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

Friday, October 18, 2019

all right.... I confess!

Work has been changing the last couple of weeks. We had our last fairly large event last Monday, Native Americans Day here in South Dakota. I spent the entire afternoon standing watch over 200 or so middle school students who had waaaaaay too much caffeine LOL. The endless amounts of tour buses that show up during the Spring, Summer and Fall are slowing way down so Winter must be right around the corner.
We have also waved "see ya later" to most of our work campers :-( Never a good time watching them roll out for their winter adventures while we stay here, but our turn will come again. We always look forward to next spring when some of them return and new ones arrive. 

This week we had a mobile glass installer come out and put in a new windshield in our rig. We have probably only driven our rig a total of 20-30 miles in the last 6 years so how did "we" manage to break our windshield? Good question! I would like to say it was from hail, or maybe a falling meteorite or even an alien attack but no .....I did it, I confess the awful truth and here is the long, sad tale :-(
One of the drawbacks of our motorhome is the smallish size fridge and freezer. We really envy those 4 door (or bigger!) fridges they are putting in RV's these days, you know the ones that actually keep ice cream frozen! So in preparation for moving back into the RV I bought one of those 12 volt, 120 volt freezer/refrigerator combo units that look like an oversized beer cooler. The thing works really well and keeps our ice cream frozen and our veggies cool but the only issue is where to put it. I initially thought about one of the outside compartments, you know the one with the power and TV hook ups that you never hook the TV up to? LOL This would be a little inconvenient especially in the winter .....brrrr. Then I saw the huge flat area of the dash and that 1 watt light bulb dimly flashed in my head! I can sit it there! Looks like it will fit perfectly and I can run an extension cord ....perfect! Of course I never measured it to make certain .....I am a man after all and men know these things just by looking! Well I stretched the extension cord to the dash, picked up the cooler and "presto" in it went......except the very back corner was kinda caught on the windshield curtain. There goes that dim bulb again ......it told me "just wiggle it a little" so I did and it dropped right into place.....perfect! I wonder what that little popping sound was??? Well you know now that the popping sound was the windshield cracking. Crap! I knew from prior experience that insurance pays for "stupid" so we filed a claim and THAT is why these guys were here yesterday replacing our windshield.

So now life is slowing down a little for us as we settle in for the long winter. We are meeting friends tonight at the local VFW for steak night. Anyone who has lived in a small town knows what an event Steak Night is, certainly not something to miss out on! Oh ya, Rudee has forbid me from taking any advice from that dim light inside my head, she says to just ask her instead? I'm not so sure about that but I'll keep you posted. :-)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Getting settled in for winter .........BRRRR!

The last few weeks we have spent our days off getting the rig ready for winter. I was so relieved that everything in the RV still works. No leaks, fridge is cold, hot water is hot and the furnace blows hot air. We only used the rig maybe 4 times in the last five years so we were both a little nervous. With the basics done it was time to do the stuff necessary to survive the cold and snow. First thing was getting the rig skirted to block that cold winter wind. We considered several options, even custom made, but that was out of our budget. We could have done the foam insulation board but wanted something that not only looked decent but would last us for more than one winter. We decided on EZ Snap RV skirting do it yourself vinyl skirting. We had used this product before on our 5th wheel and liked it, not the cheapest route but 1/3rd the price of having a custom skirt made and installed. We placed an order and in less than a week it was at our door and ready to go. The install took us two days to accomplish and we are pretty happy with the results. Our outer storage areas are covered (personal decision on our part, less trimming and easier install) so I removed everything I thought we may need and put that in our storage unit or the back of my truck. We left a seam near our sewer dump valve compartment so I can easily access those and our wet bay is actually under our slide out so it can be accessed, if needed, by pulling up a corner and crawling under. Here is what it looks like:

While doing the skirting the local LP gas company showed up to fill the tank that our campground owner is letting us borrow. This will help a bunch this winter since they will come out on regular intervals and fill our tank. Last time we wintered here in the RV I had to lug a 100 lb bottle to their shop when it got low.

The next project was water. The hydrant has already been wrapped with heat tape by the campground and I had made a heated water hose from an older white drinking hose, a heat tape and insulated it with foam. Well I attached it (or tried to!) and it was about 6" too short. I could connect it OK but it was stretched to the point of being off the ground ....CRAP! I decided to leave it connected and supported it with boards but definitely not something I wanted to leave long term plus the water had a "rubber" taste with this hose so Rudee made it very clear to me, "this needs to change". We decided to go with a Camco Heated Hose we found at Camping World. They are good to -20 degrees and all I had to do was hook it up, no more "manufacturing" on my part.

Next thing we did, well actually we did this before hanging the skirting, was to put lamps in the wet bay and another in the bay with the black tank valves. Several years ago we spent Christmas at my daughters in Indiana and the valves in this bay froze as well as the "dump" plumbing. We ended up driving half way to Florida with full tanks before things thawed enough to dump. That's a long way to drive with your legs crossed, tapping your foot! Just ask Rudee 🤣
I put a wireless thermometer in the wet bay and the lights have been working great keeping the temps in the 60's - low 70's when it's in the 20's at night. For our "stinky slinky" we wrapped that with aluminum foil and taped a heat tape onto it and then wrapped the whole mess with insulation. I cut a PVC pipe to length and we snaked the whole works through the pipe to give it some extra protection.
We also put two heat lamps under the rig that are plugged into a Thermo Cube Outlet that comes on at 35 degrees and off at 45 degrees. This will provide a little more freeze protection under the rig.

Last, but not least, we covered our windshield with Reflectex insulation. This stuff is easy to work with, just cut it to size with scissors and tape into place. The good thing about this stuff is it not only holds the heat in but also helps keep it cool in the summer by blocking out the radiant heat from the sun coming through.

So that's our winter prep, we are hoping we have done our jobs and we can make it through.....I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Too long!

Not sure anyone is still out there after almost 5 years but...........We are back in the RV! :-)

Yep, we sold the house and closed last Friday. We downsized once again but it was a little easier this time. Our plan is to continue our full time jobs and we are settled into a campground here in Custer, SD for the foreseeable future. We can give up the stuff and the house but those health care benefits and paychecks every two weeks are a little harder to let go of! LOL

Our house sale was a nightmare! We listed on May 5th 2018 and went through several contracts before finally selling and even then the lies and deceptions didn't stop! We had finally had enough and told the buyers (who were still trying to renegotiate the week before the closing!) NO MORE! They needed to take it or leave it, we were done. Once we put our feet down and crossed our arms they quickly agreed and off to closing we went. Well we actually went the day before and signed our part because neither one of us wanted to even see them face to face at the closing table after the way they acted. Grrrrrrr!

So what's in store for Rudee and I .......well we still own our place in Florida which is rented so that is always a possible "snowbird" location or even a revenue stream if we head out on the road. We still have a lot of unfinished business as fulltime RVers with a whole bucket list of places we want to go. We are both aching for more family time, our grandkids are growing so fast and we both feel like we are missing out on so much :-( . So the plan right now is to stay working and banking the $$'s as much as we can. I turn 62 in two more years and have already decided to take the early social security and run!! We are now debt free, something that we have never experienced before and this will help us no matter what comes our way. So hang on .......the roller coaster is climbing that first big hill ......put your arms way up in the air .......enjoy the ride and ......I'll keep you posted ;-)