Desert bloom and the Corgi Banner

Heavy winter rains and the deep Sierra Nevada snowpack have resulted in the official end of California’s epic drought* and an explosion of wildflowers in the Anza-Borrego desert not seen in many years, bringing more sightseers than the small town of Borrego Springs can handle causing traffic jams, restaurants to run out of food, and tempers to flare.  We avoided the crowds by returning to our favorite, peaceful, desert campsite at Agua Caliente County Park where we were greeted by the yellow blooms of the brittlebush

DSC_0143 Blooming Agua Caliente Airstream site

And nearby blooming creosote bush and ocotillo.

DSC_0049 Creosote & Ocotillo blooms

Early morning sun rays entering our Airstream Safari trailer reminded us to deploy the awning and sun curtain to delay the need to turn on the air conditioner.

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Chilled navel oranges are always a refreshing way to start the day, especially in the desert.

DSC_0254 Refreshing chilled oranges

Larry began the day by continuing to work on making a banner for the San Diego Corgi Meetup group that we joined last November after seeing the joy our corgis Mac & Tasha had while attending Corgi Nation Beach Day at Huntington Beach* last fall.  We and our corgis love the monthly, local outings that are fun and help our corgis develop their social skills.

DSC_0116 Larry making corgi club banner

DSC_0151 Larry setting up sun curtain

Larry, who also designed and made our sun curtain, designed the banner and cut out the fabric, lettering and pieces at home.  Then, while camping, he positioned, pinned, basted, and sewed the pieces while relocating the table under the moving shade around the trailer.

By mid afternoon, Larry and the corgis enjoyed the air conditioned trailer, while I continued reading Alexander Hamilton outside in the shade and breeze.

 

Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow, was the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton.*

 

See and hear Lin Manuel Miranda perform “Alexander Hamilton” at The White House.*

DSC_0221 Agua Caliente campsite

We celebrated our last camping trip of the season with our wonderful neighbors, Bev and George, by flying the Human Rights Campaign* Equality flag.

DSC_0194 Bev & Geo, Bill & Larry

Before leaving, George took a photo of our corgis’ first viewing of the nearly completed banner!  Bev lovingly donated cotton balls for Larry to stuff the banner’s heart upon our return to San Diego.

IMG_0611 Larry & Bill, Mac & Tasha, corgi banner

The day after returning home, we attended the San Diego Corgi Meetup event, House of England Village Faire, and presented San Diego Corgi Meetup organizer, Geri, with their new banner!

HPIM3061 Banner's debut at corgi meetup

highres_459967678Seen right to left: Larry and corgis Tasha, Mac, Sidney, Sadie, and Rikki.                                  Photo credit: Geri S.

God Save the Queen… and the corgis!*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Encore videos: A Corgi Puppy Grows Up! (Great Gatsby the Corgi),* his Surprise Birthday Party!*… and How Corgi Dog Changed My Life*… and To Love Somebody.*

 

10-year sealed battery requirement for smoke alarms!

More cities and states are now requiring that “new smoke alarms that are solely battery powered must have a non-replaceable, non-removable battery that is capable of powering the smoke alarm for at least 10 years.”  Kidde lists the following states and cities with 10-year smoke alarm laws: Oregon, California, Louisiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Phoenix, New York City, Madison WI, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Louisville.  Although many of these laws, such as California’s smoke alarm requirements, apply to dwelling units intended for human occupancy and not to mobile homes or coaches, the laws impact RVers by limiting the selection of types of smoke alarms locally available when it is time to replace a 10-year old alarm (its life expectancy).

Our 2007 Airstream Safari is now 10 years old and like clockwork, its OEM Universal Security Instruments SS-775 smoke and fire alarm installed by Airstream (seen below in upper left corner) stopped working and required replacement.

DSC_0035 2007 Airstream Safari interior

My first impulse was to replace it with the same or similar model so that it would be easier to install in its original mounting bracket.  But as I did more research, I thought it would be best to comply with the growing national trend requiring 10-year sealed batteries… and would be a selling point when we sell the trailer (see CA smoke alarm law video).*

Once I decided on getting a smoke alarm with the 10-year sealed battery, I had to choose the sensor type: ionization, photoelectric, or a combination of both.  See the excellent video “How do Smoke Detectors Work“.*  This video explains that photoelectric sensors are better at detecting slow, smoldering, and generally smokier fires, whereas ionization sensors are better at detecting smaller amounts of smoke that come from fast flaming fires, and are more common and less expensive.  Our OEM smoke detector used an ionization sensor.

I found and installed an economical, ionization smoke alarm with good reviews: Kidde i9010 model (aka Code One 10-Year Lithium Battery Smoke Alarm at Home Depot for $17.97).  One of its features is that it has a Hush Button that allows nuisance alarms to be quickly silenced, as required by California’s Updated Smoke Alarm Requirements.  For example, if the alarm goes off when cooking and the hush button is pushed, you have about 8 minutes of silence, permitting time to open the door, windows, and turn on exhaust fans to clear the air!

Our new smoke alarm (seen below) is about an inch wider and was placed in the same location as the OEM model.

DSC_0211 Newly installed smoke detector

I reused one of the original alarm ceiling holes and started a new hole with a smaller drill bit for the other screw.  I used the original OEM model screws since they were shorter than the ones supplied with the new alarm (and I didn’t want to risk puncturing the exterior aluminum panel)!  The mounting bracket was screwed in place and the alarm was placed on the bracket and rotated clockwise until it ratcheted in place and automatically activated as indicated by an audible beep and confirmed by pushing the test button.  The sensor was tested by blowing out several votive candles under the unit, which then elicited its signature sounding of high pitched triplets.*  This unit is equipped with a red LED indicator light that flashes about every 40-45 seconds in the standby mode indicating it is receiving power.

DSC_0218 Kidde i9010

Walter Kidde founded the Walter Kidde Company in 1917 and “produced the first integrated smoke detection and carbon dioxide extinguishing system for use on board ships in 1918.”  Kidde is now a division of United Technologies, “built on the pioneering innovation of our founders [such as Walter Kidde] and the industries they created.”*

Smoke Alarms Save Lives*                           Smoke Gets In Your Eyes*                          Learning to eat fire*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Joyful air streaming into 2017

dsc_0024-bill-corgis-its-a-new-dayWe are so ready to charge out of 2016 and stream into a fresh new year with joyful possibilities. Yesterday, our Airstream smoke detector commemorated our 10th year of Airstreaming by emitting a death rattle just before its programmed death… the wonders of “smart” technology.  And in 2014, California passed a law, Senate Bill 745, with new requirements for smoke alarms sold in California.

Every new smoke detector sold and installed in California must come with a 10-year battery that can’t be removed!  So our 10-year old OEM Universal Security Instruments SS-775 smoke and fire alarm installed by Airstream must be replaced by an undoubtedly more expensive “smart” one.

So out with the old  and in with the new!  Swiftly streaming air swept away the desert dust and lifted our spirits.

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And when the wind stops.. there is peace, serenity, and a silent beauty…* and a sense of timelessness…

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And a joyful playfulness as exhibited by the Costa’s hummingbirds* visiting our campsite.

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Joyfulness was contagious as our corgis Mac and Tasha showed off their holiday outfits made by Larry!

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Our corgis are so looking forward to the new year when they can return to the beach!

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Our Safari basked in the morning sun after a wild night of wind and flying rain…

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And a beautiful rainbow gave us hope* that this will indeed be a happy new year…

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And together, we will bring joy back into this world!*

*This is a link to a You Tube video.

Airstream torquing tendonitis

Before every trip, I follow a checklist of procedures that need to be done and items to include, which are spread over a 4-day period.  Critical items that must be done are checking and adjusting tire pressures, and checking the torque of the trailer wheel lug nuts to lessen the chance of a tire or wheel failure (See Outside Interests‘ “Tire Tips – Part 2″).  I lug around a rather heavy air compressor to each tire that needs more air and then I apply a torque wrench to each lug nut in a star pattern* to the specified tightness of 110-120 ft-lbs two days before departure (See “Carry a Torque Wrench for RV Maintenance“).*  See and hear Colonial Airstream’s Patrick Botticelli’s video, “Airstream Tire Safety,”* which includes information about tire inspection, tire pressures, lug nut torque, DOT (Department of Transportation) Code for manufacture date, and when to replace tires.

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Last month, two days before our first trip of our fall-winter-spring camping season, I checked the tire pressures, placed PressurePro tire monitoring sensors on our ST tires* and checked lug nut torque.  I am right handed, so I lugged the air compressor and checked the lug nuts mostly with my right arm.  Our aged air compressor seemed to struggle at times with the job, so at the end of the day, I went to Home Depot and got a new compressor and then went to Costco and picked up a half-gallon of ice cream and a large apple pie, mostly with my right arm.  That evening, I felt my arm ache, which interrupted my sleep. The day before departure, I continued with my checklist and the ache became pain and burning that persisted throughout the night. I awoke on departure day realizing that hitching up would result in further injury, so we reluctantly canceled our November trip to the desert.

Ten years ago, we first bought this Airstream Safari just before Thanksgiving when I was 69 years old [actually, I was 59, as caught and corrected by my dear Dr. C., whose sharp eye, insight and wit are evidenced in his comments below]. By the way, November is a great time to shop and haggle for a new Airstream.  Next month will be the 10th year of our camping with this Airstream travel trailer, and I will be 70 in March.  As Willie Nelson sings, “Gee, ain’t it funny how time just slips away.“*

It seems this Airstream is holding up better than my body parts, as my Kaiser Urgent Care diagnosis of right arm tendonitis* confirmed.  Fortunately, after a 2-week course of Ibuprofen (Motrin) 800 mg q8 hrs and most importantly, mindful rest,* I feel up to preparing for our return to the desert this month.

Whether this incident is a fluke, or a sign of things to come remains to be seen.  We have reservations for camping sites through next April…

Meanwhile, we are attending the fun events such as the Harbor Walk at Oceanside, CA, put on by  San Diego Corgi Meetup.

hpim2972-larry-mac-tasha-at-oceanside-ca

Happy Holidays to all, no matter who you are, where you live, or what you believe!*

Wait, wait, there’s more:  A Dr. C. inspired encore video selection: James Cluer’s Wine Route – Bordeaux Part 8: Cháteau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Wash, Wax and Corgi Day at the Beach!

While some are winterizing, we are washing and waxing our Safari Airstream travel trailer for the beginning of our fall-winter-spring camping season in the wonderful mountains and deserts of Southern California, popular with snow birds as far away as Bigfork, Montana.  A full report on how I wash and wax the trailer, along with a list of my tools, strategy, procedure, and the benefits, is seen in last year’s post, “Wash, wax and treat II.”

dsc_0052-annual-trailer-wash-2016

Once again, I wore my “Ridin’ with Biden” hat, especially because I am on-board with his efforts to accelerate progress in preventing, detecting, and treating cancer with the goal of ending cancer as we know it.  As a retired RN, I appreciate Joe Biden’s passionate tribute to the nurses and all who fight cancer, as seen in the video, “Vice President Biden Delivers Remarks at the Cancer Moonshot Summit.”*

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Seven years ago, I had Mohs surgery to remove a skin cancer lesion from my face, so as the sun broke through the marine layer, I put on my trusty wide brim hat for better sun protection.

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Our annual washing and waxing the trailer was completed ahead of schedule, so we took a day off and rewarded ourselves and our corgis Mac and Tasha with a day at the beach!

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But it was not just any day, it was the 2016 Fall So Cal Corgi Nation Beach Day at Huntington Beach, California!

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One thousand people with their corgis flocked to the beach for a day of excitement and sensory overload!

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It is billed as the “THE BIGGEST CORGI PAWTY ON THE PLANET !!!

Corgis played in the surf and on the beach.

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Ryen, a popular vlogger, drove down from the San Francisco Bay Area with his famous corgi Gatsby* dressed as Batman for this event!

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And fans lined up to meet them.  See Ryen’s vlog, “How Corgi Dog Changed My Life.”*

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See Ryen’s video of the 2016 Fall Corgi Beach Day at Huntington Beach: 1,000 Corgis In Costume – World’s Largest Corgi Party!, Life After College: Ep. 516.*

By the end of the day, we were all dead… tired… but with wonderful corgi memories to dream about!*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.