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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New thrones for the King and Queen

We had a great time at Amanda and Ryan's house on Thanksgiving. Of course we all ate too much :-). Heck, isn't that a requirement for "turkey day"!
Ryan deep fried a large bird and it turned out fantastic. Had to have been the best Turkey I have ever eaten, very moist and flavorful. Besides the bird we had all the other customary dishes and they were all great.
We also combined our Thanksgiving celebration with a birthday party for our Grandson Nicholas. He turned 8 years old and is growing into a fine young man.

Friday morning Rudee and Amanda got up early and hit the stores for "black Friday" shopping. They left the 5th wheel at 4:00 a.m. :-0 !!
I told her I only recognized one 4 o'clock per day and this wasn't it, as I rolled over and went back to sleep! :-).

They didn't get to shop very long because we had plans to go to Northern Indiana. I drove to Frankfort and picked up our friend Steve Suter who was riding along with us (Trish, his wife, had to work all week end) and we met the girls at Hoops restaurant for breakfast.

After breakfast we transferred all of Rudee's packages from Amanda's van into our truck and headed North while Amanda headed home to take a nap. :-)

Our first destination was in Allen Michigan just over the state line. I had purchased a set of 50 amp extension cords from a fellow Escapee RV Club member ( http://www.escapees.com/index2.asp ) and stopped by his house to pick them up.

We made the short drive from Allen to White Pigeon Michigan and stopped at Bontrager's RV Surplus. http://bontragers.com/ For those that have never been, picture several pole barn type buildings crammed to the rafters with anything and everything that you would need to build your own RV.
They have switches, dials, lights, flooring, cabinets, fasteners, heaters, coolers, cookers and, of course, kitchen sinks :-). The only thing they didn't have was the heat turned on! The outside temperature was 29* and inside the building it wasn't much warmer :-(.

We browsed through most of the aisles but didn't find anything we absolutely had to have and the few items I was really looking to buy they didn't have :-(. Oh well that's the way it goes in the "surplus" business.

Steve was looking for a new recliner for their 5th wheel so I suggested we drive over to Shipshewanna Indiana to take a look at the furniture at Lambrights Comfort Chairs.

Camping friends Niles and Deb had purchased Euro Chairs here and Grumpy Williams had purchased recliners here as well. Both of them were very pleased with their chairs and recommended them to us.

Lambright's are a true Amish family who have a nice farm south of Shipshewanna. They also have a small "factory" and showroom adjacent to their farm. When we arrived a sign on the door of the showroom directed us back to the garage at the house where we could find them having a garage sale.

Beside the typical garage sale items in their garage they also had a couple of their "floor model" chairs they were selling for a discount plus they were offering a 20% discount on chairs ordered during the garage sale ...... cool!

We didn't see anything we liked at the garage sale so their son hopped in the truck with us and we drove back to the factory showroom to look at all they had to offer.

We all liked the quality of the chairs and since we were ordering and paying for 4 chairs all at once they cut us an even better deal :-). We ended up with 2 wall hugger recliners in a blue fabric to match the "saphire" decor of the Montana.

Steve, after consulting with Trish by phone, also bought 2 in a mauve color for their 5th wheel.

The chairs are being made as I write this and we will pick them in 2 weeks. :-). Here is a photo of the type of chairs we bought but in a little different color scheme.
One funny thing happened while we were at Lambright's. Rudee was looking at fabric samples trying to decide on a color and pattern. The sun was starting to set and it was getting pretty dark inside the building. Rudee, forgetting we were in an Amish business, asked our host if he could turn a light on. I got quite a chuckle about that since they don't have electricity :-).
We spent Friday night at a Hampton Inn in Elkhart and were up fairly early Saturday morning. I wanted to stop in to RV Surplus and Salvage ( http://www.rvsurplus.net/ ) and knew they closed at noon on Saturdays. After a quick "motel" breakfast we headed out only to find the stores parking lot empty and a sign on the door that they were closed all week end for Thanksgiving. Oh well, we are coming back in a couple of weeks to pick up the chairs, I'll stop in then.
Next stop was Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo Michigan where we tried our luck at the slot machines. We spent a couple of hours playing but no big winners :-( so we headed towards home.
Trish was due to get off work about the time we would be arriving at their house so Steve called her and we made plans to meet in Lafayette at Logan's Steakhouse. We timed it just right and arrived about 5 minutes apart and enjoyed a nice meal.
We parted company with Steve and Trish and headed back to the 5th wheel after a busy Holiday week end.

We have no big plans for the week ahead. I figure work will be extra busy since we had a long week end off and Rudee is planning on getting started wrapping all the Christmas presents she has purchased. Who knows what the week will bring but I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Rudee and I will make the short drive to our daughter Amanda's home to celebrate. Thanksgiving has always been a favorite of mine, not only because I love to eat (hence the bariatric surgery LOL) but also because it gives families the chance to spend time together. I will be driving to Avon and picking my Mom up and bringing her the festivities so she can spend some time with everyone as well
Last year we were in a campground in Georgia on our way back from Florida after my Dad passed away. The campground provided the traditional Turkey and we all pitched in a dish and ate together in their clubhouse. We were thankful for their friendship and hospitality and had a great time. I know many of you Fulltimers will be gathering together with your "campground families" in a similar fashion. We wish you all a happy and safe day.
Tomorrow is "black Friday" and all the hype is on about the great deals that can be had at the stores. People will be lining up at the doors in the wee hours of the morning hoping to pick up a bargain as long as they don't get trampled or worse.
Last year Rudee and her sister succumbed to the media pressure and headed to Wal Mart at 4am. They were in line and witnessed the mad rush when the doors opened. The X-box games were on special at ridiculously low prices and when the sales officially opened one guy knocked a worker and several customers aside and tore into the skid containing the games. He got his and begin throwing them to his friends nearby. By the time security arrived there was nothing left but an empty skid with no one around. Rudee said it was nuts! You couldn't pay me enough to get into that kind of mess!
We are both off work the rest of the week and plan to head up to Northern Indiana tomorrow and do some shopping at the RV surplus stores there. I am looking for a fender skirt that would replace the piece I lost on the 5er. I know it's a long shot but what the heck, I get to spend "black Friday" browsing leisurely through RV stuff, ain't ya jealous!! I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More cold weather prep

I have been busy at work the last several weeks and the time is flying by. Its hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas is only a few short weeks away.

I wanted to cover the windows of the 5th wheel with plastic wrap to help with keeping the heat in and the cold out so decided I had better get that job done this week end.
I looked at the the window covering "kits" at the hardware store and the only box that was marked "outdoor use" was for a patio door. I compared this with the ones marked "indoor" use and found that the plastic was the exact same thickness and the tape used to apply it was the same so I bought the 10 window indoor kit and am going to use it on the outside.
Back at the fifth wheel I got our Cosco multi position ladder down from it's rack on the 5th wheel's rear ladder. I really like this ladder, it adjusts to different heights and is really stable to climb on. http://www.coscoproducts.com/eng/Products/Professional-grade
To apply the plastic you first have to prep the surface by removing any moisture where you are mounting the 2 sided tape. The kit has alcohol wipes to use for this and then I just wiped the alcohol off with a dry cloth. The tape is then applied to all four sides "framing" the window. The plastic is then cut to size (note: we left about 2" excess on all 4 sides and trimmed after applying).
Peel the outer covering of the tape to expose the "sticky" and place the plastic over the window. We found it easier to do the top and one side first then stretch the plastic tight and stick it to the bottom and opposite side.
The final step is to shrink the plastic by heating it with a hair dryer. The whole job took us about 90 minutes for our 11 windows.
The benefit remains to be seen but so far it feels like the interior window frames are not as cold as before but that may just be wish full thinking :-).

Rudee wanted to get started on the Christmas shopping so we headed to Lafayette. We called Matthew and he and Mandie met us in the mall parking lot at Hooters for lunch. We watched some of the football games on TV while we ate and then headed for the mall.
I guess I am the "typical man" and don't really like shopping. I am a "get in and get out" kind of guy :-). Rudee usually likes to "browse". She did have an idea of what she wanted to pick up and which stores she wanted to go to and it was not as painful as I anticipated :-).

After the mall we made a stop at Best Buy. Our DVD player hooked to the bedroom TV died so we can't lay in bed and watch movies :-( . The TV's that came in the 5er were both pre-digital units and not the lighter flat screens. We changed out the living room one last year with a flat screen after the big "boat anchor" TV fell out of the cabinet while traveling.
We decided to go ahead and replace the bedroom TV and get one with the DVD built in. We had looked at Wal Mart but they didn't have one that would work for us. Best Buy had a flat screen TV/DVD combo that should work perfectly and it was on sale! Whoo Hoo!

We headed back to the 5th wheel with all of our purchases and picked up a small pizza to share and just vegged out in front of the TV the rest of the night.

Looks like Sunday will be another "project day" getting the new TV mounted. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

sad day, parked the bike :-(

The warm weather we had for most of last week had us spoiled. we were able to take after work motorcycle rides almost every night!
Friday we called motorcycling buddies Ron and Sandy Mendenhall to see if they wanted to join us for a ride. They said "sure, lets go!".
Sandy and Ron live south of Crawfordsville in a pretty house they built out in the country. When we arrived they were sitting in their driveway waiting on us.
I followed Ron as we pulled out and headed west towards Rockville Indiana. We enjoyed the 45 minute ride in spite of the fact they were having problems with their headsets and couldn't communicate with us over the CB radio.
We stopped for dinner at the 36 Saloon. Rudee and I fit right in with the crowd after parking our Harley and walking in with our leather coats and chaps on :-).
The place is decorated with stuffed animals and our table sat in the shadow of a big Buffalo which reminded us of all the fun we had on vacation in South Dakota.
After dinner we mounted up on the bikes again. Ron made a quick adjustment to their headsets and they were back in business and could talk to us again!
We took a different route home and almost had some venison to serve up for Thanksgiving. We were on SR 59 out in the middle of nowhere and I saw a large shape right next to the road. Ron must have seen it about the same time because as I was pushing the transmit button on the CB to warn him he was already hitting the brakes. We both got the bikes whoa'd down before getting close to the deer but he sure took his time getting out of our way. We were almost next to him when he finally turned and ran into the field next to the road. Looked to be about a 6 pointer but I would rather not get close enough again to actually count the "points" :-).

Saturday was supposed to be the big change in the weather. I had already made arrangements to store our bike at our good friend Grumpy's shop earlier in the week so I figured this morning would be about the best time to take it over since it was supposed to get cold and rainy. I loaded up our empty LP tanks into the Dakota and Rudee followed me to Thorntown. We parked the bike at Grumpy's and visited for a few minutes before saying goodbye to the Harley and heading to Colfax to get the LP tanks filled.
The rain started so we decided to drive to Avon and visit my Mom. When we arrived she had a big bruise on her head and told us she had fallen the night before. Luckily nothing was broken. She doesn't remember what caused her to fall but at least this time was not as bad as a few months ago when she fell and broke her wrist and cut her arm pretty bad.
We spent about an hour at my Mom's apartment before heading out to meet Rudee's sister and niece at O'Charley's for an early supper before heading home for the night.

Sunday we spent the day being lazy. We watched the Colts game on TV and enjoyed seeing them get another win. They have had a lot of injuries this year and we have trouble figuring out who some of the players are. I think about 1/2 of today's starters were working at the drive up at Mc Donalds last week end :-)

Sunday evening we did venture out to Pizza Hut in Lebanon to meet some of our "biker buds". We were having a planning session for this years Winter Rendezvous. The rally is in January and we want to build another float so we need to get started.
There were lots of good ideas and it sounds like we have a "plan". I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Indian summer!!

We are getting settled in to our winter site here at the KOA. Sunday I was able to get the skirting attached and hooked up the 100lb LP tank we use in the winter. The tank belongs to the KOA and they let us borrow it which saves having to fill our smaller bottles so often.

The last couple of days have been super nice. The temps have risen into the low 70's and we have been out on the bike the last 3 evenings. Tuesday we rode to Lafayette and met Steve and Trish at Hooters. Wednesday was our regular dinner ride and we had 10 bikes in our group as we rode to Frankfort for dinner. This evening we rode to Brownburg to get our mail and met up with Rob and Jany Runion. They invited us to ride with them to Zionsville and try out a new Italian restaurant. They had a Pizza and Rudee and I tried the lasagna. We all enjoyed our meals but thought they were a little over priced.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another nice day and then they are predicting that the temps will fall back to a more "normal" level and it's supposed to start raining for the week end :-(. Looks like maybe we'll get another evening ride in before putting the bike up for what could be a long winters rest. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Heading south for the winter!

We have been with out our internet for several days due to our phone line being disconnected. Now before you all start "chipping in" and sending me your hard earned $$ it was not because we didn't pay the bill :-). We had it disconnected so we could move south before winter arrives!
We hope going further south the winter will not be as harsh. Sounds like a good plan right?

We picked Sunday Oct. 31st as our launch date so Rudee had arranged to have the phone line shut down at our site. We got a late start on packing up and when I went to start the Freightliner it just grunted and groaned and would hardly turn over ..... Rats!! I quickly ran extension cords (it took 3 to reach the nearest post!!) and hooked up the battery charger. I knew it would take several hours to charge the batteries enough to get that big old Cat engine to come to life again so I told Rudee we had better wait until Monday to get going.

The weather has been getting very cool to downright cold and our furnace has been getting a work out. So far the temperatures have not dropped to far below that magical freezing mark but it wont be long before 32 will be a huge warm up :-(.

Monday I tried starting the truck again and it roared to life! I quickly got busy and got the outside ready for traveling. I then had to go and get the inside done as well. Rudee was at our daughters house helping her out. She had a surgical procedure done last week and needed a hand with the grand kids.
After getting everything ready and the slides pulled in I started out on the long move south. Putting the truck in reverse I backed the 5th wheel about 200' South from site #4 through site #13 and into site #22, our new home :-).
It took me a little time to position the rig because in the winter I use a 3" PVC pipe in place of the conventional type of sewer hose. The PVC pipe holds up better in the cold and I can position it at a good enough angle so the water drains and avoid any freezing problems. I re-used the same pipe from last year but had to get the rig in as close to the same position or it wouldn't work. I did a lot of climbing in and out just to move 4" forward and then 2" backwards and so forth. I finally got everything lined up and then had to level the rig. I needed boards on one side so by placing the boards beside the wheels I could pull forward, move the boards to where the tires were sitting before I moved and then just back onto them. This kept me in the same spot for the sewer pipe :-).
Once I got nice and level I unhitched and finished hooking up all the other utilities. I switched the white hose out for our heated Pirit hose ( http://www.pirithose.com/ ) and plugged it in. We are now ready for winter :-). Well not totally ready, we still have to attach all the skirting and will probably tackle that job this week end.

We are sure looking forward to the day when we can actually make our move to warmer weather in the winter but have no regrets of selling the house and moving into the 5th wheel, it's great!

We don't have any plans for the upcoming week. Maybe we will have just a lazy week end around our camp site here at the south end of the KOA! I'll keep you posted.