10/28/2008: Skyline RV Resort, Queen Creek, AZ:Happy Birthday to my lovely wife, Connie! It didn't take long for us to get back into being "grand parents". We baby sat Kaylee the other night. Today, we were woken up early with a frantic call from our daughter to watch Kaylee. The 2 year old has been a bit sick lately and needed to be watched today. Our daughter, Leslie, had already missed enough days from work and will miss more soon when her new baby arrives. As a high school teacher, she doesn't get paid maternity leave.
The other day, Connie's grand mother celebrated her 94th birthday. She lives an hour away from here and Connie's mother was also visiting from California. Connie enjoyed spending the day with them and took the opportunity for another "5 generation" of daughters photo. Although Kaylee wouldn't sit still, here's a photo of 5 generations of the "ladies".
When we visit our daughters house, I enjoy use of the high-speed Internet connection. It's MUCH faster than my mobile satellite system, which isn't too bad on speed anyway. But I sure notice the difference. WOW!
10/24/2008: Skyline RV Resort, Queen Creek, AZ: Much has happened with us in these past few weeks. The "October Fest" to help celebrate Larry's birthday went off great. Since most of the workers had already left the area, the remaining 8 people had a good time with good food. Every week for the past 6 months, we had either a weekly pot luck or social event. This helped everyone enjoy their summer more, get to know each other better, and allow the workers to share ideas. We'll try to encourage weekly social events again next year. Before heading to Reno, we closed down all of the campgrounds except one. We were mostly lucky, as the day after closing down a couple water systems, we had a few days of very cold weather. The other 3 couples had their water pipes freeze, and we had a broken water pipe in the last open campground. Guess we should have closed that water system sooner as well. Our motor home was lucky and survived without frozen pipes or problems.
Because of Larry's promotion next year to Operations Manager, we were invited to the quarterly meeting in Reno, NV. We left an electric heater running in the motor home with the cabinet doors left open. We were hoping to prevent frozen pipes, which we did. But this was partly because the weather warmed up again. We worried about the electric heater and a fire while were gone. While Larry was in meetings for a couple days in Reno, Connie enjoyed loosing money in the one-armed bandits. She also got to visit with an old friend from her childhood who lives nearby. Connie hadn't seen Cindy since she was 8 years old. The company treated us well during our visit and we enjoyed many great meals. Our current boss also took us to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant. The meal was fantastic! After a few days in Reno, we continued on to the area we'll manage next year. With Larry's new boss, we visited with one of the Forest Service reps he'll work with. A communication error prevented us from meeting the other Forest Service Rep. We'll manage 37 USFS campgrounds in two ranger districts. The trip and spending time with the Operations Director was productive. We also got to visit all of our campgrounds again. We're very excited about next year and are looking forward to it. We still need some more camp hosts - interested?
When we returned from the Reno trip, the motor home hadn't caught fire and all was well. Since we'd accomplished all of the campground closing before we left, there was only a few things left to do before we could leave. it only took a couple days to make our final cash accounting and deposit and store a couple company trucks for the winter. All of the other workers had already left. We said "goodbye" to our boss and his wife and left them alone to maintain the few bathrooms left open until early November.
Unlike our normal travel habits, we decided to head straight back to Arizona. We drove most of the first day, arriving at Edwards AFB campground for the night. But the day didn't go without problems. Outside of Bakersfield, we had a tire blow-out. It was a little scary, mainly becuase we were on a busy freeway. We pulled over, but decided to limp to the nearest off-ramp. The incident could have been a lot worse! Luckily, the problem wasn't a front steering tire. Since the rear wheels are duals, we had another tire to help keep control. Our RV road service came in handy again, getting us back on the road within 90 minutes of the problem. We had planned to get the remaining 3 original tires replaced this winter anyway. We just didn't make it to Arizona first. The other 3 tires were replaced a couple years ago, mainly due to a couple other blow-outs. Experts recommend the tires be replaced every 5-6 years, regardless of the remaining tread. These 3 original tires are now over 7 years old. We carry a mounted spare tire, which has come in handy three times now. Other than a minor inconvenience, this blow-out caused a little fiberglass body damage. There's a small crack in the fender well and some scratches on the side of the motor home. The tire shredded causing this damage, as well as ripping apart some minor lighting wire underneath the motor home. Again, it could have been a lot worse!
The night at Edwards AFB was quiet. For eligible military, this is a good location to stop over. There's a reasonable rate of $15 a night for full hook-ups. The next day, we drove for about 5 hours and spent the night in the HOT Arizona desert at Quartzsite. The next morning, we drove the short distance to Queen Creek, where our daughters live. We had always looked for an RV Park near them, but never had much luck. Some worker friends told us about Skyline RV Resort in Queen Creek. This is an 8 year old park and recently has been improved. Because it's a little remotely located and there's no swimming pool or spa, the seasonal monthly rate is only $250 with the electric in our name. To help save fuel and take care of some additional tasks, we plan to stay here until March. However, we are going to take a 2 week vacation to Jamaica soon. The RV Park is letting us store the RV here for no charge while we're gone. I think we may have found a seasonal winter home for us when in the area.
Besides the upcoming Jamaica vacation, we're expecting a new grand-daughter near the end of November. So I should have plenty to write about during our winter stay.
10/5/2008: Kinnikinnick Campground, Huntington Lake, CA: During these past couple of weeks, we closed down more of our campgrounds. We only have one campground still open, which closes October 31st (after we're gone). Closing down the campgrounds is fairly easy, It's just a matter of draining the water system, turning off the water pump and electric, removing signs from the bulletin board, tipping the dumpsters over, and locking the gate. These past couple of days have been relaxing, doing a little work as needed. We've also been rotating our company trucks in for routine maintenance. However, the truck I've been using all season needed LOTS of work. The transmission had always felt weird and needed to be replaced. The heater core was also leaking, filling the cab with smoke and causing smelly fumes. The tires were also starting to show the metal braiding. It's finally back form the shop and I hope all is well (finally). The company bought this truck used last year, and put another $5,000 into it within the past month.
We still have a few days of work to do before we're completely shut down (except for the last campground). We rented a large car trailer and need to move dumpsters out of public access (otherwise, they'll fill them full of trash over the winter). We'll also move some porta-potties and a small wooden kiosk. We then have 4 golf carts and some office stuff to move to a nearby area to store for the winter. Finally, we still have a couple water systems and bathrooms to shut down. All bathrooms that have flush toilets need tobe disconnected and winterized to prevent freezing, and breaking. We'll have everything done by the end of the week. Connie is planning another "October Fest" with the remaining employees. Next week, we're heading to Reno, NV for a week of management training and to visit our new area (next year) again. We're looking forward to this working trip.