Sunday, March 27, 2011

3/27/11 Finally, a partially sunny day here at Park Sierra with no rain!!! And the forecast is for gradually warming dry days in the week ahead, so we are now happier campers. Last Monday night was when we returned to Park Sierra, after spending the weekend at the Fremont Elks. Our intent was to work on cleaning up the backyard at the Santa Clara rental house, and cutting back some of the trees while we had free pickup by the city out in the street. But the weather was so bad, with freezing temps and constant heavy rain, that we couldn't do anything except inspect the place. The tenants might be moving in July, so we will tackle the mess then. The one positive weekend event was having some time to see Elaine's daughter Tarra, and her family who live in Fremont. Can't post any pictures because we hadn't received our camera back from Olympus repair yet. They all are doing fine and look happy and healthy.
Monday we stopped in Fresno to have some recall work done on the RV brakes, which should not have cost us any money. But when they took the wheels off and exposed the rotors, they were very badly cracked. This was probably caused by the sticking calipers which was what the recall was about, but of course, Workhorse won't pay for the damage to the rotors, just what it costs to fix the calipers. So $1189 later, the RV was fixed and we drove to Park Sierra. Our very nice neighbors, David & Brenda Neil, had a delicious dinner waiting for us. It was great to have some visiting time with them. Here is a picture of them on Ken's deck today:

There have been so many social events since we returned to the park that our weight loss program, which was going well in Sacramento, has now stalled. Today we were at a birthday party for Ken Kimpton down at their lot, and we also had dinner there one night too. Here is a picture of Carol Rodely, Carolyn Kimpton, Elaine & Brenda Neil on the Kimpton's deck:

Last night there was a tostada dinner for everyone in the park to celebrate the Volunteers, with homemade cake for dessert. Here is a picture of Elaine with Viv Rogers, our neighbor Jeanne Taylor, & Brenda:

Every Friday there is a big park Happy Hour with "heavy" appetizers so that usually is dinner. And Elaine cooked a big corned beef dinner for some friends this week too. Since it was raining almost every minute, these social events were certainly welcome because it got people out of their rigs where they had been trapped for weeks. And we have been having a wonderful time catching up with the news and doings of friends.
As the weather improves and we can be outside, there are rig projects and other chores on the lot we need to take care of. In mid-April, the main park fund raiser, called Stagecoach Daze, will be held for 4 days. There will be lots of activities and meals, and we will try to do something to help. Ken & Carolyn are handling the auction, so I suspect we will be working on that with them. This 5 1/2 week period of being here is probably the longest time we have ever been here, and we have been members since 2002!
One of our park members took some pictures of Coarsegold Creek, which runs through the park down near the bottom of the property which I will post below. In the summer this creek is nearly dry. Last week it was a raging torrent with a constant roar.
Here is an overview look from the hill above:

Here is the place where members usually drive across in their golf carts:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

3/16/11 Two more weeks have gone by since my last post, but we have been VERY busy. Working on the rental house everyday keeps us busy from early morning until 5 or 6PM. Then we drive back to the RV, fix dinner, and try to catch up on other things such as e-mails or paperwork. Our sympathies go out to you people who still work every day!!! This is reminding us how great it usually is to be retired.
One big social event we have had during our time here was that my daughter Laura, my granddaughter Michaela, and Laura's new guy, Dennis, all drove down one Saturday for a visit. We fixed a nice dinner to have at the RV so we could sit and chat with them and get to know Dennis. He seems to be a great guy and Laura clearly is very enamored with him. We hope that they find much happiness together. It was also wonderful to have time to talk to Michaela and find out what is going on in her life. She is 15 and we feel like we barely know her because her Father would never let her have visits with us. He felt like we would corrupt her, I guess. So one of the big benefits of Laura's divorce is starting to have a better relationship with her. Here is a picture of me with the three of them:

The second social event was 2 nights ago when we drove over to Cal Expo RV park to see Laurie & Odel who are staying there a while so Odel can have a knee replacement at a local hospital. The renovations they had done in their RV look wonderful, and so do they! We had a drink and snacks and chatted a while, then walked over to Applebee's, which is not very far away. They like to eat there when they are on Weight Watchers because Applebee's puts the point counts in the menu for some of their dishes. The food was good and we enjoyed being with them, as always! Couldn't take a picture because my camera is still being repaired by Olympus.
Now that we have spent two weeks working very hard on the rental house, it is ready for new tenants. Last Friday night we put it on Craig's list, and on Saturday three sets of people had come to see it and we had 2 applications. Sunday 2 more couples came to see it. One of the applicants seem perfect and their information checks out so we agreed to rent to them. Tomorrow at 5:30PM they are meeting us at the house and we are collecting the deposit and giving them the keys. They wanted our house because it is large (4 bedrooms and very spacious) and near Zamora School, which some say is the best school in Woodland. They have 3 kids and one on the way and the oldest one is 6. So we hope they decide to stay in our house until ALL of the kids get through school!!!!
Friday we will be driving down to Fremont to stay at the Elks Club. The Santa Clara rental house is badly in need of some cutting back of trees and shrubs in the backyard so we will be doing that this weekend. Santa Clara has a "clean up campaign" every Spring which allows us to put any amount of anything out on the street and they haul it to the dump for free. And this is our weekend to do that. We will also be seeing Elaine's daughter, Tarra, and her family, who live in our Fremont house.
Some people are wondering when we will be returning to Park Sierra. Monday we will be driving back to our lot there, if all goes well in the Bay Area. We are looking forward to some much needed rest and socializing with friends!! Also, Stagecoach Days will be mid-April, and that is always a very fun event there.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

3/2/11 Can't believe it has been two weeks since I last posted! Sorry for the delay. We have been moving fast and seeing lots of people since we got off the Explorer of the Seas. The day that we docked back in New Jersey was sunny and warm and quite a bit of the snow had melted. We got off the ship early because we had packed light and were taking our own luggage off. At the airport, we waited for our flight to Atlanta (with a subsequent flight from there to Phoenix) and we realized that every flight that was leaving was overbooked. This was probably because it was President's weekend and everyone had an extra day off. They were calling for volunteers to give up their seats. Finally, the gate agent called us up by name and said that if we allowed them (Delta) to change our flight so that we went through Minneapolis and then on to Phoenix, they would give us each a $400 voucher for future travel, a $7 lunch voucher, and put us in first class for the Minneapolis to Phoenix leg. We would be arriving only 1 1/2 hours later than planned. So we took it. Wow, it is neat to fly first class!!!
Back in Phoenix, we slept in the rig at the Elks Club, and then the next day had lunch with Joyce and Don Lipari, Elaine's former sister-in-law and her husband. After a nice meal with them and cheesecake and coffee in their new home in Mesa, we headed for Tucson, arriving just at dark. Once again we stayed in the yard of Elaine's Aunt Marion and spent the weekend having fun with her, and also Penny, Elaine's sister. We had no food in our rig because we had been away so Penny brought over some food, and Sunday Aunt Marion's friend Louise took all of us to a nearby casino for a delicious prime rib dinner.
Monday we left and headed for Yuma, where we stayed on the lot of Ron & Carol Leonard in the Foothills. Diane & Jim FisherBaker were also staying there, as were 2 of Carol's nieces. We had several enjoyable Happy Hours with them over the course of the next few days, had a delightful time and delicious dinner with Lee & Susie Blattner at their rig at the SKP park, got to see the new mobile home and lot that Diane and Jim had just purchased about 1/2 mile from Carol & Ron's, and had a quick visit at Dan & Jenny Shepherds casita. Sure wish I could be posting pictures of all these enjoyable events, but I still have not been able to get my camera repaired.
Our Yuma visit was also short because we needed to head back to CA to deal with some rental issues. We drove to Jojoba SKP park for a quick visit with Joe & Carla Calwell and Dick and Carole Schneider. Had intended to stay both Thursday and Friday but the weather forecast was for very cold temps and snow down to 500 feet starting Friday. We needed to get through the mountains surrounding Los Angeles before snow fell, so we decided to leave early Friday. That gave us Thursday with our friends, so we all went to a nearby BBQ restaurant for lunch and then to the Shadow Mountain Winery for an excellent wine tasting - and some buying as well. Nearly every one of their wines was excellent! That evening Joe and Carla had us all over to their 5th wheel for a delightful dinner of green chili stew, with lots of talking, drinking wine, laughing, and catching up on each others news. It was great.
Friday we left early and yes, beat the bad weather and made it over the mountains, although there was snow on the ground in the Tehachipi's. It took 2 days for us to drive up to Sacramento where we set up our rig on Ron & Carol's property. The weather was cold but sunny for the next few days. We made several visits to our property in Woodland to try to hurry along the moving process of our tenant, but it still took her until last night at 7PM to get totally out. We were happy that she left without necessitating the hiring of an eviction attorney. So today we had the locks changed and started cleaning up the big mess that she left us. Tomorrow we will be able to start painting. We are hoping to have this place fairly well cleaned up and ready to show to new prospective tenants within a few weeks. We will also have to drive down to the Santa Clara house for a few days mid-month to do some yard cutback and cleanup during the annual cleanup campaign that the city has every spring. It is a chance to get rid of huge amounts of stuff because the city picks it up off the street at no charge for 2 days. These rental issues are a lot of work but since we have no pensions, only rental income, and we like to eat, we periodically have to pay attention to business!!!