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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

baby it's cold outside!

Sunday we cleaned all the snow off the truck, got it warmed up and then drove to Kadinger's shop to help with the float building. We were running a few minutes late and were surprised that we were the first ones there, then I remembered they had cancelled the workshop for this Sunday, DUH!!! :-). We went back home and just hung out for the rest of the day. The temperatures took a big nose dive Sunday night. Luckily I wasn't too busy Monday and was able to hang around the 5th wheel most of the day "working". We drove to Lebanon after getting off work and met up with Suters at the Eagles for BINGO. We had fun catching up with them but none of our group won anything. We made it home shortly after 10pm and pretty much went straight to bed.

Tuesday morning I had several appointments so I got an early start. The thermometer on my car gave me the happy news that it was +8* outside ............. brrrrrrrr!! Matthew and Mandie were in town visiting a friend who was home on leave from the Air Force. They stopped by late in the afternoon and we treated them to supper at Applebee's. They both have to work tomorrow so they left right after we got back to the 5er. We wish they could have stayed longer but we understand.

The 5th wheel has been staying warm and we are comfortable. The slideouts are the coldest areas but this is to be expected since the manufacturers are limited to how much insulation they can seal them up with. We are supplementing the furnace with our electric heaters and have found a pretty good balance between electric heaters/LP furnace settings. One thing is for sure, I absolutely love our heated mattress pad! How did I sleep without one of these modern marvels??!! Rudee usually turns ours on about an hour before bed time and YOWZER it's toasty warm under them there blankets when we crawl in!! Gives a new meaning to being "turned on" :-)

The weather is supposed to warm up some later in the week but it looks like it may be cold again by the week end. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter has arrived

A few days ago was the "official" start of winter. Well I'm happy(?) to report that winter has arrived here at the KOA as well. Here is a couple of photos I took this morning out the back window of the 5th wheel of our "winter wonderland".

We had about 2 inches on the ground yesterday morning and most of it melted away by mid afternoon. Another burst of snow covered the drive last evening and then this morning it started snowing pretty heavy and they are predicting an additional 3" before it stops sometime this evening.

We braved the crowds yesterday and headed for the shopping malls (yep we're gluttons for punishment). Our first stop was Wal Mart so Rudee could get her new lenses installed in her glasses. While she was doing that I returned the jeans I got her, they didn't fit :-(
With these chores done we headed to Brownsburg and picked up our skirting that was shipped from the manufacturer in Canada. Wow that box is heavy. We ordered 110' of vinyl skirting which includes the snaps to install it. We also ordered special clamps that attach the bottom of the skirting to frame work made from PVC pipe. We will purchase the PVC pipe locally and construct the frame ourselves.
Rudee bought me a really nice 12V drill for Christmas, probably the best drill I have ever owned. The problem is I use the drill to raise and lower the rear stabilizer jacks on the 5th wheel. You need at least an 18V drill with high torque to accomplish this. The drill she bought for me just didn't have the power I wanted so I took it back to Lowes and went shopping for a different one. I found plenty to choose from and decided on a combination kit that included a 18V drill, circular saw, saws all, and a flashlight. These are all battery operated with 2 batteries and the charger included. The kit even had a large bag to carry everything. I probably did a step down in quality but they should work fine for what I use them for around here. I had a nice circular saw that I sold in one of the garage sales figuring I would not need it. I have had to borrow a circular saw and a saws all two separate times in the last 6 months so I guess I figured wrong :-).
Rudee bought her Dad a new monthly organizer for his birthday so we delivered that to him in Plainfield. We stopped at my Mom's apartment on the way back home and visited her for a few minutes as well.
Back in Crawfordsville Rudee had her shopping list all made and we ended up back at Wal Mart buying groceries. This is about the time the snow started. We came out of the store and it was coming down hard and fast. We decided it was time to head home and stay there! Rudee cooked us up a couple of nice baked potatoes and we topped them with bacon bits, onions, shredded cheese and sour cream, ummmmm good! We had a movie to watch from Netflix and just vegged out in front of the TV for the rest of the night.

The furnace has been working perfectly since I replaced the sail switch. I was worried that it may have a hic up or two when the 100# tank ran dry and it switched to the on board 30# tank. Well that happened sometime Friday night and no problems (ya!!). I had the 100#er refilled here at the KOA and hooked it back up last evening. This larger tank lasts us right at 2 weeks and costs around $80 to fill. Sounds like a lot but we were paying more than that each month for gas in our sticks and bricks home. We were on the budget plan where they average your use out for 12 months and you pay a set amount year round. Now in the 5th wheel we pay to refill when we need it, costs more in the winter but almost nothing in the summer months.
We are going to another float building episode this afternoon and of course will have to go out to eat afterwards :-)!! I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas

I know I'm a day late but sure didn't want to pass up wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas eve my company shut us down at 11:30 so I got an additional 1/2 day off and was able to get a few errands done. Rudee, on the other hand, had to stay hard at it until her usual quitting time of 4pm. As soon as she was done we loaded up the car with presents and food and headed to her parents house in Plainfield. We stopped in Avon on the way and picked up my Mother so we could spend some Holiday time with her. Rudee's Mom always goes all out for holiday meals and this one was no exception. She had every burner on her stove working and food spread out over every inch of counter space. Rudee has a brother and sister who also live in Plainfield and with all the nieces, nephews as well as all of our clan we ended up with 22 people celebrating together. Our son Matthew had to work and couldn't make the trip from Ohio and we missed seeing him and his girlfriend Mandie.

We enjoyed spending the evening with family and watching the kids open all their presents. We left a little earlier than we normally do (which is a good thing) because we wanted to get my Mom back to her apartment. My brother was picking her up nice and early Christmas morning so she could spend the day at their house.

We made it home about 10:30 and Rudee started getting things ready to take to Amanda and Ryan's house in the morning. She pre-cooked sausage gravy, green bean casserole and a broccoli/cauliflower salad. We decided to exchange our gifts before we went to bed and Rudee liked her shirt, jeans and fuzzy robe I got her. She especially liked the diamond earrings :-). I guess I did good. She got me a book and a new drill which I had been hinting around for. We also opened gifts sent to us by Matthew. He sent Rudee a gift card and I got an updated map SD card for my GPS, cool!!

Christmas morning I was up early and had the coffee made. Amanda called about 7:30 and said the kids were up so we got our showers and headed over. I had loaded all the food and presents into the truck and when we got there I guess some things had shifted in the short trip. Rudee opened the back door and the green bean casserole ended up in the driveway :-(
At least the dish didn't break.

We spent most of the day at the kid's house and after I fell asleep in their recliner Rudee figured it was time to go home. She made plans with Amanda and Avalynn to meet in Crawfordsville and go to the movie. She had gotten a certificate from Disney for a buy one get one free ticket to their new release. I passed on the movie and just hung out at the 5th wheel. They had a good time and even stopped and picked us up a pizza for supper on their way home.

I felt a little blue this Christmas and not really sure why. I guess it could have been from my Father passing away or maybe just all the uncertainty in my life this past year from work. I can't really put my finger on it. I can say this though, I'm confident and dedicated to our plan to retire early and be fulltime RVer's. Sometimes I just get a little impatient that we can't just pull up the jacks and go.

The new skirting arrived at our mail server (UPS store) on Thursday. I wasn't able to check the tracking number until after they closed for the Holiday so I can't pick it up until today. I had hoped to get started installing it this week end but we have snow! Looks like about 2" of the nasty stuff fell overnight. I don't mind it too bad when I don't have to go out and work in it. Hopefully it will all clear off by Monday. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

HO HO HO, I can't find a place to park!

Well the Christmas shopping season is in the final mad rush. I got a call from Wal Mart telling me that our lens' we ordered on Saturday were in. Rudee had taken a 1/2 day off to go to Plainfield and help her Mother so I thought I would run into the store and get mine installed after work. When I got to the parking lot the place was packed. I went down several aisles looking for an available space and finally found one way out in the back 40 :-). I hate to see what it's going to look like tomorrow and Thursday since it looks like a lot of people are waiting until the last minute to do their shopping. Christmas has kind of snuck up on us :-).

We have had the occasional overnighter here at the KOA even though they are listed as being closed from November 15 until March 15. The manager lives here behind the office but she doesn't keep any kind of regular hours during the winter so I'm hoping the overnighters are using the after hours drop box and not just freeloading. She does leave the power on in the entire park and we have the water turned on for our row. Besides ourselves there are 2 others here for the winter.

We got a call Sunday from Niles and Deb who made it to Florida without any trouble. Niles called to rub it in and then asked if I could do them a favor. They haul their Goldwing in a cargo trailer behind their 5th wheel and were looking forward to doing a lot of riding, only problem was that Niles had left their helmets sitting in the garage back here in Indiana. I volunteered to drive to their house, through severe blizzard like conditions, pick up their helmets and fight through the holiday traffic to drop them off at the Fedex store. You owe me big time Bro'!! :-)

We are spending Christmas Eve with Rudee's family in Plainfield and then going to Amanda and Ryan's house Christmas day to see what Santa brought the grandkids. We are looking forward to spending time with family and having a 3 day week end as well.

My new skirting is still in transit and may be here tomorrow or Thursday. I'm hoping we can get started installing it this week end, should make for an interesting blog entry. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

what's that white stuff ??

We stayed up later than usual watching a really exciting football game Thursday night. The Colts pulled it out late in the 4th quarter and we were both tired at work on Friday!

They were predicting snow for Friday evening and we were expecting 1-2" of the dreaded white stuff. Well the snow didn't come until Saturday morning and was not as bad as predicted. The ground is covered but the roads are all clear. I'm glad we are not further east where they are getting a blizzard with over 2' of snow in places.

We finished up our Christmas shopping on Saturday. We had eye appointments at Wal Mart at 9:30 and decided to let them change the oil on the truck at the same time. Between appointments and doing our shopping it was noon before we left. That's a first for me, spending that much time in a Wal Mart for cripes sake!!

Back at the 5er I watched TV and napped a little. Rudee took off and got her nails and hair done. She was a major Hotty when she got back!!

Sunday we are doing some more float building and hanging out with our friends. I'm sure food will be involved somehow, somewhere :-).

Furnace update: still working like it should, keeping my fingers crossed. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

cold again

Well I know you are probably as tired of hearing about my furnace problem as we are having to deal with it. We came home Monday and the furnace started acting up again, same old story, same old codes. I called the mobile RV repair guy first thing Tuesday morning and left him a message. I called again in the afternoon when I didn't hear from him and left him another message. Meanwhile I was able to get the furnace going using the reset/tap on the side technique and we were able to stay reasonably comfortable.
The furnace worked on it's own several times Tuesday night which is a good thing because the outside temperature dropped into the teens. The rv technician only works 1/2 day on Wednesday so I waited until after his 12:30 start time to begin calling again. I never did get through to him and just had to leave messages. We went to the Goldwing meeting Wednesday evening and the temperature inside the 5th wheel was down to 64* when we got home. I got the furnace started up and we quickly warmed up. The furnace came on a few more times during the night but still was not working properly.

I did some research on the internet and talked with a couple of technicians and I came to the conclusion that the sail switch was causing the problem. The way our RV furnaces work is the thermostat sends an electrical signal to the furnace to come on. The blower starts and the air blowing from the fan closes the sail switch which then allows the power to continue to flow through the system so the gas opens and ignites. The sail switch is located inside on the wall of the blower housing which is what I tap on that causes it to start up. The sail switch is just a simple switch with a long "paddle". When the blower starts the wind blows against the paddle closing the switch. When the mobile tech was here a couple of weeks ago he found the paddle was rubbing on the housing causing to drag and maybe stick. Unfortunately he did not replace the switch, just bent the paddle and proclaimed it fixed. I decided to try changing the entire switch as I was convinced this was the problem.

While out doing inspections for work on Thursday I found an RV dealership and they had a replacement sail switch in stock. When I got home I told Rudee I was going to work on the furnace, she gave me a look of terror and pity all wrapped up into one :-).

I already had the outer panel off so I could do my reset/tap maneuver and only had to remove 4 screws to take the blower casing apart. I got to the sail switch fairly easily although they could have made these things with a little more space to work. I removed the old switch and lo and behold one of the contacts was burned. I installed the new switch and plugged the wires back in and put it all together. I had some trouble getting everything aligned in the tiny space but eventually it all went back together. So far it seems to be working. I guess time will tell if all we needed was a $7.00 switch all this time :-(. Here are a couple of photos of the old sail switch.

I have written before about our friends Gail and Gordon Pike who we met in Florida last year. Here is a link to a you tube video of them on stage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx_bgzySpF8 I can't get over how she can sing so "Southern" and talk so "Northern"!! :-)

We are looking forward to watching the Colts play tonight. I doubt if I will be able to stay awake for the whole game but hopefully we will stay warm!! I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

working away

We spent the day Saturday visiting with my Mom and sister before dropping her off at the airport for her long flight back to Seattle. We had a nice day and the weather even warmed up some.

Sunday we went to help build a float with our Goldwing buddies. Each year the state organization holds two rallies, one in summer and the other in winter. This year's winter gathering will be in Indianapolis. There will be several events, games, seminars and even some vendors. We usually take Friday off from work and make a 3 day week end out of it so we wont miss anything. Saturday night they have the "grand parade" and the individual chapters are encouraged to enter a float. The week end has a different theme each year and this years is "Island Paradise". I see grass skirts and coconut bra's in our future :-). With all that has been going on in our lives we haven't had the chance to help on the project until this weekend. I have to say it's coming along great! The rally is January 22nd and 23rd so we should have no problem finishing it up. I can't post any pictures yet, it's all a big secret since we will be getting judged so I don't want to let the cat out of bag just yet :-).

I'm a little bummed out that I have not been able to watch an entire Colts game yet this season. We have always had something going on. I have gotten to see bits and pieces of the games and keep an ear tuned to the radio when they are playing but I need to have a day where I get to sit in my sweat pants and dirty t-shirt and just watch my team!!

Monday after work we drove to Sheridan to visit the funeral home there. One of our riding buddies lost her brother and we went to pay our respects and offer our support. We picked up Niles and Deb on our way and got a chance to visit with them for awhile. Niles is a truck driver hauling grain and has been running 12 hour days 7 days a week for the past several weeks since it's harvest season. He is relieved it's almost through and they are leaving for a well deserved 2 weeks in Florida resting and recuperating. They leave Saturday morning and are really looking forward to their trip.

I ordered our new skirting material yesterday and it was shipped today. We are hoping it gets here before the week end so we can install it. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The frost is on the pumpkin!

This week the weather has been brutal. The temperature dropped into the single digits, the wind howled and we had some snow. I finished up the home made skirting Tuesday evening and we both think it helped keep things warmed up by blocking the wind from under our RV. Wednesday the snow arrived and then the winds hit with a vengeance. 30 mph winds with gusts 50+ mph!! Needless to say several of my pieces of skirting didn't survive :-(

I was worried that we would have some freezing problems but I'm happy to report that all our utilities are working like they should. Here is what I have done so far.

1. Pirit heated hose for water supply. http://www.pirithose.com/

2. PVC sewer pipe ran at a good angle for proper flow instead of the slinky type plastic sewer hose.

3. portable heater plugged into a thermostat controlled plug in and placed in the basement to guard against freezing in case the furnace goes out. http://www.thermocube.com/

4. Vinyl skirting for the 5th wheel overhang (car port for the bike).

Inside the 5er besides the on board furnace we have a Infrared heater and 2 ceramic cube style heaters that we use to help maintain a comfortable temperature. https://www.iheaters.com/

We have been staying comfortable and the furnace is hanging in there (keeping my fingers crossed).

Our king size bed really takes up a lot of room and after reading on the Montana Owners forum that several had reverted back to queen beds we decided to make the change as well. We went to the local furniture store that advertised Tempurpedic beds and looked them over. We had decided on buying a memory foam bed. We had thought about an air bed but there are no outlets convenient to the bed. We tried out several foam mattress' and finally decided on one and arranged for delivery. I borrowed a saw from Mike Kadinger and cut the bed platform down to size. The delivery truck showed up right on time and the guys carried the old mattress out and brought the new one in and set it up. Wow what a difference. Not only do we have more room to walk around the bed but it is a lot more comfortable as well.

I have some different ideas on replacing the blown away skirting so stay tuned. We take my sister to the airport tomorrow evening for her flight back to Seattle. Not sure what other mischief we'll get into. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

catching up

The last several days have been a whirlwind and hopefully things will start to get back to "normal" soon.

Saturday morning I made a trip to Home Depot and bought several 8x10 sheets of foam board to use as skirting around the 5th wheel. Rudee and the rest of the "girls" took my Mom shopping for an outfit to wear tomorrow. When I got back I started measuring, trimming and installing my home made skirting panels. It was really cold and I had to stop several times to go inside so my hands could warm up. I got about 3/4 done and ran out of daylight so I will have to finish later in the week.

Sunday was my fathers memorial service. The family all arrived at 12:30 and everything was set to go. The folks at the mortuary really did a great job for us. The people started arriving at 1pm and there was a steady stream until well after 3pm. We got to visit with old friends and relatives we had not seen in a while. I really appreciate all of our friends coming to give us their support, it sure means a lot to Rudee and I.

After the services our whole family loaded up in our cars and went to Pizza Hut for dinner. My Mom and Dad ate here all the time before moving to Florida. We all sat at a long table and really enjoyed ourselves. My Mom did get a little confused and at one point asked"where is my husband at?". Broke my heart. Rudee explained that he had passed away and was in heaven, She said she remembered but it felt funny that he wasn't here. I guess we need to expect these things, I have even caught myself picking up the phone to call him and talk about the weather or something and I don't have the excuse of Alzheimer's.

Our son Matthew arrived Saturday and has been sleeping on our couch so Monday Amanda came over and we took them out for breakfast. Since we were not sure we would be seeing Matthew again until after Christmas we decided to surprise him with his gift. We had planned to buy him a new TV since his was on it's last leg and Amanda wanted a camcorder so we took them to Wal Mart and let them pick out the ones they wanted (within a certain budget of course!!). Matthew's girlfriend Mandie joined us after our shopping spree and we all headed for my Mom's where she was able to meet her as well as my sister and niece. We visited at my Mom's for awhile and finally headed back to the 5th wheel and ordered Pizza for supper.

Tuesday it was back to work for both of us. Monday morning we had about 1 1/2" of snow and there were wrecks everywhere so it looks like it's going to be a busy week for me.

Furnace Update. I caught up with the RV repairman Saturday morning and he actually showed up at the KOA to fix my furnace!! He took the blower casing off and found that the "sail switch" had been rubbing on the casing and sticking causing our intermittent problems. My tapping on the outside of it would cause the switch to be "unstuck" and then the furnace would work. He repositioned the switch and it has worked fine ever since. Maybe it's finally fixed!! I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Goldwing fixed at least :-(

Well you can probably figure out from the title of this post compared to yesterdays that the furnace is acting up again. Rudee and I are both off work today so we can get errands done in preparation for my Dad's funeral on Sunday. We headed to Lebanon and stopped at my Doctors office first thing. I was getting some blood drawn to monitor my thyroid. I do this about every 6-8 months so my M.D., Dr. Park, can adjust my meds if needed. I don't mind getting blood drawn, beats a colonoscopy but the discomfort is about the same. Just a big pain in the butt!! :-).

We grabbed breakfast and then went to the florist and picked out the flowers for Sunday. Rudee suggested we take the time and stop in to the BMV and get our address changed on our drivers license. We also wanted to update our weights too :-). When we were down in Florida we went to my parents bank where they had a safe deposit box that we needed to empty and close out. I had to show my I.D. (drivers license) to the gal there. She looked at the license then at me then back at the license and then looked back at me and finally asked if I had any other I.D. because I looked so different. It took one of the other employees vouching for me who had seen me in with my Mom the prior day before she would let me open the box. We figured we better get new photos taken. :-)

We headed back home and found that the furnace was out again. I took off the cover and the light was flashing the code for the limit switch/air flow problem. Looks like the circuit board didn't solve our problem. I called the repair man and he was going to call Atwood who makes the furnace and discuss it with them. He called me back in a few minutes and said they thought it was a "sail" switch which is inside the blower housing and he would be out in a little while to fix it. I told him we would have to be leaving and he said "no problem, everything I need is on the outside". We were going to the airport to pick up my Sister and brother in law who were flying in from Seattle. Rudee followed me to Indianapolis in my parents car which Frank and Paula were going to use while they were in town. Once we picked them up we stopped and got a quick bite to eat since they hadn't had a "real" meal all day.

We parted ways with Paula and Frank as they headed for his fathers house and we had a party to attend. Tonight was the Goldwing Chapters annual Christmas Dinner. We were running late but made it before the catered dinner was served and even had a few minutes to visit before dinner. We always have a good time with our biking friends. We have a small gift exchange at the party where each person who brings a gift gets a raffle ticket. They then get the gift that has the corresponding ticket on it. After all the gifts are handed out you get three minutes to trade your gift with someone elses. The traders get pretty funny and the only rule is you can't take back a gift from the person who took it from you. We always have a great time running all over the room "stealing" gifts. Once the time keeper yells stop we all open our presents and then go around the room showing everyone what we got. This year I got a hand made wooden pen in a nice wooden gift box and some peanut brittle. Rudee got 25 gold dollar coins all wrapped individually. We were both happy with our gifts and enjoyed our evening.

We made it back home around 11:00 and guess what?? Yep you are right, furnace was out. I had left the cover off so the tech could do his magic and the cover was still off which means it looks like he didn't even show up!! You would think this guy would at least call and let us know if he can't make it. He does work on Saturday so I guess I get to go and chase him down again tomorrow. I did get the furnace going again, just takes a rap on the blower case with a screw driver. Maybe if I wrap up in enough blankets I can sleep outside under the furnace door with my screw driver in hand so I can beat the heck out of it all night!! Is there no end to this furnace saga?? I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Furnace and Goldwing fixed!

We have been spending the week trying to get back into the groove. I got a call Monday morning from Grumpy telling me that we have a head gasket leaking on the Goldwing and he should have it done later in the day. I made arrangements to pick it up late on Tuesday since we had an appointment at the funeral home after work Monday. We met with the folks at Myers Mortuary and made the final arrangements for my Dad's showing/funeral. We also started the process of pre-planning and paying for services for my Mom when the time comes. Hopefully we can save ourselves some difficulties by getting things done now.

Tuesday morning we got a call from the mobile RV repairman and he told us he would be out this afternoon to fix the furnace. I told him about the new "code" and how it was acting and he is convinced it is the electrical board and says he has one in stock. When I got home from work he still hadn't shown up or called so Rudee drove me to Thorntown where we paid for and picked up the bike. The weather was cool but not terrible and I had a nice ride back home.

Wednesday morning Rudee started calling the RV guy and leaving messages. He was recommended to us but we are finding out that he is not the best communicator and so far has not followed through on his commitments. I did not have a very good day and was stressed to the max and ready to bust a vessel and finding out the furnace still wasn't getting repaired sent me off the deep end. He has a small shop here in town so I decided to pay him a little visit. Luckily his shop is about 3 miles through town and I had a little time to cool off before arriving. I found him inside on top of a class C motorhome doing some kind of repair to it. I told him who I was and he immediately started in on excuses, couldn't find the right board, had to order the part, UPS hasn't been here yet, yadda yadda yadda. He told me that the part was on the UPS truck and as soon as it was delivered he would come and install it and would call me before 6pm either way. I was a little skeptical but what else could I do. I drove back home and he called about 10 minutes later and said he was on his way. He arrived and not only changed the board but also checked the gas pressure and did the recall work on the refrigerator that I had forgotten about. I felt kind of bad for him because it had started to rain and was turning cold. He finished up around 6:30 and the furnace seemed to be operating like it should, time will tell.

We went to the Wednesday night dinner ride with the Goldwing group which was to Creekside Restaurant here in Crawfordsville. While sitting in the restaurant the rain changed to SNOW. Yuck!! The flakes were huge and the cars were soon covered. The ground was still warm enough that the snow didn't stick but it sure reminded us that winter is just around the corner.

My sister and brother in law are flying in Friday afternoon and we are going to meet them at the airport. Matthew is driving home and will be staying on the couch here in the Monty. My Dad's services are this Sunday and then we can start to work on getting things back to as normal as we can. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Back home again in Indiana

We were in no particular hurry to head out Saturday morning and took our time getting the rig ready to travel. When I stepped outside I was met with a familiar sight, a Montana being pulled with a semi truck that carried a motorcycle. Sometime during the late evening this rig pulled in.

Right after I snapped the photo the owner came out to walk his dog and I got to meet John who is from Northern Indiana. He told me that he had been traveling in a bus conversion and had just recently purchased the Montana and the Peterbuilt. He plans to build a deck onto the back of the truck this winter so he can haul his Harley trike instead of the scooter he has loaded up now. He spends his winters in Zephyrhills Florida and is on his way there now. I told him that we had just left there heading back home to Indiana. What a small world indeed. He then told me he was 81 years old! He didn't look a day over 60 and I told him so, he laughed and said he may not look to be in his 80's but he sure feels like it sometimes. I enjoyed meeting him and wished him a safe journey.

We got on the road about 9:30 and made good time through Kentucky and we were soon in Indiana. We made a quick rest stop at the Scottsburg Rest Park on I-65 to grab a quick snack and stretch our legs. We pulled into the KOA around 2:30 and began setting up the 5th wheel for the winter. The truck continued to run great the rest of the way home.

Once we were all level and stabilized Rudee hopped into the truck with me and we took the Goldwing over to Grumpys Goldwing Service in Thorntown and dropped it off to get the oil leak fixed. We are hoping it will not be too serious. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 27, 2009

chug, chug, chug $$$$

I was up early Friday morning trying to get the furnace to work. I'll tell you what, our furnace has more bugs than a stray dog has fleas!! The good news is it's not the same problem as before because the little light was flashing a new code. The bad news is now we have a new problem with it! I got it running again by switching over to a new tank. At least the coffee was brewed by the time I got the furnace work done. Rudee made us breakfast after our showers and we got busy packing up. We pulled out and turned North onto I-75 to head towards Indiana.

Traffic was light and we were looking forward to making good time. My trucker buddy Niles called me on my cell phone about 30 minutes after we left and while we were talking the trucks engine started missing. I thought maybe the Jake brake was messing up and shut it off and it seemed to run a little better until I started going up the next grade and it started missing out again. Rudee called me on the radio and said there was white smoke coming from the exhaust . Oh oh, this can't be good. I went ahead and pulled over. Niles gave me some things to check and told me to call him back. I checked what I could and other than the radiator being just slightly low, all looked good. I called Niles back and he had talked to Freightliner who told him it could be the fuel filter clogged. This made sense since it only missed out when under a load and felt like it was starving for fuel. Niles was hopeful it was the filter instead of something internal in the engine. Rudee called our insurance company for road side service. They hooked us up with a towing company who gave us a a couple of names of roadside service providers who work on big trucks. I called one who said he was available and had the filters we would need (there are 2 of them). He said he would be there in 45 minutes. Darrell showed up right on time and quickly got to work on the truck. He replaced both filters and primed the engine then had me start it back up. Our insurance company told us we would have to pay for Darrell's fees and then submit the receipt for payment so Rudee wrote him a check and we'll keep our fingers crossed for a refund.
Darrell followed us for a couple of miles to make sure all was well before turning off. The truck seemed to be running like normal so it appears that problem was solved. Moral to this story is to make sure I carry fuel filters in the future so I don't have to pay big $$ again to have them replaced on the side of the road again. They are not difficult to replace but you have to have the parts and the right tools to do the job both of which I will add to the tool box before taking another trip.

Traffic had picked up after our 2 hour delay. I guess all the people were out getting those "black Friday" deals at all the stores. We stopped for lunch North of Atlanta at a rest park. I was little nervous heading over the 6% grade at Mont Eagle Tennessee because of our earlier engine troubles but the truck did great. We breezed through Nashville and stopped for the night at Bluegrass RV Park in Franklin, Kentucky. This is the same park we stayed at on our first night out on the way down to Florida two weeks ago. The temperatures are supposed to be below freezing so I filled the on board water tank instead of hooking to the campgrounds hydrant. I didn't want to risk the pipes/hose freezing up so we will just run off our pump for this stop. Rudee fired up the furnace and it's working just fine so far, keep your fingers crossed!!

We have about 300 miles left to drive tomorrow and should be able to be set up back at our site at the KOA before dark but you never know. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We took our time getting started this morning. The sun was out and the sky was a pretty blue but the temperature was in the upper 30's ........... brrrrrrr.

Rudee toasted us each a piece of French Toast for breakfast while we waited for things to warm up a little. We took a walk around the campground and met up with the owner/manager who was making rounds in her golf cart. We verified with her that the dinner will be in the clubhouse and will start at 5pm.

We bundled up and headed out on the bike about 10am. We didn't have a destination in mind so when we exited the campground I turned the opposite direction from yesterday. We continued east for several miles and then turned south. We rode until close to lunch time and let the GPS find us a restaurant. We were led to the town of Eastman Georgia where we had several restaurants to choose from. Seeing as it was Thanksgiving Day I figured if we stick to the chains we would have a good chance of them actually being open. Our first choice was Wendy's ...closed, next was Pizza Hut ..... closed, Mc Donalds ..... closed, oh oh this was not looking too good. Mexican place .... closed, Dairy Queen .... closed. Ok now I was getting worried and Rudee was getting hungry and this was the largest town in a 40 mile area. We finally spotted a Huddle House that was open. These restaurants are along the lines of the Waffle House type diners seen at so many interstate exits and are not usually high on our list of eating joints but beggars can't be choosers! The food was actually better than I expected and we enjoyed our lunch and short break from our ride.

Back on the bike we headed further South before I finally steered us back to the Northwest and headed towards the 5th wheel. We made it back around 3:30 and Rudee helped me load the bike back onto the semi. I had noticed a small oil leak on the front of the Goldwing's engine fairing when we unloaded in Florida and saw that it had worsened when we were loading it up :-(. We will probably be unloading the bike at Grumpy's Goldwing Service and leaving it so he can check it out rather than taking it back to the campground with us. Hope it's just a gasket and not something more serious but we will need to get it taken care of before riding again.

Rudee had all the prep work for her broccoli/cauliflower salad so all she had to do was put it all together in a bowl. She finished it up and we headed for the clubhouse for dinner. There were 26 people there and we sat with Ron and Ann from Tennessee. There was enough food to feed and army and one couple brought in the biggest apple pie I had ever seen. The thing was made in a round casserole dish and was probably 6" deep .. WOW. Ron and Ann are fulltimers who spend the winters here. They sold their former home to their son on the condition that they keep 1/2 acre for an RV pad and this is where they spend their summers. They have a travel trailer they pull with a small bus. Ann is confined to a wheel chair and the bus and trailer have been adapted to her needs. We enjoyed our meal and the company we shared. Rudee liked it because she didn't have to cook and only had a couple of dishes to wash :-).

We are hooking on in the morning and heading further North. We are not sure how far we will get. I guess it all depends on how early we get started but will probably shoot for Bluegrass RV Park in Franklin, Kentucky. We stayed here our first night out on the way down. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

heading North

We finished packing up and hooking on Tuesday morning and pulled out of our spot at 9am. Rudee followed me in my parents car and we drove North on US 98 until it intersects with I-75. We had decided to take the interstate to save time since we had over 300 miles to cover even though we would have much preferred to take the slower paced state routes.

Traffic was fairly heavy most of the day. We made one stop at the Georgia Welcome Station for lunch and a short rest break. We pulled into Twin Oaks RV Park (http://www.twinoaksrvpark.com/), Elko Georgia shortly after 3pm. Our plan is to stay here for 3 nights and leave Friday morning and continue our trip back to Indiana. The campground is nice and we have a full hook up pull through site for $18 per night (Passport America rate). We signed up to attend their Thanksgiving pitch in dinner when we checked in. The park is providing the meat and each couple will bring a covered dish. Not quite like spending Thanksgiving with family but it should be nice.

We got set up and drove into Perry Ga. for dinner at Red Lobster. Rudee wouldn't let me unload the bike because I have been having some serious back issues the last few days. I have been having a hard time walking and have been in a lot of pain with spasms. She didn't want me to unload the bike and then not be able to ride it and have to load it back up again. We decided to try the hot tub here at the park and see if that helped so we spent about 30 minutes relaxing and soaking.

Wednesday morning my back was feeling better so the hot tub must have done the trick. Rudee gave me the OK nod to unload the bike and down it came. We did have to bundle up some since it was in the middle 40's, man I miss Florida already. We rode about 25 miles west of the campground to the Andersonville National Historic site which was the location of Camp Sumter a confederate military prison and home of the National Prisoner of War Museum. Our first stop was to visit the museum and visitors center. We have a National Parks Passport book that we purchased about 3 years ago. The book lists all the National Park sites and has blank pages that you get stamped when you visit the sites. We got our passport stamped and spent about an hour visiting the museum seeing all the displays. We then headed to the prison site. There are several monuments at the site and the prison "walls" are marked by white poles outlining it's former shape. There are actually 2 sets of poles, one to mark the outer wall and one to mark the inner perimeter, the space in between is the "kill zone" and the guards were instructed to shoot any prisoner that strayed over the line.

There is also a National Cemetery on the grounds. The prison held over 32,000 men on it's 26 1/2 acres. Most had little to eat and their quarters were crude handmade tents. There is a stream that runs through the camp but it was not sufficient to supply them with the fresh water they needed and was soon contaminated with human waste. The death toll was nearly 100 men per day, too many for individual burials so the men were laid shoulder to shoulder in mass burial ditches. The graves were marked by wooden stakes with numbers engraved and eventually these were changed to the marble headstones seen today.

Leaving Andersonville we headed further west to the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in the Presidents hometown. Plains Georgia is a lot smaller than I anticipated. There is a main drag about 1 1/2 blocks long with business' on one side and railroad tracks on the other. We visited the museum which is in the former Plains High School where Jimmy and Rosalynn both graduated. We then rode the few blocks to the west edge of town and found the entrance to his "compound". They moved back to their home after leaving the White House and are still living there today. The house is a fairly modest ranch style and the museum has a video tour given by the Carter's themselves. The driveway is gated and judging by the guard shack and black SUV's parked around the entrance the Secret Service is "on the job" protecting our 39th President.

We decided to park the bike and stroll through the stores. Each store had local grown peanuts for sale and one offered free samples, I declined until they came around with the peanut butter ice cream. How can you say no to a free sample of ice cream!! The ice cream was just OK, tasted like frozen Skippy or Jiff to me.

We decided to head back to the 5th wheel before it got too late. I planned a different return route than the way we had come and we headed out. The roads here are really great for riding. The traffic was very light and we enjoyed being able to look over the terrain as we rode. We went through several small towns and saw several factories that looked recently abandoned. This area appears to have been hard hit by the recession.

Our Thanksgiving dinner is scheduled for 5pm so we should have a little time tomorrow to explore some more on the bike. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

finishing up

Sunday we slept in some and it was past 8am when I got up! We made arrangements with Dave and Cindy to meet them at Olive Garden in Lakeland Florida. We arrived first and were sitting outside waiting for a table when they arrived. Dave and I became friends when I was a paramedic and he had just gotten appointed as a Deputy on the Sheriff's Department. That was around 25 years ago. We kind of lost track of each other these last few years and it was nice to get together again. We spent the better part of the afternoon with them catching up on each others life's and families. I look forward to seeing them again soon.

We headed back to the 5th wheel and the closer we got the darker the clouds became. The rain started and continued off and on for the rest of the evening so we just vegged in the 5th wheel.

Monday the weather improved and we had a lot to do. We had gotten my Dad's death certificates late on Friday and needed to tie up some more loose ends that we could only do after we received them. A trip to the county courthouse in Dade City was first up. We got the information we needed for the deed on their lot and then went and applied for new titles on their trailer. Since it is a double wide there are two titles, right and left :-). Next up was a stop at a title company for the deed application. They said they could only do it if we purchased title insurance but recommended a paralegal that could take of it for us without the insurance which was not needed. I called the paralegal and set up a 12:00 appointment. We headed for the post office to mail out copies of the death certificate for his life insurance and his pension. The post office was a zoo and by the time we finished there we were almost late for the paralegal appointment. Luckily his office was not far from the post office and we made it right on time. He took down all our information and we paid for the new deed application. We would have to come back in a couple of hours and he would have all the paperwork ready for us to take to my Mom to sign and mail back. We grabbed lunch at Flaco's Cafe in Zephyrhills. They specialize in Cuban food and it was very good. Rudee had 2 empanada's which is seasoned beef wrapped in a pastry and deep fried. I had a Cuban Philly Sandwich which was beef, cheese, peppers and onions pressed and grilled on Cuban bread.

With lunch out of the way we made a Wal Mart stop for groceries and went back to the farmers market for some fresh vegetables. We picked up the paperwork at the paralegals office and finally headed back home. I took the truck and topped off the fuel tanks. We used 115 gallons on the trip down, getting right at 9 miles per gallon. I was pretty happy with these numbers since we would only get between 8-9 towing our tow hauler with our 3/4 ton truck.

Back at the 5th wheel I loaded the bike onto the back of the truck and got it tied down and ready to travel. We are leaving Tuesday morning and starting to head back North. We are going to stop and visit the Andersonville Prison National Historic Park in Andersonville Georgia. I found a Passport America Park near there that has gotten very high reviews on http://www.rvparkreviews.com/ so I called and they have room for us for a few days. They are having a pitch in Thanksgiving dinner Thursday evening so we will probably attend that as well as doing some sight seeing. We have about 300 miles to travel Tuesday and are looking forward to exploring a new area. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Vacation Mode

We are trying our best to get into "vacation mode" and make the best of trip to Florida. We were invited to dinner at Wayne and Lisa Abdul's home Friday night. They have a really nice home in Lutz. We arrived at 6pm and Wayne was busy grilling burgers on their patio. The meal turned out great and the broccoli/cauliflower salad Rudee brought was a big hit. We visited with them the rest of the evening catching up on everything from the kids to life at work. We had a great time and the evening went far too quick for us. Thanks guys.

Saturday we decided to do some motorcycle riding. We headed towards the coast and ended up in Port Richey at Catches Restaurant for lunch. We found this place last May and enjoyed their food. We sat out on the patio again where we had a view of the water and boats. The food was good but the waitress was new and could use some more training.

After lunch we headed south from Port Richey to Tarpon Springs. We toured the famous Sponge Docks which are more shops than dock but it was fun. The sponge industry was started in the late 1800's by a Greek immigrant who discovered he could harvest the sponges from the bay by hooking them. In the early 1900's divers came to this area and began harvesting them using deep sea diving techniques they perfected in Greece. Needless to say there is a very large Greek influence in the area that is visible in the restaurants and gift shops. Here are some photos of our day.

We headed back to the 5th wheel in time to get ready for dinner. We had invited my cousin David and his wife Linda out to dinner. They have been great with my Mom and Dad. Linda had been taking my Dad to dialysis on Saturdays when he couldn't drive and there was no shuttle available. David was always doing little things for them. Our taking them out to dinner was just a small token of our thanks to them, they are two great people.

We picked them up at their house and went to Lazy Susan's restaurant which is at a golf course between Dade City and Zephyrhills. Rudee had made reservations since we had heard about how good the food is. We arrived for our 5:30 seating and there was one other group in the dining room, otherwise we had our choice of tables! The food was really good and we enjoyed our meal and our company. They even had my favorite, fried green tomatoes!! Ummm good! We lingered after dinner just talking and then dropped David and Linda off at their house and headed back home.

Sunday we are going to get together with old friends Dave and Cindy Myers. Dave and I worked together at the Sheriff's Department and have known each other for 20+ years. We haven't seen them for a few years and will have a lot to catch up on. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 20, 2009


This week we have been busy tying up all the endless details encountered when a loved one dies. We had a nice memorial service Tuesday afternoon at the clubhouse in the park my Mom and Dad used to live in. They still own a double wide there and are renting it to the gal who works in the office of the park. She is a very nice lady and all we had to do was call her and she set up the details for the memorial and even arranged for volunteers to make coffee, tea and cookies for all of us. Rudee made up 3 boards with pictures of my Dad and the rest of the family to display.

My brother picked up the rental truck Tuesday evening and Rudee and I began loading it. We packed up everything except the things my Mom would need for her last night in Florida. We made it back to the 5th wheel around 9pm and went straight to bed.

Wednesday we were up early and headed to Mother's apartment. She was still in the cafeteria finishing breakfast when we arrived so Rudee striped her bed and began washing the bedding while I took the bed apart. We carried the bed, chair, and the few boxes of clothes left from last night out to the truck. Jon and Cherie' arrived and we all headed to Barb's Restaurant for one last lunch at their favorite restaurant. My parents loved going to Barb's. They had a regular group that would meet for lunch on Wednesdays and dinner on Fridays. My parents didn't go very often in these last few months since he really didn't feel like it but my Mom sure enjoyed it today. She even got serenaded by one of the waitress'. We said our goodbyes to my Mom, Jon and Cherie' in the parking lot and they began their trip north. We stopped at a farmers market on the way home and picked up some grapes, strawberries, bananas, and 2 green tomatoes. We just hung out under the awning most of the afternoon. We both needed that!

Rudee had picked us out a nice steak at the grocery store so I got the grille out and cooked the steak while she made us some fried green tomatoes.

Thursday we decided to take a day off and we headed for Disney World. We had our choice of parks and decided on "Hollywood Studios Theme Park". The park opened at 9am and we arrived around 9:30. Traffic was a lot lighter than I expected and the parking lot was fairly empty. I guess the recession is alive and well here in Central Florida. We zoomed right in and there was hardly any line on any of the attractions we went into all day. The crowds did pick up some after noon but still a lot less than what I remember from years past. We stayed all day and enjoyed ourselves. I even rode the "rockin rollercoaster". That thing is like being shot out of a cannon and then it goes upside down several times. Pretty cool! We also saw several of their shows and "street parades". It was dark when we left around 7pm and made the 1 hour drive back to the 5th wheel. We were both tired and ready for bed when we got back. I didn't take the camera to Disney since we were planning to ride some rides and didn't want to take the chance of losing or damaging it. I did get a nice picture of the sunrise from under our awning here at Grove Ridge RV Park.

We still have some loose ends of my Dad's to tie up here but have most everything taken care of. We plan on visiting with some friends we have that live down here. Wayne Abdul works with Rudee and transferred down here a few years ago, he has invited us to his house for dinner Friday evening. Dave Myers and I were on the Sheriff's Dept. together and he has since retired and lives North of Orlando. We have been corresponding by email and will try and get together Sunday. The weather has been nice here and we hope to do some motorcycle riding in the days to come. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 16, 2009

working away in Florida

We have been going pretty much nonstop since we dropped the jacks here in Florida. We made it into our site around 11:30 Sunday morning. The office was closed but we had already paid for our site when we reserved it and was told to go ahead and park and then we can register Monday morning.

Our site is on the back row of the campground and has full hook ups. We got set up and Jon and Cherie' (bro and sil) picked us up and we headed out. We made a quick stop at Chile's for lunch and then spent the rest of the day with my Mom. She has been handling things pretty well. She has the beginning stages of Alzheimer's and her short term memory is not very good and she gets frustrated when she cant remember something she just did a few minutes before. Jon has been busy getting things arranged and we made a plan of attack on what still needs accomplished. We left my Mom's when she went down for her dinner and headed back to the 5th wheel.

Rudee made herself some soft tacos for supper and I opted for Mc Donalds drive through since I had Mexican for lunch. We had planned to watch the Colts game on TV and I made it through the 1st quarter and headed to bed. They were playing our arch rival New England Patriots and were getting beat up pretty bad. I fell asleep pretty quick but was awakened by Rudee yelling at the TV, I guess the Colts were making a come back in the 4th quarter and ended up winning the game by scoring a last second touch down. She said it was really exciting.

We are planning a memorial service for my Dad here in Zephyrhills. The park they lived in offered the use of their clubhouse for Tuesday afternoon. We are keeping it low key and this will give their friends here a chance to see my Mom again. We have decided to move her back to Indiana so family can be close. We have already made the arrangements at an assisted living facility near my brothers house. We are renting a U-Haul truck and he will haul her belongings while Cherie' and my Mom follow in the car. My Dad wanted to be cremated and we are going to stay until that happens and we can bring his remains back north with us. The funeral director says it will not take longer than 7 days so we may make a stop on the way home to see some new scenery. I'm not sure how it will all play out but I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

sad day

Robert P. Rubeck
1929 - 2009

We lost my Father Saturday morning just before 9am. My brother and sister in law had spent the night at the hospice so he would not be alone and I got a call about 8:45 from my brother giving me an update. He said it was just a matter of hours and doubted he would live through the day. While we were talking he was called back into the room and told me the end was near. I asked Jon to tell my Dad that I loved him and it was OK to go and we would take care of things here. He disconnected and then called me back about 5 minutes later and told me he had a died very peacefully a few minutes after he gave him my message.
My Dad had just turned 80 years old. I remember he was surprised that he lived so long since his father died fairly young. He was not with out medical problems though, he had to take dialysis 3 times a week, was on insulin for diabetes and had open heart surgery a few years ago to repair blocked arteries and put in a new valve. The last year he has steadily declined and so his passing is sad but also a blessing.
He was a Christian man but not outwardly religious. He and my Mom met in High School and were married on her 18th birthday in 1949. They enjoyed a long and happy life together. He worked and retired from AT&T spending 35 years repairing telephone lines. He was a volunteer fireman for most of his adult life, first in Plainfield In. and then in Lebanon In.
He and my Mom loved camping and had some type of RV until buying their retirement home in Florida. I guess he passed his love for the RV world on to me. His goal was to retire and live in Florida. They snow birded for several years until they found a nice double wide in a park they liked which they purchased and soon fulfilled his dream and moved to Florida permanently. They were very happy. We will miss him. He was a good Father.
We were up early Saturday morning and I was able to post the prior blog and have coffee before the sun ever peeked out. Rudee made us a quick breakfast of French Toast and we headed out. I was picking up the hose and cord when I a neighbor came over and wanted to take my picture. I thought it was because I was so handsome then I realized he didn't want a picture of me, just one of the truck and 5th wheel :-). The big rig sure does get a lot of attention.
We traveled hard today, covering over 600 miles. I usually avoid taking I-24 to I-75 since you have to go over Mt. Eagle and then either through or around Atlanta. Our "normal" route is I-65 to Montgomery Al. then US 231 into Florida. This time we decided to give I-75 another try and I was anxious to see how the truck would do on a serious climb and descent. Mt. Eagle in Tennessee is a 6% grade for about 6 miles. We started up and I was pleased with the power our old truck has. We climbed the hill in 9th gear and never dropped under 45 MPH (I could have gone faster but Rudee wouldn't let me, LOL). I had the Jake brake on while descending and it kept our speed at 45 MPH all the way down. Piece of cake !!

We went around Atlanta and had no problems, in fact the traffic in Indianapolis was worse then here. Rudee had packed us a lunch and snacks so we could eat on the road so we kept pushing on. We did stop once before the mountain climb and another time at a rest park south of Atlanta for bathroom breaks.
We crossed into Florida at 4:30 and headed toward our nights "lodging" , another Passport America Park. Pines and Oaks Campground in Lake City Fl. is right off I-10 about 5 miles from it's intersection with I-75. We had called ahead and they had room for us in a nice long pull through site. We always call first just to make sure that they not only have a site available but to also check that their site is big enough for us. We are 65' long and I would rather not unhook the truck for just an overnight stay so we look for "big rig friendly" campgrounds.

The park is nice with full hook up sites including cable TV and wifi for $19 per night (Passport America rate). The owners were very friendly and take pride in their park. The roads and site pads are gravel but each site has a large cement patio. The sites are a little close together, reminds me of typical KOA type sites, but our's is on the end of the row so we have a larger front yard :-). We only have about 160 miles left to travel so we can take our time this morning. We will be staying at Grove Ridge RV park in Dade City for at least the next week. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

heading south

The news from Florida Friday morning was not good. His condition has worsened and the medical team was asking for direction on things like feeding tubes and continued dialysis. I discussed it all with my brother and sister and we decided to just make sure he was comfortable in these final hours. This afternoon he was moved to a hospice facility nearby.
I finished up what work I could in the morning and Rudee took 1/2 a day off. We had the whole circus wagon we travel with packed up, hooked on and ready to roll by 2:45. We made it through Indianapolis before rush hour and traffic was heavy but no back ups. Louisville was about the same and we made it through by taking it slow and easy. We decided to stop for the night about 8pm in Franklin Kentucky at the Bluegrass Music RV Park which is a Passport of America Park. The rate was still $23 for the night which includes an extra $3 for 50 amp "big rig" site. Their pull through sites are very long (90') and it was easy getting into. The place looks very nice but to be fair I have not seen it in daylight yet :-). They are located right off I-65 at exit #6. The noise from the interstate is not bad at all and we both slept very well.

Thanks for the comments and prayers for my Dad. We are planning to make some pretty decent miles today. I don't think we can make it all the way down and it still be daylight when we get there. The place we are staying at is a little tight to maneuver around in so we will probably stop for another night on the road somewhere in Florida. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 13, 2009

quick update

Just a quick update of what's been transpiring. They did admit my Dad on Tuesday and he had trouble breathing Tuesday night so they moved him into ICU. He has declined since and the reports we are getting were not very good. My brother and his wife left for Florida Wednesday afternoon to be with my Mom. They arrived Thursday morning and took her over to see him. Jon (my brother), who is a paramedic and is almost finished with his RN degree, called me with an update. The news was not good, my Dad has very labored breathing and his oxygen levels are low. He has some kind of infection and they are treating him with antibiotics but he has not shown any kind of improvement. Jon says the doctors and nurses are not very optimistic for his recovery. He is not talking or responding to them except to squeeze my Mom's hand when she held it. :-(

Rudee and I are planning on going down as soon as we feel we have too. I would go now but think it's best to wait. I want my Mom to have either myself or one of my siblings with her during this time so we are trying to space ourselves out so when one would have to leave another can come and take their place. I suppose it will all be moot if he passes away, then we would head down as soon as we got the word. I guess we are just in a holding pattern for now.

I have been going through the motions here at work. I'm sure I haven't been the best person to be around this week and Rudee has been very patient with my short temper. My emotions are on "full alert" and I have found myself thinking of memories of my Dad. I would like to be there with him just to let him know everything is going to be alright but I don't want to rush down there and then next week my Mom have no one to help her through all this. What can you do except try and make the best decision and hope it's one you will not regret later.

If you get the chance, say a prayer for my Dad today and I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

feast or famine

So far this week work has been a zoo. The assignments hit in a big way Monday. I guess I got lazy the last couple of weeks and when they hit me with a big pile of work it's a little stressful. I had 8 new assignments Monday alone. I have been working through them as fast as I can just so I can stay on top of things. I know it will slow back down to a reasonable level but it kind of stinks they just dump a bunch on you all at once. Most of the assignments are coming from one adjuster and, judging by the dates they are called into her, it appears she is saving them and requesting inspections on several all at once. I suspect she is behind in her work and when they pile up, she sends a bunch of them out which makes it harder on us to get them scheduled and inspected in a timely manner. I only have 48 hours from assignment to inspection so time is of the essence. Oh well enough about work.

I have been keeping a close eye on my father. He has not been feeling well and sounds very weak when we talk. I talked to the nurse at the assisted living facility and she said he has been failing dramatically in the past week or so. He is so weak he cannot walk and has been falling a lot because he is too weak to stand. We have all tried to get him into the hospital but he is refusing to go (I ran the battery out on my phone trying to convince him!). I think he knows they will have to put him in a nursing home. He has been the primary care giver to my Mother who suffers from dementia and doesn't want to be separated from her. Yesterday he was due for dialysis and he was too weak to go and finally agreed to go to the emergency room. He was moved to a room last evening and we are waiting for an update from his doctor. He is so weak and sounds pitiful when he tries to talk, I'm not sure he has long left. I am trying to prepare for that as best I can. We are heading down to Florida in a couple of weeks and it looks like we will probably be moving my Mom back into the nursing home where they both were 6 months ago so they can stay together. We shouldn't have as much to move this time and most of their furniture and things can either be donated or we can call the auction place again. He has agreed to move back up to Indiana where all the family is but he is too weak to make the trip right now, guess we'll just wait and see.

My sister, Paula, suggested I start a facebook page so I'm now on facebook. I signed Rudee up as well but not sure if she will "get the bug" or not. I guess I am more into the blogging and corresponding then she is.

Rudee has to go to a training class this evening so I'll be a bachelor tonight. I've got a new netflix movie and it sounds like a good night for Chinese take out :-). I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 9, 2009

end of a nice week end

Sunday's weather was supposed to be even nicer than Saturday. We were up, out the door and on the bike about 8:30. The temperature was a little cool but we knew it would warm up as the day went on. I pointed the headlight north and we headed to Frankfort where we met up with Steve and Trish.

Steve is a retired Frankfort Police Officer and now works for the Sheriff's Department as a transport officer. During the week he takes prisoners back and forth to courts as well as to the various prisons around Indiana. On the week ends he is subject to being called in to transport prisoners that have to be taken somewhere right away. Well this was his week end to be on call and as soon as we got to Frankfort he was called in to assist with a prisoner. We decided to go get some breakfast and wait for him since he promised not to be long.

Steve met us at the restaurant when he was done and we all loaded up on the bikes and headed out. We continued heading north and were soon in Monticello Indiana home of twin lakes, Freeman and Shaffer. This area is a popular summertime retreat and the lakes are lined with cabins and homes. We rode around Lake Shaffer The trees have all shed their leaves and a lot of the homeowners were out raking the leaves into piles.

We started heading back south and got off the main drag and headed thru the farmlands on the side roads. They are putting up a lot of wind mill turbines here and we saw quite a few with their blades slowly turning making power.

All too soon we found ourselves at a cross roads with Frankfort to the east and Crawfordsville to the west. We said our goodbyes to Steve and Trish and headed towards home. We both enjoyed the riding we did this weekend and this may have been our last chance for good riding weather before winter sets in.

We will be taking the bike down to Florida with us and plan on doing a lot of riding there, or at least as much as we can squeeze in for the short time we'll be there. Rudee has a class this Wednesday so she will miss the dinner ride. I'm not sure if I'll go or just hang out here and enjoy some "alone time" I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Serenity and Inspiration

Saturday the weather was supposed to take a turn for the better and be close to 70* and sunny! I see a motorcycle ride in our future but first we decided try a new restaurant that just opened here in Crawfordsville. They had remodeled a building that housed a former fast food restaurant and opened up a family style restaurant in it's place. They were fairly busy but we were shown a seat in the "non-smoking" section. Now I'm a former smoker and grew up with a father who smoked so I'm not "anti smoker". The problem I have is restaurants that allow smoking but make no accommodations for it. This place had no fans, no partitions, no nothing. We were seated at a table that was next to the smoking sections. The only difference between "our" section and "their" section was we didn't have an ashtray on our table. Disappointing.

Our breakfast was mediocre at best and the service was below par. I would think that a new restaurant would want to put their best foot forward so people would come back. Not this place. I doubt if we will return.

We headed west on the bike with no real destination in mind. We enjoy the time we have on our Goldwing. With the built in intercom system we can spend some quality time together discussing anything and everything. Saturday was one of those days I will never, ever forget. We were riding and discussing my job and the impending doom we have been experiencing. I pray every night for help with my job situation and am keeping an eye on job postings with my company just in case they have something I can transfer into instead of just waiting for the axe to fall. So far there has been nothing. Thursday night I was stressed because they had closed 4 more offices so I prayed that my path He has planned would become a little clearer to me. Friday I checked the job listings and there was a new posting for a job as a special investigator and they were looking for someone with both claims and law enforcement experience to review files for possible fraud investigations. Sounds like it might be right up my alley since I have 12 years experience in both, hmmmmm. Plus it was in my pay range so I may not have to take a pay cut. The biggest downside is the job is in Kansas City and we would have to move.
We discussed the pros and cons pretty much all evening Friday and started back in again Saturday morning agonizing over what to do. We were on the bike riding when we made the decision to aggressively pursue the job. We were both relieved we had reached a decision and maybe this would be the first step to having a little security back in our life. It was a nice feeling because we had been in a lot of turmoil over all of this. At that moment I noticed a large bird circling overhead. I had to take a double take and pointed it out to Rudee. There was no mistaking it. It was a bald eagle! Wow, it was impressive and I still get goosebumps thinking about it. I had never seen an eagle in the wild, much less here in Indiana. How cool is that??!! I can't help but think of one of my favorite bible versus. Isiah 40-31: " ..... they will mount up with wings like Eagles." We were both awestruck.

We rode on and eventually made it to Terre Haute Indiana where we had lunch. Rudee has some family roots in this area so we headed a little north to Universal Indiana and she pointed out several houses where various relatives lived. They have all passed on now but I think Rudee enjoyed seeing the places she spent so many summer week ends at. We had a great day and got to share a very special moment.

Sunday we are planning some more riding with Steve and Trish. Who knows what we'll find. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


That's what it felt like at 4 am this morning. The furnace was out, AGAIN! I got up and turned it off at the thermostat. I waited a few seconds and turned it back on again. Nothing. I decided to just turn the electric heaters on and went back to bed. It's too early to try and mess with this now. I was in bed for about 20 minutes when I heard the furnace kick on again and start warming the 5er up. I fell back to sleep all warm and happy. I got up again about 7:30 and it was cold again, crap!

The furnace has been a struggle for the last year. We had it looked at when we were in Goshen at the factory and they made some adjustments and it has worked fine until this past week end. The furnace will work fine and then for no apparent reason shuts down and will not restart. Sometimes I can get it going by turning it on and off at the thermostat, other times I have to take the panel off on the outside of the 5th wheel and reset it there. Other times I just rap it on the side of the blower and it starts up, kind of a "kick start" :-). Needless to say we have got to get it fixed so we have reliable heat this winter so Rudee left a message with a local mobile RV technician to have him come and check it out.

I went on to work and left Rudee sitting in front of her computer wrapped up in blankets :-O.
The RV tech hadn't called and it was getting close to noon so Rudee called Keystone (manufacturer of our Montana) and talked to Darrell in the Service Center. He put a technician on the phone and after Rudee described all our problems to her she diagnosed that the limit switch was the most likely cause and would need replaced. Shortly afterwards the mobile tech called and he agreed and will order the part and replace it, bad news is the part will not be here until the first part of next week. The good news is the furnace fired back up again and has been running fine all day.

Our son, Matthew, arrived this afternoon for a visit. We took him out to eat at Creekside Restaurant here in Crawfordsville. Steve Suter called as we were leaving the 5th wheel and he was in town and all alone (Trish was working late) so we invited him to tag along as well. Matthew ordered their special which was a breaded cheeseburger, looked interesting and he said it was pretty good. I guess everything is better deep fried :-). The rest of us had "normal" food and we all had a nice time.

Back at the 5th wheel Amanda and the kids stopped in for a visit. We had a house full tonight! Matthew is spending the night and will head back to Columbus tomorrow. The weather looks like it may cooperate enough for us to take a bike ride this weekend, we're keeping our fingers crossed and I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

time flies

Wow I can't believe how quick the days are going by, winter is bearing down on us fast. I had a pretty uneventful day on Friday and the last thing I had to do was to listen in to a conference call meeting given by my boss. The call was scheduled for 1 hour and lasted about 10 minutes so as soon as Rudee got off we started getting things packed up to leave despite the constant rain falling.

It takes us about 1 hour to go from "set up" to road ready not counting having to load the motorcycle. Rudee handles the inside chores and I take care of all the outside stuff. One really nice thing about a 5th wheel is I can hook on all by myself. We have had travel trailers in the past and Rudee would always have to help me back onto the hitch.

We pulled out just after 4:30 and headed west to Waynetown. We arrived at Charlarose Campground about 20 minutes later and got checked in. We had reserved one of their two pull thru spots because they are the only ones that are gravel. The other sites are all grass and with the rain falling our semi would be stuck as soon as the tires hit the wet grass.

Several of our group were already there but no one was out and about due to the rain. I decided to do the bare minimum setting up and just put the jacks down and hooked up the power and water. I was still soaked when I finished though. Grumpy Williams was camped next to us and he invited us to ride with him to get something to eat. We got the group together and headed into Hillsboro and had dinner at the Chatterbox Cafe. The food was good and since the campground was so wet we hung around the restaurant talking for quite awhile. Once back at the 5th wheel we headed in for the night to watch some TV. Dale and Diana Beason joined us for awhile since our TV got a couple of stations theirs did not and they had a couple of shows they didn't want to miss. We enjoyed having company!

Saturday morning the rain had cleared but the temperatures were down. We all got together and went to breakfast in Veedersburg. Back at the 5th wheel I pulled out the overhang skirting we purchased at Camping World a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to get the snaps mounted on the 5th wheel so we could use it this winter. I plan on putting the bicycles under it and am hoping it will block some of the winter wind as well. I had plenty of help putting it up and the installation went well. Looks pretty good.

Rudee and I took a bicycle ride around the lake. Most of the trees had already shed their leaves but the lake still looked pretty.

The gals kept busy getting things ready for our pitch in meal. We had a big roaster full of ham and beans cooking outside our 5th wheel most of the day. Thankfully the weather was decent enough to eat outside on the picnic tables. We all brought side dishes or sweet treats and had a nice meal followed by a campfire. Once the sun was down the temperature really dropped and I didn't last too long afterwards. I guess that is one of the side effects of losing my weight, I get cold faster now! I did last long enough to take a photo of the gang all bundled up around the fire and the full moon rising.

Sunday morning Amanda dropped the kids off at the camper. They were spending the day with us because Amanda and Ryan were going to the Colts game. Grandma made breakfast for her brood and she gave me some too! :-). We hung out for a little while watching Nemo and Spiderman before I started packing up for the trip back to the KOA.

We made it back to our spot and got set back up just in time for the Colts game. We watched the game while eating a late lunch. Well the Colts pulled out a win despite of their poor offensive play. Amanda and Ryan picked the kids back up around 6pm and we settled down for some piece and quiet :-).

No big plans in the works this week but you never know what may happen at the last minute. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

chuggin thru the week

The weather has been pretty nice the last few days. I have been fairly busy at work and I guess I wore my computer out! The thing crashed on me 4 times in the past couple of days. The first time was Tuesday and after it shut down and I rebooted my air card wouldn't hold a signal. I could dial in and connect but then it would disconnect after 30 seconds. I called the help desk and was on the phone for about 2 1/2 hours while he removed and reloaded programs to get me going. Wednesday morning it worked just fine but crashed around noon and the air card started acting up again. This time I was on the phone for 4 hours but I think it's finally fixed. At least it didn't crash today.

Wednesday, after my marathon phone call with our IT Support, we headed to Lebanon on the bike. The weather was cool (63*) so we bundled up for our ride. We both have leather jackets and I wear leather chaps. Rudee wears her rain suit pants and after putting on our gloves and helmets we stay fairly warm. We had a nice ride and had 23 people show up at the restaurant. The food was really good and I think everyone liked their meals. Rudee and I tried a crawfish dip appetizer that was really good as well as sharing a steak dinner.
We enjoyed being able to ride the bike but I think our riding days are numbered for this year. The weatherman says it is going to rain for the next 2 days and turn cool again. We will be going to Charla Rose Campground in Waynetown this week end for a group camp out with some of our motorcycle friends. The weather has us convinced to leave the bikes at home but we are looking forward to nice relaxing week end even if we can't ride. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

not "warm and fuzzy"

Well we are back at the grind. This week is shaping up to be a little busier for me. Monday I was told to be at a meeting in our office at 2pm to meet the "new boss". I had already scheduled 2 inspections and was trying to make contact to set up a 3rd one when, at 10am, my supervisor called me and said the meeting had been changed from 2pm to 11am. Geez, thanks for the notice.

The meeting was different than I expected. Not only did we meet our new Regional Claims Manager but the VP of Claims was there as well as a rep from HR. The whole office had a look of doom when they introduced themselves. The RCM gave a presentation on what was going to happen in the next several months. They are going to combine our office with their existing office which was really no surprise. Why pay for 2 buildings. He also announced that there are almost 400 duplicate personnel between the two companies. We each have to take and pass screening and certification tests and then we will be evaluated individually and, if you are good at your job, there is a company need for additional people in your position and enough work, you can keep your job.

Suffice it to say I didn't have that warm and fuzzy feeling leaving the meeting. They did a lot of corporate cheerleading which was almost laughable. Here is a room full of people who have been going to work every day expecting it to be their last and these folks are talking about how the company has it's own production studio to make in house training movies and how many perks the "home office" has. Pitiful.

Well I guess the good news is I still have a job. My testing is scheduled for sometime in February and will be after the supervisors take theirs, so I should be OK for a few months anyway. Rudee and I have been going over our options and are getting a plan together in case the "sky falls".

Today was cloudy, cool and damp here. The leaves are really falling and our patio carpet is covered. Tomorrow is supposed to be a little better. We are leading the ride to the restaurant for our Wednesday night Goldwing get together. We are going to a restaurant in Lebanon so it wont be much of a ride but will be nice to see our friends. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Giddy Up

Wow, this week has been a blur. We were able to ride the bike to the Goldwing meeting Wednesday night. The tempeture was a bit cool for the ride home, but not intolerable.
Thursday and Friday were typical work days and besides meeting Steve and Trish for dinner Friday evening, nothing exciting happened.

Saturday morning I was up at 4am again. I just woke up and couldn't go back to sleep :-(. We were planning on getting up early anyway. Rudee had organized a trip to the horse track in Anderson Indiana for the motorcycle group. The weather was pretty cold and dreary. Good thing we had reservation in their clubhouse/restaurant. Rob and Jany Runyon had invited us to meet them at Flapjack's for breakfast which was good as usual. We met the rest of the group and car pooled for the hour drive to the track.

There were 19 of us present. The club house has terraced style seating right at the finish line of the track. Every table had a nice view of the track as well as a TV showing the race broadcast. The races started at 12:30 and we were able eat our meal, watch the races and, of course, place our bets right in the club house. I did venture out into the cold for a couple of quick shots. Here they are coming down the stretch.

and the winner. (NOT the one I bet on :-0).

Rudee and I didn't do too good on our bets. I think I lost a total of $40 and Rudee lost $35. I would study the program and try to find "the" horse (like I know what I'm doing, ha!). We also did a quick walk through the attached casino but didn't stay long, too noisy.

We had a great time even though we didn't hit it big. We made it back home around 8pm and I headed to bed shortly afterwards. I was one tired old Dude.

Sunday we had agreed to take Rudee's Dad and Mom to Terre Haute to see her brother who was in town. Jerry and Diane are fulltime Rvers who live in their Carriage 5th wheel. The rig and Diane are back in Colorado where she is working. Jerry made the drive back to Indiana for this visit solo and was staying at his step daughters home. We got a call from Rudee's Mom just as we were leaving the 5th wheel and she said she was not feeling well. She was having pains in her chest and back and was congested. She said she felt like her pleurisy was acting up. We headed to Plainfield and took her to the hospital to get checked out. Well needless to say that took most of the day. They finally decided she had the start of pneumonia and admitted her for treatment. Hopefully she will feel better after they give her some antibiotics and she gets some rest.

We picked up a pizza on the way home and made it back around 7pm. Like I said, this week has flown by. I have a meeting at work tomorrow to meet our new Regional Manager. They have set aside 1 1/2 hours for the meeting so I'm not sure what will be discussed, heck fire, I didn't even know we were getting a new R/M. I wonder what happened to the old R/M? Guess I'll find out tomorrow and maybe get some insight on my future as well. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

getting nicer

Monday was cool but the outlook was for a warm up. Rudee was back at work in her little cubicle here in the 5er. She doesn't have a huge area but she seems to like it just fine. She'll like it even better when the snow and ice start covering the roads and she doesn't have to venture out.

I started the morning out by downloading 2 new assignments and headed out the door. The sun was shining and the air was crisp, it was a perfect fall day. I finished up my work and was back home by 2pm and it had warmed up to the low 60's. I decided to get up on the roof and mount the vent covers we bought when we went to Elkhart and bought the new table. These covers are vented and allow you to open the crank up vents we have in the ceilings of our bedroom and bathroom when it's raining or when we are moving down the highway.I gathered up the tools I would need as well as the 3 vent covers and climbed onto the roof. I have never been real steady on my feet and have not been a fan of heights so me being on a roof is recipe for disaster :-).

The install went pretty easy and Rudee only had to come outside one time to toss a bolt that I had dropped back up to me. I did have one minor screw up. After mounting all the covers I forgot to have her make sure all the vents would crank open and closed. I got everything put away and went inside only to find out two of the vents were scraping the covers. Rats!! It was an easy fix though, just a little adjustment but I did have to get all the tools back out again :-(.

Today was even nicer weather wise, than Monday. The temperature actually reached 70 and Rudee turned the air conditioner on for a little while this afternoon. She wanted to open the windows and let the breeze in but we had another issue that prevented it. We have been invaded by Lady Asian Beetles. There are swarms of them all over. Somehow they are getting inside the 5er as well. I think they may be coming in around the slides. They look like lady bugs but are orange with black dots. I looked on the internet and they swarm in the fall for a very short time, usually after the first cold snap followed by a warm up. Rudee had killed a ton of them before I got home and then I took over "bug patrol" and killed a bunch as well. I sprayed Raid around the slideouts but don't think it did much good. They were crawling all over our 5er as well as all of our neighbors. I guess we'll just have to put up with them for a few days until it turns cold again.

We were leaving to go and pick up the motorcycle and found that the maintenance guy here at the KOA had set our 100lb LP tank outside our door. I'm not sure when he did it or why he didn't knock on the door to tell us, but it was nice of him to bring it over. I bought a 2 wheel dolly to wheel it around on and gave it to him the other day so he could get the tank filled at his leisure and then I could wheel it around instead of having to muscle it around. I wheeled it over into place and hooked it up. During this last cold snap we went through one tank in 7 days which is 1 gallon per day. That's not too bad and this larger tank should last between 3-4 weeks.

Rudee is organizing a trip to the horse track for the Goldwing Chapter for this Saturday. We have reservation in the clubhouse restaurant and they also have a casino next door. Should be a fun day. I'll keep you posted.