And the road goes on forever...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Rest of the Story

Marc has the brilliant idea that we need to find a cut bank or wash so he can unload the storage shed from the flatbed. When he first loaded the shed onto the flatbed in Bend he did it the same way only then the shed was empty of contents and he used a cut bank. The only thing we find close by in our neighborhood is a wash; sand and all, and a little steeper than what I would have considered “safe”. You can see where this is going can’t you? For some reason he feels he needs my help and asks me to go along and “it shouldn’t take more than an hour.”

We get the truck and trailer situated in the wash and he starts the task of putting all the tires back on the shed axles. This alone takes well more than an hour, while I stand in the broiling sun just occasionally lending a hand to something. First one side, then the other, gets jacked up and tires mounted. Since he left the correct ball back in Bend, he has the wrong size ball for the hitch which causes problems from the get-go and will further complicate things as the task progresses.

Finally, he’s ready to pull the shed off the flatbed and he starts ever so slowly. Things go great until suddenly everything starts to slide, including the shed pulling the flatbed trailer along with it about a good four to five feet. The ramps crumple off the end of the trailer and everything comes to a screeching halt with my shouts “Stop, stop, stop!” Now what?

Apparently a small portion of frame steel had hung up on the flatbed lumber deck, ripping it, and causing everything to grind to an immediate halt. Marc jacks up that portion of the trailer that is hung up and places a piece of plywood as a skid plate under it; hitches up, and tries again. With gut-wrenching scraping and loud clangs, the shed breaks free and crashes down off the platform tearing off all the rear trailer lights.

I wish I could say this episode from hell ended there, but unfortunately, it didn’t. There was yet the wash for the shed to traverse back across and then Marc needed to get it to the lot, drop it and return for the flatbed. Once he reached the wash with the shed, it jumped the hitch not once, not twice, but three times until he finally just chained it to the Freightliner hitch and drug it far enough into a leverage point so it would weigh the hitch enough coming out the other side so as to not jump off yet again.

The unexpected slide the flatbed had done put it well below optimum level for the Freightliner to get hitched back to it since it was now sunk dismally in the belly of the wash. Thankfully, our neighbor Ron, worried we had been gone so long--now into a three hour ordeal; came out looking for us to see if we had problems. He helped Marc jack up the stabilizer foot high enough Marc could sneak the Freightliner into place for hitch-up but not before another mishap where it fell off the jack and ripped through the Rhino bed liner on the back of the Freightliner. Another trailer returned to our lot and the task is finally over with as I note I am covered in sunburn from the unexpectedly long exposure. What a day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Loaded Up and Trucken'

Despite knowing he had very old tires on the flatbed trailer for his 20,000 pound load, Marc headed out Friday morning with two spares and didn’t even make it 165 miles to Burns, OR before he needed to buy four more old tires. The handwriting was already on the wall about the way this trip was going to go!

Four days and six flats later he finally arrived to our Yuma lot very tired and worn out, thoroughly disgusted with his trip. At least he made it here! Wait until you hear the rest of the story coming up; which I will do soon in another post.

On another note, don’t you agree road stories can be the best sort? Readers who have traveled through the middle of Nevada know there are several brothels along the way. As Marc was nearing Beatty and the flashing sign for Angel’s Ladies, he noted a big diesel pusher motorhome with cargo trailer attached pulled over in their driveway; obviously having spewed a major amount of oil behind it before pulling over. Marc stopped to ask if they needed help and the guy said the repair people had already been called but wouldn’t have the part until the following day shipped in from Las Vegas. In the meantime he figured he had better walk up to the brothel and inform them he would be spending the night in their driveway. Marc had a good laugh as the guy related that upon entering, he was immediately greeted by an African American with big breasts and a very skimpy outfit who inquired “Is this your first time with us?” and the guy started sputtering back “No, you don’t understand; my wife is with me….” Now that’s going to be a story that RVer will tell for a long, long time.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Desert Bloom--Buzz, Buzz

As a child I used to run barefoot on clover lawns and to this day can remember the many painful bee stings I would endure as the honeybees worked the tiny flowers for pollen. Legend has it that the more you are stung, the more allergic your reaction to bee stings becomes. I believe it, because now when I suffer a sting, the affected part or extremity swells up badly—really badly, for weeks. The last time I was stung I was riding my motorcycle through Yellowstone and can remember a bug hitting my cheek and instant and excruciating pain. I got Marc’s attention and we pulled over; I fought the helmet quickly off my head, the bee flew out and Marc noted that my cheek was already starting to swell. By the time we got back to our campground hours later, the entire side of my face was two sizes too big.

A little while ago there was a report about two Phoenix women out walking in the evening in a city neighborhood when they were attacked by a swarm of bees. They ended up hospitalized and the experts are saying this could be a bad year for bee swarms in southern Arizona. To make matters worse, some have been Africanized. All around us now, the desert blooms full of yellow and red color. I wanted pictures but I don’t like to tempt fate needlessly so for the most part I have been staying away from solitary desert excursions.

Even the Ocotillos have taken on brilliant colors, fully fleshed out with their miniature green leaves, a sight rarely seen most of the year.

Then there is our orphan volunteer tree; we think it’s a Mexican Palo Verde. Its seed must have been dropped out of a bird one day to just start growing. Its pinnate leaves are much smaller, growing on longer feathery stems, than those I find elsewhere around here, domestic or wild. It also doesn’t flower nearly so much although the small flowers show amazingly intricate detail. That works to save the bees to buzz around other trees, in other neighborhoods and yards, which is just fine with me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Park Model Arrives

We were getting antsy waiting out the northern bad weather which delayed the arrival of the park model by a week but it finally showed up early Wednesday morning. The transport guy did an excellent job of guiding in the forty footer past the front planter, side block walls and privacy wall as though he were threading a needle. It did arrive with some damage to the interior but of Marc’s doing, as the mattress and box spring shifted badly, smacking the bank of drawers, breaking two beyond repair. Marc will need to make new ones.

Backed into its new spot, we immediately noted an enhanced mountain view, especially from the front deck and living room bay windows, gained from its higher stance and position on the lot. We liked that so much, that for the time being, we’ve decided to leave it there although that does eliminate our rental RV spot. We should have just enough room in front for visitor’s short stays however.

Since this could be a permanent location Marc decided it needed to be moved over about two feet to accommodate the side setback requirement of the lot. Ever the inventive one, Marc rigged a roller system on an old piece of trailer tongue, which he winched from the park model tongue to the end of the piece of steel and ratchet by ratchet, inch by inch, he moved the front of the park model over.

Having made the trip through Central Oregon’s red cinders, the park model arrived very filthy so my first order of business was getting her cleaned inside and out. Marc will leave tomorrow for Bend where he will pick up the storage shed which holds all the interior contents so when he returns in about a week we’ll have our work cut out for us.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Can You Say Relaxed?

What better way to wait something out than being socially active! We’re hopeful the park model arrives early this week but meanwhile we’ve enjoyed Dale and Vera’s company and a neighbor’s party last evening. The weather has been mostly cooperative for al fresco dining and partying and the first order of business was enjoying Dale’s fish tacos. After that, Dale helped Marc erect his “redneck shop” over the welding table and they got busy on diagnosing the problem with the driveshaft of Dale’s toad. Vera was busy enjoying the shade in a different manner.

Don and Susie, fellow bikers and friends of several years just down the street apiece, hosted a party last evening in honor of Susie’s upcoming birthday. It was a treat to see their finally-finished new home as about 40 others gathered for quite a spread. Being a retired firefighter Don did some firehouse cooking of three different types of spaghetti sauces and the full bar greased the lively conversations of all attending. It was a warm evening and Marc jumped in to help serve the long conga line of hungry guests. The other gentleman helping out is Bruce, (who lives next door to Don in another new home) a Canadian from BC, who showed pictures of his lovely “main” home on a large mountainous lake, complete with private dock and big boat to go with the stupendous views and needlessly offering the comment “this is the view I wake up to each day”. Some people really know how to live; can you tell I’m mighty envious? In the middle is the host Don and of course, Marc, looking striking in his flowered apron causing quite a stir amongst the ladies!
I will say it once again: nowhere have we ever found it so easy to make friends and meet people with similar interests than good 'ol Yuma. Thanks Don and Susie for such a wonderful evening!