Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Plans for tonight are dinner at the Chateau with V and the other inmates of The Chateau, then on to a drunken party (NOT) with a few octogenarians and nonagenarians to welcome in the New Year as it goes across the US, starting with the Times Square bash in New York.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

See y'all later!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Following blogs, the easy way!

Have you ever wondered how you could find an easy way to follow the blogs that you have subscribed to? I have unashamedly copied this from Thanks to Janice and Dave. This has made my life a whole lot easier!
I used to use GOOGLE Reader. . .but here’s the trick to making it even simpler than that. . .
GOOGLE Chrome. . .and the Google Chrome Bookmarks Bar. . . 
Open your Google Reader. . .it’s listed on your GMail Tab on Google Chrome. . .
Click on the Tools Icon (on the far right side by your name) looks like a little cog. . .
Scroll down til you see the NEXT icon. . .drag it to your Google Chrome bookmarks bar. . .
Scroll down til you see the SUBSCRIBE icon. . .drag it to your Google Chrome bookmarks bar. . .
That’s it. . .
Open one of the favorite blogs you love to read. . .hit the subscribe button. . .follow the instructions. . .done! 
Once you have subscribed to all your favorite blogs, and have them listed in your Google Reader, all you need to do is click on the NEXT icon in your bookmarks bar. . .and read away. . .so much easier than looking them all up. 
Hope some of this makes sense, and is helpful to someone. . . 
I have subscribed to a whole lot of blogs, including those not written on blogger, e.g. Wordpress, because I love to read other people's stories. I used to bookmark them all, but as they don't all update their blogs every day, it can be time consuming going through my bookmark list. Using the above process, I only have to open those blogs that have been updated recently.

As mentioned in the comments, you can also follow blogs in your dashboard, presuming you have a blogger account, or in Google reader, presuming you have a google account. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Poor old Virginia!

Having survived landing on her head in San Diego on Christmas day, she now has gastro-enteritis. I spent most of the day with her at The Chateau and then we went to the doctor who told us that there is a gastro breakout and Virginia managed to pick up the bug. Hope I don't get it! Nothing further to say today! Goodnight.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I really have nothing to write about today because we just stayed home in the RV. Oh, except for a 2 mile walk, during which I twisted my right knee and was disabled for a while. It is now braced and feeling much better after taking a dose of Tylenol Arthritis. So I have decided to post some recent photos.
P.S, It was wonderfully warm today and I enjoyed sitting outside in the sun, reading and watching Michael pottering around doing "stuff" as only a man can do :-)

Christmas lights at San Diego Botanical Gardens, Encinitas
V enjoying the evening out 

Bromeliads at San Diego Botanical Gardens
Michael reading a plaque
Prickly cacti
Some more
Lights at the craft house

Christmas Dinner at The Chateau at San Marcos
V's friend, Jeannie, and Dee
Our naughty senior citizens after they were found in a closed off area
1000 bed hospital ship
US Navy ships
Michael at sunset
Coronado Bridge
Beautiful evening for a sail
Coronado Bridge
San Diego
San Diego
Beautiful building overlooking the marina
Seaport Village and Embarcadero 

The Midway, Aircraft Carrier Museum
Statue of sailor kissing the nurse
The Midway, end on

Sunday, December 25, 2011

You would not believe what our Christmas Day was like!!

We have never had a Christmas like this! We were scheduled for Christmas Brunch at The Chateau at San Marcos with Virginia, which we went to and it was very nice. We were then to take a boat ride around the San Diego Harbour from 3:00 pm to 5:pm. We had told, both V and her friend, Dorothea, that we needed to leave for our 2 hour cruise on San Diego Harbour by 1:30 pm. It is not easy getting 2 very old ladies out the door. We finally left at 2:00 pm. We had to be on board the boat in San Diego by 2:45pm It was going to be a close shave. As we left the Chateau we heard a funny noise, but could not determine what it was. It sounded like a flapping noise coming from outside. Anyway it stopped, we carried on at high speed and arrived at the Hornblower ticket booth at 2:45, only to find out that it was the wrong Hornblower booth. There was another one about a mile up the road. Well, 2 very old ladies had already been disgorged from the car, along with bags, walker and whatever. So I took off at a run along the harbour front toward the other ticket booth. Michael had parked the car and so he helped V and D  by putting D onto the seat of her walker and pushing her along. I managed to get one of those bicycle cabs and jumped, on parted with $10 and got the rider to take me along to the other booth. The lady there said she would try and hold the boat while I tried to get everyone there quickly. So I commandeered the bicycle cab driver to go back and pick them up, which he did and, WHEW, we got onto the boat which had been delayed waiting for us.

V and D parked themselves on a bench on the second deck, which was as high as they could go with their bad knees and lack of oomph. I bought them each a bottle of water and went up onto the top deck to watch the passing scenery. After about 15 minutes I decided to go and see if there was anything I could get for them. They were no where to be found. Michael and I spent the next 40 minutes combing the boat, but still could not find them. We looked in washrooms, lounges, even went into the dining room and the auditorium. Still no sign of them. It was not a big vessel, only 3 decks. I eventually spoke to a member of staff who agreed to assist in the search. By now I had the 2 of them falling overboard and floating off into the sunset! The staff member eventually found the two of them sitting blissfully in a closed area. A lounge that is used only occasionally. I was so relieved as I did not know how I was going to explain to my sister or the authorities how 2 old ladies fell off a harbour cruise!!

We enjoyed the second half of the cruise, watching the sun sink into the west and the lights of San Diego starting to come on. Michael got off the boat first, to go and get the car and meet us back at the terminal. While V was getting off the boat, she bumped her arm on the corner of the stairwell and tore a chunk of skin off her right elbow. We stopped the bleeding with paper towel and disembarked.

We waited, and waited, and waited at the dock. I stood up on the side of the road like a lady of the night, looking out for the car. Eventually I gathered my 2 wards up and suggested we start to walk slowly over to where the car was parked, about a mile away. As we were going along the harbour front, V noticed Michael walking toward us.

Michael has arrived at the car, reversed out of the parking lot and realized that one of the tires was flat (remember the flapping noise?), so he parked again and walked the mile back to let us know. V has AAA so she said that she would call them and they would come put the spare on. Problem was that my cell phone battery was flat and V had forgotten hers at home. We found another of those bicycle cabs and asked the driver if we could borrow his cell to call AAA. Michael went back to wait at the car. We got through to AAA and after the 3rd try to get hold of someone who knew what to do and where to send the repair truck, we decided to take the bicycle cab back to the car.

V was unable climb into the cab, so the driver moved it over to the curb so that she would have a step up. Remember those weak knees? Well, V tried to get into the cab and lost her balance and fell straight backwards. I just heard a sickening crack as her head landed on the sidewalk. Now a crowd started gathering and two of the young people in the crowd came over and helped V up to her feet. I felt her head and there was a lump the size of a grapefruit on the caput. She was assisted into the cab but she complained of a pain in her right hip. Oh dear. Having parted with more money, we got back to the car at about the same time as the AAA truck arrived. I got the 2 old dears into the car while the mechanic got the front tire changed and eventually we were on our way. We got home without further incident. V called her hospice emergency number and reported the fall. Some one will be in to see her in the morning. I checked her over and found 3 very nasty abrasions on her right arm and one on her left arm, which I dressed and bandaged up. Her hip is painful but she is able to walk and there was no bruising, so I guess no fracture which was my fear.

What will tomorrow bring? I wonder! Life with a 91 year old is never dull.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas plans

This is the first time we have been away from our immediate family over Christmas. It is hard not to see our grandchildren opening their gifts and not to be sitting down for dinner with our children. We are a long way away from them. Thank goodness for modern technology when we can talk to them over Skype. Of course, if we want to share the gift opening we will probably have to get up at about 3:00 am as they are 3 hours ahead of us!! Wonder if that will happen! Here are a few pictures of our beautiful grandsons.

Owen and Noah


We will be having dinner at the Chateau with V. No cooking or washing up. Before dinner V is having some of her friends over for cocktails, Then we all move into the dining room where she has arranged 2 tables with a total of about 12 people. A full Christmas dinner cooked by the professional chefs. On Christmas Day we are having brunch at the Chateau and then V, Michael and I are going to take an afternoon cruise around the San Diego harbour. The weather is going to be really warm, but we know that it gets cool and dark very quickly down here, so we will have warm jackets. Did you know that the Pacific is very cold, unlike the nice warm Indian Ocean where we used to live? I still have not managed to get myself into the water down here. Even just putting my feet in has me gasping!

The weather report is calling for frost tonight. I think we will have to keep the furnace on overnight. We have been turning it off and just using the electric mattress pad. We do not want the pipes to freeze and have us start up with water leaks again! I think we need to look into getting a propane catalytic heater. They are supposed to use less propane and they do not use electricity.

If anyone has one of these heaters, please let us know how you like it?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What the......?

I can't stand it! Another leak! This morning we found water dripping out under the sofa/galley slide on the passenger side of the Seneca. There was a big puddle on the concrete pad. Luckily we had some time before going over to V's house to help her with some house tidying and box putting away.

Michael removed all the stuff inside the cupboard under the kitchen sink and tore the inside of the kitchen cupboard out. It was soaked under there. The electrical wiring and switch boxes are all soaked. How discouraging! He could not see the leak and all the pipes and drains from the sink were dry. Then we pulled the slide in and looked under the sink from the bathroom side. There he found 4 of those same wing nut/connectors. He moved one and the water started pouring out. A loose connector! He tightened that up and so far so good. It all seems to be dry.

Here are some pictures of the pipes (riveting stuff!) and also some more photos of our Seneca in Escondido RV Resort on our new site, taken from the park just outside the gates. We stick out like a sore thumb. In a sea of white RVs we are just about the only brown one! The "darkies" of the resort!
The area under the kitchen sink where the leak had soaked the floor
The winged connectors where the leak came from
There we are at the top center of the photo
Close up

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We were screwed!

A week or so ago, when Michael was trying to find the source of our water leak, he had the cover off the wheel well and as we two DIY dummies were peering into the dark abyss, I noticed a screw sticking out of the tread of the rear outside dually. Michael turned on the tire pressure monitors and saw that the air was slowly seeping out of that tire. After a search online and a call to Sonrise RV in Escondido, we were given the name of Golden State Tire, just a mile down the road from us. So this morning we were up at the crack of mid-morning and pulled the Seneca out. What a fantastic company! They had the wheel off and tire repaired in about 30 minutes. We got the bill for an amazing $21.27, which will be paid for us by our tire warranty company. Happy Day!

The Culprit!

Wheel removed. Inside dually wheel visible

Alphonso removing the tire

Are we ready yet?
Back home, set up again and time for a bit of a spring clean inside and walkabout with chats with our neighbours. Before we went to Palm Springs for the week, I had made a comment that we had not met any of our neighbours around us. On returning from PS we were moved to a new site and what a change! What lovely neighbours we have! We met John and Nancy at the Christmas cocktail hour, they are not parked near us, but we consider them neighbours. Then I met Pam and Steve from Custer, South Dakota, who were in the process of moving up to Nob Hill (my name for our upper level because this where all the big rigs are parked). They are now 2 sites away from us in their lovely Allegro RED motorhome, and then we met Randy and Sandy from Oregon, who are across the road from us in their Montana Fifth Wheel. 

This afternoon I spent a while chatting to Pam and Steve and it turns out that Pam is also a Registered Nurse. We just talked and talked. I feel as if I have known her for ever. What joy life can bring! I love this lifestyle where we can meet such lovely people from all over the US and Canada.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

This n That

I think the whole world has gone mad! getting to V's home, some 9 miles away, is almost impossible. It took us almost 45 minutes the other day. The roads are jammed, no matter what time of the day. We have taken to looking for back roads. Hopefully this is a sign that the recession is grinding to an end as people are spending, spending, spending. How many are buying American?? I wonder.

Our trip here gave us a few challenges, one being the terrible road in Alabama where our Brake Buddy broke and just kept self initiating. We only discovered this after driving a few miles with the car brakes on. Anyway, as soon as we got here we UPSed it to the manufacturer in Kansas, dreading the repair bill to come. Well, the BB was returned to us, repaired at no cost! What a relief. Then one of our Tire Pressure Monitors on the car stopped working. We sent it back to TST and it, too was returned to us at no cost. Whew. We do still have to get the car brakes attended to as they got so hot that the front discs warped.

Brake Buddy fixed, tire pressure monitor fixed, water leaks fixed. Life is feeling a lot less stressful! Until last night that is, at about midnight, we were wakened by the sound of automatic gunfire! Then a helicopter circling overhead. Some of the other RVers also heard it. It was not in the RV Resort, where we feel very safe, but outside somewhere in the surrounding area. Escondido is a high crime area. This morning I took my walk in the park behind us and there were a few homeless people still sleeping on the grass, but they were alive and there was no evidence of any crime having happened up there.

Look closely at these two palm trees. What do you see?

A close up of the tree on the right. It's not a real tree! It's a cell phone tower!

Our new site at Escondido RV Resort.

The back of the Seneca. Satellite receiver at the top of the ladder.

We are having a quiet day at home, Michael is attending to some maintenance  outside and I am pottering around inside. There are some occasional rain showers and it is dull and overcast.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Leaks, leaks and more leaks!!! Long post.

Ever since we bought this RV, just over a year ago, we have experienced leaks and plumbing issues. When we first bought it there was a bad leak under the kitchen sink. We found a loose connection going to the taps so that was an easy fix. At the same time there appeared to be a leak around the sink drain, again an easy fix with some plumber's putty.

Then we removed the large CRT TV from the front entertainment center and discovered evidence of a leak in the cab over area. We took it back to Owasco where we bought the RV, and they re caulked the front end.

We did not use the RV for a few months from December to April, so had no issues during that time. Once we got back to Ontario and moved into it again, we found water coming out from under the divider wall between the kitchen and the bathroom. Back to Owasco who tore out the pantry and the divider wall. They said they fixed a cracked pipe inside the wall. Luckily this was "repaired" under our extended warranty with a deductible of only $50.

Intermittently we still found water oozing out from under the divider wall, which we mopped up. At the same time we heard a funny noise coming from the black tank flush, so back to Owasco and another $50. They tore out the vanity and replaced the flusher valve.

Then we found a leak under the vanity and still saw the intermittent leak. The vanity leak was easily repaired. The technician at Owasco had forgotten to tighten the drain under the basin. We now had to leave on our trip to California, so did not have time to get the leak under the dividing wall looked at.

Now we are in California and we have to find the source of this water. With the help of the wonderful community on the Kodiak Chassis RV forum on Yahoo, we gradually went through steps to eliminate all possible sources. This included removing an outside fender and the wheel well to investigate the bottom of the shower (we had determined that we got the leak every time we showered).  No leak under the shower, which was below floor level anyway. So back inside and the bottom of the pantry was removed. The floor was soaking wet. There is also an access panel behind one of the drawers in the pantry to get to the back of the shower faucets. No apparent leak there either.

We went through a series of "tests" on the shower itself.

Michael blocked the shower drain and sprayed water over the shower enclosure. No leak.
Then he opened the shower drain and allowed the water in the shower to drain out. No leak.
Then he had a shower. Leak.
What had we done differently? We had turned on the hot water heater! Now we were getting somewhere. The leak was intermittent because it only happened when we had the hot water heater on, and we only put the hot water heater on when we shower.

OK! So now where was the leak occurring. I had the idea to put my little point and click camera inside the opening at the bottom of the pantry and video tape was going on in there. On watching the video we saw water dripping off the hot water pipe feeding the shower faucet. Michael traced the water up the pipe and then we looked inside the access area higher up in the pantry and it was wet! The winged flange/nut was loose. A simple turn of the screw to tighten it up and VOILA! the water stopped dripping. Hooray! The end of our leaking problems.....or so we thought.

Access area in the pantry for getting to the back of the shower faucets

This morning the hot water heater was turned on for morning showers and drip, drip, drip. OH NO! This time inside the vanity cupboard. Again the hot water pipe up at the faucet end. The winged nut up at the top of the pipe was loose.

Catching the water from inside the vanity

Winged nuts underneath the vanity basin
That was tightened up and no more leak. We are now praying that all leaks have been addressed. We now know more than we ever thought we would about the plumbing in a Jayco Seneca 35GS!! Hoping that this is the end of the problems, however we will continue to monitor and tighten as needed. One of the people on the forum has advised us to check the fittings in the kitchen slide every so often as they may to loose when the slide is deployed. Good tip!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Our week in Palm Springs

Here we are, back again at Escondido RV Resort after a wonderful week at Palm Springs Oasis RV Park, which is actually in Cathedral City.

Snow on the mountains around Palm Springs

We took our American Mom with us and she had a ball. I now know the exact location of every Thrift, Resale and Consignment store in the Coachella Valley! V is truly the shopping queen of California. She came home with several great outfits that she got for next to nothing! 

V. enjoying the ride from the dinette
Wind turbines in the Coachella Valley
Snow on the mountain tops

The RV Resort was OK, small but sparkling clean. Two pools and a hot tub. It is in a wonderful location with great access to Hwy 111 and close to the best shopping areas. Our view from the motorhome was of the mountains near Palm Springs, including Mt San Jacinto. Lovely to see "our" mountain every morning as we had breakfast.

Our breakfast view
Concrete pads
Lots of empty sites
One of two heated pools
Our site was close to the pools, clubhouse and showers 
Our site at the end of a road. Great views!

There we are in the distance

We saw Hugo in 3D at the IMAX. A brilliant movie and well worth seeing.  and ate out at La Casita on Tuesday, so got a Fiesta platter for $12, which we shared between the 3 of us. Fantastic value! I would recommend this restaurant to anyone in the area. The margaritas are the best and half price if you go at happy hour, and Tuesdays is when you get the special deals on the Fiesta platter and the fajitas.

On Saturday we went to the College of the Desert Street Fair to just look for a couple of things for V, but she was unable to find what she wanted, then carried on to the town of La Quinta, where we chanced upon an art fair and walked through the museum. A late lunch at Shield's Date Gardens where they have the best date milk shakes. Bought some fantastic Medjool dates.

Art fair in Old Town La Quinta
Interesting entrance to a pub in the courtyard, La Quinta
Pretty buildings in Old Town La Quinta
V. going into the La Quinta Museum

The original RV!
Beautiful mural inside the museum
Entrance to the Shield's store
Huge sign for Shield'

On Sunday we went to the Tamale Festival which was being held in Indio.  It is one of the 10 best food festivals in the USA. Great day out, with a real taste of Mexico, with dancers, singers and lots of tamales. I am not sure that I would go out of my way to get a tamale, but it was interesting nonetheless.

There were lineups at most food booths

Hmmm, I think someone had a few too many tamales!

Guys on stilts

Did you know there is a machine that can tell if you are going to heaven or not?

As well as Tamales and other Mexican food, you could buy , jewelry, dream catchers and just about anything else.
All in all, I would say the week was a fantastic success and I know that V enjoyed it.