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

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.