Four Day Trip = New RV

For the past several months Steve and I have scoured the internet ads looking for the perfect motorhome within our budgeted price range. In my last post I mentioned we had a narrow list of three. But neither felt exactly right for several reasons. For example one of them had a refrigerator in the slide, another had negative reviews for that model year, and the other had a very low axel/wheelbase ratio.

There are very few short diesels for sale around the US and when we factored in our year range of 2005-2007 there were even less. Then last week a 2008 model came up for sale and I remembered that the chassis on motorhomes is normally manufactured the prior year. I contacted the owner and sure enough, this MH did not require the ULSD fuel that cannot be obtained in Mexico. Better yet, it was low mileage, had first been owned by an aerospace engineer who had added every upgrade imaginable to include 540 watts of solar panels with a 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter. Documentation and CAD drawings are bar none. I will eventually make a tab at the top for “Alice” listing all the upgrades which you won’t believe. Anyway, here she is:


2008 Tiffin Allegro Open Road FRED 32 feet. There is a slide out for the sofa and dinette on this side.


And another slide in the bedroom. The body is in perfect condition as it has been stored under cover and professionally cleaned and waxed twice a year.

Of course we didn’t get every single “want” but Alice comes close enough. No washing machine and the kitchen is rather small, but there are two pantries to make up for that. And recently, new very small portable washing machines have come on the market that we can stow. Oh yeah, and we came in under budget!

It was a one and a half day 800 mile drive to the Phoenix area. We met the owners at their house at noon on the second day,  received a good going through of everything, wired the money at 3:00, did the transaction at their financial institution at 4:00, and were on our way by 5:00. The funny part is the owners were looking to buy a newer RV of a particular model which is hard to find. While we were at their house, they received a phone call that the RV they wanted had just come in on a trade and no other salesmen knew about it yet. Our Allegro owners bought it the next day.  The wife thought it was Karma that brought us to them at just the right time.

We had a bit of a problem finding a place for the night and Steve was understandably nervous as he has never driven anything this big. The extremely nice owner, who I might add had an oil change done the previous day and filled up the fuel tank, actually drove Alice to the very north end of Phoenix for us so that we would immediately be on the two lane road headed north. The only place to stay was a casino at Ft. McDowell. We got there and it was so crowded that there was not one spot to park an RV. Then we found out there was also an RV resort only 1/4 mile away. But they were full. The lady at the desk suggested an overflow parking lot at a county park a few miles away. The problem was we had absolutely no kitchen utensils, no food, it was almost dark, we had not eaten since breakfast, and the casino was the only place for miles with food. Then the desk clerk generously told us we could park behind their RV storage area for the night in a wide open area. It was quiet and the views were pretty good. We were warned that cows and horses might come up to the RV but that didn’t happen, unfortunately.


The next day we drove through the mountains to the high desert where we picked up the 4 lane highway in Holbrook. The driving then became easier for Steve and he is loving the engine brake for steep downhills.




We spent the night at the Route 66 Travel Center which is next door to a casino. As we had had no lunch (again), we splurged on the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. This casino has a pretty classy buffet with different stations for Mexican, Mediterranean, Asian, and American food. Very good but expensive!


I will take pictures of the interior once we put the living room slide out and get more organized. I am sitting in the passenger seat at my desk writing this as we go down the highway. And when Molly Dog travels with us she will have her very own window at my feet.


New Years Eve In Tucson

It is a rainy and cold New Year’s Eve in the parking lot of the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, Arizona and we feel like celebrating because all of our shopping, appointments, and chores are done. Mexico here we come!

The good news is that Molly is healthy but our wallets are over $700 lighter to find that out.  Before leaving for Hawaii we had taken her to a veterinarian because she had been ill for a week and the doctor discovered her blood protein levels were low.  We took her back for another blood test and this time everything was fine.  But the doctor didn’t like the look of her eyes and did a number of tests and said she needed to be on some eye ointment for life or else she could develop corneal abrasions. A tiny tube cost $48 and the first time I used it half of it squirted out. We will take her to our much more reasonably priced veterinarian in Colorado later for another opinion and maybe I can find some of the ointment in Mexico for much less.

P1020604It is so good to have Molly back and we will never leave her again for so long. For the two weeks that we were in Yuma between the New Zealand and Hawaii trips, she continued to stay in Joy’s house so that she wouldn’t have to constantly figure out who she belonged to.  Actually, Molly didn’t want to have much to do with us those two weeks and wouldn’t even visit in the motor home. But when we returned this time she switched her loyalty back to us immediately.  Molly is 10 and has never liked toys….ever.  But when we leave her with someone because of a big trip, she adopts one and carries it everywhere.  The minute we return, she refuses to touch those toys and we end up throwing them away. Strange huh?

In August, when we drove to Arizona from Colorado, halfway through the drive the motor home suddenly lost almost all power going up hills.  That worried us and so we made an appointment with the Sprinter mechanics at the Dodge dealership in Tucson. They let us stay the night in their lot overnight as our appointment was at 7 this morning.  They checked everything that could have caused the problem and could not find anything wrong and as a courtesy also performed a 15 point inspection at no charge. Everything is fine. It was just another fluke that corrected itself like Molly’s blood work.

Then the lock froze on the coach door and we could not get in or out of Tulip that way. An RV supply place in Yuma said they would have to order a lock and it wouldn’t arrive before we wanted to leave.  To our big relief, Steve managed to fix it himself.  And Steve bravely completed his dental work in Algodones while I made and cancelled two appointments.

I don’t know if we will cross the border tomorrow or the following day. Neither of us has slept much the past three nights and so it depends on how we do tonight.  I like parking here at the Desert Diamond Casino. There is a parking area in a far corner of the huge property set aside for motor homes and so far there are about 30 here for the night. It is quiet and free and also on the southern side of Tucson very close to the highway to Mexico.

Desert Diamond Casino


Our overly sensitive dog Molly knows we are leaving for a long while and has been depressed ever since we arrived at our friend’s house yesterday.  Either that or she is trying to make me feel worse than I already do about leaving her.  I’ve never had a dog like her in that she is so serious and moody.  It’s got to be genetics and not upbringing because our last Cairn Terrier was a silly show-off.

Dogs 8Part of the problem is there are two other dogs in the house and she is fearful of all dogs at first and gives them a wide berth.

Dogs 2Tag is Top Dog in the house and does not want any human to pay attention to anyone but him so he gets growly if Molly goes near his owner or even us.  Molly needs to get mouthy right back but she won’t.  She only talks back to me.

Dogs 3This is sweet Amy.  Her owners have been in Ecuador for about a year and she is semi-permanently living here.  I’d like to see her and Molly make friends but Molly is probably going to pine for us until we return.

Molly does have an invisible friend living in the back door that makes squeaks (alarm) every time the door is opened.  She has been stalking it like a cat and I’ll be curious to know how long it takes her to figure out it’s a mechanical noise and not a little mouse friend or something.

Have I told you how hellishly hot it is in Yuma?  How does anyone manage to stay a summer here?  We had to go out today to pickup the rental car and also walk across the border to Mexico for meds.  Unbearably hot!!  Everyone that lives here stays indoors until October 31st when the temperatures subside.

On the subject of the rental car:  The prices on Expedia ran about $100 for an economy car for 24 hours.  Then I remembered it was possible to rent through Costco. Bingo!  $32 for a Nissan Altima.

Our friend left today for a funeral 4 hours away and will be gone overnight.  Good thing because our luggage and stuff is spread out all over the place.  The funny thing is that since she left Tag doesn’t act like the boss and is leaving Molly alone.  Steve left to wash our car.  I hope he finds his way back to the house because the GPS can’t even get us here – there are so many turns.

Luggage 1

The purple one is mine and is not even full, can you believe it?  (More room for shopping down under:)

I will take a picture of the ship with my phone tomorrow and try to make a post.  If not, our first port call is Puerto Vallarta September 2nd.  After that it is Tahiti on September 10th, Moorea the 11th, Bora Bora the 12th, Fiji the 17th, New Caledonia the 19th, and Sydney the 22nd.

Driving To Arizona

Yesterday’s drive from Ouray, Colorado to Flagstaff, Arizona was a day to remember for several reasons.  For one thing, we could not get our act together to make time.  I won’t go into the blow by blow details of how many times we stopped because I can’t count that high.  But it went something like: Stop to go to the bathroom, 10 minutes later get gas, 10 minutes later turn on the tow vehicle for it’s 15 minutes every 200 miles, 10 minutes later go to the bathroom, 10 minutes later walk the dog, 10 minutes later stop at a gas station to dump but there is no dump, 10 minutes later stop at another gas station but it’s too crowded, 10 minutes later finally dump but forgot to get water. ALL DAY LONG.

Anyhow, the views were super mainly because of the clouds.  Arizona, normally dry, has also been having a lot of rain.  So much rain, that the area we were to drive through was under a flash flood warning so we detoured to the east  going south in New Mexico instead of Arizona.  For some reason the storm, which we could see, remained right on the Arizona state line and left New Mexico alone.

Now for some pictures as we move from southwestern Colorado to New Mexico and then Arizona.  Actually, that’s not true.  We went from Colorado to Arizona back to New Mexico and back to Arizona.

DirveToArizona 1Southwestern Colorado

P1000306P1000315P1000317As we go further south the mountains become smaller and take on unusual shapes

FlagstaffToSedona 14FlagstaffToSedona 16FlagstaffToSedona 17There were some strange clouds in the distance as we got nearer to Winslow, Arizona.  Take a look.  This thin band of clouds just above the ground stretched for 15-20 miles:

FlagstaffToSedona 18FlagstaffToSedona 19It’s too bad I couldn’t take a picture of the whole length at once to show you how unusual this cloud was.

FlagstaffToSedona 20FlagstaffToSedona 22Once we passed under those clouds the wind and rain became very strong and we decided to call it a night and pulled into this Flying J truck stop where they had some pull through parking spots just for motor homes.

TruckstopUgh, no doubt we are in a truck stop restaurant and our tummies paid us back.  After we were done eating and went out front, a Flying J employee came up to us and said that a semi truck had side swiped our Tracker tow vehicle.  The thoughts that went through my head…………but the employee was wrong, the truck had hit the tow vehicle of the motor home next to us.  Poor guy who owned it.  The car was damaged from front to back and the semi had disappeared.  Which we promptly did too……after dumping and forgetting to get water. No showers for us plus a sink full of dirty dishes that had to wait another day.

FlagstaffToSedona 1We found a casino well off the highway with plenty of parking and a quiet night of sleep until the storms began again about 4 am which made for a beautiful morning.  I’ve never seen Arizona looking so green.

P1000358Our destination today was Prescott and we took the scenic route through Sedona, known for it’s red soil and rocks.

P1000359Our plan had been to arrive in Yuma today but we decided to stay the night in a real campground in Prescott with hookups so that we could cook and bake everything possible in our refrigerator, do laundry, organize our packing, clean the RV inside, and write blog posts.  Another reason is that Prescott is still high enough in elevation that the weather is very comfortable and is the last town south before we descend into the inferno.  It will be 112 degrees (144.4 Celsius) in Yuma Friday.

We will be on this first cruise for 24 days.  Internet is a very expensive add on and so I don’t know how often I will post.  I’ll do my best.