June 2, 2021

Third Time's The Charm

First there was Roamin'.  Next there was Raven.  Now we have Ryker!

I agree with everyone, buy your third RV first...  We honestly didn't think we could work with anything other than a travel trailer because of the tools, generator and all of our other equipment/patch materials that go along with the repair work we do on the road.  It was quite the transition from travel trailer to 5th wheel and from super size truck shell to tonneau cover.  It took us more than a week to move and get semi-organized.  We had to buy a new generator and tool boxes that would fit under the tonneau cover. And it also took us until just recently to make the garage into what it is today: an efficient way to store/secure the gear we need to live and work for months at a time away from our shop in Sacramento.

You've seen plenty of exterior photos.  You've even see the floorplan.  It's finally time to show you the interior.

When you first walk up the main steps there is a table on the left side, the kitchen on the right and a four seat couch ahead of you.  Also in front of you is a huge picture window behind the couch.  Four windows on the passenger wall add to the amount of sunshine coming in and the feel of open space.  The views change constantly, either a new rig or a new landscape.  Either way, there is plenty of sunshine in the entire room.

front door on the left, garage door next to the couch

no shortage of windows in Ryker :-)

I spy dog toys

The kitchen has all of the usual appliances.  Ron made a cover for the stove.  We usually put the Instant Pot on it when cooking so the steam is released under the stove vent.  The counter top area is huge.  There is plenty of storage in the kitchen too.

lots of storage

and lots of counter space

If I ever need a little more counter space, I simply put on one or both of the sink covers.  I'm not a huge fan of having the refrigerator on a slide, but this is about the only place it could go.  It's also huge!  It runs on both electric and propane making it perfect for boondocking.

The upstairs bedroom is what sold us on this floorplan.  We have a slide in a slide which makes the floor space at the end of the bed ginormous!  It measure around 48" x 96".  Spacious enough for us all to sleep comfortably.  Of course, Rufus sleeps in his own bed :-)  Another bonus is the giant (running out of adjectives for "big") window :-) 

the fireplace is great on cold nights

slide in a slide :-))
The front closet has washer/dryer hookups but we chose not to include them.  Laundromats are easy to find on our travels and we would much rather have the closet space.  That's where we keep our hamper, laundry supplies and a storage rack with covered totes for our off-season clothes.  Our under bed storage is small and used for odds and ends that we don't use often.  

About the only small thing in Ryker is the bathroom.  But, it does have a larger shower than the previous two rigs.  It also has two doors making it easy to access from the bedroom and the top stair landing.

small but efficient
Our 13' garage area is what makes living and working in Ryker possible.  When we first moved in it was a big, hot mess.  Boxes and tools and stuff all jumbled together.  We managed for awhile but we soon had to take a travel break and make a better material storage solution.  Running most of the length of the driver side garage is our material storage box, scaffolding setup and a ladder.  The passenger side is where we strap in our generator, tool box, air compressor and work table.  Now that we've added bicycles one goes on each side.  When it's all strapped for travel, we still have a walkway so we can get to the back door.

driver side

passenger side

We can't use the HappiJac seats with everything we've added so instead Ron made these cargo racks, one for each side of the rig.  Our small band-saw fits perfectly on the driver's side rack side with room to spare.  The other rack holds welding rod.  Either one can be used as a work bench when needed.  The folding seats that came with Ryker are safely stored at our shop if we ever decide to use them.  We plan to use the upper queen size bed when the grand kids come along with us :-)

Ryker has a loft which is intended as a child's sleeping area.  I was up there once.  That was enough for me...  We use the space for storage.  More tools, Costco size paper goods and (currently) items that we'll be giving back to Alex and Jessica after years of storing it at the shop are what make up it's current contents :-)  We added a hinged door to make accessing the area easier.  

Our garage also includes a half bath.  Although, it's so tiny, you could almost call it a quarter bath... LOL  Perfect for travel days as the slides make it impossible to access the main bathroom.

Lastly on our tour is the back patio/ramp.  We love it!  We use it all the time.  We use it when we load and unload our equipment to/from the truck.  We use it for entertaining.  We use it for relaxing at the end of the day.  

happy hour with Steve, thanks for the photo Debbie :-)
We've made several modifications to Ryker, making it work better for us.  We are happy with our choice of rigs so far.  Here's to a long future between Ryker and Rainier!


May 25, 2021

Friends, Food And Succulents

After departing our amazing spot in the desert, we headed west again.  Our next stop in Chula Vista, CA had us once again staying at Sweetwater Summit Regional Park.  This time I reserved an end spot, #75.  I highly recommend this campground if you're in the area. 

This time we planned a day off to visit the coast.  We went to Coronado Island because they have a dog beach.  Saturday afternoon probably wasn't the best time to go as it was quite crowded.  We did manage to find a parking spot for our beast of a truck.  Once on the sand, Rufus did his usual zoomies :-)  We didn't stay at the beach long because of the crowds but we all enjoyed the sand.  After lunch we ventured toward town, bought a souvenir t-shirt, and strolled the beachfront sidewalk past the Coronado Hotel.  The property is gorgeous!  Well out of our price range, but they do allow dogs in the rooms.

it really is this spectacular!

When Ron and I stayed in Sacramento late last year we met Kevin, Pam and their son Chase.  They're from Kentucky and had just bought their Montana 5th wheel a few weeks prior to towing it to California so Pam could work at a local hospital.  We all hit it off immediately.  Chase was along for the ride before his enlistment with the Marines.  We parted ways just before Christmas.  After getting Chase all set up at Parris Island they once again headed back to California.  This time Pam's assignment took them to Salinas.  We decided a visit was in order.  After finding out where they were staying, we booked a couple of days at another of our favorite parks, Betabel RV Park in San Juan Batista.

Kevin was chef on our arrival night.  Their outside living room was so inviting.  A glass of wine for Pam and me, beer for Ron and Kevin, and a delicious dinner for all.  We got all caught up and shared some interesting stories.  

Chef Kevin hard at work
grilled scallops, jumbo shrimp, fried rice and veggies :-)
Ron has recently renewed his interest in plants, particularly succulents, as they're easy to maintain.  He found a unique store that specializes in succulents and it happened to be within a 30 minute drive from the campground.  The four of us drove over the following day to check it out.  We agreed, it was a fantastic find!

so many to choose from!

"please don't touch"...   yep...

they picked an arrangement for their home on wheels

various decorative rocks sold per pound

Ron, Rene, Pam, Kevin

cute older VW Bug out front

half the fun is arranging them :-)

Ron picked out five different succulents, a nice clay pot, some dirt mix and a bit of colored rocks.  It turned out great and it's a perfect reminder of our time with Kevin and Pam.  But before we say our see-ya-laters, it was my time to cook dinner.  Pork chops with gravy, rice pilaf and veggies along with an adult beverage of choice was followed by a fun dice game and plenty more stories.  Pam's next assignment will be near Boston in June.  We may just have to visit them again on our way up to New York :-)



May 2, 2021

Desert Boondocking

After leaving the FHU spot in Mesa, AZ, we wanted to try desert boondocking.  We had four days to spend in the desert before returning to civilization.  I decided to see what I could find on Campendium.  I had heard about places outside of Yuma, AZ.  Based on reviews and other bloggers I decided to give American Girl Mine (AGM) Road a try.  It's just a bit up Ogilby Road north of I-8.

Before driving to our boondocking spot, we stopped at the rest area one exit west of Ogilby Road to fill up our fresh water tank.  The rest stop is in the center median so it's easy to drive in the opposite direction when leaving.  The water fill station is free but it does take awhile as it was only registering two gallons/minute on our water meter.  Thankfully there wasn't a line.  We got about 50-60 gallons and we were on our way.

It's a bit scary driving off the asphalt on purpose for the first time!  AGM road is clearly marked so that was easy.  It's hard packed dirt and plowed every so often for a smooth finish.  We drove about a mile or two up the road before deciding to take an off-shoot road to an empty looking area. 

We found the perfect spot!


We've got this all to ourselves!  It was so quiet!!  Our nearest neighbor was about 500 yards away.  The first night we decided to leave our bedroom window shade up.  The morning sunrise was right outside :-)

We only did that the one day though as we couldn't go back to sleep after the sun woke us up... LOL

The nearby two hills were quite close.  One afternoon Ron took the e-bike for a spin and he rode out to the hillside.  He came back with some nice photos and rock samples he believes may have gold in them.  Who knows if it's real gold or fool's gold, but he had a great adventure.

On our third day we drove into Yuma for a bit.  I wanted to check out the Chevron station just one exit east of Ogilby Road because they have a dump station.  It's plenty big for us :-)  The cost is $15 and includes dump and fresh water.  We won't need water since we'll be going to another RV park after our boondocking time.  While in town, we got a sandwich for lunch and then headed over to a riverside park so Rufus could have some fun too.  The grass was much appreciated for him after walking on the desert sand and rock for a couple of days.

Back at camp we built a fire ring, collected dried kindling and had a fire that evening.  No photos but we sure enjoyed ourselves :-)

Most of our time at AGM road was spent relaxing.  But I also decided to take the e-bike out for a spin one afternoon.  My ride was much shorter than Ron's but I know it's going to be a blast! 

If Rufus had thumbs he'd give desert boondocking two thumbs up.  He enjoyed his desert time too!

I've heard so much about the amazing sunsets.  I'll admit they were nice, but I like it better when there are a few clouds.  There's just something about pink and orange hued clouds...

We sure enjoyed our four wonderful desert boondocking days!  Both Ron and I are looking forward to many more boondocking adventures!!

April 15, 2021

More Time In Arizona

 Sadly, vacations don't last forever :-(

After we left Lost Dutchman State Park we went to The Resort RV Park in Mesa, Arizona.  It was an easy 30 minute drive from the state park.  Our work sites, we had three of them, were all within a half hour of the resort.  The park is huge!  It has nearly 800 spots, some of which are for RV's.  I can imagine they're quite busy during the winter.  They offer a large swimming pool, Jacuzzi, laundry, dog park, pickleball courts, tennis courts, a post office outlet and so much more.  They even have plenty of activities to keep residents and visitors entertained.

site #392, all sites are back-in
We ended up staying there two weeks.  Dog owners are separated into a small section in the back of the park.  You must drive your dog to the dog park (at the front of the resort) because they aren't allowed on certain streets.  They do, however, have an access gate at the rear of the park which leads to a street.  Many dogs are walked out there but I didn't see any evidence (if you know what I mean).

There are quite a bit of outdoor activities to do in the Phoenix city area.  It can be as simple as visiting a neighborhood park, riding horses, backpacking, bicycling, going to an outdoor museum or one of our favorites - taking a walk with the puppers :-)

One afternoon we went on a hike at nearby Papago Park.  It's short buttes sure make an interesting hiking area.  Although the parking lot was nearly full, we didn't encounter many people during our visit.

such a cool place to hike

We didn't have much time there.  But it was for a good reason.  Just down the street from the park entrance we saw a huge (drive through style) area where Covid vaccines were being given.  I parked across the street from the entrance while Ron went and spoke with a volunteer.  He said come on in!  :-)  Maneuvering our beast through the zig-zag of cones and ropes was a slow process but I handled it well.  Yippee!  We each have our first Covid vaccination shot!!  

Another day we drove to nearby Usery Mountain Regional Park.   It's actually on the same street as our RV park so it was super convenient.  The park is over 3600 acres, has a campground (we'd fit, barely), plenty of hiking/riding/biking trails, an archery range and even an outdoor fitness area.

Wind Cave Mountain from Blevins trail

A popular hike is up to the Wind Cave.  It's 1.5 miles, considered difficult and has plenty of switchbacks.  We may try this hike sometime in the future but we felt that Rufus would have a hard time so we decided to venture to the south end of the park.

even some rock scrambling too
We ended up hiking 4.25 miles.  We started on Blevins trail and made it a larger loop by adding Cat Peaks trail.  While on Cat Peaks trail we got a good view of The Superstition Mountains in the distance.

There are plenty of cactus to photograph too!

The cactus skeletons are interesting

there are nine fitness stations

long shadows after a full day :-)
While staying at The Resort, we did a thing...
some assembly required!

We got an E-bike! :-)  It was packaged very well!  The directions aren't the best but Ron managed to put it together after work one day.  The neighbor was nice enough to sign for it and call us when it arrived :-)  Once it was assembled Ron took it for a test drive.  He managed to get it up to 27MPH!  The speed limit inside the park is 15.  He's such a lawbreaker...  I can see lots of fun adventures with the bike.  This is primarily for me to use as Ron already has a mountain bike.  

That's it for now.  When we leave Mesa, AZ we're planning to do some desert boondocking outside of Yuma on our way back to Sacramento.

As always, feel free to click on the photos for a larger view.  All links open in a separate window.