A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year Everyone

Beans and I are looking forward to a much better year this time around.
We have plans and will continue on in our travels as before, not like in 2020.
No hunkering down in one place all summer this time.
No visits to repair shops or hospital emergency rooms either.
No siree Bob!
2021 will be great.

We hope all of you have a great 2021.


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

And So 2020 Comes to an End...Finally!

To a greater or lesser degree this pretty much is how this year has been for me, well everyone. 

Perhaps the phrase hindsight is 2020 was some kind of message 
from a future time traveler that we all misunderstood.

I think it is only fitting that we end this year with one of the strangest news stories currently going on.
The Girl Scouts are suing the Boy Scouts 
and the Boy Scouts are accusing the Girl Scouts of starting a war.
Who would ever have imagined?
Pretty well sums the craziness of 2020.

Be safe on this New Year’s Eve.  Beans and I will be.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Face Mask Signs

I had to make a run into town on the motorbike to fill my water bottles.  I get water from these machines for my drinking water only.  The small grocery store I planned to go to with two machines out front had some people milling around and being I avoid people if at all possible I went next door to Family Dollar.

While there I remembered to check the door for a face mask sign in regards to yesterday’s post.  Yes there was one.  Like one commenter remarked in yesterday’s post, some people leave these signs to interpretation.  Mask Required to Enter.  Once they enter through the doors the requirement has been met and they remove their mask.  In regards to the Family Dollar sign “Yep, got my face covering right here in my purse” or pocket as the case may be.  


Monday, December 28, 2020

COVID-19 Where We Are


Quartzsite is in La Paz county Arizona.  La Paz county has 1341 reported cases of the coronavirus with a total of 33 deaths.  This among other reasons is why I like where I am for this winter.

Here’s my story from yesterday’s shopping trip into town.  I am in Family Dollar with my bandana well in place. There is about one out of four shoppers not wearing a mask.  It made me wonder was there a sign on the door ‘Mask Required’?  I forgot to look but will next time I go.  Every place has a sign so there must be.  Family Dollar just doesn’t have the enforcers as does say a Walmart.  So one of the spreaders is this overweight white trash woman in her late 30’s or 40’s covered in tattoos all over her exposed arms and chest. She is wearing a stretched out black tank top so I see more than I ever wanted to see.  About the third encounter with her going up and down the aisles she coughs, snorts and sniffles then remarks to her friend “I think I might have the flu.”  I am more concerned about catching someone’s cold or flu bug than the coronavirus. I don’t mind wearing my bandana for that reason.  They walk among us.

Outside on the bulletin board I saw this, the second thing I wish I hadn’t seen.

I then rode over to the expired food tent and bought two cans of chili and beans for a dollar each for after all it was a chili and bean day, cold and overcast.  I saw this at the check out.  I hoped she wouldn’t offer me a bag only having spent two dollars on two cans of beans since I had just bought a bag of oranges the day before.  She asked.

I went home before I saw something else I didn’t want to see.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Making Money, or Trying To


This gentleman is like many who come to Quartzsite each year.  They rent a space and set up shop selling whatever they have to sell.  His patch of desert dirt is close to a main intersection of traffic as far as Quartzsite goes.  He paid $2000 for this spot which is good for the entire season of Sept. 15 through April 15.  If you look at it as rent, well $2000 for seven months is a good deal.  He has electrical hook-ups with that price.  He was screwing down his display cases to the table when I was there browsing through his junk merchandise.  He told me that last year someone walked off with an entire display case.  I said that I couldn’t imagine someone bold enough to do that in broad daylight but he said they came in at night.  Well I wouldn’t mess with him day or night for he was packing a gun on his hip.

 Now this woman has a great idea for making some money.  Bless her heart for I don’t even like to shop for myself.  And then to consider giving her a list of things to pick up for me at Walmart, geez I have a hard enough time deciding what to get when I am there how on earth can I tell someone else?

And then there are the RV dealers.  This is a 2007 Winnebago View.  My View is a 2006.  I bought mine used (one year old) in 2007 for the same price they were asking for this THIRTEEN YEARS LATER!!
Anyone that pays that amount today is a fool.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Beans’ Christmas Present

I have been looking for some bells for a long time 
and finally found exactly want I wanted, in a fishing tackle box at a roadside yard sale.  

I put them on the end of the long cords I attach to her harness.  Now when she wants to take off after a lizard, bird or chipmunk I can let go of the cord and not worry so much about loosing track where she is if I loose sight of her.  She never goes far for her prey doesn’t either.  

The white cord is sixteen feet so long and we use that in the forests where it shows up well against the ground.  The blue cord is a fish stringer I found long ago.  It is braided nylon cord, about ten feet long and doesn’t collect stickers or thorns so is it used in the desert.  Beans pays the bell no mind as it tinkles along behind her as she hunts.  No, I wouldn’t just put a bell on her harness.  Would you want that noise around your neck so close to your supersensitive ears?

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Cornbread

We woke to a beautiful Christmas morning with clear skies and glorious sunshine.
I went for a nice two mile stroll and since the wind was only a slight breeze I thought
ah...a good day break out the Dutch Oven.
The shiny thing is part of someone’s homemade solar oven I found in the dumpster last winter.
I use it as a wind break to keep the heat contained.


Yes, it is good.


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas Everyone

About the only Christmasy thing I have seen out here
but surely there must be more I just haven’t found.

Just had to include this


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

What I Am Reading

It is not uncommon for me to have three books going at once: the kindle app on my iPad, the kindle itself and a hardcopy book.  I picked this up at a used paperback book store near the house while I was incapacitated the last two months.  It is a big book as you can see and would keep me entertained for a long time I thought.  Well unlike other Stephen King books I have read this one took me awhile to really get into, like page 481 of 1131.  Also, when I began the book I discovered page 25/26 had been ripped out!  Boy was I miffed!  Who rips out a page from a book?  

I have been working on finishing up this year’s eBook too and hopefully will have it published some time next month.  So there is always something to do with reading or writing (no arithmetic). 
I am never bored.

Here is my view while lying in bed reading.  
She got all excited as a roadrunner passed through camp that morning.  
Still, there are no lizards.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Poor Beans


We have not seen a single lizard since our return to the same camp that was littered with the little rascals when we left two months ago.  She is beginning to lose interest in even going outside anymore.  Maybe just a roll in the dirt, a look around, then wants back in.

Otherwise it is nice here.  I sat out in the warm sunshine soaking in the sun, got a bit sleepy, came back in and took an hour nap.  It’s a rough life.

I did see the the Jupiter/Saturn alignment.  I think the excitement of seeing that the evening before wore me out.  Did you get to see it?

Monday, December 21, 2020

Gracie Lives


I finally got around to taking Gracie off the carrier in back where she has sat for two months ever since I made that hasty exit back in October.  The battery was still up and she fired on the second or third kick.  What a great little motorbike.  All I had to do was put some air to the tires which I added too much.  Makes for a lumpy bumpy ride.  I let some out and it was much better.
It was a nice sunny day at 72 degrees (22.2 C).

Sunday, December 20, 2020

New COVID Prevention Measures

This went into effect while we were away.

Now we stand outside to buy our permits.
The little metal shelf is new.

Ya still gotta wear a mask though.

No comment from yours truly.


Saturday, December 19, 2020

It Is So Nice...

...to have nothing else to do but take a long walk surrounded by the quiet of nature.

Even better is to be able to do so. 
 It has been two months since I last had that pleasure.

Hey!  You woke me up!  Can you try to be quieter when you come inside?

It is so nice to be missed while away.


Friday, December 18, 2020

Settling In to Desert Life


While we were away they built a ramp alongside the new trash dumpsters. That was nice of them.  This will make it easier for me to see what kind of treasures lie within.

Meanwhile back at camp Beans is enjoying the warm desert sun.  Even so, it is just sixty degrees outside as a cold wind is blowing down from the north.  It will warm up this weekend into the seventies.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Well, I Didn’t Expect That!


I thought I would be all excited when we reached the outskirts of Quartzsite Thursday morning.  Instead all the terrible memories of that day and night of October 26 came rushing back.  The driving around town looking for a doctor, clinic, drug store, anything to treat the pain and agony I was in.  I sure hope every time I come here that doesn’t happen. 

By this time the RV dealers would have brought in hundreds of brand new RV’s and coaches for the big RV show in January.  The lots were empty.  Another victim of COVID-19.

Then as I drove in to the camp areas I saw little change as to the population from how it was two months ago.  There is hardly anyone here in comparison to normal years.  Talking to a guy at the water fill up station he brought up the fact about the Canadians being unable to cross the border this year.  Hard to believe them not being here would make it that noticable.  I don’t know what percentage of the winter population here is made up of Canadians.   

Finally the camp spot we vacated on that fateful day was empty and waiting for us.  I pulled in and Beans was all excited seeing her lizard tree.  That is it in front of the RV.  I wasn’t too sure about staying because of what happened while here.  I left, drove around some then came back.  
I need to overcome my nightmare thoughts.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

We Almost Made It

We woke up to these temperatures.  I could have died!
I wasted no time getting on the road and running the heater.

 It was a long day with a few construction delays but we finally made it out of California, across the Colorado River and into Arizona at Parker.  I ate a early dinner then did an extensive shop at Walmart.  Next was to fill the propane tank and then fill up The Little House on the Highway.  By then it was almost dark.  Quartzsite is about 25 or so miles south but I was tired (Walmart will do that to you) and going any further can wait another day.  Besides, it is a narrow two lane highway scary enough in the daylight and I don’t need that kind of excitement just now anyway.  I have had enough adventure for awhile.  When we arrive I will fill up with water, select a place to call “home” and we shall be set until next year.  
Tonight we sleep behind a Safeway store across from Walmart.

Travel Tip Two

 Always have food and drink up front with you.  Maybe even a pee bottle.
I needed all three right then.

Highway 99 at Bakersfield became a parking lot due to a collision.  This evolved into two hours to go eight miles where our turnoff onto another highway lay.  Due to this delay we never made it to our intended destination for the night at Amboy Crater on old Route 66 east of Barstow.  We had to settle for another rest stop.  The good thing is we finally made it back into the desert and boy, did I have a happy kitty on board when she saw that as we parked.  The not-so-good part is that we are still in California.  
Only covered 176 miles today.  Are we ever going to make it out of this state?

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Travel Tip

 Always have a clean windshield.  
This will provide you with a better view of your surroundings when you are broke down.

Day one of our return to Arizona and we only made it 240 miles when both Beans and I had enough.  Tired.  We stayed at a rest stop on Interstate 5 in the central valley of California not near any town.
Hopefully today we can make it a bit further before we peter out.
We will still be in California though.  
It takes forever to get out of this state.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Rainy Day Lockdown


This is pretty much how today is for us with full on rain all day.

Tomorrow Monday is supposed to be nice and we will try again to return to Arizona.

I am in no hurry and will just enjoy being on the road again all healthy and with everything working fine.

It will be interesting to see how things have changed in our neighborhood since we left on October 28.
I doubt we will return to the same camp we had as more people (except for the poor Canadians) should be in Quartzsite now.  There are dozens of square miles of desert to call home down there.

Dreaming of chasing lizards.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Transmission Upgrade


While sitting there waiting for the tow truck I ran the fault codes and found a number which indicated an incorrect gear ratio.  This covered a broad number of possibilities from dirty transmission fluid or blocked passageway all the way to broken components inside the transmission.  Once at the shop the mechanic had hoped to see a particular code number specifying a known control module problem but that didn’t show.  When he dropped the pan from the unit he then saw a sparkling array of bronze metal glitter bits all about.  He suspected the bronze bushing on the input or output shaft had pulverized.  So we went with a complete rebuilt transmission of a later year where roller ball bearings replaced these bronze bushings.  He also had the shop that rebuilds Mercedes Benz transmissions to install heavy duty parts and pieces inside where applicable.  Knowing I live in the RV full time and use it year round “I’d feel much better sending you back out on the road with a new unit built up for heavy duty service.”  I agreed with him completely.
Like with the new tires, I can now continue on with peace mind.
I really should replace those windshield wipers though.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

48 Hours

The tow truck driver dropped off The Little House on the Highway at the repair shop just after six in the evening on Monday.  I picked it up all fixed and ready to go just after six in the evening on Wednesday.  48 hours!  Who would think that in these days?  Yes, I am still shaking my head in disbelief that it was repaired this quickly.  That is how good and efficient the folks at Hammond Autowerks in Santa Rosa are and why I have always taken the RV to them as they specialize in Mercedes Benz.  I went with a complete transmission replacement.  More on that in the next post.  We are planning to try to leave again next Monday after the upcoming rainy weather passes.  I am in no hurry, just extremely grateful.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Tow Truck Fiasco

 I have Progressive insurance roadside service.  I have used it twice before and both times they were great.  This time not so.  The first tow truck coming from who knows where fortunately contacted me asking for a photo of what they were coming for.  Turns out they thought they were coming for a Sprinter Van, not motorhome.  He said they couldn’t do the job and would notify the company.  And so I waited.  Finally this guy showed up hours later.  He came from Galt, California - 260 miles away!!  That is in central California whereas we are in northern.  I was shocked.  So was the truck driver.  We both couldn’t understand it.  He was a nice guy and I apologized for him having to come from such a distance.  “Oh don’t worry, I’m getting paid for it.”  The guy was a real professional and we led him back to the repair shop in the dark for as he said “I have no idea where I am up here”.

I called Progressive the next day thinking someone needs to know of this mess.  Well I learned they have a list to work from of contracted tow truck companies.  It isn’t like they can just call Joe’s Towing Service around the corner.  Also the lady said “It shows here they made sixteen phone calls in trying to locate a towing company”.  Okay, sounds like they tried with what they have to work from.  She agreed that 260 miles was a bit much and would pass this on to the company.

So it was nearly six hours sitting there while I watch two equally large tow trucks drive by, probably local.
We were back at the house eight hours after I cleaned the windshield.

Just so you know, I could get AAA Roadside Service for $99 a year.  Like I mentioned, I have only had to use what I have three times now.  Why bother?

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Broke Down


Can you believe it?

We got a late morning start on Monday.  The winds were really howling so I waited a bit before hitting the road.  Driving along the windshield was all spotty from the poorly done job of cleaning it I did.  I’m not dealing with this anymore and I pulled off the road to clean it better.  I left the motor running.  Now with a clean windshield I got back in and put the truck into gear and no go.  Now what!!  I turned off the motor, sat there unbelievingly and started the motor.  It moved.  What to do?  I turned around, started back and then again no more moving.  I pulled off into a park and ride and there we sat for five hours waiting on the tow truck.  All of this only eighteen miles from the house and in that I can say is the lucky part of this.  Better here than hundreds of miles out in the desert.

More to come when I know more.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

The RV and Me

I dropped off the Little House on the Highway at my Mercedes mechanic to get an overall safety check done.  Mainly I wanted the brakes looked at for if they were getting close to needing being replaced I would want these guys to do it.  The brake pads and rotors are four years old with over 40,000 miles on them.  They checked out at only having two millimeters of wear.  This was great and showed my using the engine and transmission to slow down before using the brakes at the end has really paid off.  Otherwise the RV got clean bill of health and only the wipers blades needed replacing.

As for me, I am doing great.  I said I would give myself two weeks to make sure everything is operating fine before heading back to Arizona.  But now I am a bit concerned about what kind of edict California’s ‘do as I say, not as I do’ goofy governor is going to pull so I am planning to start our journey south on Monday, a couple days shy of the 14-day plan.  I want out of California and back in the safe isolation of the Arizona desert.  Beans wants to get back to hunting lizards.
And so the journey resumes and yes, I seriously wondered at times if it would.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Slowest Fuel Pump Ever

 It took twenty minutes for this pump to fill twenty-five gallons of fuel into the Little House on the Highway.  I think this pump is suffering from the same condition I was last month.
Then it failed to shut off and left a puddle of diesel fuel underneath.
At least I didn’t have that problem.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

This is So Wrong!


Here is the amount charged for my visit to the emergency room at Palo Verde Hospital in Blythe, Ca. when things went haywire with me while in the desert last month.  I was in there for about three hours with only having a catheter and collection bag installed being the extent of services.  I have no problem with this.  I was in a bad way and will be forever grateful for them being there and nurse Adrianna saving my life.  I am not trying dramatic here.  I later asked nurse Michelle at Kaiser who was treating me “What did people do in the olden days when what happened to me did so with them before modern medical care?”  She simply said “They died.”  What a horribly painful death that would be.

Yesterday this came in the mail.  This doctor stepped into my cubicle after Adrianna began draining my tank.  He wasn’t in there more than a half a minute and said no more than a dozen or so words to me asking me if I drank beer?  “Say what?!”  He was just a hard of hearing doddering old man who shuffled along in the hallway generally being in the way of the personnel there trying to do their job caring for people.  $746 for doing nothing!

Maybe this is just a way to bill for services by staff and the name of the doctor on duty at the time is used and the other charge by the hospital is for the use of a bed, the room and equipment.  I don’t know how things work in the medical industry but I hope that is it and that useless old man isn’t receiving $746. 

My plan with Kaiser by the way is paying for all except $250.  I am glad to pay my share.