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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Weather ups and downs

You gotta love spring in Indiana. Last week we hit 80 degrees 3 days in a row and now we are on the roller coaster ride of temperatures. Monday it never got out of the 50's and rained, yesterday it made it to the mid 60's and we had low hanging clouds all day. Today is about the same as yesterday except the clouds are now letting loose of their moisture and it's been raining hard all morning. The leaves are out on the trees and everything is turning green again, gotta love that. Despite the cool temperature we did ride the bike last night to dinner with our Goldwing Chapter. We all meet in Lebanon and ride to a pre-arranged restaurant and have dinner. The ride last night was about 50 miles away and we had a nice time.
I have been having a problem with the LP (propane) on our 5th wheel. We have two 30lb tanks that are in cabinets on opposite sides of the coach. The tank on the passenger side is the culprit. There is an automatic switch that detects when the tank you are using is empty and switches over to the opposite tank. When using the curb side tank the stove/oven and water heater work fine but the furnace will come on once and after the thermostat shuts it down it wont come back on again to maintain the set temperature. I can switch the full tank over to the drivers side and it works fine again. I went on the Montana Owners forum and asked for advice. There is a red regulator in the curbside compartment and most said it was likely bad so I replaced it and still had the problem. I called an RV tech and he said there has been some issues with the hoses being kinked or collapsing due to bad hoses and to try and replacing it. I have not done that as yet and need to get off my you know what and get it taken care of. I guess if this doesn't work then we will be off to dealership land for repairs. I guess we could take the 5th wheel in when we go on our vacation in June and get it repaired then if needed. I hope that isn't necessary.

I never understood why campgrounds have to be built next to railroads! It seems that everywhere we go there is usually a railroad that runs right beside the campground. I think it must be a campground building requirement :). The KOA here is no exception with a railroad track not too far behind us. The trains don't really bother us since the tracks are a good distance away but you can hear them from time to time. We went to a campground once in Northern Indiana and crossed the tracks on the way to the entrance. We were in week-end getaway mode and really didn't even give it a thought until, while setting up, we heard the train horn and then the train went by within 100 yards of the camper! Oh well one train wasn't too bad. Then 30 minutes later another came along, this went on until 11pm and then started the next morning at 5am. You could almost set your watch by the trains going by every 30 minutes! We had to laugh about it. These are the things that that make RVing such an adventure :). We are planning on a quiet night at home tonight, and no plans for the week end, as Nick Russell from the Gypsy Journal Travel Paper says, our plans are written in jello. Feels good. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

another decision made

We met Steve and Trish at BINGO last night in Lebanon. We didn't have the luck we have had the past couple of times :( but Trish won an early bird game for $50 so our table wasn't skunked :). Today has been a wet and gloomy day with on again off again showers and even some fog in areas. I am still not real busy at work but holding my own, not a huge number of assignments but they are spread out enough that it makes my day go fast just driving from one to another.

We kind of decided that we are going to do a motorcycle vacation over the week of the 4th of July. We had talked about taking the whole rig and going somewhere but Rudee made a good point when she reminded me that we live in our 5th wheel fulltime now and can enjoy it 24/7 and it's OK to leave it for a week to take a vacation. So I took the bull by the horns or the cow by the udders or something like that :) and am planning a trip that will give us a couple of days in Gatlinburg Tn. and then spend the rest of the week ambling up the Blue Ridge Parkway just taking our time and enjoying the ride. We are hoping to have enough time to visit Mt. Airy North Carolina which was the hometown of Andy Griffith and was the inspiration for his TV hometown of Mayberry before we have to head back home. We are both looking forward to having some time off.

We are going to Brownsburg to set up our new address as soon as Rudee finishes work. One thing all fulltimers have to face is where their mail goes. This is accomplished by using a mail service. Most of the big RV clubs have (or can recommend) this type of service. I know Escapees RV Club has a huge facility in Texas and Good Sam's have a similar one in Florida. We have to maintain our Indiana residences since we are working here fulltime so we need to establish an address here. UPS has outlet stores that also offer mail service and provides you with an actual street address vs. just a P.O box number and the closest one to us is in Brownsburg. Some companies (incl some banks and credit companies) refuse to accept a P.O. box # as an address and want a physical street number so this avoids any confusion. I will start forwarding our mail to our new "address" later this week and then we can either pick it up at the UPS store if we are in the area or they will send it to us here at the campground. Of course this service costs and I'll let you know what it all works out to be once we get it set up and running. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The incredable shrinking people.

Most of you know that Rudee and I both had bariatric surgery in June last year. I had it first and then Rudee went thru her procedure 2 weeks later. The decision to have the surgery was not made lightly or in haste. We went to classes for 6 months and researched everything we could get our hands on. We talked to several who had done the procedure with varying degrees of success. We were fortunate to be able to have a laproscopic procedure so the recovery was not as bad. My surgery was on Tuesday morning and went very well. The whole thing lasted a couple of hours and after a little while in recovery I was in my room. That first night was not the best, I had some discomfort and they kept me on a morphine pump until the next day. They encourage you to do a lot of walking to help the healing and it also helps with any discomfort you feel after eating. I was discharged on Friday and on a liquid diet for the next week. Rudee stayed with me for a few days making sure I could take care of myself. My meals consisted of broth and protein shakes made with condensed milk and Carnation instant breakfast mix. By week 2 I was on to soft foods, mostly scrambled eggs with melted cheese on top, peanut butter and cottage cheese. I could eat about 2-4oz. of food at a time and this filled up. When not eating I was drinking water, lots and lots of water. The first few weeks flew by and after 6 weeks I was back on a more unrestricted diet and back to work. I would take a lunchable with me for my lunch and we ate a lot of soups. Of course we had regular follow ups with the surgeon and staff at the Bariatric Center. The weight came off fairly quickly at first (about 7 lbs per week) and then slowed to a more reasonable level. I am still losing but only about 2-3 lbs per month right now. We are back to eating a more liberal diet. I still can't eat much bread and we have stayed away from anything with more than 13 grams of sugar per serving. There is a condition called "dumping syndrome" which can be triggered by too much sugar intake and is very unpleasant for several hours so we are careful to watch what we eat. We also have to watch how fast we eat since our stomachs went from the size of a football to less than the size of baseball. Overeating causes a "full" feeling and is uncomfortable for around 45 minutes to an hour unless by emptying your stomach (sorry to get gross). We are both very pleased with the results. I weighed 396 lbs on our very first visit to the Center and am now 222 lbs and feeling great. Rudee has done fantastic as well. We are both committed to keeping the weight off and being a more healthy couple of we can. We do have to continue to take vitamins the rest of our lives but it's only 2 pills so not too bad. The best thing for me is prior to the surgery I suffered with sleep apnea and used a C-pap machine to keep me breathing regularly in the night. I have been off the machine now for 6 months and no apnea!! I sleep very well now and no snoring to keep Rudee awake. I posted before and after pictures of us so you can see the dramatic changes.

Yesterday we went to Stacy's birthday. She is a co-worker of Rudee and Amanda's. The party was at Maggiano's Little Italy in Indianapolis. We rode the bike over and had a nice lunch. We had a good time visiting with the folks there and celebrating Stacy's big day. Thanks for inviting us guys.
We left there and took a short bike ride. I say short because the winds were howling and even though it was in the 80's it we couldn't enjoy it much because of the winds. Today looks like it's going to be the same as we plod our way thru the work day. Planning on Bingo tonight with Steve and Trish. We'll keep you posted.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's over!!

The garage sale ended at noon today. We started out slow this morning and were worried that no one would show up. Customers drifted in and out all morning though and we got rid of a bunch more stuff. Rudee was working the crowd making deals and I don't think anyone left empty handed. I saw a sign yesterday advertising metal recycling at a business in Lebanon so I stopped in today and asked if they would take our old broken down freezer and my desk and file cabinets, they said they would take anything metal and were open until noon. I went home and Rudee and I loaded them up (took 2 trips) and I dropped it off. We were paid over $12 for the freezer, desk, 2 file cabinets and an old metal shelf from the garage. Let me tell you, I was a happy guy to be rid of that stuff. I was afraid we would have to get a trailer and then haul it to the dump which is over 20 miles and then have to pay to dump it. Instead we made some $$ off of it and they wont be in a landfill for the next gazillion years rusting away.
Niles and Deb came over after the sale closed down and helped us clean up and haul things to Good Will (3 truck loads). We sorted a lot of stuff still in the house and finally called it a night around 4:00pm. The house is all but done and we will have no problems finishing it up and being ready for May 6th. We have a bunch of photo albums and loose photos to go thru and we have a small pile of stuff that is going to Amanda and Matthew but otherwise the house is EMPTY!! Thanks Niles and Deb, you guys really worked hard and helped us out a bunch and I'm sorry I was a little stressed out when you first got there :). Rudee's sister came up after she got off work and took some of the furniture left and some other stuff, saving us a load to Plainfield, thanks B.J.
Rudee and I are both exhausted. We grabbed a quick supper at Rancho Bravo and a drive thru dessert at Culvers. When we got back to the 5th wheel I built a campfire and we sat outside for about an hour and ate our ice cream treat and just vegged. The campground is almost full this week end and it's nice to see people out and about. Tomorrow we have a birthday party for one of Rudee's co-workers and it looks like it will be nice enough to take the bike. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tired !!

We were up early this morning. It's garage sale day!! We started out from the 5th wheel at 5:30 this morning and headed to Lebanon. We had a quick breakfast at Flapjack's and headed to the house. I had gotten a call last night from a guy wanting to buy the mower and he was coming around 8:30 to buy it and haul it away. We were happy it sold so quickly but this meant I had to get in gear and mow the grass one last time so it wouldn't get out of hand prior to the closing on the 6th. I'm sure my neighbors were happy to have me mowing my yard at 7:15 this morning :( Oh well last time for that I guess. The sale was advertised in the paper to start at 8:00, of course we had people showing up at 7:30 to shop. We really didn't mind since we had gotten everything set up fairly early and were ready to get the thing over with. The shopping was brisk and we got rid of a lot of stuff. The dresser was bought by a young couple who needed help loading it in their mini van, I took one look at the van and since the lived in Lebanon offered to load it in my truck and follow them home. We sold coats, dishes, pots, pans, a tent, and so many odds and ends I lost count. We still have the desk and the entertainment center so maybe they will go tomorrow. We were both exhausted by the closing time of 3:00. We met up with Deb and Niles and went to Sheridan to the Red Onion Restaurant for dinner and then headed home. Looks like an early night for us.
We had something a little strange happen to us yesterday and this morning. We were coming back to the campground from the house around 8:00pm and passed a guy riding a bicycle and pulling a small wagon type trailer behind. The trailer had a sign that said something about him being homeless and hungry. Looked like maybe he was down on his luck and pedalling thru. We saw him about 15 miles from the campground out in the country on S.R. 32. Rudee commented that she wondered where he was going to sleep at. Fast forward to this morning and as we were driving out of the campground guess who we saw? Yep, same guy had his bicycle parked in one of the sites and was wrapped up in blankets sleeping on the ground. I guess Rudee got her question answered. We debated calling the Sheriff's office but decided not too as he didn't seem to be bothering anybody and they would find him in a couple of hours anyway when the rest of the world woke up (did I mention we were out at 5:30am, YIKES!!).
The campground is the busiest we have seen so far. There is a local Good Sam chapter having a camp out here and have most the sites rented near us. Nice to have some neighbors finally but were going to be up and out early again tomorrow and probably drag our tired bones back home late tomorrow too. Looking to get rid of most if not all the rest of our "stuff" tomorrow, wish us luck. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Computer problems

I had a busy day planned yesterday so got an early start since I had a lot of miles to drive and several cars to look at. I tried to log onto my work computer and it picked yesterday morning to puke on me. I couldn't get into it no matter what I tried so I called the company help desk. I talked to a women there who was not having a very good day. She was upset when she answered the phone and it was obvious that my problem did not help her outlook on life. She was mad at me for not having the same amount of knowledge on computers that she supposedly has and was very impatient with me. She finally said she would have to escalate my problem to someone else but they did not come in for another 2 hours. I was fine with this, anything to get away from her! I went to work anyway figuring I could take my pictures and keep notes on the cars I saw and enter the estimates into my system when they got me up and running again. I got a call around 10:30 from a very helpful young man who had my password reset and on my system in about 5 minutes. I appreciated that and thanked him over and over.
Rudee has been working hard from her home office here in the 5er. She really likes not having to commute everyday. I guess she does commute a whole 30' from the bedroom to the living room :).
We went out with our Goldwing friends for the scheduled Wed night ride to dinner. We went to Frankfort In. to The Island Restaurant. The place doesn't look like much from the outside but they have good food and service and that's what counts. We shared a steak and shrimp dinner. There were a few that rode their bikes but Rudee and I took the car so we could run some errands on the way.
The weather is looking up here. The forecast calls for highs near 80 and sunny for the next several days. Should work out good for the garage sale. We got a call from our realtor yesterday that all is well on the house and we are set for closing on May 6th at 4pm. Yikes that's only 2 weeks away!! I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's a word thing.

What is the definition of a Fulltime Rver? I read several blogs and participate in some RV forums and this topic invariably comes up. All agree that to be one you have to live in your RV fulltime. Sounds simple enough but some want to split that hair a little thinner and say you have to travel fulltime in your RV and not just live in it in one place. Others say you can only stay in one place no longer than 2 weeks to a month before moving on to be considered a "true" fulltimer. Still others insist that you be retired or at the most work camping or you are considered "migrant workers" and not full time RVers. Call me what you will but I'm a fulltimer who works from my RV and does not travel much (because of the work) and if I don't fit your mold than I think you have the issue and not me. I enjoy reading what others write but get a little peeved when someone infers that all RV's are motorhomes, all RVer's are retired and all fulltimers are over 65 and live south of the Mason Dixon line in the winter. We are prime example that fulltimers come in all shapes and sizes. We would love to quit our jobs and "hit the road" but it's just not possible right now. We have made no secret that we have to get our finances in order and our home paid for before we can consider a change in our fulltiming. We do have a plan and as Rudee likes to say we are "working the plan". Since we can't travel around the country at our leisure we are stuck doing our traveling on our vacation time. We have the week of July 4th off and have not really decided on any destination yet. We talked about going to Washington DC since it's been a long time since we were there (30 years). We are not even sure if we will take the whole rig or make this a motorcycle vacation. I have thought about going to Mount Airy N.C. and seeing Andy Griffith sights and then riding some of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We are members of Escapees and they have a park near Knoxville Tn so this is a possibility too and we could take day trips into the Smokey Mountains on the bike. Any other suggestions?
Weather here has been bad the last couple of days. Yesterday was cold and rainy and today was colder and rainy mixed with some sleet .......... brrrrr. Supposed to start getting warmer and sunnier starting tomorrow and then pushing into the low 80's by Friday, whoo hoo!!
Matthew and Mandie came yesterday. Mandie left last evening and Matthew spent the night and is driving back today. It was nice seeing them and hope to get with them again real soon.
Work is starting to pick up a little today so will probably be busy the rest if the week. I got 6 new assignments today which isn't too bad but they are pretty spread out. Oh well, makes the day go quicker and gets us 1 day closer to retirement.
I got a call Monday from my Dad (picture above), he was in the hospital and they said he has pneumonia and they are keeping him for a few days to give him antibiotics. I talked to him yesterday and he sounded stronger and said he was feeling better but didn't expect to go home until today at the earliest. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Is the end in sight??

We were up early Sunday and headed back to Lebanon to work on the garage sale (again!!). We did stop at Flapjack's, our favorite place in Lebanon for breakfast. Rudee got busy pricing and putting stuff on the tables that we had set up. I tackled the shed. We worked until noon and took a break for lunch at El Jaripeo, we shared some Tacos, chips and cheese ....... umm good. We were able to get everything priced and ready to go. We ran out of room on the tables but Mike and Penny offered us a couple more to use so we'll get those later this week and do a little more setting up. We decided to have the sale Friday from 8-3 and Saturday from 8-12. What doesn't sell gets hauled to either Goodwill, the burn pile or the dump as the case may be. My hope is to get the house empty by end of day Saturday.

Sorting thru all of our stuff brought back memories. We found old forgotten pictures, newspaper clippings and keepsakes that we at some point felt it was important to keep. There is an emotional aspect to all this. We are not too emotional about the leaving the house but there is always the nagging questions that pop up from time to time like: "is this the right decision?" , "is this the right time?", "what if?". We are both committed to this type of lifestyle and so far are enjoying living in our home on wheels and since we are both still fairly young and have good careers we can buy another house if we decide this is not for us. One thing is for sure. Getting rid of accumulated stuff is a hard job. When you move from one house to another you always have stuff boxed up and can leave it in the box and unpack at your leisure. When you move from a house into a 400 sq. ft. 5th wheel you can't do that, space just will not allow it. Therefore you have to "do" something with everything either keep it, sell it, donate it or throw it away but it all has to be dealt with individually and this is a BIG job. We are both looking forward t having this behind us and we can relax and enjoy our week ends.

We met some of our Goldwing friends at Arnie's last evening for supper. We have a standing reservation there every Sunday around 6pm and usually have 4-5 couples there. Rudee and I had pizza and salad. We have not eaten pizza much since our surgery but it was a nice treat last night. Before surgery we would eat it 3 times a week and we could polish off a large deep dish on short order, now we share an individual thin crust and maybe share a side salad. This fills us both up like a Thanksgiving meal!!

Matthew called and he and Mandie (pictured above) are driving over to get the car today. We plan on taking them out to dinner so we can visit with them a little before they have to get back to Columbus. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Long day

We were up and gone by 5:45 this morning. That's way too early in my book but we had to be at Amanda and Ryan's house at 6:15 to pick them up. We all went to the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure breast cancer event in downtown Indianapolis. Rudee and Amanda's
company were sponsoring part of the race and several of their co-workers were participating. They had a 5K run and a 5k walk where prizes were awarded and a 1 mile family walk for fun. We did the family walk but may try the 5k next year. We arrived downtown and parked in a parking garage fairly close to the event. The place was packed and the news media was out in force with live broadcasts and helicopters circling overhead. We killed time walking around the vendor tents and people watching until our walk started at 9:45. The course was crowded and it didn't help that we started out on a 4 lane street and then were funneled down to a 6' wide side walk but we all made it OK. The walk took us about an hour and the finish line was near the garage where we parked so we were able to "get outta Dodge" before the rush of people leaving. On the way back to Amanda's we stopped at Hooters and had a nice lunch.

Back at the house Rudee sorted thru some more garage sale stuff while I mowed the yard. Since it was getting up into the 70's today I got the Goldwing out and rode into town and washed all the dust off that has collected on it over the winter. It sure felt nice getting back in the saddle. I got back to the house and Rudee agreed to go for a ride. She followed me to the KOA and then hopped on. We rode for about an hour and ended up at Applebee's where we had an early dinner. We have a dvd movie to watch and then we are going to bed (we're pooped!!). Tomorrow the plan is to go back to the house and finish getting the garage sale stuff set up for the sale on Friday. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Home at last, Home at last ......

We have had some busy times here. Wednesday evening we had our GWRRA chapter meeting in Lebanon. We had several new couples join us and we enjoyed getting to know new friends. We meet at the Arni's restaurant in Lebanon. The food there is good, more of a pizza place than anything else, but they do have good salads and sandwiches too.

Thursday we went to our oldest grandchild Nicholas' spring concert. He is in kindergarten and it's fun to go to these things and watch the kids perform. They sang a few songs and "played" some instruments. We were glad it didn't last too long because we didn't have time for supper before rushing to the school. We stopped on the way home for mexican and still made it back before 8:00. Good friends Mike and Penny Kadinger stopped in to see us and spent about an hour visiting. I felt bad because we had started setting up Rudee's computer at the desk and had everything scattered all over. Things can get messy quick when you are living in a small box!
Rudee's first day working at home is today. We set up her computer last night and she was up and running pretty easy. She says things have been going smooth today. I had several inspections today and had to drive a 200 mile round trip between my first one and the rest. I usually just grab a lunch and eat in the car between inspects rather than stop somewhere and take the hour off like I am supposed to. This way I can get done early and take the hour on the back end of the day. Works pretty good most of the time.
They announced yesterday that my division has finally been sold. We knew we were up for barter and I am glad they have a commitment. For those that don't know I work for a large insurance company as a field appraiser for auto insurance. I worked for a nice small company where everyone pretty much knew everybody else and we all felt like a team even though we were scattered all over the country. Last year we merged with the Insurance giant and things changed (for the worse as for as I am concerned). Then the giant company had a catastrophic failure and had to be bailed out by the government (figured out who I work for yet?). They split all the personal insurance away from the giant and started calling us by my old companies name. I was worried they were trying to pull a fast one on the tax payers and not sell us so I was relieved to hear the news yesterday. I look forward to being able to not be ashamed to tell people where I work. Oh and by the way, no I didn't get a million $ bonus, in fact people on my level have not had a raise in 3 years, and we're the ones keeping things running, figures huh?
Well enough on that rant. We are heading out to Niles and Deb's tonight for buffalo steaks on the grille. The Nor'easter are moving on in a couple of days so this will be our last chance to see them until next fall. We are going to walk in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer walk tomorrow, we are doing the 1 mile family walk with a bunch from Rudee's company. Maybe if we keep up this exercise stuff we can do the 5k next year!! I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One month

We have been fulltime in the 5th wheel for a whole month. The time has gone by fast and we are enjoying our little 400 square foot home. We have done a lot of running this past month we will continue to be busy until after the garage sale finishes on the 24th and we can move out of the house once and for all. Our buyers had an appraisal done last Thursday but we have not heard any updates yet so I guess no news is good news. Still looking for the closing to be on or near May 6th.
We went to BINGO last night. We sat with Steve, Trish, Deb and Gail and had a great time. Deb started us off with a win in the early bird games for $50 and then Rudee, Trish and I each won separate games for $100 each. We had the lucky table last night!!
I went today to fill a propane tank that ran dry yesterday. The KOA refills but they were out as well and waiting for a delivery so I went to a local place here that had a sign out front. I told them what I needed and they told me it would be $29.00 to fill a 30lb tank. I thought this was ridiculous. The tank only takes 7 gal to fill when it is empty so that would be over $4 per gallon! I told the lady to forget it and then drove back to Lebanon and had it filled there for $18. I picked up the mail and checked on the house while I was there as well. We have done some research on our mail service and will probably go with the UPS store in Brownsburg which is the closest one to us. They provide you with a street address and not just a P.O. Box number and they will forward your mail to you whenever you request it or it can be picked up 24 hrs at their store. We will probably get it set up when we have a definite closing date on the house and then start forwarding our home mail and getting all the change of address things done. I'll be glad when we get all this stuff done. I feel guilty when we have a lazy night like tonight and are just relaxing in the recliners knowing we have stuff to do at the house. Yesterday and today was cold and wet but the weather was supposed to improve starting tomorrow and be decent the rest of the week. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter

We drove to our old home town of Plainfield to spend some time with Rudee's family. We stopped at her Mom and Dad's for awhile and then went over to her Sister's house where we ate and had an Easter egg hunt for the kids. The eggs had candy and some even had $ in them. We all had a good time. We made it back in time to meet Steve, Trish and Grumpy (Goldwing buddies) at the Steak and Shake for supper. We had a nice meal and lot's of good conversation. Grumpy owns a motorcycle repair and accessory business (Grumpy's Goldwing Supply) in Thorntown Indiana and we have been friends for probably 20 years. He is also a fulltime RVer who lives in a really nice Titanium 5th wheel.
Today has been really wet here in Indiana and is on the cool side as well. We may try our hand again at BINGO. Probably wishful thinking that I could get lucky two weeks in a row but you never know :).
Rudee is in her last week of commuting. She brings her computer home with her Thursday and goes live from the 5th wheel on Friday morning. She found out that she can change her hours and will be working from 7:30 until 4:00 M-F instead of the 8-4:45 she works now. We are both looking forward to the change. There may be an opportunity for me to do the same thing she does sometime in the future so we may both be working here in the 5th wheel some day. We are looking for a way to be able to spend our winters in a warmer climate but are not so naive to think we can just up and quite working all together. With us both working remotely it would be plausible to spend winters where it's warmer and then back to this area for the other months. Eventually we are wanting to do the more "traditional" fulltiming where we can travel and workcamp if we want to make a little extra to support our travels. Right now though we have to keep our corporate jobs and get ourselves in a better financial position. Our goal is to be debt free before we start traveling and with workcamping combined with our pensions we could support our lifestyle as long as we are careful. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Turkey Run

Yesterday we decided to get out and enjoy the great weather predicted. We were up early and stopped at a local restaurant for a quick breakfast. We then drove the 20 miles to Turkey Run State Park http://www.turkeyrunstatepark.com/ . We paid our $5.00 entrance fee and made a quick stop at the Nature Center. We wanted to get out on the trails as early as we could so we could have the trail to ourselves. The temp was 40* but the sun was shining and they promised a quick warm up. Turkey Run is my favorite Indiana State Park. There is a very nice campground with electric hook ups and water hydrants available to fill your tank if you show up empty. They don't have any sewer sites but there is a dump station available. The big draw is the topography of the park. Sugar Creek runs thru it and is a popular canoe/kayak area. The creek carved out canyons in the limestone rock and there are several miles of trails thru the forest and rocks. We were headed for trail 5 which was described as moderate terrain and approx. 2 miles round trip from the Nature Center. The park has built a suspension bridge across Sugar Creek to access the trails and this is where our trail started and ended. We hiked for about 1 1/2 hours and saw some pretty spring flowers a really fast chipmunk and several birds and squirrels. We enjoyed our hike and were glad we went early because there were lots of people who were on their way into the trails as we were leaving. We only ran into 3 other couples during our hike and were able to have the trail to ourselves most of the time. We drove to the Inn at the park and had a quick lunch. They have a nice restaurant and serve a buffet lunch and dinner. We ordered a cheeseburger and salad off the regular menu and shared, it was really good.
I am really proud of both Rudee and myself because this time last year we wouldn't have considered this hike let alone walking any distance at all because I weighed over 390lbs and Rudee was over 250. We were both unhealthy reformed smokers who could hardly move. We decided (in November of 07) to have bariatric surgery to help us control our weight. My surgery was done on June 3rd and Rudee's was done on the 17th. The surgeon was reluctant to do both of us that close to each other but we persisted and he finally agreed. We were able to help each other thru the different phases of recovery and are very happy we went thru this together. I have lost 170 lbs to date and Rudee has lost about 110lbs. We feel wonderful and now just have to keep the weight from coming back on. It's funny to see friends we have not seen in a year or two and they don't recognize us!
Last evening we were at Deb and Niles' house for a pitch in meal with his family, and the Maine (and Connecticut) contingent staying in his driveway. Gail, Gordon and AL gave us a bluegrass concert after dinner and we all had a ball. Thanks guys. Today we are heading for Rudee's parents house for Easter dinner and an egg hunt for the kids, should be a fun day. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I promised a picture of the new truck and here it is. Rudee finally let me close enough to snap a photo :).

Some of you may wonder why not just have a large p/u truck like many others use to pull their 5th wheels. Well we had a Chevy 2500 when we first bought the Montana and it was a good truck and was capable of pulling the 5th wheel. We needed a way to haul the Goldwing with us since that is our main hobby and we both love riding the bike. I researched and found where some were using swivel wheel http://www.smarttrailers.com/ trailers mounted to the rear of the 5th wheels and this seemed like the best option. The wheels on these trailers swivel around and you can back the whole rig up w/o unhooking the back trailer. I decided that my son in law and I could build one. I purchased the axles on line and we bought everything else locally and built in in a few week ends. The trailer pulled great behind the truck but when we towed it behind the 5th wheel with the bike loaded up it was bad!! I guess we had too much weight back there and it caused the 5th wheel to sway back and forth to the point of being scary. I realized real quick that I had to find another way. Enter the HDT. In my research on the swivel wheel trailer I had found some who were hauling bikes and ATV's and even cars on the backs of former commercial vehicles. I begin some deeper research on these and asking questions on the Escapee's Rv Club HDT forum. It was there that in September of 07 someone posted a link to an ad for a 1995 Freightliner FLD120 that had already been converted to single axle and was set up for towing a fifth wheel. The only draw back was the truck was in Pacific Washington and I live in Indiana, not a real easy commute. I called my sister who lives in Tacoma and was surprised that the truck was parked within 5 miles of her house and my brother in law, who sells truck parts, knew the parts manager at the dealership! They went over and checked it out and arranged to have a mechanic check the truck from top to bottom, it passed muster and we bought it sight unseen. We flew out to Seattle and spent a couple of days with them and then started the drive back to Indiana. My good friend Niles let me "practice" in his Freightliner before we left so I had a good 1 hour of driving experience under my belt before starting cross country! I did fine though and we had a great adventure! We bought a motorcycle lift http://motorcycletrailer.com/rampage/ and mounted it on the bed of the truck behind the cab and have never looked back. We have been to Florida and back twice and all over Indiana in our rig and really love it. Our plan for retirement is to have Rudee follow along (or lead) when we move and then have the use of both the bike and the Dakota when we are parked. We don't anticipate moving as often as some folks do. I picture us staying in an area for 2 weeks to a month or more.
Rudee took yesterday off and she cleaned the 5th wheel and caught up on laundry. Today is supposed to be sunny and nice, we'll need to get out and enjoy the spring weather. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


We have been pretty busy the last few days. Rudee and I decided that it will be better to wait for a couple of weeks for the garage sale because we are not as ready as we had hoped to be. Tomorrow Rudee is taking off and, if things remain slow for me, we should be able to get things a little more organized for the sale.
Matthew and Mandie may be visiting from Ohio this week end. He called yesterday and they have Sunday and Monday off so may show up early Sunday morning and spend Easter with us. We are going to let them take our car back with them and use it for a while until they can afford to buy another car. They have been running themselves ragged both working fulltime jobs and only having the 1 car for transportation, takes some creative planning to work all that out.
Sunday we will go to Rudee's Mom and Dads in Plainfield. She is having everyone over for a meal and an Easter egg hunt for the little ones. I hate to see her go to all the work preparing a meal but no matter how hard you object she does it anyway. We have tried to tell her we can all just go out and not have all the mess and hassle of having to feed 15-20 people but she likes to cook and entertain so what can you do.
I bought a CB radio for the truck and plan on installing it either tomorrow or Saturday depending on the weather (may rain). I know I promised pictures of the new truck but Rudee has been driving it to work and wont let me near it :). For those that have asked, it is a 2007 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab 4 wheel drive. It is silver and has leather heated seats, sliding rear window, sunroof, V8 engine, power everything, cruise control and remote start. We bought it from a dealers lot in Lafayette and only has 28,000 miles on it. We think we got a good deal on it and are hopeful it will last us a long time. We plan on Rudee driving it when we start our travels while I tow the 5th wheel w/ the Goldwing on the back of the semi.
We went out with our Goldwing friends last night to a local mexican restaurant. Our group is part of the Goldwing Road Riders Assoc. (GWRRA) and we get together every Wed. with the 3rd Wed. being our business meeting. We usually have a fairly large crowd of anywhere from 20-30 people on any given Wed night. A few of us went to Culver's for ice cream after dinner. We can't eat high doses of sugar and Culver's has an ice cream cup that is "no sugar added" and only has 8g of sugar per serving (2) so Rudee and I share one of those.
Weather has finally turned the corner here (I hope!!). Today is really nice and supposed to be in the 50's and lower 60's for the next 10 days. I talked to Jamie, the park manager, and she said she will turn on the water to our site today (yea!!). Looks like we can finally take some longer showers and do the laundry here in the camper. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Well all your good luck wishes paid off in a big way. I BINGO'd last night on a cover all and won $310.00!! Happy dance :) They offer a bigger payout on this one game of you cover your card in 56 numbers or less and I did it in 55. I was a happy guy and it worked out pretty cool because I ordered a tonneau cover for our truck yesterday and my winnings last night paid for it.
I have still been slow on assignments for work but Rudee is slow too so it's probably just the time of year and will pick up soon. We went out for breakfast last Saturday and I saw a guy that we used to work with 10 years ago at another insurance company. We said "hi" and talked to him for awhile. He is now the manager of a claims office for a smaller company based just up the road from us. I asked if he needed any field appraisers and he said he would like to hire at least 2 but they wont let him open up the positions yet. I figure it never hurts to keep my options open just in case. There was also an ad I found where a paintless dent repair company was looking for appraisers to do catastrophe work. I may look at this real hard when we are ready to start moving around. This could be a way to make some additional money to support our travels.
It was cold again last night, dropped down to 28* and will be close to that again tonight and then looks like it's going to warm up and be nice again. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Birthday Party

Yesterday we went to our daughter Amanda and (son in law) Ryan's home for our grand daughter Avalynn's 4th birthday. Ryan grilled out burgers and we had a nice meal followed by cake and ice cream.

We did get to go to the house before the party and finished emptying the attic out and started on the shed. We will need to spend a couple evenings this week getting things set up for the garage sale. These things are not my cup of tea but it's just something that has to be done. I'm looking forward to getting it over and done with so we can start enjoying our time off instead of always having to work on things at the house.

We are planning on meeting our friends Steve and Trish Suter at the Eagles Lodge tonight for BINGO. They invited us to play a couple of years ago and now we go a couple of times a month during the winter but then slow down in the summer. Wish us luck!!

The weather has been a roller coaster here. Saturday was a fantastic spring day, sunny and in the 60's. Yesterday the rain started about 11:00 and didn't stop until after dark. We woke up this morning to temps in the 30's and it was snowing. Tonight and tomorrow night it's supposed to get down into the 20's for the lows and then start warming back up to spring like temps for the rest of the week.

Saturday was a great day like I said but we didn't get any work done to speak of on the house. We did sell the bed, chair, lamps and the microwave and they were all picked up, but other then that we just found ourselves running around doing errands and, Oh ya, buying a new truck. I'll post some more tomorrow on the truck and maybe get some photos of it for the blog. I'll keep you posted!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Out with Friends

We met up with Niles & Deb, Gordon & Gail and their friend Al and went to Stookey's Restaurant in Thorntown for dinner. We all had either steak or catfish and some had both!! Niles treated us to some of Stookey's famous onion rings and we laughed and talked for probably 2 hours. They are all heading up to Shepshewana in northern Indiana for the next week. It was great seeing Gail and Gordon again and meeting Al. They are bluegrass musicians and they are first class people. Gail sings and Gordon is the best I have ever heard on the guitar, he also plays banjo and probably anything else he can get in his hands. When we were in Florida Niles and I went deep sea fishing and caught a bunch of white snapper or "grunts" as they are called. We had them filleted and then had a big cook out for everybody. Gail, Gordon and their playing buddy Gene gave us an impromptu concert right there under Niles and Deb's awning. It was quite a night. My parents who are both in their late 70's came and really enjoyed themselves as did the rest of us.
We are heading back to the house this morning to finish cleaning out the attic and start on the shed. It's hard telling what is in our attic. Probably full of the stuff we thought we would use again and now forgot what is even there. "Now where did I put that box full of money?" :)
Rudee sold the headboard, frame and box springs from our bed to a co worker and maybe the dresser and end table to another. The only big things we have left are 1 chair, a desk and some end tables. I guess I forgot about the riding mower. I figure I'll need it a few times before the closing in May so will hang onto it for the time being. I can always store it at our daughter and son in law, Amanda and Ryan's, house.

Weather looks like it may get pretty nice today, maybe we can get our work done and have enough time to take the bike out and blow the dust off of it. We have not been on it since Florida in December and we love to ride. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Had a bumpy night last night due to some thunderstorms passing thru. Today is cold, damp and windy out. We were hoping they would turn the water on at our site. Right now they only have the water turned on at one row of sites which have the hydrants wrapped with heat tape to prevent freezing. The 7 day forecast says Sunday night and Monday night will have lows in the upper 20's so it doesn't look like they will be in any hurry to turn it on yet. When our tank is getting low I stretch a hose across to the "turned on" row and fill up. It takes pretty much all the hose I carry (150') to reach. We have been filling up about every 3-4 days as long as we don't do a lot of laundry and I'm looking forward to not having to lug hose around twice a week.

We are hoping to get together with some friends this week end. Gail and Gordon Pike (top photo)from Maine are staying at our good friends Niles and Deb's (bottom photo) for a week or so on their trip home from Florida. We all met Gail and Gordan at the park we stayed at when we went to Florida over Christmas. They were spending their first snow bird winter there and we all hit it off and had a great time. Niles and Deb have a Big Horn 5th wheel and we travel together quite a bit. We have been to Florida with them twice and have a trip to Sturgis in the works for next year. They also have a Goldwing and we do lots of riding together. Niles owns several semi trucks and was a huge help when I purchased my Freightliner, he has been very patient with me and all my questions about big trucks. We also have a birthday party on Sunday for our middle granddaughter Avalynn who will be 4 years old. Time sure does go by quick, seems like just a short time ago we were celebrating her mothers 4th birthday!! Looks like we'll have plenty to do before we have to head back out to work on Monday. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cleaning house

Rudee had the afternoon off yesterday and since my work is slow we were able to spend some time at the house. Rudee emptied kitchen cabinets and priced things for the garage sale while I supervised. I didn't feel real chipper and took it easy most of the afternoon. We plan on having our last sale on April 11 and then donating or tossing everything else. We took a big load of furniture to our son's apartment in Columbus Oh. last week end and our daughter has taken several pieces as well. We don't have a lot left to sell and hope to get rid of everything else that week end.

The reason Rudee was off is because her company is letting her "unit" work from home and she had to be there to accept the delivery of her "office". The desk and chair showed up about 4:30 and they unloaded it into the garage. We have no room in the 5th wheel for a desk since it already has a built in one which she will use for her work station. Her company knows all this but insisted on sending the desk anyway, saying it was part of the "package" and it's ours to do whatever we want with. We are giving it to our daughter to use in her house (she works for the same company) and if they ever want it back it will be close. Seems like just a waste of money but who can figure what some of these companies are thinking these days.

She starts her work from home program on April 17th and can't wait. No more commuting!! Only down side is they require a hard wired phone line with high speed internet. We can't use air cards or satellite so it does limit our flexibility some. We are thinking that in year or two we can start doing a snowbird type thing and spend our winters in the warm weather but it depends on my job situation. We are going to keep our options open and see what happens. Maybe I can ease into work camping if the right situation presents itself. I guess that's one of the benefits of having a house on wheels !!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tale of the times

My work has been a little slow so far this week. I am a field appraiser for a large insurance company. I don't mind the work too much, and I do have the freedom to kinda set my own schedule as long as I get my assignments done and am available by phone during the work day they pretty much leave me alone. Late yesterday the home office announced a 7% layoff and they are closing 4 offices across the country. I didn't get a call to come in and bring all my company equipment so I guess I didn't get cut but it's still scary. I feel for all the people going thru lay offs and the changes it must make to your lifestyle. We have been planning on being fulltime RVers for the past 3 years or more. I believe, given the state of the economy and the job situation, that this gives us more options if the the sky should happen to fall on our heads.

The KOA here is slowly coming to life. There have been at least 2 overnighters here every night for the past week, (maybe snowbirds coming north?). I look forward to having some more neighbors. It always seems like the RV parks around here don't get in full swing until after Memorial Day and then are full until after Labor Day. The weather is improving with more days in the 50's then in the 30's yea! We had some rain last night and it was nice laying in bed hearing it hit the roof. Nothing like falling asleep in your RV to the sound of a gentle rain.