Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Arizona—when I think of the state, I think of warm weather, sunshine, cactus.  But our first seven days in the state were spent in or near the mountains, at 8,000 ft and above at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, then in Flagstaff, where we saw mountains and Ponderosa Pines all around.  The RV park in Flagstaff was closing on October 15 and that also was the last day the North Rim campground would be open.  Obviously, we weren't in the area where snowbirds spend the winter.


        Then we drove to Mesa, an eastern suburb of Phoenix.  At the Mesa Regal RV Park we found a citrus tree at every site—the oranges and grapefruit weren't ready to pick, but if we wanted to stay for a couple of months, we could have picked all the fruit off the tree at our site.  The park had 2005 spaces for RVs and park models—small manufactured homes that can be towed behind a trailer or permanently attached to city utilities.  Summer is just ending, so many snowbirds have not arrived and the park was less than half full.


        The weather was delightful—cool mornings so we could get in our run.  Then we had cool evenings to sit out on the patio or stroll around the park.  The sunsets remind me of many western movies and photographs.  And we didn't encounter bugs, at least right now.


        But we didn't have a fun stay in Phoenix.  The first time I opened the refrigerator, there was no light inside.  That meant it wasn't working—just like in late August at Kodachrome in Utah.  John installed a new fuse and it started again.  About bedtime, I opened the door and the light was out again.  When John tried to install a new fuse, it blew again.  We knew that meant another day or two or struggling to keep the food cold.  But, at least we were in a city, rather than 260 miles from any RV repair facility.  Since the winter season hasn't arrived, several of the mobile RV services weren't open.  It took us half a day on Wednesday to arrange for someone to come on Thursday.  When he arrived, Gene found that some repair work done under a recall had caused a wire to rub against a piece of metal.  That finally caused a short.  We hadn't really needed the circuit board we replaced in August.  He was able to repair the problem, as well as show us how to make the refrigerator cool down about 10 degrees more than it had been doing.


        About two months ago John noticed something in the Rv's suspension appeared to be broken, but he didn't know whether or not it was a problem.  Two men he asked said they didn't think we needed to worry about it. Gene said he didn't know if it was a problem, but suggested we talk to the service manager at RV Traders, an RV sales lot in town. The manager said we should take it to a local welding shop for repair.  We made an appointment for 7:30 the following morning and in two hours had spring shackles, bolts and bushings replaced and repaired.  The tires which had been two inches apart were now about five inches apart.  And when we drove to Tucson two days later, we found the rear end bounce had returned, moving cookbooks and items in the rear cabinets around.  How long had the shackles been broken?  Over a year, at least.


        Saturday we finally had some fun, visiting the Arizona State Fair.  Then we were off to Tucson on Sunday.


        We have found we enjoy the weather in this part of Arizona.  The fall and winter here would be nice enough we can be outside almost every day, without bundling up in heavy coats.  We expect to spend some time as snowbirds in the years to come.  Something we never thought we would do.

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