I have been enjoying visiting blogs and decided to start my own, even though I don't know what I am doing or if anyone will even be interested in reading what I have to say. I am a 50 year old management consultant who has been married to the the love of my life for 30 years and have two grown daughters and a son-in-law who we are very proud of. We are blessed to live in Scottsdale Arizona and are enjoying getting out and experiencing it in our RV! Thanks for stopping by our blog and please consider joining us, who knows where we will go...Kevin & Tracy.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

San Diego Is Great!

Had an easy drive over to San Diego this morning, surprisingly very little traffic. Had dinner at one of our old favorite restaurants in La Mesa and there was a classic car show down the center of town that was really great. Pictures to follow when I am back home and not posting from my iPad.

The weather here was heavenly today at 83 degrees and it is supposed to be even cooler tomorrow for Granny's Memorial.

We have reservations Saturday night at Tom Ham's Lighthouse on Shelter Island, which has a beautiful view of the San Diego bay, city skyline and the Coronado Bridge...can't wait.

Received some great news that our daughter who moved to Oregon over the Memorial Day weekend interviewed yesterday for a special needs teaching position and was offered the job today. Congratulations Steph!

That is it from beautiful San Diego...hope you have a great weekend and more to follow!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Heading West!

We are headed to the cooler weather of San Diego this weekend to celebrate Tracy's Grandma's 98 years of life.  "Granny-Great" as she was known by many, lived a strong and productive life and touched many people. 

Granny-Great and Our Stephanie!

As we gather around the graveside to celebrate her life, there will be tears of happiness and sadness as we all know that we will see her again someday in Heaven.

Tracy writes a weekly devotion in her job at our church, the following is her tribute to Granny-Great in this week's devotion:

The Givers
Readings:  Genesis 50:15-21 / Romans 12:14-21 / Luke 6:36-42
Our reading from Luke includes this verse that reminded me of my sweet grandma. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” She gave food from her restaurant during the depression, gave wonderful care to her family, started Bible studies and crafting groups everywhere she lived, made lap robes and prayer shawls, card wreaths and soup for the hurting; she collected hundreds of teddy bears to give away, and I could go on…she lived her faith and loved her Lord. In her case, her giving was measureless and the Lord rewarded her in kind for 98 years. Yes, she suffered loss and disease as well as the miracles and blessings, yet she walked hand-in-hand with her Giver every day. Give…and hold tight to the One that gave His life for you.

In addition to our celebration, I am very much looking forward to hydrating and enjoying temperatures that will be 30 degrees cooler than Scottsdale. 

Hopefully I will have some great adventures to share with you when we return. I hope your week is going great and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Quick $450!

As many of you know, we are aggressively paying off our home using Dave Ramsey's principals that I described in my earlier post.  As part of this plan, we paid off 40% of our home loan two weeks ago and we then experienced Murphy, just as Dave predicted.  Murphy is that unexpected expense that most people do not plan for, fortunately we planned for Murphy and have budgeted for challenges like we faced on Sunday.

We returned from church and I was watching the golf tournament and decided that it was Miller time.  I went to the refrigerator to get an ice cold Miller Lite and discovered that it was warmer than usual. I went out to our motor home and retrieved our temperature gauge and placed it in our refrigerator.  The temperature was 50 degrees, which was higher than normal.

Warm Beer!
In pulling our paperwork, we discovered that we bought the refrigerator in 2007 and even though we purchased an extended warranty for two years, we were on our own, because our warranties had expired.

We have a database in our office of home repair people who we have used and were happy with, so I called a contact that we had for appliance repair.  I contacted them and they said they would be at our home between 11:30am - 12:30pm.

I had client meetings during this time, so Tracy was on call to meet with the repair person. Tracy described Steve as a very knowledgeable and nice guy who seemed to know immediately what the problem was.  He said that the control panel was shot and needed to be replaced.  When we bought our house 19 years ago, the former owners left their refrigerator, which had to be 10 years old.  We had that refrigerator for over 10 more years without any issues until I decided that we needed stainless steel appliances throughout our kitchen and so we replaced our great operating unit for one that would last us for only five years.

Steve said that our KitchenAid refrigerator was manufactured by Whirlpool and that their control panels were manufactured in Japan at a factory which was destroyed in the Tsunami.  As a result, remanufactured control panels were the only ones available.  We were pleased to find out that the control panel that he purchased and installed was brand new rather than remanufactured.  Hopefully, this one will last at least five more years.

So, we are back up and running...the Miller Lite is very cold again and although we lost some meat and eggs, we are once again good to go!

That is it for our excitement today, hopefully yours was more exciting and much less expensive.  Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Busy Week!

Busy week at work followed by trying to stay cool at home.  It has been a really hot week with temps of 113 degrees, but the only thing that makes it bearable is that it is a dry heat as they say.

Baby Turtles from our visit to McDowell Mountain Park

Not much new to report, haven't been able to work outside much and have not even attempted to go inside our rig, I imagine that it is a real oven out there.

Food Fight!

Enough is Enough!

I want to welcome JOJO as our latest follower.  I have followed JOJO's blog for some time and have enjoyed it very much.  JOJO divides her time between Lakeside/Pinetop, one of my favorite places in the White Mountains of Arizona and Tucson, based on the weather. Welcome aboard and thanks for joining us.

I hope you are all having a great week and I hope that your weekend is even better. Enjoy and stay cool!

Monday, June 18, 2012

40...I Can't Believe It!

When I started this blog over six months ago in January of this year, I would never have imagined that I would have 40 followers and many more who stop by, but don't opt to follow, which is perfectly fine.

Our adventures are certainly not as exciting as some, usually just notes about our daily routines, travels in our RV, home and RV maintenance challenges and updates about our lives.

When I look back over my 92 posts to date, Erik responded to my first ever post with a comment and when I thought that our blog would never have a single follower, Michael was the first to follow, which gave me the confidence to continue, thanks to you both!

Today I want to welcome Deb C. as our 40th follower.  Deb does not have a link to a blog, so I can't provide any information about her, but thanks for joining our adventure Deb!

I have to share that I have become very addicted to blogging, both writing and reading.  I love to look at the Live Traffic Feed and see that people are visiting our blog from all over the world. I appreciate being able to share portions of your life experiences through your writing. I also have to say thank you to all of you who provide such great comments of ongoing encouragement, I really appreciate it and look forward to them daily.

That's it for today, we have another 112 degree day in the forecast for tomorrow, so I will be spending more time inside catching up on my blogs.  Take care and thanks again for stopping by!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all of you Dads out there, I hope you have a great day with those you love.  My Dad passed away two years ago and I miss him very much. 

This is my first year without my oldest daughter Stephanie being home to help me celebrate the day.  We were in church this morning and they honored Father's with a video of a dad and daughter having a tea party, that brought back lots of memories of fun tea parties with both of my daughters.  As I was watching the video with Sarah and Tracy by my side and tears rolling down my face, I received a Facebook message from Stephanie wishing me a Happy Father's Day, her timing couldn't have been better. I have been so blessed with my wonderful and beautiful daughters, they have made my life so full, I love you both very much!

Stephanie and Sarah!

I hope your day is great and many more happy and healthy Father's Days to come! Enjoy your day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Headed Home!

I am attempting to post this morning using my iPad, since I didn't bring my laptop along for this trip. Since I don't know how to go about posting pictures through this method, I will finish this post when we arrive home later this afternoon.

The weather here in Flagstaff has been absolutely beautiful, with temps in the mid 70's. I have several pictures to share, including a wonderful hike yesterday at Snowbowl...more to follow!

Now for my minor rant that won't last long I promise. As many of you know, I travel a lot for business and stay in many different hotel brands. It doesn't matter how much the room costs, two things that drive me crazy are slamming doors and loud ice machines. The Radisson that we stayed in the last two days was no exception. Doors were slamming all night long, as kids ran up and down the hall to fill their metal ice buckets. I couldn't figure out what they were doing with all that ice until I discovered that they were filling their ice chests, one metal bucket at a time. Once in the night I thought I was at a casino and had won big, but it was just the clanking of the ice bucket down the hall. Needless to say, we wished we had our rig with us as it would have made for a much more restful nights.

Alright, that is the end of my rant...time to head south and to 40 degree higher temperatures I'm afraid. Please check back later for some beautiful pictures and no more rants...I promise!

So we got on the road about 9:30am and it was 73 degrees.  The drive was easy, not much traffic going southbound, but lots of traffic going north.  As we descended the hill, the temperature went up, 73, 80, 90, 100, 105 and we were home.:(

So here are some pictures from our very enjoyable time in Flagstaff...

Beaver Street Brewery for dinner

Interesting bike racks in Flagstaff

Wonderful weather!

Time for a nap...

Beautiful ferns at 7000ft elevation


No bears thankfully!

A beautiful drive!

Had a great time in Flagstaff, came back home to a dead battery in my car so it is off to the dealership for a replacement under warranty...looking forward to a nice Father's Day tomorrow and wishing all you Fathers the same! Have a great day and thanks for stopping by for a visit.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Heading to the Hills!

Well I have had just about enough of this summer heat...and it has only been over 100 degrees for the last two weeks...I am really in trouble!

With that being said, I have a board meeting in Flagstaff tomorrow and Tracy and I are going to use it as an opportunity to get out of the heat. The weather for the next few days in Flagstaff is in the low 80's during the day and the low 40's at night, looks like we are going to have to bring our jackets. :)

Unfortunately we won't be able to bring our motorhome on this short trip, so hopefully our hotel will be comfortable. 

I hope to have some great adventures to share with you along with pictures.  Have a safe and enjoyable rest of the week and weekend!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cheap Gas!

It is hard to believe that I am getting excited about paying $2.55 per gallon for gas here in the great Southwest, but I haven't payed that amount here per gallon since June 2009. On my upexpected trip to Oregon over Memorial Day, we paid anywhere from $3.75 - $5.00 per gallon, which was not fun at all!

Now I have to admit that the only reason I am paying $2.55 per gallon, is that that Tracy buys all of our groceries from Safeway and they offer a .10 cent per gallon discount for every $50 spent up to $1.00 off per gallon, so that is why I was able to fill up yesterday at this very low price.

Unfortunately our motorhome was already full, otherwise I could have gotten 30 gallons at this price, but I am happy to have filled the car. 

Wow...$2.55 per gallon...really!
As you can probably tell from this post, things are pretty slow here this week and that is why I am posting gas prices.  We have been living with 105+ degree weather, with higher temperatures on the way later this week. Tracy and I are headed to Flagstaff on Thursday for two days in the cool pines, so I hope to have some great pictures and happenings to share with you this weekend. 

In the meantime, I hope you are all having a great week and have some great Father's Day plans for Sunday.  Take care and thanks for stopping by for an update.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Yard Work Galore!

I was out to lunch with my business partner on Friday and saw this duck and her duckling enjoying the nice cool water outside of the Mexican restaurant were we were enjoying our meal.  Very cute indeed!

Today was a yard work day even though it was a 104 degrees outside.  It was time to fertilize our five citrus trees, actually I am few weeks late and I wanted to redo the water basins around each tree.  Besides weeding, redoing the basins around the citrus trees is my least favorite job each year, but they came out great, if I don't say so myself.

Once the basins were in, I worked on the new gate, placing stops in the ground so that the gate stays open when it is time to get the rig out for another great adventure.  Speaking of great adventures, I have got the itch to get out and about in our RV, but it is just too darned hot and would require at least a four day weekend to make it worthwhile based on the distance that we would have to go to find some cool temperatures. So for now, I will just have to focus on the cooler temperatures ahead and hope that October gets here soon!

Once the gate work was done, then it was time to mow, blow and rake.  I had gardeners last year, but was not very happy with their work and figured I could do alot with the $95 a month I was paying them.

With the outside work done, it was time for my reward, a cold Miller Lite and a dip in our 84 degree pool, ahh that sure was refreshing!

Tracy was just getting back from the grocery store when I was finishing up my shower and she said she had a treat for all of my hard work today. She had brought me home a Peanut Buster Parfait from Dairy Queen, I haven't had one of those in years.  It was really good and such a nice surprise, don't you think? She said that she was going to use it to coax me in from the yard if I was still working, that certainly would have done it.

That is all of my fun for today, hope your Saturday was great and your Sunday will be even better.  Take care.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thanks For All The Positive Reinforcement!

Yesterday's post Working The Plan With Yak Intensity! received the highest number of comments to date, so I know this topic is top of mind for many of us.  

I won't pretend for a second that I have this down or that it was easy, because I am the spender and Tracy has always been the saver in our relationship.  So, needless to say, this process has been somewhat painful for me, but none the less, absolutely necessary if we have any hope of not having to work until our last day on earth.  I want to thank you for your messages of positive reinforcement, its nice to know that we are not alone out there with this challenge.

The toughest part for me has been living on a written budget, which I have not been very good at, especially when I see something that "I have to have".  I have found that much of the success of this process is getting past the mental "have to have" and taking a deep breath and walking away.  Automobiles have been my biggest challenge as I grew up in that industry and have always loved that "new car smell".  Of course, it helped when they came out with a report saying that "new car smell" could be linked to cancer, so buying a slightly used car that has less of the new car smell works for me:)

The other challenge is credit and how easy it is to get sucked into buying something now and paying for it later.  That instant gratification has always been a real challenge for me, starting very early in our marriage. I have always avoided looked at the interest payments until just recently, which caused me to realize that I could either invest our money safely and hope for .5% return or work to payoff our mortgage earlier to avoid thousands in interest payments. With the recent real estate appreciation in our area, the later seemed to be the best way to go for us.

I know that with many of us taking this approach of paying off debt, not buying everything that we want, holding onto our vehicles longer, etc., that we are not helping to bolster the economy with our spending, but it seems like the best individual decision based on what is currently going on now. 

It is my hope that we will be completely debt free in five years and then can really get to work on Step 4 of Dave Ramsey's Plan to build our retirement savings.  As some of you indicated, our 401k's are not going to provide us with enough income to retire comfortably, so we have to do something else. Its finding that something else that I am struggling with! 

Hope you are having a great week and enjoy your weekend ahead.  Thanks for stopping by for visit.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Working The Plan With Yak Intensity!

With the turmoil in the economy over the last five years, Tracy and I have been working the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Plan.  Although we didn't have much credit card debt, we paid that off first, then we paid off my car loan, which was through our local credit union.  Once we did that, we were debt free with the exception of our house.  We then built up our emergency fund of over 6 months of income to make sure that we were covered financially.                                       

With the financial markets being so crazy, we decided to use money that we had set aside for investing to pay a big chunk (about 40%) of our home loan, which I am happy to report occurred today with me walking over to our credit union with a farely large (for us anyway) check.  The clerk didn't know what to do with the check, but with a little help from her manager, we got it all straightened out.  Appears that this type of thing doesn't happen every day.

As I walked back to my office for lunch, I couldn't help but feel blessed and excited that we could make that size of a payment and avoid what I calcuated to be about $70K in interest payments over our 17 year loan.  As it stands now, our house will be paided off in 8 years, which will hopefully enable us to be that much closer to our dream of spending more time exploring this great country in our RV.

Dave Ramsey talks about paying off debt with "Gazelle" intensity...I'm not sure that Tracy and I have been a Gazelle in our efforts, but maybe a Yak or Water Buffalo.:) 

All in all this has been a great day and a good week so far...I hope that yours has been equally as good.  Take care and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

All Jacked Up!

Well the generator is still a work in progress...I have been running it every afternoon increasing the load during each exercise period.  It is really difficult trying to figure out what to run for an extended period of time.  A heater is the optimal item, but at 119 degrees in the rig, that's out. Thanks for all of your input and ideas on how to get it up and running completely.

Well my latest project was to install a Jack antenna on our rig.  Our bat wing style antenna just didn't seem to pull in the stations.  I have read about Jack replacement antennas on several forums and blogs so I thought that I would give it a try.  I have been keeping my eye open for the best price on the Internet and $49 seemed to be the going rate.  About two weeks ago, I found an RV supply company in Indiana who offered the Jack antenna for $36, so that was my sign that I should make a purchase, so I did.

In reading the instructions, they mentioned running a station scan on your television as you rotate the antenna to pick up the maximum number of stations.  I don't know why I never knew that, I always just hooked up the television, turned it on and moved the antenna around to hopefully pickup a few stations.  With that process, I could only pick up 3-5 stations at best. So I tested this process with the old antenna and picked up 23 stations from our yard and after hooking up the Jack antenna, which only took 10 minutes, I picked up 41 stations, not bad. 
Out with the old!

In with the new!

I don't think my wife Tracy reads this blog, but this will be a good test to find out if she does or not.  She would say that I should have just been happy with the 23 stations because she doesn't think that I should be watching TV while camping anyway, so increasing to 41 would not be a big enough increase for her to justify the $36 plus shipping expenditure.  So, I am not planning to tell her that if I would have scanned the available stations I could have picked up 18 or so more stations using the old antenna, hopefully you won't tell her either. :)

I want to welcome Kimberly and Jerry Peterson as our 39th blog followers, they are full-timers who are currently working the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar California which is one of our favorites!   Growing up in San Diego, we always looked forward to attending the  Del Mar Fair each year, please have a corn on a stick for us and welcome aboard!

If you haven't stopped by Mike and Pat McFall's Blog yet to see their beautiful new great granddaughters Cora and Alice, do it, what a blessing they are! Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you had a safe and enjoyable weekend!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Shame On Me!

I am going to have to plead ignorance when I confess that I have not run the generator in our motor home for the last 9 months. I happened to be reading one of the blogs I follow and they mentioned exercising their generator. So I did a little investigating and found that I should have been exercising the generator at least once a month for two hours under a load.

So I attempted to start the generator and it was very hard starting and ran rough with a very noticeable surge, especially when I put it under a load.  I reached out to my technical experts on RV.net and received back some very good suggestions including the use of SeaFoam and replacement of the fuel and air filters, along with the spark plug and engine oil. 

Although I was successful with performing this maintenance, I have to say that replacing the fuel filter was a real chore due to the tight space, but I got it done!

Now that everything has been replaced, the generator starts on a dime and runs smoothly under a load until I turn on the AC and that's when the in-line voltage meter jumps all around.  I am not sure if this is normal or if there is a further problem with my generator that needs to be addressed.  I would appreciate feedback from anyone reading this post regarding this issue. 

Thanks in advance for your feedback, I hope that you will have a great weekend and be safe out there!