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Southwest Sun Chasers Chapter
wmassey posted a topic in Chapters, Chapter RalliesSouthwest Sun Chasers based out of El Paso, TX and part of RMMA would like to welcome new members during 2022! Visit RMMA.com or our website or contact us at email@example.com for more information.
Arizona with a Jeep 16-17
mlaser59 posted a topic in CampgroundsLooking for recommendations on a RV park in Arizona. We would like to be close to jeeping activities. Any recommendations? Mark and Denise
Running Hot and Cold
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaOur travels have taken a turn for the hot lately. We've been spending most of our time in southwestern Colorado, northeastern New Mexico and northern Arizona. The temperatures we've faced have been moderate to cool. Several weeks ago we decided to visit Louise sister in the Mohave Valley in western Arizona. The elevation is 483 feet alongside the Colorado River. Needless to say the temperature was quite a bit warmer than in the mountains and high elevations we were used to. Temperatures were in the high 90's during the day. We had a nice site at Moon River Resort with a little shade but not too much. We enjoyed three days of visiting. On Saturday we spent the day at Oatman visiting the donkeys that roam the town and doing some shopping before having a fine dinner at the Oatman Hotel. Our next stop was Lake Havasu City. This is where Louise's parents settled when they retired. The state park was almost empty and we had a nice site with a view of the lake. We visited the cemetery where her parents are buried and spent some time around town. In Lake Havasu City, elevation 459 feet, the temperatures at sunrise were 90 degrees and it warmed into the mid 100's. We took the Copper Canyon Sunset Cruise the night before leaving town. The best part was the breeze when the boat was cruising. We left town headed for Williams, Arizona. We had stayed at the Canyon Hotel and RV Park in Williams, elevation 6924 feet, just a week before. Returning, we were delighted to find more moderate temperatures again. We were back to comfortable daytime temperatures in the upper 70's and low 80's. We spent one day in Flagstaff at the Lowell Observatory. The Lowell Observatory was built by Percival Lowell, an astronomer famous for his drawings of the canals on Mars. This is also the observatory where Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto. They have a spectacular program of lectures and tours of the telescopes that are well worth a visit. The next morning we were on our way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. As busy as the South Rim is, the North Rim is uncrowded and very available. We stayed at the Jacobs Lake Forest Service Campground, elevation 7900 feet which has no hookups but has some nice sites the will accommodate large RV's. We ran the generator morning and evening to charge the batteries and only needed to run the furnace at night. Air conditioning was never needed. We were parked among trees and the daytime temperature was in the high 70's while the nights dipped into the high 40's. We drove to the North Rim one morning and came back after dark. There are many overlooks into the Grand Canyon and you can drive to each one. There were plenty of parking places at each viewpoint. There were never crowds at any place until we reached the visitors center and the lodge. After a day of exploring along the northeastern reaches of the canyon we spent the evening at the Lodge and the viewpoints in that area. It was a little early for dinner but Louise wanted to get dinner at the lodge so we asked and were given a table by one of the big windows overlooking the canyon. Wow, was that a fantastic setting for dinner. Louise had roast duck, I opted for the blackened chicken fettuccine Alfredo. Both dishes were gourmet quality and the service was excellent. Following our meal we made our way to the overlook below the lodge. We enjoyed the view and visited with several of the people who were there. Everyone was quite talkative, maybe the bar above had something to do with it. From there we made our way to the Bright Angel Viewpoint to watch the sun set. We drove back to the park and arrived by 8:00 p.m. On the way back we saw a few cattle near the road (open range) and several deer but none challenged us for a spot on the road. The next day we moved on to Hurricane, UT. We stayed at Sand Hollow State Park, elevation 3040 feet. We're back to warm again. With highs in the upper 80's and nary a tree in sight, the air conditioners are running all day. We are headed for Zion National Park tomorrow morning for a little hiking and exploring, then we'll leave for Las Vegas, elevation 1672 feet, on Friday. Once more into the desert heat. Maybe they will have a cool spell while we are there though the forecast calls for highs near 100.
Advice On The 4 Corners Area National Parks-- May 2015
santacarver posted a question in Destinations/AttractionsI will be traveling thru the 4 corners area national parks in May 2015. Durango, Cortez, Bluff UT. MOAB, Bryce Canyon, north rim AZ. What would road conditions be like for Snow? And will the camping areas be open for Motor homes? I looking for any information I can gleam fro anyone that has been thru these areas or lives in theses areas during this time of year. Thank you in advance. Bruce
Eastbound on I-10 on the Way Home
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaWe spent Sunday night at the Wal-Mart on the north side of Tucson. Monday morning we were out just after rush hour. Making the turn from traveling southward from Oregon, we now turn into the sun in the early morning, heading east toward Texas. Traffic through Tucson on I-10 is heavy but not as bad as some city driving. About 30 miles out of Tucson the traffic begins to thin out and travel becomes easier. Tucson isn't far from the eastern border of Arizona so we are quickly into New Mexico and the switch to Mountain Daylight Time. Our day is suddenly one hour shorter which adds some incentive to keep the wheels turning. Travel is relatively easy as we pass many little dots on the map, small towns in a sparsely settled part of the country. The passage over the continental divide is as easy on I-10 as anywhere in the US. If there wasn't a sign you would not suspect that you have passed over the divide. We've never stopped to see the THING! We laugh about it every time we see all the billboards and maybe some day we'll pass by here on a more relaxed schedule and make a stop just so we can see the THING. Las Cruces is the largest town on this stretch of I-10 until we reach El Paso. I-25 joins I-10 in Las Cruces and the traffic increases, more cars and lots more trucks. This is the warm up for the passage through El Paso. There is a loop highway around El Paso and the traffic is lighter but we seldom take that route. Looking at a map, we should make that the regular route through the area but it seems that I-10 just holds on to us and we stay with I-10 through the city. At Las Cruces the I-10 turns southward and it continues right along the southern border of the US south of El Paso. Looking over the Rio Grande River in the area, you can see the mountains of Mexico. We began to encounter scattered rain showers along this stretch and those stayed with us through the rest of the afternoon and evening. One of the bonuses of driving in rain showers is rainbows. Since we are driving east in the afternoon, the sun behind us shines into the rain shafts ahead and we see some specatcular rainbows against the dark sky of the next rain clouds. The colors are really vivid when there is a dark sky to contrast with the rainbow and we thoroughly enjoyed a variety of views during the afternoon and evening hours. Traveling east, I-10 joins I-20 at its western end at mile marker 186 near the town of, well there isn't a town anywhere near. Kent is seven miles west of the junction so I guess that counts. It is about this point that we transition to Central Daylight Time, losing another hour of travel time. Staying with I-10 we continue on to Fort Stockton. Our first choice for a campground is no longer in business so we continue on through town to a one-time KOA, now Fort Stockton RV Park. It is just off the highway on some terrible road that only gets worse as you enter the campground. We arrived well after dark and had to pick our own site from the two or three that were available. We picked our way along the muddy roads to find a site that would work. Louise helped position the coach by letting me know when to stop to stay out of the road. The site looks like the toad is still in the roadway behind us but it is a wide roadway. In the morning I could see that it really was clear, what looked like road was just a muddy rocky part of the site. Clearly this was not a deluxe site. It was quiet and dark and we slept well, got showers and emptied the gray water tank before we left in the morning. We woke to the sounds of rain on Tuesday morning as a series of showers passed over us. A check of the radar showed that we should take advantage of the brief break in the storm to disconnect and get underway as a more steady rain was approaching us from the south. Back on I-10 we drove in a steady rain for about two hours before breaking out into sunshine. We made a stop for fuel at the Tres Amigos quick shop. I'm finding that stopping at small fuel stations has a fun side. There was a work crew at this one, filling up their trucks. One of them struck up a conversation and expressed his appreciation for our motor home. He had time for half a dozen questions before his tank filled. Diesel at $3.599 looked pretty good for the area but I got only 35 gallons which would get us into San Antonio where I expected cheaper fuel. We would get into San Antonio before nightfall. San Antonio would be an overnight stop for us. About an hour down the road we pulled in at the Segovia Truck Stop and filled up with diesel at $3.399, Saving 20 cents a gallon on 75 gallons amounted to a savings of $15 from what it would have cost at the Tres Amigos. We didn't see fuel any cheaper than the $3.399 for the rest of our trip until we pulled into the Wal-Mart in Edinburg. Thanks to Gas Buddy for helping us find this bargain. We pulled into the Cummins Southern Plains on I-35 at 4:15 in the afternoon, checked in and parked for the night in front of their shop. We unhooked the toad and backed up to the building. We were parked between the building and the I-35 access road, less than 300 feet from I-35. When local traffic on I-35 slows down it is quickly replaced by the over the road truckers. The whine of truck tires is nearly constant through the night. The next morning we turn over the keys and head for the Cracker Barrel next door. After breakfast we return to the motor home and relax waiting for the service tech to show up and run us out of our home. We've been making this stop a regular for many years. It is a last service stop before we park the motor home for the winter. I like to park with fresh oil and clean filters for the engine and the generator, ready for the next season of travel. No matter what direction we are traveling we'll usually come through San Antonio and since this shop is just a few miles north of I-10 and on I-35, we manage to be near it almost every year. Purely by coincidence our best friends were at Iron Horse RV just 5 miles north. After a series of phone calls, we decide to do lunch on the River Walk together. We picked them up and spent a pleasant afternoon together. The BBQ at the County Line Restaurant was good and the walk was welcome exercise after four days of near constant driving. We enjoyed the shops of the Little Village and the fun of watching the birds and the tourists. As we were returning to the car our friends got a phone call from the repair shop, their replacement air conditioner was installed and working. When we returned to Cummins we were told that they had discovered a leak in the gaskets on the exhaust manifold. I asked if they could be replaced and they gave me an estimate. I authorized the repair realizing we wouldn't have time to make the 200 mile drive to our south Texas home that afternoon. We would be a day later than we had hoped in returning home. We called to let our friends know. We decided to join them at Iron Horse after our repairs were completed. I had noticed some water leaks in our new windshield when we traveled through the rain showers the day before. They were just little trickles but they shouldn't be there. I had the windshield re-sealed at Iron Horse late in the afternoon. We would overnight there, pay the bill in the morning and be on our way south in a two coach caravan with our friends. Thursday morning we left Iron Horse at 9:00 . From I-35 we take the I-410 loop south to I-37 which is the Interstate route to Corpus Christi. The ramp to southbound I-37 was closed so we had to divert onto I-37 N and do a U-turn which added about 5 miles to the trip. US 281 departs I-37 where the interstate turns southeastward. We stopped in George West for a quick lunch stop. Then we were on the road to Edinburg, Texas, our winter home. We parted ways with our friends at Edinburg. They wanted to stop to fill up their tank at Flying J. I had decided to get diesel at the Wal-Mart since we also needed some groceries. Louise would shop while I filled the tank and added the stabilizer to the fuel. Diesel was $3.329 at Wal-Mart. Our friends joined us for dinner at our campground that evening. Home at last!
Travel Log From California to Southern Texas
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaWe recently made a typical trip that included some sightseeing and maintenance stops. I submit this description as an example of full-timers' travel experiences even though we are no longer full-timers. This trip is like many drives we have made as the final trip of the summer travel season. We left south Texas in early May of 2011. We visited family and I had knee replacement surgery during the summer. We left Missouri September 7 and arrived in California on September 16. After a stay of a month we departed our campground about noon on Thursday, October 13. We had an appointment to have our entry door lock repaired at Paul Everett RV in Fresno on Friday morning. They have an adjacent area with water and electric hook-ups. By sunset we were parking and hooking up electric. We had water and empty sewer tanks so no need for any other hook ups. We had been to Paul Everett for service before and they were always willing to take us in even though we have never purchased a motor home from them. Friday we lined up for service as the shop was opening. After a brief check in the motor home went into the shop. I browsed the parts store and found a few handy items we needed including a new propane detector. They were happy to install that for us. With the lock repaired we were departing Fresno just after noon. Our next destination was Albuquerque, New Mexico. I had Southwest Airlines tickets from there to St. Louis for a 12 week check-up after knee surgery. The doctor appointment was for Wednesday the 19th so we didn't have to push too hard. Still, I'd rather be sitting in a campground than driving an extra day so we didn't let any dust collect on the tires. Friday night was spent at Wal-Mart in Barstow, CA. Saturday night we parked at the Wal-Mart in Winslow, Arizona. Sunday night we were in the Santa Fe Skies RV Park in Santa Fe, NM. We talked over plans as we traveled. When it became apparent that we should be near Albuquerque on Sunday we decided to spend some time in the Santa Fe area. This was not our original intent but it was going to work well on several counts. I could take the car to the airport, leave it overnight and pick it up the next evening. Louise would be fine in camp for a day and a half without a car. We would be better off making one trip to Albuquerque for the plane flight than staying in Albuquerque and making multiple trips to Santa Fe for sightseeing. Monday we spent most of the day exploring Santa Fe. Tuesday I left for the airport shortly before noon arriving in St. Louis just after dark. Wednesday morning I saw the doctor and got the OK for six months until the next appointment. I was back in Santa Fe by 9:00 p.m. Wednesday evening. On the drive back to Santa Fe I was listening to the St. Louis Cardinals beating the Texas Rangers in World Series Game 1. Thursday we did more touring in Santa Fe. Friday we decided to drive to Taos. As we drove through the gorge of the Rio Grande on the road to Taos we enjoyed the brilliantly colored leaves so much that we made numerous stops to photograph the scenery. We picnicked along the river in the middle of a grove poplars with bright golden leaves. We barely made it to Taos when we decided to return to Santa Fe. The trip in this case truly was the destination. We would return to Taos another time and explore the area further. Saturday we left Santa Fe taking the most direct route toward San Antonio. Saturday night we stayed at the Wal-Mart in Lamesa, TX. By Sunday night we were parked at Cummins Southwest in San Antonio. Monday morning, October 24 the motor home goes into the Cummins shop for an oil change and lube. We're out of the shop before noon. We had a rock hit the windshield during our drive from Santa Fe. I used the waiting time at Cummins to arrange a stop at the glass shop for the afternoon. They were very flexible. We pulled up and parked on the street in front of the shop. Ten minutes later they were at work on the windshield. I called our next service appointment while work on the windshield proceeded. We would be at Iron Horse RV after their lunch hour. They had installed a water pump which had failed. A second had been installed and it was showing the same problems the first pump did. They made some adjustments, I changed water filters, it was working better. Will it last? We'll have to use the pump for a while to see. Now I called ahead to Texas RV which had ordered parts for repairing our toilet. They would accommodate us for the night on their lot with electric hook ups. The next morning, Tuesday, we had a tech at work removing the toilet. Inspection showed that we needed new vacuum breakers. They hadn't ordered them and it could be several days before they could be shipped from the manufacturer. After some checking they found them at another dealer in San Antonio. Now it is 2:00 p.m. and we are leaving San Antonio. We used our passage through San Antonio to take care of several maintenance items so we would be ready to go next spring. Tuesday as the last light faded from the sky we were pulling into our winter residence in Edinburg, TX. We park the motor home next to our mobile home which makes the unloading process easier. Still, late in the evening we pretty much settle for just getting a few items into the house before hitting the sack. The next day we would take the motor home out for its annual safety inspection. Once that is done, we can park for the season. By Wednesday evening the motor home is on its wood pads, leveled and we're unpacking and storing the contents in our house. Several days later we close up the slides. We left the campground in California on October 13 and have parked the motor home for the winter on October 26. Thirteen busy days from summer travel to parked for the winter.
I Got a Round Tuit Today
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaThis is a shout out to Brett Wolfe. We went in for maintenance at Cummins West in Avondale (Phoenix), AZ today. In a post several months ago, Brett had suggested replacing the belts on the engine and saving the usable used belts as back up in case a belt breaks. I asked the service representative to replace the used belts and save them for me. We were having the generator serviced at the same time. In the discussion the service rep asked if I wanted the belt on the generator (7.5 KW Onan) replaced also. I thought, "If it's good for the engine, it has to be good for the generator." So I said to replace it also and save the old belt for me. Actually, I didn't even know the generator had a belt. Who knows what is in that big green box? When the job was done, the service rep gave me the belts from the engine and then showed me the belt that came from the generator. It was missing an inch of the inner notched material of the belt. The only thing holding it together was the strong continuous strip on the outside of the belt. Some additional inner material was peeled off the outer belt but still hanging on. It was just a matter of time until the belt derailed and we had generator failure. With temperatures in the low 100's, we really needed the generator to keep the motor home livable while driving. So thank you Brett. Your advice saved us a delay or more!