January 2012 to March 2012


In a recent epistle, I stated that the best day to travel through Seattle was on a Sunday Morning. But, I was only partly correct. The VERY BEST time to drive through Seattle is on Sunday morning JANUARY 1st! We left Dogpatch at 8:00 AM, had a nice easy drive to Seattle and hit the Express Lane at 9:30. There was a gnawing feeling about just how many of the drivers were just now coming home from the party, but everyone stayed in his/her own lane pretty much, so there was little concern for us. The weather was nice and fairly warm so we were looking forward to a beautiful run through to Junction City OR.

The idea was for us to head to the Premier RV Resort in Coburg, try the Internet Satellite to make sure it was functioning correctly as we had stored Périgord for almost 3 months without using the system. That we figured, at worst would take 1 day, and then we could scope out the Siskiyous Pass on line and choose our day to transit into California. All sensible, good plans ... right? Do you hear the guffaws of the RV Gods? You should!

We sailed through Portland, and headed towards the last large city Salem. The weather was beautiful, Périgord was behaving like a true champ, and life seemed good! Too good .... perhaps???

We just left the outskirts of Salem, and I happened to glance down at the Freightliner control centre at the bottom of the dash. It had turned all white with the dreaded message "Check Engine" flashing at me. Hmmm .....


Coburg/Junction City Visit


At this point we were about 35 miles north of Coburg/Junction City, our destination for the night. Périgord was running well, no problems with power and there was no sign from the engine that there was anything amiss. I was afraid that if I turned the engine off, we may not get it started and the thought of a long tow truck run into Coburg made my blood run cold! What to do? Do I mentioned this to Elsie and get her worried too? That would do nothing to help the situation! Somehow though, Elsie sensed that there was something wrong ... have we been married too long?

I came clean and told her what was happening. Périgord continued to purr right along ... with that damn Check Engine light burned into my mind.

In other Epistles, I have mentioned the Coburg/Junction City area as a haven for everything RV. Before the 2008 crash 3 or 4 major brands of Class A's were manufactured there, even now there was the infrastructure still in place. I can tell you that it was a very long 35 miles ... but we finally pulled into a fuel stop just at the entrance to the Premier RV Park where we were going to stay. I turned off the engine at the pumps and figured that if I could not get the engine started, this was as good as any place.

After fueling up, I hit the ignition switch and guess what ...? The engine sprang to life, and the dreaded message was missing! All was well?????

We checked into the park, setup Périgord, and I tried to get the Internet Satellite to work. No Joy!!! But no worries, our Satellite Guru, Don Marr, was just down the road about 6 miles.

AS you might imagine, at this point I was just a little upset! I know, a walk around the Park would slow the urge to set fire to Périgord. This is where RVing gets good. After bad luck always comes good luck. Parked behind us was another Dutch Star and the owner was outside. Perfect time to commiserate with a fellow owner. It turned out that this fellow lived in the area, and made his livelihood buying Newmar products in the winter and driving them to Alaska for sale in the summer. I did my best "poor me" description of my experiences this afternoon and he had an immediate solution. Just on the other side of the highway from the Park was a Cummings factory dealer. In fact it was a Cummings Coach Care Centre. That means that they specialized not only in large trucks but also in motor homes as well. It was heaven .... bad luck generates good luck. After a quick phone call, we made an appointment for 10:30 the next morning. Saved ....

But there was the damn satellite to deal with. Before we headed over the I5 we called Don. He gave us several things to try but no luck. So, the solution is to bring the modem into his shop, and he would fix it there. No need for the RV ... just the modem. Well, that worked well! I took the RV to the Cummings guys, and Elsie hopped into the Honda and headed to Don's place.

I'll try to be brief here but it was truly a Salvador Dali like experience! I pulled in and out came a youngish mechanic with a gizmo in his hands. He, very politely explained that he was going to "pull some codes" from the engine. "Ok, I thought, knock yourself out. He got down on his knees beside the driver's seat, plugged his "gizmo" into a lead from under the dash and started to push buttons. After about 1/2 hour, the scene began to look like a cave man, worshiping the dash board. Well, I thought, should I say something? But then a similiar feeling you get when after being placed on hold on the phone waiting to get through to whomever you were trying to call, came over me. Just how long can this go on for? In for a penny, in for a pound ... I thought I would wait.

Finally, he stands up and announces that he would have to "go inside". I assumed that he would have to confer with the Head Goddess or something. Or perhaps begin some serious meditation .... who knows!

Anyway, 10 or 15 minutes passes and he arrives back and tells me that they were going to take Périgord into the inner sanctum for some "more testing". "No worries", he states, " There is a waiting room for you to relax in'.

"OK ... just do it"! Thank goodness for the 5 year warranty.

This was around 12:00 o'clock. Well, 1:00 o'clock passed, 2:00 o'clock passed, 3:00 o'clock passed.... The chair which at first look sooo comfortable, was getting lumpy. I wander out and look for the Service Manager. "Any news?" I ask hopefully!

"We think we have a guess, but nothing definite yet". Then he turned and asked if I had changed the oil and filters. Périgord had around 10,000 miles by this time. "Of course" I responded. Why had he asked that? I wondered about that for an hour, and then the penny dropped. If I had not done this the warranty could be questioned!

Elsie by this time had returned from Don Marr with the modem fixed ... he hoped! We would have to wait until we got Périgord back from the "inner sanctum" to find out if everything was hunky-dory!

By 4:30 the Manager wandered into the waiting room, and told me that there were more tests to do. If I wanted to stay in their lot over night, they had an electric and water hookup we could use. They wanted the Rig back at 8:00 the next morning. As we had already paid for the space across the road, we thought that we would return there and play with the modem.

Guess what .... no joy with the modem! Elsie will have to go back to Don the next morning, and I will get to enjoy the comfort of the waiting room easy (?) chair.

As the clock hit 8 we were in place. Elsie was on the way to Don, Périgord was re entered into the inner sanctum, and I was trying to find the elusive comfort spot in the waiting room. 9:00 came and went, so did 10, 11, Elsie returned with a replacement modem, 12, and 1:00. Every time I found the manager it was the same message ... "nothing yet, still doing tests."

Finally, at 2:00 he comes in and announces in a rather proud voice that, "We think we have found the problem. Your lift pump has an intermittent fault."

Not being totally au courant with all things diesel, he had to explain. "The lift pump pushes the heavy diesel fuel from the tank to the injector pump that actually sprays it into the chamber".

I had to ask, "What took so long to find this issue?"

"Well", he says, "Cummings will only accept warranty if all, and I mean all possible tests, are done and every other possibility has been excluded."

I couldn't resist! "What would have happened if I wasn't under warranty, and I drove in with these symptoms?"

He said, "That's simple! As the lift pump problem is a known issue, we would have replaced that immediately." So, I spent a day and a half sitting in their "comfortable" lounge waiting for them to test everything in the fuel system before they would fix the problem.

Let's see ... 15 hours waiting at shop rate 120.00 is $1,800.00. Plus the cost for the pump $235.00 makes the repair $2,035.00. Just replacing the pump would be $235.00 plus 2 hours labour 120 x 2 = $240.00 for a grand total of $475.00. Doing it Cummings way cost someone 2035-475 = $1560.00. Is this screwed up or what?

Of course my time is free ....

Anyway, 7:00 finds us set up and looking rather askance at the modem Don has sent. He said that he had trouble with the old one on his system, and this one he sent is refurbished. It will work ....

Guess what ... it did! I put up the dish, and within 5 minutes it found the satellite, and we were in business. Considering that the old modem sometimes took over an hour to find the satellite, depending upon which way we were parked, we were ecstatic! A quick check of the weather in the Siskiyous tomorrow, found clear sailing! California here we come!!!!

Now, for some better luck!!!

We sailed through the Siskiyous, and on to Red Bluff. No little lights flashing on the dash. Périgord was purring! The weather was great, and that night the Internet Satellite functioned like it had never before.

On to Bakersfield, Orange Grove RV Resort. Again, everything is perfect! We even had the unlimited hot water we were supposed to have from the Oasis system. Not a hiccup except for the road conditions on I 5 around Sacramento. What a disgrace!

This time, we thought that we would avoid going anywhere near LA and its horrendous traffic. We headed to Barstow, and started south to Desert Hot Springs on much smaller, very quiet roads, with absolutely no towns anywhere. We filled up in Bakersfield and as we headed south, my eyes were focusing on the fuel gauge. At 1/4 tank, I was starting to get concerned. There must be a town up ahead. There must be a fuel stop somewhere????

Finally, about 25 miles north of Desert Hot Springs, we crest a hill and there was Salvation! A rather large, clean, easy access, fuel stop! Wow!! And ... it has diesel!!!

With great relief, we pull in and fill Périgord up. This would be the last time we would have to fill him up again, until we head home in 3 months ... if all things go well.

It was an "interesting trip south" this year. Let's hope we now can get very BORED in the sun ... 'nuff excitement already!!



The next month was fantastic! We couldn't get into the Western Horizon Park in Desert Hot Springs where we usually stay so we booked into Caliente Springs Resort just across the road. Some people have asked about costs per night etc while we are traveling so I thought that I would include as much of this trivia as I can .... our wine budget, though, is CLASSIFIED!!!!

Caliente Springs is a Private Park .... Cost for 1 month / 31 days is $573.00 plus if you rent for a month the electric costs are added to that figure, so $573.00 + $147.00 = $720.00. (The power is at 14 cents/kilowatt hour ... BC is 9 cents) Per night cost is $23.22. That gives you the complete run of the place including swimming pools, clubhouse, entertainment etc. etc.

As I mentioned the month was really fun. We had lots of friends in the area: North Vancouver neighbours, Jack and Nicole; Sechelt friends, Ken and Betty; Rugby friends Dennis and Sharon; and of course, Rugby friends, John and Betty Langley. This made for many "happy hours" and dinner invitations.

John and Betty are not RVers, but they rent a Park Model for 3 months in one of the adjacent Parks to us. It is a smaller Park that is really well cared for, and the pool/hot tub setup is superb. Many happy hours were spent lounging, swimming and generally soaking away all cares.

Over the years, poor Elsie has had to become "shopping deprived" as there is one thing I really hate is standing around shops looking for stuff we really don't need. I would rather walk into a store, find the thing I am looking for in 3 minutes or less and get out to sanity. The idea of just "going" to stores to see what they have, or checking in yet another store to see if it is a few cents cheaper just drives me mad. Enter Betty!!!!

Betty is a true blue "SHOPPER Magnificent"! She loves to wander from store to store, mall to mall, just looking and looking and ....

Putting Elsie and Betty together is a remedy made in heaven for John and me. They could go shopping, we would swim, relax and then do what men do best ... search out where can we find a fantastic lunch. If the shopping frenzy was over, then we would all meet at the restaurant ... if not ... John and I would find some commodious place to drown our sorrows and wash down a great scarf!

So the month passed blissfully ... Betty and Elsie shopping .... finding new camping chairs, new shoes etc etc. John and I relaxing, eating and draining just a few little brown friends. John is in love with Trader Joe's! There he was buying beer for less than 40 cents a can. On one a visit there, I found that they were selling a great Single Malt Scotch for $17.00 a bottle! Let's hear it for Trader Joe's!!! Does life get better than this? Yes it can!!!

John and Betty introduced us to Sherman's Deli. What can I say ... a Jewish Deli with great food and huge portions. On our first visit, yes we did return, I was feeling the start of a cold ... one bowl of Chicken soup, with a Reuben sandwich chaser, and I was totally cured. The soup rumours are correct! On a subsequent visit, I had another bowl of chicken soup but this time I chose a smoked salmon bagel. You've got to see the pictures of this beauty. There must have been 1/2 pound of Lox, special cream cheese, loads of onions and capped with the largest capers I have seen. When the 4 of us get together, there is always lots of yakking, and laughing going on. Here, when the food came, there was silence! Proof positive of the quality of everyone's meal.

Sometimes, we would go to a less salubrious luncheon spot: a Chinese restaurant where you could get a 3 course meal with Tea for $5.00; a dining spot over looking a mineral springs pool where the Club Sandwiches can not be beat; or even the Dillon Roadhouse Tavern where the specialty of the house is "Road Kill Burger".

This group does have an eclectic palate!

We did not avoid the intellectual pursuits in the area. We drove out to the Patton Museum at Chiriaco Summit on the I 10. During WWII General Patton trained most of his tank crews used in the African and European campaigns in this area. Can you imagine thousands of 60 tonne tanks, crewed by young guys, careening through the desert from Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and California. Sort of explains the driving habits of motorists today on the I 10?

On a side note that became very important later on, we had Périgord washed and polished by a guy who came through the Park on his bicycle with a bag on his back and a ladder over his shoulder. Not a reassuring sight, but he did have immaculate references in the Park. It took him all day, and the job he did was unbelievable. As I said, this became incredibly important later on.

Was there a downside to this month ... well ... the wind was a concern, but then it always can be in this area. The pools are situated such that they are protected from the wind as much as possible so you just continue your enjoyments. But, January turned out to be one of the best weather months we have had over the past 10 years so .... there was really no severe downside.

But, it became time for us to move on.


Outdoor Resorts of America

Rancho California just outside of Temecula California.

To us ... it quickly became known as "THE GULAG"


As you can see above, it was not far to go, but we had a hell of a time just getting there.  You all know of Elsie's hatred of major highways. Those more dedicated readers will remember the drive we had several years ago in Maine where Elsie thought that a small road would be a more interesting drive for "us". By the time, I had made sure that the mail boxes on the road side were missed, the curves were negotiated, and the larger trucks were missed, Elsie's comment, "wasn't that a beautiful countryside drive ?" sort of chocked in her throat when she saw the frozen look of terror on my face. Hmmm ... she said, "maybe we shouldn't do that again?" However, lesson forgotten, once again we decided to eschew the interstates and stick to ways less traveled. 

"It isn't far she said"!

Leaving here we almost rolled Périgord.  They were working on the interchange on Indian Road and the I10.  When we got there, they had closed the west ramp so we dutifully followed the detour.  Quelle Disaster!  The road just ended, and we had to turn around with the ubiquitous sandy shoulders that this area is so well know for.  But, I thought, there was enough room, and it did look "sort of" solid.  I cramped the wheel, grateful for the 61% cut, and made it about 3/4 of the way around.  Suddenly, I felt the front tires dig in, and the back tires started to spin.  Along with that, the ground suddenly tilted sharply to the left.  The consequence was I had to quickly straighten out to soften the 30% lean we were then enjoying, and then try to make it the rest of the way around.  I can now say that Périgord does have posi-traction in the back as both wheels dug us out of what could have been a terrible disaster. 

I then stopped to check my underwear...!

We headed back to Dillon Road and on to highway 62.  Whew ... at least the rest of the 2 hour (Streets and Trips) drive will be restful!

We got to Banning and then headed south to Hemet.  Not too bad; a lot of traffic, but the road was good.  Going through Hemet took about 45 min as every block there was a red light.  Haven't these jerks heard of sequencing traffic lights?  Then, the real fun started.  The last 30 miles was on a very narrow, un-cambered country lane that had no signs as to what you should slow down to on the VERY MANY curves.  Some of them I was down to 5 mph trying my hardest to keep in the appropriate 9 ft wide lane.  The traffic speed was cleverly set at 55, and the locals wanted to do at least that in their pickup trucks.  There were absolutely no pull offs, and the cars coming at you were more likely to be in your lane as not.  No doubt because of the state budget, the road was full of pot holes, and the trees along the road side had not been trimmed back for years.  Périgord's sides will never be the same.  I just hope the majority of the scratches will "polish out".  This was the worst road I have ever tried to drive.

Finally, the "hell" came to an end. Even Elsie's face was a pasty grey, and for the second time that day, I thought that I had better find a spot to pull over and check the "ole" underwear. The good part was that this road ended only about a mile from our destination.

In this mood, we arrived at the Park.  Being "good folk" we followed the signs for RV's to check in.  We park, and out goes Elsie to do what is necessary.  But, there was nobody there.  No one in the little security hut either.  We could see the park in front of us, but how do you get through the gates? That tore it for me ... as I was about to land on the air horns until someone arrived, by happenstance, the 'Sheriff' rode up in his little specially decaled go cart and asked us. "what we wanted"?  If there are any aficionados of the Comedian Jeff Foxworthy reading this, you know that he suggests that all "stupid" people should carry a sign stating this salient fact. That way, you would know how to deal with them. Well, this guy should have carried two signs!

He said that if we had read the last email, we would have noticed the last line that said just pull up to the gates.  Well, he was right, of course.  Mia culpa.  So, he then said with a shrug, "I guess I could get your "papers" from the hut ... after we show him our Driver's licence and insurance for both vehicles".  We were ready for that, but he could not find the year of the coach on the vehicle registration form.  What difference does that make, I innocently inquire?  "Can't be over ten years old".  Elsie, bless her heart, managed to stop my obvious rejoinder, and she took the papers and showed where the date was. Oh, says he, and he brusquely returned to the security speedster, complete with appropriate decals, and waved for me to follow.  Well, that required a very sharp left turn and then a even sharper right turn into a very narrow gate.  He hands me the papers, and then says, "Hey, there is a curb down here".  From my angle looking down at the very top of his very flat head, I could not see it, but he described it to me as being black from being hit so often. He implied that people aimed for it... I suppose that they must have been mad crazy to ruin their tires.

I dryly thanked him for his observation and did manage to get through the gate without contributing another layer of rubber to his precious curb. With great gusto, he jumped into his security roadster and roared off to solve crime, fight bad guys and protect the world for stupid people, I'm sure!  Or, it could have been that his doughnuts were ready...

However, in our Package there was a park map with no road names. Perhaps they were preparing to withstand a German invasion and, as the Brits did, thought that giving too much road information was a bad thing so they removed all road names.  But, we knew the site number, and he did say to unhook the toad in the parking lot. 

This we did and as Elsie was studying the map, she realized that they had not given us a route to follow.  But, being brave, Elsie jumped into the Honda, with me following, off to locate our site.  Hmmm... there is no way we can get into this site heading the way we were.  The road was too narrow, and the site was on the wrong angle, so we would have to use the neighbours driveways to get enough swing room. There were RV's in these lots but no one was home! Everyone had a chain stretching across their driveways so we were up the stump. We had to turn Périgord around! We had no idea just where or how to turn Périgord 180 deg. so we that would face the right way.  The only way to do this is would be to drive around the entire Park perimeter even though the map they gave us did not show that the road went through. This maneuver entailed a 200 yd back up from where we were, but hey other RVs got in here so there must be a way! 

The roads were chocked with more golf carts than I have ever seen, and a lot of the sites were being worked on so the road was also littered with parked worker's pickups.  One guy in a cart was stopped in the middle of the road talking to another guy.  I drive up and stopped.  He casually waved for me to drive around him. It was a narrow road so I guess he saw the look on my face as he then did decide, with poor grace, to move over.  That decision, saved him from having "Dutch Star" forever surgically imprinted on his forehead.

Well, we finally parked, set up and realized that this was a nice spot after all.  It backed onto grass sward and was about 40 feet from a duck pond, complete with a large fountain. Given my age, it was, fortunately, turned off at night.  And the weather was great!

On Saturday (day 3) I decided to use the California duster on the Coach to remove the last of Desert Hot Springs dust.  I got around to the back of Périgord and to my horror the entire back was covered with hard water spots which came from the underground sprinkling system.  Remember the predominant colour of the Coach is black, and we had just paid to have a wash and polish in DHS.

I went nuts!

But, we had to wait until Monday to talk to anyone.  When we finally did head to the office on Monday AM, no one gave a damn.  The first place we stopped said it was not their problem, go next door.  That we did.  Not their  problem, call maintenance.  OK what is the number? She thought and thought and said this is it ... I think.  "Can I borrow a phone to call them?"  Then the dirty look came out as she shoved a cell phone at me.  I called maintenance, and the voice said sure he would come out and look at the situation.

Up he came in his golf cart with his girl friend waiting in the passenger seat.  He came around and looked at the mess and said, "Yep, that certainly is a mess.  Happens all the time. fact of life around here." 

"What do I do", I asked? 

"Well you could go and buy some deflectors from the store, and you could move your rig a couple of feet forward, but it won't help.  Damn shame really."

He was very nice about it, but he shrugged and left. Not his responsibility!!!!

I am pissed!!!!

I called the two real estate women from whom we rented the site and "suggested" they drop over.... NOW!

They showed up and agreed that it was a mess.  This mess was created from one night's watering.  I suggested that in a month, we would have to take a hammer to get the crap off.  They agreed.  My next comment was about the hardness of the water here.  When they heard that we did not have a water softener on board, they just glanced at each other and shrugged. They neglected to mention that we should have necessary piece of equipment when we booked here. 

They did however manage to answer the age old riddle ... where did the 1980's "Valley Girls with the silver spoons" end up.

That was it!  Through clenched teeth, I explained that we would not be staying here.  Sensing something must be wrong, they suggested that they would go and see if there was another site we could go to.  In a word ... they vanished.

We got a call from them in about an hour saying that they did have a site that might work better for us but there was no guarantee on no water spotting.

"I want my money back!!!!"

They agreed to phone the owner, and ask him if he would return our money.  Believe it or not he agreed to refund all our cash.

We phoned Desert Pools in DHS and low and behold, they had 13 day space available at $6.00 per night. 

This was a no brainer.  They came to read the meter, at .18 cents KWH: the last place was .14 cents.  For 5 days the power cost was 40.00.  (or 200.00 for the month)  They explained that we were lucky that as of Mar 1 the cost goes up to .21 cents kwh.

As we left on Feb 14, they said that they were sorry that it did not work out but maybe see us next year.  Yeah .... right!

Driving out, we could see that most of the sites had an RV in it, a huge number had for sale/rent signs on them, but there really were not that many human beings. I guess it is a holding site for San Diego/LA RV's that are used only sparingly.

God it was good to get out!!!! 

And .... the best part .... the wash and wax we got in Desert Hot Pools was so good that the hard water marks came off quite easily!!!!! What a relief!

Using the money from the returned deposit we had paid to the Gulag, we extended our stay in Desert Pools for the rest of the month of February.

Desert Hot Springs Redux

We were dirt lucky to get into Desert Pools! There was no room last month, but someone, I guess, must have cancelled his reservations just before we called. Remember this is one of our "Membership Parks" so the cost is quite reasonable!

Per night costs for the first 2 weeks is $6.00 per night .... $84.00. You have to pay for the next week at $210.00 and the last 7 days goes back to $6.00 per night. So, $84.00 + $210.00 + $42.00 /31 days = $10.83 per night.

For every piece of great luck there must be the concomitant piece of bad luck. And so it was!

We pull into the Park, I stop at the Office, and Elsie goes in to pay. In order not to block the road too long, I begin the unhooking process for the Honda. I get the first arm disconnected and casually step over the second arm ... the toe of the Birkinstock sandals catches on the arm, and down I go like a ton of spam! My right knee landed on the smaller sharp rocks in the garden edge, and my head smacked into a rather large boulder. Elsie comes out and finds me not entirely sure of just where I was or what happened. I didn't realize just how strong she is as she literally pulled me to my feet. The right knee was bleeding just a little ....

Now the RV Gods really get going. Not only was I a wreck, but the site we have for the first time in the 10 years we have been coming here, was within walking distance to the Pools. With the leg looking as it did, there was no way I could use the therapeutic value of the mineral water until the knee healed, and the leg looked a whole lot better. Two weeks later, I was back to sitting in the Pools at John and Betty's and staggering to the Pools at our Park.

But the weeks were not wasted!

John and I continued to search out lunch places, and Elsie and Betty continued to endless search in the countless malls that dot the landscape of Palm Springs.

In past epistles, I have mentioned "Slab City". Rather than repeat myself too often, I provide several links here to refresh your memories about this iconic spot.

Slab City is referred to by its residents as "the last free place in America."

Click here for stories of individuals who today inhabit Slab City.

Click here for a youtube "Day in the life" of Slab City. A little salty in places but worth watching!!!!


As John and Betty had never visited The Slabs, we thought a road trip was in order!!! A picnic on the Salton Sea would be just what the Doctor ordered.

Click here for basic information about the Salton Sea or try this link

It is about an hour drive from Desert Hot Springs, along the east coast of the Sea. The main highway 86 travels along the west coast. We thought that a visit to Bombay Beach followed by a stop at the Slabs, and then lunch .... a nice day. Remember that the Sea was to be an inland water playground for Californians so there were a towns/resorts built along the shore for recreational purposes. But, as time passed, the Playground aspect of the Sea floundered and so did the resorts. Have a look at the Pictures Page ... Bombay Beach ain't purdy!!!!

We spent an hour driving through the Slabs ... Betty was shocked, but John looked fascinated!!! It is a sight to see ....

We had our sumptuous picnic lunch, supplied by Betty, at the "Mud Pots", a very small state park. After seeing the Slabs and then looking at the feast that Betty brought out, sure provided an ironic twist!

With me back swimming and Elsie and Betty back to shopping, this month passed as quickly as did January. The weather continued to be great. What a lifestyle!

Soon though, it was time to plan our assault on the I 5 north to DogPatch. We headed north from Desert Hot Springs, to Yucca Valley and the fuel stop we hit on the way south. We didn't use much diesel, less than 1/2 a tank, for the entire two or so months. We had to use the I 5 as we decided to stop at Junction City and visit the folks at Amazing Creations whom we wanted to build the computer desk for Périgord. A quick pause there for measurements and suggestions, pay a deposit, and they would build the desk for us ready to be installed on May 1st.

As this was the first weeks of March, we were just a little worried about the weather going home. We shouldn't have! It was fantastic!! Sun all the way with views of Mount Shasta from Sacramento and Mount Baker from the Washington border. This had to be the best drive north we have ever had.

All in all ... considering everything that happened ... this had to rank in the top 2 of our 10 winters in the South. After Périgord's hiccup on the way down, he ran like a true champion. Everything worked and worked well!!!

Now, we had three more trips to plan this year -- a trip to Junction City for the desk installation, a caravan to Gillette WY for the Newmar International Rally, and a trip to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta in October. A busy time for Périgord!

Then to plan next winter's run to the sun .... hopefully it will be as much fun as this year!!!!!!

Ahh ... life is tough!