The Cruisin' Crew

Chris’ Posts

Fare Thee Well, Mr. Boo

We’re writing to tell you the unfortunate news that our cat Booie was put to sleep on Thursday, April 20th, early in the morning.  He was 17.  Since we’ve been grieving, we’ve procrastinated putting this on the C.C. blog--probably because it makes it “real” in a new way.  We hope to make a video soon, talking about our experience with him in the RV--for instance, he was so smart, he would use the big bedroom mirror as a tool to watch us and himself (only a few animals are smart enough to do this, and it's rare in cats)!

Tracy:  Chris and I had traveled that day, and drove to Yuma, AZ.  It was only after arriving that I noticed Booie acting like he had a bladder infection (actively going in and out of litter box with little to no results).  And the closest after-hours clinics were either in Phoenix, San Diego, or Indio--can you believe it?  All so far away!  We chose Indio, and drove the 3 hours (6 round-trip) to get him there.

Found out his urinary tract was blocked, which is quite serious.  His tract was blocked before in 2005, and I think he ultimately got through it because he was very young and healthy.  It took 2 separate times to get unblocked, and overall it was a difficult time.  He's been on a special diet since then.

Chris: I met Booie in early 2008, when Tracy and I started dating and immediately took him into my heart. The smartest cat I ever knew, he had a big personality and was kind-of the King of our group. He will be remembered as an important member of the Crew and will live with us in spirit forever.

Tracy:  Booie was my Fur Family / Animal ‘Guardian Angel’ support through major life changes:  I went back to college to complete my B.A., quit drinking alcohol (which was good, as I was a fairly serious problem drinker), continued with school and got a Master's Degree, met and married Chris, and started this RV lifestyle (among other great things).  And now, since we started RV'ing, after I realized that I'm an Empath, Booie helped me in learning to not only manage it, but to be in service with it.

He came into my life at the 'right' time, and is exiting at the 'right' time.  As much as I am in pain, I am in an equal if not greater state of Gratefulness.

Lilly and Booie

A (belated) Happy New Year, from The Cruisin' Crew! 🙂

We are alive... in fact we're well and full of renewed energy for the new year.

After a bit of a rough ending plus lots of work during December, we are getting back into the groove and pledge to post more frequently about our ongoing life adventures. The crew is doing well and the rig is also holding together (after we had some unexpected and costly repairs in November - our power steering gear was leaking hydraulic fluid and needed to be replaced).

So what happened since? We were in Quartzsite, boondocking (dry camping on public lands) and enjoying the warmer winter climate until early December when I received an opportunity for a recording gig in San Francisco that Icould not pass up. So we moved Mel (our Motorhome) and the crew back to the (rather cold and wet) Bay Area and stayed even after my recording work was done to be with family and friends over the holidays.

A little holiday cheer for our small space! 🙂

Another opportunity came right around the end of the year when I was invited to an industry party in Las Vegas during CES and since it's almost on the way back down to Arizona, we took the chance and stayed in Sin City for a few days.

After Las Vegas we had 4 quiet nights in lovely Laughlin, Nevada before arriving back in Quartzsite, Arizona - just in time for the annual events including the big RV show and market.

We wish everyone health, success and lot's of fun in 2017! 🙂

First official trip down the coast to L.A.

We have finally left the SF Bay Area again and are slowly making our way to L.A. where I will attend the Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3 as it is known) in mid June. The last few days we stayed near Santa Cruz at Pinto Lake RV Park in Watsonville. The park was a pleasant surprise, given that it was not originally our first choice. We had totally missed that it was Memorial Day Weekend, a major holiday and every park we called told us they were fully booked!

Luckily this little city park at Pinto Lake had an opening for one night, so we took it thinking that 20160529_130417we might have to go on the next day inland, away from the coast to avoid the holiday crowds. But we were really lucky when the park hosts told us the next morning that another space had opened up until Monday, Memorial Day. We took it, because it meant we could relax, stay near the coast, and also visit Monterey6-P1060727 and Carmel. We were really relieved that it worked out that way, because otherwise we would have maybe ended up having to wing it, which we didn't really want to do.

I really wanted to show Tracy the famous 17 mile drive through Pebble Beach and with the help of an old friend who lives in the area, we got the grand tour. Though the crowds caused quite a lot of traffic, we still managed to hit all the good spots, including a photo opportunity at the Lone Cypress!5-P1070179

After Memorial Day we stayed at the Paso Robles RV Ranch, 20160530_163205which was also very pleasant (I think we will definitely visit again) as well as the Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton, another rather nice park.1-P1080089










We’re now heading further south and will arrive in L.A. soon. At first we will still be staying outside the city though, until E3 is about to start!


And we're off... 145 miles! 🙂

We finally did it... we left Palm Springs3-P1030118-001 after our extensive repairs and upgrades and are now officially on our way to the San Francisco Bay Area. We're really looking forward to be reunited with our house plants (which are being cared for by friends) as well as other cherished items currently in storage. And speaking of friends - it's been too long and will be great when we can all meet again (Friday night beer gatherings, even though I don't drink beer ;). And of course not to forget: family - Tracy's brother and family live in SF too.

We drove 145 miles today, and it was quite a ride; first we had a scare when our coach all of a sudden showed a "check engine" light. We panicked a little and pulled off the freeway, thinking 2-P1030113-001we could be stranded again (in what at that moment felt very disheartening), but at least the light turned off again after we cruised to a stop. We immediately called a few of our mechanic contacts for advice, searched the internet and studied the manuals. We learned a lot in about half an hour; if the light had flashed, it would have meant a serious problem. But since it stayed solid and turned off by itself, it meant that the engine was not operating optimally, likely also causing higher than desired exhaust emissions. The likely culprit was a bit of a steep climb up a hill just before we became aware of the problem. I felt the engine was struggling with the gears our automatic transmission was choosing (btw. it's an Allison, which is an excellent transmission nevertheless) and after studying the manuals I came up with a plan to be more proactive about what gears to use for climbs. And it paid off... the rest of the way I manually picked lower gears for steeper hills and the engine seemed to be very happy with the higher RPMs. No more check engine light and the water and transmission temperatures also stayed lower. Conclusion: you can't just drive one of these like a car... it needs a bit more attention.4-P1030173-001

We're now in Lancaster, in Antelope Valley, just over the San Gabriel Mountains, which at times provided us with stunning vistas. Tomorrow we may rest for the day until we continue our trip on Sunday. Driving the motorhome is exciting, fun, but also hard work and truly frightening at times! 😉

The rig in full length

The rig in full length

Making Lemonade...

Chris and I originally wrote this post last week, and postponed putting it out--but we now see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel (I hope writing this doesn't 'jinx' us). Every issue in this post has been taken care of; tomorrow we get new tires for the coach, and soon after we'll be heading back to the Bay Area to get our other remaining stuff from storage!

Here's the post, for your enjoyment.  Take pleasure in our pain:

We decided to write this next post together, because it’s too much for just one of us to take on (you’ll see what we mean in a minute).

Chris:  I finally drove our motorhome away from the garage in which it’s been located for 1 ½ months or so - you would think “so far, so good”!

Tracy:  Unfortunately, the place we drove it “to” is yet another garage.


C:  We wanted to get the suspension checked due to the somewhat bouncy ride and ended up choosing to replace all the shocks. But on top of it, they found that the brakes are in immediate need of repair (the system was leaking hydraulic fluid at an alarming rate and was at this point absolutely unsafe to drive).  In addition, the process of hooking up the electrical wiring of the Invisibrake for our tow car has seemed to cause an electrical issue with the ignition switch, which still need to be sorted.

T:  I know what you all are thinking.  Yes, I do.  If you are of any kind of intelligent mindset, you're thinking that Chris and I got duped and were sold a lemon.  Yes, it can be said that Chris and I can both be somewhat naive about things, (personally I think the world needs people like us to help it go 'round), but there are reasons (of which we can go into more detail later) why we decided to go ahead and purchase the motorhome after learning that the back end had been dinged. We have been firm in our conviction to get this coach, and stand by it through the repairs and updates.

C:  The repairs on the back end were done really well (the coach is actually looking better than before!), and additionally we had two side doors repainted to fix some unsightly clearcoat failure, a back ladder was added, our engine cover got resealed, some cracked upper chassis lights in the back were switched out, etc.  But there have also been other things that badly needed repair:  we had to fix a leaky shower handle connection, and the broken automatic entry steps' motor (more about that story here).

T:  Chris and I have stayed (for the most part) very positive about the fixes that have needed to be done, because we feel it’s really shaping up the coach to be a really healthy piece of machinery.   We’ve been told by knowledgeable RV mechanics that our Safari is overall a really solid choice in terms of chassis, engine, etc.--despite all that may point to the contrary.

C:   When I researched class A motorhomes, I really liked the pros of the Safari:  it's a long 1-P1020588-001lasting diesel, has an all aluminum skin, full fiberglass roof, no slide-outs that could break, no yearly smogging requirement (because it was built before 1998), lots of storage etc.  We also had it professionally inspected, though in hindsight I’m wondering why they didn’t find or point out some of the issues we’re dealing with now...we're looking further into this.

T:  It’s just getting through this initial process of 'working out the kinks', so to speak.  One of the more difficult things to wrestle with was not having any water hookups, combined with having fairly full holding tanks and not being able to take it to a dump station (because it’s been in a garage/getting work done).  It feels like we’ve been hard camping for quite awhile now.

C:  Good news is that once we’re finally able to clear out our holding tanks (along with a newly

At the dump site

The "not so glamorous" side of RV life!

filled freshwater tank), everything will go so much better, particularly for boondocking/dry camping as we’ve learned to be very conservative with the water!

T:  Chris has come up with an awesome way to clean dishes with a minimum of water--look for a blog post/video about it in the future!  But what I've come to decide, is that the RV Life seems to test people who choose to try this life.  It's as if there's a big “How bad do you want it?” thrown at certain individuals, and mettle has to be proven before the gates to the kingdom are thrown open.  It’s strange.

C:  There are actually a lot of RVers who get on the road and have breakdowns, leaks, engine trouble, etc.  As a matter of fact, it's actually common knowledge that in the RV Life you will always have something to fix, improve or maintain - we just didn’t think we’d have to do it so much at once, right from the start! 😉

T:  I’m reminded, yet again, of the tale of The Farmer from a previous post: are these repairs happening now bad? Or good? Take the brakes, for instance. It is such a lucky happenstance that the brake thing happened when it did and how it did—safely reaching a garage in which they told us the situation, and not having the brakes go out on us unexpectedly, on the road, causing untold amount of injury, harm, or worse!  We are definitely feeling the silver lining in that one.

But besides all these challenges we want to thank you for joining us on our adventure, welcome your questions, and are both are looking forward to getting past this initial phase, and taking our first ROAD TRIP!