Made it to Apache Junction . . .

Parked and setup at Countryside RV Resort.

But I’m feeling a little under the weather tonight, so more tomorrow.

Wrapping Up . . .

here in Tucson.

Today is our last full day in Tucson for this trip. It’s been a great time, but we’re really looking forward to moving on, especially since we’re heading up to Apache Junction, where we’ve never spent any time.

New is almost always good. Usually.

We decided we needed one more Brushfire BBQ fix so we headed out about 10:30, but this time we just split a Rib-Brisket Combo Plate. Even that was a lot of food. But it was as delicious as before.

Getting home, I got back to work wrapping up my two electrical projects. First up, I redid the grounds on my truck taillights, and that seems to have fixed my problem once and for all. I hooked the truck up to the rig and tested all the lights. And now everything works.

Next up was my dash lights/Headlights-On Alarm. I decided not to do anything about the headlight switch problem that’s causing the dash lights to work intermittently. I can make them work by fooling with the switch, and I don’t want to try to get it out/repaired and not have it working when we travel tomorrow.

So I went ahead and installed my Headlights-On Alarm, got it tested and the dashboard put back together, so we’re ready to roll tomorrow morning.

We don’t plan to leave here tomorrow before about 11 because it’s only about 150 mile trip to Apache Junction, and TT parks sometimes get fussy if you arrive before the check-in time of 2pm. So we’re probably going to go up to Bruegger’s Bagels for coffee and a breakfast sandwich before we head out.


Thought for the Day:

A gun is like a parachute.
If you NEED one and don’t have one…
You are likely to never need one again.


Not Much . . .

happened today.

I kept telling myself I was going to get back on my taillight or my dash light/headlights-on alarm projects, but somehow it just never happened.

I ended up spending most of the day doing a map overlay for all the Thousand Trails parks we can access. I recently found out that a number of the parks we can visit are not on the standard Thousand Trails list.

I found that I can access a park in the Florida Keys, and two more in Florida, one near Daytona Beach.

Also parks in Bar Harbor, ME, the Wisconsin Dells, and additional parks in California, Washington and Oregon. Of course some of these are Encore parks and cost us a whole $3 a day, but according to the Thousand Trails office, staying at those parks doesn’t count against our 50 free days each year, and it appears that we can stay at one of these parks for longer than our normal two weeks. Neat!

At about 5pm we headed out to meet our friend’s Al and Adrienne for dinner one last time before we leave Tucson on Sunday. And as usual we spent more time talking than eating since we didn’t say our goodbyes until after 8:30.

And with any luck we’ll be able to catch up with them again later this summer when they’ll be in Cody, WY. Hope it works out.

That’s about it for today. As I said, ‘Not Much . . .”


Thought for the Day:

If, in the largest city in the US, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat…you might live in a country run by idiots.


A New Favorite . . .

This morning I got back on figuring out why my dashboard gauge lights quit working. After getting some more info from American Coach on how the circuit was wired, I started tracing the wiring back and after wedging myself in between the driver’s seat and the underside of the dashboard (not an easy job, believe me), discovered that the problem is with the headlight switch. Or at least the dash light dimmer part of it.

The switch is one of those that you pull out to turn the parking lights/headlights on and then rotate the knob to dim/brighten the dash lights. I did find out that the switch is a standard truck part so a replacement would be easy to find, but getting it out looks to be a problem

I would try to spray some contact cleaner in it, but it looks to be pretty sealed up so I would probably have to remove it to do that, and then I’m right back where I started.

I’m going to look at it some more, but I’m kind of tempted to just disconnect the dash light wire plug from the switch and then short across the wires so the lights are on full bright all the time, since that’s the way I drive with it anyway.

More tomorrow.

My Priority Mail package finally showed up today that our daughter Brandi sent out on Monday. It should have gotten here yesterday, but according to the USPS tracking, it was “MisSent” (what ever that means) out of the Tucson PO yesterday and got lost.

A little before 4 Jan and I headed out to check out Brushfire BBQ. We read good online reviews about it, and it certainly smelled good when we drove by.

As we were just leaving the coach, Mike and Cheryl Sipes stopped by to say Hi and drop off a menu for the Hot Wok, a place they say is even better than Luckie’s Thai.

This means it must be fantastic, because Luckie’s is really, really good. Hopefully we’ll be able to try it before we leave here on Sunday.

And Brushfire turned out to be really,  really good, too.

Brushfire BBQ

If fact I think we have a new favorite BBQ place here in Tucson.

It’s as good as Famous Dave’s, a couple of bucks cheaper, and a lot closer to the fairgrounds.

Jan had the Half Rack of Baby Back Ribs with Grilled Green Beans and a loaded Baked Potato, and I had a combo plate with Sticky Ribs (St. Louis Style) and Beef Brisket, with Grilled Green Beans and Grilled Corn on the Cob.

Brushfire BBQ Combo Plate

The meat was moist, tender, and very flavorful. But even as tender as it was, it had some texture to it. I hate it when they parboil the ribs first to make them cook faster when they’re being smoked, and the meat turns out just mushy. Yeah, it does ‘fall off the bone’, but that’s because it’s been boiled to a pulp.

And the Grilled Green Beans were outstanding. As the description says, they’re cooked on the grill and come out crisp, but still tender, and delicious.

My only regret about Brushfire is that we didn’t go sooner. They only have two locations, both here in the Tucson area, so it will probably be next year before we can go back.


We got home a little after 5 and I got back on the taillight problem. I got the old, ‘extra’ taillight converter out of the system and patched around, and now the rig part of the system is working fine.

But getting that part working revealed another one. I’ve apparently got a bad ground somewhere in the truck’s wiring. If I hook my test box up to the truck, the lights work fine. But if I hook the rig up to the truck, the turn signals work fine, but the left taillight doesn’t work and the right taillight is much brighter than it should be. An obvious grounding problem

I think I know where the problem is, but I finally ran out of daylight, so I’ll try to finish it up tomorrow.

I did have a couple of blog readers drop by to say Hi while I was working on the taillights, but I didn’t get their names. Sorry. But it is always nice to know people enjoy the blog.


Thought for the Day:

“They have the guns and therefore we are for peace and for reformation through the ballot. When we have the guns then it will be through the bullet.”

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin


Slowed to a Crawl . . .

Well, a couple of things were really slow today.

First off, nothing much happened. I worked on some stuff, and then worked on other stuff. Jan went through things in the bedroom, sorting and throwing out stuff.

Then when she was done, I got out the vacuum and gave the rug in there a thorough cleaning, but ended having to disassemble the vacuum cleaner first to clean it out before it would do a good job.

About 2 I drove over to the P.O. to mail an Easter card to Master Landon, along with a bunch of post cards to other friends and family Then coming home I made a quick stop at an O’Reilly Auto Parts store for some heat-shrink tubing and a replacement bulb for one of our floor lights.

Then for dinner, we fixed Chicken Taco Salads using the last of the El Pollo Loco chicken we got a few days ago, using some of the hot salsa we got in Fort Davis a few weeks ago. Really good.

The other thing that slowed to a crawl here is the 3G Internet service. When we got here a week or so ago, the 3G was pretty speedy at about 1.5 Mbps. But the last few days it’s dropped a cliff. I think it may be the fact that we’ve had 50-75 RV’s and trailers come into the fairgrounds in preparation for the upcoming county fair that starts the 18th of April. And probably every one has a computer and a smartphone, just sucking all the bandwidth out of the ether. Apparently leaving none of me.

Sunday we’ll be moving up to the Countryside RV Park in Apache Junction. Although it’s an Encore Park, we can stay there for $3 a night.


I want to thank blog reader’s Ellen and Larry Clark for making me aware of this.

Tomorrow Jan and I are going to check out Brushfire BBQ here in Tucson. We’ve heard good things about it, and the online reviews are good so we’ll give it try.

See I told you it was slow.


Thought for the Day:

"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." – Groucho Marx


Old Friends and Goodbyes . . .

A little after 10am, Chris and Charles Yust headed out this morning, on their way to Waco, TX for another rally. Through their C & C Marketing and Insurance, they sell GMAC Insurance for RV’s and autos, as well as Good Sam products, such as Extended Service Plans, Roadside Assistance, and their new product TravelAssist.

We buy our insurance from them. You should too. (How’s that, Chris?)

About 10:30 Jan and I drove over to Poco & Mom’s to meet our friend’s Al & Adrienne for brunch.

Pocos And Moms

A small family restaurant, it only has 12 tables and if you don’t get there early, you will have a wait. But it’s worth it because they can perform culinary magic with Hatch Green Chilies.

After a delicious meal and a lot of conversation Jan and I drove over to a nearby Bookman’s used bookstore. If you’re familiar with Half-Price Books in Texas, this is the Arizona clone. Then it was on down the road to a Chase Bank to get a replacement check book cover, and since we didn’t have coffee this morning, we stopped off at Starbuck’s for our Cinnamon Dolce Latte fix. Then home for the day.

Several blog readers have asked about the Taillight Test Box that I’ve mentioned lately.

Taillight Test Box

It looks like this.

It’s built in a 98 cent Wal-Mart 3×5 file box, and that box, and one of the 3 switches are all I had to buy. That was because I wanted a center-off SPDT switch so I could switch the turn signals off.

The black and red cables are connected to the vehicle battery. The other cable connects to the vehicle lights.

The left switch turns the unit on and off. The center switch turns the taillights on and off, and the right switch turns the left or right turn signals on and off.

Besides the interconnecting wiring, the only parts inside the box are a 5amp inline fuse and  a 2 prong turn signal flasher.

And because I never throw anything away, I think my total cost was about $4. If you have any questions, leave me a comment.


Thought for the Day:

"Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well." – John Gardner


A Problem Solved–Maybe . . .

I have always had on and off problems with the circuitry feeding the taillight signals from the rig to our truck. They would work for months, then stop working and then start again. So now I think I’ve found the problem, though I won’t be absolutely sure until I finish rewiring things.

What I discovered is that my coach has had two taillight converters wired in series since we bought the coach in 2008. One of them was the one out in the open, the one I’ve replaced several times over the last 5 years, trying to eliminate this intermittent problem once and for all.

But in tracing out the wiring harness, looking for any problems, I followed it back under a ledge on the rear bumper . . . and there I found another ratty, beaten-up taillight converter.

We are our rig’s 3rd owner and I guess the first owner installed the hidden one, then the second owner, not seeing one, installed another one.

As I said I won’t know for sure, but I’d be willing to bet this is the problem, and that taking it out of the circuit will fix things. We’ll see.

About 1:30 Jan and I made a Wal-Mart run to the SuperCenter over on Valencia, much nicer than the one toward downtown. Then getting back to the fairgrounds, we came across a lady walking her pet, Rex on a leash.

What was unusual is that Rex is a ferret.

Rex The Ferret

A very cute ferret that Jan didn’t want to give back to the lady.

We had a number of ferrets as pets over the years when Chris and Brandi were younger, and always enjoyed them. They eat dry cat food and can be easily trained to use a littler box, and really make good pets.

I hope this doesn’t put any ideas into Jan’s head.

About 4:30 Chris and Charles Yust picked us up and we headed up the road and back to Luckie’s Thai for some more of their delicious Asian cuisine and good conversation. A lot of conversation, in fact. I think we were there for almost 3 hours, but we had a great time.

Chris and Charles leave for Waco tomorrow morning, but hopefully we’ll catch them at a rally somewhere along the road later this year.


Thought for the Day:

Every fight is a food fight when you’re a cannibal.


Cactus and Fried Chicken . . .

Well, I finally tracked down the elusive extra circuit breakers for our site and they were both popped. There is master circuit breaker panel at the far end of the row that also has 30 amp breakers in it. But it is strange that it’s always the ones in the remote panel that blow, and not the ones on the site pedestal.

Resetting them put power back to the pedestal by our site. But since the park is emptying out, no one is likely to park beside us before we have to leave next Sunday, so I probably won’t go to the trouble to switch us back.

In anticipation of heading up to Apache Junction next week I’ve been checking out RV parks in the area and it looks pretty promising. I found several parks that start giving long-term Passport America discounts beginning April 1st, rather than the 1 or 2 nights during the season.

One of them, Santa Fe RV Park, let’s you stay for 14 days for $13.50 a night under PA. That’s $94.50 a week, cheaper than we’re paying here at the fairgrounds. I called Nick to check it out with him and he said he’d drive through it and let me know.

About 11am I walked down to the park office and re-upped for another week. I was hoping we could stay until Monday, but the lady confirmed they will be closing the park on Sunday and we have to be out.

A few minutes later Chris and Charles Yust showed up after finishing up at the FMCA Rally down the road at Lazy Days. After they got settled we all headed out about noon to check out the Saguaro National Park, about 10 miles north of here.

Seguaro NP Visitors Center

After getting our National Park Passports stamped, we headed out on the 8 mile loop through the park.

The variety of cacti are just amazing.


Cactus 2

Cactus 3

Cactus 4

And many of the cacti were just beginning to bloom.

Cactus Blooms 2

Cactus Blooms 3

Cactus Blooms 4

Cactus Blooms 5

Cactus Blooms 6

And of course the name-sake Saguaro cacti were everywhere.

Seguaro Cactus

Seguaro Cactus 2

Seguaro Cactus 3

Cactus 5

These are Saguaro ‘bones’ or ‘ribs’.

Cactus Bones 1

These rods are what’s left of a Saguaro after it dies.

Cactus Bones 2

And sometimes ii’s all about the view.

Cactus 6

Cactus Rocks

On our way back from the Saguaro NP, Nick called and said they had just driven through the Santa Fe RV Park in Apache Junction and it looked really nice. Paved.streets, concrete pads, very nice. So I’ll give them a call in the next couple of days and try to set it up.

Since it was now getting to be supper time we decided to eat at Poco & Mom’s, a small family run restaurant that our Tucson friend’s Al and Adrienne had taken us to several years ago. Really good Mexican food with a lot of Hatch green chilies.

Well, I knew they were closed on Mondays, but what I didn’t remember is that they close at 2pm on Sundays. Bummer!

So after a couple of minutes of discussion we headed down the road to Golden Corral. They can sometimes be hit or miss, but one was really good. Delicious Prime Rib, great Fried Chicken, fish, etc. All good.

Tomorrow is another day.


Thought for the Day:

"Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes." – Thoreau


Shirts and Shower Curtains . . .

Today turned out to be pretty much a stay-at-home day. Something that it seems we don’t do often enough.

I think Jan pretty much read most of the day. It looks like I’ve got her hooked on one of my favorite authors (besides Nick, of course), Saxon Andrew. Saxon has 5 different science fiction series, with anywhere from 4 to 7 books in each series for a total of 20 books, all of them excellent.

Nick turned me on to Saxon, who I guess you could say writes in the Golden Age style, with rousing space battles and amazing inventions that save the day at the last moment.

I, on the other hand, worked on some projects, some around the rig, and some website stuff.

I never heard back from the Blue Ox people about getting my Aventa tow bar serviced, so I guess I’ll have to try and catch them at another rally, or maybe visit their factory in Pender, NE later this year.

About 4:30 this afternoon we lost power again. And just like yesterday, our 30 amp breaker wasn’t popped. And resetting it just in case did nothing. The outlet was just dead.

I think today we probably were drawing too much power. Jan had just taken a shower, so the water heater was running, plus she was using the microwave for supper and the AC was running.

I had called the RV office this morning and reported yesterday’s problem, but no one ever came out to fix it. So today I was still using the outlet for the empty site behind us. And now that one was dead too.

So I pulled a little more power cord out and connected us to the outlet of the site beside us. I told Jan that I had enough cord length to reach 5 other outlets before we would no longer have power to the rig. So she can blow the breaker a few more times before we’re out of luck.

I now think that the problem is that there is another circuit breaker in the line somewhere, which is blowing before the 30 amp breaker in the outlet box at the site. And having two breakers in series like this is against every electrical code I’ve seen.

I’ve got to go down to the RV office tomorrow and re-up for another week, so I’ll ask them then.

Finishing up, for you Big Bang Theory fans, I came across this website called It tells you where you can buy pretty much all the shirts that the characters wear on the show, and even things like Sheldon’s Clothing Folding Board that he used to fold his laundry, and of course Sheldon and Leonard’s Periodic Table shower curtain.


Thought for the Day:

When there are more people riding in the cart than there are pulling it, the cart stops moving.


Rib Fix . . .

I called the Blue Ox guy about 11 and they put me on the standby list to get my Blue Ox tow bar serviced. So hopefully they’ll be able to fit me in tomorrow.

Otherwise I’ll try to catch them at another rally, or, if necessary, we’ll make a detour by their factory in Pender, NE. This would work out well because Nebraska, along with Kansas and Oklahoma, are the only three states we haven’t RV’d in yet. So it might all work out anyway.

About 3:30 our power went off. At first I thought we had popped the breaker since we’re on 30 amps and both the AC and dryer were running. But when I checked the breaker, it wasn’t blown. I reset it anyway, but no luck.

My next thought was that the power to the whole park had gone off, but I seemed to be the only one out looking around, so maybe not. My next try was to move the plug to the other box on the pole. And that worked.

It could have been that the power came back on right when I moved to the new box. But for right now I left it like that since we were getting ready to leave in a few minutes for dinner. I’ll check it out later.

About 3:45pm Jan and I headed up to north Tucson to have dinner at Famous Dave’s BBQ, one of our two favorite BBQ chains, (the other being Sonny’s BBQ). We were both going into rib withdrawal and needed our fix.

Jan had a Half Rack of ribs, while I had my usual Rib and Brisket Plate. Along with their Devil’s Spit sauce, it’s a meal that’s hard to beat.

Leaving Famous Dave’s, we first headed a few miles north to an El Pollo Loco so we could pick up some of their delicious marinated grilled chicken to have for meals here at the rig.

Then finally heading home, and after we stopped to fill up the truck, we made a quick stop by Sam’s Club for a couple of things. It was kind of ironic that, after having BBQ for supper, we encountered a large BBQ Cookoff being held in the Sam’s Club parking lot. If we’d known beforehand, it might have been interesting to check it out. But we were so full we didn’t even want to think about more BBQ.

By the time we got home, it was dark and the drag strip right down the road was in high gear. And like last year, they obviously had a jet-powered dragster there.

I say ‘obviously’, because you can tell by the sound even if you can’t see it. And I’d be willing to bet that the jet engine they were using was a GE J-79, Used in the F-104 Starfighter, the F-4 Phantom, the A-5 Vigilante. and even the B-58 Hustler.

The J-79 was noted for making a particular ‘howling’ noise at different thrust settings, especially when it was throttled back on approach and landing. And the jet dragster tonight was howling up a storm when they shut down at the end of their run.

In fact the howl was one of the things that led to the F-4 being called the “Phantom”, and when I used to do DOD work at airbases around the country, even Jan knew when an F-4 went over.

And since we got home after dark, I didn’t get a chance to check further on the power problem. But there’s always tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity." – Harlan Ellison