Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Sabbath!

Yesterday (Friday) was Preparation Day, or Erev Shabbat, the day we prepare for the Sabbath when we do no work and set the day apart for YHVH. We especially wanted to finish loading the giant dumpster in the driveway with anything needing to be hauled away. For days, Richard has been working in the yard and I in the house clearing things previous occupants had left behind.

The biggest problem was one of those motorized exercise walkers so many folks buy and do not continue to use after the first month. This one was in the yard, and it was heavy and awkward, so Richard could not get it up over the tall sides of the dumpster. He was determined, however, not to leave anything in the yard, so he spent quite a while dismantling the thing in the hot sun.

When the truck came and hauled off the dumpster, we hopped in the coach and took it to town to celebrate. We loaded the rig with propane and diesel and filled up ourselves with a couple of thick milk shakes, then scooted back to Stephanie's place and backed into the driveway, all ready for a restful and holy Shabbat.

We have been unable to locate a Messianic congregation in Utah so celebrate together in our home with recorded praise songs, scripture reading and prayer. We still consider ourselves as part of the Beit Yisrael congregation even though we are on the road.

One of our congregational leaders was ordained today but we don't have fast enough or reliable enough internet service to watch live. We try to download the recorded services each week to watch later, but it takes hours and sometimes does not work at all.

Today, we celebrated the splendor and beauty of YHVH's creation on a drive through Cedar Breaks Nat'l. Monument and Dixie Nat'l. Forest. At Brian's Head Ski area, there seemed to be a motorcycle rally and along much of our drive there was a bicycle race. The scenery was stunning and we also enjoyed seeing the racers' valiant efforts to ride the mountain roads. We always love to see bikers as we both have a motorcycle history, Richard with trail bikes and me with road machines. For a while in my younger days, a Zundap 250 was my only vehicle.

Along our way we enjoyed an encounter with a group of peacocks in the street in Summit, Utah. Most of them ambled off the roadway after we stopped and gave them a chance to look us over, but one determined fellow stood his ground for a while. We had hoped to see other critters, but the sporadic rain showers must have kept them from coming out to dine and watch the tourists and the racers.

Later, after we were home a while and had bid farewell to Shabbat, we drove to town and lingered over dinner at IHOP, visiting with the waitress and considering which plays to see during the Utah Shakespeare Festival for which Cedar City is so famous. There is much to see and do here and we plan to enjoy our stay!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Family, Utah and Vegas... and back

Richard, Gerald and Jim
Well, eleven days have passed since my last post. As you recall, we were parked in front of a repair shop. They had ordered and installed a custom made throttle cable that was way too long. We refused the repair and waited until Monday. Turns out the $400 cable was 14 feet too long and one of the correct length was available online for $140. After some argument (not much) they adjusted the cable's length and the price and some hours later, we finally left Grand Junction and headed for Utah.

While in the Salt Lake City area, we dry camped, boondocked, parked free - whatever term you like - at three Walmarts and the Flying J on various nights. We were thankful to find gracious hosts and level parking at each place. In fact, the only downside to our stay was the record breaking heat that has seemed to follow us all across the country.

Sean, Olivia and Candy
Richard has two brothers near SLC, and our oldest son and his wife live near there as do all five of their children and seven of our eight great grandchildren! In fact, Richard and I had never even met the four youngest in SLC. Plus there was a grandson-in-law, Sean Wade, who we had not yet met. So, of course there was some great visiting going on the whole time we were in the area.

One granddaughter, Trudy and her family live south of SLC in Draper. We were amazed at how big the little ones have gotten!

One evening, we went to a car show with the SLC folks. Had a great time and found a car just like the last Cadillac my Daddy owned, except his was black. There were all sorts of great cars there, but my favorites are always accurate restorations of vintage automobiles.

Chi, Connor, Trudy and Lana
We left SLC and headed south to visit... no one? Stephanie, our oldest daughter has a property in the Cedar City area which has been vacant for quite some time. We will mow and clean, etc. and hang out for a while to see the sights and enjoy the many local festivals and programs. Stephanie may come some time in August. If not, we'll visit her in her California home.

I had not driven the coach much since we got it over a year ago, so I drove most of the way down to Cedar City. It has been a few years since I have driven anything that big, but it all comes back in a hurry.

We have a wonderful family, just like most of you do. Such a blessing! It is so amazing to be able to go visit all our loved ones while enjoying all the comfort and convenience of our own home. Even so, we left the coach parked at Stephanie's empty house and loaded up the dog and cat in the car for a visit to granddaughter Tia (Stephanie's daughter) and her hubby in Las Vegas.

Tia, Eddie and Richard at Market Grille Cafe
Tia and Eddie have a pet friendly home where a Rottweiler and a Coon Hound welcomed us as well as our fuzzy friends. Their cat Jasper did not welcome us, nor did our Jasper enjoy being welcomed. Each Jasper stayed in his own favored area and never had an encounter.

We had an adventuresome time in Vegas. Who doesn't? We dined at a great Greek cafe, the Market Grille Cafe. The food was delightful and the staff friendly and efficient... and fun! While we were there, a gigantic storm hit... massive rain, lots of hail (small, thank heavens) and the wait staff were frantically trying to clear the patio tables and bring in the chairs.
Water was leaking in from the TOP of the patio doors as well as under them. Wind blown rain brought the water in faster than the staff could mop it up. One guy was waving a tray trying to dry the floor.

The storm was a riot, and when we got home, driving through serious flooding, water was about to come in their house as well. They spent some serious time clearing a drainage path for the flood waters.

In the picture above, you will notice Tia and Eddie are wearing rubber gloves on one hand. Earlier that day we went with them as they got tattoos on their wedding ring fingers. I have never had a tattoo nor would I get one, but I watched as they got theirs.

While Tia was at work one afternoon, Richard and I walked and drove on "The Strip," where we saw everything from a man dressed as Big Foot to a nun in her habit but shod in flip flops.

In Vegas, they tear down perfectly good buildings to build bigger, glitzier ones. No one thinks about the waste. But what they do think about in Vegas is food. They have some luscious food!

Tia's youngest sister, Chani came out from California with her friends and we spent a little time with them, too. We had not seen her in a long while, but all too soon, it was time for us to head home to Stephanie's house.

Chani (center) and her friends
For more pictures of our family and our travels, visit me on my Facebook page.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Birds of a feather

I love how YHVH is so faithful in working all things together for good, Romans 8:28. We are still here in Grand Junction waiting to have our broken throttle cable properly fixed, and it's been ten days now. The shop has been gracious in letting us plug in to power, but we will soon be out of water and our waste water tanks are almost at capacity, so we need to get on the road real soon.
But this morning, we were able to drive over to Delta again today for another good visit with our son Scott. Then in the afternoon, we had visitors, Wild Duck and the Piper and Bonney too! Drake, Becky and their sweet blind dog Bonney dropped by to say hello. They are the owners of a Safari Serengeti with toy hauler that they enjoy traveling in. This, trip, however, they were in their four wheeler en route to Draper, Utah. We had a good, but short visit and look forward to the next get together of these birds of a feather, the Wild Goose RVers, the Wild Duck and Piper and Bonney, too! (Click on any picture for a larger view.)
Later, we did a bit of exploring and found a delightful Mexican restaurant in Fruita, CO at exit 19, which is also the rest area Welcome Center exit. 

In the ample rest area there is an RV dump and potable water, which is what we were there to check on in the first place. But as a bonus, we found a really nice Viet Nam war veterans memorial. Richard and my brother Don had been here on a trip they took some years back, but I had never seen it. It is quite well done and recently a bronze statue display has been added. 
This makes the third Viet Nam Vets Memorial or tribute we have visited since we left Florida in May. In each case, they were somewhat out of the way. Two in North Dakota and one here in a western Colorado rest area. I wonder if there is a registry? 
Finally, before it got too dark, we took pictures of the throttle cable mounted on the underbody of our coach. Note the cable making two loops, also blocking the stair well, so the steps cannot now fold up. Neither of us like confrontation very well, but we must be insistent that this is redone properly and we are not to pay for excess cable or added labor to correct the problem. 

Ah, yes, it's nice to know folks are praying about this even though in the grand scheme of things, it is but a small matter. It will be interesting what tomorrow brings.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Throttled by a cable!

This has been quite a day!! The adventure continues, and we welcome the variety and even the problems that fill our life on the road. This is so much more appealing to us than sitting on a porch somewhere looking at the same street day after day and living a predictable, safe life.

This morning, we drove to Delta, about an hour away, and met our daughter-in-law and grandson. Julia and Wyatt were waiting for us when we arrived, but a series of little problems and forgotten items delayed us so we did not get over to see our son Scott until almost 11:00. That would have been fine except we needed to be back to Trans West Trucks in Grand Junction before they closed at 3:30. We shortened our visit with a promise to return tomorrow morning and headed back to the shop around 2:00.

The mechanics were certain they would have received and installed our new throttle cable by early afternoon, and we were pleased to see one of them under the rig as we drove up to the shop. Our joy soon turned to dismay, however, when we got down to look under the coach.

The cable sheath seemed way large and, as it made its way from the engine in the rear to the fuel pedal in the front, was sagging in several places and coiled in a floppy loop ending with an S curve. The mechanic said we might find the throttle a bit "stiff," but it would get better as it seasoned out. What? We started the coach and found that it took a GREAT deal of strength to bring up the RPMs and when you let off the throttle, the engine continued to run at high rev for at least 20 seconds!

We went to the shop office and told them this was unacceptable. We reminded them that the first mechanic had said he thought he needed 50 feet of cable and it should be heavier than the original. I had protested then that he needed to measure, but 50 feet would be way long, and that the gauge of the cable should be close to the original. I was pretty adamant about it. Obviously, he didn't agree, so we're back to square one.

Therefore, we are still in Grand Junction, but we planned to be here at least one more day to visit our son again tomorrow, anyway, so it's not so bad. Monday morning, we'll need to talk to shop management and arrange for the repair to be done properly and be sure we don't have to pay for all this wasted work and $400 cable. Thankfully, we have no real schedule to keep.

On a lighter side, we may have company tomorrow afternoon. Members of one of the Safari email groups we belong to dropped us a line. They are headed to the Salt Lake City area, just as we are, and will be passing through here tomorrow. We sure hope they drop in.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Home sweet home

We are still in Grand Junction. We've been parked here in front of the truck shop doors for a week now waiting for a new throttle cable to be made and shipped from Denver. They say we may actually get fixed and on the road tomorrow!

The big problem is that the fuel peddle is almost 40 feet away from the engine it connects to, so the throttle cable is incredibly long and only buses and some motorhomes use this sort of cable. Not finding a source, we were forced to have one special made... to the tune of over $400!

On the up side, we have been parked here free this whole week. They have free showers and laundry, which is certainly worth something, what with the going rate for RV spaces here at $30 and up a night. 

What a blessing that we live in our rig! We are comfortably at home as we wait to be fixed. We have a special appointment with our son Scott and his son Wyatt tomorrow, but other than that, we have no schedule. How nice that we don't have to be uprooted from our home or concerned with meeting set schedules... such a stress-free life we live.

The 50 year alumni on their float
Richard's 50-year high school reunion was this week. We went over to Paonia for a big BBQ get together on Tuesday. It was fun to meet all his classmates. Most members of this group have been together since first grade and they are all close. There was an easy going, relaxed camaraderie,  and all forty or so classmates and spouses blended so naturally that everyone had a great time.

Richard went over alone on the 4th of July (Wednesday) because that was to be a full day of events and we can't leave the critters in the coach that long. I had a rather bad ear ache anyway and didn't really miss going at all.

Richard's home town, Paonia, Colorado

Today, as we went out for ice cream and were driving around town, we spotted another Safari. We are always excited to see other rigs, and scoping out a Safari is the best. This one is a little older than ours and is a Serengeti Edition. We have the Ivory Edition.

We had expected to be fixed Thursday, but the parts did not arrive, so we were assured that today would be the day... but again, no parts. Now, they are certain we'll be ready to roll tomorrow afternoon.  Well, as I said above, we are calm and happy in our home. If it's fixed tomorrow, we'll head for Salt Lake City... if not, we'll stay till Monday or when ever.