April 7, 2019

Raven Goes To The Spa

Raven is finally getting her much needed spa treatment! 


Forest River approved the repairs from the tire blowout as well as some other warranty issues.  They make a good product.  We never had any issues with Roamin.  However, Raven has had her share of woes. The awning arms are somehow just not right.  The entire awning system is getting replaced.  I'm not sure if it's entirely the arms or if the fabric is also to blame but when it is brought in, the arms are quite bent.  The microwave will get replaced due to condensation between the door panels.  The oven will be replaced due to the igniter not working properly.  The water pump is being replaced as it sometimes overheats and turns off.  Imagine if you were using it for a shower :-/  The front slide is going to be taken out and the walls replaced.  WOW!!  I hope I can get a picture of that!  The bedroom slide also needs to come out.  Likely caused by the tire blowout, the plastic piece that the slide runs on (hard to describe) has become torn and malformed.  Whenever we bring in the slide Ron has to be outside pushing up on the piece so it travels into place (somewhat) properly.  Plus, the body work on the fender housing and slide.  With all of her treatments, Raven is expected to be at the spa for one to two weeks.

We began the approval process in October, first talking with Forest River to determine our options.  Although our warranty period was close to over, they agreed to let us get a quote.  We had contacted an RV shop that is not factory authorized.  We had a working relationship with them and thought it would be reciprocated.  We set up an appointment to have the rig looked at in November.  Two weeks went by and we had no quote, neither did Forest River.  We called a few times but never got a reply.  So, we made the decision to go to a different repair shop.  Again, we made an appointment to have Raven looked at.  It was early December at this point and we'd be leaving for Oklahoma in two weeks.  This shop took us seriously :-)  Affordable RV in Auburn, CA is factory authorized.  They worked up a quote, sent it to Forest River and got the approval back within a couple of weeks.  Imagine our relief.

Now all we had to do was wait for Affordable RV to receive the parts. The parts arrived mid-March and Brittany called us to schedule Raven's spa visit.  April 8th was the soonest they could see her.  We could work with that!

This past week, we've been cleaning out the slide drawers and cabinets.  We'll be hitching Raven up today and spending the night in a nearby hotel.  That will make our trip over to the spa so much easier tomorrow morning.  We've reserved an AirBnB stay in a nearby town.  The property is 7 acres so Rufus will have plenty of room to run around.

Wish us luck that two weeks is all it takes!    

March 23, 2019

We Like To Eat

Who doesn't?!?!

Today we would've been in Quartzsite, Arizona for the RV-Dreams boondocking rally. 

We would've been learning all about a different style of camping.

We would've enjoyed the sunny afternoons.
We would've played in the desert sand.

We would've camped alongside like minded new friends.

BUT, we like to eat...

Almost immediately after posting my last update we received a couple of work orders.  Not just any work, mind you.  The orders we got call for some tricky engineering.  We could've finished up on time and still been able to go to the rally.  Then we got more phone calls and really got dumped on!  Not just one, but five more orders.  Each one is unique.  Each one takes more than a week to make.  Their time frame calls for one to be delivered every two weeks.  Plenty of time, normally.  But not if we want to take two weeks off.

So the decision was practically made for us :-(

On a happier note, Emmett turned one year old last week.  He is now officially walking too :-)  Man, we miss this little guy!

Birthday Boy!!
Also, my mom is such a talented quilter!  She has won awards in her local county fair and gone on to win ribbons at the California State Fair!!  I know how to use a sewing machine.  I learned back in the day when I played 'gopher' for my mom as she made something with her sewing machine.  She made a quilt for Emmett back in December.  And just yesterday Alex and Kana received a quilt for Benji.

Emmett's truck quilt

Benji's truck quilt

And like any good Oma, I must also share of photo of Benji.  He's already being put to work helping Dad wash the car... LOL

looking cool in his shades!
So, although we're both bummed that we can't make it to the boondocking rally, we're happy that we'll have a well stocked refrigerator :-) 

March 5, 2019

Friends We Haven't Met Yet

March finds us in the Sacramento area.  We've decided to keep the spot we have as a 'home base' for now.  The rent is low, the neighbors are nice and it's convenient to the shop.  We did manage a PolyMenders work trip to the Salinas/Monterey area at the end of January.  Our home for the week at nearby Betabel RV Park in San Juan Bautista was a nice change of scenery.

Raven enjoys the sunny weather too :-)
Although we spent the majority of our time working, we did take a sunny day off to visit nearby Gizdich Ranch (famous for their fresh pies) and the beach in nearby Watsonville.

The grounds are quite extensive.  They have an antique shop, an apple press room, gardens, picnic area, orchards (of course) and the pie shop.  During our visit most of the buildings were closed.  I imagine on a busier day the parking lot would be bursting with cars and visitors.  One benefit to picking a not-so-busy day is that we had the place nearly to ourselves. 

So many freshly baked pies to choose from!  I decided on a slice of Apple/Strawberry.  It was a perfect slice of heaven.  What a tasty lunch :-))  Ron's slice of Apple/Olallieberry was equally enjoyed.

Rene's slice, not a crumb was left on my plate

Rufus enjoyed his treat too :-)

After our lunch of pie we took a quick stroll around the grounds.  
Had to work off a few calories... LOL

cute photo op

Rufus professes his love of apples!

But, the beach beckons.  Nearby Watsonville boasts plenty of shoreline and luckily Manresa State Beach is dog friendly.  Perfect.  Off we go!

zoomies on the beach

Rufus loves the sandy beaches just as much as we do.  He likes to chase the waves and they nearly got him a few times...

The sunset would be in another 30 or so minutes.  We decided to take a long walk along the shoreline and wait for the moment when the sun dropped down behind the horizon.  Ron was busy with his camera so I thought I would take a few selfies.

such a goofy picture...

a little better...

third time's the charm :-)
The sunset was definitely worth the wait.  I especially love the one I got with my phone just as a couple of surfers made their way across the beach.

So here's what we have coming up at the end of this month:

One style of camping has always intrigued us and that's boondocking (camping out in the boonies without hookups).  We see our friends enjoying it and we feel that it would suit us too.  We just need to get some experience.  What better way to get that experience than to join others in the desert outside of Quartzsite, Arizona for a week?

We're signed up to attend a boondocking rally later this month.  We're really excited as we've never tried boondocking yet.  Right now I'm in 'research mode' making sure we will last the entire seven days off-grid.  I'm reading posts about tips and tricks from bloggers who have done this before.  We don't need to re-invent the wheel!  We already know our black tank lasts 7 or 8 days.  Our bathroom grey tank lasts for four showers so we'll have to deal with either less showers or quicker showers.  Our galley grey tank lasts for about a week so we've already agreed to use paper plates.  I still want to fill our 60 gallon fresh water tank and see how long it will last before we take off in a couple of weeks.  We'll likely bring a few gallon bottles fresh water with us for drinking and cooking.

As far as power goes, we have a noisy generator that we use for work.  Ron has researched quieter generators that would work for both the rig and for our onsite repair work.  We'd then sell our noisy big one.  Eventually we plan to get some solar panels and all that goes along with it.  The rally will be a good place to learn about solar options and workings.

The boondocking rally is being organized and taught by Howard and Linda of RV-Dreams.com.  With a limited number of rigs allowed, it should be a good learning experience for us.  We'll have plenty of new friends pretty soon who also enjoy the freedom that comes with bookdocking!  Jodee and Bill did the same rally last year and they recommended it.  You can read Jodee's blog post here

Hopefully by the end of the month we'll have the knowledge and courage to get out to those fabulous boondocking spots we see on our friends Facebook posts!

So what Pearls Of Wisdom do you have to share about boondocking?  Be sure to leave a comment below :-)

As always, the photos can be viewed larger by simply left-clicking on them.

January 6, 2019

Christmas Happenings

Alex was transferred back to Tinker Air Force Base (Oklahoma) in August.  He invited the whole family to visit for Christmas months ahead knowing this is where he would be.  We had originally wanted to drive there with Raven in tow but knew it would be too cold-good decision!  Jessica and Emmett were flying in from Maryland.  Unfortunately, Mike couldn't get leave :-(  Ron's parents, Erika and Guenther, flew in from North Carolina.  Christmas this year is going to be full of memories!

I'll start the story in mid December.

December 12th is the day we welcomed our second grandson, Benjamin Octavius, (Benji for short) into the family!!  Benji weighed in at 8 pounds and he was 20.5" long at birth.  Alex and Kana are very proud of their little bundle of joy :-))

such a cutie pie :-))
December 12th is also the day Jessica and Emmett arrived in OKC.  Thankfully Alex was able to pick them up from the airport before heading back to the hospital to be with his new family.

happy smiles all around! Emmett, Kana, Benji, Alex and Jessica
December 15th we dropped Raven off at her new spot in Roseville.  From there we drove to Oklahoma in Rainier.  We had the back of the truck FULL!  We brought our work equipment in case we were able to secure work on the way back to California.  Alex had asked us to bring some of his stuff that's been stored at our shop since forever...  Plus we had our luggage and Rufus' luggage (haha, he just has one bag).

see you in a couple weeks...
quick stop along US-93
December 19th we arrived at our AirBnB house in Oklahoma City.  We will be staying here with Erika and Guenther for the week.  We agreed this would be a much better option than staying in a hotel.  We have the convenience of a home and we can split the rental costs too.  This was our first experience with AirBnB.  The house itself was a good fit for us, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen, laundry machine, room to stretch out and even a backyard for Rufus.  This is a great route but next time I look into a home rental, I will be more careful.  We weren't expecting the home to be in it's current state of needing renovations.  It worked fine for us with some adjustments.  As soon as we unloaded our luggage we headed over to Alex's house.  We were about to see the family!!

Erika and Guenther arrived December 20th right on time.  Coordinating babies bedtimes with flight schedules meant a pizza dinner would be easiest.

Erika, Emmett, Jessica

Most of the rest of the days we spent time at Alex's house relaxing.  Kana made some dinners, I made a dinner or two and lunch was typically leftovers.  No one went hungry.

Rocky is getting used to his new brother

she's a good Mom!

Benji is just the right size for Erika

another grandson to LOVE!

Emmett and Guenther playing pat-a-cake
four generations of Kipps :-))

December 23rd is Alex's 33rd birthday and it's also the day we celebrated Christmas as Jessica and Emmett would be flying home early the next morning.  It was important for them to spend Emmett's first Christmas together with Mike.  I'm happy we were all together at least for a little while!

Dinner was a collaborative effort but Jessica was the  main chef.  She began cooking the night before.  Everything turned out excellent!!  Thanks to Alex's turkey 'injection', the meat was super moist.  Along with turkey, we enjoyed mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, fresh cranberries, sweet Hawaiian rolls, corn casserole, dressing and broccoli.  Something for everyone and again, no one went hungry.

my view :-)  LOVE my family <3
I had fun feeding Emmett - he's quite a good eater too!
With stuffed bellies all around it was time for birthday cake and a chorus of 
Happy Birthday singing for Alex!  

Next on the agenda: Gift opening for the babies :-)   
Benji is still too young to play with his gifts but Emmett was enjoying his new toys!
A new tradition for each of our grandchildren will be personalized tree ornaments.
I hope they will cherish these when they have their own Christmas trees in the future...

There was also a DIY project that Ron, Guenther and Alex accomplished while we were there.  The dryer decided to stop working and when you have a newborn in the house it's an essential piece of equipment.

An unexpected house guest arrived on December 25th.  Kana's mom, Kazuko, flew in from Japan.  Kazuko and I had fun taking photos of each other with Benji.

December 28th was our final day with Alex and Kana before driving back west.  We went out for lunch to Jersey Mike's sandwich shop.  Our time with the family seemed to fly by so quickly.  I'm happy we were together but knowing we will be back makes my heart happy!

love my guys!

Christmas memories are special.  One special moment was getting a new name.  No longer will I be known as Grammie, although I love that name.  I will be Oma, the traditional namesake for German grandmothers.  Ron will be Opa.  Erika and Guenther also have new names.  They are now known as Uroma (Erika) and Uropa (Guenther).   

I hope you all had a Special Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!!

December 19, 2018

Quick Down And Up

We've become settled into our spot here in Dutch Flat since our arrival in August.  It's too long since we've been out.  We're feeling the itch to hitch!

Garden Grove needs us to repair a broken slide.  We'd rather not make the long drive to southern California for one repair.  When we get approval for a repair at E & J Gallo Winery, we decide to make a quick trip down and back up.

Unfortunately, the city where the winery is located doesn't have any RV parks.  We decide instead to stay a little further away and drive to the repair site.

Arriving at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds after dark had us a little confused.  The park is a small triangular shaped lawn area with hookups along the perimeter.  Two sides of the triangle have campers parked perpendicular so we opt to fill in the third side of the triangle.  We had FHU for just $25/night.

The next day we went to the winery to make the repair.  One of their 15K gallon water tanks had a leak at the bottom.

We were greeted at the locked gate and shown to the tank at the rear of the facility.  There is a row of five 15K gallon tanks used for their reverse osmosis process.  The tank outlet at the bottom of Tank #4 had a small crack which caused it to leak.

I don't even know just how tall these tanks are!
We unloaded our tools and got to work right away.  After a test weld we knew it could be successfully repaired.  Tim was pleased to see the final results of our work!

One more night at the fairgrounds and then it's off to So-Cal.  The Garmin says it'll take about six hours to get to our destination.  Boy was it WRONG!!  We didn't arrive until after 8:00pm...  The traffic was terrible!  It seems everyone was out on the freeway this Monday evening.

We had called ahead knowing the office would be closed before our arrival to get our site number.  I had reserved a pull through at Orangeland RV Park.  This is our second time staying there.  As usual, it was clean and welcoming.  The staff member I saw the following morning encouraged me to pick some of the fresh citrus fruit growing abundantly throughout the park.  As promised, the grapefruit were amazing!  Before leaving we picked a bag full to take back with us.  They're much better than the grocery store variety.

Tuesday was the day to make the necessary repairs to the very damaged slide at Garden Grove Park.  We had received photos and already knew what to expect.  Two city employees were at the site to greet us.  We don't require assistance but it's always nice to meet our customers in person.

This is our second time repairing the same slide.  We've been able to acquire some orange material recently so we were able to replace the newly damaged area with a more closely matched color.  The tan patch is still in excellent condition, even after over two years of use, so we decided it would be best to leave it alone.  Another very successful repair by PolyMenders!

Raven has an appointment on Thursday back in northern California.  She's getting measurements taken and a repair estimate written up for warranty work.  Hopefully the tire blowout damage will also be covered.  *fingers crossed*

no unhitching necessary :-)
Wednesday we start the long journey back up central California.  We had decided that we would stop at Flag City RV Resort in Lodi for one night.  That way we would already be hitched up Thursday to arrive at the RV shop on our way back to Dutch Flat.  We used the Passport America 50% discount making our stay $32.50 plus tax.

The following Saturday, December 8th, we have an RVillage end of the year gathering.  We get to see our friends Steve and Debbie again and meet some new friends.  One of the couples mentioned to us how they found a private property owner who is renting them an RV spot on their land.  It got us thinking about our situation.  We have a long one hour drive each direction to work.  That's a lot of diesel for Rainier, gas for the Camry and time for each of us.

Ron found us a new place to park Raven!  Sunday's Craigslist ad was up for just two days.  A full hook up RV site was available in Roseville :-)  It's minutes from our shop so we'll be saving money on fuel and saving time with our commute.  It appears we'll be in the area for a little while so this is perfect for us at the moment.  One more week in Dutch Flat and then it's moving day for Raven.

Fast Forward to Today, December 20th

Raven was winterized last Saturday for her move down the hill.  The main reason is because she'll be at her new spot without us for a few weeks.  You can never predict the weather so we wanted her pipes safe while we're away.

We've been on the road since dropping her off.  We're currently staying at an Airbnb home in Oklahoma City.  We're 15 minutes away from Alex, Kana and our second grandson Benjamin Octavius! :-)  Jessica and Emmett are staying at Alex's house so we get to see them again.  Plus, Ron's folks are flying in tomorrow from North Carolina.  It'll be a fantastic Christmas!!

Next post I'll be sharing photos of our journey along the way and of course photos of our two beautiful grandsons!!