"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Friday, November 21, 2014

busy, busy, busy

Wow, where did the last month go? We have been settling into our new roles at work and finding our "groove". There are always adjustments whenever a new boss(es) takes over but things are running fairly smoothly. We have only had one long time employee decide to make a change but he has been looking for quite some time so it wasn't a total shock when he walked out. He will be missed though as he was very knowledgeable and an all around great guy.
Rudee and I are continuing to work a Thursday through Monday shift and like it for the most part. We will be working all the Holidays this year but don't mind too much since we can take a day off in the future to make up for it. This will give us some vacation days to use while we build up "official" vacation time.
Late in October we made the move to a new campground for the winter. Heritage Village Campground which is owned by Crazy Horse closes on November 1st and they shut down all the water to the sites. We found a nice small park in the town of Custer, 5th Street RV Park, and are settled into site #1. Sorry but no pictures yet. :-(
We were lucky, or so I thought, and got everything set up before the weather changed in mid-November. The change started with snow and we had about 5" of the white stuff but the worst was yet to come as the temperatures dipped well below zero! This continued for over a week with lows in the negative teens and highs in the single digits. The rig was doing good and we were staying fairly comfortable. That all changed last Friday evening. We got off work, came home, changed clothes and went out for dinner. When we got back home an hour later I heard water running as soon as I got out of the truck. Oh, no! I found it pouring out of our wet bay on the Journey and quickly shut it off and started looking for the problem. I found it pretty quickly, there is a small plastic pressure tank hooked into the fresh water lines. The tank keeps the on board water pump from running too much by keeping the lines pressurized. The plastic tank had a big crack in it and water was spraying everywhere. Keep in mind I do have a small space heater in the compartment as well as a remote thermostat that I can monitor from inside the coach (it said 55 degrees when we were home changing). We also had a stream of water running so I'm still not sure if it froze somehow or busted from age and water pressure. Regardless of the cause, here I am, in the dark, kneeling in a puddle of water working on the plumbing and it's -10 degrees outside! BRRRRRRR! I was able to remove the tank but needed additional parts to make the repair, it would have to wait. Rudee made a quick run to the store to buy some gallons of water for us to use and I went inside to warm up.
Saturday I spent my lunch hour shopping at the local hardware store where I bought some Pex tubing and connectors and once I got off work I hooked up the new tubing and we had water again. The repair wasn't perfect though and one of the push on connectors was leaking. Rather then chance it by connecting the hose back up we just ran from the on board tank and turned the pump on and off whenever we needed water. This got us through until I could buy a better connector at Lowes on Tuesday and I took it all apart again and got it fixed with no leaks!
Thursday morning I got up and no water!! What the heck?? I went outside and our hose was frozen. I have used this hose for several years in below freezing weather and it has never failed me. I made it up myself by attaching a heat tape to it with electrical tape and then insulating it with foam pipe wrap. The heat tape was plugged in, the power was on but the tape itself was ice cold. :-(

I was lucky that I didn't have to go to work until noon because of a special event at work so I made a run to the hardware store, got a new heat tape, new insulation and pulled out my spare white hose to
make myself another heated supply line. Rudee and I got everything in place and voila! We could shower again! This winter living in an RV is not for the faint of heart but we just roll with the punches. :-)

We still have snow on the ground but have had a few days above freezing so it has been starting to melt some. I promise to get a few pictures of our new neighborhood for the next entry. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Whirlwind trip to Indiana

Before starting our new jobs at Crazy Horse we took a couple of weeks to return to Indiana. We wanted to visit family and friends because it may be awhile before we can take some vacation time. We were able to have one last breakfast with Steve and Joan (FOSJ blog). We had such a great summer with these two great friends and we'll be lonely without them. They even brought me a present

that should tide me over until I get my first paycheck. Thanks guys, have safe travels and hope to see you again real soon. :-)

Monday morning (9/29) we locked up the RV, loaded our suit cases into the Dakota and headed East stopping in Iowa for the night. We arrived in Indiana Tuesday afternoon and got settled into Rudee's Mom's spare bedroom. We were able to spend some time with old friends, meet some new friends and got to spoil our Grand Kids a bunch! I was able to cook them up a big "low country boil" for dinner one day ...... YUMMY!

We went camping our last weekend with some of our old motorcycle buddies and were able to take our grand kids trick or treating around the campground.

Thank you Rob and Jany for letting us bunk with you guys in your camper. :-)

All too soon it was time to head back. We left Sunday afternoon (10/12) and pointed the truck to the West to start our new adventure.
Since we got a late start we ended up spending two nights in motels on the way back and even made a stop

We are both fans of the American Pickers show and enjoyed the stop. Their shop sure looks bigger on TV and unfortunately none of the "stars" were there just these two guys

We arrived back at the RV on Tuesday afternoon. My first order of business was to check out our combo washer/dryer unit. Before leaving for the trip Rudee did one last load of laundry and it came out sopping wet. I did some quick Detective work and determined it was not agitating or spinning. I figured the belt had popped off or had broken and would just fix it when we got back. Well I pulled the machine out of the cabinet and popped off the back of the case. Oh Oh, the belt is still in position which means it is most likely the motor or the circuit board :-(. I called an RV technician who summers here in the Black Hills but he had already left the area. He confirmed my suspicions but had more bad news, the machine is so old they do not make the motors any longer and the circuit boards are all but impossible to find. He said we may find someone to rebuild the motor but suggested we consider just replacing the whole unit. We gave it some thought and since we are likely to spend at least the next year in the RV we decided to bite the bullet and order a new one. Since the replacement will not arrive until next week we loaded up all our dirty clothes and headed for the parks laundry. $12.00 later we had clean clothes again, Wowzer, that's a lot of quarters!
Rudee had Wednesday off but I started my first of six days straight. My duties have not changed significantly but my areas of responsibility have increased a lot. My first day consisted of morning meetings, HR paperwork and then working in the guest services area. I have a couple of projects to work on and once I have a work area and computer I can get started on them. Hopefully that will all be finalized next week. I do have a mail box though!

Maybe I'm somebody after all :-)

Our next days off will be Tuesday and Wednesday, I'm not sure if this will continue to be our normal schedule but we are looking forward to maybe taking a short motorcycle ride between replacing the washer/dryer and doing the laundry which is piling up again :-) I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

looking ahead

All I can say is "WOW" and "Thank You" for all the support we have in the RV community it truly is humbling.
Looks like I will keep on writing our little blog here and let you all know how cold it gets this winter. :-)

This Sunday will be our last shift as work campers at Crazy Horse and we will leave Monday morning for Indiana. Our new positions start on the 15th of October and it will probably be awhile before we can take some time off again. One of my duties will be to help train incoming work campers next season. They hire quite a few and it is a fun place to work and spend the summer. The pay is above average and you are paid for every hour you work plus time and half for OT. The campground is about 1/2 mile away and has full hook up pull through sites. They do not have Wifi or cable but do have a nice laundry room. The cell service is spotty here as well. AT&T put up a new tower nearby late last year so their signal is super strong with 4g internet but Verizon is weak and requires a booster to receive a decent reliable signal. There are no over-the-air TV stations so satellite is a must if you are a TV watcher like me. There is a minimal charge for your campsite (this year and last was $6.50 per day) and a bonus is available of up to .25 for every hour you worked based on your performance.
Work campers work in almost all the areas of Crazy Horse including the restaurant, kitchen, gift shop, ticketing & welcome/orientation center, bus tours and maintenance/facilities. They do like for people to work a minimum of 32 hours but preferably 40 hour weeks are the norm.
The jobs, of course, are not for everyone and can sometimes be demanding. Count on being on your feet for your entire 8 hour shift (you will get a 1 hour unpaid lunch break usually 1/2 way through your day) unless of course you are a tour bus driver and then you use your voice more then your feet. :-).
The memorial is open from 7:30 pm until around 10 pm during the summer and you can expect to work a variety of shifts. They are very good at scheduling spouses the same days off but your shifts can vary during working days. We are an example of that because Rudee works until close Thursday and Friday and then 9-8 (includes her 1 hour meal time) on Saturday and Sunday. My normal shift is 8 am - 7 pm Thu-Sun, we do work 10 hour shifts (our request) so we get our 40 hours but still have 3 days off.
Without a doubt Crazy Horse has been our best work camping experience. The hours are long at times but the work is fun and we have made lifelong friends with some of our fellow work campers. The area is a fantastic place to explore and one of the perks is a "VIP" pass given to the work campers that get you in free at a lot of the tourist areas as well as other perks. One of the golf courses nearby lets you play 18 holes for the price of nine with your VIP card plus there are many other businesses that participate in the program. So if you are looking for a spot for next summer (May through mid-October) give Crazy Horse a look and maybe you'll be our neighbor next year. I'll keep you posted.