Aloha and Kakahiaka to all. The day is finally here and it only took me 25 years of police work to get me here. Wow, Retirement life the Promised Land. Now you can consider me Bullet Proof. Terry and I woke this morning at about 0400 hours; I showered and got my things together. I packed one carry on suitcase, one backpack and four, yes four check in bags. Hawaiian Air charged me $240 dollars for my entire luggage. Terry helped me load everything into my 2001 Dodge Durango. I have had that car for nine years already and was sad to have to let it go. I signed the title over and had my dad sell it for me.
I left for the airport at 0500 hours. My dad and Roxane met me at the ticket counter for our goodbyes and snack exchange. I almost forgot to declare my two handguns, the Smith 9mm and Glock 9mm. I read the rules for gun transport which weren’t very clear. I placed the two guns in their separate containers but did not lock them. I did lock the suitcase that contained the firearms. According to TSA, the gun cases needed to be locked and the suitcase unlocked. This seemed kind of stupid to me. By leaving the suitcase unlocked, anyone could open it and walk away with the guns in their little cases. The suitcases are marked by TSA so everyone knows that they contain firearms. I had to call my dad back to the airport because the locks were under the car seat.
At 1530 hours, I arrived at LAX and paid for shuttle service to the Comfort Inn Motel in Long Beach. I ate dinner at a Chinese Buffet next door and spent a relaxing uneventful first evening of retirement.
12-02-2009 Truck and RV
I woke up early this morning and got a taxi to Horizon Lines to pick up my truck. The truck spent three weeks away at sea and my cargo was also at sea on another ship. I drove back to the motel and loaded my things and checked out. I headed to DHX Shipping office to claim my 766 pound pallet of cargo from Hawaii. Thanks to my Compai Ron Richardson for getting me a good rate on shipping only $311. I paid Horizon $1095 to ship my 2008 Ford F-250 Diesel truck to Long Beach.
I drove to Richardson’s RV in Riverside California, to pick up my new battery from the service center. When I purchased the RV they were going to remove the factory battery from the unit and give me a new battery when I took possession of the unit. I met Tony from Tony’s Tow at Alamo Storage in Riverside; this is where my 2008 Jayco was stored for the past 10 months. They had secured the RV with a full cover that I purchased from them for $338. After 10 months in the elements, the cover was torn and very brittle and parts of it had ripped from wind. Tony and I hooked up the RV and he followed me to my first RV Park for a charge of $80.
12-04-2009 Rancho Jurupa Park
We arrived at Rancho Jurupa Park in Riverside for a two weeks stay. We parked and secured the RV in a decent site and realized that they never removed the factory battery. Oops, scored a $95 battery now I have two 12 volt batteries on my Jayco. That evening I spent an hour looking through the manuals trying to figure out how I was going to start the propane furnace. It was already getting cold and you know me I only had shorts and a t-shirt on. The manual said it was a self igniting unit, what dat mean?? Well I just turned on the switch and it fired up I had heat and was so happy. I spent the next couple of days getting things put away and organized some kinda way anyway.
Aloha and Kakahiaka to everyone, damn its 50 degrees outside this morning freezing by local boy standards. I am going to visit Julianne and David tomorrow. I am just hanging around the park and getting to know the area. The area is choke Mexicans, restaurant and stores. Everyone here speaks Spanish and I feel so out of place, cuz I speak only dakine……
12-05-2009 Pomona Family
I am spending time with Julianne and Jacela today; we are going to a birthday party. Yeah you guessed it Mexican party; at least some of them spoke English so it was ok. Yup we had Mexican food; pozole for the first time it was really good. I bought some things at camping world, portable dump tank, electric heater and vacuum cleaner. I had to return the heater because it was junk. I got a much better one at Wal-Mart. I also needed to pickup things I ordered over the Internet, which were stored at Julianne house. Duke comes tomorrow hurrah another day of retirement. Stay tuned......
12-06-2009 Duke Arrives
My very good friends Jan and Neal Sakamoto took care of Duke for me when I left. I had to take him to the Vet for a $10 Health Certificate before Continental Airlines would allow him to fly and he also needed his rabies shot. I dropped off Duke in his kennel to Jan’s house last week. When Jan and Neal arrived at the animal transport terminal, they were told that the kennel was two inches two short for travel. So they purchased a $180 kennel from the airlines to transport Duke. His plane ticket cost $455 which was not too bad, United Airlines wanted to charge me $850, and no movie or snacks. I am so glad that I have good friends like Jan and Neal to help me and Duke. They insisted that the kennel was Duke’s Christmas gift and wouldn’t let me help pay for it. My first retirement check doesn’t come till after one month of retirement. Thanks again to Jan and Neal Sakamoto two of the best friends ever…..
12-08-2009 Uncle Steve Arrives
I picked up Uncle Steve this afternoon at LAX. He was so happy to see his buddy Duke. He flew to meet us and travel with us around America for a couple of months; till I drove him nuts then he would go back to Hawaii. He lasted pretty long; he went back to Hawaii in April of 2010.
This RV site did not have any sewer line hookups so we used the shower at the restroom area. It cost 25 cents for six minutes of hot water. I had it down to a science; I used three quarters to take an eighteen minute shower. I was done long before my time was up but I could not cut it down to 12 minutes because it was nice under the hot water. However, Uncle Steve was able to shower in less than 12 minutes. I joked with him and said how can you shower so fast I bet you neva wash yo eggits that good. He said in the army he used to have to shower with less time so he was good at it. I remember taking fast showers in the Navy but that was long ago and for him it was longer.
We woke this morning to the smell of Lions Kona Coffee, the best darn coffee in the world. I have to thank Ms. Terry for that special gift what a sweetheart Big Mahalo.
I drove to Richardson’s RV to have them install the 5th wheel hitch for $1,550. They installed the Reese 15k Pro Series Adjustable hitch and a 7 pin wiring harness. They did not have to install a brake controller because my truck already came with one as part of the towing package. Of course, I did not know that I thought it was just buttons for me to play with, duhhh. My sitter, Uncle Steve waited at the RV Park with Duke. The installation took two hours and gave me time to have Menudo for breakfast.
12-13-2009 First Drive
I needed to practice driving the truck with the RV so Uncle Steve and I headed out into town for a quite ride on the side streets. My first drive with the RV went very well even Uncle Steve said I did a good job operating the RV around the streets of Riverside. That night somehow I overloaded the electrical panel and the circuit breaker was tripped on the 15 amp load. The RV is rated for 30 amps max draw. What I did not realize is that the load is separate on different parts of the RV. One side is limited to 15 amps and the other side also 15 amps. I located the breaker switch and could tell that it had been tripped. I slid the switch back to the ON position but power was not restored and I sat bewildered. I could not figure out what was wrong all the switches were set to ON and all fuses were fine. I decided that I had to make an unscheduled drive to Richardson’s RV early Monday morning.
12-14-2009 Richardson’s RV
It took me 45 minutes to hook up the RV, even with Uncle Steve’s help what a chore for a rookie. Boy was I nervous driving through town and especially when I had to get on the freeway with my outdated GPS unit. I arrived safely at the shop and met the head mechanic Hector (go figure). He asked me to reverse the RV into the service bay. I said, “What, I have never backed it up and I’m not sure if I can do it safely”. He said that he would guide me and that if I was having problems he would do it for me. It was a short distance and I did very well, even Hector said that I did a good job for my first time. I left the RV for two hours while I walked off to have Menudo for breakfast. Yes, what an onolicious Mexican dish for breakfast. When I returned, Hector said that there was nothing wrong with the electrical system. When I reset the switch, I was supposed to slide the switch to the OFF position then slide it to the ON position in order to reset it. Enough said……
Uncle Steve's Bed
12-16-2009 Prado Regional Park
According to California Park rules, you can only stay at a State park for 14 days then you have to move to another park. Today we leave for Prado Regional Park about a 35 min drive. When I ordered the RV, I purchased a front skirt for $228 and a 9’x12’ mat for the front door area. The skirt folds around the front cap of the RV and acts as a shade or storage area under the front trailer hitch. When we moved to the new park I had placed these two items in the back of the truck just below the 5 th wheel hitch. When we arrived at Prado Park, we were met by a Park Ranger named Hector who got us to our site with no problems. Uncle Steve and I proceeded to set up the RV for our 14 day stay. I asked Uncle Steve if he had seen the skirt and floor mat. He said that it was in the back of the truck where I left it. Oh, Oh it was gone and was somewhere on the freeway. It was blown up over the tail gate and under the RV and we did not even notice. We drove back over our route and were able to find the skirt but it was all ripped up. So by the next week I had to order a new skirt and floor mat. One mistake of many I will not make again, at least I hope I won’t.
After we set everything up that afternoon, we decided to drive to the store to get some supplies. When we returned it was dark already and to our surprise, the front gate was locked and we started to panic. Our campsite was about 2 miles in from the front gate and it was very dark. The only area open to drive over was the one way spike strip lane. There was a large display sign for the weekend fishing tournament in front of the office. So, I took it apart and laid it across the spike strip and we drove over them and got back to our camp area laughing all the way. We worried that someone may have seen us and we hoped that we would not get in trouble. Actually, we had no other choice I checked for emergency numbers and couldn’t figure out what to do. We weren’t going to walk all that way in the dark with our groceries. On the way back we saw many rabbits and a large skunk, WOW Uncle Steve said. The next morning I was talking shop with the gate guard only to discover that the gate was not locked it was just closed. They weren’t going to lock it till Christmas and then they would give us a gate code. Yeah ha ha on them they could not keep to old Puerto Ricans locked out for long. We spent the next 14 days at Prado Park. It was a real nice park, very large with several lakes. There were many wild ducks and lots of wild rabbits which freaked out as well as Duke. There were at least a hundred holes all around the ground from gophers it wasn’t very safe to walk over that area because the ground was soft. We never used the showers at this park; they were pay showers and kind of a far walk from the RV. We did a lot of exercise by walking around the park every day. Sometimes Uncle Steve would go by himself and be gone for at least an hour. He said he liked to watch the ducks and kids fishing in the lake.
The temperature was cold for us much more than either of us was used to. One time in the morning we decided to have saimin because it was so cold, yet outside the sun was shining.
So we set up our tables outside and we both had saimin and we were sitting there with warm hats and jackets on. It was funny because one of Uncle Steven’s daughters called and he told her what we were doing and how we were dressed, we all had a good laugh.
One day I picked up Julianne, Cela and her friend and the kids really enjoyed the large playground area. This RV park was about 20 minutes from their house a lot closer than the last park.
12-30-2009 Rancho Jurupa Park
This morning we headed back to Rancho Jurupa for another two weeks. This time we upgraded to the newly developed sites. This site had us on a cement pad not dirt like the last time we were here. We also had a grassy area for Duke and a fire ring for our late night bon fires. We also had access to the new shower facilities. There was lots of hot water and very large shower stalls with folding chairs for old people. This was a much nicer area then our first time, we learn as we go is what uncle said. We spent New Year’s celebration with Julianne and David n kids. Our next destination was Las Vegas where we were going to meet Terry and Kui.
While at this park, I decided to get an external fuel tank so that I could make less frequent stops along my travels. I found the cheapest one at Aero Tanks for $1,050; it was a 42 gallon tank. The tank was installed behind the cab under the rear sliding bed cover.