Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's always something.

Good evening from cozy Williams, AZ. Although the temperature is dropping now, we had a lovely, warm day in Sedona. We left later than planned because I was on hold with WMECO for half an hour (literally) trying to find out how much our electric bill was, and when it was due. I guess a lot of people are calling them for some reason. I tried calling yesterday and it was a 15 - 20 minute wait. I should have quit while I was ahead.

Anyway.....I paid all our bills and Ken made our reservations for the train on Monday and we finally headed out to Sedona in the early afternoon. We decided not to take the long way around even though it would have been more scenic so we'd have time to actually 'be' in Sedona.

We had a mediocre lunch at The Cowboy Club. I ordered my hamburger medium and Ken ordered his medium rare. We each took a bite of our burgers only to discover that his was more cooked than mine. We would have traded but he had already put mayonnaise on his and I had ketchup on mine. The waiter was nice and asked Ken if he wanted another burger but Ken didn't want to spend the time to wait for it to be cooked. He did fill out the little form that comes with the bill though. I believe his comment was he would have gotten another burger but he didn't have the time to wait for the cook to finish cooking school.

We spent the afternoon shopping - or should I say, I spent the afternoon shopping. Ken spent the afternoon outside enjoying the magnificent scenery that is Sedona. My Mom was back and forth between inside shopping with me and outside with Ken. For those of you who don't know us - my Mom is in a wheelchair if we take her outside the house/RV. She uses a walker to get around at home and inside the RV. Her M.S. has progressed to a point where this is necessary.

I didn't go too overboard today but I did get a very cool Stetson hat to go with my boots. I'm still looking for the right jacket to complete the ensemble. I bought a cool Ganesh pen and a red dirt t shirt and bag. You can laugh now - but I also got my Chakras read. I figured I was at the vortex, I should go with the flow. Apparently, my spiritual and emotional chakras are very strong but my physical chakra was in need of some help. I bought a small crystal to help balance things out. I know I was looking at a smoky quartz but opted for a different stone - but I can't remember what it is.

Everything was going fine until we tried leaving Sedona. We were on the road going up out of the canyon and the car started lurching. It did this for miles but there was no place to pull over and I also didn't have a cell signal - not a good combination. We continued up the hill not having a clue what the problem was. We finally got to a spot where we could pull over but it was dark and we had no flashlight. Ken messed around with the battery cables and then decided it was too dark to see anything else and got back in the car. Things were not perfect but they were better than earlier and we managed to get back to the main road and then back to the RV. We were over 30 miles away when the fiasco started so we were grateful to make it back without incident.

Tomorrow, Ken will look under the hood in daylight and see what he can find out. The worst case scenario is that we'll tow the car behind us to Las Vegas and get it worked on while we are there visiting friends and family. At least we'll have access to a vehicle if we need one there.

On a side note: The Saints won their playoff game today. I am happy for them. Since the Steelers are out of it, I'm going to need a team to pull for. I have lots of friends in Louisiana who are very happy right now (and one in Massachusetts, too!). We'll see how things go.

I'm not sure now if we are going to the Grand Canyon tomorrow or not. It depends what Ken finds under the hood, I suppose. Wish us luck.

Perhaps I'll be able to catch up on the past before this weekend is over. It's not looking good for that happening today. I think this post is done!

Happy Saturday to you!
~ Kass

That really big hole in the ground

Hello and welcome to Grand Canyon country. What a day! We left Santa Fe this morning and headed to Arizona. We stopped at The Petrified Forest and drove around the painted desert until they kicked us out at closing time. What a beautiful place to be, and to watch the sun set. My grandparents went there before my Mom was born. It is always wonderful be someplace I know they were together. They took a cross country trip in the late 30's (I think - though it may have been the early 40's). I found the record of the trip they kept, but every time we travel west I forget to bring it with me. I guess that's a reason to do this trip again!

Anyway - we had a lovely afternoon, once it got started. Prior to getting into Arizona we were in search of ... a battery. The RV has been having some 'complaints' when trying to start. Ken was on a mission. We were in Gallup, N.M. and he did finally find out which battery he needed and was finally able to find one. It took a while, though.

I have to say, Gallup has always been a little on the sleazy side (nothing personal to anyone from, or in Gallup) but now it has been built up and it is more than a little sleazy feeling. We had been contemplating spending the night there but after driving around looking for the battery, we thought better of it. It's not that there is anything wrong with Gallup, so much as everything there is mass produced and 'bigger and better' than anywhere else. They sell their items in bulk and wholesale and it seems to take away any notion that it is authentic or made by a Native American. It reeks of 'Made in China'.

Moving on (now that I have insulted a large group of people - or two)....

We are staying in Williams and doing a day trip to Sedona tomorrow. On Sunday we will take my Mom and go see the Grand Canyon. Monday, Ken and I are indulging. We are going to take the train ride to the Canyon. That should be fun and beautiful. I hope we have good weather. It's been mighty nippy at night. It's currently 21 degrees. How's the weather where you are?

I seem to have a decent connection here so as long as my computer holds up, I may be able to catch up on the rest of our trip. One day, maybe, I'll be up to date again. I wouldn't hold your breath if I were you.

I guess that's it for now. I hope everyone has a great weekend. I am sure this will be a weekend I won't soon forget!

Remember to smile - it really does make people wonder what you are up to!
~ Kassidee

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Santa Fe by Day!

Hello, and how are you? We had a wonderful day in Santa Fe. All the shops I have been looking at, longingly, through windows at night were open and I had a great time going from one to the next to the next. I'm not so sure that Ken shares that sentiment but he was wonderful about it. I am a very lucky woman!

I didn't do too much damage to our budget - but I did get a few really nice things. I got a small Ganesh (you can never have too many) and a beautiful jacket. I got a really cool top and some earrings for my Mom. We had lunch at The Sleeping Dog. It was pretty good. I got the duck and I tasted Ken's burger. I have to tell you - it was one of the best burgers I've ever tasted. The bacon on it was fresh and not reheated. It was cooked the way he asked - rare. If you go - get a burger! The butternut squash ginger soup was good, too. I would have liked some bread with it or something.

Anyway - we shopped and walked and talked to people all afternoon. I had a great time. On the way back to the RV we stopped at Book Mountain Paperback Exchange. I was able to get the book for my next book club meeting (someone had just brought it in 2 hours earlier), and a few other books for fun. Then we came back to the RV and Ken cooked dinner. Tomorrow, we are leaving bright and early. We are Gallup, N.M. bound.

More when I have access. There are still stories to tell from Lake Charles, but at least I've kept you up to date here in Santa Fe so I didn't fall further behind!

Here's to the weekend!
~ Kassidee

Good news/Bad News

The bad news is that we still aren't exactly sure what is causing the problem with the brake release (or the lack thereof). There seems to be a delay between changing gears and the computer knowing that we have changed gears. There is also paperwork that says it can take up to 15 seconds for the release of the brake in cold weather. This, however, does not explain why pulling/switching the fuse 'fixed' the problem.

The good news is that the wonderful folks at Hal Burns only charged us 195.69 and told us we can stay plugged in another night and go enjoy Santa Fe in the daylight! David (Burns) also told us that if we should have any other problems with it and we can get back here that he wouldn't charge us another diagnostic fee and they'd work on it some more. He also assured us that we aren't doing any damage, and we aren't in any danger. Once the vehicle is running down the road the brakes will not just lock up on us. That is a relief.

Life is good and we are off to shop!
More later!
Woo Hooo!
~ (a very happy) Kassidee

Day Three in Santa Fe

Good morning world. How are things out there? We are still living in the parking lot and enjoying Santa Fe by night. It's saving us lots of money since all the shops are closed by the time we get downtown.

We had dinner last night at Cafe Pasquale's. It was a delightful place. Wonderful service, amazing food, and a great atmosphere. I'd tell you more but the mechanics just got here to check out the RV. Maybe I'll get to see Santa Fe by daylight today!

Keep good thoughts!
~ Kass

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sit Rep: Santa Fe...

We are still stuck in Santa Fe and not leaving any time soon. We are here until at least tomorrow.

The owner is personally working on our RV - I hope that doesn't double the price. He was on hold with Workhorse for 45 min and finally left a message. I hope we didn't have to pay for that, too. When they called back and he tried to pick up the call - they were gone. He's calling Workhorse again.

He thinks it's a computer issue. I don't know if that is good news or bad news. We have the dogs locked in the car so he can come and go without incident and barking. The cats were locked in the bedroom but they were none to pleased about it. Eventually we let them out and we are keeping an eye on things. He said we should go to town but I am not leaving the pets vulnerable to someone opening the door and them disappearing.

I did find a dog park that is open 24 hours a day so the dogs will get a treat when this is all over. I probably won't have time to do any shopping again but Ken and I will probably go into town for dinner if nothing else.

I assume that we won't get out of here tomorrow either. Unless they fix it early in the day we won't have enough time to get 'anywhere' so we will most likely stay here one more night and leave first thing Friday morning. That, of course, is assuming the problem gets fixed tomorrow!

At least that should give me time to shop tomorrow afternoon. I think a gift from Santa Fe is in order. I just pray the cost of this repair isn't something insane. I am trying not to think about that part.

It's almost 4 P.M. and it's an overcast afternoon. Not cold but not warm either. Not much to say - not much to do. I have been knitting Ken's sock again. It is the sock from hell. I had to rip out 6 rows today. I don't want to talk about it.

Have a lovely evening. I'll be sleeping in a parking lot again. I'm really not complaining. It's free, there is electric and I have internet. It really could be worse.

:) Kassidee

Waiting in Santa Fe

Here we are - in Santa Fe and stuck on the RV until someone comes to look at it. It's the perfect opportunity to catch up on all the old news and bring things up to date. One of two things will happen. I will accomplish that goal or right in the middle they will come knock on the door!

I guess 'real' details at this point will be lost but I'll give you the basics. By the way - I was reading yesterday about how to keep your blog from being boring. Apparently mine is all the things a blog shouldn't be. Oh well. I told my friends I'd be in touch from the road and that is all this blog was meant to be - at least for now. Perhaps in the future I will be opinionated and share my feelings on topics of the day or something like that - but for now - this is all she wrote!

The first night we were in Lake Charles, we stopped by Company 9 to see Tracy and make plans to get together later in our visit. We made a great plan for New Year's Eve. We were all going to meet up at Matt and Annie's and Tracy and some other friends were going to play music. We figured we'd all bring some food and have a good ol' time. Sadly, that plan got nixed because Matt had to work. As it turned out - that was the only time we saw Tracy at all. The upside to that visit was that Paul (of fried chicken fame) was working over and he was there to make the Tuesday-Friday chicken plan for Sunday!

After we left the fire station, we drove over to Chris and Kathy's to visit with them and their 3 kids. Only 2 of the kids were home and we never did get to see Meredith. Grace is almost as tall as I am and beautiful! Sarah was a baby when we left and now she is a beautiful little girl who entertains just by being in the room. She has the most amazing head of hair I have ever seen. Take a look for yourself! Chris made an awesome venison and pork chili and we hung out and talked and laughed and had a great time. We tried to get together with them again - but we ran out of time. It was wonderful to see them!

I just got word that we are about 15 minutes from a mechanic showing up so I will post this for now rather than get interrupted mid thought and have to quit in a hurry.

I hope you are having a great day - wherever you are and whatever you are doing. I'll keep you posted as to our situation as best I can.

More soon, I hope!
~ Kassidee

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday night in Santa Fe

Well - Santa Fe may not have been in the original itinerary but it managed to sneak in anyway. I have no idea if we are here for a few hours or a few days. We tried to leave Taos this morning and we got about 4 feet and WHAM - the brakes locked up again. Ken pulled the fuse and put it back in and away we went. The good news is we were able to get to the RV repair place with no problems. The bad news is we still have the brake problem that we thought was solved.

We didn't want to take any chances so we decided a detour to Santa Fe was in order. We are at Hal Burns (the RV repair place Good Sam wanted to tow us to yesterday). So far, everyone has been very nice. We are literally living in front of the bay our RV will be worked on in the morning. They plugged us in to 50 amp service and even gave us the password for the internet. The plan is to see if the same thing occurs tomorrow morning so they will sort of know what they are looking at/for. It's odd to hope that something is 'wrong' so they know what to fix.

We didn't get to town early enough to do much shopping but we did walk around and window shop a bit. We had a nice dinner at Rio Chama. I recommend the duck crepe appetizer. It was yummy.

It was a beautiful drive here from Taos and I am really enamored of this area. I keep threatening to live here. It's good I really love home or it might be easy to move. We are toying with the idea of spending a month here next year. We'll see what happens.

I guess I'll try to fill you in on more details from our time in Lake Charles, tomorrow. I promise, I'll catch up one of these days. For now, I am happy that both my phone and my computer are working at the same time!

Hope things are going well in your universe - they are in mine!
~ Kassidee

Internet: Yes, Phone: No

It seems to be a bad week for technical items anywhere in my vicinity. Yesterday it was the internet and the fuse/brakes; today it is my cell phone. I keep getting a message saying call forwarding is on but a) I have no idea why, b) I have no idea what that means and c) I have no idea how to make it stop. I tried canceling it. It says 'canceled' and then it is still on when I make a call. I noticed it on the other day and nothing was different so I wasn't worried about it.

Today is another story. Every time I try to make a phone call today I get a 'network busy' message and get disconnected. Is someone watching us with a camera? Is Candid Camera back on the air or something? (Am I dating myself, there?)

I am going to head out to the pay phone and call AT&T about my phone issues. It will not be fun having no phone and no internet. I don't know where we are staying tonight but I believe our goal is get to Gallup, N.M. I'll try to be in touch from there. One of these days I'll fill you in on the rest of the trip. It will be one very long post that no one will want to read!

I hope everyone out there is having a great day! If you call me and I don't return your phone call - now you know why!

Happy Tuesday!
We're hitting the road - again....
~ Kass

Monday, January 11, 2010

Stuck brake and no internet – Really ‘stuck’ in Taos

Welcome to another addition of copy and paste. At least I can still type.

We have been leaving Taos since 9:30 this morning and it is currently a bit past 1 in the afternoon. We haven’t had lunch yet and I don’t eat breakfast – so I’m getting mighty hungry. Sadly, this is the least of our problems.

We tried to pull out this morning and went about 3 feet and got slammed back in our seats as if we were tethered to something behind us that we forgot to unhook. We spent a bunch of time trying to figure out what the problem was and finally called Good Sam. The mechanic there was able to tell Ken how to override the brake so things were looking good. The only problem is that we can only go 3 feet at a time and then the brake locks up again. We found this out trying to go get the propane tank filled as we are about out of propane and need it for heat and for cooking. Obviously, heat is the priority – we can always microwave.

We gave up on the idea of getting propane and Ken managed to back the RV back into the site we had tried to leave. We are currently hooked up to electric and water etc. He got it far enough back that we can also get my Mom off the RV if we need to. When we first got stuck – there wasn’t enough room to put the ramps down to get her wheelchair off the RV. At least this is progress.

We called Good Sam back and they gave us the name of a place that could work on the RV. I called it and discovered it was in Santa Fe – about 70 miles from Taos. I made a few more calls and Ken tried to find someone local. He was given the name of a local person who comes out to work on vehicles – only to find out he only works on appliances. Good to know, but not going to help us right now. He told Ken about someone else who might be able to help but Ken had to drive over to see him.

I got on the phone again with Good Sam to see why they were trying to send us to Santa Fe. Ken drove over to talk to the mechanic. I discovered that Santa Fe IS the closest place that can work our RV. Ken found the nice mechanic guy who liked his shirt (Captain Beefheart) and is willing to work on the RV. He wanted Ken to get some more information about the problem from Workhorse. Ken is on the phone with Workhorse as I type.

I called Good Sam back to make sure the towing is covered. We will need to be flatbedded (is that a word?) to Santa Fe. The brake is locked up and so we can’t be ‘towed’ in the normal fashion. Thank goodness the towing is covered. I can only imagine what the cost of the repair will be. We will have to get a hotel room in Santa Fe that takes pets. We’ll have to load up the little Honda CRV with 3 people, 7 cats, 3 dogs, one walker, one wheelchair and some clothing. Add to that 2 dog kennels and our personal items and we will look like a traveling road show.

I don’t know what the deal is with my computer and the internet. Last week I couldn’t get connected. This week it says I’m connected but I’m not getting service.

Ken is on the phone with Workhorse and they are making him do all kinds of stuff. One of the things he did was unplug some fuses. Now our jacks won’t go up. Are we having fun yet?

I will keep you posted as best I can with no internet – but we are certainly in for an interesting ride (no pun intended!)

~ Kassidee

P.S. It's now 6:30 P.M. and I (obviously) have internet. Ken spent another while on the phone with Workhorse and in the end it was a fuse! He switched it out and all is right with the world. We had a wonderful afternoon at the Taos Pueblo. We heard wonderful stories from someone who lives there, ate Indian Fry Bread (one of Ken's favorites) and I bought a cool turquoise bracelet. I should have some decent (I hope) photos to post later on. We also stopped in at a very cool batik shop that you should check out if you are looking for an original gift. It's called Good Thunder Batik.

More later, I hope!
~ Kassidee

Random photos from the trip

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's the 10th of January...

..and I still ain't had no sleep. One of my all time favorite Arlo Guthrie songs. I won't spend the time right now to tell you the impact that Arlo has had on my life. Some folks reading this already know and the rest of you will have to wait for posts written after this road trip if I am going to embark on that story.

Today did not start out in the best way possible. We awoke to find the door to the RV - open! We can't figure out how that happened but you can imagine our concern since we are traveling with 7 cats and 3 dogs. Two of the dogs are kenneled at night. The third was busy barking, and trying to get our attention because he knew something wasn't right. Next time, we'll listen to him. I guess it was something akin to, "Timmy's in the well" and that new commercial on TV where the guy is just ignoring the poor dog. Natchitoches is a wonderful dog and he stayed here to protect us instead of roaming around free - which I know he loves to do. Extra treats for him, tonight!

We did a head count of cats and we were down three. Luckily, the cat that would be the most difficult to get back (Thor) was still in his favorite hiding spot under the bed and I saw him right away. Had I not seen him, I would have been living in this RV spot until he came home - and it could have been a long wait. The last time he got out at the house, he would show up at the door but not come in. Every time I would stand up to open the door, he would run. I would put food out - enough so he wouldn't be too hungry but not enough that he wouldn't have to keep coming back for more. He managed to find a way in and out of the basement, and after 3 days of his not coming inside, we rented a have-a-heart trap and put it down there with some food inside. I know the sound must have scared him to death - but it worked like a charm. I'm not so sure if he'd gotten out here that we'd have ever seen him again. I'm SO grateful that I didn't have to deal with that. It would NOT have been pretty. (The photo is of the elusive, but lovable, Thor).

My friends can probably guess which cats got out - but for the rest of you - Joshua, Moses and Isadore. Mosey was on the steps to the RV when Ken went out and discovered the door was open. As soon as he swung it open, Moses came darting inside. We suspect it was Moses who pushed against it in the first place and got it open. We are assuming the latch didn't connect and although it was 'locked' it was on the wrong side of the latch. Ken went out looking around while I got dressed and as soon as I walked outside I found Izzy on top of the tire in the wheel well. I got a good hold on the scruff of his neck and although I tore my thumb open on the edge, I pulled him towards me and got him in my arms. I threw him inside the RV as Ken was calling to me about Joshua. Izzy forgave me as soon as I walked back into the RV by coming up and rubbing against me. He is a loner, but a love.

Joshua is another story. On our last big RV trip we were parked in a friend's cul-de-sac and Ken left a window open a tiny bit for some fresh air. Our cats are too smart for that and Moses and Joshy got out then, too. Our friends noticed, and were able to pick Moses up and put him back inside. Joshy, on the other hand, wouldn't let them near him (no surprise there) and so they called us. We were out eating lunch when we got the phone call. We ended lunch abruptly and returned to the RV. Once there, we went wandering around the neighborhood looking for Joshua. I discovered that tuxedo cats look very similar and though you think you know your cats - when they are in the street and missing - they all look alike! I almost stole a neighbor's cat. (Remind me to tell you a story about that!)

Anyway - we finally found Joshy under a truck near the RV but every time I tried to get close to him, he would run. He was so freaked out, that at one point he even hissed at me. Poor baby. I know it didn't help that other people were trying to 'help us out' and everyone was chasing him before we got there and even after we got back. I kept trying to politely tell them that he 'didn't do strangers' under the best of circumstances and they were actually hindering the chances of his return - but you know how people are when they are trying to be helpful. It isn't about you anymore; it's about them saving the day. (Or something like that).

I finally stopped being worried about Josh and tried to think like my cat. I knew he was there and I knew he was safe. I did the most logical thing I could think of. I got on the RV, opened the door, and called him home - just like I used to when we lived in Lake Charles and he was an indoor/outdoor cat. It worked like a charm and he came flying onto the RV as if he'd never been so relieved in his life. I know I was!

To make a long story short, (ha!) once Ken spotted Joshy today, he ran a bit closer to the RV and away from Ken. I opened the door and stood out of the way - called his name and in he ran. All cats were now present and accounted for. It was only then that I really started to tremble with the knowledge that I might have lost some or all of my babies. I am pretty good in a crisis - I don't fall apart until after it's over and there is time.

I put some neosporin and a Scooby-doo bandaid on my thumb and Joshy came over to sit on my lap and purr. It doesn't get much better than that! Natchitoches went over to smell Moses and make sure he'd come back 'ok'. Ken and I spent some time checking out the door and it's locking mechanisms. We'll make sure THAT never happens again!

Ken is currently out riding his bike. It is sunny but cold and I still have to actually get ready for the day. I sort of woke up in a hurry and didn't even brush my teeth yet! It's a bit past noon and I guess I should go do that.

I guess this is a pretty long (and boring) post but my cats mean the world to me and if you are going to know me and read my blog - you are going to have to get used to the occasional indulgence into the life and times of my pets. I love my dogs, as well - so no comments from the peanut gallery, please!

Here's to hoping that your Saturday is going better than mine started out going and that you have an awesome weekend!

~ (Crisis averted) Kassidee