Camping by the Colorado River

Damsel at the River

We have embarked on our latest excursion heading to see family in California. But tonight, we opted to camp in Arizona still, just east of Blythe, CA on the Colorado in Ehrenberg, AZ. Damsel and I decided that we did not want to make the six-hour trip all the way out to San Dimas in just one leg, so we’re camped here after only a little over two hours on the road.

We stopped at the half way point at a familiar place to us on the Arizona Outback (Salome, to be exact) to pick up a couple of souvenirs and gifts for the California folks. We have a lot of family and friends out there, so we get stuff for the kids and other family members.

The image is of Damsel and Beethoven down on the river’s edge taken this afternoon after we arrived. We will be underway again tomorrow after breaking camp.

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Welcome Great Grandchild Number Three

Mikey

Shortly after midnight this morning our third great grandchild was born. “Mikey” is the second boy born to our eldest granddaughter and joins his older brother, Alex (3) and his cousin Maci (7 mo) into the ranks of our great grandchildren. We hope to be able to meet up with all the grandchildren and their great kids very soon.

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Unaffordable Care Act

Chart -2015 to 2018

My former company’s retirement plan is conducting their annual enrollment period for healthcare insurance this month. The retirees, their spouses and dependents may select one of several plans during the open enrollment period.

I went on the website to make our selections for the coming year and, much to my annoyance, the premiums are going up yet again. I decided to look at the recent history of the rates and came up with the chart above. The image has neither legends nor scales, but I am going to explain them.

The four vertical cubes represent 2015 through 2018 and the height of each shows the relative amount for the premiums. I limited it to these four years since that is the period when the Obummercare mess has screwed up the system for everyone, not just ACA exchange subscribers.

The chart applies only to Damsel’s insurance premiums that we pay monthly. I did not do the complex analysis of my Medicare and Medigap (for the 20% that the .gov doesn’t pay) which I may do one of these times. Below are the results according to the chart above:

  • Increase from 2015 to 2016 - 10%
  • Increase from 2016 to 2017 - 30%
  • Increase from 2017 to 2018 - 12%

That’s a whopping total of 52% increase over a period during which we realized NO additional cost of living compensation. We are on virtually a fixed income. The last Social Security cost of living increase was exactly canceled out by an increase in my Medicare part B premiums.

This is yet another example of how the Government screws us up by trying to “help” us.

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Back in the RV Port

Back in the RV Port

After fetching the Thor Palazzo from the RV Dealer last week where warranty work had been accomplished (for the most part), we parked the big rig on the lot across the road from our house. This is because we can’t take the RV up the drive west of the house due to the road being washed out from summer monsoons.*

If the RV is parked across the road, that makes for some inconveniences:

  • No hookup access (sewer, electric, water)
  • Hundreds of feet away from the house for restocking and supply purposes
  • minimal security

Because we would really like to have the RV back up here with us, Damsel and I worked together to back the big guy up the east driveway and into its normal spot behind the garage. There were some challenges involved since the east driveway is steeper, we’re going in reverse and the existing structures (house, garage, retaining wall) are in fairly close proximity.

Working with Damsel, we made a couple of iterations at backing up the drive, once or twice making us both nervous, but we finally got the right combination of angles and distances such that the RV is now back where we can have access to the items listed above and with better security since we can see and hear better where it is now parked.

*We plan on fixing the washed out road over the winter months.

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Headed Home After Warranty Work

Headed Home

During our August/September road trip we noticed a few things needed to be fixed, all of which were covered by the warranty. They were mostly minor squawks, but there were some parts they needed to order, so the coach stayed at the dealer for the better part of a month.

Damsel took this photo of the RV headed north on Loop 303 on our way from the dealer in Avondale to our home in Wickenburg. I believe we were going through Litchfield Park at the time of the photo.

The RV is currently parked across the road since we still have not had a contractor come out to level the approach to the RV Drive where the monsoons washed out a lot of sand and gravel. We have to do this so the undercarriage of the RV won’t drag on the ground causing who knows what kind of damage.

There is also a possibility that I can back the RV up the main driveway by the garage in the reverse of when we take it down that way when we are headed out. It will be a team effort for me to back up the driveway while Damsel guides me from outside. We have a couple of little Uniden FRS/GMRS Radios to communicate while we’re doing that.

We will decide when and if we need to do the latter if the cost of fixing the road is such that it may take us some time to save up for it.

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More Queen Cactus Fruit

Queen Cactus Fruit

I posted a photo of this peniocereus greggii cactus fruit in a comment to a post I made late in September. This is the current appearance of the cactus fruit ripening on the queen cactus adjacent to the east part of the lot by our driveway.

This one, unlike the ones I posted about then, has not been hollowed out by birds or other critters yet. It looks to me like it is turning red like the other ones. I’ll keep an eye on it and post more when there is a change in appearance.

Encyclopedia of Life has these details about propagation of the Queen Cactus:

Peniocereus greggii blooms for 4 to 12 nights each season, with most flowers opening synchronously at dusk and closing at dawn (Raguso et al. 2003). This species is also known to self-incompatible, so pollination by an insect, usually a hawk moth or honeybee, is required for successful fruit maturation (Raguso et al. 2003). Fruits are red, fleshy and ripe during the fall migration season and are dispersed by birds (Suzan et al. 1994).

Update 10/12/2017: The fruit is now ripe and the birds have begun to peck out the pulp. Click on the image to enlarge.

ripe

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Eight Years

Eight YearsEight years ago today was the first day of retirement for me. Almost immediately, Damsel and I set out to begin looking at places where we could relocate outside of Kalifornistan. Within a week we were in Southern Arizona on a combination of vacationing and looking at potential places to eventually live.

That first trip wasn’t very fruitful other than us having vacation fun in places like Pima Air Museum Tombstone, Mission San Xavier del Bac and Saguaro National Park. Arizona is a very scenic and interesting place.

We took a couple of other trips in the early part of 2010 with more serious focus on relocation. We finally decided on Wickenburg after some research and having visited here several times. We made a deal for some property and after some delay in getting financing, construction on the house began late summer of that year.

It’s coming up on seven years that we have been happily relocated to our retirement home. With continued good health and our nest egg holding out, we expect to have many more blissful years of retirement here and on the road.

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