Slow Gypsy Life of Lynda and Bob travel blog

Adrian showing Lynda his workshop

Adrian's pride and joy!

Wouldn't someone like to take one of these home?


Linda's pride and joy


Three of the grandchildren with Linda - Max, John and Rayleigh

We walked to a nearby playground

Ah - here it is, North Ranch, Congress, AZ

Our site

Taking a walk around the park

Just down from our site - Entrance to Saguaro Park

The oldest saguaro in AZ in this park. Methuselah, circa 1600

It's actually a nice condo for birds

Interesting AZ landscaping. Note cowboy on left

Closer look at cowboy

Some pretty fancy homes here

...and some very innovative ones!

Methuselah at sunset

This is for George and Linda


Okay - follow the tire marks. Missed the first pole but others...

The culprit


Double ouch!

Even knocked the door out

Bob's thinking, "Jack Mayer told me I would need a drill."

.....and a saw too?

Before explaining this title I’ll cover the balance of our trip to Apache Junction.

Last Thursday we visited Linda and Adrian at their new home in Tracy, CA, about 60 miles east of San Francisco. As I mentioned previously, Linda and Lynda were HS classmates and lived nearby in Virginia for several years. On our way north last March we visited them in Sacramento prior to their recent move to Tracy to be closer to Linda’s daughter and five grandchildren.

The current slump in the housing market turned out to be a real boon for Linda and Adrian. They bought this new home originally priced in the $400s for slightly more than $200,000. Besides being quite spacious and in a nice neighborhood, it has a lovely pool and Jacuzzi.

Adrian, originally from Romania, is a fine musician and craftsman. He played with the Sacramento Symphony during one of our earlier visits. This time he showed off his shop that fills the two-car garage where he makes fine violins and, I think, violas. Four of the grandchildren play instruments he crafted and learned from his teachings. If anyone out there is considering the purchase of a violin or viola, we would be happy to put you and Adrian in touch.

Linda is an equally accomplished pianist who has played professionally from time-to-time as an avocation. She is currently teaching some of the grandchildren. While we were there the two eight year olds (twins) were gathered after school to do homework and practice piano. They were more thrilled with the ride in our truck than meeting grandma’s friends. What a shock! Even I was engaged in the homework process. It was a lovely visit and we look forward to stopping again the next time we are in the area.

The following day we pulled out of Flag City early for the 400-mile drive to Barstow. For our tastes the drive down the San Joaquin Valley and east to the Arizona border is quite boring. Except for the distant mountains – east and west – and the plentiful agriculture of California’s central valley (cotton fields, citrus groves, almond groves, etc.), the main impression one carries with them is flat and dusty. As a result Lynda catches up on some reading while I ponder the big issues of the day and future travels. This trip Lynda also noted some signs (rather than photos) along the way:

• Pleasant Valley State Prison – I wonder if the inmates find the valley pleasant.

• Merle Haggard Road, Tehachapi, CA – This is where Lynda’s late cousin Billy (also from Oklahoma) worked as a cowboy at Tejon Ranch.

• Twenty Mule Team Road, Boron, CA – For us older folks, shades of the old TV series “Death Valley Days.”

• Rocket Site Road – Meaningful for me and my days as a rocket engineer aka scientist at Rocketdyne. This road takes you to the test site at Edwards Air Force Base.

• Mojave River – This sign at the bridge crossing the river that was bone dry.

• Borax Road, Boron, CA – Another road signifying “Twenty Mule Team Borax.”

• Andy Devine Road, Kingman, AZ – Another nostalgia moment for us who remember the character actor of many western films.

We arrived at the KOA Park 15 miles east of Barstow – off of I-15 - about 4PM. It is a pretty junky park for nearly $40/night (only water & electric) but O.K. after a long drive and only one night. Fortunately we met an interesting couple, Linda and George, next door. They were on there way to Las Vegas to spend money. I know that wasn’t necessarily their intent, but it is usually the result. They currently live in Martinez, CA east of San Francisco, but have traveled the world. Perhaps we’ll see again someday.

Saturday we headed to Congress, AZ for our first Escapee Park experience at North Ranch Resort. Congress is about 100 miles from Apache Junction, so it made an easy trip the following day. Since we got an early start Lynda called Meridian RV Resort to see if our site for the winter happened to be available a day early rather than make another stop. Unfortunately it wasn’t; this became significant the following morning as you will see.

For us Congress is in the middle of that famous place named “nowhere.” North Ranch is an RV Park and manufactured home – there were also several adobe dwellings – community that is nicely done. If one wants a quiet peaceful existence in a desert setting, this may be the place. The people were quite friendly and we were given a large open gravel back-in site.

Sunday, November 1 we decided to depart about 10AM, so it was a leisurely morning. We thought we’d try some ice in the black tank to clean out the “junk,” so that the sensors wouldn’t always be lit. We left our site and pulled into the open area across from the office – and the ice chest – so as not to block traffic or any early-birds that may arrive. As I pondered where to stop I noticed I was surprisingly close to the dump station. Consequently I turned left into the open space well out of anyone’s way.

As we headed to pick up two bags of ice I noticed a splintered section of the fiberglass on the right rear corner of the rig. We had heard nothing nor felt anything. After surveying the damage (see photos), it became apparent that one of the four-inch diameter steel poles protecting the dump station had jumped out and hit the rear corner of our home. For us it was ugly and caused me to express my anger and momentarily think about a different lifestyle. After my initial rage at the situation quickly waned, I realized that I wasn’t paying attention when I turned left to the open area. When I turned left the rear of the rig went right as it always does and hit the post. Ironically, we were only four-days from our two-year RVing anniversary without any accidents. As you may recall we recently had lunch with our insurance agent in Portland and she commended us on not having any claims. Her comment or maybe the full moon was the actual culprit!

Weighing our options we decided to get help to fasten the flapping fiberglass so we could get to Apache Junction and be near a service center. We called Good Sam Road Service but since we were not in danger, they couldn’t send someone until Monday. Our next hope was for Bob and his wife Eddi, the park hosts to return from church. He was touted as one who could “fix anything.” During our wait we called Progressive Insurance to report our misfortune. We were told to expect a call from the Claims Dept. on Monday. About an hour later Bob graciously and quickly brought his truck and tools and began work; reattaching the fiberglass section to the metal molding strip from which it had torn. In no more than 30 minutes we were good to go. Good Sam was outdone by a true Good Samaritan!

At 4PM we pulled into Meridian RV Resort. By the time we parked in our site word of the accident had spread through much of the still half-empty park. Neighbors came by to look and empathize. Some others stopped by to take a peek as well. We started telling people there was an admission charge.

There was no real effect on living in the coach, so we began to think about postponing getting the repairs to a time in December or January when we may go to Harlingen to visit Betty and Bill or the trip to El Salvador for David and Edy’s wedding on January 12, a firm date according to a recent email from David. However, the Monday call from Progressive and a conversation with the owner of RV Renovators, the company recommended by Progressive, made us decide to move ahead promptly. From our photos the owner of RV Renovators told us if we brought the rig in on Wed. (yesterday) he would have it repaired by Fri. Nov. 13. Is that an omen?

As I compose this entry we are comfortably living at an Extended Stay Hotel in Scottsdale. Lynda is in the pool and we are having dinner tonight with friends Ann and Richard who live in the area. What could be better under these circumstances? For one the Phillies could have won last night for my dear friend Howard!

Well, the best laid plans! A few minutes ago I received a call from the adjustor. He had completed his estimate, nearly $10,000. What will that do to our premiums next year? I called Marlene, our agent in Portland, so now I have an idea. Ugh! The adjustor also said we needed a new “cap,” essentially a whole back end of the rig. Also it will take six weeks for Carriage to make it. So, tomorrow we pick up the rig and return to Meridian to await the parts. That’s not so bad, after all we were thinking about delaying the repair anyway. Had we known this yesterday, however, we wouldn’t have stayed in a hotel for these two nights. Oh well, the cost is covered by our insurance. What’s a $125 compared to $10,000?

What is a bit of irony is that today is the second anniversary of our RVing “slow gypsy” adventure. Two years ago today we took possession of our “fiver” and had it parked at DeSoto State Park on Lookout Mountain in Northern Alabama. I had thought about writing some reflections from the past two years, but somehow recent events have trumped that idea. Perhaps, I’ll get to that later.

Another anniversary we celebrated Nov. 3 was our eleventh wedding anniversary! Lynda’s friend Isabel described it as 1+1=2. For the big event, we gave each other haircuts!

I will close with a “small world” story. A few days ago Betty and Bill were at the dentist in Progresso, Mexico, where Bill was having some work done by his favorite dentist. Passing time in the waiting room Betty got into a conversation with a man whose wife was likewise having some work done. Somehow the conversation evolved into a discussion of Betty’s RVing sister. Before long it became clear that the gentleman in the waiting room, Randy, is one of our regular readers. I think from what Betty said, Randy was the one to put the connection together. We have never met Randy and his wife Pam, but perhaps we will one day.

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