Saturday, October 29th

I suspect it’s time to make a major announcement for us. Several of you are aware of our news, and some of you have figured it out. So I need to make it official and announce our good, no, GREAT news!

After five years of searching and hoping for the right match, we have found a piece of property in the Yuma Foothills that we are going to purchase. It’s been a long time coming and we have gotten very frustrated at the different properties we looked at but didn’t quite get us excited. This one looks great and Dottie has even says she likes it! We were spoiled when we looked at the first property, made an offer, and the owner pulled it off the market. Nothing has quite measured up to that one. This one is a perfect fit and fills our needs, now and future.

We are buying an RV lot that has a 616 sq. ft. casita (little house) with one bedroom, one bathroom, and a nice combined living room/kitchen. The lot is over 7000 sq. ft., has a place to park our coach with full hookups, and a covered carport with a deck on top. It has an outside storage room, about 8’X20’, with electricity and worktable already installed. It has so much potential with some work. And it will take work! It is a foreclosure owned by Beneficial Finance. It has no furniture and no appliances, so we’ll be looking for adequate
furniture to make it feel like a home. The living area is a linoleum tile floor (easy to care for) and the bedroom is carpeted. We are thrilled to be able to find it and purchase it at a price almost $30,000 below comparable properties! Our close of escrow date is Dec. 8th, but the mortgage lender is shooting to have us in the house the week before Thanksgiving. We had planned to be in Yuma for Thanksgiving, so this is icing on the cake. We’d love to have possession early to be able to spend some time on the lot and decide what we are going to do to improve it.

If any of you are interested in looking at the property, the address is 12546 E. 47th Lane in Yuma, AZ. You can check it on any real estate web page and see the photographs of the property. I’ll have a photo of the house on our web page, ““. So, that’s our great news!

We are still parked at the Palisades Presbyterian Church in San Diego. I am enjoying the opportunities to help out when needed and provide security for the church property. I’m able to ease the workload of many of the folks here by being on-site to open doors, lock up at night, and do small custodial jobs when necessary. It’s a privilege to be able to park here and have our own “church family” that seems to appreciate our presence. Plus, we are parked on some of the best real estate in San Diego County. Our view to the west is magnificent as we see the sunsets through Mission Valley all the way to the ocean. It really can’t get much better!

Dottie is continuing to manage through the daily routines with the help of a walker and my right arm. She participates in a twice-weekly exercise class with some of the ladies in the church and seems to enjoy getting away from me for an hour or so. I still do all the cooking, house cleaning, and scheduling and easily get frustrated with the situation, but I’m slowly learning patience with the help of our friends here at the church. We really enjoy all the activities, especially with the Christmas Season coming soon. We plan to be here for many of the special events at the church before heading north to Sebastopol for the Christmas Holiday.

We are anxious to get things prepared for the arrival of guests in our new abode, but the “hurry up and wait” routine keeps us aware of the reality of buying a new house and the many things we will have to do to appropriately entertain company!

Wednesday, Sept.14th

As we are sitting in the Customer Lounge awaiting the work on our coach to get started, I decided I need to get an update written and sent out. We are back at Oregon Motorcoach Center in Eugene, OR to get eight new shock absorbers installed and a broken shock mount of the front end repaired. We have been here since Sunday when we left South Jetty Thousand trails preserve in Florence.

We left the Monaco Western End of Summer Come Home Rally on Sept. 2nd with our close friends, the Clarksons. We drove to through Eugene to Florence and spent a wonderful relaxed week on the Oregon Coast. Between visiting the local Fred Meyer, Bi-Mart, and Grocery Outlet, we enjoyed the rest and relaxation. We shared several meals with the Clarksons and Andy and I attempted teach the girls how to win a game of Pegs’n’Jokers! We found a small microbrewery in Florence that has only a 7-barrel capacity, but a quaint tasting room located in a very industrial part of town. The owners, a local Dr. and a lady that is an entrepeneur, opened the brewery and make their beers on the doctors acreage south of town. They store their grain in the industrial building and decided to open a tasting room to help pay for the rent. The building is a basically a one-stall garage that has been outfitted with a few sofas, a couple of tables and chairs, and a make-shift bar with stools. It’s very basic, but gives a warm feeling when you enter the room. They have four taps and a refer for varied bottles of beer, wine coolers, and some soft drinks. There are salted peanuts to munch on, but no food served in the room. Patrons can bring a pizza, sandwiches, tacos, etc. in to eat and enjoy the brews on tap. We enjoyed their Happy Hour from 4-6pm and met some very interesting local folks. Florence is a fairly small town that caters to the inland folks that drive over for the Oregon sand dunes. There are several state parks that are designated off-road sand toy locations. While we were in South Jetty we saw many trucks or trailers with quads or other sand toys being carried to the dunes. The park is a pretty park with lots of trees and a row of 50-amp sites. We chose to park in one of those sites to get satellite and enjoy the luxury of 50-amp electrical service.

On Sunday, the 11th, Clarksons left to go south to Brookings and we departed to return to Eugene for the shock absorber work. Once we arrived at OMS, we found there was only one other coach parked in the parking lot. I picked a site that was near the back of the lot since we didn’t need to be close to the service bays for several days. We then headed for Walmart to do some stocking upon groceries and supplies. With the new refrigerator it’s easy to buy the thing we need and keep them on hand. We’ve been to the local Costco, Bi-Mart, and Walmart for our shopping. I also had a couple of items to pick up at NW RV Parts in south Eugene. Northwest RV Parts is a collection of outdated parts and supplies from the old Monaco and Country Coach days. If you need a part for a coach like ours (12 years old), it can probably be found at NW RV Parts. Joe, the owner, has purchased all of the Monaco parts inventory and is expanding to a new location in downtown Eugene. Walking through NW is like walking through a kid’s candy store. You can find so many items you would like, but may not need!

Bob Vinson has assured us he will get us into the shop and out as soon as possible, which probably means we’ll be on the road by tomorrow afternoon headed for Grants Pass. Our goal is to get down to Eureka where we’ll meet the Clarksons at the Elks Lodge, and be able to spend some time with cousin John & Ruth Anderson and their daughter, Tim & Rachael Mecham. There are several attractions in the Eureka area that I want to share with the Clarksons, so we’ll have a busy weekend!

I’m beginning to get anxious to get back to Santa Rosa for a visit and then on down to San Diego. It’s been a very interesting and enjoyable summer in Oregon, but I’m ready to get back to familiar territory for a while. The next Travelogue will most likely be from Sebastopol.

Tuesday, Sept. 27th

This has been a wild and wonderful two weeks! When we finally got the coach into the bay at OMC, the techs discovered that I had three broken shock absorbers! We were aware of the one on the front, but two more were discovered and had to be repaired. Actually, it wasn’t the shock mount that had broken - it was the bolt that holds the shock in the mountings. Three of the bolts had sheared and had to be drilled out. I had ordered a set of eight Bilstein shocks absorbers from, located in El Cajon. They were waiting for us when we returned to OMC. It took a bit longer than originally expected to get the bolts drilled out, ream out the new shock absorbers mounts, and get the installation completed. The guys at OMC worked extra hours to get us completed and ready to leave on Friday morning, the 16th. We were able prepare the coach on Friday morning, get the bill paid, and get on the road by 9AM. We drove to Grants Pass, refueled the coach, and decided to continue to Eureka. It became another 300+ mile day!

When we arrived at the Elks Lodge in Eureka, we were greeted by our friends, the Clarksons, who had arrived on Thursday afternoon. Those extra miles proved to worth the effort. None of us wanted to cook dinner that night after all that driving, so we decided to check out the Lost Coast Brewpub in downtown Eureka. We drove over to Tim & Rachel Mecham’s house on Saturday afternoon and joined Mechams and cousin John & Ruth Anderson for an afternoon of college football. I picked up some pizzas and we all cheered the Univ. of Nebraska to victory over Washington State. It was a great afternoon spent with some family members that I thoroughly enjoy!

Sunday morning we awoke and drove to the Samoa Cookhouse for breakfast. This is one of my favorite places to visit in Eureka. It’s the site of an old lumber mill and the cookhouse still serves meals family-style with plenty of delicious food. We had five nights in Eureka and had the chance to visit the Eel River Brewing Co., the town of Fortuna and the now-defunct Pacific Lumber Company, and the adjoining towns of Rio Dell and Scotia (where Linda Clarkson grew up). We had a great time checking out the area and sharing some of our favorite spots with the Clarksons.

When we left Eureka, our destination was the Russian River Thousand Trails preserve in Cloverdale. It’s located only 45 miles north of Sebastopol and I was getting anxious to get back to see my Mother and sister. I was also aware of the three big packages I had waiting for us in Sebastopol. Those packages were a replacement Baby George rotisserie oven, a new laptop computer to use in the motor home to monitor the engine performance, and a special speaker box that can be used with an MP3 or sport radio. There were several mail packets also waiting for us.

On the way down from Eureka I noticed that the engine was registering an unusually low reading of the turbocharger pressure. Where I normally should be able to get 23-24”, I was only getting a max of 17”. Clarksons were following us and told me the exhaust was heavy black smoke and I could feel the loss of power on the hills or inclines. There were no errors displayed and no warning lights coming on. I knew something was wrong and needed to be checked out.

About this same time, my brother in Melbourne, FL had accepted a call from the First Presbyterian Church in Daytona Beach and was preparing to move there and have an official service declaring him the pastor of that congregation. Mother wanted to send his three siblings to Florida to share his celebration, so the girls decided to go. I declined to go as I needed to stay with Dottie and Mother while Peg was gone. Because of this we left Russian River after four nights and drove the coach down to Sebastopol on Friday. Peg left early Saturday morning and we stayed with Mother and to take care of Peg’s dogs. Andy & Linda drove down to Santa Rosa on Saturday and parked at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds.

We have had a wonderful time showing them the attractions (read that brewpubs) around the Santa Rosa area. We watched the Charger game at the Third Street Ale Works, we have toured the famous Korbel Winery, we plan to visit Lagunitas Brewing Co. and Dempsey’s in Petaluma, and tour the cheese factory between Petaluma and Bodega Bay. They haven’t decided when they will move on down toward Yuma, their winter home. We plan to stay here for a couple of weeks.

I received a phone call from the Bakersfield Cummins Coach Care Service facility about 5PM this afternoon. The Service Manager has assured me that he can get me into their schedule and diagnose the engine problem and get my power back where it should be. He also guaranteed me that I won’t have to take out a new loan to afford the repairs! That took a HUGE load off my back and gave me some relief. They have the facility to stay with the coach and have electric hook-ups for us full timers. I’ll give them a five-day notice that we’re leaving Sebastopol and heading their way. They will get us in and solve our power problem. What a relief! It may feel like a new coach when they complete the work!!

So, we’re enjoying the Northern California weather, the fun of being with family members, and the anticipation of getting back to San Diego for the winter. We’ve had a wonderful summer traveling and getting some major improvements done to “our house”. As we get closer to return to San Diego, we’ll be looking forward to seeing a lot of friends and church family!

Wednesday morning, Oct. 5th

Sadly, the Clarksons departed Santa Rosa last Friday morning and headed for Yuma. We sure had a great time driving them around this area and showing them the finer points of Santa Rosa.

Last Wednesday we drove down to Petaluma and visited the Lagunitas Brewing Co. It is a local microbrewery that is known for some outstanding beers. Their IPA is distributed around the country. In fact, they distribute their ales to 37 states! We arrived just in time to take their tour. Ryan, a big 6’4” guy, gave a very informational tour preceded by a visit to their private tasting room for some samples of their staple beers. He told us of the history of Lagunitas and some of the problems they encountered with Gov’t. intervention while they were an upstart brewery. Then we were able to go into their brewing plant and see some of the actual processes. We ended up the evening with a delicious sandwich in their Brew Garden. We left Lagunitas and returned to sister Peg’s house to engage a few more games of Pegs’n’Jokers and allow the women a chance to win a game or two.

On Thursday we managed to get out to the Marin Cheese Factory between Petaluma and Bodega Bay. We sampled the cheeses and enjoyed the quiet environment around the factory. We didn’t make it in time for the tour, but it was still a pleasant drive to get there. Then we returned to Petaluma and stopped at Dempsey’s for a couple of beers. Dempsey’s is a local pub that carries quite a collection of microbrews, some made right there on-site. We didn’t have our dinner there since I had plans to fix dinner at Peg’s. We had a great meal followed by another opportunity for the girls to win a game of Pegs’n’Jokers. Not! Andy and I are still holding the winning streak intact.

We hated to see the Clarksons leave, but I knew that the Sirens of Yuma calling to Linda and she wanted to get back there. Since their departure, it sure has been quiet around here! We’ve been getting a few chores accomplished and preparing for our appointment in Bakersfield on Monday morning. We’ll leave here on Sunday morning and drive to the Fresno Elks Lodge. We plan to see Jim and Kathy Bolen, who live in Fresno. Then we’ll get to Bakersfield on Monday morning and hope we can get the engine problem resolved. Without knowing the problem, we can’t make any firm arrival date for San Diego. We’ll hope it will only take a few days and we can be back on the road. We also hope to see Ed and Cindy Walsh, who will have just moved to Murrieta from Minneapolis. Ed works for Buffets, Inc. as their head of Security. It’s been over ten years since they left California! I’m sure they’re in for a shock at the growth of that area.

In the meantime we’ve been to River Rock Casino with Mother and sister Harriet. We went up there yesterday and had a great time playing the machines. The girls gambled; I sat in the bar, sipped a couple of beers , and played with my laptop. We all gobbled up the buffet luncheon and stuffed ourselves. When we returned home by 3PM, I cooked a chicken and rice casserole for dinner and allowed for lots of leftovers. The refrigerator is reaching the point where it may need to be re-stocked once we get back to Super Wallys - maybe in Bakersfield. It doesn’t seem possible that our stay in Sebastopol will be ending soon. We’re already planning for the return trip around Christmas. The weather has been rainy and miserable for the last few days, but today the sun is shining and will allow for some outside chores. Southern California is finally getting the rain we experienced this week. It’ll be wonderful to see the sun again!

Tuesday, Oct.11th

We are on the road again - sort of! We regrettably left Sebastopol on Sunday morning with an overcast sky and misty. The further we drove inland, we experienced the sun trying to break through the clouds. By the time we hit CA-99 we were in beautiful sunny weather. Our goal for the night was to get to the Fresno Elks Lodge. We finally arrived about 3:30, parked the coach, and phoned Jim & Kathy Bolen, folks who I had worked with on the SDPD over ten years ago. They now live in Fresno and love the move they made! Jim & Kathy drove over to the Elks Lodge and brought a bottle of local Chardonnay wine to share with us. We got caught up on our separate lives over the pasty ten years. We heard about Jim’s Harleys, his volunteering at a senior home, Kathy’s volunteering at a wild animal rescue center and how she nurses these wild birds and animal back to health before re-releasing them to the wild. Then we all went to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner. It was a fantastic evening getting reacquainted and sharing some wonderful memories.

On Monday morning we were on the road by 8:30 headed for the Bakersfield Cummins Coach Care facility. When we arrived around 11:00am, they were waiting for us and immediately got a service tech to look at the coach. Our drive to Bakersfield was almost uneventful - fairly level terrain and almost 9 MPG! The first thing he checked was all the piping going to the charge air cooler. The CAC is a giant radiator that carries air from the turbo charger to the intake manifold. As the air is compressed by the turbo charger is heats up. The CAC cools the dense air back to near ambient temperature before it goes through the manifold into the combustion chamber. If that air doesn’t get the pressure it needs, the fuel doesn’t burn as clean as it should resulting in a loss of power. There’s a simplified lesson in diesel mechanics.

The tech found a large hose that is connected to the CAC that had worked loose. He reattached it and tightened the metal straps. Then he drove the coach around to the dynamometer to put a load on the engine. He could only get the turbo pressure up to about 19”, less than the prescribed 23-24” that should be showing. He did more testing and found two leaks on the sides of the CAC that were visible cracks in the metal. Now we knew the cause of the problem.

There are a few options to consider. First, and most expensive, is to order a new CAC from Monaco. It would have to built and shipped to Cummins. The cost of the new Monaco CAC is $3700! Another option is to send my CAC to a radiator shop in Los Angeles that will rebuild it and use an epoxy-like material to fill the cracks. That option was quickly discarded since the heat ranges on the CAC would probably crack open those repairs and I’d be right back to where I am now. A third option is to order a new CAC from the original manufacturer that supplied Monaco with their equipment. This company will only sell to established customers and Cummins is NOT one of them. We could go through Source Engineering in Eugene (owned by two former Monaco employees - I know both of them well!). We could get the CAC built in one day, have it delivered to Cummins Sacramento, and it would be shipped to Cummins Bakersfield the next day.

The fourth option is the one we decided to try. Cummins Bakersfield has a brand new CAC that was ordered a couple of years ago and it was the wrong part for the coach. They have had it in storage in the original packing crate and it’s designed for my ISC350 engine. The tech is removing my CAC and will compare it to the new one. If it’s adaptable, Cummins will sell it to me at a discounted price to get it out of their inventory - over half of the price of a new one from Monaco! So, we’re parked at Cummins in a not-so-great part of Bakersfield, but still enjoying finding out about this town that most people go THROUGH!

We drove through Bakersfield this afternoon and went to the Sam’s Club to get fuel for the car. We also scoped out Lengthwise Brewing Co., a local microbrewery and brewpub. We’ll be enjoying an afternoon and dinner there at least one night this week.

It’s really amazing that this Central Valley area of California is usually not a destination, but a “pass through” location. As we drove around Fresno and Bakersfield, I’m finding that there are some really nice locations that could easily become home. The neighborhood around Cummins is not a great place to be - we’ve been told to NOT walk or drive the streets after dark. The gang population is a real problem and they seem to live in this area of town. But the nicer areas of southwest Bakersfield are beautiful! We saw many subdivisions with manicured lawns, wide well-lit streets, and neighborhood services and shopping centers. I am looking forward to scouting out this area and seeing what some of the attractions might be. Jim Bolen gave me the phone number of retired SDPD Motor Officer Steve Smalley, who I also worked with. Steve drove over to Cummins today and we had a great reunion. We’ll have dinner with him tomorrow night and are looking forward to be able to spend some time with him. So, Bakersfield isn’t all bad! Plus we have our own bedroom and shower in the coach. We’re very comfortable is what could be a miserable situation!

Monday, Oct. 17th

We are back in San Diego at our comfortable old parking spot at Palisades Presbyterian Church. It’s good to be “home” again and back with our church family.

Last week we had decided to go with the fourth option on our leaking charge air cooler. Cummins West in Bakersfield had a brand new one, still in the shipping case, that Lisa, the Service Tech Supervisor, remembered. It had been ordered for a Country Coach with the Cummins ISC350 engine that we have. So, Darren, our Service Tech, began removing our CAC
from the coach on Tuesday morning. I had some instructions that had been emailed to me on how to remove the CAC without having to remove the complete radiator package. Darren got started on it and had it out of the coach by Tuesday afternoon. He put the old CAC next to the new one and they were almost identical! On Wednesday morning he started installing the new CAC and replacing a couple of radiator hoses that were covered with dirty oil. By Wednesday afternoon the new CAC was in place and all of the parts were back in their original locations. He left the decorative grille off the side of the engine because he wanted to test the engine on their dynamometer on Thursday morning.

When he arrived on Thursday, he discovered the dyno was not working due to some routine maintenance be
ing done. So we took the coach out for a test drive. I was amazed at the numbers I was seeing from the turbocharger! I haven’t seen numbers that high for over ten years. Instead of 19-20” of pressure, the turbo was reading 23-24” of pressure. That means I’m finally getting more power out of the engine and it’s running the way it should have been.

As I was watching him double-check all the fittings and securing the grille, I was also watching another Tech working on a small generator. I asked Darren if there was anything I should be watching on our 7.5 KW Onan Quiet Diesel generator. He told me the belt for the water pump and cooling fan should be changed every 500 hours. Oops, I have almost 1800 hours on mine and it’s never been changed. He offered to check it our since I was in the shop and all the tools were handy. So we opened the generator housing and he removed the belt. It was shot! You could see all the cracks in the rubber belt and the weak spots. He also checked the air filter and we replaced both of those items. He fixed a magnetic contact on my steps by applying what he called “Super Snot”, a gooey adhesive that will dry, but remain flexible. He offered to check anything else that might be needed since the coach was on the rack and we could easily reach things on the underside. Everything looked good, so we brought the coach down and he completed his work order.

I had paid $19.95 to join the Cummins Power Booster Club which gives a 10% discount on any parts and labor for work at the Cummins shop. And I had remembered Monaco’s quote of $3700 for a new CAC. When the bill was presented to me, it came to just under $3700 - total! I was thrilled to get all those things done for that price. Cummins West sold me that new CAC for only $1500! I got a great deal and they got it out of their inventory. We both won!!

By noon the coach was ready to roll. I had checked the forecast for San Diego and saw that El Cajon was expecting 104 degrees! I asked if we could stay in Bakersfield for another night, and they said we could stay as long as we wanted - and to stop by anytime we were going through Bakersfield and park in their RV spots. We were able to make another Wal-Mart run and stock up on some items we needed.

While we were in Bakersfield we made contact with Steve Smalley, a former Motor Officer from SDPD that I had worked with. We went to dinner at the 420 Club, a small club that is owned and operated by mostly CHP officers from Bakersfield. Once a month they have a dinner at their clubhouse/meeting place and they were serving BBQ ribs on Wednesday night. We met Steve and his girlfriend there and joined them for dinner with a group of retired guys who were absolute characters. It was a lot of fun and a terrific meal!

On Friday morning we were up and preparing to head to San Diego. We dumped the holding tanks, refueled, and started up the Tehachapi grade toward Lancaster/Palmdale. It was warm already at 10am so we just kept on moving. We arrived in Menifee around 12:30 and stopped long enough to see Cindy and Amber Walsh. I was hoping to see Ed, but he is already working and was at a meeting in Corona. Ed and his family are special friends to us and we’ve known them for well over twenty years. Ed took a job with Home Town Buffet and was moved to Minneapolis many years ago. With all the difficulties in the economy and the changes in his company, Ed has had to move back to California. They are renting a house in Menifee for a year before deciding to buy a house here. Amber is a beautiful 19-year-old young lady who will go to college about three blocks from their house at Mt. San Jacinto College. When we arrived, the movers had just left and we couldn’t stay for long. It was a disappointment not seeing Ed, but enjoyable to be able to chat with Cindy and Amber. I’m looking forward to seeing them all soon!

We left Menifee and hit the beginnings of rush hour traffic coming in to San Diego. We arrived at the church about 3:30 and got settled in. It’s good to be back and see our “family” on Sunday morning. We’ll be here for only a month before we go to Yuma for Thanksgiving with the Clarksons. Then we’ll return to the church for a couple of weeks before heading back north for the Christmas Holiday.

Things are good! Dottie is slowing down and using her walker more. Being in comfortable surroundings helps a lot and she is familiar with this area and the environment. We hope to see our kids a little more this time before we have to leave again.

Saturday night, August 27

Day 4 at Oregon Motorcoach Service We were up and ready for Chance to get the coach and drive it into the service bay. He needed to tighten up the water line for the ice maker and the outside water dispenser. Darrell, the cabinet maker, had to attach the wood trim and give it the finished look. By 3pm the job was completed, Chance had retrieved all the food we had stored in their employee refrigerator and placed it inside our new refer, and the coach was moved out to its parking spot for the night.

Bob Vinson told me they had run out of the filters he needed for the Annual Service, so the filters would be delivered first thing in the morning. We walked into the coach and were absolutely astounded by the quality workmanship that we observed! It was a beautiful job of adding the wood trim, matching the cherry wood, and making it look like it had been installed at the factory. Both my wife and I are impressed with their work.

Day 5 found us ready for Dave, another Service Tech, taking our coach back inside for the Annual Service. He changed the oil, changed all four filters plus the hydraulic filters, and calling me out to look at a problem they had discovered. Two of the rear Bilstein shock absorbers were leaking, and one of the front passenger side shock mounts had broken and the shock is pushing against the metal floor. As long as I’m going to have to replace the two rear shocks, they suggested I replace all of them. These are the original Bilstein shocks that have over 150,000 miles on them. Bob asked if I had ever dealt with Kaiser Brake & Alignment and I assured him that I had. However, if OMS could do the work, I’d prefer to come back and have them replace the shocks and repair the broken shock mount. He had Chance look at the broken mount, estimated about three hours of work to re-weld the mount, and told me he couldn’t get me in until Sept. 14th. I told him to schedule me and I’d get the shocks off the internet and have them shipped to OMS. I found a dealer in El Cajon, CA that sells the shocks for $85.00 each and will phone them on Monday with an order.

So the bottom line of the refer replacement was17 hours of labor (not the 28 hours actually used) for a total of $1785.00 and $137.29 in parts. The total amount was more than I had budgeted, but there was some major modification that had to be done. The finished product makes it worth every penny we spent! I would definitely recommend Oregon Motorcoach Service for any work that needed to be done. They have some outstanding techs, a great customer lounge, and a customer service attitude that makes it easier to spend your hard-earned money for truly quality workmanship!

We were done by 10:30am and able to get on the road by 11:00. We had about 47 miles to drive to Albany and get there in time to greet the other Parking Crew members as they arrived. All the Parkers arrived on Friday and we were invited to join Jon Katin, one of our Parkers who lives in Albany, at his house for a brisket dinner. We carpooled to his house, socialized, ate, and had an initial meeting to welcome the new ones and explain my expectations for the Parking Crew. It’s a great group of volunteers and we had a wonderful dinner.

Saturday morning we met at 8am and started the measuring and marking. We got the main parking lot completed and had time to rest by 2pm. Some of us met and drove to Calapooia Brewing Co. for dinner. It was a productive day and a chance to get to know each other and their working limitations. Tomorrow we will finish measuring and marking and get prepared for the rush on Monday morning.

Sunday, Sept. 4

The Rally is over and was a successful gathering according to most attendees. We were able to finish all of our marking with little or no problem, and were up early Monday morning to greet the early arrivals. Since this was a factory-sponsored Rally, there was no additional fee for arriving early. Several friends had contacted me about the best time to arrive at the fairgrounds. I told all of them to be lined up at the entry gate by 6am. We even had a group of 21 coaches that were parked across the street at a campground and wanted to arrive together so they could park together. The Linn County Fairgrounds has only 50 electrical sites, and they were to be sold on a first come-first served basis. And that would be the reason for arriving early at the gate.

Monday morning at 6:30am, I drove my golf cart to the Check-In Gate to deliver a canopy and table for the ladies that would be working out there. At that time I counted 24 coaches in line and waiting. I had set out cones on Sunday night to create two lanes for the early arrivals. Both of those lanes were full and the coaches were beginning to get close to the street, which would cause a major traffic problem for us and the Albany police. The crew for the Check-In Gate arrived at their position about 8:45 and we set up the canopy and tables. At 9am sharp we started checking in the attendees and directing them to their parking spots. Remember, all of these folks had paid $300 to attend the Rally, and now the electric was extra. Our price for 50-amp hookups was $70, 30-amp was $50, and I had an additional thirteen 20-amp hookups that I could sell for $50. I had intended to hold the 20-amp sites strictly as a backup. But it didn’t take long for the electric hookups to be sold out. So, I decided to start selling the 20-amp and sold all of them! By 10:30 all of the electric sites had been sold and the coaches were parked.

We then concentrated on getting the rest of the coaches into their spots. Due to the efforts of an excellent Parking Crew, we continued to park coaches in the parking lot all the way to 4pm. At that point I decided to let the Parking Crew secure and rest. I stayed ready to park any late arrivals and help them get situated. We left a sign saying to remain at the Gate and they would be parked the next morning. We had eight golf carts that had arrived on Friday, so I moved them to the Service truck for the Service Technicians to use once they arrived in the morning. We kept two for our use.

Tuesday morning we were up early enough for some coffee and Costco muffins. We talked about the problems from the previous day and what we had in store for us. I reduced the crew since we had only 26 of the 147 coaches remaining. We went to the Check-In Gate and found one coach waiting. The remainder of the day went very slowly. At 3pm we started taking down the canopy, collecting the cones and traffic barricades, and securing the entry area. We still had two coaches that hadn’t shown, so I was ready to get them parked if they came in late. Linda Clarkson, who headed the Check-In Gate, counted her money and balanced and I turned it all in. We had two arrivals after 5pm, so I drove the cart out and got them parked in time to join the Social Hour. It consisted of an open bar and a lot of tasty finger foods in the area of the new display coaches. The food was sufficient to act as a dinner and gave us an indication of the quality of the catering for the next few days.

Wednesday and Thursday we had catered breakfast and dinner. Our breakfasts were fantastic with home-baked cinnamon sticks that were amazing! Dinners were just as good and the catering was outstanding! On Wednesday night the entertainment was a band that really played to the audience. It was a four-piece band that had a great variety of music and there were very few people that were getting up and leaving. It’s amazing to see all the “old fogies” that were up dancing to the music! On Thursday night the entertainment was a magician and his partner. He was a bit of a disappointment after the band, but his show was only an hour giving the attendees the opportunity to return to their coaches and gather in groups for socializing and Happy Hours. The food and entertainment gave us something to look forward to for next year.

On Wednesday night, we had the chance to hear the new CEO of Monaco RV, LLC, Bill Osborn. The Service Seminar was led by five Monaco service folks and answered a lot of questions, and the seminar with Mike Snell, VP of Sales, was very enlightening. He stated that his biggest selling job is working on his wife and convincing her to move to Indiana (closer to the headquarter offices of Navistar). Monaco, like all big companies, is changing and many things from the good ol’ days is disappearing. It’s a sad fact of the economy and the new business world. Roughly 450 people will be losing their jobs with Monaco in Coburg, but there will be about 450 new jobs in Indiana.

Friday morning was departure day for us. We had reservations for South Jetty Thousand Trails preserve in Florence, OR. It is a 107-mile drive and arriving on a Labor Day weekend. We wanted to depart early to as to arrive at an early hour in hopes of getting a good parking spot. We and the Clarksons wanted to park near each other and have a site that allows satellite reception. South Jetty has a limited number of sites that can get satellite, so we were concerned about that. We left about 9am and headed south. We stopped in Coburg long enough to dump our tanks and refuel. We arrived at South Jetty about 11am and found two sites that adjoined and had satellite reception. We were relieved to find the spots after driving through this park on gravel roads that weren’t designed for long, large coaches like ours. We have enjoyed the park so far and went into town yesterday to do some shopping at the local Bi-Mart, Grocery Outlet, and Fred Mayer stores. One of our other friends, Gene & Darlene McDonough, are in the park, but will leave on Monday morning. We’ve seen the coaches of some of the folks that were at the Rally and will probably visit with them later. As I look out the window, I see a lot of trailers and coaches that are leaving. Many of them are carrying sand toys and heading for the nearby dunes. On Monday there will be a mass exodus of the folks returning home for the work week. And we’ll have the park to ourselves!

We are parked at the Whaler’s Rest Thousand Trails Preserve just south of Newport, OR. We had a terrific time while we were at the Pacific City Thousand Trails Preserve. After our shopping trip to Tillamook, we drove down to Lincoln City to check out the Grocery Outlet, Bi-Mart, and the Safeway stores. After we had done our shopping and browsing, we drove to South Lincoln City to find the Rusty Truck Brewing Co. We discovered a neat little microbrewery with a restaurant attached. They served typical pub meals and had their own beers that were much more reasonably-priced than the Pelican Brewpub in Pacific City. We had their lunch special - a bratwurst sandwich with fries for around $6. It was delicious! We talked to the son of the owner who was working the bar and tables. He told us that the brewery was a project that he and his dad started seven years ago. It has been accepted by the community and they have weekly band performances along with their food specials. He was a very likable guy that spent the time talking with us and telling us about their beers.

A couple of days later we all drove back up to Tillamook to visit the Tillamook Air Museum and the Tillamook Cheese Factory and go on their tour. It was a self-guided tour that enabled us to see the massive packaging line and see how the cheese is cut and wrapped for sale. We also sampled the famous Tillamook ice cream. They had more unique flavors that we have never before seen. The ice cream was delicious and was followed by a walk to the store at the end of the tour. Of course I walked away with four packages of cheese - sharp cheddar, hot habanero jack, pepper jack, and smoked black pepper white cheddar cheese. These are some REALLY good cheeses and taste wonderful with a tall glass of ale!

Fortunately for us we went to the Air Museum before we ate our way through the cheese tour. The Museum is housed in one of the largest hangars I’ve ever seen. It was built to house eight air ships (blimps) used by the US Navy during WW2. The original hangars were made completely of wood frames with concrete bases. The hangars are nearly 200’ high and large enough for a plane to fly through them. There is only one hangar remaining as the first one fell victim to a devastating fire and was totally destroyed. The concrete arches that held the doors are still standing, but nothing else remains. The second hangar houses the Air Museum and has several aircraft on static display. There are mock-ups of the life at a Naval blimp base and examples of the work that the blimps accomplished along our coast protecting ships from the German submarines. It was a very informative museum with a short film that explained the purpose and life of a blimp base.

That was a busy and tiring day! We had a great time exploring Tillamook’s attractions. On Wednesday we left Pacific City and drove some 50+ miles through Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, and Newport to the Whaler’s Rest Thousand Trails preserve. Dottie and I have been here before, but it was back in 2003, and we don’t remember much about the park. Andy & Linda led the way down the coast and we arrived at the park around 11:30. Once we checked in and found an open site, I tried to get satellite reception through the trees. I tried both the rooftop antenna and the portable dish, but was unable to get a good signal because of the height of the trees. I finally gave up and walked back to the Ranger Station to pay for the TV cable service for two weeks. There are almost 50 channels, so we won’t have a lack of TV selection.

We are looking forward to seeing some of the attractions around the Newport area. There are several museums, some fantastic restaurants along the bay front, and a couple of microbrew pubs that will have to be visited. We’ll be here until the 20th when we head back to Eugene to get the refrigerator replaced.

Thursday, August 18

Newport, OR is a glitzy little beach town that appeals to the Coast Vacationer. On the weekends the traffic is horrible! It is a bit larger than most of the Coast cities and has a Wal-Mart (soon to be a Super Center), a Safeway, and a Fred Meyer store. For those of you not familiar with Fred Meyer, it is a big department-like store very similar to the Super Wal-Marts. Fred Meyer has a pretty good selection of groceries and the associated departments include hardware, clothing, crafts, etc. They don’t seem to be as expansive as the Super Wal-Marts, but Fred Meyer is a welcome sight in those smaller towns where Wal-Mart hasn’t made a presence. All along the Oregon coast are little restaurants that claim to have the best clam chowder in the world. Frankly, I feel they all taste the same!

We have been to the famous Rogue Nation, home of the Rogue Brewery here in Newport. Rogue was founded on the premise that they truly are rogues in the brewing industry. They are best known for their Dead Guy Ale. They have received numerous awards for some of their unique brewing combinations. There are two locations in Newport - the touristy bay front area with the Rogue Public House restaurant and Rogue Nation, the location of their brewery also located on the Newport Bay. We visited the Public House and sampled some of their chowder and chili. Both locations bring a small sample of a featured brew as soon as you sit down. The Public House caters to the tourists that walk along the historic bay front area. Rogue Nation is the brewery and also has a small, reduced-menu restaurant. We took the tour through their facility and saw the brewery and bottling plant. We joined the Rogue Nation and received a membership card which grants us a 75 cent reduction on the cost of a pint of beer. Then on Tuesdays, if you wear a Hawaiian shirt, you can get a free beer at both locations. This started with the founder attempting to add some fun for his workers and has expanded to his customers. We also visited the Rogue Distillery, a very small plant next to Rogue Nation, that is producing small, expensive bottles of spirits. They are producing two gins, two rums, two whiskeys, and a vodka. These small bottles sell for $35-40 each! We were able to get a sample of their spirits - about a fourth of an ounce - and taste the product they are making. The whiskey is very tasty, but out of my price range.

We went to the Chowder Bowl at Nye Beach to visit a small restaurant with clam chowder. It is right on the beach and gave us the chance to watch the ”tourists” romp on the sand. That seems to be the big attraction in this part of the country. Whaler’s Rest, the park where we are staying, is used as a home base for a lot of the tourists since it is walking distance to the beach from the park. We have a lot of families that are having their last “hurrah” before school starts. The park is open to the public, for a price - about $45/night, and we are seeing many cars with stickers indicating they aren’t members of Thousand Trails. Equity Lifestyles Properties who own Thousand Trails have opened the parks to the public at a premium price. I personally would never spend that much money to camp in these parks, but there doesn’t seem to be a lack of families ready to spend that much.

We will be leaving the Oregon Coast tomorrow morning. We’re going back to Eugene to get ready for the refrigerator replacement on Monday morning. I hope to have the chance to talk to Stella Shelton, the coordinator for the Monaco Rally coming next week. We have a few things to discuss concerning the parking arrangement and other minor issues that need to be resolved. We’ll stay at the Oregon Motorcoach Services location over the weekend and be ready for Monday morning. Preparation will include moving my little refrigerator from the storage bay into the coach to use during the conversion. We have a lot of sorting to do to get foods ready to move into the little refer and some of the frozen food ready to go into their freezer for a couple of days. Hopefully we will have everything done by Wednesday afternoon and can restock our new refer with food before the Rally.

Monday evening, August21

We arrived on Friday afternoon in Eugene after a beautiful drive over the ”mountains” and into the Willamette Valley. We were able to meet with Stella Shelton, the Rally coordinator, after lunch at the Monaco factory. We went over the details of the Parking Crew and pretty much laid out our needs to her. The bad news is that we can’t get on to the fairgrounds until Sunday afternoon, which really puts me in a bind for getting the parking sites measured and marked. We are going to meet with the fairgrounds manager on Tuesday morning and explain our needs for the Parking Crew. Hopefully we’ll be able to get on to the fairgrounds on Friday or Saturday afternoon.

Day 1 - Oregon Motorcoach Services On Monday morning we were up early and ready for the service techs to move the coach into the building to start the work. Almost three weeks ago we stopped here for the night and had Bob Vinson, the Service Manager, look at the coach, measure the refrigerator opening, and help me determine which refrigerator would fit. We decided a Whirlpool 21.8 cu. ft. side-by-side refer would fit easily. Chance, the Service Tech, started the removal process of the Norcold refer by removing a window on the driver side of the coach over the sofa. Once he got it out, he started measuring the empty box and comparing it to the new refer which has been here for three weeks. He wasn’t really sure it would fit without some major modification. In the meantime, we drove up to Coburg to the Monaco factory and visited with Les and Wilma Jean Alexander, friends of ours who are also volunteering for this rally. Les and I both agrees that Stella is somewhat overwhelmed by the organizing of these two rallies - this one and another rally in Alabama in almost three weeks. We discovered that they were going to Albany with Stella on Tuesday, instead of Monday as originally planned. So I phoned Stella and asked if she’d like our moral support in trying to make some better arrangements. Stella agreed, so we will join them tomorrow on the trek to Albany. We continued on our shopping spree for new tires for the Kia. We stopped at Costco and then on to Walmart. We decided to buy our tires from Walmart and get an oil change while we were there. After getting the “new shoes” for the Kia, we returned to Oregon Motorcoach Services. About two miles away we got a phone call from Bob Vinson saying he needed to talk with me. Red flags all over the place!! We pulled in to OMS and he explained that the new refer would not fit! We were sure we had made all the correct measurements three weeks ago and I knew Lowe’s would give me a hassle if I tried to return this one. His cabinet maker and service tech got together and decided they could make it work, but the new refer would stick out a little more than the original. They have pondered the situation and have come up with a remedy that will make the new Whirlpool look like it was installed from the factory. It’s a huge relief for me! So, the old Norcold is removed from the coach and the new one will be ready to bring in after the cabinetmaker does his magic and builds the support and trim for the new refer. I can’t say enough positive about Bob Vinson and his crew. Bob was VERY concerned that I would be pleased with way it would look. Of course, I’m thrilled that the skill level is such that they will be able to make the refer fit!

We went out to eat tonight since our little beer refer is full, but doesn’t have food to eat. All of our frozen food is in three brown bags and in the freezer inside the building where the employees store their lunches. The next few nights we will be eating out until we have a functioning refrigerator in the coach. Chance is taking photos with my camera so I can download them into my computer and eventually upload them to the other Monaco owners that awaiting the results of the modification. Once it’s all done, I’ll have them available for anyone to see the progress - and the challenges they have overcome!

Tuesday, August 23

Day 2 at Oregon Motorcoach Service. We awoke and prepared the coach for the crew to get it and take it into the building. When they came to get it, we left the grounds and headed to a nearby McDonald’s to get some breakfast and pick up a dozen donuts for the guys. I got back with the donuts and Chance was already working on the coach. We needed to be in Coburg to meet Stella Shelton and the Alexanders to drive to Albany, site of the End of Summer Western Come Home Rally, and meet with the fairground manager. We met them at the Monaco office and followed Stella to Albany. Once we were there we met with Chris, the manager, and began a tour of the grounds. He assured us that we could come into the grounds after noon on Friday. That was a huge relief for me as we need to measure/mark the parking lot and figure how to fit 148 coaches into the allotted space. Chris agreed to everything that we needed and was very helpful in letting us know he’d be there to assist us in any way.

Also at the meeting was Jon Katin, who has been on the MI Parking Crew before. He was a great help in bringing up potential problems that I hadn’t considered. I think we’re ready and I’ve notified the other Parkers about the news and when to plan to arrive. After the meeting Stella bought us lunch at a local Red Robin. I followed her back to Monaco and got the box of supplies for the Parking Crew.

We returned to OMS and sat in the customer lounge for about an hour while they continued working on the coach. At 4pm the coach was moving out to the parking lot. I saw Chance and he told me that the coach ought to be finished by tomorrow afternoon. He has reinforced the platform that holds the new refer, expanded the opening, rerouted water and propane lines, and Darrell (the cabinet maker) will have all the wood trim done to finish the project. If time permits and they are able, we will have them perform the annual maintenance on the engine before we leave.

Two pieces of good news today is almost too much to bear! We can get into the fairgrounds before Sunday night and the coach will be ready tomorrow - what more could a person ask?

Wednesday, August 24

Day 3 at Oregon Motorcoach Center We were up early and ready for the Chance to take the coach into the barn. We asked about a good breakfast and he recommended the Prairie Schooner, a tavern that serves wonderful food. We drove over there after picking up a dozen donuts for the guys in the shop. The breakfast was fabulous - and reasonably priced! I had a Country Skillet that was a full meal. After we ate, we drove down to Northwest RV Supply. That’s a toy store for RV owners. They have all the left over parts and gadgets that the manufacturers no longer need or use. It is THE place for knobs, switches, gauges, etc., etc., and is fun to walk around and see all the goodies. After perusing all the neat things that I really don’t need, we drove back up to Junction City to get a haircut. The forecast was for 91 degrees today so we needed to be inside with Nancy to keep her from getting overheated. So we stayed in the Customer Lounge the remainder of the day.

About noon I walked out to check on the coach. The new refer was on a pallet on the forklift and was ready to insert through the window. Chance had already rebuilt the platform for the refer and had all the wires, LP pipes, and water lines rerouted. By 4pm the new refer was in its space and mounted in the coach. There is still some woodwork and trim that needs to be completed and they discovered a small water leak in the lines to the ice maker. That will all be resolved on Thursday! I’m hoping there will be an opportunity to get the coach into the shop for the annual engine service and we can be done by Friday morning.

The new refrigerator looks absolutely beautiful in its new home! It doesn’t stick out nearly as far as we thought it would. When the wood trim is finished and the new grate below the refer for the furnace is completed, it will look absolutely outstanding. These guys have done an amazing job considering the challenge they had to overcome.

Bob Vinson, the Service Manager, told me April Klein phoned him today and asked if he could be in Albany to do some on-site installs. He explained that he may not be able to send anybody due to their current workload. There are ten coaches here filling all the electrical sites and he has plenty of work to keep him busy. I plan to take some of his business cards to the Rally to pass out to anyone that wants a recommendation. I’ll know the cost of it all tomorrow, but I’m not expecting any surprises. We shall see…
Wednesday, August 3rd

What an amazing weekend that we have spent! We left the Lake of the Springs Thousand Trails park on Friday morning, the 29th, a day earlier than we had planned. The weather had turned to summer and the temperatures were into three digits. With only a 30-amp electrical supply, it was beginning to tax the air conditioners on the coach. I really hated to leave LOTS because the park is such a beautiful preserve. We could sit outside the coach in the afternoon as the sun started to set and watch the deer roam among the parking sites. One young deer had a noticeable limp on the left rear leg. It won’t be long before that animal will be food for a coyote or hit by a car in the area. We will definitely return to the park at a later time as it is one of the prettiest ones we’ve visited!

We were on the road by 8AM on Friday and headed for Redding. We were driving on some very narrow back roads with some amazing scenery. Everything in the area is severely brown and appears subject to a wild fire. We took the road slowly and carefully and finally got through Chico and over to Red Bluff where we joined I-5 and drove to Redding. We arrived about 11:30AM and heard the weather forecast on the radio. It was going to be 102 degrees! With that in mid, I decided to press on to Grants Pass. We phoned the Elks Lodge in Grants Pass and confirmed that one of the two sites was unoccupied. So it was on over the Siskiyous and to the Grants Pass Elks Lodge. When we got there, we called our friends, Bob & Sally Nason. Mary’s cell phone wasn’t working correctly and would switch us over to voice mail. Nasons phoned the motel where Mary Anderson was staying and left a message that we were in town and were going to the Wild River Pizza and Brewing Co. for dinner. When we got to Wild River, Mary was waiting for us and we spent the evening together.

The next day we met Mary, the Nasons, and some other friends at the Powderhorn Café for breakfast. We were walking in to the café and I happened to look over at one of the booths recognizing some old friends from San Diego. It was quite a shock to see (retired SDPD motor Sgt.) Perry Grossman and his wife, (retired Lieutenant) Shawna Selby Grossman. I haven’t seen them for almost ten years and it was a blast talking with them. I spent about ten minutes with them before returning to the table with our friends and family. It was a great time talking about the good ol’ days of San Diego Police. They now live in Grants Pass and offered us a place to stay if we wanted.

Seeing Bob & Sally Nason was a real treat! Bob has been through some difficult surgeries, but looks great and they are now thinking of moving into town from their acreage in Williams. We spent one night with them a couple of years ago and enjoyed the deer and the foxes that Bob has residing on his property.

We joined Mary later that afternoon at her motel room and went to Applebee’s for dinner. It was wonderful to see Mary again and we will miss a family reunion that will happen the following weekend in Grants Pass.

We packed the coach and left on Sunday morning, the 31st. We drove north to Coburg, north of Eugene, and met up with our great friends, the Clarksons. We hadn’t seen them since April so it was a terrific reunion. We stayed at the Coburg Cummins Coach Care facility for one night. Clarksons planned to leave on Monday for Pacific City Thousand Trails park and we left before they departed. We needed to go over to Oregon Motorcoach Service to get things lined up for our refrigerator replacement. I had ordered one refer that would not work. It had been delivered, but Lowe’s said they’d take it back and replace it with one that would fit. So, after measurements by the Service Manager, Bob Vinson, we headed for Lowe’s to order another refer. When we got there, we discovered that the Maytag that we liked wasn’t available for over 28 days! So we settled on a 21.8 cu. ft. Whirlpool side-by-side that was in stock and would be delivered the next day. What a relief to finally get that done!

That afternoon we drove to Albany to look at the parking lot for the Western Come Home Rally the end of the month. I took some measurements to determine the best method of parking about 200 motor homes. After spending almost an hour measuring and talking with the staff, we left and drove back to Eugene.

The next morning we packed the coach and left Oregon Motorcoach Services with a pleasant drive to the Coast. We went north to Salem, then through the foothills to the Oregon Coast town of Pacific City. The Thousand Trails park is just north of town and is a beautiful park full of trees and rolling terrain. We were met at the gate by the Clarksons who drove us around the park until we found a suitable site. We are parked across the street from them in a site that has privacy, tall trees, 50-amp electric, and satellite exposure. We are really pleased with this park and the surrounding area!

This morning we all drove in to Tillamook to do some shopping at the Fred Meyer store - much like a Super Wal-Mart. I picked up a few groceries that we needed, but am attempting to be very careful as we will need to have our refer fairly empty when we get back to Eugene. Our next couple of weeks will be careful planning of meals and some wonderful time with friends!

Wednesday, March 17th

So far, it’s been a fun time at the Rally! On Monday night there was a sponsored party around the new show coaches. There was plenty of finger food and an open bar. We managed to restrain ourselves and hold off on all the munchies. But at 6PM we left the grounds and drove over to the Nimbus Brewing Co. brewpub. It’s in a commercial area just a short drive away from Beaudry’s. We got there and told the one bartender that we might have 10 people coming. By the time everybody arrived, we had 12 folks! It was a gathering of some of our old favorite friends - Dave & Marie Ostrander (and two friends of theirs), Jim & Peggy Grich, Ron & Wanda Farrar, Rick & Joann Stone, Ray & Glenda Roe, and the Andersons. The menu was simple, the beer was excellent, and the company was outstanding. We all had the opportunity to get caught up and share some excellent camaraderie!

Tuesday morning was the beginning of all the events - seminars, classes, and touring the vendor area. Dottie was able to do the laundry and I kept busy with little odd jobs around the coach. The Tuesday night catered dinner was great with the 5-6PM Happy Hour followed by dinner and entertainment. We stayed for about 15 minutes of the entertainment and went back to the coach. It was a couple of impersonators that did a mediocre job of the impersonations. I had the chance to stroll through the vendor area and find a couple if items that I can pick up.

Wednesday morning breakfast was followed by a trip to the local Wal-Mart. We went to a couple of the Monaco seminars and were brought up-to-date on the changes within the company. April Klein and Mike Snell, both Vice Presidents in Monaco, were there to tell us about the progress of the integration of Navistar and Monaco. Where they once employed over 6000 employees, there are now only 800 employees. The new engines will be able to meet the 2012 emission standards and Monaco will be slowly changing over from Cummins to the MaxxForce engines. They will be able to meet the Federal standards without having to use the urea tanks to scrub the exhaust components. It’s very painfully obvious to me that we have a gem in our “antique”, 10-year-old coach and we will keep it for a long time!

We had received an email from an old Rotary motorcycle friend, Tony D’Arcy. He now lives in Casa Grande and had a luncheon appointment with a client in Tucson. So we made arrangements to meet Tony here at the rally. He arrived about 4:30, just before I needed to be over in the dining area to fulfill my duties as a Sheriff (checking credentials to be sure the participants were actually attendees, and not free-loaders). Tony accompanied us to the dinner area and it gave us a chance to visit as I watched the entrance door. Tony stayed for a short while and then left for Casa Grande. It was terrific to see him again and have a chance to visit for a short period. Tony and I go back to some fantastic Rotary motorcycle rides through the Sierras in Northern California. After Tony left, we finished dinner and sat through a few numbers of the 60’s-era band before we returned to the coach for the night.

Tucson has blessed us with some warm, but windy days. We are conscious of the potential for dehydration and trying to keep on top of it with plenty of water. The great news is that there’s a warming trend coming and we will probably be getting some warm weather as we move east on Friday.
Monday, March 14th

What a wonderfully enjoyable week we have spent! We spent five nights in Yuma with our close friends, Andy & Linda Clarkson, at their lot in the Foothills. We arrived on Monday afternoon to a spaghetti dinner that Linda had prepared. It was the first of several tasty meals that she prepared for us while we were there. Our plans were to stay three nights and then move on to Casa Grande for two nights at the Western Horizons park. We had so much fun with the nightly Pegs’n’Jokers games and the other activities/side trips that Andy and Linda convinced us to cancel our reservations in Casa Grande and stay in Yuma. The breezes were strong enough that we ate our meals in the “man cave” garage since their casita is being remodeled. All in all it was a wonderful five days.

We were able to go to the Arizona Marketplace (Yuma’s huge flea market) and purchase a couple of electrical adapters to replace the ones that had gotten burned while we were at the church. When one leg gets an electrical overload, it heats up the metal spade to the point of melting the rubber on the plug. I had two adapters that were burned and I was able to replace the ends with new ones and have reliable replacement cords.

Another accomplishment was getting the coach washed and waxed. Since my surgery I’m very hesitant to get up on the roof of my coach. I found an advertised service that came out to the coach, washed the roof and sides of the coach, and shined the tires. They left for a couple of hours and returned to hand-wax the whole coach with Meguiar’s wax. While they were at it, they threw in a wash job for the car. All this cost only $99!!! It was well worth the cost and the coach wax job is terrific!

We looked at several other properties in the Foothills, but still didn’t find anything that really got us excited. Clarkson’s neighbor is planning to sell his lot with a 570-sq.-ft. casita and plenty of porch/patio space. It would be a perfect lot for our needs, but it may be priced out of our budget. In talking with him, he said he’d come off his price and work with us if we wanted it. However, it would still be more than we can probably afford - or at least it would crimp our traveling adventures. Sadly, we will most likely have to pass on it.

We left Yuma on Saturday morning and drove all the way to Tucson. The rains that the desert have received gave all the short desert grass enough moisture to be green all the way. It was a pleasant change from the brown landscape we’ve seen so much. We arrived in Tucson around 12:30 and got parked with the rest of the Parking Crew. We were able to get settled in before starting work on Sunday morning.

On Sunday morning at 7:30 we had a Parking Crew meeting. We were given our instructions and location assignments and started greeting the arrivals. Since this is and RV resort, there isn’t any marking to do and we only take the attendees to their assigned site. It was an easy day with a steady flow of arrivals until 4PM when we shut down the entry gate. There was a volunteer dinner where we were able to see a lot of old friends that have worked these rallies with us in the past. We’ve had the chance to see and visit with the Ostranders, Griches, and many other close friends that we have missed over the last six months or more.

Tonight we are going to dinner to have a chance to get caught up before the rally starts in full swing tomorrow. It’s nice to be back on the move again and we’re looking forward to the possibility of another Habitat Build in Farmington, NM. The Build is still “iffy” until we get at least six coaches to confirm their participation, but we’re hoping. Since it’s in Farmington, we could be in for any kind of weather. Sorta makes it interesting…