Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Wreck of the Stool Bus

As I sit here and go over the horrible details of the event, I can't help but wonder how much worse it could have been. As you read about "The Wreck of the Stool Bus", in the back of your mind you can silently hum "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". Or not.

It started as any other day. There was a quad ride scheduled for 10 AM that morning. Meaning I didn't have time to do the double dump and pump during the usual time I do it. Double dump and pump means I had to dump our black and grey tanks, which is 2 trips to the Sanidump in the Stool Bus. Also to fill our 55 gallon water tank with freshwater and then transfer it to our fresh water tank in the camper. All in all it takes about 2 hours to get all of that done. So I decided to go on the quad ride first and then dump and pump after.

The ride was fun and very dusty. So before I started the nasty work I stopped by Jim and Barb's. Soon as I turned off the Ranger, he stuffed a ice cold beer in my hand. Although against my better judgement I drank it as to not offend him. I will admit that it tasted very good and washed the dust down my throat. I politely told him I had to get my chores done and thanked him from the bottom of my heart for the beer. Before I could leave and before I knew it, Barb jumped on my lap to hold me down and Jim shoved another ice cold beer into my clenched fist.

"You can't leave until you finish that!" he said to me.

"Okay sir. If you insist. But after that I really must go before it gets dark." I said sheepishly. I had one more sip  left and I was ready to go. Before I could even finish that he shoved forcefully another can of ice cold beer into my hand. What was I supposed to do. I knew it was all about the beer with him.

Case in point. He said "Let's go to Lake Havasu City. There's some breweries I want to go to. So we drive the 2 hours to Lake Havasu and go to one brewery. Mudsharks it was called.
Here Lisa and I are posing with a homeless lady we picked up. So we go in have a beer and lunch and leave. Go to the next one, Hanger 24. Have a beer and leave. Drive back the 2 hours in my truck getting 18 miles to the gallon. I could have had 2 beers at home and saved the 100 bucks for the day. One time in South Dakota, we drove 3 hours to a brewery for one beer. If we are driving that far for a beer, I want to get shit faced. 

Oops. I got off point. So I had almost finished my second beer when again he just forcefully puts another ice cold beer in my hand. Again, against my better judgement and not to offend him by refusing his hospitality I accepted it. Thankfully Jim has a small bladder and as he left to go use the bathroom, I knocked Barb off my lap and escaped to my camper to start my chores. Crisis averted.

The first dumping went without a hitch. Which is good because the first one is the black tank. I get back to our rig and dump the grey tank. I hook it up to the Ranger.
And proceed to go to the sanidump for the second load. The first sanidump was busy so I head off to the second one a mile away. There is a slight turn. Apparently I took the turn too fast (Must have been the alcohol) and it tipped right over and I drug it about 20 feet. I jump out of the Ranger expecting it to be leaking all over but I lucked out.Just some minor road rash.
I tipped it back up on its wheels and headed off to the sanidump. I am driving along and look in the rear view mirror and notice that there is a lot of dust following me. I stop again and look at the stool bus. What I see is that one of the straps has come off, wrapped itself around the wheel, completely locking up the wheel. It was dragging like that for sometime because it really chewed up the tire.
So as I was stranded by the side of the road trying to untangle the strap around the wheel, people would just drive by and look. I ended up cutting the strap away and very gingerly continued my trip to the sanidump. The stool bus just hobbled along making weird thumping noises. I dumped and then threw the stool bus into the back of the Ranger and went home. All-in-all I should blame Jim for all of that. Making me get a DWI. Dumping While Intoxicated.

So if you run the numbers and let me tell you that Lisa has done it dailly and won't let me forget it.
The cart was $36 dollars but they took off $6 because it was the floor model. So $30. One wheel was about to burst because of the rocky terrain. So I replaced it with a new one. $12 dollars. Then the other tire was showing signs of failure. So another $12. Then the wreck came. Another tire. $12 dollars again. So I have spent $66 dollars to haul our crap literally across the desert. I still have 10 more dumpings before we leave. I hope the stool bus makes it.

On a more personal note. Jim and Barb said to us. "Drive us to Yuma! It will be fun!" So we did and that day became the day I refer to as The Sushi Incident.  Or also the day I almost starved to death. You can read about it here if you haven't heard about it. Which I think everyone has.

I am too traumatized to relate all of the gory details. We have been busy with lots of quad rides and other day trips which I will have to write about later because I feel a cramp coming on.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Nothing but Quad Rides

I am going to just post some pictures of some of the quad runs I have been on. The first one is a run to the Deere Run Resort. Deep in the heart of the Dome Mountains. We gathered at Earl and Allison's camper. I think there was a group of eight of us. Me being the only American. Everyone else is from Canada and they are such a nice group to be running around in the desert with. We started heading over to the dome mountains but as we were crossing a housing development called Rainbow Acres, Earl spotted a desert Christmas tree.
As we all stopped for a photo op, Boscoe, Jim and Cec's black lab decided to leave his own gift under the tree, er, cactus.
Jim quickly took care of it as I was having a good laugh about it. Back in the quads we headed into the mountains. The trail became very rocky and washed out due to some past rains. Since my co-pilot has abandoned me, I can not getting any trail pictures as I drive. We made it to the resort.

It wasn't the nicest resort I have been to. In fact it is just a concrete slab with junk on it. People haul out stuff like recliners and tables and other things to decorate it. It is just mainly a destination to go to. We had lunch and then someone spotted the Goodyear Blimp as it did a flyby.
I took the opportunity take a few photos of the giants of the desert. The Saguaro cactus.

These were easily 25-30 feet tall.We loaded up and made our way back to our campers. It was a fun ride and there were some challenging areas which I like. I am gaining confidence in the Ranger as I drive it more over rougher terrain.

The next ride was going to be to Lazarus Tank. A watering hole out in the desert for wildlife. We again met at Earl's for the ride.Once gathered we headed out into the desert. This was going to be a longer ride. We stopped to stretch our legs and I took some pictures of a forest of Cholla (Teddy Bear) cactus's.

You don't want to get too close to these little cactus. They look furry but they will stick to anything. In fact some say that the little tops jump off at you. I had one stuck in my tire. To get it off, Steve said the best way was to use a comb. Then you need a pliers to remove the barbs. On the way to Lazarus tank we went by Guadalupe Mountain. It is a tall mountain near Quartzsite with an array of radio and cell towers on it. 
It doesn't look that bad from the bottom and from miles away. As you get closer it gets bigger. The road to the top is full of switchbacks and drop offs. Again no pictures going up.
Here we are at the top. The views were spectacular.
This is part of the road near the top. It was a little nerve wracking with just the Ranger but they actually drive propane trucks up here to run the generators or something. 

What goes up must come down. The drive down was a little nerve wracking also. I was hoping the brakes would make it to the bottom because of all of the switchbacks. You would go right over the edge is you missed the turn. We then crossed the interstate and headed to Lazarus tank.

The tank is a natural watering hole set in the mountains. I guess in the summer the DNR will pump water into it for the wildlife. There are many tanks and watering holes set up in the desert for all of the little critters.
I was hiking to the tank and turned around to take a picture of the group. There is a pipeline on the ground where they pump water from trucks up into the tank. For some reason I forgot to take a picture of the tank. My bad. Here is a picture of the Lone Ranger though.

On a more personal note. I borrowed a picture from Jim and Barb. He sent his drone up and took a picture of our neighborhood.
If you could take a picture from a high flying plane, you would see 1000's of campers out here and more and more are coming in each day. January is the busiest month here. We are looking forward to the big show.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019 is a Wrap

The end to a very busy year. We have been places. 80 places in fact. Our new truck has 38,000 miles on it in one year.We have seen people. Many people.
Our travel map speaks for itself. What does 2020 bring? We don't know yet but are willing to find out.

Happy New Year everyone. If you see us on the road, get the hell out of our way!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Keeping Busy

Our friends from Canada Steve and Dianne have been inviting us out for some quad rides. That's what they call ATV's and UTV's. It has been fun and the scenery out there in the desert is pretty in its own right. On one such ride we went to Dripping Springs. Way back into the mountains.

There is a rugged beauty in the desert. Driving the trails has been very fun for me. On this particular ride, Lisa only got out twice to walk the trail because of the rough terrain. Does she not trust my driving skills? Should I be offended? Hmmm? We made it in one piece to Dripping Springs.
The springs weren't dripping and there was very little water at the bottom. It hasn't rained for weeks so that probably explains that. Near the springs there are many petroglyphs. Native American markings on the rocks that could be thousands of years old.

It is amazing how they have withstood the test of time. I just hope that idiots would just leave them alone. There was one rock panel that someone had shot at and there were chunks of rock out of it. Why? After that we drove to a stone cabin. Apache cabin it was called. There are quite a few cabins amongst the mountains and I can't imagine the people that lived in them. Where did they get water and food. The nearest Walmart would have taken them days to get to.
BlindApache in front of Apache cabin.
In some of the cabins people will leave trinkets. I don't know the reason for it but this was one of those cabins.

I think there are some ladies riding around out there "Commando". Then we went to another cabin.
Not sure of the name of this one but it even had a rest stop near it if you really needed to go.
And another cabin somewhere else.
We were looking at the stones at on cabin and it is just like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Fitting each rock into the right spot.

More riding. At times the ride can be challenging and a little thrilling. I like the challenge and I would say that the Ranger is handling the obstacles nicely. I call it the "Little Billy Goat" as it crawls up and over the rocks. And when Lisa is feeling nervous I keep telling her to "trust the Billy Goat". To which she says "No." and gets out and walks. I have not forgotten our purpose for being out there.
We had one possible Graboid encounter.

On a more personal note. While we are frolicking out in the desert, our garage back in Minnesota is finally getting built. We went with Foltz Buildings because of their great reputation in the area. Besides Jim and Barb were busy with their place still and we didn't have years to wait to get it done. I also wanted my building wrap put on the correct way. Not upside down.
Day one progress. They put in the poles. The builder said that the weather has been nice and there isn't much frost in the ground yet.

Day two. They got the walls and rafters up. This crew working on this building sure know what they are doing and can work quick.


Day 3 and 4. They got the building wrapped and the steel put up on the roof and one side wall and the back wall.

Day 5. The other side wall and some of the soffit. Also the walk in doors and windows. They said in about a 1 to 2 more days it will be finished. Amazing. We will have to wait until spring for them to pour the concrete floor.

On another personal note. It was Christmas last week. We did not get home this year for Christmas which is a first for us. So we had Christmas out here in the desert with new and old friends.
Photo courtesy of Jim. l-r. Dianne, Jim,Cec, Lisa, Me, Earl, Allison, Barb and Steve.

It was a nice gathering. Every couple was assigned a dish to bring. Lisa had mashed potatoes. Everyone went through the line and filled their plates. Now we are sitting behind these tarps because the wind was blowing that day. Well a gust of wind came and billowed the tarp behind the mashed potatoes, gravy and salad table. We watched in slow motion as the table tipped over and everything landed in the dirt. "More turkey anyone"? That's what memories are made of.

Happy New Year everyone! Next year promises to be a busy one for us.