Friday, February 29, 2008

Indian Waters RV Resort-Indio, CA

Today we landed at Indian Waters RV Resort in Indio, California. We had a "stay five nights free" coupon. We did have to take the 90 minute sales tour. Peg and I have talked to many people who are members of Western Horizons, which this park is one of. They say they bought in and their camping is free (actually they now charge $3 for electricity per night). There are also associate memberships you can buy for $8-10 per day camping. We have been spending $25-35 per night. That adds up quickly.

We were assigned site #201 which was in the gravel section of the park. They have grass sites as well, but they are used for members only. You would think if they wanted to sell you a membership, they would put you on one of the best sites available! Not a good marketing plan.

Anyway, the site was fine and we went to the sales presentation. To make a long story short, we actually DID buy into the Western Horizons membership since in the long run, it will save us a great deal of money in camping fees. We also bought into other memberships. AOR and ROD+ combined with Western Horizons gives us over 200 parks we can use from the east to the west coast. They also have a resort called Kino Bay in Mexico we can stay at that is suppose to be very nice. So, we hope we made the right decision since it was not cheap, but we think we will recoup our investment in a little over a year!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hollywood and Los Angeles

We signed up for a bus trip at the FMCA Rally that goes into Los Angeles and then to Hollywood. We thought this would be ideal since, because of the traffic, we did not want to drive down to either place. We were told interesting tidbits about the LA and Hollywood area as we meandered to the Farmers Market for lunch. The market was really nicely done and it even had an Apple Computer store, which we had to go in of course. We did eat lunch there then we all boarded the bus and headed out past Hollywood and Vine and to the Kodak Theatre. This is where, in previous years, the American Idol finale was held. Peg and I posed for a couple of pictures at the theatre but we could not go in since it was not open at that time of day.

Next to the Kodak is Graumans Chinese Theatre. The famous theatre where many of the stars of stage and screen have placed their hands or feet in cement that adorns the entrance to the building. Many have written a short "Thank you" to Sid Grauman, owner of the theatre. It was interesting to read the comments and look at all the stars inscribed in concrete.

We also strolled along the "Walk of Stars" and read many of the names on the various stars found there. You hear about all these things and it is a real thrill to be standing among the icons of Hollywood. Of course we saw the famous Hollywood sign on the top of the hill from that vantage point as well.

The Kodak Theatre included a large shopping complex with about five stories of stores. In the plaza in the middle of the stores was a large open area with a fountain and two HUGE elephants standing on pedestals. It was a pretty wild sight and the picture does not do it justice.

From Hollywood we journeyed to what is called "old" Los Angeles. There is a nice park there and we heard a Mexican band playing songs. Located in this area is the first church of LA and Union Station, a train station that is still in use today. It has high ceilings and some beautiful architecture.

After visiting old LA, we got on the bus and were taken back to the FMCA Rally. We had a great day and saw many of the things we have heard about in that area. On our way back we also saw the round Capital Records building my father would talk about years ago. It was the competition to the record company he worked for, Decca/MCA records!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Family Motor Coach Assn. Rally-Pomona, CA

We arrived at Pomona with the caravan of Monaco coaches and there were five of us that wanted to park together. We had to go to a parking lot and unhook our towed vehicles and, of course, it takes longer for us to unhook, so when I finished and looked up, our friends had already left the lot and were nowhere to be seen! I jumped into the motorhome and headed for the exit gate and asked a few attendants if they saw which way they went and no one knew. So, I hit the street, turned left and hoped for the best! About a 1/2 mile down the road I saw one of their coaches and squeezed in behind him to the dismay of some other folks in traffic. Peg was following me with the car so she had to get in behind me as well. It was a relief to be back with our comrades and going in the correct gate to the Pomona Fairplex. We lost one coach somewhere, so there were four of us left. We parked in Lot L1, the full generator area, after we dumped our holding tanks from the previous stay in Lancaster. So Peg and I, Bill and Sandy, Rod and Jean and Bob and Marlene were parked together. I guess we were all now considered part of the West Coast Contingent!

The Pomona area is very developed and it is only 15 miles or so from Los Angeles. The Fairplex is nicely done and it is a large facility. It has to be to house close to 3500 motorhomes on its grounds.

We had a nice view of some of the snowcapped mountains in the distance. It is a cool look and one I enjoy seeing. Seems like here in California you live in the valley and are surrounded by mountains. We had about five days of seeing the vendor exhibits, looking at new coaches, getting service work done (for us it was a 12v relay that was causing our light dimming problem and a connection retrofit to keep our rear camera monitor from going to black). At this rally, Carefree of Colorado, the actual company, was here and they looked at our slide awnings and authorized all four of them to be replaced. We were headed to Los Vegas in a couple of weeks so we would have it done there.

We videotaped several segments for our American RVer show that will be highlighted on our
April show, show #22. The folks running FMCA were very helpful in getting us interviews and Robbin Gould, the FMC Magazine Editor, really put together a nice videotaping itinerary for us.

One other interesting thing at the Pomona Fairplex was the scale model train layout they had there. It was huge! It was fun to watch the multiple trains making their way around the "town" that was created...Our next adventure...Hollywood!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monaco Pre-Rally in Lancaster, CA

The first night at the Elks in Palmdale, a knock on our coach door surprised us with our friends Gary and Patsy, who we have not seen for over a year, as they decided to join us for the rally. After a 2 night stay at the Elks, 11 of us fellow Monaco owners caravaned to the Monaco International Pre-Rally which was being held in Lancaster, California. I was glad to go there with a group since we were getting close to Los Angeles and the roads can be quite tricky.

We got there in fine shape and found we had joined up with about 500 other coaches staying for the Pre-Rally. It was quite windy and cold there and, except for scheduled events, people did not get out much. Monaco gives us two free repairs at these functions so we had a rear bed slide motor replaced and that slide adjusted. The Magnum company looked at our 12 inverter since the lights would dim in the coach when we turned on the water pump. They could not find a problem. We also spoke with a subcontractor for Carefree of Colorado about our drooping/riping slide awnings and they agreed they should be replaced under warranty. We found later the actual company, not a sub-contractor, must come out and see the awnings...But that is another story.

Except for the cold weather, it looks like everyone had a pretty good time there and the breakfasts and dinners were pretty good as well. We met some new people (Jim & Shirley pictured) and had some good times...Now on to Pomona and the FMCA Rally. It is really interesting to see 500 coaches lined up to caravan, all together, on a 50 mile trek.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Desert Hot Springs & Catalina Spa & RV Resort

We arrived at Desert Hot Springs today and got our motorhome wiggled into a very tight spot in the Catalina Spa & RV Resort. Many people said this was a really nice resort but, we disagree. The sites were tight and have very little landscaping. The spa, however, was very nice and it is fed by the natural hot springs water found in this area.

While we were here, the wind was blowing quite briskly, around 30 MPH. We are in a valley that has a natural venturi effect between the mountains, funneling the wind right through here. This is where you find all those cool looking windmills and they are always turning. We can see the snowcapped mountains around us, especially San Jocinto. It looks ominous as it looms over the adobe homes in the town of Desert Hot Springs.

As we drove through town, we looked for a place we could dine out tomorrow
since it was Valentines Day. February 14...We felt like pizza so we stopped for dinner at Rocky's New York Style Pizza. We ordered and found a booth that was open in the back corner of the restaurant. I decided I wanted to move and we found a booth in the middle of the room and we then realized we knew the people in the next booth!! It was Bill and Sandy Crawford, folks we had dry camped with in Quartzsite! They recognized us as well. They were also staying at the Catalina Spa along with Jon and Christine, another couple we met at Quartzsite. They are from Canada.

We made plans to caravan with them to the Elks Lodge in Palmdale, California the next day. It turns out to be a really small world...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Yuma, Arizona - The Cocopah Casino & Mexico

Made it to the Cocopah Casino last evening. Peg is not feeling well and we fear she has what everyone else was getting in Casa Grande. I am feeling a bit bad myself, so I think we are in for a nasty time!

To sum up our week here, we spent seven days at the casino and we left the motorhome three times in that week. We were both really sick! We did get to the casino for a morning of "gambling". We actually came out $5.00 ahead. That coupled with free dry camping in the casino parking lot with several other RVers and we spent very little money on our stay there.

We also decided to go over the border into Mexico at Algodones. We were looking for DRUGS! I mean drugs for our colds, of course. We ended up looking around in the town after we got some amoxicillin. There were some pretty neat things to see, including some of the guys that will paint anything you give them with any scene you want. I saw them spray painting small satellite dishes, lanterns, glassware and various other items. They would take plastic bags and wipe the paint before it dried and create mountain scapes, desert scapes and wonderful scenery. Very impressive!

We crossed the border into Mexico at about 9am and left around 10:30am
since we heard the lines going back into the US tend to get rather long (over a mile long) as noon approaches. We ended up waiting about 20 minutes to cross. One regret we had is we could not get some cheap booze. The stores were not allowed to sell alcohol until after 11:00am....Oh well!! The drugs were inexpensive anyway...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Leaving Casa Grande, Sunscape RV Park

Today was moving day. We had been in Casa Grande, on and off, for 4 weeks. Time to see something new. We were traveling to Yuma, AZ next. Before we left, Peg took a walk through the Desert Garden that the residents of Sunscape had planted over the years. They had done a beautiful job and the different varieties of cactus, trees and various plants were really astounding.

Here are a few images Peg shot as she walked through the Sunscape Desert Garden which happened to be across from where our motorhome was parked...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl Sunday in Tempe, AZ

It is Super Bowl Sunday and we were invited to watch the game at Peg's cousins daughters house in Tempe, AZ. We were actually about 30 miles from the stadium the game was being played in! Connie and Shirley are Peg's cousins and Lori is their daughter. She is married to Lee, a British National and they split their time between Tempe and Vancouver, BC. We also met Mindy and Nathan and Anne.

We had a fun time at their Super Bowl party and we felt like we had known them for years. Traffic coming home on I10 was heavy after the game and we saw many buses and limos heading toward Tuscon.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Box Canyon ATV Excursion!

Our friends Stacey and Gail were going with a group to rent ATV's and ride to Box Canyon in the Arizona desert. Do we want to come along?? "Sure", we said. We did not know what we were in for!!

There were four couples going together from our group and several other
couples going at the same time as us. It was a large group, about 12 ATV's plus the guides. We started at the River Bottom Bar with lunch...large hamburgers and steak fries! After taking off the feed bag, we headed behind the bar for the ATV rental place. We filled out waivers, got a quick lesson on the ATV controls and headed to the test track. We had to demonstrate we could handle the ATV. Most of the couples road together on one ATV but there were some people that road separately. This outing was suppose to be a 4.5 hour journey. We were going through 12 miles of desert just to get to the canyon.

It was very dusty so we all wore bandannas to cover our faces. When we got to the foothills, there was no place to go but up...and I mean UP! Some of the trails took us up extremely steep grades. One time, on a very tough uphill, Peg and I pulled a wheelie midway up the hill and, fortunately, came back down forwards, not backwards! A thrill a minute!!

We finally got to the peak of the hills and took a break. We saw some Saguaro Cactus, Teddy Bear Cactus, scrubby bushes and a few trees. What a view. Next we were going down into Box Canyon. It had rained about a week before and, since the ground is so hard, the water will sit on top for a long time. When we got into the canyon, there was running water on the floor which, normally is not there. A very rare occasion. We road in the water throughout the canyon floor. We stopped at a place in the canyon where the Pony Express used to swap mail coming from the east and going to the west and the stage coaches stopped. It was called Butterfield Station and there was not much left of it.

From there we transversed the entire length of the canyon up and down the bed of rocks and water until we exited the other side. We got some pretty cool photos of the experience! Our friends Stacey and Gail even took some video! We made it back at dusk as the temperature was really dropping. There was only one mechanical failure and one of the guides drove that ATV out. It was a physical day in the desert, but one we will not soon forget!