Thursday, April 30, 2015


Mild-mannered Kathy and Mike are now known as the “customers from hell” at Sears, owing to our not having our ducks in a row, as they say. I’m not kidding -- I don't think Sears wants us to darken their door again.

Deliveries come to the back door
Mike and I made several errors in our recent appliance order at Sears. While it was our fault, a reminder or two from the sales person would have kept evil from happening. Don’t tell me we’re the only discombobulated shoppers in the world, but in the end Sears was none too subtle in telling us the error of our ways.
“The delivery manager bawled me out for ordering the wrong size refrigerator for you folks,” said the sales person. “He said I should have made sure you were ordering the right one, but I told him I expect the customer to know what they want.”

So now I feel bad, but I agree with the delivery manager that if the sales person had asked one or two simple questions, she would have saved all of us some grief. After all, she’s the professional, isn’t she?  And even though the delivery manager was critical of her, he was none to forgiving of us either. (Since when did delivery personnel become powerful?)

Of course, I’ve learned my lesson -- should I ever, ever, ever buy appliances again. But still, I wonder if Sears really needed to let me know how bad I’ve been.

Waiting in line at Jo-Ann’s this morning, I heard a departing customer say to the cashier, “I caused you trouble. Thank you for your help.”

“You were worth every minute,” said the salesperson.

“And that,” I said to myself, “was the right response.” KW

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Motocaching the Grand Canyon State - Day 4

After a delicious waffle and cereal breakfast I departed eastward for about 5 miles before turning south again on Highway 191 which would take me through Apache County.  I stopped for a couple of caches featuring stories of the Arizona Rangers and their history.  I stopped for a couple more as well just for good measure.

At St. Johns I turned southwest on Highway 61 going down to Show Low which was the first town of any size in Arizona I had seen.  I continued southwest now on Highway 60 through the San Carlos Reservation.  From Show Low down to Globe was the best motorcycling of the whole trip.  There were hairpin turns down a long wooded canyon and up the other side for about 40 miles.  The road was excellent and although there was some traffic I was able to get by it without much delay.  I did stop near the bottom of one canyon to pick up two caches for Apache County.

It was about midday when I reached Globe so I gassed up and ate my sardine lunch in the shade of the convenience store parking lot.  I made an unsuccessful attempt at a cache in Globe but since I already had two for Gila County it didn’t bother me too much.

Now I turned southeast on Highway 70 toward Safford in Graham County.  There were very few caches in Graham County but I had four lined up near Safford.  Would you believe I had DNF’s on three of them? Counting the DNF in Globe that was four DNF’s out of five caches – not too encouraging. 
My destination for the night was Wilcox which was directly south on Highway 191.  However, in order to get Greenlee County I had to continue east on Highway 70 and do an out and back over to Greenlee.  There were very few caches in this county so from my previous lack of success in Graham County I was pretty worried about Greenlee as I had only three lined up.  Fortunately I found the first two with no problem and retraced my route back to Safford.  Along the way I noticed rain clouds to the north but I skirted them.

I had a fairly pleasant ride from Safford down to Wilcox, Rex Allen’s home.   After checking in at the Super 8 I left my gear at the motel and went out to pick up a few Cochise County caches in Wilcox.  I found one at an interesting site called the Mascot Railroad before heading out to a cemetery.  Meanwhile the sky kept darkening.  The cemetery was on a dirt/sand road and the rain began as I was leaving.  By the time I got back in town it was pouring.  Of course, I had left my rain gear back at the motel.  I parked my bike under a sidewalk tree and got shelter for myself under a store awning.  I waited the worst of it out but got soaked before getting back to the motel.  I wasn’t expecting a thunderstorm in Arizona.  After getting cleaned up I found a Pizza Hut that was open and had a rather disappointing experience there – more with the service than the food.  I did have enough left over for lunch the next day though. [To be continued] M/W

Monday, April 27, 2015

Motocaching the Grand Canyon State - Day 3

I left Chuck’s around 7:30 the next morning with the sun blazing in my eyes.  It was a pleasant morning with the temperature in the 50’s.  I was heading southeast toward Fredonia and began a long climb at Hurricane.  However, the temperature stayed about the same.  I guess the heat as the morning progressed was offsetting the elevation rise.

The first cache I found that morning was called “Pit Stop - Gotta Go” and featured a couple of toilets attached to poles about 10’ off the ground out in a horse pasture.  The next cache was right in the small town of Fredonia. It was a tiny roadside park but of equal interest to me was the old garage and vehicles behind the park.  Kind of like a step back in time.  From Fredonia I climbed up to Jacob Lake, Marble Canyon and down to Bitter Springs.  This was a beautiful ride and I got one cache up in the pines near Jacob Lake.  I continued south on Highway 89 and then turned east on Highway 160.  I stopped in Tuba City for gas and lunch out behind the convenience store.  There were a couple of stray dogs around and the female was bold enough to come close.  I asked one of the natives how the town came to named Tuba City.  He said it was the result of whites mispronouncing Tuvia which is a Navaho word and was also the name of the convenience store.

From Tuba City eastward was desolate poverty stricken country.  I rode 250 miles with no geocaches to give me a break.  There were Navajos living in this country but I don’t know what they do to survive.  I saw no business just mostly old trailers or shacks in poor repair.  The highway is on the desert floor with red cliffs distanced north and further south on either side.  It was stark but yet scenic country.

Now if you’re keeping track of counties you may notice when my journal is complete that I didn’t mention Navajo County.  I passed through it today but there were no caches – anywhere.  However, when visiting Chuck and Joanne in 2008 we went over to the north rim of the Grand Canyon (in Navajo County) and I logged a couple of caches then.

After many miles I reached the little town of Ganado where I logged a cache at the Hubbell Trading Post.  The Hubbell Trading Post is the oldest continuously operating trading post on the Navajo Nation. After visiting the trading post I turned south on Highway 191 toward Chambers.  Only 40 miles to go and I was ready for this day to end.  The last 40 miles down to Chambers was a nice ride but I actually had trouble finding the town of Chambers!  I thought it was located at the intersection of Highway 191 and Interstate 40 but actually it is to the east of 141 before the intersection.  As it turned out the Days Inn where I had my reservation is not actually in Chambers but on the Interstate about 5 miles west of the intersection.  Chambers is such a small town that I didn’t make a waypoint for the motel thinking “I couldn’t miss it”.  I ended up called the motel and getting directions.

My stay at the Days Inn which was located just off the Interstate was pleasant.  There was a restaurant and service station there so that was all I needed.  They had a free breakfast just like Super 8 and a working lobby computer so I could upload the caches I had logged that day. I logged an even 400 miles this day. [To be continued] M/W


Friday was the BIG DAY, and I was looking forward to it. Our new dishwasher, washing machine, AND refrigerator were to be delivered between noon and 1:00, Sears said. Mike had already cleaned behind the washer and dryer, but that still left plenty of work for today.

First, I helped Mike clean the old dishwasher and move it out of the kitchen. Then I started on the refrigerator, packing food into boxes, crates, the chest freezer, and a cooler. I was ready by noon, but the delivery guy called to say it would be “more like 2:00.”

Kenmore side-by-side, c. 1997
In reality, the delivery hour was more like 3:00. They apprised us of continued delays by phone, but it was still irksome considering that we paid a handsome delivery fee for the resulting inconvenience. When they finally arrived – after having zoomed past the house at least twice – the guys measured my refrigerator hole and broke the sad news. No way would the new one fit. I was very angry – perhaps irrationally so -- at Sears sales, Sears delivery, the folks who built this manufactured home, and most of all at myself for just not thinking of it. All other appliances are standard, the delivery guy told me, but not refrigerators. I cannot have a refrigerator wider than 34 nor taller than 68 inches. That narrows my options to about two low-end models.

On top of that, I fear that I will not find a model that takes advantage of the space I have. My research seems to show that small refrigerators are about 30 inches wide with the next increment being 35 inches. And of course, I do see this as a huge limitation imposed by the home manufacturer. According to the dealer from whom we purchased this house, they now build the houses with huge fridge holes, but this wasn't so ten years ago.

“Time for that kitchen remodel,” advises daughter Hallie. Hmmm. That never occurred to me – and isn’t really something I want to do. However, I'm exploring options.

So, at 3:30, Mike began to install the dishwasher, and if you know Mike, you know that he will not put off till tomorrow what can be done today, whatever that means. He made two trips to the hardware store for the needful and took a short break for a light supper. At 9:30 we loaded our supper dishes into the dishwasher, turned it on, and were soon in bed. KW

Mike and Ken left to scout for wood this morning, and I took myself to Sears. The same sales rep helped me find a fridge that would fit my space – a nice French door model, 24 cu. ft., 33 inches wide. It was a little tall, but she showed me that the hinge was included in that measurement. It actually measures 67 inches, which is within our parameters.

I’d forgotten to take my Sears card, or I would have ordered it on the spot. The rep wrote the model number on a card and suggested I look at it online. She quoted the price as $2639.99 and added that the delivery charge would be waived.

Back at the house, I checked online and was surprised to note the price on this very model was $1999.99. So, after lunch I took the Sears card and went back to the store. (I invited Mike to go with me, but he said I was doing fine by myself.)

At the store, I mentioned to the rep that the price online was considerably less. She replied that “they” would not let her match those prices. Well, in this case, the difference to me, the consumer, was $640! Would there be an exorbitant delivery charge, I asked. She said she couldn’t say. She also added that the delivery manager would not allow her to waive the $80 delivery charge. “I won’t be ordering today,” I said.

So, I returned home, and Mike and I sat down at my laptop and ordered the model the rep had shown me. The purchase price was $1999.99. Delivery is free, and we got 5% back for using our new Sears credit card ($100). Bottom line with tax: $2046.29, a substantial savings over the store price. Frankly, without the rep’s help, I wouldn’t have had the knowledge or confidence to order this model, so I’m sorry about her commission. Maybe her commission is part of the problem.

Delivery date is May 6. Stay tuned . . .

Friday, April 24, 2015

Motocaching the Grand Canyon State - Days 1 & 2

After months of planning, the date for the start of my journey had arrived.  Milo’s son, Mason, was selected by his school to receive the Mayor’s Award in Boise April 22nd so I needed to plan my departure the 10th in order to be back for the trip to Boise, or else postpone it until afterwards. I left around 7:00 am on the 10th and made it about a mile before remembering I had forgotten my phone.  So I had to return and do a restart.  I knew I’d be dealing with extreme variances in temperature on this trip.  It was 42 degrees when I left and dropped to 38 when I reached the Camas Prairie at the top of the Culdesac grade. I had on 6 layers of clothing above the waist and 4 below.  As the temperature rose I would peel off layers.

My destination for the first day was Gooding, ID, to spend the evening with son, Clint.  I stopped on highway 95 and got a geocache by a beautiful little waterfall on the roadside.  I tried a different route through Boise in order to avoid construction projects on the Interstate.  I left the Interstate at Caldwell and went through Middleton, Star and Eagle ending up on highway 44 which turns into State Street.  I don’t know that I saved any time because there were numerous stop lights.

I left the Interstate at Bliss and got on old Highway 26 over to Gooding.  I picked up one interesting cache along the way featuring an old Stinker Station roadside sign.  Years ago when Stinker Stations (owned by Fearless Farris) were widespread in the southern part of the state they put comical signs along the highway similar to the old Burma Shave signs of yesteryear.  This was one of the few left.

I arrived at Clint’s around 4:30 having traveled 421 miles.  Clint and Elisha had burritos prepared which were delicious.  To top it off Elisha had whipped up an ice cream dish that hit the spot.

I departed Gooding Saturday at 7:30 MST with the temperature again in the low 40’s.  Normally when I leave Clint’s going east in the morning the sun is directly in my eyes until I turn south.  There was just enough overcast this morning to lessen the blinding effect and there was negligible wind as well.  About the time I turned south at Twin Falls the sun was in full force but the wind had also picked up.
I was soon in Nevada and picked up a geocache every chance I got to get a break from the wind and monotony. I’ve included a couple of pictures of some of the desolate areas where I logged caches.  The most outstanding by far was the Cathedral Gulch State Park near Panaca.  It reminded me very much of a cache Yancey and I did in Wyoming three years called “Planet P” which was the location used in the movie Starship Troopers (1997). I wish I had had time to hike some of the trails.  

I think it was nearly 7:30 before I arrived at brother-in-law Chuck’s place in Ivins, Utah, having covered 511 miles.  Ivins is in the very southwest corner of the state near St. George.  Chuck and Joanne have a beautiful place and they also hosted Yancey and me when we did the Utah counties two years ago. I had a delicious chicken dinner, got my caches for the day posted on the computer and got a good night’s sleep. [To be continued] M/W

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Mike and I traveled to Boise yesterday (Wednesday, April 22) to attend the 21st Annual Mayors’ Awards to Youth Ceremony which was held last night at Boise State University. Grandson Mason, 14, was one of 72 students to receive this award.

As explained in the program: “The Mayors of Ada County (Boise, Eagle, Garden City, Kuna, Meridian, and Star) invite teachers to nominate students who have shown strength of character by overcoming hardships and obstacles, demonstrating compassion and serving their communities. These students day after day make good decisions, support their peers and overcome challenges. This award recognizes the inspiring efforts of these youth.”

We’re very proud of Mason for the contributions he has made to his school. KW