Tall Tales of Tattered Tarps & Towbars

Winnie is now in warm and dry Arizona, leaving behind the stream of California storms. One thing not left behind was the bent towbar; CrossCountry Bob is taking that home as a gift to the installer (he who shall not be named).  Turns out, based on emails with the Blue Ox towbar factory in Nebraska, the towbar was the WRONG ONE.  The base plate on the Jeep was 42 inches between the hookup pins while the installed towbar was limited to a 36 inch width – yikes!.  It was only a matter of time until the stress bent an arm.  Happy Ending: the factory sent out a new towbar to California (5 days to ground ship across the USA, those Americans still do some things well) and, the new towbar slid into the hitch as if it had always belonged there and away went Winnie with a happy Jeep following like a leashed puppy dog

Before leaving California by the way, Winnie rested at the Salton Sea, a favourite spot of CrossCountry Bob’s as you can see…

end of a beautiful day

With the Jeep, CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie could explore the surrounding hills.

Then, for a change of pace, investigate the ATV area to the west of the Salton Sea. It was President’s Day weekend and CrossCountry Bob figured there were more RV toy hauling trailers and ATV’s in that one area than in the entire country of Canada (in the US these vehicles are called OHV’s, as in off highway vehicles),

Overall, the Salton Sea was four days of peace, tranquility and sun. Then it was time to head for Arizona, so bye-bye California.  Overall, California was a relatively smooth passage north to south, challenging weather at times but, hey, Winnie is waterproof and CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie are adaptable. And while hunkered down due to weather, thoughts could stray to other things such as…

Leaving the Salton Sea, Paintin’ Peggie wanted to ride her bicycle with CrossCountry Bob in Winnie & Jeep as the following support team. 

Time for a ride!

No problem for CrossCountry Bob.  While waiting, he can check the stock markets and use the Gas Buddy app to see where cheap gas is (turns out it is a dollar a gallon cheaper in Arizona than California (due, thinks CrossCountry Bob, to superstar California governor Gavin Newson who thinks he is Justin Trudeau, or is it Justin Trudeau who thinks he is Gavin Newson – no matter, either way it is still higher gas prices which are good for you and good for the planet (they say)).

While waiting for Paintin’ Peggie to finish her bicycle ride, CrossCountry Bob noticed this by the side of the road:

Pleasant contrast, yes?

Leaving that pile of adapters behind, Paintin’ Peggie’s bike was stowed in the Jeep and Winnie was on the way to Arizona, first stop boondocking at Palm Canyon south of Quartzsite. Palm Canyon is a Winnie favourite, no doubt due to the beauty and the price of camping (as in free)…

And when a break is needed from the desert, take the Jeep into Quartzsite to see the rocks at the gem stone outdoor market, a venue that, along with Quartzsite itself, left Paintin’ Peggie faintly amused.

There were many unique and somewhat eccentric individuals in Quartzsite. For instance…

Looks right at home?

And if that fellow needed a haircut or something to eat?

So, one thing about the desert is don’t leave your awning out because the wind can blow with little warning.  So CrossCountry Bob dutifully closed the awning but, without getting complicated about explaining it, the awning bar snagged Winnie’s door and bent the awning bar significantly.  CrossCountry Bob hurt more than the awning if you were wondering.


Okay, limited tools, CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie try to unbend the bars enough to close the awning which is now about as useful as a tattered tarp.  Well, CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie soon realize that unbending the bars is about as possible as a politician telling the truth and a (feeling idiotic) CrossCountry Bob telephones a mobile RV repair service in Quartzsite (pick one and hope for the best).  The fellow CrossCountry Bob selects (his webpage photo looks like he might know what he is doing) is between calls and comes right out.  After studying the options (and polite enough not to make any pungent observations about CrossCountry Bob and awning closure), it was grinding a few pieces of metal, drilling out a few rivets and pushing the awning into the closed position.  But how to keep it secured in place was the last piece of the puzzle…

Save one zap strap to secure CrossCountry Bob’s missing attention span

Winnie is now all set to continue, awning permanently out of commission.  Note that the cost of said emergency fix plus the subsequent need for a complete new awning arm is a cost figure subject to “Need to know” rules for the benefit of CrossCountry Bob’s self-esteem. 

More importantly, five days of boondocking, has been quiet and relaxing, warm days and starry nights.  Some hiking, some painting, some doing nothing – classic RV days in the desert. Next up was the metropolis of Bouse (population 950) with a desert style RV park with plugins! That means a shower (much needed!) and the comforts of electric power (you don’t know how much you miss it till its gone).

fun for a while 🙂 then plug me in!

See you next in Phoenix.  Lots on the agenda there but that is a tale for another post.

CrossCountry Bob does Serendipity

Sliding down the West Coast, one must take the weather, people and places as one finds them; but CrossCountry Bob sometimes gets the urge to move beyond “as you find it” and indulge in “click and comment”, thereby exposing his biases, ignorance and even, perhaps, a glimmer of intelligent comment (hopefully).  Judge for yourself.

This poster was in a seafood shop in Charleston, Oregon.  Should the person who posted this be charged with heresy? In Canada, Trudeau would say this person has “unacceptable views”.

Of course, you need oil to produce those turbines in the first place

Enough of that type of reality. Did you know that the ocean produces lovely sea foam when churned by winter storms?

Attack of the sea foam 🙂

And there is always one contrarian in the crowd (don’t turn to look at CrossCountry Bob as you read that).

As CrossCountry Bob sees it, the two on the left are toeing the government line, the one on the right is taking care of business.

Another take on the gender issues of the day – it actually comes with the best advice…

Yes, please wash your hands 🙂

Meanwhile, never take anything for granted.  For example, during a pleasant day enjoying Bodega Bay, CrossCountry Bob turns around and there is some weird looking dude taking a liking to Paintin’ Peggie…

Hey, Charlie Brown!

CrossCountry Bob smiles at the term “atmospheric river”.  Sounds so ominous (probably on purpose he thinks).  Way back in the 1970’s, they called it a Pineapple Express and before that it was a “winter storm”.  Don’t we love drama when it rains and rains…

Heavy rain at our campsite (it’s the West Coast remember?)

CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie go beachcombing (often), and invariably come across the cycle of life, it’s everwhere; a little bit sad but the cycle waits for no one.


So CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie try to stay in the up part of the cycle instead of the down part of the cycle (don’t be a starfish in otherwords). And one thing found in the upper part of the cycle is the best fish and chips in Bodega Bay…

Yummy! (all cod, no starfish).

Another part of the cycle is kids…as in camping with kids…

It seemed fun at the time remembers CrossCountry Bob

Meanwile, CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie are happy to be in the grandparent stage, using our limited energy supply doing our “stuff” as in, Paintin’ Peggie paints and CrossCountry Bob writes. And they both go traveling here and there and there and here.

More cycle of life.  Yummy crab sandwich…

Sustainable harvesting of wild crab – 5 stars

While CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie prefer to sit at a table to eat, others prefer to eat right on the beach…

Chow time on an Oregon beach, or, how to eat bugs and love it.

Changing gears, at a rest stop on Interstate 5 in central California; peaceful prayer is the way to go.

Rest Stop prayers

Incoming! – Momentary panic at the Salton Sea as CrossCountry Bob sees and hears motorized paragliders.

False alarm, no weapons aboard

Dos Palmas – two palms in the 1800’s, so the story goes, turned into this; in the middle of desert, fed by underground springs pushed up by the San Andreas fault.

Fine place to visit but another big earthquake is overdue, so time to exit gracefully in Winnie – Arizona is calling and the mobility of an RV is advantage number one.

Speaking of RVs, check out this RV when money is not a concern.  That is a “Phaeton”, checking in around $400K on a good day.  Being towed is a late model F150.

All the comforts of home

In the cycle of life that CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie inhabit, Winnie and its Jeep fit the bill.

On the road again!

Such exploration opportunity the Jeep provides! A game changer to use a well worn but apt phrase.  More about that Jeep in CrossCountry Bob’s next blog post.

Heavy Weather to the South

CrossCountry Bob has a few firm rules about Winnie and one of the most important is no driving when the wind is in charge.  So, with heavy rainstorms pounding the California coast, it was a case of waiting out each storm, then scooting on south on the fair weather days.

Another hard and fast rule that CrossCountry Bob is particularly fond of is to avoid dump trucks cutting a blind corner and forcing the Jeep Cherokee almost into the ditch.  Paintin’ Peggie was feeling a bit queasy after that encounter.  If it was Winnie instead of the Jeep Cherokee…well, different result.

Leaving aside close encounters of the stupid dump truck kind, there was the close encounter of the flooded road kind but lucky for CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie they were in the Jeep…

Turn the Jeep around please

And finally, the close encounter of the seafood kind – fresh oysters (yummy prepared and coated with panko (by Paintin’ Peggie) and lightly fried to golden brown (by CrossCountry Bob), fresh smoked steehead (incredible) and unique salmon sticks (salmon pepperoni Paintin’ Peggie called them); CrossCountry Bob called them fabulous.

Then, a weather window opened and it was time to depart Bandon, Oregon, heading south towards, hopefully, more pleasant southern climes…

The next storm dodging stop calculated by CrossCountry Bob was Eureka where weather was incoming but not of the super-storm variety further south.  CrossCountry Bob located a convenient stop using his trusty “AllStays” app and there Winnie waited, all plugged in and warm. As CrossCountry Bob planning would have it, next to the RV park was a Mexican restaurant with a reputation for grade A “comida Mexicano”.  It didn’t disappoint, nor did the colourful décor.

That night was a bit storm tossed, plenty of rain and wind, and then the next morning, eureka, it was surprisingly sunny.  Taking full advantage, Paintin’ Peggie was soon riding her bike along the dune roads while CrossCountry Bob did some beach power walking.  Then there was a storm-tossed jetty area to investigate which included a few surfers who maybe should have reconsidered (thought CrossCountry Bob)

And away from the jetty, at the beach, with the beach surf producing a vicious undertow, we have one set of kids doing it right and one set (apparently unsupervised), doing it wrong.

And meanwhile, if you don’t care about oceans, CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie wandered into Artica, a suburb of Eureka. and found a throwback and modern all wrapped up in one city block…

Monitoring the weather as always, CrossCountry Bob noted another window of opportunity between storms and it was exit Eureka…

Leave now says rainbow

Each of the last two years, south of Eureka, Winnie would angle over to the coast and down Highway 1.  This time, with constant high wind warnings, that highway (coastal road more like it) was no place for Winnie as CrossCountry Bob was not interested in seeing if Winnie could act like a kite. So, it was down Highway 101 instead, which slithered south cross country some way inland from the Pacific.

The destination of the day was Bodega Bay, which had been stormy, super windy and very wet, but was now reverting to fine form of partially sunny and 10 degrees.  The drive was, as they say, uneventful, until it was time to turn west towards the coast and the bright idea was formulated to avoid Santa Rosa and the freeway by angling southwest on “country roads”.  No blame will be assigned to that “idea” as both Paintin’ Peggie and CrossCountry Bob clearly had their brains in neutral (shut off?), not processing the obvious incoming data (as in water, water everywhere)…

Couldn’t see the rainwater lake? Look again…

notice the new lake in the background

So Winnie angled to the west and it turned into zigging and zagging as successive narrow country roads were closed due to “flooding”.  Something to remember when we reminisce said Paintin’ Peggie but at that moment she didn’t sound too convincing to CrossCountry Bob.  Then, when it seemed as if the worst was past, there was this…

More than enough water for CrossCountry Bob

CrossCountry Bob watched someone coming from the other direction and thought, hmmm, only axle deep, we can do it (and no place to turn around anyway).  Slow and steady went Winnie with apparently sound footing underneath.  High heart rate and high blood pressure for a minute and then Winnie was through.  Paintin’ Peggie was right after all, it will be something to tell the grandkids (by the time that tale is told the water will have become twice as deep and the underwater road twice as long).

And then, CrossCountry Bob noticed with relief, the road was rising out of the valley and the water threat faded.  Then it was over the hill and down into Bodega Bay. Nothing to it, apparently, and CrossCountry Bob, stupidly, said that out loud. Shortly after there was a turn a touch too sharp (CrossCountry Bob thought) in a grocery store parking lot and one tow arm bent just slightly and jammed.  CrossCountry Bob will spare you the angry thoughts, the sullen curses and more.  Paintin’ Peggie calmed things down, pointing out that a bent towbar was a pain but not a biggie in the grand scheme of things. Although CrossCountry Bob knew that was true, he was sadly aware that knowing that would not straighten out the towbar.

Last rites for this towbar – RIP.

So, assigning the towbar to its fate (the junkyard), CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie walked over to the ocean and instead of thinking of bent towbars, there was this…

And did you notice the sun was out (part of the time).  So, CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie settled into ocean front camping in Bodega Bay.

A rest after all that weather weaving and dodging

Plein air painting to follow for Paintin’ Peggie and exploring for CrossCountry Bob.

Survived the storms!

Bye for now.

Warm and Wet in Oregon

Well, CrossCountry Bob is back and heading south.  Staying close to home for Birthday 98 for Mom was more than worthwhile.  Great get-together with lots of wine and food and cake and…you get the picture. There were two adjacent birthdays as well, CrossCountry Bob’s son, Kenny (January 21) and CrossCountry Bob’s grandson, Ellis, (January 15) Age 1.

Great grandma (98) & great grandson (age 1)

As it turned out, there was an uninvited and unwelcome guest at the party.  This guest (first name unknown, last name Covid) cozied up and said “Hi” to some but ignored others.  Luck of the draw as they say, but nothing serious for anyone (thankfully).

The trip south for CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie traditionally
(yikes, only year 3 and already a tradition) includes a mandatory stop in
Bandon, Oregon. Why, you ask?

Here are a few reasons:

  • beautiful state park next to that fabulous Oregon coast;
  • the best fish & chips around at a small shop at the harbour;
  • good biking country and great beach-combing
  • inspires Paintin’ Peggie to paint
  • inspires CrossCountry Bob to explore the beaches and avoid writing this blog.

And that was how it worked out for a day, getting out there (knowing the rain was coming).  

Then, as expected, the rain arrive during the night along with enough wind to shake Winnie a bit and cause Paintin’ Peggie to be awake more than asleep. In the morning, the rain decided to stay…

Testing to see if Winnie is waterproof

And when it rains all day, CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie both work inside (and you thought this going south was all fun and leisure).  No, no, no.  Attention and focus keeps the mind strong (as Paintin’ Peggie likes to remind CrossCountry Bob from time to time (as in daily).

So there is a hidden benefit to the rain and CrossCountry Bob is fine with that just so long as the rain remembers to not overstay (hear that, weather forecaster?).

Well, time for CrossCountry Bob to have a break from writing and take a walk in the rain (no, this is not like Trudeau taking a walk in the snow).  CrossCountry Bob is not going anywhere and plans to plague you with his writings and musings for some time to come.

Oh, and you have to be careful of the wildlife when out for a walk…

And the next morning, the weather starts to co-operate with CrossCountry Bob…

After the rain

Bye for now.