They then showed us a 2004 Mandalay 40' with quad slides. It is made by Thor Industries so is not Winnebago, Monaco or Fleetwood, which is a blessing in itself. Thor Industries is noted for quality but since we have been on the road that does not always guarantee a good coach, but this one has been very well taken care of and even though it has 60K miles, for a diesel that’s not much. It rides like a dream, handles like a dream and almost turns in its own length. Once Bob drove it and then got back into our present rig, he could not believe the difference. Ours truly drives and rides like a truck. The saleslady took us on the test drive and had us pull into a parking lot that was rougher than a cob. If we had taken the Suncruiser into that lot, everything in the cabinets would have been on the floor. The Mandaly hardly even rocked.. The unit was perfect, but their offer was too high. Bob argued with them for 2 hours and they finally came way down and we gave a little, but it still is costing us a bundle to get out of this piece of junk. The unit has 2 couches so we are having them take one out so we have room for our desk and bookcase. I also has a makeup desk in the bedroom - yeah! The unit had just come in so wasn’t prepped, but they agreed to let us stay in their RV park until it is ready (2 or 3 days) so we immediately went back and got our RV and moved it to Beaudry even though it was pretty late by that time. Actually it is called their “transition” area where they park the trade-ins and pull the new units next to them to transfer everything, but does have electric and water. They also have an RV resort next to it. This whole area is nothing but RV row and Beaudry is huge and they are constantly selling RVs.
I was concerned about the temp difference between CO and AZ as I only have winter clothes, but there has been a cold front here and even though it is humid, it is cooler than usual. We had high winds the first 3 days and today it is pouring, but is supposed to be nice tomorrow (Sat) when we were supposed to do our transfer. From here we will be heading back to Cortez - no money left to look at property now.
We didn’t get started with our transfer until Sat afternoon and took us the rest of the day and into Sun. I didn’t think we would ever get through. Our old unit had a lot of drawers and this one has mostly cabinets so rearranging was really a challenge. They were going to get us a new recliner and as soon as it was delivered we were going to leave, but we didn’ t get it until late Sun afternoon so didn’t leave until Mon am. We were going to stop for the night, but the rig drove so well and easier than “Galloping Gerty” we drove straight through so we had a day to get ready for work on Wed. I was so glad to get out of AZ and their arid country (even Sophie got allergies), but NM has the worst roads we have ever been on. The rises between the ruts were very pronounced and a small car could almost get high centered, but our ride was fairly smooth and I was even able to read all the way home.
We are almost done unpacking and both of us are really getting tired. I will be so glad when everything is in its place. With no drawers we had to buy a lot of bins, but we will eventually get used to everything. We were glad to get back to work so we could do a little relaxing.
So much for going back to work. The guys have to use a lot of chemicals to clean the washers and dryers, especially when someone drys things that coat the dryers, which is what happened and on top of being tired and one dryer taking 45 min to scrub, Bob got a bad case of asthma that turned into bronchitis on verge of pneumonia. He did so much coughing that his whole body hurt. Al had to take Bob’s turn, but it turned out Al got sick so Bob had to step in for him. Of course, nothing much got done during this time, but we finally got everything in its place, but I still have to hunt for things and get used to doing things differently. The weather still is being strange. The other night we had a thunder during a sleet storm and we are still getting snow, but the days are getting warmer so a lot of it is finally melting. We still have some spaces that have too much snow that we can’t use which is becoming a problem. That’s about it from here and I will get March’s letter started
Not much exciting and time is running out. I think we have finally settled in our rig. We decided our coffee table was too big with the new overstuffed chair so we gave it to our neighbor and got a narrow one that fits under the couch and we ordered new drapes, but won’t get them until we get to WI. We also got a steering wheel cover and have a lighthouse with a lighted beacon to sit on it. Pretty cute. We are still having to hunt for things that we can’t remember where we put it, but it is starting to come together.
We did go to the Anasazi Heritage Center that is a museum interpreting the history and culture of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and the Four Corners region with 3.5 million artifacts, most of which were recovered when they built the McPhee Dam and Rservoir. Also on the grounds are two 12th century archaeologicalsites - the Dominguez and Escalante Pueblos. The Dominguez is just some walls still standing whilethe Escalante ruins were more extensive, but there was still quite a bit of snow so couldn’t walk in the rooms. That one was ½ mile walk up an upward walk, but Bob did very well pushing my wheelchair.
We have accepted a camp host position Meadowbrook Camping in Phippsburg Maine about 30 miles SE of Brunswick. We wanted to see that area anyway and with the price of diesel we need free lodging. We will work 2 ½ days and off 5 so will have a lot of time to tour. We will leave here and stop in Spooner for a week to see our new grandbaby (a girl), which makes number 7 for me. We will go North from there and East through Canada. Really looking forward to it. We have accepted a camp host position Meadowbrook Camping in Phippsburg Maine about 30 miles SE of Brunswick. We wanted to see that area anyway and with the price of diesel we need free lodging. We will work 2 ½ days and off 5 so will have a lot of time to tour. We will leave here and stop in Spooner for a week to see our new grandbaby (a girl), which makes number 7 for me. We will go North from there and East through Canada. Really looking forward to it.
We were planning on going to Canyon De Chelly Nat’l Mon. but we started to have voltage problems with the rig and it turned out to be a bad inverter which affected the furnace, toilet, lights, etc. so until a new one came in we had to buy some lamps and a small heater. Got it fixed and now we are fighting with Good Sam over the extended warranty. They don’t want to pay saying it was caused by a power surge. Never get a Good Sam Extended Warranty - we have since heard that this is there usual way and you have to fight for reimbursement. This little episode cost us a bundle. I went back to the dentist for my last checkup and they discovered another gum line cavity so more money - but at least I’ll be able to save the crown for a while.I’m afraid I am going to have to start replacing all my crowns (8) within the next year. I also went to my last doctor appt. here and she put me on some new medicine that is mainly for fibromyalgia to see if it helps with the muscle pain. I haven’t taken it long enough yet to know if it is going to work. We had to move to a different space because of the incoming summer camp hosts and with our luck we had a snow storm the night before and Bob had to climb the ladder and chip ice and snow off all 4 of our slide outs. In the meantime one bedroom slide decided it wasn’t going to come back in so we called the RV repair place and we had to wait until they could come out. They thought it was a bad solenoid but after checking everything Bob discovered it was a bad switch. He was not happy with himself as this should have been the first thing he should have done.More money and we got hammered with income taxes so there goes the rest of the savings. There is always something. The weather has been weird. It has been in the high 60's before that snow storm came through. During the net couple of days it would be sunny, then we got a hail storm, then nice again, then more snow. It finally has cleared up and is really nice out, but it is still cold at night
Our bosses, Cliff and his wife, Colette, took all of the winter camp hosts out for dinner at a local restaurant call Lotsa Pasta. The food and wine were excellent and the company great. It was really a good evening. Our other boss Tom and his wife Vivian couldn’t be there as Tom had not come back from the east where he was undergoing cancer treatment. He should be back in a couple of days. April 14, 2008 (OUR LAST NIGHT IN CORTEZ) This 6 months have really gone fast and we will be leaving in a few days. Doesn’t seem possible.
However, The last night for Linda and Al and our next to last night, Cliff & Collette, bought pizza for all of the outgoing and the oncoming camp hosts. Sylvia, one of the new hosts made a super salad and everyone brought their own wine and beer. It was another good get together. I will really miss the owners and the other camp hosts. They are like family after 6 months, but we will stay in touch. The day before we left I went to the dentist and between him and my biting my cheek I ended up with a big blister and a fat lip. I broke the blister and it bled all over, but I got rid of the fat lip. I ended up with a small blister, but we have made peace with each other. April 15, 2008 On our way to Maine via Spooner, WI More when we get to Wisconsin
We traveled West to East and went over the San Juan Mountains which still had a lot of snow, but the ski resort on Wolf Creek Pass(10,850') seemed to be closed. There were a lot of very nice ranches and guest ranches which made me a little jealous. Once we got over to the East side it turned very windy, plus Colorado roads are some of the worst we have encountered (the whole state). Eastern CO is mainly hight desert.
We stayed at the Dakota Campground in Walsenburg, CO (out in the middle of nowhere) which wasn't the best we have stayed at. It some pull-thrus and we finally found one that was fairly level that had 50 amp service (only a couple) and the campground was right next to an RV repair shop so it was really grubby and they charged $26.00 a night. They advertised cable (not even) and wi-fi, which we paid extra for, that didn't work. It was so windy out we had to bring in our living room slide because of the awning over the slide. That night we heard about the wildfires at Colorado Spring which is where we were going the next day.
We got up early and got out of that grubby cnd tampground. We headed north up I 25 through Pueblo, Colorado Springs and then onto Denver where we picked up I70 to head east to Siebert, CO where we pulled into a really nice small RV Park in the middle of town. Siebert is a small farming community, so not much around except farms. The weather was beginnging to look like rain, so we just buttoned up and had a good dinner, watched TV and went to bed. Woke up the next morning to a bunch of snow. Bob had to get up on the roof to sweep snow off of the slides so we could pull them in. The temp also had dropped and was really cold. Bob about froze up there cleaning off the snow. He got it off and we got back on the road again.
We traveled 360 mi. that day and stayed at Double Nickel RV, Waco, NE, which was a pretty nice campground, but they have had so much rain they are having trouble with their spaces. (no photos, it was raining too hard to take any) We didn't the site that bad and they had a good gravel base. They bought this park a couple of years ago and are slowly improving it. I went to use my dryer and there was a problem with it so I was going to take the clothes to their dryer, but they were re-tiling their laundry room and because of the constant rain they haven't been able to do it, so back to plan B – wait until the next campground. They have a bar in their check-in building so we decided to make it the rest of the way and have a drink and pizza. It was really storming out with heavy rains and wind, which is the forecast for all the way to WI. It turned out that their 50 amp plug-in wasn't working properly so the dryer wouldn't work. We are so glad that is all it was.
The next day was very rainy and windy. Not good! We went through Lincoln NE, the home of the big Red. On game days everything was red, including all the store windows. We then hit Omaha, which is one of my old stomping grounds. We were assigned to SAC Hdqtrs. in the late 70's but I never got used to the humidity and heat and the humidity during the winter. I experienced my first ice storm and I lived in snow country all my life. Omaha is a very great city, but it's only problem is that it's located in NE. Anyway, on down the road we went and up through Iowa. We were supposed to go E on Hwy 85, but ended up on 30 and went through a lot of “don't blink your eyes” towns and some middle size towns. It was really interesting. We were really getting hungry and finally found a small strip mall, in which we took up quite a few spaces, and had a Chinese buffet which was so so. When we hit Ames (a large town) we headed north. We were ready to pull in around Clear Lake IA and found Oakwood RV campground that had just opened. It has wi-fi, full hook-ups, a lot of amenities and has the longest pull-thrus I have ever seen (150 ft.It doesn't have cable, so Bob had to put up our dish. It was really a nice campground and was only $25/night and $400 for monthlies (this info is for our Sundance people). Our satellite on this rig is tuned to Direct TV, but our receiver is Dish TV and it hasn't been re-programmed and, of course, our antenna is history.
The next day was overcast, but it wasn't raining. We headed up through MN, went around St. Paul/Minneapolis on on into WI. There has been a lot of rain and all the lakes and rivers are full. Most of the lakes were still iced over and a few of the streams had ice around the edges. We pulled into our campground around 3, got set-up and I (and the cat) are so happy to stay put for a couple of weeks. The campground is in flat field, but has full hook- ups but no amenities and is $400/mo. and we have a view of the river. They had a lot of snow recently and it is still very cold out, so they are just turning on the water, but just during the day. The water level here is so high all their pipes have to above ground. We could still get snow, but at least we are stationary. My biggest problem is that I put all my winter clothes away and now wish I hadn't. It is still so early in the season that we had the campground to ourselves
Nothing much to report. We've been busy with all our appointments and spending time with my son and daughter-in-law and their 4 kids (all 4 and under). They just had a gorgeous little girl, but their place is pandemonium and they love it. We only baby sat one time and we actually lived through it. We had them out to the rig for a cook out with hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. A really good day. It was about the only good weather day we had. The weather hasn't been all that great. We had a blinding snow storm when we first got here, but the snow didn't stay. We've had a lot of rain and has been windy the whole time. We are in a large field so we get rocked pretty bad at times. We are not actually in Spooner, but Hayward which is 25 miles away. This is the only campground open that could take us. The ones we stayed at before couldn't take a 40' rig and all the rest didn't have sewer. Spooner is an old railroad town and is pretty small although they will be getting a WalMart. Hayward is much bigger so it was actually better for us except the long drive to Spooner.
Sophie is in trouble. She likes to chew and Bob left the camera out with the cord hanging down, Well, the next morning it was completely chewed up. I have never known a cat to chew. She was starting to chew on my plants so we had to go out and buy one of her own. She usually gets her treat when Bob gets up in the morning so she has taken to walking on him then laying on him watching for his eyes to open – from 5 am on. That doesn't go over too well. We're getting everything ready to pull out Sat. - the 10th on our way to Maine and I am pretty excited. That journey should be more interesting so more to write about.
It was a pretty day and the drive was very pretty with all the trees and lake after lake and everything was so green, but the road was pretty rough. WI has more lakes that MN and MI has more than its share. Even though it is gorgeous I kept thinking about all the bugs that will be coming out in the summer. There were some fairly interesting burgs with 25 mph speed limits, which really slowed us down, but the closer we got to Lake Superior the larger the towns and better stretches of good road. We followed Lake Superior for a while, which was beautiful. We actually went through a town called Christmas and the casino there was called the Christmas casino.
We reached Brimley and found our Campground. The campground, Part of the Bay Mills Casino, is right on a bay off Lake Superior (Bay Mills Resort & Casinos). The casino is right on the water and the campground is right across the street. Nothing spectacular but the sites are level and only $17.00/night, plus we got cable which was imperative because of the NASCAR race. We did go to the casino for their buffet (after a wait of 30 min) and was well worth it. Crab, Prime, BBQ ribs and it was all very good. Their slots however left a lot to be desired. Very tight and it only took us 15 minutes to go through our money, so needless to say we didn't spend any time there. Notes of interest – gas was $3.93 and diesel $4.41. Also, all the rest areas, which are really only glorified turn outs, were all on the left hand side - none on the right.
We crossed into Canada right away (the toll was $8.00) and the border patrol never even got out of his custom booth. He asked for our ID's and license plate number – nothing about pets so we paid for her certificate for nothing. We crossed into Canada at Sault St. Marie, which is a very old town and shabby.
We got out of Sault Ste. Marie and found a Amish community where we saw a man and his son in a buggy going down the road. We traveled Hwy 17 all the way and it almost is one of the worst roads we have encountered with only a few areas of smooth road. We were really getting tired of it and getting short tempered by the time we got to camp. We went by a lot of rivers (big rivers) and lakes (huge). When we started out we skirted Lake Superior, then later we skirted the North Channel of Lake Huron. There are so many waterways it is unbelievable and just before we got to our destination was North Bay, on Lake Nipissing, which is Huge! The drive was mainly through wooded and agricultural areas and most of the towns were old and pretty shabby. I would think being that close to the lakes and being a tourist destination they would spruce up. Very disappointing. The campground (Sid Turcotte Park -$34.00/night) was very confusing to find and we went around many blocks to finally get there. It is a wooded area with pull-thrus (but only 30 amps) that is located right on the Mattawa River. The town (excuse me – township in this part of the country) of Matawa is at the junction of the Ottowa River and the Matawa river. It was founded because it was on two of the major trading routes, the Ottowa River and the Mattawa River. The traders used to gather at the junction of the river and trade their merchandise with the Indians for furs and meat.
We got set up and Bob went to put up the Dish satellite, but it is not compatible in Canada. Canada doesn't have zip codes, only postal codes. To set up the dish you need to know the zip so you can get the coordinates to point the dish toward its satellite. – so no TV!, which is no big deal except for my news fix. (Dishnetwork came back and said there are not licensed in Canada). Since it is Sunday we can't do anything until tomorrow, but we did go out for a Chinese dinner, which was very good. Note of interest – No rest stops (poor Bob), but everything was in English and mostly American money and right now the Canadian and the American dollars are about even. The speed signs, however, are in kilometers, but Bob quickly (with help from me using a calculator) figured them out.
The next day we decided to tour around, but most of the museums, etc. were still closed so took a drive down the Kiosk Road, which is not very well maintained. This used to be a major lumber area with mills stores and the house and offices of lumber baron William Mackay. There are some of the buildings still standing. The road runs along the Amable du Fond River which was beautiful with its rapids and provided many lakes along the way. It is easy to see why the logging companies used the river to move their lumber. We also went by a buffalo farm and the females and their calves were hysterical and fun to watch. == One of the most intriguing sites was the Calvin Shrine, which is a primitive place of worship still maintained by the Catholic community from southern Ontario (all churches here are Anglican). The road ends at Algonquin Park which is 7,725 sq. kilometre (you figure it out) (approximately 2983 square miles, thanks to the Internet) park that was established in 1893 and its name pays tribute to the many aboriginal tribes who fall under the generic name of Algonquins. Most of the park is still closed, but we did get to see Kioshkokwi Lake – another big body of water. The town of Old Eu Claire was established at the entrance to the park, but no remnants of it are left.== The town (Matawa) has several (about 15) large wooden statues scattered about depicting long ago well known figures and frontiersmen. They are really quite spectacular.== We took a short side trip up the southern side of the Ottawa river to the Otto Holden G5 dam which is one of four generating stations on the Ottawa River, owned by Ontario Power Generation. The dam is 760 meters (2493 ft) across and 40 meters high (131 ft). We couldn't really get to see the dam all that well but could kind of see it through the trees below the spillway. They have fairly heavy security at the dam. Well, tomorrow we are off again.
he scenery was beautiful with all the lakes, rivers, ponds and woods and more or less followed the Ottowa River all the way to Ottowa – except the road was atrocious except around Ottowa. We finally got to the border and the bridge to get to the toll booth was the worst. The toll was $8.75. The next bridge wasn't as bad which led to the customs area. The car and RV lanes were too low for us (they were 12.6' and we are 12.8) so we had to use the truck lane, which was no big deal except they X-ray the big rigs so I had to keep Sophie in my lap while they X-rayed from the back of the front seats to the end. She did not like that at all. We finally got through that, but the customs area was under construction and again the road was really bad. We made it through (with a lot of the stuff in the cupboards getting knocked around) and finally onto a fair road again. We then headed on into the campground which was only about 20 miles from the border.
The trip from the border to the campground went very smoothly, no bad traffic, and the directions were very good. We found this campground without any problem. We got into our campsite and got the jacks down and the rig all leveled, put out the slides (with problems- tell you later) then hooked up the power. Guess what? No Power. Bob went to the office and just as he got there the park's electrician showed up and he and Bob found the problem and fixed it, so we had power and did not have to move. And I am going to have TV tonight. Yea Babbling Brook RV Park ($15.00 – our price) is situated on a lovely meadow right next to a beautiful brook complete with a mini waterfall and mosquitoes. This brook is as big as a lot of our rivers. We went to put our slides out and a big racket in the bedroom. One of our doors came open just enough to get caught in the slide, but thank goodness just a piece of paneling came loose and just needs to be nailed back in. Then we went to open the kitchen slide with a big crunching sound. There is a space between the sink area and a counter that gets larger when the slide is in. Bob's beloved train cookie jar that he has had forever got caught in that space and was crunched, plus a lot of it fell down the hole which was a pain to get extracted. He finally got it, but is not to happy. The roads were so bad things slid and some fell over that have never done so before. Do Not take Hwy 17 through Ontario! Went East across the northern part of NY which is mostly dairy andagricultural and very green. We went through berg after berg, somenot so prosperous and some well kept up. We passed a fairly large wind farm – I had never seen a windmill this close up and waspretty impressive.