Thursday, March 14, 2013

Family, Fitbit and Friends

087(Jan) When it’s my turn to be 85, I hope I can do it as gracefully as my Mother-in-law, Joanne. At this time she lives alone in her home in Yuma but she has made the choice to move to Washington to live with her daughter, Jackie (Chuck’s sister). She will leave with us in April in the Motorhome. We’ll stop to visit her brother in the LA area and my brother in the Bay area on our way north. It will probably take us about a week to arrive in Seattle.  She’s going to have lots of family there. Beside Jackie and Butch, her grandson Mark and family and grandson Josh and family live there.  004

Besides spending time with Joanne, Chuck and I have been doing lots of walking. I have a new toy; a Fitbit, a pedometer plus.  It keeps track of time, steps, miles and calories burned and syncs to my computer. You can also register your weight and food eaten so it can be used as a great dieting tool. Chuck has also installed an app on his Razr phone called iStep Counter so we are having fun comparing info. 014We’ve always walked a lot when we are in the Foothills but it’s extra fun seeing if we can get close to logging 10,000 steps each day.

And we are blessed with some incredible friends to be with in the Yuma area!  Bill and Gisela joined us at Paradise Casino for a week in February and Bruce and Dee joined us on 53rd Street for a couple of days. We enjoyed delicious dinners with both couples as well as a Birthday lunch for Dee and dinners with Ron & Sharon, Frank & Diane and Dan & Jenny. Lots of Pegs and Jokers were played with all of the above friends and the Grand daddy of all games was played at Jim and Diane’s last week. That’s Jim, Gisela, Dan, myself, Ron, Diane, Chuck, Sharon, Bill and Jenny below.

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BOOMERANG 001-001Three Wed. matinee movies were enjoyed with the Boomer Group; Safe Haven, Snitch and Jack the Giant Slayer. Three very different movies but all good in their own way.

And this week several long time Boomers had lunch at Stackers and then headed over to Ron and Sharon’s for an afternoon of frivolity. That’s Jim & Diane, Chuck & I, Jack, Nancy, Sharon & Ron, Jerry, Karen & Mickey, Jeanne and Bill & Kaaren at right. 023

 

 

 

 

We’ve also had time for repairs and cleaning out cupboards and shelves in the motorhome. The weather is getting up into the 90’s and today we turned the A/C on!! Soon it will be time to head north. Until then we will be on 53rd St.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Solar Power

004(Chuck) When we came West several years ago we had a good idea that we wanted to be able to stay in the wide open spaces in our RV. I had researched boondocking on the Escapees Forum and had a good idea of what we wanted, but not how to do it. We were fortunate that first year to spend time with our friends Jerry and Nancy Hurley. Jerry introduced me to solar power and the beauty of spending time in the desert with friends. We installed two 130 watt panels, Blue Sky controller and two Trojan batteries on our fifth wheel. We were in heaven. We found that the freedom of staying in remote places with friends was priceless. One of the biggest advantages of solar is the pure quiet of the desert.

If you find the campgrounds and RV resorts to be to your advantage, that is good for you and your lifestyle. If you are looking for more freedom, solar may help you find it.P2280012

We have added panels three times to our rigs. At this time we have near 900 watts and I feel that we probably have enough. We know that we have survived with less watts over the years, but now the price of the last panels have been cheap enough that I am glad we bought them. Our first 130 watt panels cost $690 each. The last I added were two 145 watt panels for $164 each delivered from Amazon. My buddy Ron Poutney tipped me off on those and I am indebted to him for that. My philosophy has been to leave the panels flat and not attempt to go on the roof, with each move, to raise and lower them.P3010016 To raise them and gain direct rays of the sun is more efficient however I am happier to make up the loss with more panels.

Some people may find economy to be their reason for boondocking. Not paying campground fees is an obvious advantage; however freedom from the campground is the payday. We have boondocked without any hookups over 210 days each year for the last five years. To me, boondocking means no water, electrical or sewer hookups. Most if this is in the West and the mountains where the temperatures do not require air conditioning. Our five year average cost per day for RV sites is $6.46. This does not include fresh water which is relatively small, waste disposal, LP gas which is around $500 per year or the cost of our solar system.

 
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