Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 22

Due to a pending storm that was due to hit the Phoenix area on Wednesday we decided to head out a day early. They were predicting rain and high winds for Wednesday and all day Thursday. After our experience in West Texas on the first day of this adventure we decided we did not need to be driving in heavy winds and although we were paid up through Wednesday night we decided to head out that morning. As it turned out this was a good choice. We headed west on Interstate 10 to Quartzsite, Arizona, and then north to Lake Havasu City. By doing this we skirted below the storm and missed it completely.

We spent Wednesday night at DJ’s RV Park in Lake Havasu City. This is a nice park where we spent a few days a year ago on our way home from the Baker to Vegas Race. This also gave us a chance to hit Wal-Mart to stock up on groceries and to do a little maintenance on the coach. The plan is to head out mid-morning on Thursday for Laughlin, Nevada. No need to get an early start since we’ll only be going a little over 60 miles.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 21

Today was a day to explore, overeat and shop. First stop was over in the town of Buckeye to see the Hobo Joe statue. This came from the list of odd and unusual sites that are not on the tourist maps that we get from the website Roadside America. (To see this wonderful site go here.) We have sought out many of the places from this website in our travels around the country. Have not been able to get confirmed information as to who Hobo Joe was/is or why this huge statue is standing on the east side of Buckeye, Arizona. One story is that it is an oversize version of a statue that used to stand in front of a chain of restaurants called Hobo Joe's that was owned by Barry Goldwater's brother. The only information is a plaque at the bottom of the statue that says "Built by and stands in memory of Marvin Ransdell (1928-1988) by his good friend Ramon Gillum, July 1989".

After leaving Buckeye we got back on the Interstate and headed east to Chandler, Arizona. We had decided to have lunch at the Heart Attack Grill. This is a fun place that had been showcased on the Food Channel's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" TV show. Their menu is limited to cheeseburgers and fries, with the fries cooked in pure lard. The only soft drink offered is a 500ml bottle of "full sugar" Coca Cola. The fries are in a self serve buffet and you can take all you care to eat. The burgers range from the "Single Bypass" with one 1/4 pound of meat patty all the way up to the "Quad Bypass" (four 1/4 pound patties) which includes a ride in a wheel chair to your car if you eat it all. Also, any person who weighs at least 350 pounds gets to eat free any day and every day. (They do have a set of doctor's office type scales and you must allow the Doctor (Manager) to weigh you to verify your weight.) The entire decor is based on a medical theme. The Manager is dressed as a doctor, the cook staff are in hospital scrubs and the waitresses are in very skimpy nurses outfits. With your menu you are provided with a hospital wrist band and gown that every one is expected to wear while in the place. This works out well since the food is covered in grease and the gown keeps your clothes clean. When I did not immediately put the gown on the waitress/nurse kindly bent over the counter to assist me with it. To see more on this place you can go here. Their site says they also have a location in Orlando, Florida.
After lunch Jo wanted to shop at her favorite store, Bonworth's. We put that name into the GPS and it brought up two stores within a few miles. We also found a Beall's Outlet store, one that I enjoy shopping when we find them. We hit both Bonworth's and the Beall's and came away with some good bargains. It turned out to me a good day of fun and shopping.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 19

A tea party in Phoenix. The Tea Party Express III made their appearance of their current tour this afternoon on the grounds of the Arizona State Capitol. They kicked off their tour in Searchlight, Nevada, yesterday of a 45 city tour. We were able be at the Oklahoma State Capitol last November when the Tea Party Express II made a stop there. Our good friends Ron & Kay Rivoli are a major part of the Tea Party Express experience.

We arrived a little early to see where everything was and look over the Capitol grounds. In a plaza across the street from the Capitol are a bunch of memorials to Arizonians from all walks of life. Their memorial to the Vietnam War was very well done. In addition to this statue they had all the people from the Phoenix area listed on black marble walls.

Once the three Tea Party Express III buses arrived the action really got underway. The people who make up the Tea Party Express are professional entertainers, authors, and speakers. This is the third incarnation of the Tea Party Express. Each of these people give up a month of their time to volunteer to ride the bus, stop at two or three places per day and put on a couple of hours of entertainment promoting the conservative movement. An extra person of the tour this time around was Joe the Plumber. This is the guy who had the "audacity" of coming out of his house to ask then candidate Obama a question about taxes on the working people of this country. He has become an accomplished speaker and is definitely not politically correct.

Although the different folks did a number or gave a short speech Ron & Kay Rivoli are definitely the stars and carry the bulk at each stop. They have written the theme songs for each of the three Tea Party Express tours. This tours theme is "Just vote them out". We always enjoy their music and have many of their CD's in the motor home. We will see Ron & Kay again in May when they preform at the Monaco America rally in Hutchinson, Kansas. After their performance Ron came down to where we were sitting on the ground to visit for a few minutes before he joined Kay at the vendor tent to sign autographs and sell a few CDs.

After the Tea Party Express folks finished up their part of the rally the local politicians took over. That was our cue to head out. After saying our goodbyes to Ron & Kay we headed out to eat Sunday dinner. Since we were in the middle of downtown Phoenix we decided to go to the Hard Rock Cafe to eat. Since it was early in the evening and a Sunday the place was not very busy so we got right in.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 18

After our long trek yesterday we slept late and relaxed around the coach all morning. In the afternoon we decided to go explore the old downtown section of Glendale. Most of the stores have been converted to antique and/or gift shops interspersed with very different kinds of cafe's and bistro's. The area is adjacent to the Glendale City Courts building and we did like the statute standing in front called "Territorial Sheriff".

After our stroll through the shops we decided to head back to the coach with a stop in the city of Buckeye. Earlier in the week we had noticed a nice looking steakhouse to try. As it turned out their specialty was Mexican food, which most folks know is not my cup of tea. They did have some steaks on the menu. Being from Oklahoma I do really appreciate a good steak. Unfortunately, a good steak was not to be had in this establishment. Oh well, you can't win them all. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 17

A day trip to Jerome. We have been looking at all the tourist literature and on line for ghost towns here in Central Arizona. There were many old mining towns that went bust after the mines gave up all there ore. Unfortunately, with most of them there is not much left more than a few foundations from the buildings that were there. The closest we could come to seeing a ghost town was the town of Jerome. It is a town that was built around a copper mine about 100 miles north of Phoenix. (Since we are parked well west of Phoenix it turned out to be over 150 mile drive.)

Jerome first started to grow from a tent city to a prosperous mining town in the 1870's. It was the talk of the territory. Not gold but copper was the ore in this part of Arizona. The mines were nourished and exploited by financiers who brought a billion dollars worth of copper from its depths. Dependent on the ups and downs of copper prices, labor unrest, depressions and wars, Jerome's mines finally closed in 1953. With a population of 15,000 in the 1920's the down dwindled to about 50 in the late 1950's.

The 1960's and 1970's were the time of the counter culture and Jerome offered a haven for artists who renovated homes and opened abandoned shops to sell their wares. The Jerome Historical Society has guarded the buildings against vandalims and the elements. The Douglas Mansion, a huge place on a hill overlooking the pit mines, has been converted to a state park and the entire town has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Today Jerome is very alive with writers, artists, artisans, musicians, historians and families.

Our day started as we rolled out of the RV Park around 8:00am. Into Phoenix and then up Interstate 17. This trip took us about three hours to get there. A large part of this trip was up into the mountains to over 5,000 feet. Once we turned off the interstate we moved onto a winding road that had several switchback to get us up to the town. We spent about three hours there checking out the galleries and shops and had lunch in a little wine bar called Grapes. All their entrees are cooked with wine including their hamburgers. One of the little shops was called House of Joy. The name was given to the place by then Senator Barry Goldwater when he told the owners that the building had been used as a brothel during the Jerome heyday.

We returned to the coach around 6:00pm, after another three hours in the car. There is more to see in the Jerome area so we will probably plan to find a RV Park in the area and plan to spend a few days there when we are back out this way in October.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 15

We have moved on down the road once more. We pulled out of John Wayne RV Park on Monday morning and headed north toward Phoenix. Thankfully the Arizona Department of Transportation has built some magnificent expressways so that you can pretty much bypass the main part of Phoenix if you are not going directly into that town. When driving a very large vehicle, while towing a car behind, that works out very well in cities we are not familiar with. When we first started this RV adventure back in 1997 Joanne and I took turns driving the old used coach we had purchased. It was a chore to drive and wore a person out. With our second coach it was much easier to drive so I did most of the driving but she did spell me some. This was due to our shorter schedules and the need to drive greater distances each travel day. The current coach we have, our 2007 Monaco Cayman, with it's diesel engine, air brakes and all the other things that come with a diesel pusher coach, it is a dream to drive especially since we are now retired and are no longer in a rush to get anywhere. So far Joanne has not had a need to spell me at the wheel. Of course our third family member would love to take over instead of just riding along on the couch.

Our destination for this past Monday was just a little over 100 miles to Tonopah, Arizona. This is a very small town about 40 miles due west of Phoenix on Interstate 10. Although the town is small the Saddle Mountain RV Resort is very large. It appears that many "snowbirds" winter over here to escape the cold winter weather up north. We arrived here about noon Monday and until today had done very little but lounge around the coach. Today we decided it was time to get out and explore so we set off to Tortilla Flats on the far side of Phoenix. The GPS indicated it was 93 miles from Tonopah. This took us through the Tonto National Forest and a beautiful mountain drive, the last ten miles of which consisted of a very winding mountain road with a 25 mile per hour speed limit. The paved road ended just five miles past Tortilla Flats at the Roosevelt Dam.

Tortilla Flats was a stagecoach stop over 100 years ago on the Apache Trail. Travelers and freight wagons stopped over night on the journey to Roosevelt Dam. In 1904 the town had over 125 residents plus the construction workers who were building the dam. The town now has a population of six, including the two couples who actually own the town. The town currently basically consist of a saloon/restaurant, a candy store/ice cream parlor, a gift shop and a very small museum in what was the school house. Across the road is what appears to be a very nice RV park but I would be hard pressed to drive my coach over that winding, narrow mountain road. We did have a late lunch at the saloon/restaurant and it was very good. A unique item is the bar stools. They are made from real saddles and everyone has to try one out when they arrive. After lunch we strolled the boardwalk along the shops and tried the ice cream at the Ice Cream Parlor. We also made sure we got a good framed picture of Joanne. Another feature of the buildings is they have allowed visitors to write their names, home towns, etc, on $1.00 bills and these have been used to paper the walls from floor to ceiling. There is no telling how much money is stapled to the walls of these buildings.

Since the paved road played out just a little ways out of town our trek back from Tortilla Flats was back over the same mountain road that brought us in. We had passed a couple of museums on our way in and had planned to stop at them on the way back. Unfortunately, due to the lateness of the day they were closed by the time we got back to them. We did stop at the Superstition Mountains Museum and took some pictures of the mountains and some of the desert plant life. The had a grove of the Cholla trees. This is an unusual part of the cactus family. They had a sign there advising to be very careful around these plants saying that the slightest touch could be very painful. These plants appear to bloom from the end of their branches and then the blooms turn into a part of the branch itself. Following these stops we did head back to our coach. Since it was well after 4:00pm when we left Tortilla Flats we wound up in horrendous rush hour traffic going through Phoenix. Needless to say Buddy Joe was very happy to see us return although it was close to 7:00pm by the time we got there.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 12

We got busy with the rally and did not continue to make updates on this trip. Wednesday and Thursday were spent at different activities at the rally. Jo attended the Women's Luncheon on Wednesday and I made a couple of the many seminars that were offered. We continued to eat well with breakfast and dinner catered each day. The entertainment on Wednesday was a good 1950's type rock and roll band. They played music that most of our rally attendees could relate to. On Thursday that was a single singer that did numbers from the 1950 to present. We were not as impressed with him. Then all too soon the rally came to an end and it was time for the folks to break camp and move on. We were able to make arrangements to get our awning repaired that was damaged by the wind on our first day out. One of the vendors at the rally operates an RV repair facility in Las Vegas. They got the information to order the material and will do the work when we arrived in Las Vegas later next month. We left on Friday morning and headed north and west. We are now at the John Wayne RV Park. The official address for the place is Maricopa, Arizona, but we are actually 13 miles due south of that town. We are also about 13 miles straight east of Casa Grande.

We took Friday afternoon to do some of the normal, everything type of things that must be done when folks are traveling. We drove into Maricopa to the Ace Hardware to pick up a few things so I could do some minor maintenance on the coach while Joanne got the laundry caught up. On Saturday we took off for some sightseeing. First up was the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch down by Eloy, Arizona. This is a very large facility that not only raises ostriches for the commercial market but have tourist facilities to allow the public to participate. This was started by a family in Guthrie, Oklahoma. They quickly outgrew the Oklahoma facility and moved the whole operation to Arizona. The ostrich flourish in the dry atmosphere. First off was a ride/tour on a huge monster truck. This tour took us throughout the facility to the many different sections with some areas for feeding and other areas for breeding purposes. One stop on the tour was to a "fishing pier" built out over a large feeding pen. We were able to move onto the pier and then feed the birds sections of grapefruit using fishing type poles.

After the tour and some wild riding through some rough terrain at a fairly fast speed we returned to the main facility where we could get up close and personal with the animals. They provided us each with a cup full of feed that consisted of pressed alfalfa. In addition to the ostriches they have a large pen of fallow deer. These are small dear that come from Europe. They also had the usual goats and burrows that people would normally find in a petting zoo. They did a a new twist on feeding the goats. In most petting zoos you are just out in the midst of the goats and can find yourself being butted by them. Here they were behind a wall with holes for them to poke their head out. This is called the "Hole in the Wall Gang". In several of the holes there would be two or three goats sticking their heads through. On fellow was having none of that and tried to climb out to insure he got his share of the treats. From the goats we moved over to a raised area to hand feed the ostriches. This is the only place that a person could get bit. The deer, goats and burrows were fairly gentle and would eat directly out of your hand. The ostrich, now that is another game. Before Joanne could even get her first handful out of the cup an ostrich reached completely over the fence and bit her finger. After that we just tossed the food into the pans nailed to the top rail.

The final area to interact with the wildlife was an enclosed aviary full of Lorikeets. This are very noisy birds that appear to be over sized parakeets. We had been given small containers of nectar to feed the Lorikeets. These are very sociable birds and will lite on your person in order to get at the nectar or just check you out. They particularly like rearranging your hair due. It is not unusual to have several of them visit you at a time. As you move around they will flitter away and others will take their place. Here, in addition to the ones on Jo's hands she has two more checking out her hair.

After leaving the Ostrich Farm we headed back up Interstate 10 toward Casa Grande when we saw a sign directing toward the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. This is one of the places we had planned to see while here so we veered off the interstate and headed east. This is the ruins of an ancient Indian Tribe called the Hohokam. They flourished here between 1100 and 1400. There is not a lot of information on these people and what little is known comes from these ruins. They were apparently an agricultural people and farmed the valley where the monument is located. All that is left is the one main large structure, named the Casa Grande, and the foundation walls of many other structures. The National Park Service took control of the area in the late 1800's to protect it from vandalism. The current structure over it was built in 1934 to protect it from erosion.

After our touring we returned to the RV Park to pick up Buddy Joe and go to the home of some of our RV friends. Two of the couples that we trekked to Florida with in the winter of 2007 now have given up the full-time RV lifestyle and have bought new homes in Casa Grande. They both still plan to do the RV thing but now on a part time basis like we do. We went to the home of Bob & Marlene Rea. They have a beautiful house on a corner lot in a relative new addition. Since they have moved in they have been busy decorating and furnishing plus doing some major landscaping on the exterior. Also there were another RV couple, friends of Bob from when he lived in Washington State. We were also joined by the other couple from our Florida trip, Rod & Jean Bahnson. Rod & Jean just purchased their new home this month and had spent their first night there on Friday. They also are in the decorating/furnishing phase. When you live full time in a RV you have to start all over once you move to a "stick" house. After a happy hour at the house, where we were also joined by Bob & Marlene's next door neighbors, the ten of us headed out to Golden Corral for dinner and visiting while Buddy stayed at the house to play with Scout, Marlene new dog. By the time we returned to the coach it was time to turn in after a long but very eventful day. Pictured here, on the Rea's patio area, are Bob & Marlene along with Jean Bahnson.

Today, Sunday, has been a day of leisure. We have pretty much laid around the coach and done nothing. Tomorrow we will break camp again and move farther north and west to the Phoenix area.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 7

Yesterday was a day to relax while waiting for the rally to officially start. We did spend some time in our daily walks, observing the area. I love the cactus that grow in this part of Arizona. Not sure of the name of this type but they only grow around here. These two are by the entrance to the RV park. To be this big they are several hundred years old.

In the afternoon the coach area opened and we had a welcome with snacks and drinks. They have brought in about 20 brand new 2011 Monaco coaches to display and offer for sale. In late 2008 the original Monaco Coach Corporation went into bankruptcy and ceased building coaches. All the assets of the company were bought up by Navistar (International Trucks) and they have reopened as Monaco RV LLC. They are now building new coaches again although on a much smaller scale than the old company. While here we have met up with some members of our other club, Monaco America, and have had a good visit. In the picture to the left Joanne is visiting with Don Meredith and Jack & Penny Keyian. After the welcome reception several of us went to the Nimbus Brewing Company for dinner and fellowship.

Today was the official first day of the rally and started off with breakfast served by the caterer. Several seminars were presented. Jo attended the one given by the Mary Kay Cosmetics representative. I spent time checking out the vendor area. These are the folks that sell all the extra stuff to personalize our coaches. With our last coach we had custom vinyl wheel covers put on to protect the tires from UV rays from the sun while parked. Since they are made to fit the individual coach they went with it when we traded it off in 2006. Jo decided we need a new set for this coach so I spent the morning getting them bought. They'll have to be custom made and will be shipped to us while we are in Laughlin, Nevada, next month. Tonight we had a good dinner, again provided by the caterer, and then set back for the entertainment. The entertainment scheduled for tonight was Mae West, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe. The same lady impersonated Mae and Marilyn. They did a pretty good show.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 5

Today was a day to relax and not do much of anything. Did take Buddy out to walk a few times. This gets us out and about and gives a chance to meet up with the other RV friends we have met over the years. Like many RV Parks they have a large fenced area that the dogs can be let off their leash to run and play. This one actually has grass. (Out here in the desert you don't see much grass on the ground since most of the time water is rationed and it takes a lot of water to keep grass green. Most yards are covered in gravel.)

This evening we went out to a place called Trail Dust Town. It is a very touristy area, made up to look an old western town. They do have a fine steakhouse and that was the reason for going. This is located on the northeast side of Tucson. Throughout the place there are men's ties hanging from the walls and ceiling. If you walk in with a tie on they will ceremoniously cut it off, put your name on it and staple it to a beam. (Many people intentionally wear an old time in just to have it cut off.) We had been there in October 2006, the last time we were in Tucson, and the food was just as good as we remembered it.

After dinner we wandered over to the stunt show area to see their production. They put on a pretty cheesy show several times each evening. They play it more for the laughs than for dramatic essence. It was a fun show of about 20 minutes with many prat falls. Kind of like the Three Stooges with sidearms. We did enjoy the show and it gave us a little diversion for the evening.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 4

Morning out in the desert for a beautiful day. Rolled out early to see about finding the parts I need for the shower door repairs. Donned shorts and short sleeve shirt and got out the sandals. First time I've been able to wear shorts since last October.

Hit a couple of RV dealerships but their parts departments were closed on Saturday. Did find a car wash along the way and was able to wash the West Texas dirt off the car. Also got directions to Home Depot a few miles from where we are staying. Unfortunately, they did not have anything that will work for the door. Guess I'll just have to wait until Monday and have the parts person here call the factory to see if they can get us the parts. (The RV Resort where the rally is to be held is part of a large RV dealership. This is the same dealership where we bought this coach in October 2006.)

Got back just in time as one of our club members came by to invite us over to their coach for morning coffee. This couple lives in California and have missed the last couple of the Monaco America rallies that have been held in the eastern part of the country. (This rally is being held by Monaco International owners club, a different club than the one we are most involved in. The Monaco America spring rally will be held in Hutchinson, Kansas, in May.)

After a good visit with Jack and Penny we had to get back to the coach for my lunch date. An old shipmate of mine from my days in the 1960's on the USS NEWPORT NEWS came by to pick me up for lunch. Dick Kelbaugh and his wife are also RVer's and winter over here in Tucson. The two of us hit a local Jason's Deli and spent a couple of hours catching up and swapping sea stories. Dick was a Navy Lieutenant that I worked for when I worked in the Engineering Log Room during my second deployment to Vietnam in 1968-69. Hopefully we can stay in touch and it won't be another 41 years before we see each other again.
This afternoon was spent walking the RV park and visiting we many of our Monaco friends that we have not seen for awhile. There are a large number of the over 300 coaches that are registered to attend this rally already here. This looks like it is shaping up to be a good time for all.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 3

Today was a short drive from Las Cruces to Tucson. The Hacienda RV Resort in Las Cruces has a free breakfast each morning so we had to partake of that before we got underway. Finally got rolling around 9:30.

The driving was great today without the wind we have been receiving since we left Oklahoma. Set the cruise at around 64mph and enjoyed the drive. As we got into the mountains the scenery improved greatly. They have had so much rain this winter that the desert was really pretty. We saw several snow covered mountains around us. After getting into Arizona a ways we stopped at a rest area for lunch and was surrounded by some great rock formations.

We arrived in Tucson mid-afternoon and got checked in and the coach all set up. We're having a continuing problem with the shower door so we trekked off looking for some parts so I can fix it. Did not have any luck so will try to find a Home Depot tomorrow to see if they have what we need. Hit the local Waffle House for dinner and then vegetated in the coach for the evening.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 2

We departed Midland around 8:30 this morning and headed west on Interstate 20. Starting out the wind was mild but within an hour or so it picked up again and we fought it for most of the day. When you drive a vehicle over twelve feet tall a strong wind hitting you broadside makes for hard driving.

Although there is not much scenery in Western Texas there are several things worth seeing. We'll have to make a trip out there when have time to stop and sight see. In Midland is a Presidential Museum honoring a hometown boy named George W. Bush. Midland is the hometown for both Dubya and his wife Laura. Also is the town of Pecos, just west of the Pecos River. This is where Judge Roy Bean ruled the world as "The law west of the Pecos".

Interstate 20 took us fairly far south to intersect with Interstate 10 and then we trekked back up through El Paso and then to Las Cruces, New Mexico, out destination for the day. Just east of El Paso we had our second excitement of the trip. (Of course the first was losing the awning yesterday.) A very large bird flew into our windshield on the driver's side. Fortunately it hit fairly high and then went sailing over the top of the coach. Although it did not break the windshield, thank goodness, it did leave a mess including a complete impression of it's body and wing.

Prior to reaching El Paso we crossed into the Mountain Time Zone which meant we picked up an hour on our travels. We then arrived in Las Cruces around 2:30pm local time. We are now at the Hacienda RV Resort for the night. After getting set up it was time to kick back and relax, which was greatly needed after fighting the wind for two days. Tomorrow will be a short day to Tucson.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Westward Ho--Spring 2010--Day 1

A new trip, a new adventure. That was our attitude as we finally got back on the road again. We had no idea of how this adventure would start out. We rolled out about 8:30 this morning and headed south on Interstate 44. We had great weather all morning long other than a few rain drops around Lawton, Oklahoma. At Wichita Falls, Texas, the Interstate ended and we were on a pretty good four lane highway. That is also where we hit the wind storms.

This has got to be one of the worst stretches of wind we have ever driven through. It was picking up the dirt from the newly plowed fields causing the air to be brown. At some intervals it was like driving through a heavy fog with visibility down to a matter of feet. About halfway between Wichita Falls and Abilene we heard a loud bang and a flapping/flopping sound. My first thought was we had just blown one of our right rear tires. After pulling off to the shoulder we found the tires to be fine. The big, 20 foot awning that was attached to the side of our coach, not so great. The wind had caught the awning and unrolled it. The side arms were fully extended and the fabric was torn half off.

There was no way any repairs could be made to the fabric and the frame would not go back up to the side of the coach with that huge piece of material flapping in the wind. After pulling the ladder out from the storage bay I decided to attempt to tie the arms and overhead roller to the coach with bungee cords. During this time the ladder blew over three times, once with me on it. Fortunately the state of Texas had not mowed the grass on the right of way lately so I had a soft landing. About the time it was decided that Joanne and I were not going to take care of this by ourselves a car pulled up with three Texas state employees. Between the five of us we were able to get the awing material, which was still attached to the coach, from off the roof and I was able to cut it loose. With that we were able to get the arms and roller back against the coach and tied up. With some bungee cords, some twine and duct tape the awning frame is now riding securely. Now we just have to have the fabric replaced, hopefully during the RV rally we are heading for.

Oh yeah, the first purpose of this trip. We are currently headed to Tucson, Arizona, for a Monaco International owners club rally which starts next week. We are due to arrive in Tucson on Friday. Today we had planned to drive to Big Springs, Texas, and spend the night. When we arrived there the RV Park was full. With that news I got out my RV Campground books and saw the next closest was in Midland, fifty miles farther west. After a quick call to check on openings we headed west. We arrived at the Midland RV Park around 6:00pm and settled in for the evening. Tomorrow we'll head on west and hope that the wind will let up on us.