April 24, 2016

Math Equation

     1370     Miles
           5     Days
           4     Repairs
       +  3    Cities

We just completed a road trip like no other. 

Tuesday, April 19:
We left the house a little later than we had hoped.  We still managed to stop at Best RV in Turlock to take a look at 'our' trailer.  The exact one we want wasn't found by the salesman so we opted to look at the same floor plan, just a different color scheme on the inside.  Once we sign the papers, I'll reveal the details.  After our appetite for another view was quenched, we drove to Fresno-our actual destination for the day.

The slide is located inside of a day care facility and they close at 6pm.  We arrived there just before 5 so we got right to work.  There was an additional crack that we weren't aware of yet we managed to complete the repairs before our deadline :-)

Ron finishes up the repairs by making it smooth
We had a room booked in Fresno for the night and proceeded to locate the hotel.

Wednesday, April 20:
Our second repair site is at the southern end of Fresno on a city owned neighborhood playground.  We ask our customers to send us photos so we know what we have to do.  There were three burn holes in one slide and a slew of what looked like stab marks on the exit of another slide.  We  brought along patch material and the necessary tools. 

our office of choice is a quiet park :-)
Since our next repair is a six to seven hour drive away in North Las Vegas, we head out as soon as we finished this playground.  I made a reservation that is prepaid so it's 'Vegas Or Bust'!  We'll be staying two nights at The Palms Casino.  We had a gorgeous view out our 21st floor window.  Darn it, I didn't take a photo...

Thursday, April 21:
The City of North Las Vegas hired us to repair a seam inside of their snake tunnel.  It's actually located in a huge regional park.  It took us a while to find the office so they could escort us out to the site.  We prefer close vehicle access since we have heavy equipment.  This slide was located quite a distance from the parking area so we were glad to have the permission of the park personnel.

Just as we were starting to unload the truck a family of geese strolled past.  The babies sure are cute.

The snake slide was quite a tricky repair.  For starters, it's a tunnel slide inside of a cement snake.  The broken seam is close to the top but still just far enough away from the entrance the make it very difficult to reach at times.  Secondly, there is only room for one person inside the tunnel so Ron did ALL of the work on this one.  He was a trooper but a few slang words were said during the repair process...

the most unique slide we've seen yet!

Ron stands just outside the slide entrance
After contorting himself in all sorts of positions, the seam is repaired.  The original damage was at the mounting points for the two sections.  Ron determined the damage was caused by the lower portion moving away from the upper portion so he decided it best to close up the entire seam.  The repair took quite a few hours.  We were glad we had already decided to spend the second night in Vegas.  We managed to walk a bit on "The Strip" before calling it a day.

Friday, April 22:
A phone call from the City of Santa Monica on Monday (the day before leaving) prompted us to make a slight detour on our trip.  We had left an extra day open for a fun day in Vegas on Friday but we adjusted to make the necessary repair in Santa Monica instead.  When we hit the road for good, there will be plenty of fun days.

After a hearty breakfast at the local Black Bear Diner we left Vegas and headed west on I-15.  After Barstow, it was all new scenery for us.  Luckily the commuter lanes on the 405 freeway are for two people.  It saved quite a bit of time off of the estimated 4 1/2 hour drive.  We did hit some traffic eventually.  We're both glad we don't live in a high traffic city.   

The park was easily located once I reread my notes and put the correct address into the GPS.  We first ended up at the wrong park and couldn't figure out why we didn't see the broken orange tunnel...

This part of town has metered parking so we lucked out with an end spot right outside the entrance gate.  It was a simple repair.  A city worker had accidentally hit the tunnel with his backhoe bucket when he was filling the playground with more sand.  Life happens.    

all done and ready for little ones again
happy children = happy parents
There were several parents in the playground with their little ones when we arrived.  We explained why we were there and one father was happy that the tunnel would be repaired so quickly.  We always use caution when there are children present so we asked that they play on other areas until we finished our work. 

Once our equipment was unplugged a little boy went through the repaired tunnel.  His big grin tells a great story and we sure like happy ending!!

Not wanting to pay a ridiculous amount of money to sleep in Santa Monica, we drove to Bakersfield for the night.  We wanted to drive part of the way home and still be close enough to make another stop on the way up the central valley to Sacramento.

Saturday, April 23:
I've covered the four repairs and three cities but what about day number five?

On our drive home we stopped at Best RV again and this time we worked with a different salesman.  He was more willing to make sure we saw our trailer with the correct color scheme :-)  We first went to the wrong one just to refresh our memory of the colors.  John also showed us how the couch turns into a bed and a few other features on the rig.  Then he drove us to the back lot area which houses our trailer.  It was closed up tight but we got to see what the inside looks like with the slides in.  We can easily get to the bathroom and we can open the fridge a smidge if necessary :-)  We really like the color scheme and we know we'll be happy living in it.

The dealership was quite busy.  We didn't want to hang around for the finance people to speak with us.  We were tired from our trip and just wanted to get home.  John told us about the online credit application process.  We'll take care of that in the next few days, send John and email that it's taken care of and hopefully we'll buy our trailer very soon!!
I'd say that was quite a successful trip :-)

April 13, 2016

What's For Dinner?

Are you the primary cook in your family?  If so, you'll definitely want to continue reading this post!

I'm saying goodbye to my crock pot and hello to my electric pressure cooker by Instant Pot.  There just isn't enough room in our RV for both.  The Instant Pot does so much more and the results are great excellent phenomenal!

I bet I know what some of you are thinking:
  Pressure Cookers-don't they explode?!
  I could never survive without my crock pot!
  I hate cooking inside the RV!

To be totally honest I have a very small recollection of my mom using a stove top pressure cooker.  Once.  I wonder why she didn't use it more often.  No, she didn't start the house on fire.  I do remember it was big and bulky though.

I used to love my crock pot.  I even wrote a post about making freezer meals to cook in it.  Don't worry, you can still prepare and freeze the meals, they'll just cook quicker in the Instant Pot (IP for short).

You can use your IP outdoors if you like.  But to be honest, it really doesn't generate very much heat, as far as I've noticed anyway.

I first heard about this amazing kitchen appliance last year around Thanksgiving from someone's post on FaceBook.  They mentioned the IP and how they had the best dinner ever.  I had to know more.  I found a FaceBook group full of pot heads - Instant Pot Community.  At the time I joined there were less than 18K members.  Now it over 57K members!  These members are worldwide and quite supportive of each other.  Recipes are shared, help is given to newbies, and there isn't a bunch of drama. 

I ordered my Instant Pot when Amazon had their Black Friday special.  I'm so glad I did.  And so are the boys.  Yes, Rufus is even a beneficiary of the deliciousness that comes from it!

The IP has many functions including Saute, Slow Cooker, Bean/Chili, Porridge, Steam, Rice and even Yogurt.  I can set a delay start if needed.  It also has an automatic 'Keep Warm' function that keeps food warm for up to 10 hours after cooking is complete.

Since I opened the box and started cooking with it I have made many oodles of dishes (mostly dinner items).  And I also make our own yogurt now.  No more hunting for my favorite one that costs a fortune in the grocery store.

I think I've used the stove top less than 6 times in the past five months to make a meal.  I use the oven on rare occasions too.  A girls gotta have take & bake at home pizza on occasion, don't 'cha know :-)  I haven't made one yet, but cheesecake is a very popular dessert that can be made in the IP.   

Words can only convey a part of what I'm talking about.  Here's some photos of the phenomenal dinners I've made so far:     





just a few minutes under the broiler to glaze the sauce
now that's a meat lovers meatloaf!


chicken marsala

yes, it's a pressure cooked lasagna!

orange pork tenderloin with steamed broccoli  

Rufus knows he'll be eating something yummy whenever Mom is cooking.  He gets a spoonful of homemade yogurt added to his kibble.  On occasion he'll get some carrots which previously seasoned the chicken broth cooked in the IP.
five jars of homemade yogurt
Are you still with me?  Or did you skip on over to Amazon and buy your own Instant Pot?  At the very least, I'm sure you're hungry!!