Tag Archives: Elks Lodge

A Little Lake Time (Lake Havasu City, AZ)

After the Pahrump Rally was over (3 October), we headed back towards Las Vegas but instead of going south by Hoover Dam on 93, we took Hwy 95 towards Needles but then turned on NV-163 to Lauglin / Bullhead City.

In Bullhead City we stopped to visit good friends and fellow Alpine Coach Owners John & Lorraine Foster.

(L to R) Lorraine, John, and Stilla in Bullhead City.

John & Lorraine are some of the nicest people you could ever meet and we like to consider them close friends.  Lorraine is also one of our current newsletter editors for the Matterhorn, our Alpine SoCal Chapter quarterly update on all things going on in our 74 member-strong club.

In Bullhead City we parked in a Lowe’s® parking lot where John & Lorraine met us.  They took us over to their nice Condo on the Colorado River just across the street where we got caught up and enjoyed each others company for a short while.  They weren’t able to attend our most recent rally in Pahrump, so it has been awhile since we last got together.  Thanks for the hospitality John & Lorraine!  Hope to see you guys at the next rally 🙂

From Bullhead City we continued south to Needles where we got on I-40 east…


until we reached the exit to Lake Havasu where we went south on 95 to Lake Havasu City.




After filling up the Urban Escape Vehicle at the Pilot/Flying J on the corner of I-40 and Hwy 95 (64 gallons for $176.25) we found the Lake Havasu Elks Lodge.  We’ve been here before for dinner, which is always fantastic, but had never parked in their RV lot which had been recently remodeled and upgraded.

The Urban Escape Vehicle at the Lake Havasu Elks Lodge.
View from our spot at the Havasu Elks Lodge with the lake in the background. Notice the huge Elk sculpture at the entrance in the center of the photo.

The new upgrades to the RV parking area at the Elks Lodge also came with an upgraded price – it is currently $25 per night for full hook-ups.  We paid for two nights (arrived 3 October, left on the 5th).

We pulled into the RV lot and got set up with barely enough time to make the spaghetti dinner.  We were the last people to be served an awesome spaghetti dinner complete with margaritas for only $21 🙂

We spent Tuesday, the 4th of October, tooling around Lake Havasu on the scooter.  We went out on the man-made island across the London Bridge and did the loop while we checked out some of the RV Resorts for future reference.





There was a Jet Ski competition going on while we were in Lake Havasu.  The quakysense® World Finals (←link).  We were fascinated with the acrobatic and underwater stunts performed by some of the Jet Ski drivers we had the opportunity to watch practice (below).


We also visited the London Bridge and browsed through the Visitors Center/Museum (←link) located in English Village.  If you haven’t been here before, it’s a must-see.  And the pedestrian zone under the bridge is chock-full of shops to wander around in.  The ice cream is pretty good too 🙂



The famous London Bridge in Lake Havasu, AZ.

Stay with me for my next post as I continue to play “catch-up” on the travel blog with my laptop and photo download issues…  maybe I can get a new laptop soon.

Westward Bound – Racing to the Rally (TX to NV)

After a good nights rest at the Amarillo, TX Elks Lodge on Monday the 26th,  we continued west on I-40 where we stopped briefly at the Cadillac Ranch (←link).  Check out the link to the left or click here for more information from Wikipedia® on this popular roadside attraction that was created in 1974.


We were able to park the Urban Escape Vehicle on the frontage road alongside I-40 and walk out to the cars.



We even added our proverbial “2-cents” worth of spray paint, which is encouraged by the way.





Look at the many layers of paint that have been applied by tourists over the years (below).


There was even a young entrepreneur, who had set up a temporary stand (on his tailgate) by the entrance gate.  He was selling chunks of the multiple layers of hardened spray paint that had fallen off the cars.  He carved these chunks of multi-colored spray paint into various shapes and made key chains, refrigerator magnets, etc.,  Pretty cool, but we didn’t buy any.  And sorry, I forgot to take pictures of them.

Close up view of the hundreds, if not thousands of layers of spray paint on the old Cadillacs.

We finally made it to the New Mexico border around mid-day on the 27th.


Just after the Texas/New Mexico border we stopped at Russell’s Truck Stop & Museum (←link).  Another cool Route 66 themed attraction, but this one was was free 🙂  We took a quick tour:










While at Russell’s Truck Stop & Museum, I noticed a tire service bay around back so I stopped to ask where I might be able to get a front end alignment and/or new tires.  I’ve noticed that the Urban Escape Vehicle has been pulling slightly to the right ever since we left Bowling Green, KY and it’s been getting worse.  I even wasted an hour or more a few days earlier when we were just outside Memphis because I stopped to check with several tire related businesses there to see if they did RV alignments and to maybe get it checked out.  Every place I stopped at either didn’t do RV alignments and/or didn’t have reasonably priced new tires in stock.  One shop recommended that I just rotate the tires because I still have plenty of tread depth, just abnormal wear.  Anyway, I’ve been on the lookout for an RV service center or other qualified place ever since Memphis.  Once again, this place (Russell’s) didn’t do alignments either, but they recommended a place just down the highway, Terry’s Truck Service.

Check out the unusual wear in the pictures below.  The driver’s side appears to be wearing more on the inside of the tire whereas the passenger side is wearing more on the outside.

Left front tire as viewed from front of coach.  Wheels are turned to the left for photo.
Right front tire as viewed from rear. Wheels are turned to the left for photo.

We found Terry’s Truck Service Center (sorry no website link) with the directions we got from the Russell’s Truck Stop & Museum service guy.  Terry’s didn’t have the equipment to do an alignment but the technician checked out my tires and suggested I just rotate the tires and he commented that he’s seen this kind of wear before on some substandard brands of tires.  My tires are 11R22.5’s made by Hankook.  I had new tires put on a little over 4 years ago (March 2012) and have approximately 30k miles on them.  As most RV’ers already know; it’s highly recommended that you replace tires every 5 years, 7 years at the most, regardless of how good the tread may still be.


They (Terry’s Truck Service) charged me $53 to rotate the front tires.  It made all the difference in the world… the Coach tracks straight and true once more.  It’s like driving a new Coach again.  Weird, huh?!?  But I’m still going to get an alignment soon along with new tires.  I think I’ll just replace the front tires in the very near future and wait until next year to replace the rear ones in order to spread out the financial burden.

We continued on and finally made Albuquerque by the evening of the 27th.  Another long travel day – about 290 miles.

We chose to stay at the Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post in Albuquerque and paid $18 with our Passport America discount.  The main reason we chose to stay at this park is because some friends and fellow Alpine Coach Owners, Mike & Donna Kuper happened to be there.  I follow Mikes blog at FlyingtheKoop.com and was aware of their location which happened to be along our route.

(L to R) Stilla, Donna & Mike Kuper in front of their Alpine Coach.

Mike & Donna graciously invited us to eat with them outside their coach after we got parked and settled.  We enjoyed some adult beverages while we caught up with each other’s recent travels since we were last together in Lake Havasu at the Fireworks Rally back in February.  Thanks Mike & Donna!  It was great seeing you again, and hopefully it won’t be so long to the next time 🙂

On the morning of the 28th, we hit the road again and set our sites on reaching Kingman AZ.  We heard of an Elks Lodge there that has dry camping spots available to travelers at no cost.  Additionally, we knew that if we reached Kingman, we could easily make the final leg of our trip to Pahrump NV in order to make it to our Alpine SoCal Rally in time for the scheduled Rally kickoff on the 29th.

View of I-40 nearing the New Mexico/Arizona border.



470 miles later, yup! – you heard right – 470 miles later we pulled into the Elks Lodge in Kingman, AZ on the evening of the 28th.


We drove onto their old (no longer used) tennis courts and dropped jacks, put out the slides, and ran up the satellite dish.  We went inside the lodge for a couple adult beverages and then went back to the coach for some much needed rest.


On the morning of the 29th, we left Kingman and headed north on Hwy 93 towards Las Vegas.  The following pictures are coming up to and crossing the new bridge by Hoover Dam.  This was the first time we’ve used the new bridge (←Wikipedia® link), on previous trips we always had to drive across the dam itself.





Hoover Dam as seen from Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.


Las Vegas skyline.

After skirting Las Vegas we continued west on NV-160 and made Pahrump by early afternoon… plenty of time to check in and join the Alpine SoCal group for social hour (meet & greet) and pizza.


My next post will cover our fun times at the Alpine SoCal Rally in Pahrump, NV.  I promise to get caught up soon as I continue to work through the computer and photo issues that I discussed earlier in this post (←link).  Stay tuned…


Another Overnight Elks Lodge & Alpine Coach Friends (Tuscaloosa, AL)

We continued our eastward trek along I-20 on Monday and ended up driving 227 miles from Vicksburg, MS to Tuscaloosa, AL.  We stopped at a Pilot/Flying J in Meridian and topped off the fuel tank with 84 gallons of diesel for $187.  I like the Pilot/Flying J’s because they’re always easy-in and easy-out.  Plus we have their discount card (Pilot RV Plus) that we can pay online when the bill is due.  Calculations after refueling confirmed our Scangauge D™ is accurate and we’re getting a little over 8 miles to the gallon.  Not too bad 🙂

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Once again our ~$100 annual Elks Lodge membership pays for itself…  our iPhone app routed us to the Tuscaloosa Elks Lodge #393 where we went into the lodge and paid a reasonable $20 for the night.


After checking in, we disconnected the Silverado and pulled into a 50 Amp full hook-up site next to the only other Coach at the lodge.


Nice spots backed up to a short grassy area and thick woods.  Next to us was a nice covered picnic area with BBQ pits.


After getting set up we went back into the lodge for some tasty margaritas and conversation with friendly folks.  The bartender cooked us up a really good pizza and a BBQ beef sandwich for our dinner.


In the morning, I got our ladder out and spent some time washing the bugs off the front of the Urban Escape Vehicle.  With a little help from Stilla, I even got most of the coach washed and wiped dry again.

Around noon on Tuesday we hit the road again and plugged the route to a Walmart in Centre, AL into our RVND™ GPS.  We’ve been in contact with some old friends from Colorado Springs who invited us to park for a couple days at their new (to them) house near Lake Weiss.  Tom & Johnna Phillips coordinated to meet us at the Walmart parking lot so they could lead us out to their beautiful home on the lake.

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Tom & Johnna were already waiting for us when we rolled into the Walmart parking lot after our ~145 mile drive from the Elks Lodge in Tuscaloosa.  They guided us to their house where we’re now moochdocking on their 50 Amp power hookup 🙂

Tom & Johnna have been here a year now but used to be in the Family Campers & RV’ers (FCRV), Rolling Springs Chapter out of Colorado Springs.  We were also members of FCRV at that time and went on several camping trips together.  We’ve stayed in touch with them along with several other current and past members.  My Dad and stepmom Elaine are still active members and as a matter of fact – about this time last year we were with them in Gillette WY at the FCRV Campvention.  And BTW – did I mention Tom & Johnna also have an Alpine Coach!?

Tom grilled us up some burgers on the back deck while we watched the sun set over the lake in the back yard and got caught up.  Thanks Tom & Johnna for the hospitality!

Check back tomorrow for more pics… Tom & Johnna plan on showing us around the area…

Eastbound Elks Lodge (Shreveport, LA)

On Friday we drove almost 300 miles from Stephenville, TX to Shreveport, LA.  I usually don’t like to drive that far in one day but Stilla is anxious for us to get to our youngest daughter’s house in Bowling Green, KY.  Also, with the sad news about the police officers that were cowardly ambushed in Dallas, we just wanted to hurry up and get past the city.

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We checked our various iPhone apps and decided the best value for an overnight stay would be the Schreveport Elks Lodge #122.  And it worked out great because it was also “steak night” at the lodge coupled with a live band playing old time rock & roll.  Can’t beat that for $15 a night which included 30 Amp power and water.  And it was a strong 30 Amp because we were able to run both rooftop air conditioners at the same time and the breaker didn’t pop.  The temperature may not be as high as it was in Arizona but with the high humidity here – we’re definitely feeling it 🙁  Normally I wouldn’t even try to run both air conditioners on 30 Amp power but my power monitor reported a strong 115-120 volts.  If it ever reads less than 110v, I wouldn’t even try to run both because I would be taking a chance of damaging them or the residential refrigerator due to a “brown out” condition.

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Shreveport Elks Lodge #122 is located just south of I-20 between Kings Hwy 1 and the Red River.
Shreveport Elks Lodge #122 main entrance.

We disconnected the Silverado and backed into one of the available RV hookup sites onto two narrow strips of concrete that were laid in the grass.  I couldn’t park straight on the concrete strips because the leveling jacks are inboard of the tires and when they came down they were on the edge of the concrete.  So with a little readjustment and leaving two of the tires on the grass, we were able to get properly leveled.

We enjoyed a nice relaxing evening with an awesome steak meal and live entertainment.  The view off the back deck was pretty cool as well (below).


And here’s a view of the Elks Lodge pool from the back deck.  Too bad we couldn’t stay another day to hang out there.


Live band at the Shreveport Elks Lodge.

On Saturday we moved on to Vicksburg, Mississippi but I’ll leave that for my next post…  Check back for a tour of Vicksburg National Military Park.

Dinner with Old Friends (Las Cruces, NM)

After a restful evening at the Saguaro SKP park in Benson, AZ we packed up Tuesday morning and slowly continued east on I-10 for ~230 miles to the Elks Lodge in Las Cruces, NM.

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Once again we drove through a brief rain shower… just enough to get the Coach and Silverado dirty 🙁

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Elks Lodge 1119 in Las Cruces, NM.

The Elks Lodge 1119 (←link) has three RV spots located on the side of the building.  We went inside and paid $15 for the night.

All by ourselves at the Las Cruces Elks Lodge RV parking sites.

We got in touch with old friends John & Eva who live in Las Cruces, NM.  We have stayed in contact since the early ’90s when we were in Colorado Springs stationed at Fort Carson.  John and I also deployed to Fort Hood, TX together for ~6 months.

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(L to R) Self, Stilla, Eva & John at LaPosta-de-Mesilla restaurant..

John & Eva drove over to the Elks Lodge to meet us and go out for dinner.  Although it was Taco Tuesday at the Elks Lodge, we opted to go elsewhere to dine and catch up.  We couldn’t help but notice when we first checked in that the lodge still allows smoking which isn’t something we would enjoy with our meal.

We ended up at historic LaPosta de Mesilla (←link).  This was our second time at this very nice restaurant.  We dined together here a couple years ago when we passed through Las Cruces and visited John & Eva.   The history of this famous Mexican restaurant is long and colorful.  For more than a century and a half, these adobe walls have withstood the attack of elements and man, sheltering such personalities as Billy the Kid, Kit Carson, General Douglas MacArthur and Pancho Villa. A roaring Wild West town during the late 1800’s, Mesilla was the largest town in the Southwest between San Diego, California and San Antonio, Texas. During this period, La Posta served as the Corn Exchange Hotel, a favorite stop on the Butterfield Stagecoach Line.  Read more of the LaPosta de Mesilla story at the restaurants website.

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Entrance to the LaPosta de Mesilla restaurant.
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Inside colorful LaPosta de Mesilla restaurant.

Bird cages and aquariums greet visitors in the lobby at the restaurant.

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Still and Eva browsed the gift shop after our meal.  Luckily we made it out of the restaurant with just the price of the meal 🙂

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After a great meal ( I recommend the combination plate #1) that we washed down with a couple tasty margarita’s we went over to John & Eva’s beautiful home here in Las Cruces.  We continued to catch up on each other’s ‘going-ons’ and reminisced about old times.  John was one of the first (of many) great NCO’s that I had the pleasure of working with during my 26 year Army career.  I had just finished the Warrant Officer Candidate Course and was a WO1 when I first met John.  It’s no secret that any successful Army officer’s career is predicated on the fine NCO’s that he/she learns from and is supported by.  I learned early on to try and surround myself with good and capable NCO’s.  John was one of the first (and best) that supported my Warrant Officer career.    I am honored and humbled to still be able to call him my friend after all these years.

We also got a “treat” while visiting John & Eva’s house… John showed off his beautifully restored ’71 Chevelle to us.  Nice job John!  Here’s a car show flyer (below) that he made for an upcoming show.  His car is pictured on the top left.


John & Eva dropped us back off at the Elks Lodge where we stretched out our farewells.  Thanks for the hospitality John & Eva!  See you next time we come through the area.

This morning (Wednesday) we’re going to press on (slowly) towards our youngest daughter’s house in Bowling Green, KY.  Maybe we can swing by the Fort Hood, TX area and meet up with some more old Army friends.  That would be nice.  Stay tuned to see if it works out.


Alpine SoCal Spring Training Rally – Day 4 (Goodyear, AZ)

Welcome back!   Here we are on Day 4 (Tuesday) of the latest Alpine SoCal Rally :

Spring Training Rally Info Packet

It looks like the official count of Alpine Coaches in attendance is 13 according to our Wagon Master.  Unfortunately, the RV Resort couldn’t fit us all in on the same street, but most of us are on the back row here at Cotton Lane RV Resort (←site map link).


Our Rally Host(s) Bob & Connie Bowers along with Co-Host(s) Jim & Stephanie Archer took a break today from the (now) standard breakfast routine of toasted bagels and hard-boiled eggs.  This morning’s fare consisted of breakfast burritos!  We had our choice of bacon or sausage… yumm!



Alpine SoCal morning socialization.

After breakfast, everyone went about their day… some went to another baseball game, while others took off to enjoy some of the many other local attractions.  Us?  Well, Stilla and I worked on replacing some of the shingles for a lady that owns a park model here in the RV Resort.  I mentioned in my last post that we committed to helping her out and we went to Home Depot™ and got a bundle of shingles, roofing nails, and a tube of roofing caulk.



I spent the morning fitting in some new shingles to replace the ones that were missing or broken from age and wind.  Stilla supervised and made sure I didn’t fall off the ladder or roof.  The nice lady (Maggie) will reimburse us for the materials and give us a little extra for our time and effort.  We’re glad to help out.



After replacing the missing shingles, I went around the roof and glued down lots of loose shingles.  I ran out of caulking and there are still a large number of loose shingles on the edge of the roof where the wind damage is the worst.  I think I’ll go back and get another tube or two of roof caulking to finish the job so Maggie doesn’t have to do anything more to her roof for (hopefully) quite a while.


After finishing up (for now) the shingles… Noel Peck and I took a nice motorcycle ride to Wickenburg (←link).


Noel Peck “In the Wind”.


In Wickenburg we stopped for liquid refreshments at the local Elks Lodge #2160.  Check out their website which details the historic lodge bar which was originally taken from a saloon in Silverton, CO, before 1850.



After an adult beverage at the Elks Lodge, we decided to check out another local Wickenburg establishment for a quick lunch before we headed back to the Cotton Lane RV Resort




I forgot to reset the odometer before we left, but I think we put on around 180 miles for the day.  It was a good day.  Any day you can spend on the motorcycle is a good day 🙂  Here we are (below) taking a quick break.


When we got back to the RV park in Goodyear, I caught a ride with fellow Alpiner Frank over to Rudy’s™ “Country Store” and BBQ for our scheduled evening meal where we met up with Stilla again.  She had spent the day with our daughter Jennifer and grandson Kaan while I was out riding with Noel.

We had an awesome buffet-style meal in our own private room.  We decided to forego the membership meeting and just concentrated on enjoying our meal and conversation with our fellow Alpine SoCal group members 🙂





Check back tomorrow for a full recap of our Alpine SoCal “Spring Training” Rally Day 5…





Alpine SoCal Winter Blast Rally – Day 1 (Lake Havasu City, AZ)

Here’s your Alpine SoCal Rally recap for Day 1 of the 27th Annual Western Winter Blast Pyrotechnics Show (←link) which is held at the Special Activities and Recreation Area (SARA) Park Rodeo Grounds.

According to the official website (www.golakehavasu.com) SARA park is an 1100-acre regional park with spectacular mountain views and access to Lake Havasu.  The park’s facilities cater to a wide range of recreational activities and also serve as venues for events such as the popular Winter Blast fireworks display, obstacle races and concerts throughout the year.  SARA Park has a network of hiking and mountain bike trails, ballfields, dog park, rodeo and fairgrounds.  Other activities include BMX and motocross racing, roller hockey, RC plane field and a shooting and archery range.

Last year we attended the same fireworks show and rally, click (HERE) to catch up on last years fun if you missed it.

Here’s our Rally Schedule:


As you can see from the Schedule (above); we are all basically “free” to do whatever we want each day after breakfast because all the activities take place in the afternoon/evening.  Today (Thursday) is a Happy Hour at 4 PM and then a Pizza Dinner w/Salad will be delivered to us by 5 PM.

How about a quick tour of our area?  Here’s the sign at the entrance to the Rodeo Grounds.  I guess they haven’t gotten around to changing it out for the WInter Blast Pyrotechnics Show.


RVs were lined up at the entrance throughout the day to check in to the Rodeo Grounds parking area for the weekend activities.


This is the access road leading to our upper level parking area (below).  A couple of the RV parking areas are separated by the rodeo arena and grandstands.


Most of our Alpines are parked in the same area, spread out over at least three separate rows.  We ended up in the middle of row D with good friends Mike & Donna Kuper on our left and Ed & Donna Mathews on our right.


We’ve known Ed & Donna since our first Alpine SoCal Rally in St. George, UT back in 2012.  It was great to see them again after such a long time 🙂  Mike & Donna we came to know first through Mike’s blog @FlyingtheKoop.com and then we finally met in Portland during the Alpine Coach Pre-Rally to the FMCA Rally in Redmond, OR which we both attended together in 2014.

Here’s some shots of our Rally site taken yesterday and today:



The parking area for the RVs is spread out over the rodeo grounds on at least three different levels which you can somewhat make out from the photos:


Good looking Coaches, eh?



For those of you who have been following the blog, you may recall that we were able find a good home for one of our oldest daughter’s dogs the morning after we arrived here.  Little ‘Ember’ went to Alpine Coach owners Ron & Jeanne who live in Las Vegas and we’ve since heard from them that she’s doing just fine 🙂  Jeanne sent us this pic (below).

Ember seems to be “Lucky in Las Vegas”.

However, we’ll have to continue dog-sitting our daughter’s other dog ‘Sheba’ (pictured below) since she really belongs to our grandson Kaan and he’d be heartbroken if we gave her away.  Although, there’s been some interest shown among our fellow Alpiner’s 😉

Stilla and Sheba.

It wasn’t very late in the day before folks started congregating between the Coaches for drinks and conversation.  Happy Hour starts early around here 🙂  I busied myself during part of the day with some cleaning on the Urban Escape Vehicle exterior while Stilla went shopping with a couple of the girls.




A couple more Alpines are still expected to arrive.  We’re supposed to have 25 Coaches once everyone gets in.  Here’s Peter & Patricia Huber’s coach pulling in (below).  They arrived just in time for the first official dinner of the rally; Pizza night, Yoo Hoo!


Around 4:30 PM everyone started gathering in our designated “get-together” site that our Rally Host(s) and Co-Host(s) set up between their Coaches.


In my new capacity as president of the Alpine SoCal Chapter; I said a few words to welcome everyone to the rally and we thanked our Rally Host(s) Dave & Nicole Guhsé along with our Co-Host(s) Paul & Katie Lisec for setting everything up.  So far, so good… but we’ll have to wait until later in the Rally before we can truly rate their performance 🙂  Right?

Come-n-get it!  Pizza is served:




Everyone enjoyed the pizza and salad as well as each other’s company:





Good times again with good people 🙂

At dusk, the first fireworks started going off in the park area next to our Rally site.  The fireworks were mostly random and sporadic with long lag times between.  Probably test shots and some training for the pyrotechnic crews.  Many folks went back to their Coaches and didn’t hang out at the “get-together” site for very long after it got dark.  There will be plenty more fireworks in the evenings ahead.

Our grandson’s dog ‘Sheba’ didn’t take the noise very well and Stilla left early to comfort her inside the Coach with the radio on to help drown out some of the loud bangs.  Hopefully, she gets a little more used to it before tomorrow’s fireworks show which should be pretty spectacular based on our experience last year.

Stay tuned…

Taking Care of Family (Casa Grande, AZ & Colorado Springs, CO)

My last post was on Wednesday the 27th of January.  It has been a busy and stressful couple weeks since then.  We had to move our oldest daughter and grandson from Colorado Springs to Phoenix.  Let me bring you up to date:

We left the Urban Escape Vehicle at the “dirt farm” in Casa Grande and took the Silverado with our (empty) cargo trailer on a ~17 hour drive to Colorado Springs (COS).  We made it late Thursday night (28 Jan) without incident.  Thanks Dad and Elaine for putting us up at your place 🙂


On Friday we loaded up all the daughters’ stuff in COS.


Nice weather and nice view of Pikes Peak from where we picked up the daughters’ stuff.  That was about to change tho… the weather I mean.



After getting everything loaded into the trailer and pickup bed, we joined my Dad and stepmom Elaine at the COS Elks Lodge for Friday dinner.  Other friends also joined us when they heard we were in town.

(L to R) Stepmom Elaine, Monika Malmquist, and my Dad (Bill).
(L to R) Good friends Biff Anderson, Daniel Malmquist, Linda Anderson, and then Stilla.
(L to R) Stilla, Monika Malmquist, Christine Bargy, and Biff Anderson.
(L to R) Tim Bargy, Daniel Malmquist, Linda Anderson, and my stepmom Elaine.

We enjoyed after dinner conversation in the downstairs lounge.  It was great catching up.  I think it was September when we were last here.


On Saturday, I stopped by my old high school buddy’s auto repair shop to say hi and air up the tires on the trailer and truck for the extra weight I was now hauling.


Here’s my old high school pal Mike.  He owns Chuck’s Auto in COS.


Mike and I, along with a couple others from his shop went out for a late breakfast.  We had some of the best biscuits & gravy I’ve eaten in a long time at the nearby Mill Hill Saloon.


A big storm front was moving into COS and snow was expected overnight on Saturday and it was supposed to get real bad Sunday or Monday.  So I made the wise choice to start heading south before the bad weather hit.  Stilla stayed until the next day (Sunday) to spend time with our youngest daughter Joleen, plus the oldest daughter Jennifer still had to clean the place we moved her out of and take care of a few last minute items.

Storm front coming over the mountains.

After getting safely over Raton Pass, I stopped near Springer, NM to see what new car displays they have inside Russell’s Truck Stop.  I try to stop by here anytime we go down I-25.

Cars on display at Russell’s Truck Stop and Restaurant, Springer, NM.
Cars on display at Russell’s Truck Stop and Restaurant, Springer, NM.
Cars on display at Russell’s Truck Stop and Restaurant, Springer, NM.
Cars on display at Russell’s Truck Stop and Restaurant, Springer, NM.
Evening sunset in New Mexico.

I drove as far as Albuquerque and got a room at Motel 6.  Ugghh, it reminded me of why I like to RV.  And their cheapest room was still almost $50 🙁  Oh well, at least I successfully missed the snowstorm before it shut down Colorado Springs.

Stilla, Jennifer, and Kaan caught up with me around noon just south of Albuquerque, they had some light snow and icy conditions getting out of COS but the roads were fine after that.  We all made it safely to Casa Grande late in the evening on the 31st of January.

Back at the “dirt farm”, we worked on my Mom’s casita that was still under the last stages of construction.  We just had to put a few finishing touches on it to make it livable for Jenny and Kaan until we find her a place.  I helped my stepdad Jim finish putting in the toilet and carpet for the floor, then we set up the air conditioner and heater.  And finally, after a trip to Home Depot for some window blinds, we had a nice one room apartment, aka casita.


We then spent several days looking at houses, rentals, property, etc., and finally came to the conclusion that she needed to be in or near Phoenix to find a job and good school.  We luckily, have a nephew in Phoenix that has extra rooms she can stay in for a couple months.  Thanks Matthew!  Matthew is my younger brother Donald’s kid who lives in Florida.  Matthew owns a house in Glendale where he’s going to college.

Grandson Kaan at nephew Matthew’s house.
I think Kaan likes the pool here.

We drove by the Elks Lodge in Tempe, AZ on the way back from dropping Jenny and Kaan off at Matthew’s house in Glendale.  We wanted to check it out for possible future RV spots.  They had a Super Bowl buffet that we joined in on.  In the RV park, we saw an Alpine.  So I naturally popped by to say Hi.  It was Todd & Janet Legg!  We last saw them at the Desert Rat Rally in Quartzsite.  I talked to Todd for a bit but didn’t get to see Janet.  See ya later guys 🙂


We finished up the evening back at the “dirt farm” in Casa Grande by watching the Super Bowl with my mom and stepdad Jim.  Go Broncos !!

Now we just have to figure out what to do with Jennifer’s dogs.  Having pets certainly makes it harder to find a house or apartment for rent.  And she can’t have them where she’s staying now, so I guess we’re stuck with them for now.

This is Ember (below).  Our little dog “Coach’s” sister.  We put her on Craigslist under the title ‘Free to Good Home’ but only got one response from an animal rights group called S.A.F.E. which stands for Save Animals From Euthanasia.  They take pets every Saturday at a designated PetSmart® in Phoenix to find homes for them.



Luckily, I also put a couple pictures on the Alpine Coach Owners Facebook page and got the attention of Ron and Jeanne.  We worked it out through correspondence to meet in Lake Havasu once we get there for the Alpine Coach Rally.

We left the “dirt farm” in Casa Grande on Tuesday the 9th with both of Jennifer’s dogs onboard to get to the Rally.  We left our dog ‘Coach’ with my Mom because three dogs is just too much in an RV.  Thanks again Mom for watching ‘Coach’… personally I’m beginning to wonder if she’ll even give him back 🙂

We left Casa Grande a little late in the day and finally made it to the Rodeo Grounds in Lake Havasu just after dark.  The volunteer guards at the entrance were still ready for late arrivals and had our check-in paperwork.  We followed a guy on his ATV with annoyingly bright and flashing color LED antennae to our designated site in between the other Alpine Coaches that are already here.  We set up quickly, said some hello’s to our neighbors, and watched a little TV with the generator on until 10 PM when we went to bed.

This morning (Wednesday), we met Ron and Jeanne at the SARA dog park around the corner from the rodeo grounds.  They drove down from their home in Las Vegas to meet us about adopting our daughter’s dog ‘Ember’.  They are fairly new Alpine Coach owner’s and haven’t had the opportunity to join one of our rallies yet.  As a matter of fact, they inquired about this one but it was already full 🙁  Hopefully, they will have the opportunity soon to join us soon 🙂

Jeanne with her “new to her” little dog, Ember.

Ron & Jeanne took little Ember with them to give her a loving home… as I’ve said many times before; those Alpine Coach owners are the best of people 🙂

And so here we are again… at another fine Alpine Coach Rally.  It is now Wednesday the 10th of February.  The Rally officially starts on Thursday the 11th and I’ll try to keep the blog updated with rally activities.  We are dry camping (without hookups) at the SARA Park Rodeo Grounds (←link here).  We’re here for a week of fireworks… called the 27th Annual Western Winter Blast Pyrotechnics Show (←link).  We attended the same rally here last year, click (HERE) for a link to the beginning of those blog posts if interested.

Stay tuned…

In the Desert Again (Quartzsite, AZ)

I’m behind on the posts again as usual… this one brings you up to date on Friday and Saturday:

Friday evening we met up with our friends from Oklahoma again at the Casa Grande Elks Lodge for Spaghetti dinner.  My mom, stepdad, brother Steve & Cheryl also joined us.

(L to R) Jerry, Mom, Steve, Cheryl, Jim, Stilla, and Marilyn.

We had a good time… some liked the spaghetti, while others not so much, and the margaritas could have been better.   But the company was awesome 🙂  It was great that my family was able to join us and its always fun to be with Jerry & Marilyn.  We hope to link up again with Jerry & Marilyn in Quartzsite next week.  We also plan to meet up with my mom, stepdad, Steve & Cheryl after the Rally in Quartzsite for some 4-wheeling fun on the ATV’s.

On Saturday we finished packing up and headed on over to Quartzsite for the Alpine Coach Desert Rat Rally… a three hour drive from Casa Grande:

Coming into Quartzsite on Hwy 10.  The big RV show tent is visible in the distance on the left.
Exit onto 95 north.
Left turn into Quartzsite to follow 95 north.
Town of Quartzsite sign.
Right turn coming up to follow 95 north.

This is the main place to take on water or dump tanks in town (below).  We filled up with water (~100 gal) in Casa Grande before we left and the waste tanks are still empty from five weeks ago before we left for Germany, so we passed on by.


Yup… the Silverado’s still behind us.
Right turn onto Plomosa Rd. about 6 miles north of town.
RVs everywhere.

We followed the ACA signs that our Rally Host(s) Frank & Dessa Halasz had strategically placed.

Pulling into the Alpine Coach Association (ACA) designated dry camping area.

We pulled into the same general spot we remembered having last year.  Less than ten Coaches here so far.

Front window view from our parking spot.

As usual, the first thing we do after parking the Coach is to open the engine door to let the heat escape.  If we forget to do this the bedroom gets uncomfortably warm from the heat rising off the engine.


We decided to leave the ATV on the truck until we get a chance to run back into town to top off the fuel tank.  I noticed that we forgot to fill it up before we put it away the last time we rode it.



By the way… the hitch extension, aka “Louisiana Guard Dog®” that my brother Ronald helped me modify, kept the ATV securely in place.  Today’s trip was the first time we got to test it out.  Thanks again Ron!  I blogged about ‘beefing up’ this combination hitch extension/ATV holder (HERE) when we were in Westley, CA at Ron & Terry’s house last year during Halloween.

Hitch extension doubles as ATV ball hitch mount.

And here we are… back in the desert again looking forward to the Alpine Coach Association’s “Desert Rat Rally XV”!  All the Alpines should be here by Tuesday when the Rally officially kicks off.


Check back for my next post about our Sunday trip to the Desert Bar near Parker…

Prepping for Quartzsite (Casa Grande, AZ)

We’re just getting ready to head on over to the Alpine Coach “Desert Rat Rally XV” at Quartzsite.  A place we’ve been to in January over the last several years.  Check out some of these links to learn more: (HERE) and (HERE).

On Thursday we went into town (Casa Grande) to do our shopping so we have something in the refrigerator before we head to Quartzsite on Saturday.  The cupboards are bare, we basically emptied them before we went to Germany for the last 5 weeks.

But before we hit WalMart and spent our monthly budget on groceries… we stopped by the Casa Grande Elks Lodge to see our friends Jerry & Marilyn.  I mentioned in my last post that they had just arrived in town and messaged us.

Elks Lodge #1957, Casa Grande, AZ.
Me, Stilla, Marilyn, and Jerry.

We had a nice meal together at a Mexican restaurant that is right next to the Elks Lodge.


It was great catching up with Jerry & Marilyn, we haven’t seen them since we left Colorado Springs (link HERE).  We made plans to meet up again for Friday spaghetti dinner at the Elks Lodge.  Yoo Hoo! We’re looking forward to that 🙂  We may also get to link up again in Quartzsite…

I’ll probably post again once we get to Quartzsite.  Lots to do now… gotta load up the ATV and get ready to roll again after the Urban Escape Vehicle has been sitting still for such a long time.