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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

fixin the digs

One thing about RV living that every fulltimer learns is that things tend to break down every now and again. During our first year in our rig I have had to repair the furnace, replace the hot water heater element, install a new toilet gasket, replace the kitchen faucet, and replace the thermostat. All of these jobs were fairly minor thank goodness. Rudee can attest to the fact that I am not a "Mr. Fix-it" type of guy but I do my best.
We have been having a problem with the toilet running after we flush it. We have been really having to keep an eye on it to keep it from overflowing. We could jiggle the foot pedal and get it to stop but it needed to be fixed. I called a local RV dealer and they had the replacement valve in stock so I ran over and picked one up ($55.00 OUCH).
The valve came with directions and I also found step by step instructions with photos on the internet. The job didn't look too hard so I jumped in with both feet. Our toilet area is on the small side and of course the valve was on the side of the toilet by the wall which gave me about 12" of space to work in.
I was able to get the old valve removed and installed the new one in it's place. The valve and pedal are only held in by two long screws but it sure would have been easier if I had more room to see what I was doing. Once I had the new valve in I tested the water lines for leaks and, finding none, gave it a test flush. Hooray, worked the first time!! Another RV crisis solved :-).

We plan on riding to our normal Wednesday night dinner ride with our Goldwing friends. Tonight's restaurant is a hamburger joint called 5 Guy's. Our son has eaten there and likes it so we are looking forward to it. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

quick trip to Ohio

Friday after work we headed out on the Harley towards Wooster Ohio to the motorcycle rally. The weatherman said we could run into some rain but the skies were only partly cloudy when we started out. We rode to Lafayette and then took SR 25 to Logansport. The traffic was really heavy and it was slow going in places. We made a stop for supper in Peru at the Siding Restaurant which sits next to the railroad tracks and their building is built around two dining cars that you can eat in if you want. They have good food and we enjoyed a relaxing meal.
Leaving Peru the skies started turning rather dark to the north and we were hoping to out run the weather since we were heading east.
I had made reservations at a motel in Decatur Indiana for the night and we still had about 50 miles to go but we made it before the storm. Good thing too because the storm was a doozy. The wind was blowing hard and the warning sirens were blaring. I'll have to admit it got kinda scary for a little while but we made it through OK. We were grateful that we were safe and sound in our Motel room and not still out on the highway.

Saturday morning we left early since we had anther 150 miles to travel. We took US 30 across Ohio and it is a 4 lane road and had very little traffic. US 30 is also known as the Lincoln Highway and we made good time arriving in Wooster around 11:00am.
We purchased our entry tickets and walked around the rally grounds eventually meeting up with some of our friends from our Chapter who had arrived on Friday.
The rally was a little disappointing to me but to be fair we really didn't have the time to participate in a lot of the activities. We did attend a seminar on "crash scene response". The instructor was not very well prepared and there were several comments he made that were not appropriate. When the discussion turned to insurance and another instructor made the comment that "adjusters are stupid" Rudee and I got up and walked out. We just don't need to listen to nonsense especially when we are the ones paying to be there.
We did ride in the light parade. There was a huge line of bikes and we had a police escort that wound us through the town of Wooster. We had fun and it looked like the people that were lining the parade route enjoyed it as well. We called it a night after the parade and headed to our motel.

Sunday morning we checked out and got on the road towards home. We took a different route home opting for US 36 which is a nice two lane road that travels through some of the scenic farmlands. We would ride for about 60-70 miles and stop and take a break. The closer we got to Indiana the warmer it got until it was well into the upper 80's. We made sure we drank lots of fluids because we didn't want to get dehydrated. We made it back home around 4:30 and were both whipped pups. We put the bike away pretty quick and hunkered down in the air conditioning to get cooled off.

We have been having thunderstorms about everyday. Monday was no exception and around 10pm the storm hit with a vengeance. The winds were strong and they put out a tornado warning so we got into the truck and headed for the shelter at the hospital about a block from the KOA. By the time we got there though the winds had died down and we were left with rain and lightning. We decided we could be just as safe in the 5th wheel so we turned around and drove back. The storm subsided about 10:30 and we went to bed only to be woken up by another bad storm around 3:00am. The 5er was rockin' and rollin' again. Luckily I had put the awning up and except for some small limbs from nearby trees blown down we escaped any damage. I sure am ready for this cycle of storms to break but they are calling for more tonight and pretty much every night this week. Hang on to your hats folks it may be a bumpy ride. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stormy Weather

I guess I have some catching up to do since we were gone all week end.
We did have a small family get together Thursday after work. All of our kids and grand kids came over and we went swimming in the KOA pool. The water was a little on the cold side but the kids sure didn't mind it. They had a great time and we had to drag them out of the water to eat some pizza that we had delivered for supper. It was a nice evening that we plan to repeat soon.
Saturday morning we packed up our suitcase and hopped on the bike for a small trip to Laporte which is is the far northwestern part of Indiana near the Michigan state line. We were attending the wedding of our friend Tim Ranney's son. The ride up started out with overcast skies and it looked like we may get wet but the rains held off and the sun even peeked through occasionaly.
We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express but I don't think it made me any smarter because I forgot that they were in the Central Time Zone and were an hour behind us. I guess being early isn't a bad thing but it didn't just end there. I had entered the address' for the church and the reception in the GPS the night before. I found out that the GPS is like a computer, if you put junk in you get junk out because I had neglected to realize that the church was in a neighboring town from the reception. Instead of being 5 minutes from our motel it was 25 minutes. Well needless to say when we followed the GPS to the residential area in Laporte we knew we were in trouble. Rudee realized my mistake and I reprogramed for the correct address and we made it to the church at 1:58 for a 2:00 wedding!

Rudee told me I need to put more photos in the blog and since you don't get many of me I thought I would "treat" you. Here is the "great mushroom hunter" in action.

The weather has been a real roller coaster here. Since Friday we have had storms develop every evening and some of them have been pretty severe. Sunday was no exception and we had to spend about 30 minutes under an overpass on our ride home. We stayed dry there and since we were only about 5 miles from home we let the rain lighten up and made a dash for the 5th wheel.

I guess we should have waited a few minutes longer since we ran into some heavier rain and got soaked! Oh well, just another routine day in the life of a motorcycle rider :-).

We are preparing for another week end outing. We are going to ride to Wooster Ohio to attend the GWRRA Ohio Rally. The rally starts on Friday but we will only attend on Saturday since we want to save what few days off we have left. We are looking forward to the ride and hoping that the weather cooperates. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

back to school

Our plan for Saturday was to do as much riding as we could and then drop the bike off at the Harley Dealer before they closed. I had an appointment to get the 1000 mile service done on Monday and was going to drop it off early.
We were up early and disappointed to see how cloudy it was and it looked like it would start raining anytime. Rudee followed me in the Dakota and we headed for Plainfield. We were able to talk to each other over the CB radio but I still missed her being on the bike behind me. Our plan was to stop for breakfast in Danville, once we got there and the rain had not started I decided to just continue on to the dealership in hopes of staying dry.
We made it to the shop and when I went to check the bike in they said they could do the job today and I could pick it up in about 3 hours. Cool.
There is a Cracker Barrel across the street and that was where we headed for breakfast. We no more got inside and the rains started. Whew, made it just in time but it looked like I might be in for a wet ride home. We enjoyed our breakfast and since we still had a couple of hours to kill, we drove over to Rudee's Mom and Dad's house for a visit.
The rain stopped while we were inside their house and, as if on cue, my phone rang telling me our bike was done.
We checked the weather radar on the TV and it looked like the rain might hold off long enough for me to get home but they were saying the rest of the day would be a wash out :-(.
After picking up the bike Rudee followed me back to Crawfordsville. The trip takes us right at 1 hour and we only hit some sprinkles in the last 2 miles so I was able to stay dry again.
I got the bike put away and we went into the 5th wheel and waited for the big rains to start. We waited and waited but they never did come. The skies even started clearing and the sun started peeking through by evening. We decided to get the bike back out once again and rode to Lafayette where we met up with one of Rudee's coworkers Matt and his wife Val for a sweet treat at the local Dairy Queen.
We spent some time catching up with them and of course Matt and Rudee got to "talk shop" some. We left them just as the sun started to sinking and had a nice ride back home.

Sunday we were up early once again. We had enrolled in a Basic First Aid class given through our Goldwing group. The class was being held at Niles and Deb's house and started at 8:30. We had made arrangements to meet Rob and Jany Runion at Flapjack's in Lebanon at 7 am so we needed to be out the door and on the road by 6:30.
The temperature was pretty cool and we wore our jackets and I think Rudee was wishing she had worn her insulated riding suit by the time we pulled into the restaurant.
Rob and Jany were already there but they had chickened out and driven their car instead of riding their bike. What a couple of "light weights" :-).
We made it to the class on time and Deb even had coffee and warm muffins ready for us!
Mike and Penny Kadinger were our instructors and did a great job. Rudee and I both have had medical training in our past careers. I spent about 10 years working fulltime as a Paramedic before joining the Sheriff's Department and then continued working part time for several years after that. Rudee has worked as a nurses aid and a Qualified Medicine Aid and we both try to stay current on our CPR training.
During the morning session we learned and practiced CPR as well as how to use an Automatic Emergency Defibrillator and basically how to respond to a medical emergency. We broke for lunch and Deb had baked a ham with cheesy potatoes and also had a couple of salads for us all to eat. Wow, what a lunch.
The afternoon session went quickly and we learned how to do patient assessments, bandaging, treating shock and other medical ailments.
Our entire class passed with flying colors and to celebrate we had a big cook out. Niles did the honors as head cook and we all brought meat for the grille as well as a dish to "pitch in".

We did get a frightening call right before dinner though. Some of our riding buddies were enjoying the day on their bike and had an accident in Southern Indiana. They were both taken to the hospital but luckily were only shaken up and sore. Rob and Jany took their car down to drive them home and Rob was able to ride their bike back to their house for them while they followed in the car.

We made it back home just as it was getting dark. We had a full day and were both tired but happy we had taken the training, even if it only reinforced what we already knew.
We actually have to work all 5 days this week. Boo :-(. That's the bad thing about having two short weeks in a row, makes coming back to work a drag. I sure look forward to the time when we have weeks with more days off than days worked. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mouse in the House

I forgot to mention in my last post about our little hitchhiker. When we arrived at Hidden Paradise Campground last week end Rudee found a carry out package of crushed red peppers we had picked up at the pizza restaurant open in the silver ware drawer. The package had been chewed opened and we knew then that we had a mouse.

I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. I know others have had the same problem and so I just took it in stride. Rudee on the other hand, wanted it gone!! Like right now, this instant!! So it began, the great mouse hunt of 2010.
Poison was really not an option since it was going to be 80 degrees outside and even though a bloated decaying mouse carcass would be fairly easy to locate (sniff, sniff) I really didn't want to have to handle it.

Nope, the good old mouse trap made up of a spring and bars mounted on a piece of wood was the way to go. Smear on a little peanut butter and Mickey, as we started calling him, was as good as gone. I'm not sure why we named him Mickey and not Minnie but we figured that a mouse that would eat hot peppers right out of the package couldn't be real bright so it must be male :-).
Walmart supplied us with our trap. Of course in true Walmart fashion, we had to buy a package of four just to get the one we needed :-(.
Back at the 5th wheel I baited the trap and set it in the basement. Now these things are very touchy and if you are not careful you can "trip" them trying to position them. Not that I have any experience in this mind you but "if" you happen to trip it just remember that the peanut butter has a tendency to fly at an unbelievable speed right into your face! I'm sure Mickey was in there laughing his little mouse butt off watching me.
After finally getting the trap set we joined the group at the campfire and spent about 45 minutes solving all the worlds problems before time to go to bed. I decided to check the trap and BINGO, no more Mickey. Looked like he still had a smirk on his face from laughing at me. Serves you right for chuckling at the big guy.

I wanted Rudee to rest easy and since I wasn't sure she would take my word that Mickey was not cohabitating with us any more, I decided that showing her the spoils of success would be the proper thing to do. Well in hindsight I guess I kind of over thought this one a little bit, because Rudee freaked out on me the minute I held the trap up in front of her face. I guess seeing a dead mouse dangling from a trap didn't put her mind at ease at all. She didn't even take the time, between screams, to congratulate me on my well honed skills as a rodent hunter. Needless to say any idea of romance for this night went right into the trash can with Mickey :-).

And so it ends, the great mouse hunt of 2010. Stay tuned for even greater adventures and of course, I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

internet woes

Rudee had the inside of the 5th wheel all ready for travel when I got off work on Thursday and she helped me get the outside chores done. Since we had loaded the motorcycle onto the semi Wednesday evening it only took us about 30 minutes to hit the road.
We made it through Indianapolis just before rush hour but traffic was still heavy but thinned out as we made our way east of the city. Approaching Shelbyville on I-74 the skies became very black and we were heading right into a storm. Luckily the worst of the rain and lightning only lasted about 10 miles but we did slow down quite a bit just to be safe.
Our home for the long week end was Hidden Paradise Campground in St. Paul Indiana and was about 3 miles off of I-74. After we exited we had to wind our way down a curvy country road and into the small town of St. Paul. The campground was at the edge of town off one of the side streets. The entrance is plenty wide but the interior roads become very narrow with trees at the edge just waiting to reach out and grab a passing RV :-). We arrived at the office unscathed and went in to register. I am always taken aback some by the comments we get about our rig from the check in people. The first thing the lady did was look out the window and say "is that thing 45' long?". I told her the entire rig was almost 65' long and the RV was 39'. There was a young man in there working with her and he wanted to know (in a very smart a$$ way) why I thought I needed such a big truck. Well, hmmmmm, maybe because I want one, can afford one and like my outfit, whats it to ya there "sonny"! I was nice though and explained we have the truck to haul the bike on. He then proceeded to tell me that they made lifts that mount on the back and then I wouldn't need the truck. I was getting a little po'ed by his attitude but kept my cool and told him that I liked my arrangement better. We got checked in and paid but this young punk wouldn't let up, when he found out we were in town for the motorcycle rally he wanted to know why we didn't just stay at the fairgrounds. I had pretty much had my fill of him and was about to tell him that I would suggest that to the 7 other RV's that are staying at their campground and we would take the $900 we were paying them elsewhere, but again I kept my cool and just decided to ignore him. What an idiot.
Our site was great. Large gravel pad and patio overlooking the river with plenty of shade. There was no sewer hook up but we had water and 30amp electric for $30 per night. Our friends were just across the road from us and we had a large fire ring near them we would all share.

Friday morning was the first day of the rally and we were hosting a pancake breakfast. That meant we were up and at the fairgrounds before the sun was up. We cooked pancakes and sausage patties from 7am until 9am and then we were free. The rally had lots of activities. We picked up our registration packets and strolled through the vendors. They even had some Harley stuff and we picked up some bling for the new bike. The local Chapter had mapped out several rides along the scenic roads so we were able to take a couple of nice rides during the rally. I wont bore you with all the details of what we did, mostly just rode the bikes and hung out with our friends at the rally site. We did have a campfire each night back at the campground. The weather was very nice all week end long.

Monday we packed everything back up and headed home. We got parked and set back up here at the KOA shortly after noon. After unloading the bike and parking the semi Rudee noticed a problem. Every time she tried to walk through the 5th wheel she would wobble to one side and felt like we were leaning too far. I told her she was just goofy and that I had leveled the 5th wheel before unhooking and setting things up. I decided to humor her though and checked the level again. That's when I saw a problem. I guess I put the boards under the wrong wheels and instead of getting us level I made it twice as unlevel!! Well I had to admit my mistake to Rudee and she helped me get the bottle jack out so I could crawl under the axle, jack it up and remove the boards ......... sheesh, did I goof up or what :-).

Our phone line was out when we got back, no dial tone at all. I checked everything I could and could not find a problem so we called AT&T. They said they would send someone out and have us back in service by 7pm on Tuesday. Since Rudee uses the phone line for her internet access for work this meant she would not be working until they arrived. She called her boss and explained things and then just sit around waiting all day. The repairman arrived around 3pm and started tracing the problem down. He eventually told her that the problem was in the main line and would be at least another hour or more to get it fixed. They eventually found that the wires had been cut by a contractor resetting poles in the area and were able to get us back in communication around 6pm. Rudee had a pretty easy day, only down side is this puts her a day behind in an already short week.

No big plans this week, just catching up from the long week end but of we get into any mischief I'll keep you posted.