Chapter 23

July 11 - 25

The last two installments totally had to do with asking for your help in making our decision, and the results of all the feedback. So, there's a lot of catching up to do with what we were doing in the meantime.

Eric Sells the Brake Buddy

I asked son Eric if he would take on the job of selling the Brake Buddy and he said yes. And he did. He found someone who wanted it — at a very fair price — dutifully shipped it to the buyer then learned that Ken and I had been totally ignorant about what was to be included. We had packed up the unit with its instructions and break-away cable and considered it done. It never occurred to us that both the Moose and the Mouse had been modified to be able to use the braking system. I did some research and was able to buy the missing pieces and have them sent to the buyer. Eric has a sterling reputation on e-Bay and we certainly didn't want to mess him up based on our ignorance. So, the buyer is happy and we have some extra cash.

Interesting Facts

I keep talking about the weather, because it truly is fascinating. On Saturday the 11th we drove to the new house to take some cabinet and room measurements. On the way we noted the outside temperature as we traveled the 15 miles. It was 88 degrees when we left here, dropped to 79 in Oceanside, and was 92 when we returned. It is astonishing how temperature changes in just a few miles.

I've always loved the cloud formations in Florida. Here's an interesting one I hadn't seen before, as we sipped our cocktails outside, one evening.

I've been looking at the landscaping as we travel and have tried to find out names of various things that I like. In doing the research I uncovered the fact that 30% of California flora cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Now that's curious. How, do you suppose, did it get here in the first place.

A Beer Run

On the 14th Eric drove here to pick me up for a beer run to two micro breweries in San Diego: Ballast Point, and Alpine. He brought his new puppy Tatum, who stretched out in the back seat to doze as we traveled.

I didn't think to take pictures, but the scenery on the way was lovely as usual. Eric got his growlers and a few bottles to bring back to Ken, who is developing a taste for the unusual brews. Eric has written some thoughts about the beer industry and our trip:

"The First Brewery we visited was Ballast Point in San Diego.

One a handful of small craft breweries in California, it is one of the best — a great variety of styles. We got a growler (a U.S. half gallon — 1,890 ml/66.5 imp fl oz — glass jug used to transport draft beer in the United States. They are commonly sold at breweries and brewpubs as a means to sell take-out beer) of a wonderful IPA (India Pale Ale) called "Sculpin" and a growler of "Reef Rye Brown Ale" which is an American Brown Ale with a touch of Rye. Also picked up 12 "bombers" (22 oz. bottles) of my 2nd fave beer this year - "Dorado" - a Double (or imperial) IPA -very hoppy and floral. 2 of those went to Ken - who's quickly developing a craft beer palate.

The next stop was Alpine Beer Co:

A smaller brewery in rural area about 30 miles East of San Diego, they are my current favorite. We picked up 2 growlers of their Double IPA called "Exponential Hoppiness" and 2 growlers of the best beer I've had this year - Nelson Rye IPA - a really striking rye flavor. Also snagged a tie-dye t-shirt.

Then it was back to the RV for lunch and home to LA. A great way to spend the day with Mom."

Does he sound like a beer expert, or what?

A Trip to Carlsbad

Our RV neighbors and new friends — Dennis and Donna Bernaiche — suggested a German restaurant in Carlsbad, for lunch on the 16th. Carlsbad is a community just south of our new location and spreads out to the beaches (as does Oceanside, where we will be, just not on the beach). For those of you in Sarasota, think Geier's with a restaurant attached. The grocery store is so similar, but it's great to have access to all the good German sausages and European dishes, too. Tip Top Meats is the name of the place.

For those of you who know Ken really well, you'll appreciate his interest in the broad selection of sausages there. For me, access to soup bones is a real plus. And for my friend Doris Cahill, I dedicate this luscious display of German desserts.

Newphew Peter Mitchell

You may remember the story of our niece and nephew (Chris and Peter Mitchell), who rode a motorcycle together from Tampa to Washington DC for the Rolling Thunder rally. (See Chapter 4) On Friday the 17th nephew Pete drove a rented car from where he was staying for a conference at Camp Pendleton. We caught up on his and Chris' life, and had a lovely dinner together. Pete has fascinating stories about his (past) life as a Marine and his time in in Iraq, some of which was spent in the Green Zone.

Trip to Colton July 19-20

We set up a date to drive about an hour north to Colton to have the new braking system installed. Ken drove the Moose and I followed in the Saturn. We decided to go up the day before so that we could be at the garage first thing Monday morning.

When we got to the RV park, the temperature had gone from 88 in Escondido to 114 in Colton. Thank goodness for air conditioning. It was the first time in three months we needed it for sleeping. Early Monday we headed out to the Colton Truck Terminal Garage, a place that was recommended by the manufacturer of the new braking system.

It's an interesting system that uses the air from the motor home air brakes to operate the brakes in the toad. It's evidently complex to install, and took them about 6 hours, mostly working on the Saturn (toad). In the rightmost picture below the arrow points to the line that brings the motor home air to the car.

In addition they installed a break-away umbilical that pulls out and causes the car to stop if the RV and car are separated. That prevents the car from caroming down the interstate.

We were ready to go at about 3:30, with me riding shotgun and Ken driving the heavy traffic two hours it took to get back to Escondido.

Improving the Moose

Our goal is to get all of our changes for the Moose made before we make the trip to Las Vegas in early August. The first thing was to get Ken's very large TV screen installed on a swing-out arm. Plus, since we were putting it in a differrent direction from the old one, all of the speakers had to be moved, along with the DVD player and recorder. We were lucky to find David, who knows all of the systems in motor homes. It was a total mess for two days.



How's that for a computer monitor?

The next thing I wanted to do was to create more storage space. We thought that the dining room table not only was unsightly, it wasn't very useful. You had to be 125 pounds or less to squeeze into the chairs. So, we gave those to Goodwill. This is the way it looked before (sorry that the sides are in so it's really narrowed the living space).

Here's the progression after the chairs were gone and the table removed to the outside.

The table left a footprint in the carpet.

The chair near the door had to be removed in order to get the base cabinet in.

The cabinet before any drawers were added.

The upper right drawer houses the printer.

The middle lower cabinet is a file drawer, while the left pull-out drawer hides the trash bin. The rest are drawers for any use. When it's all together, the top provides buffet space.

I bought two folding chairs to sit to the left. One is Ken's computer chair, the other will be mine, but both available when company arrives.


More Storage

You may remember what the original TV cabinet looked like. Originally the lower portion was an electric fireplace, which we replaced in Tampa at LazyDays, with the cabinets that you can see in this picture. However, now that we had a big TV to watch, we wanted this one removed and replaced with pantry storage.

With the TV removed there is lots of room for storage.

Voila! I was so excited to get everything put away. When it's all closed up it's very pretty.

Update on the house

On Thursday we had our bank in Sarasota wire the money to the escrow company. Closing should be early next week. In the meantime, of course, there were more pages to be signed. This is Debi Vail, who has been terrific helping us with this purchase. You can see the stack of papers that are needed in California. And this was the third time we signed stuff. I posited that part of California's budget woes must have to do with the thousands of buildings required to hold all of this kind of paper. Imagine: the real estate office has to keep a copy, the escrow gets a copy, the seller gets a copy, and so do we. If Californians are truly tree-huggers, this is a good part of beauracracy to attack, I think.

So, if all goes well, we should be able to start some of the fix-ups, plus buying some stuff and getting it delivered to the house. More of that next time.

Next Chapter: 24