Saturday, March 28, 2009

We moved to Arizona Sun RV Park this afternoon and will stay a week.

Friday, March 27, 2009

We were prepared to pay cash for our camper, because the interest rates quoted by the dealers when we asked for their best price, was in the range of 8%.

Someone on one of the many RV forums I read (don't even remember now which one), mentioned getting a loan at Think Mutual Bank, so I went to their website to check them out. They have very good rates...currently anywhere from 4.46% for a 12-month Fixed Rate Secured Loan to 6.05% for a 120-month loan.

I filled out their on-line application and got a response back from them requesting some more information which I supplied. The next day, we were approved for a loan! They could not have been easier to work with...probably one of the easiest loan processes we've ever had.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Migration of the Painted Ladies!

The Painted Ladies Butterflies are migrating, and we're right in the middle of one swarm! There are hundreds, if not thousands, of butterflies flying by...from south to north! It's the first time we've seen this phenomenon and it's pretty exciting!

At first, we thought they were Monarch butterflies, but they were smaller than I had expected Monarchs to be. After comparing pictures of both Monarchs and Painted Ladies at the Butterfiles and Moths website, above, we've come to the conclusion that they were, indeed, Painted Ladies.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just because a person works somewhere doesn't mean they know what they're talking about. Unfortunately, this is a fact often lost on people.

Earl took the truck in this morning to have brand new Toyo tires put on. They're LT235/80R17 Load Range E...same size as the OEM tires, just a different brand (which were Generals).

The guy at the tire shop insisted that the tires have to be inflated to 80 PSI for best wear...says that's what Toyo recommends. Knowing a little something about tires myself, that didn't sound right to me, so I went to Toyo's website and looked up their Tire Load Inflation Tables, (see page 21).

The Maximum Load Inflation information on the driver's door of our Dodge says 60 PSI front, 65 PSI rear. Looking at Toyo's chart, 60 PSI would yield a load of 2,545# per tire, or a total of 5,090# for the front axle...the front GAWR of the Dodge is only 4,756#. For the rear duallies, a 65 PSI would yield a load of 2,470# per tire, or a total of 9,880# for the rear axle...the rear GAWR is only 9,350#.

So, the guy at the tire store doesn't know what he's talking about...Toyo DOESN'T recommend 80 PSI for our truck...we can go back to the 60 PSI front/65 PSI rear that we've been running.

When we first bought our truck we ordered long metal tire stems (NOT extenders) from The Tireman in Ridgecrest, California. Here's a picture (scroll down to the bottom of the page). The guy at the tire shop was going to take those off and throw them away, but Earl told him NO WAY!!! We didn't pay $120 plus shipping just to have them thrown away each time we get new tires! Earl was told, "Well, we're required to replace the valve stems with new ones when we put new tires on." Perhaps *regular* tire stems, but certainly NOT the specialty tire stems we have!

So, just because a person works at a tire store (or for an RV dealer), doesn't mean he's an expert on tires (or RVs). Always do your homework beforehand...know the answer before asking the question.

Monday, March 23, 2009

More pictures from our campsite:

Here are pictures taken looking east from where we're camped out on BLM land off Dome Rock Road:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

One of the new tires on the fifth wheel was down to about 56# this morning, so we took the fifth wheel back down to the tire shop to have it checked out. The guy couldn't find anything wrong with it, so we all came to the conclusion that it's a defective Pressure Pro sending unit that is causing the tire to loose air. We'll keep it off for a few days to see what happens. If the tire doesn't loose any air, we'll have to get a new sending unit for that tire.

Friday, March 20, 2009

We left B-10 Campground this morning and headed to RV Lifestyles where we had the gray tank valve fixed (it just meant an adjustment to the pull cable). We also had them install an exterior drain valve "just in case." While we could live with a leaking gray water valve, having a leak in the black water valve would be a major disaster, not to mention messy! The exterior valve will act as a backup and prevent such an occurrence.

RV Lifestyles was also going to install the RollGard, but James couldn't get in touch with the people at Amtech to find out how to install it on a truck that has overload springs. Instead of waiting around, we decided to drive over to American Custom Tire so they could install the new tires on the fifth wheel.

Getting the tires on the fifth wheel took until about noon. We drove back to RV Lifestyles, unhooked the truck, ran the slides out and had lunch while they were installing the Rollgard.

All in all, this has been an expensive day...but it's not over with yet, since we'll be back to American Custom Tire on Tuesday to have new tires put on the truck!

After everything was done, we headed out to Dome Rock BLM area west of town to boondock for a week or so.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The knife valve on our gray water tank hasn't been closing all the way allowing water to drain out. Earl got under the fifth wheel and took the cover off the access area, but couldn't find anything obviously wrong. He did oil the cable that opens and closes the knife valve and that helped since the gray tank filled to capacity. However, it's back to leaking again, so we're going to take the fifth wheel in to RV Lifestyles Friday morning to have the problem fixed. It's not a problem when we're hooked up to sewer at an RV park, but will be a problem when we're dry camping.

As we were leaving RV Lifestyles after making an appointment to bring the fifth wheel in, we noticed a display for the Firestone air bags. We made a 180-degree turn and returned to talk to James about having them install them when we bring the fifth wheel in.

Instead of the air bags, James recommended Amtech's RollGard stabilizer, so we're going to have it installed at the same time that they're fixing the gray tank's drain valve.

Friday, March 13, 2009

One of the tires on our fifth wheel has been losing air. Earl fires up the truck every once in awhile (we have a compressor on the PacBrake we had installed prior to getting the fifth wheel) and pumps it back up.

The last time he did that, he noticed the sidewall had cracks in it. From past experience, we know that once one tire starts to fail, the others won't be far behind. We were hoping to wait to get new tires for the fifth wheel until either this fall or perhaps sometime next year...or at least wait until we get up to Oregon so we don't have to pay any sales tax. However, in it's current condition, we would not want to chance a long trip on the tire.

Therefore, Earl called both the Goodyear dealer in Blythe and the American Tire store here in Quartzsite for a quote on replacement tires. It turns out, surprisingly (to me, anyway), that the dealer here in Q had the better price for what we think is a better tire (Toyos vs Firestone). So we've made an appointment for the 20th, the day we leave B-10 Campground, to have new tires put on.

While we're there, we'll get a quote for new tires on the truck as well as seeing if they'll put on Firestone airbags.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Our dining chairs have been coming apart for some time now, so on one of our trips over to Blythe, we bought sturdy corner brackets and wood glue. This afternoon, we loaded the chairs into the truck and took them over to Mike and Mary's place so Mike and Earl could repair them.

The front corner of each chair had sturdy corner brackets, but the rear corner had cheap little "L" brackets. And, when the chairs were taken apart, it was found that very little glue had been used to put them together. Now they're all back together again, hopefully better than new!

We also stopped by RV Lifestyle to buy a MaxAir vent cover for the bedroom vent so that we can keep the vent open while the fifth wheel is in storage this summer.

We invited Mike and Mary to dinner at the Grubstake where we all had fish and chips.

Monday, March 02, 2009

We took Maxx to the vet to have a full panel of blood tests done...another VF titer test plus liver and kidney function tests (to be sure all the pills he's taking isn't having a detrimental effect).

Somehow, one of Maxx's front toenails had come off so Dr. Hadlock cut the nail short, cauterized it, and wrapped it up (and Maxx didn't make a sound...we thought for sure we'd hear him scream).