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Sat. Jan. 5 to Fri. Jan. 11 2013- Palm Desert to Indio CA, Alfa See Yas Pre-Rally and Western Area FMCA Rally

Saturday- The temperature here in the desert, dropped to 35 degrees overnight! Although the predicted high temp for today is 69, with bright sunshine!

We walked over to the main building to attend the continental breakfast which was sponsored by Mike Thompson RV. Just a note, our motor home was originally sold to the first owners by Mike Thompson RV!

The continental breakfast consisted of fruit, danish and muffins.

From there, at 9:30, we went to the activity building for the yearly Alfa See Ya’s business meeting. There are 482 members of this club, which is good, since one other Alfa club has disbanded and another is getting ready to. Although people are buying used Alfa’s all the time.

After a break, the Alfateers were speaking. When Alfa closed their doors in 2008, the employees bought everything they could get at the ‘fire sale’ and opened a repair facility for Alfa’s. They also do work on other RV’s, but their primary focus is Alfa’s. We have spoken with Martin, the lead tech, on several occasions and we buy stuff from them whenever we need something.  Bob stayed to listen to them and I returned to the motor home to work on the blog.

Bob said that the talk was technical, speaking about various issues such as engines, water heaters, furnace etc. They also discussed how to change out the TV’s.

He returned and we left to go shopping. First, we stopped at the Palm Desert Street Market. I am not sure how long this has been going on, but it has to have been a long time. The market was at least four ‘streets’ wide ( created in a large parking lot), with vendors on both sides and along the front and back. The length was about 3 blocks long. They had everything from purses and shoes to granite Lazy Susan’s. Lots and lots of clothes and jewelry, also. It was quite the market. There was even a farmers market section, but we were not impressed. This market occurs every Saturday and Sunday.

From there we went to Walmart to grocery shop and pick up florescent light bulbs for above the bathroom sink, since the old ones died. 

We returned to the motor home and took a short nap. We walked over to the main building for happy hour and the Mexican Fiesta for dinner. This dinner was sponsored by the resort.  The entertainment was a Mariachi band. They were very good.

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The man with the violin, second from the left, had an fantastic voice. The man could really sing. Of course we did not understand any of the words……

Then it was the buffet dinner of Mexican dishes.

The buffet Mexican dinner.

We went up by table number and of course we were last! Second night in a row, I think we are bad luck for the table where we sit!

After dinner we played a game similar to musical chairs.  The object was to pass around a Mexican hat. We moved all the chairs onto the dance floor in a very large circle. Then the gal from the resort gave us two hats and we passed them to the band playing. Like musical chairs, if you are left with the hat, you are out. During the game, she kept adding hats, so that we had five hats. You had to put the hat on your head, then pass it along. Bob was out the second time around, but I lasted almost to the end. The blur in the picture was the hat.

Musical hat game

The two people left at the end received free dinner tickets to the Outback Steak House  in town.

Next was dancing. They started with the Mexican Hat dance.

Mexican hat dance

These gals decided to dance. A few people got up to dance The Macarana, when they played the song. We did not dance as Bob was have A-fib and did not feel well.

We returned to the motor home and watched some TV  before bed.

Sunday-  We went to the continental breakfast and sat talking until after 9. We had free time until 1PM during which we cleaned the inside of the coach. 1 pm was the coach walk. We had about 20 people come through the coach to see what modifications we made. There were only 3 of us who opened our motor homes for tours! That was disappointing… We really wanted to see other ideas for modifications.

At 4:30, we went to the activity building for the happy hour. We left at 5:15, as there was a sponsored “Spuds and Suds” dinner ( baked potatoes, which we found out later ran out of toppings pretty quickly). The meal was sponsored by Sky Med, and we knew we were not interested in purchasing their insurance.

We went to dinner at Fresh Aguava Mexican Restaurant. The food was very good. Bob had his usual chicken tamale and I had my chili relleno. They both came with a very nice Chicken Taco soup. We returned to the motor home and watched TV.

Monday- We went to the continental breakfast this morning, but we only stayed about 1/2 hour. From there, we went to Super Cuts to have our hair trimmed; we stopped at Wells Fargo to make a deposit, and returned home.

Bob made dog food, we did laundry, and I went to a cooking demonstration at the activity center.

Cooking class!

On the left is Jane Stanley, who showed us how to make freezer jams. Her Lemon Curd was sooo good, as were the strawberry and peach jams.On the right was Emily Burr, the Wagon Master’s wife, who showed us how to make Fiddle Sticks. Here is the recipe:

In a lg. bowl toss:  1 C Rice Crispies, 1 C dry roasted peanuts, 1 C pretzel sticks broken in half; 1 tsp. peanut butter, if desired; 1 C Captain Crunch peanut butter cereal by Quaker Oats.

In a double boiler, melt 1 lb. Candy Quick( you can find it with the baking supplies at Walmart ,  Target, or grocery stores) or almond bark, chocolate or vanilla flavored confection over low heat.  Stir often and pour over dry ingredients. Toss with a spatula until all covered. Drop by tablespoon on wax paper. Can be frozen between wax paper. Work quickly because the mix cools quickly.  Variations: raisons, dried Cranberries or granola cereal for the nuts.  Note: never thin chocolate with water!  They were really good and no real cooking! I am assuming I could melt the chocolate in the microwave.

I returned to the motor home and we took the dogs to Petco. I am looking for new harnesses, and we wanted to try them on them. Then we went to Target where I picked up more water, then on to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get a new can opener. Ours had died. We stopped at Trader Joe’s and picked up a bottle of 2 buck Chuck, White Zinfandel. We returned home. My glasses were waiting on the step into the motor home. They were late getting back to the Walmart in Van Nuys and the Vision Center had to forward them to us. So it was back to Walmart, in Palm Desert,  for them to adjust the glasses, then we went to the Palm Springs Thousand Trails to check it out. We stopped at the gate and picked up a day pass, and drove through the very crowded TT. The TT is not as nice as where we are staying, but then it is free to us. It is actually a very nice facility, but we were unable to make a reservation for after the FMCA rally . We made a reservation for the Palm Springs Oasis, an Encore park, with our discount.

We decided that since is was nice and warm, an ice cream cone would be nice, so we stopped at the local Baskin and Robbins. I was so excited, they had my favorite, German Chocolate Cake( usually only available in October, but it is the owners favorite so she keeps it in stock). Bob had the White Chocolate Cherry, which was very good! One scoop, in a cup, each.

We returned to the motor home in time to walk the dogs and go to happy hour. One of the couples, Guy and Nancy Sheble, wanted me to try Mascato by JW Morris.( from Trader Joe’s), I think I have a new wine! It was very good and costs $3.99 at TJ’s. At 5:30 , we moved from the Activity Center to the main building for the Western Dinner. We never thought about dressing in our square dance clothes. Oh well! The band was really very good. Dinner was BBQ chicken and Tri-tip( an LA beef delicacy.) After dinner there was dancing. Bob was feeling better so we danced several dances and I line danced quite a few dances. All everyone could remember was the ‘electric slide’ dance steps, which we did  to the country music. My ankle did pretty well, as this is the first time I have danced since my high ankle sprain back on January 20th, but it did hurt a bit before I went to bed.

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Bob

Tuesday-  The alarm went off at 5:30! My ankle seems to be doing good, with no pain this morning! We quickly showered and Bob dumped the tanks. He had added water last evening. We packed up everything and drove out of the park at about 7:45. We all lined up on Gerald Ford Drive. to caravan to the Riverside Fairgrounds for the Western Area FMCA Rally.  This is the first 14 Alfa’s

The Alfa' in front of us 1-14

The Alfa's behind us, 15-22

These are the rest of them, behind us! Neat picture!

While we were waiting for everyone to line up, the CRV in front of us, had their battery die. So Bob called to me on the radio, and I drove forward so that the “hubbies” could jump the car. Then I backed, back into  my spot in line.  The wagon master did not want us to tow our cars to the fairgrounds.

We quickly drove about 5 miles on I-10, then about another 5 miles on surface roads to the Riverside Fairgrounds. We entered the fairgrounds and they lined us up into 4 shorter lines, then guided us into the blue parking area. Since we were a group of 22 motor homes, they parked us together. We even have an open spot to have our happy hours.

Once parked, we rode our bikes over to the main building to pick up our packets. We rec’d a $4 voucher( each) for a lunch, and lots of other ‘stuff’’. The actual rally does not start until Thursday. We returned to the motor home and had lunch. At 12:00, we had a volunteer meeting. We had volunteered, with the Alfa See Yas, to be seminar monitors, passing out evaluations and problem solving. Randy Scott, our Wagon Master, had us choose what seminars where we would assist. We have a pretty busy scheduled. Bob has the Aqua Hot repair guy coming on Thursday morning as our floor heater is not working. We have seminars and craft classes to attend. Plus there is a glass guy coming to de-fog some of our windows, sometime during the rally.

We returned to the motor home and took a very short nap, then at 2:30, we rode our bikes to the seminar volunteers meeting. That was over in 15 minutes. So we returned to the motor home. Bob walked the dogs and I read my book. At 5:00 we had the volunteer appreciation dinner. It was an Italian Hoagie with potato salad and pasta salad with a brownie. Of course, it had green bell pepper on it. Actually, my sandwich had just one little piece and Bob’s was covered with the green pepper, so we pulled the piece off my sandwich and traded sandwiches. Hopefully Bob will not get sick!

The Frustrated Maestros( a group of RV’ers who like to play instruments)  were the entertainment. They are pretty good, but the music was very old instrumental tunes. We cut out early and returned to the motor home. The temperature was in the 70’s today, but the weather is about to change again. One more warm day, then dropping temps.

Wednesday- Yea, Bob did not get sick! There is not much going on today, except at noon I need to go sign up for the craft classes. The coaches for sale were  on exhibit starting today, so we wandered  through while the weather is nice.

We could not believe the coaches. Not one that I wanted! I will happily keep my Alfa! Since we are full-timers, we need a coach which you can live in. Most of the ones on display are for weekends or are party coaches. Some of the million dollar  coaches did not even have a washer dryer! No decent windows, no oven, no hamper, no shelf for the CPAP machine, no pantry, no storage for pots and pans.  Minimal electric sockets! Ugh!! One had a bed that was so high up, that there was no way, at 5’3”, that I would be able to get in  or out of bed without a ladder! Bob never minds me going through them since I never find anything I like!

After touring the coaches, we stopped for an ice cream cone, using our ‘free lunch’ ticket. The ice cream cost $4. What a rip off! ‘We sat at a picnic table to eat the ice cream, and sat talking to another couple, Veme and Diane for about 1.5 hours. They spent 80 days in Alaska this past summer, are not full-timers but have decided to go full time. So there was a lot of back and forth on both topics. At 4 PM, we went to happy hour with the Alfa See Yas. The evening entertainment was Bingo, so we did not bother to go over to the main building.

Thursday- The Hydro-hot tech arrived at about 7:45, while Bob was still walking the dogs.  I unlocked the bay for him and he got to work. The pump was broken, so he ended up putting in a new one. That was what Bob figured was broken, so it was no surprise. Not a terribly expensive fix., as RV repairs go…. Bob also had him service the Hydro-hot since he was here anyway.

At 9 AM I headed over to the vendor tent. The oven has never worked  right since we bought the motor home, so we finally decided that we want to get it fixed. I was in search of a repair guy, but never found one. Bob joined me when the Hydro-hot tech left, and we promptly ran into Ernie and Ralene ( Elks in Denver). They are engaged and looked like 70 year old teenagers. It was nice to see them both so happy! We stopped by the Blue Ox booth and purchased a rock guard for the back of the motor home, to protect the CRV on our trip to Alaska. We are going to pick it up in Quartzite later this month. Since the same vendor is going to be there, we do not have to pay shipping.

We stopped at the MCD shade booth, and signed up to have them come to measure the motor home and give us an estimate on new blinds. We want to get them done prior to leaving for Alaska, the land of the midnight sun!

Next we ran into Mary and Norm (our Escapees Genealogy group). We chatted with them for a while. All of a sudden, the wind picked up. Whew, it was really blowing. We were in a large tent, so we hot-footed it out of there, heading into a concrete building. Your could barely see the other buildings due to the flying sand/dust. Not fun!

I had to ride my bike over to the next building for a craft seminar at 10:45. I was making a button bracelet, and I was done in about 10 minutes.Boring!  I rode my bike back to the motor home. It is really dusty with all this wind! Bob was the volunteer monitor at  the Nano-technology seminar, from 11:15 to 12:15, then he joined me for lunch.

When Bob returned, we decided to go out to lunch. We went to Ciro’s which is an Italian restaurant. They had 4 stars on Yelp. We arrived in time to get the last table available, as the restaurant was packed. Even the local cops were eating there, always a good sign! We had a Hawaiian pizza, which was very, very good!

Next we went to Wally World to grocery shop, then returned to the motor home. No happy hour today. There was supposed to be a parade, but that was cancelled due to the weather. No happy hour either, as it was still cold and windy. It looked like it was raining/snowing on the mountains, but it was just windy on the desert floor. The wind died down to about 30 mph, which while still strong, but was better than it had been! We have dust all over everything!

The evening entertainment was The Alley Cats.

The Alley Cats

This musical group was formed in 1987 at Fullerton College. They perform cappella Do-Wap classics and improvisational comedy. They have performed with Jay Leno, Rascal Flats, and the Beach Boys. They work with kids, teaching them about Do-Wap and ‘edu-training’ them through their Arts/Education program. As a result, they have performed at the White House. They were very good. It was fun singing along with they old tunes.

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Friday-  I had a busy day. My first craft seminar was “Applying Iron-on Designs Made Easy”. One of the ladies who does the iron on applications to t-shirts etc.

T-shirt class

My second seminar was the “Microwave-Convection Cooking on the Go”. I had been to a class like this several years ago in Richmond and I have to say the Richmond lady was much better. This gal was trying to teach and cook at the same time. She was also selling her cook books and silicone bake-ware. I left early!

Microwave/convection oven class

Meanwhile, Bob was at the motor home with the window guys, who were taking out some of our windows, cleaning them, and re-sealing them. Bob rode up to meet me for the Ice Cream Social at 12:00. We stood in line when they realized that no one had ordered the ice cream. So we returned to the motor home for lunch.  At a little before 2 PM I went to the seminar, “Improving Motorhome Ride and Handling”. This was my seminar that I had volunteered to to monitor. It would have been nice if the speaker had arrived! He finally appeared at 2:06 PM for the 2 PM start time. How rude! He was a fill in. No one had ordered a projector for the room, so he could not use his Power-point presentation. It turned out to be a sales pitch for Roadmaster.

After the seminar I returned to the motor home. The guys were still working on the windows. They had 3 finished when the younger guy, Chad, dropped his drill on our glass top to the desk. We have a V shaped crack, 15 inches one direction and 23 inches the other. Chad was pretty upset. He immediately went to get Joe, the owner of the company, who came in and said, no problem! He has a glass company, so he is just going to replace it in Quartzite in the next two weeks. 

The broken glass

We went to happy hour at 4, then ate dinner, and rode the bikes over to the main building for the evening entertainment. This evening the performers were “Igor’s Jazz Cowboys”.

Igor's Jazz Cowboys

They play acoustic Western Swing and Dixieland music with comedy and banter thrown in. Igor started his career with the New Christie Minstrels and performed on The Smothers Brothers. We left early, as it was very loud and not our kind of music.

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