Thursday, January 3, 2019

Goodbye to 2018

January 3, 2018:

Toggle map between 2017, 2018 RV travel and 2018 non-travel 
and change map size using controls on left of screen

We get together occasionally with Desert Trails campground friends and it’s interesting to hear the campground news and gossip, especially when we aren’t a part of it.  Coming here is sort of a vacation for the snowbirds to escape from their home problems and the cold and for the full timer crowd it’s a time to just lay back, relax and rejuvenate in the warm sun.  Sadly, I’m not presently having many of those “On Vacation” feelings, but I’m definitely not bored.

November and December were a very busy time here with lots of activities around town.  We seem to do the same events every year because they are simply just that good and we don’t tire of them.  It’s the Tamale Festival at Casino del Sol with all the tamales and other Mexican taste treats you could desire.  Next is the La Fiesta de Tumacacori with more wonderful Mexican and Indian food along with hispanic and native dance troupes.  Then the 4th Avenue Winter Festival, one of the best art and crafts festivals of the year and finally the La Fiesta de Guadalupe at the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun.  Then comes Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  It’s hard to stay on a healthy diet amongst all this temptation !

We left the festival with a piece of wall sculpture

After listening to the deadheads at the Hut

The view behind the DeGrazia gallery is special

The dancing was great at La Fiesta de Guadalupe !

That's the definition of adorable

DeGrazia painting on display in the gallery

Extremely colorful folkloric dancers at La Fiesta de Tumacacori 

Along with great mariachi music 

The Tumacacori Mission

We have learned, much to our satisfaction, that the approximately 80 acre of natural desert area behind our house is officially saved from development and is a Pima County Park system project called the “Enchanted Hills Trail System”.  They are taking out (erasing) some of the existing roads and trails, improving other existing trails and building a couple of new trails.

Enchanted HillsTrail System has a nice ring to it

The Tucson music scene continues to grow, there is a lot going on.  Everyone thinks I know all about it, I really don’t !  I only follow a small faction of it, I don’t follow the college music bands, the jazz bands, the hip hop crowd, the dance bands or the mostly cover bands at all.  That being said, I do follow a lot, in the past month or so its been the Kevin Pakulis Band, Petie Ronstadt and the Company, the Birds and Arrows, the Carnivaleros, the Wayback Machine Band, Freddy Parrish, Lana Rebel and Kevin Mayfield, Eric Schaffer and the other troublemakers, Golden Boots, Big Grin, Harpdog Brown, Rich Hopkins, Billy Sedlmayr, Oscar Fuentes and Mark Febbo.

Kevin Pakulis Band is ready for Christmas

Terry True of Terry Trash and the Train Wrecks doing a song

The Wayback Machine Band

Twinkles and I go to an Archaeology Southwest presentation at the Loft Cinema and enjoy an excellent presentation on amazingly preserved artifacts found at a small pueblo complex in central Arizona.   Archeology Southwest is an amazing organization with tons of literature available for sale.  Impressive enough that I have become a dues paying member.

Good reading !

My 38 Dodge is back in operation, but it was quite an ordeal.  A clutch actuation rod had worn through the clutch fork causing the original failure.  I bought a new clutch fork on eBay, installed a new clutch throwout bearing and put everything back together.  The new throwout bearing was immediately noisy which resulted in taking everything back apart. I then bought a second new throwout bearing from a reputable name brand company; the first one was a no name bearing (China perhaps).  I put it all back together again and it was even worse.  I compared the two bearings dimensionally with the original bearing and could see no difference except that the new bearings were somewhat tighter.  I decide to just put the original bearing back, it had been working fine.  The third time was the charm, the bearing is now perfectly quiet and everything is good, but It remains a big mystery.

It's time for a ride

I’m been watching U tube videos with abandon these days, one thing seems to lead you into another, it’s very additive !  It’s yet another social media trap to take over your life,  like a drug addiction, but I have it under control.  I’ve been reading about how this stuff works in “Wired” magazine, (a hard copy) which I find to be very insightful.  I have to read everything a number of times to half understand what they are talking about.  I then ask questions of my techno savvy wife, Sue, aka Twinkles, who tells me all the answers are on the internet, big help !

There are thousands, actually millions, of videos on everything and anything you want to know. It’s all quite amazing, you can be an overnight star doing U tube videos and it pays !  Campervan Kevin who interviewed me in the 38 Dodge gets 1,000’s of views on everything he puts out, not sure why, it’s a mystery? I’m pretty convinced the world has gone crazy !

I took the RV out of storage just before Christmas in preparation to selling it, there are a few things to repair and it needs some cleaning.  It has been a remarkably dependable RV which I would drive across country tomorrow without a worry.  It would be a great RV for someone with limited funds, but I know it’s going to be very tough to get rid of, unless I practically give it away.  I truly dislike car sales people, particularly RV sales people and am not looking forward to this at all.  I prefer to take a cash payment, however cheap it is surely to be, rather than mess around for months, or more, doing consignment or selling it myself.

Wish there was a way to save those bumper stickers, the photo will have to do

It just after Christmas and I’M FREEZING MY ASS OFF HERE IN TUCSON as we are having a string of freezing cold winter weather !  We are finding this to be a relatively cold house and the heating system has been acting up. Its a heat pump system which is more complex than a regular furnace, but more economical.  It is also 1991 vintage and close to the end of its life expectancy.   The service guy has been here twice, the first time he didn’t really take my observations too serious, checked the system function, found nothing and blamed the issue on a slightly dirty air filter and intake duct screens.  It sort of worked normal for a while, but eventually acted up again after which I investigated myself  finding the compressor contacts to be burnt.  This was causing the compressor to continue to run after the furnace would shut down.   After getting the service man back and replacing the compressor contractor, a secondary issue was found with an intermittent failure of the furnace blower motor control board, but when that was replaced another issue developed. The repairman seemed pretty confused about all this, finally concluding that the Heat Pump compressor is failing.  After he left the system started working almost normal again, but since the system is 27 years old, about the end of its life expectancy, we decided to bite the bullet and just replace it with a new system.

Out with the old crap !

2018 (for me) has been an emotional, costly, trying, stressful year and 2019 will hopefully be easier.  In spite of this we had an excellant RV adventure from the end of March to mid June.  I also had two interesting cross country trips between New Jersey and Tucson.  The trip in the 38 Dodge back in February was a truly classic ride, can’t get much more interesting than that, may have to do it again ?  The other trip to get house items out of storage to bring back to Tucson wasn’t as exciting, more like work, but for me any road trip is good.  It was interesting spending the summer in Tucson, in spite of the intense heat, the monsoon season can be exciting and you get to see many desert plants in bloom that you otherwise miss.

I always knew it would make it

with just a little help from "Boss Hogs" welding shop

A nostalgic stop at Steins Ghost Town seemed appropriate

Barrel Cactus under a threatening sky

Monsoon storm approaching

During 2018, we stayed in (20) campgrounds consisting of (10) full hookup, (6) Dry camping and (4) boon-docking sites.  We visited (4) National Parks;  Grand Canyon, Capital Reef, Mesa Verde and Petrified Forest.  We visited (7) National Monuments / Preserves:  Escalante, Mojave, Tent Rocks, Natural Bridges, Bandelier, Aztec Ruins and Canyons of the Ancients.  We visited (2) State Parks: Valley of Fire and Cathedral Gorge.

We kept very busy, possibly overwhelmingly so, visiting ruins, pueblos, petroglyphs, visitors centers and museums at the following Ancestral Pueblo sites: 

Arizona - V-Bar-V Ranch site, Montezuma Well, Montezuma Castle, Honanki Ruins and Besh-BA-Gowah Archeological Park

Montezuma Well

New Mexico - Chaco Culture National Historic Park, Salmon Ruins, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Coronado Historical Site, Acoma Pueblo and Natural Bridges National Monument

Huge Kiva at Chaco Culture National Historic Park 

Colorado - Mesa Verde National Park, Bandelier National Monument and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument 

Ruins at Mesa Verde National Park

Nevada - Lost City Museum and ruins and Valley of Fire State Park

Petroglyph rocks at Valley of Fire State Park

Lost City Museum in Overton, Nevada

Utah - Edge of the Cedars Pueblo and Capital Reef National Park

Great ceramic vessels at the Edge of the Cedars Museum

The Edge of the Cedars Pueblo is now on the edge of a new housing development

We didn't forget Christmas this year.

Alice loved the wrapping paper

600 pages of Bob Dylan lyrics for me

Our full time RV days may be over, but count on more travels sometime in my future.

Happy New year;
Twinkles and Slick    


  1. Greetings Paul and Twinkles! Seems you too have now sort of settled and gotten off the road full time. Seems you did it at about the same time as we did. We left full time in October 2018 and have a house in North Port Florida. However we are currently traveling in TX in our new smaller travel trailer. We plan to part time travel now.

    Just to let you know Tom Vinson broke his neck a few weeks ago. He's still in the hospital in therapy in Birmingham AL.