Can’t believe it is February already! January just flew by! I guess that is because of all the happy hours we attended with Escapees, Xscapers, and Montana Owners Club, a great pork chop dinner hosted by MOC friends Curtis and Stephanie, friends from Amazon popping by to visit with us, and, of course, the fact that this year I actually worked with my folks at the Escapees booth at the Quartzsite RV Show. Despite the cold, windy weather, I had a blast! So many people stopped at the booth over the 10 days. Nothing like reconnecting with old friends and making new ones! Not to mention all the beautiful doggies on display with their families--I felt like I was at the Westminster Dog Show! Teammates Chick, Debby, Dave, and Carol were terrific to work with, too, and we all did quite well enlightening folks to the merits of the Escapees/Xscapers organization. Once Sunday night came and the Show officially ended (and it couldn’t come fast enough—we were all pooped!), we celebrated a job well done and expressed our thanks to the team with some of Mom’s Italian cooking. As she always says, she isn’t the best cook, but no one had ever suffered food poisoning from her meals! I’m happy to report that her track record remains intact!
Montana Owners Club Happy Hour
Escapees RV Club Show Team...
...Including Yours Truly
Show doggies hard at work or hardly working? You decide...
After completing all the required show paperwork and returning all the show materials to Escapees North Ranch, we spent a day chilling. Then we reinstated our daily early morning hikes (completing 5-6 miles now), catching the magnificent Arizona sunrises. We will start attending line dancing lessons at the Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA), too.
While we are just settling back in at Q, several friends are already leaving. Time to host a Happy Hour at our humble desert abode! Good food and drink, a roaring wood fire, a lovely sunset, and much warmer temperatures made for a perfect evening.
It seems many folks deserted the desert early this year, probably seeking warmer temperatures. This makes boondocking here even more appealing to me! Nothing around but vast, open land and blue, cloudless skies (and no more lines forming at the dump station!) The extra rain the area experienced late last year has already transformed the dormant ocotillos from dull brown to vibrant emerald green, and the creosote bushes are already sprouting buds.
We love the unobstructed view!
This ocotillo has come back to life quite early!
Did I tell you we lined up workamping for the summer? You may remember me mentioning a while back that we pick a state we want to visit and then seek out jobs, and our 2017 goal was Wyoming. In the midst of pursuing jobs, Amazon said it was uncertain whether Camperforce would be used again in Haslet, TX for 2017. If you know my folks, you know they always analyze logistics, costs, net revenue. No one can ever accuse them of making rash, spontaneous, uninformed decisions! Mom ALWAYS has Plan B (and many times Plan C) in case things don’t gel into place with Plan A. So while we did get offers of employment in Wyoming, we didn’t get the one job we really wanted and loved in Jackson Hole. Rather than take a job offer we found less appealing, we decided to abandon working in Wyoming in 2017 and focus on Arizona, because if Amazon offered no workamping in TX, we knew we would not go to its KY or TN locations. We would just come to Q in mid-October and relax instead of work. So by January 3 we had signed commitments to work at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. And not for one of the subcontractors/vendors, but directly for the Grand Canyon Association, the nonprofit organization that partners with the National Park Service to raise awareness and funds to preserve the Park. We are so excited! Furthermore, we learned at the Quartzsite RV Show that Amazon will have some TX locations open to workampers. So now we have new options to consider for picking up some extra bucks, which is always a good thing, especially when faced with repair bills.
You see, we just spent $553 on getting a new tire installed on Big Boomer. Mind you, the bad tire was not old nor did it have many miles—we purchased it in Spring 2015, when we had the first tie rod replaced. When we had the second tie rod replaced in 2016 after our Alaska trip, Dad noticed that the inside tread of the tire was wearing quickly and unevenly. He had the tires rotated and the wheels aligned, but the problem persisted. It was determined that the tire was defective, but good luck trying to prove that! Dad explained the problem as “tire conicity”, or in simpler rat terms, it was manufactured with the steel belts slightly out of center, causing the tire to roll like a cone. This made the truck feel as if it were out of alignment when, in fact, the tire was causing the issue. The problem stopped once the new tire was installed, and the truck now rides so much better.
Except now Dad just discovered issues with the leaf spring hangers on the fifth wheel. The bolt that holds the leaf spring to the hanger is cutting a vertical groove in the horizontal slot in the hanger steel. This is similar to the problem we incurred last April (except last year, the steel sheared the bolt off). You see, the manufacturer cheaped out, installing the spring hangers with a thinner steel than should have been used. This is quite obvious, even to this feeble-brained stuffed rat, when you examine the thickness of the steel on the after-market “fixes” for the hangers. So now Dad has to order new hangers so he can begin repairs, estimated to be about $400. Now that's a lot of cheese!