing of the lanes and some irregular lanes, so lots of swerving and then the lanes split at one point to 3 on each side of a large work area.  That was the good side, the oncoming lanes were a disaster. There were 6 or more lanes bumper to bumper, barely moving and the line was about 10 miles as it was people leaving the city center to go home from work.
  We got a nice hotel room in Layton, which although part of greater SLC, is on the north end, so we should have light traffic leaving in the morning.  There were several nice restaurants in the immediate area, so we chose Sizzler.  We have not eaten at one since Hawaii and it was very good.  Marg had the salad bar with fish and chips, me the bbq ribs and a nice amber beer called Flat Tire. 
  A good day and we are well positioned for second day of our journey.
 

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Tuesday, April 2nd

  Hot, hot, hot today.  The temp reached 30C or so but fortunately there has been a slight breeze blowing. 
  Another day of the same, cleaning things putting things away and loading things.  We have a lot of things to deal with.  In the morning we had a couple visitors, the park manageress and her daughter with her grandson Jack.  Marg usually gives the kids in their family treats, but today we had none, so I gave him a dollar.  Aggie said well I suppose that means a trip to the dollar store, what will you buy. He's is about 4 and already knew they had toy cars for a dollar and that was what he would be getting.
  Put all the stuff on the driveway and patio either in the shed or the Az room.  Both are looking pretty full right now.  A few more things fit into the truck box.  I had saved room for two boxes, one was laundry detergent and stuff, the other booze bottles.  Both are in and we are filled to the end gate again. 
  In the afternoon I vacuumed the place and Marg washed the floor.  She also cleaned out the fridge and there was still lots of stuff to toss in the garbage bin.  Such a shame, but pickles, olives, milk all went that way along with a bunch of other stuff.  Marg got all the cupboards cleaned out and I put glue traps everywhere.  Not so much for mice as it is for spiders, crickets, almost anything gets caught in them.  I use them in the trailer, the Az room and the shed.  Lots of them don't catch anything, but they all help to keep the place bug free.  How many traps you ask, about 17 in all.
  I caught the park manager [it is a couple who manage it] and asked for a final electric accounting.  He dropped it off in the afternoon, so we made a trip down that way.  Took the cart as we had 3 bags of garbage, the forward mail card to put in our mail slot and the payment of $25 for the final electric bill. 
  We are sitting around catching our collective breaths and then I will put the golf cart to bed and put the water cooler in the Az room.
  This will be our last post of the day as we will be turning in the Mediacom equipment very shortly.  We will likely have wifi at our hotel tomorrow at the end of a long travel day, so the next post will be 6 or 700 miles from here.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Monday, April 1st

  Happy Birthday Phil.  We are so sorry we were so busy that we missed the facetime with you today.  It was a whirlwind of activity today, will try to make contact tomorrow.
  It was a beautiful day in the valley, very warm.  I think it was in the mid 80's today, although I never really looked.
  Very early in the day the news were reporting that many Fry's service stations were out of fuel and others were out of regular gasoline.  Yesterday the same was reported of some of the circle K convenience stores/gas bars.  This is probably something related to the snowbird migration.  Not  certain how many there are here, but they claim a million Canadians and for everyone of us there seems to be two or three from northern states like Minnesota, Colorado or the Dakotas.  Got a bit panicky, so I went out and filled up the truck.  I made the mistake of going to the local Chevron where they ran my card 3 times without success.  She wanted to try it again in a different mode, but I refused and just paid cash as I must have been getting close to the number where the credit card company shuts the card down.  Then I went to the hardware store to get some bubble insulation, tape and glue traps where I used the card.  Thankfully it worked fine, but I wanted to know if I had a problem before heading out on the highway.
  When I got back Marg was laundering the bedding so it would all be fresh for the fall.  We even turned our mattress, no small feat in the confines of this trailer.  She doesn't like packing dirty clothes unless she has no other choice.  The truck is pretty much full, but I think we will get it all in.  I got pretty much all the insulation in the windows.  Its that silver covered bubble stuff that we use every year.  Most of the task is to find out what goes where, so I wrote on it with a marking pen this year.  I also made some new pieces using the stuff I got at the hardware as some pieces were getting ratty and likely losing some of their insulation value.  Marg got pretty much all of the groceries dealt with except what we need tomorrow.  She wants to make supper for the Blanke's but I think that will be too much.
  We took a break and went for happy hour, well we went for a half hour.  It was a much smaller group today, I would estimate about a dozen or 15.  A nice change for anyone trying to hear or be heard.  Supper tonight was at 5 and easy, as it was Gary's burgers.  It was a clean up night so they had 90 burger patties after which anyone was out of luck.  The burgers were good  [as usual] and were mostly cheeseburgers, accompanied by chips, no not French fries, rather what you in England would call Crisps.  It appeared we were under 90 as I never observed anyone being turned away.
  After eating we went back to our place to continue our task.  We just got started when Marg's buddy Linda showed for a cocktail.  Well not just her, she had 3 other couples with her.  Then the couple across the road sensing some activity came over so that made 10.  Marg made a drink for the gals, something called a creamsicle.  It was orange flavoured to which she added ice cream in the blender.  It went over very big, well mostly as a few guys opted for beer instead.  They stayed for about an hour and a half or so.  Too late to do anything else, so the rest is for tomorrow.
 

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Sunday, March 31st

A gorgeous day in the valley.  A bit of  a breeze and the temp reached 81 F or 27 C.  We had a nice facetime with Charlene just before they went out for a curry.  Happy mothers day to our mothers in England, especially Charlene & Anna.
  It was a boring day to report on.  We started putting things away, like all the front yard ornaments and the wall hangings in the breezeway.  We packed all the clothes in both closets into garment bags and  tote bags.  By we I mean I helped her with the garment bags and she did the tote bags and several boxes of groceries, a large bag of shoes and other miscellaneous stuff.  I loaded that and other stuff that I packed in the truck where the capacity if quickly being used. We had quite a few boxes, but in the middle of the morning I ran out to the U Haul dealer to buy a couple more.  I have found that if I run around looking for free boxes, I really don't save anything and seldom get boxes that are the right fit.  I don't know what we will do if we ever stop bringing a truck.  We have two boxes left to go in as well as a bunch of small stuff that will need room in the truck box.  The rear seat will be for the bags we take in to the hotel at night and stuff we want on the road: the travel binder, drinks, snacks, the camera, etc.
  We had eggs, well more like omelets and toast for lunch.  That used up the last of the bread and a few buns Marg sliced up for toast.  She has things pretty well planned this year, usually we have a lot of fridge and freezer stuff to get rid of at the end and she goes around the park like a food bank on wheels.
  In the afternoon it was more of the same until the Az room was empty and the truck full.  With the heat of the day we took several rest breaks and re-hydrated.  I did some stuff on the internet for tenants association stuff.  Then I did some stuff on the condo association site for home, checked the weather forecast and roads for the trip.  I went on a garbage trip and stopped to spray the weeds at Lynettt's.  I had a spray bottle that was almost gone, so rather than leave it to dry up in shed I applied it around her trailer.  Didn't get all of them done, but pretty close when it ran out.  The same with some bug spray I had and both containers went to the bin.
  Supper was again using up what was in the fridge.  Shrimp & seafood sauce for appies, then tempura shrimp, rice, peas for supper.  More fridge management in action.
  After supper I got the ladder out and put some roof coating on the eaves and joints on the tip-out.  I had done the main roof earlier in the winter and these were left when I ran out of time and they had to be done from a ladder.  Mainly I was sealing joints and I wanted to do it while the material was still good.  It's a coating that is much like paint and some of that stuff dries up over the hot summer while it is sitting in the shed. 
  A bit later a couple from across the road came over for a visit and that was our day.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Saturday, March 30th

  Just another perfect weather day in the valley.  We even had a bit of breeze that helped make it better/
  After a bite to eat I put the pictures from the 50th anniversary on a memory stick and took it to the couple who copied it to their computer as I wanted the stick back.  Then we went out to the small flea market on the trail.  There was a vendor with an old golf club [in rough condition]  a few weeks back, so I wanted to see if he still had it.  It was gone, but I bought 2 wrenches.  Then we stopped at an estate sale on the way home where I bought a collection of sockets [about 15 of them] for 75 cents and a bike lock cable for 25 cents.  Then at a park on the road just up from our park we stopped and Marg got a nice old tea cup and saucer of bone china made in England for the princely sum of a dollar.
  When we got back I got out the bike rack we picked up way back when we first got here and my old bike.  I mounted it on the towing hitch and then the bike on the brackets.  It fits very well so I removed the parts I thought would either cause problems wrapping it or would suffer damage if the roads are wet with snow or rain.  After I wrapped and taped some bubble wrap on then wrapped it with shrink or cling wrap that is designed for packing and moving.  Now fingers crossed that it doesn't blow off in the first mile on the highway.  Just after I finished we had a stream of visitors and a facetime with Roger & family and a short one with Haylee.  One of Marg's gamblin' gals came over with her grand daughter to print out tickets to some entertainment event, a concert I think.  Then Blanke's came for quite a while.  Doris has not been feeling up to par, so for her drink I offered her a Gator aid after telling her my old doctor always recommended it for times I was unwell. Later in the day it seemed to have helped her.
  Lunch was tuna sandwiches on the table in the breezeway.  We had quite a few more visitors after lunch, including Linda with her dog Sadie [Jack Russell terrier].  She goes straight to Marg who always gives her a dog treat as she sits kind of begging for it.  Linda gives Marg a bag of dog treats at the start of every year, so this has been going on for a few years.
  After I got the bike put away and the rack off the truck, we went for a ride around the park in the golf cart.  Stopped to check the mail and the slot was empty.  Not too much of a surprise as we never had our mail forwarded this year.  On the way we noticed a couple guys packing stuff from Clifford's old place to their new one.  The deal was take a box or something from the old to the new place and get a margarita at the new place.  They had lots of folks participate and the funny part was Jim wouldn't give me or anyone a second box so everyone could participate.  A tough day for him as they were busy moving, hosting happy and his friend [another park resident] went home Wednesday and had a big heart attack yesterday.  His friend is one of the guys I golf with and we are all very concerned with his condition.
  After the happy hour, the couple right across the road from their place was hosting a Mexican dinner.  Lorretta cooked enough for a small army, so when she saw the group were not going to eat all of it, she went to the place of the anniversary couple and invited them and their family to join us.  It was very good.  A busy day.