Sunday May 1st, 2022
Sunday and I was up before dawn, a few minutes to five to be more precise, after a late night trying to edit last weeks blog. Mental note to self: No happy hours on publishing days! I will let you know how that works out in the future, Mister Sam is settled onto my lap after his morning treats, and I have just checked to make sure last weeks blog did publish on schedule, next step is today’s Wordle, a whole five minutes as my first guess revealed four out of five letters, only leaving a couple of choices.
Mister Sam is looking at the roof, I’m thinking a bird is walking around up there, his hearing is much better than mine, it’s a quarter to six and it’s looking like another beautiful sunny day in Arizona. Today is a work day we are in the admissions booth at eight o’clock this morning it is 57°F (16°C) now and today’s forecast is calling for a high of 81°F (27°C) for today, with higher temperatures all week to come.
This will be a happy & sad week as we start to look forward to more travels and new adventures while feeling sad about leaving some great people and one of the most amazing places that we have ever visited. This will be the last of the BTA (Boyce Thompson Arboretum) series as we prepare for our new adventure on Vancouver Island at a campground near Chemainus, there will be a couple weeks of travel as we transverse the Rockies on route to the Island, new sights to see and areas to explore, May should be both an interesting and busy month.
Miss Laurie woke at six and there is coffee perking as she puts together our lunch for today, a bowl of cereal, a cup of fresh perked coffee with a little Irish blessing and we are out the door to start our week of lasts! So today’s shift in the admissions booth is our last Sunday before we pull out. And it started off with a flurry, fifty visitors in the first half hour, then a big lull in the action, Miss Mary was attending to the new flower beds around the admissions booth, and what pops up on my phone? A severe weather warning from back at LHR (Lake Huron Resort) and again I’m reminded once again why we winter in Arizona.
Overall it was a reasonably busy day, we both checked out at two o’clock, because today was the day that we got to tour the picket post house. It was an amazing tour, and the mansion was in far better shape than I had thought it would be, for sitting empty for as many years as it has, it was in reasonably good condition, I will put together a blog to cover the history of the mansion and of course a few photos of the property, as we are not allowed to show photos of the interior. Our last Sunday shift is in the books, and we are off to a happy hour at the Anderson’s coach sometime after four o’clock.
We returned to the coach, Miss Laurie made fajitas for dinner, then settle in to watch YouTube videos, to catch up on what some of our peeps are up to, Ray from “Love your RV” is making his way back to Vancouver Island on a route that I might be taking. So I have been watching his videos, and he has had some snow but I will be two weeks later, but Deadman’s pass is at 8000 feet elevation so snow is a possibility even in early May. We have also been watching “Gone with the Wynn’s” since they started in their class A motorhome and are now live on a boat, and now it appears that they are selling their boat, to buy an electric, solar powered boat? It is just too much, so I’m off to bed.
Monday morning and I’m up at five o’clock, Mister Sam has had his treats and is settling in on my lap, I got today’s Wordle on the second guess, and I’m back to planning the trek north, and filling in some gaps on the blog, I’m just not feeling the best today, a bit of an upset stomach, not severe, but not normal, so I kind of lazed around most of the morning, and only accomplished a few things around the coach. This was to be the day that we had been planning to go back to Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert, we are meeting Tom & Kathleen there, as Miss Laurie needed some more garlic fries, and I was going to try one of their handmade milkshakes.
I have the fresh water tank draining (this is the chlorinated water), just a slow leak, not wanting to flood out the area, I also wanted to get the fan off of the old air conditioner fan motor, I used a wire wheel on the end of the shaft to buff off the rust, then with a persuader (a big hammer) I was able to loosen and remove the fan.
We headed to Gilbert shortly after eleven o’clock, I had a couple of items to return so a stop at the UPS store in Gold Canyon, before heading to Joe’s for lunch with the Anderson’s. My milkshake was as good as I expected, but the chicken and waffles was far from good, with two small chicken tenders on soggy waffles, Miss Laurie’s garlic fries were just as good as she remembered, Kathleen had the shrimp, and Tom had a Nashville hot chicken sandwich both of which looked very good. After lunch we made a supply stop at a Walmart in Mesa for this weeks groceries, then headed back to the coach.
I spent most of the afternoon, kicked back in my chair, not a very productive day, I watched the world and local news while Miss Laurie went for a walk in the arboretum, then we had a salad for dinner and watched a couple hours of American Idol before turning in shortly after nine o’clock.
Tuesday morning and another five o’clock start, Mister Sam greeted me at the foot of the bed to remind me that he needed treats again today, just like every other day. I settled into my chair and Mister Sam curled up on my lap, today’s Wordle was a four guess day, and then I got to work on trying to put together yesterdays blog updates. I’m feeling much better today, and I will be working on the roof air conditioner today, so I’m planning an early start. Miss Laurie just got up at six, fifteen and made us a coffee, which is a requirement before physical action happens on the coach roof or any where else for that matter.
Yesterday I was able to get the plastic cage fan off of the old fan motor shaft, it was rusted in place so I had to remove the whole steel housing to get access to the end of the shaft. It appears that the new fan motor will work ok, the rotation will be correct, and it is two speed motor, the shaft is a little longer than required, but should be no issue. So today task is to reinstall the steel housing, mount the motor, center the fans for clearance, figure out the wiring, test the operation, then install the air conditioner SoftStartRV, on the compressor, and getting it running to help cool the coach on a day that has a forecast well into the nineties.
I had an early start, heading out to the a/c fan motor and the first task was the motor mounts, the original motor, had inch long bolts extending from both ends of the motor casing, the replacement motor only had four on one end and one on the other, so a modification will need to be done. The threaded ends on the replacement motor were a #10 threaded rod, the only size I could get at the local hardware was 1/4 inch so I had to drill the end cases for the new rod to fit, and also had to drill through the laminated motor stator, a bit of a tedious task but just one that had to be done. The original motor had the capability of three different speeds but the new one only two speed, I picked all the right wire connections and the fan operated on the first try.
I reassembled the steel fan housing, and attached the fan mounts onto the air conditioner pan and positioned the two squirrel cage fans and tightened then onto the fan motor shaft, it was time to retry the operation, and then operate the air conditioner compressor operation, again all went well, by this time it is already 88°F (31°C) and the wind is up a bit, but with the sun beating on me, I made the corporate decision to actually hook up the five wires for the SoftStartRV tomorrow morning, so I’m just leaving all the tools on the roof till then.
So after getting the second air unit operating, and enjoying the fruits of my labours by sucking in some of that cold air in the coach. I decided to start packing up our site, it is hot out side like a fire cracker so I venture out to work on some items, then head back to the coach to cool down. I usually pack the toad first with each section of the pick-up box being filled in a fairly precise order, the front of the box being filled first, three Rubbermaid totes, one tote has some Scuba gear, two of the totes hold thing from the coach and site like window shades, tire covers, solar lamps, bird feeders, and the list goes on.
The very back of the pick-up box contains a 20 lbs. propane tank, our propane fire pit, and a number of other items that may need to be accessed while on the road, like tie down straps, shovel, and other items.
So we had a blip with our “Nomad Internet” provider today, it went down some time before noon, and as I sat there working on the blog, I got to thinking I maybe should check into it. So I hot spotted the iPad off my cell phone, and started an online chat with someone at their office, he had me do a number of things to the modem, none of which seemed to work, and it was after around forty five minutes, that he told me that if it wasn’t up in 48 hours that I should check back. That was when I told him, that that wouldn’t be necessary, because if it wasn’t up in 48 hours I would have already canceled my service, at which point he told me that these things take time, I just responded; well the clock is ticking. And to no one’s surprise we were back up and operating less that two hours later. Hey you don’t mess with a guy who’s wife wants to watch an episode of This is Us tonight … happy wife, happy life.
I even spent some time on the patio this afternoon, enjoying a vodka and tonic, absorbing the Arizona heat, by four o’clock the patio is shaded by the coach, and with the breeze today, even at 97°F (36°C) it is quite comfortable sitting on our patio. Miss Laurie had gone to the grotto this afternoon to try to capture a photo of a Roadrunner, apparently there is a Roadrunner that visits the grotto regularly.
Someone decided to have a last social get together for the host volunteers, but apparently they didn’t remember to invite everyone. Never a good move, unless your trying to create hard feelings, it was put together because Mary was staying over at Lincoln’s to facilitate an early morning start for a 25 mile hike they were doing tomorrow, and it was good to see most of the crew before people start to depart, one pulls out Friday, two on Sunday, one on Monday, and the last one about a week later. Everyone just brought their own beverage of choice as we discussed our summer adventures.
We had had a taco for dinner earlier so it was nice to enjoy a cold beverage on a warm evening before heading in to the coach for an episode of This Is Us, followed by a YouTube by Ray from “Love your RV‘ as he is on the Washington / Oregon border, where we will be in two weeks, we turned in for the evening shortly after nine o’clock … real party animals aren’t we!
Wednesday morning and Mister Sam was on the big bed trying to roust someone for his treats, it was 5:15 and he was hungry! So I rolled out of bed to take care of Mister Sam and to work on the blog and tackle the day’s Wordle, Miss Laurie was up shortly after to make us a cup of coffee. Todays main task is to install the SoftStartRV on the front air conditioner and finish off any other roof issues before we head out.
At 6:30 I was headed to the roof, I had mounted the actual control unit when I had the fan housing out to replace the fan. But decided that wiring two items at once was not the smartest move, especially since neither item was plug-n-play. So yesterday was the five wires for the new two speed fan motor and today was the five wires from the SoftStartRV, and again it worked the first time! These devices reduce the surge that is experienced during an air conditioner start-up, so in reality we could run both of our air conditioners on a thirty amp circuit, we would never have need to do that as even here one unit keeps the coach at a cool 75 (28) and still cycles on and off.
I dropped a socket from the roof, so I had to get off the roof to rescue it from the patio, at this point Mister Sam who was out in his tent decided that he wanted to go in the coach, so it seemed like a good time to stop for breakfast, a cheese omelet and a few moments of rest before heading back to the roof. There is no breeze today and it was getting hot on the roof fast so a clean up, and a little reassemble, then install the air conditioner cover before retreating to the coach and the air conditioning.
I have loaded the kayaks onto the roof of the toad, and have started to pack the toad, and today we are heading to Porters for lunch, and to pick-up a couple of gift certificates for Chris & Preston at the visitor center, Miss Laurie has gifts already for the ladies, and apparently we need to do some last minute shopping in Globe, so a quick stop in Superior for lunch has now morphed into a supply run to Fry’s in Globe. I topped up the fuel in the toad at $4.499 a gallon, and picked up five gallons of diesel at $5.049 a gallon.
We got back to the coach shortly after four o’clock, it is a 91°F (30°C) afternoon, and as we sit on the patio in the shade of the coach with a vodka and tonic, we are joined by Tom & Kathleen. They had done their exit interview today and we just sat around and talked about what was left for everyone to finish off the month, they have another school field trip, a nature event on Saturday, some roving and need to help a few hours in the membership office, while we are off Thursday, and have two full days in the admissions booth Friday & Saturday.
Shortly after six we headed into our coaches, I fired up the barbecue, and started the traditional cooking of meat for the trek, so nearly two weeks of meals worth of precooked meat, eight pork chops, four hamburg patties, and some sausage, none for tonight’s dinner as we we’re still full from our late lunch. I caught the end of the local news, then one YouTube video before watching a couple of documentaries on the Pacific Ocean and the Antarctic, before turning in shortly after nine.
Thursday morning and I’m up way too early, four thirty is not a good time to be getting up. But Mister Sam seems to be OK with early treats, and it does gain me extra kitty, lap time which almost makes it seem worthwhile, it is almost a new moon, so if I can remember it could be a good night for a time lapse over night, to get the stars.
Earth to Brian! There I was heading off into that never ending abyss between what I need to do and what I want to do. Today will be a major packing day, a number of items will be stowed for the trek north, today is the day to find the clam a new home, with three days to go, our need to have out list is shrinking. today we will clean and store away the barbecue, until we arrive in Canada.
By seven o’clock I was back on the roof, just a few last moment things to finish up on the roof, my regular checking of the solar panel mounts, retighten the new vent covers, and if you remember a few month ago and the front air conditioner cover blew off in a wind storm, well I had used tape to repair the cover, so this morning I took tape and ran it over the front and back of the cover just to ensure we don’t loose it on the highway.
Breakfast was excellent this morning, as you can see, as we prepare for a day of packing up. I cleaned up the barbecue and got it packed away, but the Clam would not fit where I had hoped so it is presently in the toad, wheel covers, propane tank, fire pit, antigravity chairs, all packed away. Lots of little repairs and tweaks, Miss Laurie cleaned the windshield and mirrors, as our departure time is closing in fast.
I think I finally completed our route for the journey north, I have chosen US-93 as the main northern corridor, much of it is two lane highway which is so much nicer for sightseeing that the interstate highways, I’m keeping with our travel process, again there are no campgrounds on the route, but a number of Harvest Host stops, as well as a number of Casinos, and possibly a couple of rest areas. I’m also planning fuel stops to take advantage of our TCD Fuel Card (more on that later) and our decent from the Rockies will have our descent on I-84 at Deadman’s pass as we enter the Columbia River valley, a few more tweaks but I’m real close to set on this route.
Another happy hour with Tom & Kathleen, and Lincoln, this afternoon my objective was emptying the last of the glass beer bottles, from the bar fridge. Again shortly after six we returned to the coach where Laurie made pizza as we watched some shows on the Food Network, before heading to bed shortly after nine.
Friday and it was another early morning, 4:45 but Mister Sam again was ok with early treats and I settled in to complete the Wordle, and to work on this weeks blog. This is a workday for us, with today and tomorrow being our last two days, so a cup of blessed coffee, a bowl of cereal and we are out of the coach for an eight o’clock start in admissions.
It was not a busy day only a handful over three hundred guests today, so it was tough trying to stay busy and staying engaged, Laurie swept, I watered, then we just put in time, I actually went into the arboretum and sat by one of the water features for the best part of an hour, we finished off our day at three o’clock as the parking lot was looking pretty empty.
I’m typing away on the laptop, while enjoying an adult Creamsicle beverage, I used to enjoy a couple of canned adult soda pops back in Ontario, one was a Hard Rootbeer and the other was a Hard Orange Soda, and I think they were produced under the label of “Crazy Uncle”, well I have found that with the Sodastream, I can duplicate them almost perfect, and coupled with some vanilla vodka, it is almost the real deal. This afternoon is the last official happy hour, we invited Chris, and some others from the visitor center, but only Chris stopped by for a beverage and some snacks. We also had one of the host volunteer couples that pulled out today, and now there are only four couples left.
We made it into the coach by 7 pm, Miss Laurie made a little dinner, we had been snacking at happy hour, and Sharktank for some reason wasn’t televised tonight so we watched some episodes of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, as we were both on our iPads doing other things, before heading to bed shortly after nine.
Saturday April 30th, and this the end to a great winter season for us, we have made such great memories, the beauty that has surrounded us all winter, we have meet many wonderful people, and have added a few to our “RV Family”. I have been up most of the night, my mind touching on so many different things, running through packing ideas, trip ideas, last minute repair items, the list goes on and on. So at 2:25 am I’m wide awake, so I just get up, I’m not sleeping anyway. I up so early that Mister Sam doesn’t even get up for his treats, and this kitty is food motivated, so I decided to knock off today’s Wordle, and this is how that went!
Wordle 315 6/6 …. Enough to say it wasn’t an easy go this morning!
So now it is 3:30 am and I’m nowhere near being able to go back to bed, but it’s a little early for doing much else other that working on the blog, Mister Sam just had his treats and has settled onto my lap, but I need to go back to bed, hell I don’t even have a bad book to read right now!
I have been working very diligently on this weeks blog, and have been editing as I went, because today will be a hectic day to say the least, and I don’t need to be trying to close out the blog after hours of other more urgent items, and I should be tired after being up so early this morning.
My second start to Saturday was at 6:45 am, yes I got back to bed and got back to sleep, I woke to the smell of coffee, a bowl of cereal, and we are ready for our last day at Boyce Thompson Arboretum and as we head to the admissions booth there is truly a mixed bag of emotions. We will be hoping for a much busier day, there is a wedding today and the last two discovery tours till fall.
Well it was busier, still not busy enough for a second till, so Laurie and I took turns in the booth while we did other things like watering, sweeping and such, I stuck it out till noon then headed back to the coach to get the outside packed up, the rat lights, dumping tanks, filling the fresh water, camp chairs, camp rugs, our wheel ramps, water hoses, and more. Everything seems to be falling into place, the ladder is towed away, my tools, everything just seems to be coming together.
Laurie is doing last minute laundry, the bedding, and a few dirty clothes, as it will be a couple of weeks before we have hook-ups again, and will be boondocking on the trek north, so this the last chance for laundry. We are finishing off a few partial bottles as we prepare the coach to move, so we are having a last chance drink with the Andersons, and I have decided to close this blog out here and now, as there will not be much happening this evening other than dinner and a little television.
Be careful the Buchanan’s are on the move!