(Formally "Plan V: A Van Dwelling Blog", when I lived in a 1978 Dodge Xplorer 228 Class B motorhome van)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A very Arizona Christmas

A very AZ Christmas: Palm trees, clear blue sky, bright sunshine and 62 degrees with almost no wind... perfect for short sleeves. (It feels wrong somehow.. haha!)

  Happy Holidays!  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Staying over in Benson another month

My rent at this Benson, AZ RV park is up on Sunday - but I think I will stay here  for another month. The stuff in Quartzsite will still be going on in January.

I have dirt cheap rent here and I'm not sick of being here really... it's quiet enough and not that far to bike to get groceries or drive to get propane. I quite like it here.... for now.

The thing is, my rear suspension is in somewhat bad shape. I knew this before I left but I don't think I should put it off any longer. The shocks are worn out and I may need some other work done such as leaf spring bushings.

I had started to use a local garage but the mechanic made bizarre claims that RV shocks aren't strong enough for my small RV. Go figure. So I returned the shocks and didn't pay them any labor for just putting it on the rack and looking at it. They acted like they didn't want to do it, so I wasn't going to argue about it.

I have since joined Amazon Prime so I can get free two day shipping and save a bundle over retail, not only on the shocks but some bicycle stuff I want and need since my bikes are my real daily drivers around here.

Anyhow, by staying over here into January, I can save a big chunk of money this month plus a chunk from next month's check at a good dedicated spring shop in Tucson as I pass through on my way to Quartzsite. By the time I do, maybe I can get everything fixed that needs fixing and not have an empty savings account afterwords.

Also, I don't see much point in hurrying into California in January or February in the dead of winter and being stuck with high RV park rent before it's good enough weather to enjoy the state. It would be that or stay over at Quartzsite even longer which I might get sick of after 2-4 weeks due to having to dump my grey water so much as a result of my 22 gallon capacity tank. Even if I don't get there until February, shows will still be going on for another month. I might miss most of it, but in terms of smart planning and saving for

I think I will go ahead and invest in a small electric heater though. Right now I'm using propane for heating. The electric here is metered, so I have to pay for usage - but at least I don't have to go refill propane tanks as often when using an electric heater. It costs me some gas plus it's a huge hassle to unhook everything, secure everything in the van.. just to drive a mile down the road for 10 minutes to get the tanks refilled. 

I should probably also buy a long coaxial cable so I can hook up the cable TV they supply for free that I haven't used any since I have been here.

Who knows... I might stay here into February even. I'll just have to see how things are in early January when the rent is almost up again. I'm using almost no gas parked here since I walk/bike mostly. The only times I drove last month (Nov) were the trip to Tombstone and a quick 3 mile round trip to get propane and a big load of groceries one day.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cheap shower head replacement

I finally got sick of the near worthless original shower head my van had. It didn't really spray, so much as just dribbled out. You could turn it face up and it wouldn't spray up into the air.

I was about to go buy the $6 Peerless shower head from Wal-Mart like I installed in the house I had with low water pressure, but I stopped off at Goodwill next door first. I found the exact shower head in an open package, but it appeared to be never used... for $1. Heck yeah!

So I stopped off at Ace Hardware and bought a plastic threaded nipple for connecting the shower head to the existing hose. Now I have a shower that actually SPRAYS instead of dribbling.

Its not real pretty but it has a water saving cutoff switch (it brings it down to a trickle, it doesn't totally shut it of) and I like it MUCH better than the old shower head. It cost me the sum total of around $1.85.

I'll keep the old shower head as a spare. There's no sense in throwing it out. It hangs on the wall there in the bathroom out of the way. if the other one gets broken somehow, at least I'd have something to use.

Before and after photos..

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tombstone, AZ

Happy thanksgiving!

Yes, it has been a long time since I posted. I've mostly been sitting around doing nothing for the past several weeks getting over the cold, then a migraine last week. I finally felt up to venturing down to Tombstone, AZ on Tuesday (Nov 26).

I parked next to the old court house/state park musuem and walked around. I had a big lunch at the Crystal Palace Saloon and overall had a very enjoyble day. I stopped at Boot Hill on my way back to Benson as well.

This time I have the photos uploaded to Facebook, but anyone can view them at the two links below without any special access needed.

Friday, November 8, 2013

I need a break!!

Due to stressing out badly over relatively minor things. I decided to take a break and get an RV spot for a month in Benson, AZ. I was already planning to visit Tombstone, AZ which is only 25 miles from this RV park, so I can visit it several times during my stay. Part of my stress was due to being sick for the past 7-10 days but also having to keep on the move and staying so busy. I'm just not used to it. I need a chance to relax and do nothing for a while, as I so desire. I drove straight through to Benson from Las Cruces, save for a couple quick stops along the way.

One of which is a big waste of tax payer money. A border patrol checkpoint along I-10 west bound, in the middle of New Mexico a short ways outside of Las Cruces, not really close to the Mexican border at all.

I took the photo so it wasn't too obvious to the agents if they happened to be looking my way that I was doing so.

Once I got up there, I got asked all of two questions:

"Are you a United States citizen?"
"Is anyone else traveling with you today?"

"Yes", "No", and I was told I could continue on. Is this [i][b]really[/b][/i] the best use of tax dollars for the "security" of the country?

Fast forward a couple hours, I stopped off at the Flying J in Lordsburg, NM for a break.

A short while later, I was in Arizona. I stopped at the first rest area into AZ but it didn't have much. The view was fair at best.

I skipped the next one which I regret, it would have been awesome for photos of the mountains. *sigh* By the time I realized it, I was past the exit. They need to mark it as a scenic overlook as well as a rest area!

I arrived in Benson around 4pm and found the RV park (El Rio) without using GPS... I took the first exit and the road took me right past it. For once I actually spotted something I was looking for on the first try! I'm here for the next 30 days now. I found probably the lowest price RV park around. $220/mo plus metered electric. Being that it's November, I won't need the A/C much or at all so I won't have much of an electric bill to pay next month upon checkout.

The main reason the place is so cheap, I suspect, is the spaces are VERY small. The biggest that would fit is a 30ft travel trailer or 5th wheel. There is NO WAY a 40ft massive Class A motorhome could fit in here. They are all back-in spaces and some of them are VERY tight, such as the spot I got. I fit in fine but anything much larger would be hard to fit in width wise. The WIFI sucks, sadly. But I have my Virgin Mobile Android with unlimited (throttled after 3.5GB) hotspot which is working very well here thankfully, so I won't have to rely on the lousy WIFI. They have a single restroom and shower for both men and women, which they give you a key for. But upon going to for a shower this evening, the door had been left ajar. Perhaps on accident. I made sure to lock it when I left. The place is very well kept for being so low priced. It's filled with old RVs, clearly full time residents.

There is a track track across the road but they don't blow their horns TOO close to the place. Not that it would bother me, having lived in a more expensive, less well kept RV park that had trains blowing their horns about 300ft from my van day and night.

I will be spending a day down in Tombstone next week some time and maybe making more trips down there while I'm here for the next 30 days.

The town of Benson is small enough, I can ride my bike to Safeway for groceries 1.5 mile away and to other stores around town. I will only need to drive to get to Tombstone or to get more propane if the need comes up. All in all, I think I will enjoy my time here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

El Paso Museum of Art & Union Plaza

I also visited the Art Museum a couple of blocks over from the History Museum. I didn't take many photos there, however. I was in the middle of my cold and my back was starting to ache. Also, I was on parking meter time so I tried to finish up in my allocated time.

The two photos I took inside were in the "Day of the Dead" exhibit:

A quick shot of the van parked at Union Plaza:

Just ahead on the left was the visitor information center with a massive steam locomotive restored and on display inside, with a plaque explaining about it outside.

El Paso Museum of History

Some photos from the El Paso Museum of History.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Oct 4, 2013 update

I woke up sick on the morning of October 31 when stopped at Flying J in Pecos, TX. I am not quite over the cold yet but I am doing better. I made a stop over in Van Horn, TX on the 31st in an RV park so I could get a real shower and relax and get plenty of rest. I had to dip $20 out of savings to pay toward the $25 rent for one night.

I drove on to El Paso on November first and parked at a Wal-Mart for 2 nights.

The first day I got there, sick and all, I ended up putting a serpentine belt on an old 80's Chevy van for an older couple who kept having problems.. they were about out of gas so they stopped at Wal-Mart and left it. The wife was driving newer a mini van with their grandson, the husband had the beater van full of pottery they try to sell at shows, and wasn't able to sell any at the one they just left, so they were rather broke. So then when they came back, a tire was flat. They got a used tire and put on it and then the serpentine belt broke. They got one but couldn't figure out how to get it on. So I was a life saver for them really. They would have had to get it towed or had a mobile mechanic come and put it on. So anyhow, they got it back on the road and hopefully got home without anymore problems.

I left that Wal-Mart yesterday (Oct 3) and had a shower at a nearby Annytime Fitness. I didn't feel like working out any, needless to say. I stopped by a Goodwill, nothing good. There was a Big Lots next door so I got some cans of soup and crackers. There was also a McDonald's there so I had a $1 side salad and a big $1 refillable drink. I hung out there an hour or so.. then went on to a laundromat to do wash all my bedding, towels, some wash clothes, shirts, socks, jeans, etc.

Here is a photo I took out of boredom while waiting on the last bit of drying to get done. It was nice the laundromat had WIFI though since my cell data speed has been lousy again.

After finishing my laundry, I went on to a different Wal-Mart just down the road from the laundromat. It was about dark and I thought this was a cool photo to take from the driver's seat out the side window.

Today I went and dropped off a package at a nearby Post Office from an ebay sale and came over to a public library branch. I'll be staying at the same Wal-Mart again due to how close it is.

Tomorrow (Oct 5) I plan to visit a free history museum in downtown El Paso. I will probably have to pay for parking though. After that, I'll head on into the NW area of El Paso, then move on out of the area in the next few days sometime.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pecos, TX - West of the Pecos Museum

A museum I visited on Oct 31. $5 admission and go at your own pace. It features a hotel and saloon during the final days of the wild west in Texas around the turn of the 20th century. The saloon has bullet holes in the walls from gun fights even.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Andrews, TX

Nothing really to post about. I have been staying at the Andrews, TX Chamber of Commerce free RV park with full hookups and WIFI. Three nights max per 14 days. They have a privately funded veterans memorial next do it.

This just goes to show how small my motorhome is compared to a large 5th wheel trailer and a large Class A motorhome (poking out on both ends of the 5th wheel).

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Seagraves, TX

I left Brownfield yesterday and moved on to Seagraves, TX. Thankfully the small, free city owned RV park had several available spaces available. The library is a short 2 block walk. There is a free museum on Main St for local area history, photos, etc. I was told they have a sister museum in Seminole, TX so I will have to check that out as well once I get there in a few days.

I went into the local museum but I didn't take many photos. I think I will go back tomorrow and take more since it's free admission. I'll post the museum photos tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are some photos I took today.
The RV park I am staying in.

This is my favorite old building (or what's left of it anyway). The window on the right says "Mrs. Allen's Boarding House". The left side window says "Hot meals and hot baths". It's upper floor(s) are long gone and the bottom floor is just wreckage of what was above it pretty much. Many buildings have their windows painted to look rounded like this one so I wonder if it was really a boarding house or simply painted that way to spruce up the downtown area.

A September 11, 2001 mural memorial. It totally distracted me from the following this...

A miniature Statue of Liberty light post! I managed to go around it by entering the area with the mural. I went walking down that way again a while later and found it. Pretty cool!

The old Santa Fe train station for both passengers and freight.

The yard outside of the old train station with a Santa Fe caboose, a windmill, a couple of wooden shacks (including an outhouse just outside of the shot) and the freight ramp.

An old, leaning, inoperable neon sign for the "Dixie Dog" diner (former drive-in) that is still in business today.