The CoolRVers are actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and our 5 year old German Shepherd Dog, Miss Shady Lady. We are "extended-time" travelers with a home in Cool, California. Thanks for following along with us as we travel North America in our "rolling condo", enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Let Our 2012 Travels Begin

We are normally “home” in Cool, California for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season and get anxious to hit the road right after New Years Day.  This year was different.

Many of the readers of this blog have been inundated with my “health issue” – Valley Fever – that has had our travels on hold the past few weeks.  For those that know about it, skip the next paragraph.

[We think I actually contracted Valley Fever back in late September while in Albuquerque, NM for the Balloon Fiesta. It took a couple of diagnosis of bronchitis and pneumonia before a blood test revealed the cause of my coughing and tiredness.  A microscopic dust fungus spore landed in my lung and doctors have been monitoring (blood tests, x-rays, CT-Scans, and a Bronchosophy camera exam of my airways) since early November. They say 60% of those who have Valley Fever (VF) never know it.  I apparently have a “mild to moderate” case and thankful it has not “disseminated” (spread to other parts of the body).  It can result in death if not treated with anti-fungal medications. Right now, I do not require further treatment. I will repeat all my tests again in 3 months and continue testing for probably the next two years.  To learn more about VF, go to the Valley Fever Center for Excellence website: http://www.vfce.arizona.edu/]

At 5 pm on Tuesday of this week my doctor called and said I was free to travel. The fungus spore is not growing right now and I don’t have to report back for three months!  Yahoooo! 

When I got the call, Luke was down at our community RV storage lot “winterizing” the motorhome for our expected drop in overnight temperatures.  He came home, I told him the good news and we decided that we should hit the road the next day. We have our checklists and have our routines so we knew we could do it.  Northern California had been dry for the last few months but a cold, wet storm was headed our way.  Our winter destination would be towards the Southwest (Southern California and Western Arizona) and catching up with our RV buddies.

We normally can load the RV with our clothes, food, electronics, meds, and dog goodies with three trips from the house to the storage lot using our CR-V.  This time we had more to haul.  We had just gotten the motorhome back from service work the previous day and had much of our “stuff” stacked in our house and garage while repairs were made to the hole in the floor of our storage bays. 


You can never have too much electronics or rolls of Costco TP.

IMAG0807We were determined to hit the road by 2 pm Wednesday, before the Sacramento/Stockton commute time, and we made it!

There is not much clearance between the RV and the storage yard gate.



We actually had a pretty decent drive south.  Luke decided the Sacramento traffic would be easier if we took I-5, instead of Hwy. 99.  We would eventually cross over to Hwy. 99 just north of Bakersfield (via Wasco) and then take Hwy. 58 to avoid LA traffic. 

IMAG0810How would you like to tow this portable classroom through Downtown Sacramento during commute time?  He had an escort vehicle so he could use two lanes.

We set our first overnight stop at Santa Nella, 157 miles from home.  That was probably a little further than we should have gone leaving at that time of day, but it was a familiar RV park and we called ahead and they had space for us. 


We did encounter one traffic accident just north of Santa Nella.  The guy driving this pickup rolled it and had to be airlifted to a local hospital.  The CHP website said the driver admitted to “having a few beers” before the accident.

We arrived at 6 pm (driving and parking in the dark are things we try to avoid), but we got set-up quickly by the flashlight app on my phone.  After a quick dinner, it was time to find homes for all the “stuff” we had just piled into the motorhome so we could hit the road.  We also needed a good electrical hook-up that first night because our “house” batteries had all died while our rig sat in the shop for a month.  They took a good charge overnight so no permanent damage was done.

Most of the time we make the trip to the RV winter mecca, Quartzsite, AZ (“Q”) in two days.  But because of our odd starting time, we planned to take three days.  After checking with friends, we decided to spend our second night on the road at the IMAG0840Hesperia Elks Club, a drive of 320 miles. 

Once again we pulled in after dark and the camphost showed us where we could park with electrical/water hook-ups without having to disconnect the car we tow. When I went into the Lodge to register, we got invited to stay for a free enchilada, rice, and bean dinner to help celebrate the 10th birthday for the daughter of the bartender/chef/lodge manager. Yea, no cooking!  Lodge members greeted us with hugs and we visited quite a while after dinner with the locals. Yes, we got birthday cake, too.


Surprisingly, my diabetic blood sugar reading was a very decent 125 this morning after last night’s dinner and dessert. Smile



IMAG0871Our RVing Boomer friends have been busy posting all their activities the last few weeks.  I am an active “poster” on our Yahoo bulletin board and in Facebook and had been lamenting that we could not come out to play with everyone. Since I put the word out Tuesday night that I had been cleared to travel, I have received at least 40 emails and FB messages congratulating us and filling us in on the events that would be happening in “Boomerville” (a piece of the Quartzsite desert the Boomer RV Club calls home for two weeks every January). 

I knew our travel time from Hesperia to Q would be about 4-5 hours with potty stops and fuel. On today’s agenda was the annual chili cook-off that was set for 2 pm. I’ve enjoyed throwing stuff into a pot in the past so, while we had electricity this morning, I seasoned and pre-cooked the ground beef I would use in my chili. I figured I could fire up the stove upon arrival and heat my concoction in time for judging.   As we traveled, I noticed our GPS was showing our arrival time at 3 pm, not 2 pm. Hmmm, what’s up with that?  We were on the road about an hour when it hit me…there is a one hour time change between California and Arizona and we lost an hour.  Duh, no chili cook-off for me this year.

We did make a couple of stops on our way east from the Palm Springs area to Q, but arrived in time for the daily 4 pm Happy Hour.  I haven’t officially checked-in yet, but I suspect there are about 100 rigs calling Boomerville home right now, with more on the way.  After announcements and introductions of today’s new arrivals, the “formal” session (actually, Boomers don’t do anything formal) ended and we were overwhelmed with well-wishers welcoming us with Boomer {{{ HUGS }}}.  Thank you all. 

IMAG0873After Happy Hour we found a parking spot on the south side of the “fire pit” gathering spot and enjoyed a typical Q sunset while I re-heated our chili hamburger and made taco wraps for dinner. Then it was “Nappy Hour” time (thanks, Whitey, for letting me steal that term). 


I know our decision to take off on Wednesday was sudden. It all worked out except for one BIG disappointment to our family.  On Tuesday night I had to call our daughter Robin and give her the “good news” that I was cleared to travel and then the “bad news” that I was backing out on our planned weekend visit that included taking the grandsons to the San Francisco Exploratorium and then kid-sitting Saturday night while she and her husband Troy attended a friend’s 40th birthday party.  Sorry, gang.  We will see you in Palm Desert for a week in early April.


NEXT:  Quartzsite – A million RVers shopping for “stuff”


Sue Malone said...

Judy, as a soil scientist in California I was very familiar with Valley Fever. A coworker was sick for a very long time. It is a hazard of the job. I am sooooo glad you had a mild case and that it under control!!! sounds like a great trip. On another note....do you not have to use the thin, creepy toilet paper made for RV's?? I hate that stuff but thought it was necessary...

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

It is great that you are doing so much better and are able to travel again. Enjoy!

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