Antenna E.D.

Hubby and I have talked about making a written check list.  You know, the kind of list pilots use.  After almost a year of full-time RVing, we still haven’t made that list; a take off list so to speak, a list to review before hitting the road.

Knowing Al and I, we’d probably forget to use the list anyway.  And speaking of forgetting; check out the photo of us visiting the dump station at the Fruita visitor center.  The visitor center is located just west of Grand Junction, Colorado, in the town of Fruita and is a great place to stop, relax, and pick up all kinds of info on the beautiful state of Colorado.

erectile disfunctionLooks like someone forgot to lower the TV antenna.  The helicopter is part of a lovely Vietnam War Memorial and the rugged terrain of the Colorado National Monument can be seen in the distance.  We always enjoy our time hanging around the quaint little town of Fruita….  gateway to the Colorado National Monument and nearby world renowned biking trails.

While staying in my brother and sister-in-laws driveway, we would make a weekly visit to the Fruita visitor center to clean our tanks.  We wanted to make sure our tanks didn’t come close to filling.  Hmm, where’s that check list?  We obviously made it to the center without a problem with the antenna in the erect position, but on the return drive we weren’t so lucky.  Our TV antenna met some tree branches and after a quick altercation, the tree won.erectile dysfunction

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t erect the antenna.  It was official, our antenna was suffering from erectile dysfunction.  This was a problem a blue pill couldn’t fix.  The antenna was also beat up pretty bad and the mother board was even exposed.

Al and I were surprised the antenna worked at all, but it did ok by bringing in a couple of channels which allowed us a little TV viewing until we could have a new antenna delivered.  We even received some reception during a heavy rainstorm which amazed us considering how damaged and exposed the antenna was.

After some research, we chose this Jack RV TV antenna that doesn’t require raising and lowering.  No more need to remember to crank the antenna down.  Yay!

JACK Digital HDTV Over-The-Air Antenna w/Built in Signal Finder – White

Although it was relatively easy to install the new antenna, it did take us most of the morning to complete the task.RV antenna repair

First the old RV antenna needed to be removed and since we have a rubber roof on the 5th wheel, it was crucial we take our time and not cause any damage to the roof.  Al used a blow dryer to heat up the old caulk and with a PLASTIC putty knife he gently lifted it to remove.  A metal putty knife could easily rip the rubber roof membrane.RV antennas

RV rubber roofsOnce the old antenna was removed, we set about installing the new one.  Once Al had everything hooked up and fastened with screws, I set about with the caulking. I used a special RV roof sealant that has a rubber consistency once dried.caulking RV roof

Geocel 56801 White Advanced RV EPDM Roof Sealant

We’ve been enjoying our new antenna for about a week now and are very pleased.  We seem to get better reception and the colors appear to be more vibrant…… better yet, we don’t need to remember to lower the antenna before hitting the road.replacing RV antenna

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty – Winston Churchill

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Body work & Body work

Moab UtahThe heat in Moab had us moving on in search of cooler temps and Glenwood Springs, Colorado, proved to be the perfect location.  Moab starts heating up toward the end of May with temperatures in the 90 degree plus range.  Those temps will only increase as summer approaches.  Thus, spring and fall are the best times to visit this part of Utah.

It’s all about elevation when it comes to temperatures and knowing we have a few more repairs and purging to complete on the RV, Al and I seek out some of those cooler temps.  We’re familiar with some private land south of the town of Glenwood Springs sitting at an elevation of 6,600 feet.  After a quick phone call to the owner and a ‘come on down’ response, we were quickly on our way.

I’m so excited to be back in this part of Colorado.  One of my ‘bucket list’ locations is just 40 minutes down the road and I can’t wait to set my eyes on it.  Play before work!Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells are the most photographed mountains in North America and what a vision they are.  Our visit was early in the season and the Aspen trees were still bare but budding plants were everywhere.Maroon BellsMaroon BellsI picked the Crater Lake Trail at the Maroon Bells for the days excursion.  The 3.6 mile round trip hike is rocky and climbs about 700 feet in elevation.

We weren’t surprised that after an hour of hiking and hiking partly in snow that we had to turn around before reaching Crater Lake.

The snow kept getting deeper and eventually we lost sight of the trail.  I was seeking cooler temps after the heat in Moab and I sure found them here at 9,600 plus feet.
Maroon BellsWe did manage to climb quite a bit in elevation and at one point we could see Maroon Lake below.  Our starting point and the parking lot are on the far side of the lake.Maroon Bells

Since we weren’t able to reach our destination for lunch, we returned to a bench along Maroon Lake to eat and take in the surrounding scenery.  Al and I both agreed this is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited.  I’m hoping we can arrange a revisit in July for wildflowers and in September for fall colors. Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells are a truly stunning sight to behold and my photos don’t even begin to do justice to the area.  For some stunning photos of the area Google Maroon BellsMaroon Bells

The next day, it was all Al and I could do not to return to the Maroon Bells, but alas work needed to be completed.  While Al was diligently working on the body of the RV by replacing the wheel fender; the fender that was damaged from the blown tire and all taped up,

body work
new fender and wheel covers

body workI was diligently working on my body in preparation for the upcoming summer weather.  Time to get out those shorts.

A little body work on the RV…… check!
A little body work on moi….check!

All we have left to complete is one more little fix after some silly forgetfulness and we’re back in business.  Well, perhaps we still need to do a little more cabinet purging, but we’ll continue working on that during a rainy day.

Next up…… what’s with that antenna?Maroon Bells



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Moab again and new tires

Hubby and I have been a couple of very busy campers lately.  First let’s just say Moab’s slogan of “again and again – the adventure never ends” is very fitting and I know Al and I will be returning to Moab again and again.boondocking RVing

We were back in Moab, Utah, boondocking with pals Linda and Mike for about a week before it was time for us to be moving on in separate directions.  But before moving, we all managed to get in some hiking, exploring, and a little socializing…..ok maybe it was a lot of socializing, but who’s keeping track  😉 Moab Utah

Why is it all the problems of the world seem to fade away over cocktails and an open fire?  Or perhaps we just felt somehow we solved all the problems.  Now if only someone would listen!RVing in Utah

The guy below sure didn’t listen to anyone and ended up getting himself stuck in a sandy wash.  Several days earlier it rained; first flooding the wash then compacting the sand, but as the sand dried out the sand got softer and softer making it impassable for anything other than a serious 4×4.  Yep, he’s calling AAA and they DID tow him out.stuck in sandAl and Mike even came to the rescue of a couple of Aussie kids young adults in a mini van.  This was their camp.  What made them think they could drive a mini van back there?camping in Moab

Two old spry men, a F-250, and rope…. can I hear a little male grunting “arrr, arrr, arrr” followed later by the clanking of beer bottles, “cheers” to success.  The Aussie’s were very grateful especially since the vehicle was borrowed from a friend and they had no other affordable options.  A “thanks mate” was all that was necessary.

wildlife in Moab
Beware of wildlife while camping in Moab

So with our fun in Moab over, we head back to Colorado and finish up some repairs.Moab Utah

I will say, having the new tires was a comfort during our travels.  We had the tires replaced before our return to Moab.   After experiencing a couple of blown tires on the 5th wheel, it feels a bit more reassuring to have a complete new set of tires all around when hitting the road.Discount Tire

Being in the home building business for many years, it was rather common for us to have tire issues.  Issues that centered mostly around air loss due to nails in tires.  Discount Tires has always treated us well and after a substantial amount of trailer tire research, we chose the Discount Tire in Grand Junction, Colorado, to do the work.  We spend the majority of our travels meandering around Colorado or Arizona and both states offer plenty of Discount Tire store locations in the event we have any tire issue that needs to be addressed.

We opted to go with their 10 ply trailer tire and not a truck tire.  We had 3 different tire shops in 3 different states recommend we use a 10 ply TRAILER tire.  Trailer tires are designed to withstand the scooching motion that occurs when maneuvering the trailer.

trailer tiresA motorhome, truck, or car all have axles that turn as the vehicle turns and thus the tires always move in the direction of the vehicle.  A trailer has stationary axles and as the trailer is maneuvered around, the tires aren’t always rolling but rather scooching or sliding.  The trailer tire side walls are specifically designed for this motion where as a truck tire is not.

Another thing we were adamant about was checking the dates on the new tires before installation.  Trailer tires should be replaced every 5 years regardless of mileage.  The manufacture date is clearly stamped on the side of the tire.trailer tiresOur new tires were manufactured the 15th week of the year 2014.  Thus our new tires were only 6 weeks old when we had them installed. Happy campers!

Next up, we complete some body work……..Moab Utah

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May flowers or May snowstorms!

My how time flies when you’re having fun!  After a month long stay in Grand Junction, we find ourselves back in Moab, Utah.  And much to my surprise and pleasure, the land is covered in blooms.  Flowers, sun, and balmy eighty degree temperatures are a far cry from what I experienced a week ago in Denver, Colorado.Moab wildflowersLast Sunday was Mother’s Day and I traveled from Grand Junction, Colorado to Denver to spend the weekend with my daughter.  I always love spending time with my daughter, Ashton.  She surprised me by taking me out to breakfast followed by side by side manicures and pedicures.  What a special treat it was.mommy timeBut the biggest surprise was the weather.  I’ve called Colorado home for nearly twenty years and know Mother Nature can’t allow spring to spring without one last hurrah. Usually it’s in April when we’re graced with one last serious dumping of snow.  This year that dumping occurred on May 11th – Mother’s Day.

spring snowstorm
Ashton’s place north of Denver – May 11, 2014
spring snowstorms
Ashton and I clear our vehicles of snow

The snow didn’t let up all day and by the end of the day we had a fresh coating of snow totaling more than seven inches.  Some areas received even more precipitation causing snow skiers to flock to Arapahoe Basin (one of Colorado’s last ski resorts to close for the season) to catch a few more runs before the snow disappears.  Although the snow was sticking and building on the grass, I was very grateful it did not accumulate on the pavement.  Thus, driving wasn’t impacted too much at least not around the city.  The roads in the high country?  That was another story.

mani pedi
snow continues…..me running around in flip flops after my mani pedi

Running around in flip flops in this kind of weather was not exactly ideal, but after a fresh pedicure there was no way I was putting on shoes and socks.

After a very enjoyable weekend with my daughter, it was time to return to Al and the RV on the other side of the Continental Divide but all that snow was cause for me to delay that return for a day due to poor road conditions at the higher elevations.  Another day with my daughter?  No complaints here!  Ashton and her roommate did issue a codicil; with smiles and chuckles I was informed I could stay another night only if I made my pulled pork.

So while I was slaving away in my daughter’s kitchen, Al was back in Grand Junction slaving away on some of the needed repairs on the RV.  He too was not complaining as his “supervisor” wasn’t around to micro manage.   Better yet, since we were camped in my brother’s driveway hubby was well fed in my absence as well as any thirst was quickly quenched with an adult beverage.  I suspect between hubby and brother there may even have been some Tim Allen male grunting going on with all the tools necessary for the work at hand.

RV water lines
Al replaces the water lines, installs new insulation and thermapan – all damaged from the blown tire

I was thrilled the repairs were getting done and with a set of new tires we’d be able to go about our travels with confidence.on the road again

Today we’re sitting in a boondock spot north of the town of Moab where friends and fellow bloggers Mike and Linda saved us a spot.  The last two months have found our travels criss-crossing several times.  Tomorrow they move on and we most likely won’t run into them again until next winter in the Phoenix area.  Always a fun time sharing tales over an open fire!dry campingWith a holiday weekend approaching and no reservations, Al and I have decided to stay in Moab through the Memorial Day weekend.  Anyone else in the area looking for a spot to camp, let me know……we have plenty of room.  Come on down!  Who could say no to a view like this?boondocking dry camping

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is always a special day for me.  Being a mom remains my greatest joy and accomplishment in life.  I adore my 2 children and am very proud of them.mother's day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there.mother's dayI’m spending the weekend in Denver with my daughter.  It’s been seven months since I last saw her so we have a lot of catching up to do 🙂

Mother's Day
my son, Logan and my daughter, Ashton

Dead Horse Point

The date had finally arrived.  It was April 10th.  With a child like excitement and exuberance, we hooked up the 5th wheel and readied everything for our twenty-minute drive up to Dead Horse Point State Park.  As excited as I was to head to a new campground, I was reluctant to bid farewell to our awesome boondocking site.

dry camping boondocking
boondocking near Moab, Utah. 360 degree views! Arches National Park can be seen in the distance on the left with snow capped La Sal mountains to the right.

I made a reservation (along with my brother) to camp at Dead Horse Point State Park a few months ago. Last fall when we visited the Moab area we stopped by Dead Horse Point State Park and did a quick drive through the campground.   I decided right then and there that I just had to stay at this state park sometime.

camping in Utah
One of the rare level sites….score!

During that exploratory drive, I made notes as to campsites we might fit into.  It’s because of campgrounds like this that when it came time to choose an RV, Al and I made a conscious decision to buy a RV that would not be too large and thus able to fit into some of these tighter campgrounds.  Let’s face it; size does matter!  If we had opposing slides or been much longer, we would not have fit so nicely into this site.camping in Utah

Most of the campsites at Dead Horse Point State Park are narrow and unlevel  requiring some extra maneuvering or inventive leveling.  The campground is also small with a mere 21 sites which book up quickly.  Each site has electric only.  Being located up on a mesa, water is not readily available.  There’s that precious commodity issue again…..water!

camping in Utah state park
A view from the west trail rim

Although there is an on-site dump station, there is no potable water to fill RV tanks. The restroom does have flush toilets, sinks for hand washing, but no shower facility.  The beauty of having scoped out this campground last fall was Al and I knew exactly what to expect and how to prepare.  So with waste tanks empty, water tank full, and our body’s scrubbed we embarked on our 5 day stay at Dead Horse Point State Park.

camping in Utah
my brother and sister-in-law fit nicely in the campsite across the street from us – site #1. Yep, that white stuff is snow and frost!

My brother and his wife joined us by camping in the campsite across from us.  Fortunately, my brother and I made reservations months ago for these sites.  It was great reconnecting and catching up on life.

camping in the snow
photo taken out of the RV rear window

camping in snowThe weather was perfect……well, almost perfect.  We had a snow day with cold blustery winds that kept us indoors most of the day.

A snow day was the perfect excuse to hang out with family, visit, and enjoy my homemade nachos.

So why was it so important for me to camp here at Dead Horse Point State Park?  The scenic views, of course….it’s all about the views.  And those views are easily accessed from the campground.  The visitor center is a quick walk from the campground and is filled with a wealth of information.  This is also a great spot to take in the amazing scenery.scenic campgrounds

dead horse state park

dead horse state park
the trail at the visitor center

While camping 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, I found myself repeatedly walking the rim trail and taking in this amazing scenery. scenic campgrounds

Sunrise and sunset were especially stunning.dead horse state park

Yep, a pretty special place.  Our five days were over before we knew it.  Due to needed repairs on the RV, we reluctantly had to pull ourselves away from Moab with a promise to return again…..   and again    ….and again 🙂best state parks

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I’m married to MacGyver

Once settled into our new home, a home with a view I might add, we set out in search of some petroglyphs aka rock art.  After a little research, I knew just where to go.  From our home located off Highway 191 we headed south and picked up Utah highway 279.

Colorado River Utah
The Colorado River along Utah scenic byway 279

petroglyphs

petroglyphsUtah road 279 located several miles north of Moab is a paved two lane road that meanders along the Colorado River and is a popular place with rafters, canoeists, and kayakers .  There’s numerous places to access the river as well as a few designated campsites.

The hunt for these petroglyphs or rather referred to as Indian writing and also known as rock art is an easy search.  There are actually a couple of brown signs near pull-outs that say “Indian writing”.

Al and I parked the truck and stood near the road glancing up at the red rock wall.  After a couple of minutes scanning the wall, I screamed out while pointing a finger, “There….up there.  Can you see it?”Indian WritingThere are several areas along this rock wall that were engraved with Indian writing – petroglyphs – rock art, whatever one calls it, that obviously told a story.  Most of the rock art is located on the smooth blackish face of the wall at least 20 feet up or higher.Indian WritingIndian writingrock climbing repellingI could’ve stood there for quite some time starring up at this unique historical site trying to decipher the story.  This was someone’s journal…..a blog post!  Hmm, wonder how long it took them to complete a blog post with all the carving and chiseling required.  I guess we have it pretty easy with our simple clicks and auto correct 🙂

We continued down Utah road 279 also known as Potash Road and stopped to observe some rock climbers.  Ah, to be young again.  However, even twenty some years ago I would’ve viewed the climbing part as perhaps a little too much work, but repelling?  Now that’s fun and I would still consider doing that today…..just beam me up Scottie and I’ll repel down.Moab Utah

We continued down Utah road 279 but not without getting side tracked with a gravel road that shot off to the west.  A little four-wheeling in the back country found us surrounded by huge majestic rock cliffs that left us admiring their beauty in awe.Red rockfour wheeling in Moab Utah

four wheeling the back country near Moab UtahIn the above photo, can you see little ole me climbing up the hill with camera in hand?  Look at the size of those boulders.  I wouldn’t want one of those tumbling down towards me.

Had we taken a map with us, we may have explored this back country road a little more, but the further in we drove the worse the road conditions got.  No map and a worsening road had us turning around.  We returned back to paved road 279.

Shortly after this slight back country road diversion and back on 279, the pavement ended near a large boat ramp.  This was the perfect place for our picnic lunch.  Beyond this point, folks with Jeeps or bicycles access Shafer Road; a gravel road leading up to Canyonlands.  High clearance vehicles are a must as well as a sense of adventure.

Across from our picnic area was the Intrepid Potash Plant.  I’ll share more about Potash in my next post.  For now it’s time to return to camp.Intrepid PotashBut before returning to camp, we needed to stop at Lion’s Park located at the intersection of Roads 191 and 128 in Moab to fill up our five gallon jugs with water.Colorado RiverRemember our day from hell……you know the day we blew a tire?  Well, that blown tire damaged our water lines.  We all know what a precious commodity water is especially when boondocking (dry camping).  Every time we turned on the water pump, we’d lose some water on the ground through the sliced line, thus we found ourselves going through water a lot quicker than normal even with our MacGyver patch.

boondocking Moab Utah
Our home with a view for a week. Boondocking north of Moab, Utah – Where’s my hook-ups?

With jugs filled, we returned to camp where Al preceded to fill our RV tank with fresh water.  Being self-sufficient in this lifestyle is a must and having a MacGyver for a husband is a big plus.

boondocking dry camping
Filling the RV with fresh water

It’s interesting how all winter long we stayed in RV Parks with hook-ups with a plan to spend most of April boondocking.  As luck would have it, we damaged the water lines just as we were entering our boondocking phase of the journey, which required us to travel through some pretty remote parts of Utah.

dry camping boondocking
Al’s nifty little rig up…..notice my lovely tape job on the wheel fender that got damaged from the blown tire – we’re a class act!

Unable to find the ‘right’ parts to fix the water lines properly, MacGyver aka Al used some tape to stem the loss of water and with a little more conservation on my part, we managed to still enjoy our boondocking.  Yep, it’s good to have a MacGyver around.  Once we get to a bigger town, we’ll getter all fixed up.

dry camping

Just another day in the life of an RV’er…………


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