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

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Big news alert! early Christmas present

We we have been working for the last month on an early Christmas present for ourselves. and yesterday it all came together. This is our "early" Christmas gift

We started looking at a few houses to kind of "test the waters" early last month. Our demands were fairly specific. We wanted to be near Custer, have room for the motor home to park, a two car garage for the bike and truck plus a view of the Black Hills, all within our limited budget. You can see we were asking for quite a bit. We scanned some of the local internet real estate listings for several weeks but found our choices pretty limited. We drove by a few and finally decided to take a closer look at one so we called the listing Realtor. She met us there the next morning and once we were inside it was disappointing. The house was fairly small with only 2 bedrooms, no garage, no view but it did have a nice big yard with access to park the motor home. We thanked her for showing it to us but it just wasn't what we were looking for. She told us she would keep an eye out and let us know if something popped up that met our needs then she mentioned, in passing, that there was a house that might be available but was above the price range we gave. She gave us the address for a drive by and her card if we were interested in looking at it.
We drove by and talked about it some and decided to take a closer look. We both felt like it was over our budget but thought we could at least use it to compare other houses to so we gave her a call and she came right over. She told us the house had been on the market for several months and the owner had already moved into a condo and was anxious to sell. One deal, early on, had fallen through and she felt he "may" be willing to lower the price below market value to sell it.
We liked the house and it met all of our criteria so, after discussing it for several days we made an offer on it. Most of you know how these things go, low offer, high counter offer. We certainly had a maximum price in mind for the house as I'm sure he had a "lowest I will go" price as well. We got his counter offer which was, as expected, fairly high and we figured this was out of our league. We made a final offer a little higher then our original and he accepted! We have spent the last month "riding the roller coaster" of mortgage applications, credit checks, home inspections, appraisals etc. That's probably the reason the blog has been a little sparse lately. We are both a little above our optimum stress levels! :-)
Last week all the stars lined up and the closing was set for 12/23/14. We did a final walk through with our Realtor and mentioned it would be nice to be able to put some things in the garage early. She called the seller and he said "sure thing" in fact he told them give us a key to the house so we could do whatever we needed. I love small towns, lots of nice people! :-)
We ended up emptying our cargo trailer into one of the garages and even prepped and painted the master bedroom and closet.
We, as of yesterday, are now homeowners once again. The house is 3 bedroom 1900 sq ft with 2 car attached garage that has a gravel pad next to it that is large enough to park both the motor home and cargo trailer. We are within the city limits of Custer so we have city water, sewer and, in an hour or so, cable TV :-)
Oh yea, we also have a view of the Black Hills.

Life is good, Merry Christmas everyone. I'll keep you posted. :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

workin' away.

Sorry my blog posts have been a little sparse lately but for 5 out of the 7 days per week we just work, sleep and repeat. Our days off have mostly consisted of driving into Rapid City to get our Christmas shopping done and those gifts wrapped and shipped to our loved ones. I forgot how quickly those two days off pass before it's time to head back to work. Last summer we worked the same 40 hours per week but they allowed us to work four ten hour shifts and we sure miss those three days off. I am hoping next summers schedule may be similar but who knows.

One day we did take a nice long drive through the Hill's. We were on the look out for wildlife and were not disappointed. We drove through Wind Cave National Park and into Custer State Park and I remembered my camera this time!

I keep thinking back to last year  at this time and we were almost done with our Amazon jobs. We met a lot of good friends there and most of them returned to work there again this season. They are almost done! Congrats guys, it's hard work but I remember that sense of accomplishment we felt when we left SDF1 that last night. Enjoy some Waffles and Bacon at the Huddle House for Rudee and I! I'll keep you posted.

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.