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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

beating the storm

Monday morning I called Grumpy who owns the shop where our bike is stored. The shop was not open but we made plans to meet for lunch and then could go to the shop so we could pick up the bike.
We met at the local Dairy Queen and enjoyed swapping stories while we ate. Dairy Queen probably has the best fast food (my opinion of course) but for some reason we don't stop there as often as we do some of the others, not sure why.
Once we got to the shop Grumpy showed me the newest thing in motorcycle covers. These covers are made to be left on the bike while it is being transported/towed. Grumpy hauls his bike on his Freightliner same as we did and he started using one of these and has sold them to several of our friends who also haul their bikes in/on their trucks.
I decided to give it a try and he cut us a great deal on it as well as "no charge" for storing our bike the last couple of months. Thanks Grumpy!
I bundled up and headed out on the bike ...... 33* and the roads were wet! Yikes :-o
Rudee followed me in the Dakota and captured the moment for posterity. Yes, that is snow on the sides of the road!


Once we got back to the motorhome we loaded the bike onto the lift and tied it down. This took a little extra time to get the tie downs positioned like I wanted them and then we had to unpack and figure out how to position the new cover. I know most bike owners are cringing at the thought of covering a bike while it is being towed down the road. I was the same way but this new cover has tie downs to snug it in critical areas and once we had it on and "buckled down" I really liked it.

We spent Christmas morning at our daughter and son in law's home. We enjoyed watching the grand kids open their presents and Santa even dropped off a new RV GPS for me. :-)
My kids snuck around and got me a really neat gift:

Yep that guy in the Smokey Bear hat is me. :-) The badges were from my days with the Plainfield Fire Department and my first badge issued when I joined the Boone County Sheriffs Dept. I was really surprised and absolutely love it! Thanks guys.

We left the party shortly after 1pm for the short drive back to the campground. We hooked up the Dakota and headed South. We ended up driving to Bowling Green, Kentucky stopping at the Camping World store where we boondocked in their parking lot for the night. The rain started about 10 minutes after we arrived so it was good timing on our part :-). We ended up running the generator all night since the temperature dropped quite a bit and we needed the extra power to keep warm.

Wednesday we woke up to more rain and the threat of snow showers. We had a quick breakfast of microwave oatmeal and headed out into the rain. I kept a close eye on the thermometer which varied from 34-38 degrees. The rain changed over to snow after only a few miles and we both were a little nervous. The radar showed that the showers ended south of Nashville so we pressed on. Turns out the radar was correct and the showers quit but the radar didn't warn us about the cross winds which started blowing after the rain/snow stopped :-o.
Fighting the 30-40 mph winds hitting you broadside in a large vehicle wears you out and by 1pm we were ready to call it a day and started considering campgrounds to stop at. My original plan was to get at least as far as Birmingham if not Montgomery. Instead, thanks to the "breeze", we pulled into Cullman Campground shortly after 2pm, we didn't travel as far as we had planned but at least we are safe and sound. Tomorrow they are promising some sunshine, no wind and thankfully warmer temperatures. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 24, 2012

time to go!

Rudee and I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year!

This week end the weatherman started saying words like "change" and "more seasonable" during his forecasts. Now in Indiana "change" is usually not a good thing when referring to the weather and "seasonable" for December is absolutely not a good thing! :-)
Today they confirmed a major winter storm is moving in and headed right at us. The snow is supposed to start early Wednesday and could be "significant" according to our local TV stations. They have even mentioned the "B" word a time or two. :-o
Since we are not gluttons for punishment, and we sure don't want to experience another blizzard, we have decided to pack up this traveling circus and move to greener pastures so we can avoid all this white "stuff"!

We will be celebrating Christmas at our daughter and son in laws house tomorrow morning and then get on the road shortly after noon. Our plan right now is to drive several hours before stopping for the night in a Wal Mart or rest park. We are heading towards the Escapees Park in Summerdale, Alabama and we hope to arrive there sometime Wednesday.  I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

whole again

The last week I have been in a kind of funky mood. The tragic events in Newtown Conn. seemed to kick it off. I spent most of my life as some kind of first responder with the majority of my time spent as a Deputy Sheriff. My heart was broken when I heard and read the news reports last week. As a police officer and father I always felt my biggest responsibility was to protect the children. I cannot understand why or how anyone could harm a child, it breaks my heart. :-(

We did manage to make a major step forward. After a lot of research I decided on the type and model of motorcycle lift to install on the back of the motorhome for our Harley to ride on. I decided on a Mighty Hauler (http://www.mightyhauler.com/) hydraulic lift. They are manufactured in Barberton, Ohio so Tuesday morning we hooked the Dakota onto the back of the Winnebago and headed East.
This was our first experience towing the truck and to say I was a little nervous is an understatement! The trip was a little over 320 miles and took us 5 1/2 hours. The truck pulled great and after about 300 miles I calmed down some. :-)
We arrived just as they were closing for the day. We had already made arrangements to stay in their parking lot and they even ran a power cord out for us to use.

Wednesday morning we were up early since they open at 7am :-o! They had me back into one of their bays and explained everything they had to do to install the lift and told me it would take about 6 hours to complete. Good thing we had the Dakota to use because sitting there for 6 hours would have been really boring.
We explored the town a little, not a whole lot there, and ended up going to Grandpa's Cheese Barn in Ashland, Oh. which was about 30 miles away. I wanted to go to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and pulled the website up on my i-phone at breakfast. That is when I found the cost ...... $21 each! Seems a little high to me so we scraped that idea pretty quick.
We were just finishing lunch when I got a call on my cell phone that they were done. The install went smoothly and did not take them as long as they expected.
Here is a look at the finished product.

We had a quick lesson on it's operation prior to hooking the truck back on and heading out. We were a little rushed because there was some pretty bad weather coming our way Thursday with high winds and snow predicted. We had originally thought about driving about 1/2 way and stopping for the night and we could avoid driving after dark. The weather changed this plan though and we ended up arriving back in Jamestown shortly before 7pm. We pulled into one of the electric/water pull through sites used for overnighters since I didn't want to try and maneuver through the dark campgound trying to back into our full hook up site.
Thursday morning we woke up to rain and wind. The rain did stop (almost) long enough for us to get backed into our assigned site and I got all the utilities hooked back up. We were happy to be back safe and sound because the wind really kicked up with gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour! I'm sure glad we were not trying to drive in that!

We are getting geared up for Christmas celebrations with our family. Sunday we celebrate with Rudee's family in Plainfield and then we will spend Christmas day at our daughters house here in Jamestown. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 14, 2012

too much "sittin around"

I'll admit it. I'm starting to get lazy. My morning wake up time keeps getting later and later in the day and I do a lot of sitting and drinking coffee once I do actually get my behind out of bed. This seems to be a byproduct of sitting still too long with nothing much to do and needs to change. :-)
Last year at this time we were guarding a gate out in the giggle weeds of Texas. I got pretty lazy there too even with all the up and down the RV steps checking folks in and out.
I think I need to start walking or ??? I used play a lot of golf. You can get some pretty good exercise on the golf course providing you stay away from the rental carts and walk. My back problem and subsequent surgery back in '97 that ended my law enforcement career also put an end to golf for me. I miss it sometimes but even if I could still play it has been colder than a witches toe around here. :-)

Speaking of cold weather ...... we have been pretty pleased with the insulation in the motor home versus the 5th wheel. The furnace in the 5er would cycle on and off every 10 minutes or so when the outside temps dropped below freezing just to maintain the inside temperature around 70*. We have always used a couple of electric heaters to assist the furnace and even with these the furnace struggled. Now we have been sitting the furnace on 69* at night and the furnace comes on once or twice the entire night. During the day we have kept the electric heaters on and the furnace doesn't run at all. The other night the outside temps dropped down to a low of 22*, the furnace came on 3 or 4 times all night compared to the 5th wheel which would have been running like a freight train!
The motor home does have dual pane windows where our 5er did not. I have always heard these make a difference but .... WOW!
I do have a remote thermometer mounted in the "wet bay" where all the water hook ups come into the coach. So far the lowest I have seen in the bay is 40*. Should things start getting colder in there I plan on putting a light bulb in the bay to help keep things from freezing. Of course we are using our "heated hose" that I made using a heat tape mounted to a heavy duty white hose and insulated with foam pipe insulation. This is our 4th winter using it and it works like a charm. :-)

Still no news on the work front. We are hoping that they leave us alone until after Christmas, but you never know. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Helping out a new fulltimer

The other day I was walking and struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was standing in the doorway of his brand new travel trailer. He told me he and his wife were new to the lifestyle and had some questions, if I didn't mind talking for awhile.
Well I love to talk about fulltiming, RVing, workcamping, traveling .... you name it! :-) We talked for quite awhile, like we had known each other for years. He had a lot of questions about cold weather camping. He told me he and his wife have no kids of their own but have a large extended family who live "up North" and that they spend time with. They also have a part time job that helps fund their travels and would be working all the way up to Christmas so needed to make sure they stayed warm and all the utilities functioned.
I explained the things we do to keep from freezing and how to insulate and "heat" your water hose as well as gave him some options for handling the black and gray water. He was very thankful for my help and I only wished we could have spent some more time together but they were pulling out today. He told me that this time of year is his busiest time and he needed to get back to work. We exchanged information and promised to stay in touch, he said he would follow our blog regularly to see what kind of "mischief" I was getting into. :-)
I did manage to take a quick photo with my i-phone (sorry about the quality)

So now you know, Santa and Mrs. Clause are actually fulltimers! Better keep your eyes open for them and make sure you don't end up on the "naughty list"! I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 3, 2012

still chillin'

I guess I have been neglecting the blog a little. There just isn't a lot to write about. Our days have been filled with running errands either for ourselves or for Rudee's Mom. We have also been doing a lot of Christmas shopping and have our lists completed!
I purchased a 3' Christmas tree the other day and it fits perfectly on the dash of the RV. The lights were already on the tree so it was an easy set up. Now the challenge will be to get it back into the little box it came in once Christmas is over. :-)
We have been in contact with our company on a regular basis and things are just slow right now for us "Roving Managers". There are only two of us and both of us are sitting right now. They assure us things will get busy again so we are just enjoying the down time. :-)

A couple of days ago we were bored and looking for something to do. We decided on a movie and headed for the local "movie house". We decided to see the new release "Killing Them Softly". We both thought it was a pretty poor movie and unfortunately cannot recommend it. We decided not to give up though. I had been wanting to see the movie "Lincoln" so we gave that one a try last evening. Much better! Being a history buff I really enjoyed this one even though I'm sure they took some "liberties" on actual historical events. Regardless we enjoyed this one much better. :-)

Our internet connection on our mifi is not the quickest here so no pictures on the blog for awhile. :-(
Not much happening that is "picture worthy" anyway, but I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

getting the dreaded "itch"

Not a lot going on here in Indiana. The weather has turned more "seasonal" which means COLD! :-)
We have been doing a lot of running back and forth between Grand kids and Rudee's Mom's. We have her pretty well settled into a routine now and she is doing her best to adapt.
I, on the other hand, am starting to get a bad case of "hitch itch". Rudee mentioned the other day about just heading down South to warmer weather. "Sounds good to me"! We could stay there until we get called to work or come back for Christmas, whichever comes first. I started thinking about the cost of diesel fuel compared to just sitting here and running the furnace, not sure I want to spend the extra $$ to drive down just to turn around and come back in a couple of weeks :-(
I really don't like the campground we are at though. There are only about 30 sites and half of those are blocked off for one reason or another. We only have 30 amp service and I have to use the macerator pump to dump the black tank into the sewer connection on the site next to ours. Our sewer pipe works fine for the gray water (which we leave open for now) but when I dump the black tank it will not handle the volume all at once and backs up. I learned that lesson the hard way. :-o
Our view out of our front window is of a torn up field with a large John Deer excavator that looks to have not been moved for several months. Out our front door is a broken down construction office trailer and a pile of cement blocks. This place does not have the "it" factor at all! The only thing it has going for it is it is only 3 miles from our daughters house and 15 miles from her Mom's.

I am beginning to think we will not get the call to work until after Christmas and maybe even New Years. I guess things could change at anytime but I can't see anyone leaving a job voluntarily or them terminating someone right before Christmas. I could be wrong though, I think it's happened before ;-) I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

the good, the bad and the ugly

We have been doing a lot of running around lately doing all the little things that need done when you lose a family member. Some of things we can do ourselves but some require Rudee's Mom to be present. She  is 83 and loves to have a "day on the town" since she can't get out on her own anymore. The other day we had to go to the courthouse where she had to sign some papers, afterwards we stopped into a small restaurant to eat lunch. We were in Danville Indiana which holds onto it's "small town" status even though it is in the shadow of sprawling Indianapolis. The restaurant was decorated as a 50's style diner complete with jukebox and the waitress' wore poodle skirts. Lunch was good and Rudee's Mom wanted to pay for ours. She is on an even more of a fixed income now and we were not going to let that happen. She ended up "sneaking" a $20 bill to the young man at the cash register that just happened to be next to our booth and had heard us discussing her finances. He rang our bill up and, without saying a word, reached into his own wallet and pulled out two $1 bills to cover the rest of our check. He then brought the left over change and gave it to Rudee's Mom as if her $20 covered the tab. I didn't know what to say, what a nice gesture for a young man to make! We guessed him to be about 18 years old, his Mom and Dad can be proud of him for sure!
As we got up to leave Rudee went up to him and said "I saw what you did" and he just smiled and said "what?". She gave him the $2 back and thanked him as we walked out the door. She also slipped a $20 bill into her Mom's purse when she wasn't looking too. :-)

So that was the "good" part of this post, now for the "bad and the ugly".
We got our paperwork from the RV dealer to transfer our license plates and apply for our title. We headed for the DMV anxious to get it "out of the way". I always dreaded trips to the DMV and Rudee refuses to go without me! We arrived and took a number. There was only one other person in line but we still had to take a number. :-(
We got called up to the desk pretty quickly and I told them what I needed and handed over my small stack of paperwork. The lady behind the desk was very nice, her name tag said she was the assistant manager and, if age was any indication, she had worked there for a long time. The registration transfer went really easy so I decided to get my address corrected on my drivers license. The post office decided last year that they were changing all the numbers in the shopping center where our UPS store is at. We have been changing our address on things all year long and I just had not bothered (or maybe "avoided" is the right word) changing it on my DL. The nice lady started reviewing my information and typing it into her computer. "You still 210 pounds" she asked. "Well ...... not really" I said taking a big gulp and giving her a number a little closer to my actual weight. Ok I thought that was going to be it, then she looked up at me and, right in front of my wife, asked me. "Do you still consider your hair color black"? What the heck lady??!! Rudee began to laugh and told me I still had a choice, gray or skin tone! Deflated I had to admit "no, I guess it's more gray now" as I lowered my head and slumped into the chair. I suddenly realized I was the only guy in the room! I was out numbered and didn't stand a chance. it was worse than when I was a little boy and my Mom would drag me to the beauty shop to get her hair done!
I finally made it through the "inquisition" and got my picture taken for my new drivers license. That is the "ugly" part because they substituted my picture for a balding, gray haired, slightly pundgy "older" looking guy! I couldn't get out of there fast enough! To this day I get cold chills when walking by the door to the beauty shop and now I am getting the same thing from the DMV. :-)

We are planning Thanksgiving with our grand kids and looking forward to spending the holiday with family. Last year at this time we were in the oil fields and eating a turkey dinner from a styrofoam box. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

looking to get back to "normal"

We have had a long and busy week with Rudee's family. Her Dad's showing was Tuesday evening and we had graveside and military services Wednesday morning. In between all of this we have been running ourselves ragged doing errands that have to be done in times like this.
Rudee has spent almost all of her nights with her Mother and I have been commuting back and forth during the day. We are both ready for a return to our normal "abnormal" lifestyle. :-)

Before you get to feeling sorry for me I have to confess I have not been spending my nights alone. :-(
A few days ago I got up before the sun appeared and was at the table drinking coffee and surfing the web when my "room mate" ran through the living room. YIKES ..... Mouse!! :-O
I had to call Rudee to find out where the mouse traps were at, seems like I still can't find a lot of things since the move. She was not real happy to be awake at that hour but understood my dilemma. I eventually found a trap and baited it up with some peanut butter for the little sucker.
I then left for the day and was anxious to get back and dispose of the carcass. When I returned that evening the trap was still set but the peanut butter was missing! Well alrighty then, we got ourselves a smart mouse! Not to be out witted by a mere rodent, I re baited and repositioned the trap figuring if he had to eat the peanut butter while facing the opposite direction than the trap would spring and I could claim VICTORY! Now remember the size of a mouses (or is that mices?) head is pretty small so their brain has to be minuscule while I, on the other hand, have a huge head and thus a corresponding huge brain. How could I fail.
The next morning I got out of bed and headed into the living room intending to throw that dead mouse into the trash and celebrate my superior intelligence. The problem was the trap was still set and the peanut butter was once again gone! Hmmmm this thing has to be the only big headed, large brain, intelligent mouse in existence! Ya, that's got to be it. I picked up the trap and examined it, determined to outsmart the little guy. Looked to me like the trap needed more of a hair trigger so I got out the tools. I bent and reshaped the "trigger" a little bit until it was perfect, at least my large, superior brain thought it was perfect.
I re-baited my re-designed trap and set it out (I was positive I would get him this time!) and left to go meet Rudee. That was yesterday morning and when we got home last evening I quickly unlocked the door so I could show Rudee how brave and smart her hubby really is! The trap was there, still sitting upright and still set. I took a closer look and the peanut butter was missing! CRAP! I was even more obsessed at getting this little Einstein of the rodent world outta my house! Maybe if I can't trap him I can kill him from high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity by all the peanut butter I am feeding him!
I decided to give the trap another try, what have I got to lose. I decided if I didn't get him/her this time I would give up and adopt it as a pet. Maybe make a little leash out of string and I can take it for walks around the campground. Don't worry, I would carry some teeny tiny plastic bags so I could "clean up" after my pet. After all, meeting the worlds smartest mouse would be a good ice breaker for meeting other campers, right? We could even put on shows at the campground pavilion showing how intelligent "my" mouse really is. Maybe get free camping and a little $$ to boot. Wow, I see a new work camping opportunity here.
Oh well, for the sake of my marriage, I had to give the trap one more try. I got up this morning and VOILA (or is it "whammo"?) the trap was sprung. I guess my little peanut butter eating friend was not so smart after all! I guess he learned not to mess with me and my "superior" intellect! I did a little happy dance to which Rudee thought I was losing what was left of my marbles. Oh well, it's gonna be a good day! I got my mouse! At least I hope it was my mouse? His head did look a little small to be "my" mouse. OH oh, better get out the peanut butter and reset the trap ...... I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

a time for family

The last week has been a whirlwind. Rudee's Dad went into the hospital Sunday evening and Rudee has devoted her time to taking care of her mother. Thursday it was apparent that the treatments were not helping and decisions were made by the family to bring him home with the help of Hospice. He passed away yesterday afternoon with his family by his bedside. We will miss him but take comfort that he is now cured of his cancer and no longer in pain. Rest in peace Dad, we love you. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We are "officially" homeless

Yesterday was an interesting day. Rudee's Dad went into the hospital Sunday evening when he started having trouble breathing. They diagnosed him with pneumonia and admitted him. Since then Rudee has been spending the night with her Mom while visiting her Dad during the day.
Her Dad is very civic minded and voting is not something he (or us for that matter) take lightly and he has been looking forward to casting his presidential vote for the last 4 years. We both knew that being admitted to the hospital was not going to stop him from voting so Rudee started making calls early Monday morning to find out what options were available for him. Neither one of us wanted to see him walking down the highway towards the county courthouse in a hospital gown dragging IV bags along behind him because we both knew he would do it if there was no other way!
Thankfully they have a procedure in place so Rudee made the trip to the courthouse for the forms to fill out. While there she checked on our status' as well because after the last election we got a letter from the election board telling us that our "address" at the UPS store could not be used under Indiana law as a "domicile" as far as voting is concerned. Therefore we were not allowed to vote until we had a "fixed domicile that we returned to every day" and could then re-register with that address. This would mean we would have to change our drivers license address since they have to match. We decided to just give it up and would miss voting this time around. Both of us were pretty bummed because this would be our first election to miss voting in 35 years but we didn't pursue it any further.
Rudee decided to bring it up to the County Clerk who is in charge of elections in our county. She said we were indeed registered as active voters so could have "probably" voted with no ill effects at our local polling place. Rudee explained our circumstance and the letter we received from the election board. The clerk decided we were homeless and could vote as such as long as we could do it before noon today when the early voting polls closed.
She called me and I made a mad dash to the courthouse. We filled out the necessary forms and got to vote. The address they put down for us was the courthouse address so I guess we are now, truly homeless. :-)
They actually came to the hospital for my father in law to cast his vote so he was a happy camper as well.

I'm not sure what we are going to do in the future. Most likely we will be changing our State of residency pretty soon because most of the states that are "full timer friendly" allow you to vote without difficulty. We have been dragging our feet on changing for a variety of reasons but now feel like it is time to make a change.

No word from the company yet besides "just hang loose a few more days". We are taking advantage of the down time to get everything ready for the road. I finished up preparing the Dakota for towing and made sure our tow bar, supplemental brake system, wiring, lights etc, were all ready to roll when the time comes. We are also grateful that Rudee can spend time helping her parents and siblings. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"heck I can do that myself"

We are still cooling our heels in Indiana, no word from the company on our next assignment yet but we are hoping it will come soon. In the mean time we have been catching up on chores and spoiling the grand youngins. :-)

The biggest advantage of trading the 5th wheel for our motor home was the fact that Rudee and I can once again be in the same vehicle while we are traveling. Our Dodge Dakota can be towed "4 wheels down" meaning you don't need one of those car dolly's and can just attach a tow bar to the front of the truck and hook on. When we bought the truck (used) it had a Roadmaster baseplate already installed by the prior owner. The problem was he did not include the arms that attach to the baseplate and then hook to the tow bar. I figured all I had to do was call and order the arms and we were good to go, or so I thought. :-(
I called Roadmaster and got the part numbers and placed the order. The next day one of their technicians called me back and said they redesigned their arms a year ago and I would have to  cut off a tab and re-weld it in a different place on the arm to make it fit. He said even before they redesigned them the arms were made specific to the base plate and it was a crap shoot making another pair that would fit. Well alrighty then. The tow bar I purchased (used of course) is a Blue OX and would still need an adapter to hook up to a Roadmaster base plate but all this would be moot if I couldn't get the correct arms anyway. I decided to cancel the order and called Blue Ox and ordered a whole new base plate for the truck.
The base plate arrived on Wednesday and I made some calls to see about installing it. Camping World was booked until the first of December and would be almost $300 for them to do it. I called another place and they told me their labor rate was $80 per hour but could not give me an idea of how long it may take them. They said it would take longer than an hour but wouldn't know how long until they were finished with it. Ya right, well how about I just give you a blank check then?
I looked at the directions and decided I could probably handle the job myself, didn't look too hard and I could save some $$. The problem was having to do it in the parking lot of the RV park in the cold but good buddy Rob Runion came to my rescue and offered his help as well as his garage!
Thursday evening we all met at Rob and Jany's and us guys started working while the women started ........... well doing what women do when they are trying to stay away from the men who are doing "guy stuff". :-)
We got the bumper off and started removing the old base plate. Everything was going great until the final 2 bolts. We worked for over an hour trying to get these removed but they wouldn't budge. I even started calling around for a torch to borrow. "Look out girls, the guys are talking about using FIRE"!
Rob then pulled out the trusty hand held grinder and we ended up cutting the Roadmaster brackets off. Whew, I was getting worried there for a minute.
The Blue Ox bracket went on pretty easy. We had to position it and then drill 4 holes in each frame rail end for the bolts and then "bolt er up" and put the bumper back on. We both stood back and admired our work, even the ladies were impressed! :-)
We are now ready to tow the Dakota! Thanks, Rob. I couldn't have done it without ya!

Saturday we are baby sitting the grand kids so Amanda can work some OT. They spent the night last night and enjoyed sleeping in the new rig. They are staying with us today until Amanda gets off work, I just hope I can keep up with them! I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

last bike ride of the season?

Wednesday evening we stopped by Grumpy's Goldwing Service and picked up our Harley. We have been friends and riding buddies with Grumpy for over 20 years and he has performed a lot of service on our bikes in that time. We have decided to store the Harley at his shop until we can get a lift put on the motorhome to carry it. Our hope is by next spring we can once again have all our toys traveling together again. :-)

Our local Goldwing chapter was having a dinner ride so we rode to the assigned meeting place with Grumpy and his pretty lady Kay. The weather sure was nice and we only had light jackets on for the ride. Our good buddy Rob Runion was leading to the restaurant in Danville, Indiana and we ended up with 13 motorcycles in our group.

We had a nice meal and an even better ride! Thursday was predicted to be the last day of this warm spell so we decided to keep the bike one more day to take advantage of what will probably be our last ride before storing it again for the winter. :-(

Rudee and I hopped on the bike shortly after breakfast. The temps were cool enough for a heavy sweatshirt but promised to warm up. We had no idea where we were heading but just wanted to ride!
I pointed the headlight South and then East. We decided to cruise through the city and check out the changes to Indy since the Super Bowl. Downtown was buzzing with young people attending the National FFA Convention. There were blue jackets everywhere!
We passed through downtown and headed East on U.S. 40 which is the main E/W highway through Indianapolis.
Our destination was the Indy East KOA where friends Wayne and Sherry Hutchins had spent the summer work camping. Unfortunately their day off was today and no one was home at their 5th wheel. We left them a note on their door and headed back out on the highway.
Like all good things this ride also must end. :-) We headed for Grumpy's shop in Thorntown and arrived there around 5pm and pulled the bike back into its parking spot for the winter. Grumpy will keep the battery hooked to a trickle charger and before arriving I filled the gas tank full of fuel and treated it with Stabil gas stabilizer. Doing this should help us get it started next spring when we are itching for another ride after the long winter.

The last couple of days we have ran a few errands but otherwise have just hung around the motorhome. Today we have plans to head into Lebanon and find a restaurant where we can eat and enjoy the Colts game on TV. We have sent out some invitations to some of our friends to join us, no word back yet but ..... I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

still chillin'

Sunday we had several friends stop by to see the new rig and visit for awhile. Sure was nice to catch up with Steve, Trish, Dale and Diane.  The Newlyweds along with Amanda, Ryan and their kids also came over, we had a house full but loved every minute of it. :-)

Monday morning I got on the phone with Dish Network to get the TV working. I had dreaded that call fearing I would be on the phone for hours. I am happy to report a very pleasant experience. The friendly, English speaking technician had us watching our shows in no time! Monday was also pack up and move day. We are both a little amazed at how much less time and effort it takes to pack up the motor home compared to the 5th wheel. We were ready to roll in just a few minutes compared to the 45 it took before. I kept walking around the rig trying to see what I forgot to do. :-)

Our move was a short one and we are set up at Hillside Campground in Jamestown Indiana. We stayed here back in August for a couple of weeks waiting for the call to training for our Roving Manager jobs. Speaking of the job, we are still waiting for an assignment. We have communicated with them regularly but work is slow right now. We are guaranteed a certain amount of pay per month so even sitting still we are making a salary. :-)

Indiana is in the middle of an Indian Summer with the temps in the mid to upper 70's for several days. We retrieved our Harley out of storage and are taking advantage by getting in a few rides before it turns colder again. They are predicting the cool down will start tonight so we are planning on a long ride today before taking the bike back to "winter jail". :-(
I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 22, 2012

the big move

Saturday morning we were up and out of the 5th wheel at first light. We had pulled the motor home next to the Montana after signing the papers late Friday evening to save as much time as we could. Our mission today was to check all the systems while transferring all of our belongings from one to the other. My plan was to be done and outta there by 2pm ......... didn't happen :-)
The first obstacle we came across was the amount of "stuff" we had accumulated in the last 3 1/2 years as full timers. A good rule for full timers is if you have not used something for an entire year then get rid of it. Good rule in theory but it was obvious we had not "practiced what we preached" :-)
Rudee and I worked all day moving stuff over. Down the 4 steps from the Monty, 5 feet over to the motor home, up 5 steps into the inside, put it away and then repeat, over and over again!
At noon we took a break and dropped off the keys and titles for the truck and Montana to the dealership. We also met with the service people and did our walk through. They did a couple of minor adjustments for us and then we were back work.
I'm ashamed to say we ended up taking 12 large garbage bags full of "stuff" to the Goodwill as well as several to the dumpster! How in the world did we let this get out of hand! :-) I can hear my Mother telling me "there is a lesson to be learned here!" and I'm sure both my parents were smiling down on us. They had been through trading units several times themselves over the years. :-)

At 4pm we decided to just pile it all in the best we could and sort it out later. We got on the road at 5pm, so much for our 2pm plan. :-)
We headed for Indianapolis and I enjoyed driving the rig. We still have a couple of brackets to order from Roadmaster to make our Dakota tow able so Rudee still follows behind but we will soon be back together again.
We arrived at White River Campground in Cicero, Indiana just before dark to find our friends Rob and Jany waiting for us. They were anxious to see the new digs as well as to eat supper! :-)
We got set up in record time and gave them a quick tour around the several plastic totes that filled the hallway and then headed for dinner. Rudee and I had only eaten a banana and a bologna sandwich all day, we were both starving!
Sunday morning Rudee and Jany got busy while Rob and I "got lost" by request. :-) They purged out a few more things but now we have clear hallways and our house on wheels is starting to look like home.

We have some friends and family headed our way to check it out later today. Still no word on our next deployment, guess it's time to get back to work though and pay for this thing! I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 19, 2012

and the gears keep changing!

One thing about being a full time RVer is you have to be flexible and roll with the punches :-).

We called our company Monday morning and they had nothing for us so we were told we could hang out in Pennsylvania or head back to Indiana. They said it could only be a few days before they would need us again so we decided to take the chance and head back home to see Rudee's parents.
We got on the road pretty late in the day since the company is in California and on Pacific time. We drove to Columbus Ohio and spent the night in a small campground. The next morning we started out a little earlier because we wanted to make a stop. We have been considering a change in our travel style and found a motor home we thought might fit the bill in Richmond Indiana.
We stopped there shortly before noon and a salesman showed us the motor home we "thought" we wanted as well as several others. We ended up spending the entire day at the dealership looking at several units before eventually making a deal. Next is the financing which has proven to be quite an ordeal. Between being a full timer and having our jobs only a short time has created a few obstacles. We finally went to "our" bank where they have known us for years and arranged the financing.
We traded both the semi truck and 5th wheel for our new home:

it is a 2002 Winnebago Journey 36' Diesel Pusher with 2 slides. The prior owners took great care of it and we could not find any issues with it at all. The dealership is detailing the interior and doing a final check of all the systems. We will be doing the walk through on Saturday morning and then transferring all of our "stuff" from the Montana and Freightliner into the Motor home. They do have camping facilities at the dealership and we are spending the night here so we can get an early start in the morning.

We took the Harley to our buddy, Grumpy's, shop for winter storage. Our plan is to purchase and install a lift onto the rear of the motor home by next spring for the bike.
I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 15, 2012

busy, busy week.

Well we got'em married. :-)
The wedding was Saturday at 3:30 with the reception at a nearby hall shortly afterward. Our week was filled with errands and helping handle all the gazillion details that have to be done before the wedding.
Our campsite for the week was nice but not as "spacious" as we would have liked. Our 5th wheel pretty much filled the pull through site leaving us only a small area to park the Dakota parallel to the road. We had to park the semi on the other side of the park next to the office. The place was quiet though and we both slept very well, when we got the chance. :-)
We spent several evenings at my son's future in laws home. We helped get all the party favors and decorations ready for the reception.
Friday was the rehearsal at the church with the wedding party and both sets of parents. The presiding official was the mayor of nearby Harrisville Borough, Jere Donovan. We were all instructed on how to do our "part" and then headed for the rehearsal dinner. Rudee had made all the arrangements for the dinner which was no easy task being several hundred miles away and not familiar with the area. We had 3 large tables full of people and the food was really good. We sat with the in laws and the Mayor and his wife Novelle. We all had a good time sharing stories and the night went by way too fast.
Saturday was wedding day and Rudee was up early to meet the rest of the girls at the beauty shop where they all got their hair done for the wedding.
We all met at the church about an hour before the ceremony. The bride and her attendants were in their room and Matthew with his groomsmen were in another room where they were all getting themselves fixed up and ready. :-)
The ceremony was very nice and will be a special memory for us for years to come.
Once the pictures were over with we all headed out to meet back up with the guests at the reception. "It's party time"!!
We ate, talked, drank and danced the night away. The DJ was top notch and we all had a great time. Here is the bride and groom dancing the first dance.

Rudee even got me out there a couple of times. :-)

Our daughter Amanda came with the grand kids so we got to spend some quality time with them too. Plus we got better acquainted with Jere (the Mayor) and Novelle. They are a really great couple and we were so happy we got to spend some time with them. I think Jere would love to get an RV and give this full time thing a try. Novelle, on the other hand, is not quite as "eager" as he is. :-).

Sunday we slept in a little while. That partying stuff wears this old Dude out! :-)
We then met Amanda and the kids for a late breakfast before they headed back to Indiana. We were sitting at the restaurant and guess who walked in, yep Jere and Novelle. We got the chance to say "see ya later" to them again and they invited us to camp in their back yard next time we were in the area. Thanks guys, we may take you up on that sometime. :-)
There were a few tears shed as we said goodbye to the grand kids :-(. We are not sure where we will be heading next but I'm sure it will be interesting. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

cold in Pennsylvannia

We left the D.C. area Saturday around noon. We originally thought we would not get away until Sunday morning but the storage facility was covered and we had a clear shot out of the parking lot so we hooked on and hit the road. :-)
I didn't really want to fight the city traffic on the beltway so we headed west on I-66 and then north on I-81 to Hagerstown where we headed west again following I-68 into West Virginia. This route avoids the toll roads but it is one 6% grade after another :-o.
I had quickly researched campgrounds and they are few and far between on this route. We were hoping for something with full hook ups so we could empty our tanks but could boondock a night if we had too.
We stopped at a rest park around 5pm and Rudee made some calls looking for a park. Most either did not have spaces or could not handle a bigger rig. We were about to give up when we found Firehouse RV Campground . Rudee called and they had room for us so we headed that way for the night. The drive took us a little over an hour and it was starting to get dark when we pulled into the park. The place is nothing special, just a gravel parking lot, but has full hook ups and WIFI for $30 per night. The campground is behind the local Volunteer Fire Department and they run it as a way to raise funds to help with their expenses.
Sunday we only had a little over 120 miles to go so we got another later than normal start. We skirted Pittsburg on I-79 and arrived in Mercer, Pa. shortly before 2pm. We had reservations at RV Village just outside of town. They are a Passport America park and will honor the discount for our entire 8 night stay so we have a full hook up 50 amp site for $16.00 per night. Not too bad. :-)
There are a lot of trees here so no satellite TV and our MIFI is a little slow but we get a few TV channels off the "batwing" antenna and the price is right so we'll suffer along. :-).

The temperatures have been a little cool to downright cold here! The last two nights it has dipped below freezing so I hooked up our heated water hose and plugged it in instead of the regular hose. The daytime temps have been hovering in the low 50's so it is definitely sweatshirt weather! :-)

Our son Matthew has been staying with us, sleeping on our hide a bed sofa. We have been busy getting everything ready for his wedding that takes place Saturday afternoon. There seems to be a hundred and one things that need done and we have been doing a lot of running around. I guess this is all part of the process and we are happy that we can be here for him. We are planning on leaving here Monday morning but have no idea which way we'll be heading. We will call our comapany Monday morning and see which direction we need to point if we haven't heard anything before then. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 8, 2012

sight seeing on 2 wheels

Thursday morning we headed back into DC to visit some more sights. Our first stop was the US Navy Memorial. They have a really neat fountain surrounded by plaques. Inside the visitors center were more displays and a listing of Navy Veterans. Rudee looked up the name of her Uncle and found not only his information but also his photo. During WWII Uncle Harry was on the USS Gendreau off the coast of Okinawa when the ship was hit by artillery shells. Harry and another sailor were both killed in the attack. Harry was Rudee's Mom's brother, we took some photos of the listing as well as the Memorial to share with her.
Our next stop was the National Law Enforcement Memorial where the names of police officers killed in the line of duty are listed in the same manner as the veterans are listed at Viet Nam Memorial.
I found the names of two friends listed there. Mike Greene was a State Trooper assigned to our county and was shot and killed during a traffic stop one afternoon. I was working that day and had talked to Mike less than 2 hours before he died :-(.
Gary Dudley was another State Trooper who was killed during a fund raising bicycle ride. He worked in the Indianapolis area but since we were so close (and so nice) he would sneak up our way to share a meal with us. :-)
I was pretty disappointed in the Memorial overall. There is a water fall type feature in the middle that was almost empty of water and the whole place looked unkempt and dreary. There was a sign that showed a visitors center was located nearby but when we went to the intersection all we found was a Subway restaurant :-(.
We walked back towards the Capitol Building and then visited the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History before calling it a day.

Friday, starting out a little later in the day, we rode the subway to Arlington Cemetery and viewed the changing of the guard. Quite an impressive ceremony as well as a very solemn place. If you ever start taking your freedom for granted just visit this place and see all the grave stones of the men and women who sacrificed for all of us.

I wanted to see the sights of DC at night so we booked an evening Segway tour. This is Rudee getting some training on how to "drive" one of these things.

They work by sensing your shifting weight. Lean forward and you go forward, back and you go backwards. The hard part is finding the "happy medium" when stopping. We had about 10 minutes of instruction and practice before our tour "hit the streets". There were 9 of us including our guide Grace, whose parents had moved to Avon, Indiana  where my brother is a fireman. Small world moments are pretty cool! :-)
We scooted along doing our best to stay out of the way of traffic and ended up at our first stop.

Now, in order to get off a Segway and it not keep going you have to pull it into a curb (or similar) to "chock" the wheels. Once you are stopped you step off quickly. Getting back on is just the reverse of parking except backing up is a little more difficult plus you have to make a turn. We both got parked just fine and took some photos. Grace even took our photo with the White House in the background.

Now comes the hard part, getting back on. Rudee did fantastic, me not so good :-(. I'm sure the Secret Service got a good laugh when that little scooter threw me off and I ended up on my big old butt right in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue! :-) I ended up with a bloody knee and scraped elbow not to mention a huge bruise to my ego! Oh well, gracefull I'm not! :-)

We made stops at the Capitol building, Washington Monument, Martin Luther King Memorial and Lincoln Memorial. I did manage to get off and back on safely the rest of the evening but I noticed everybody else kept their distance every time I tried. :-)
Here are a few more photos of our day.

We enjoyed our time in DC and would like to return since there is so much to do in the area. We are heading to Pennsylvania for our sons wedding next week. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

made it through the week!

The title of the post says it all! Our week had several ups and downs but we made it through it all and now have 2 days off. Monday evening the rains started and continued all day Tuesday. On top of having to contend with the rain the internet in the office went down. We waited about an hour and when it didn't come back up Rudee called Verizon. She was on the phone for over an hour as they tried different things until deciding their system was having "issues". Turns out it was a huge issue with much of the country having problems. We ended up doing the best we could and handled things pretty well. The biggest issue was renting and checking in the Penske trucks but we were able to take care of those by calling Penske where they did the paperwork on their mainframe and faxed us copies.
Wednesday is our "Friday" at this site. We had a trainee here in the morning who works at a nearby site and will be filling in a couple of days here next week. He needed to learn Penske so we taught him the best we could. Luckily the internet was back up when we opened up, otherwise it would have been a short class! I hope we didn't scare him off. :-) He kind of had that "deer in the headlights" look in his eyes. :-)
Once we got off work Rudee suggested we go to Red Lobster to celebrate surviving our week. "Heck ya, I'm in!" I offered to get the bike out since it was a warm evening and she was all for that! We took the short ride over and had a nice meal. We even made it back to the 5er in time to watch the debate on TV.

Our plan today and tomorrow are to do some more sightseeing before our last work day on Saturday. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, October 1, 2012

out of the frying pan ... into the fire!

Saturday was our first official "on our own" day as Storage Facility Managers. We were both really nervous and I'm sure it showed. :-)
This facility is also a vendor for Penske Truck Rental. We were "shown" how to navigate the different screens on the Penske website and how to check the vehicles in and out. This was all well and good but we had never actually done it and today we had 4 trucks going out. Oh no! :-o

We were as busy as a couple of one armed paper hangers all day but we got through it. We were both pretty frazzled at the end of the day and our nerves were on edge. Now where did I put that corkscrew? :-)

Sunday we were a little more at ease. We are still struggling a little when something "weird" pops up but I guess that is understandable. Sunday hours are 9-3 so we were out pretty early and decided to go out to eat and then do some grocery shopping. We ended up at Hooters and watched the first half of the Washington Redskins game on TV while we ate. The restaurant had the sound blaring on the TV's so loud you could not hear the person beside you talking. They could have turned the volume down a little and not lost the "atmosphere" and it would have been a lot better.

Today we worked our normal shift of 9-6. We were not terribly busy but had to do a bunch of month end reports and had to count all the inventory. I no more started counting all the boxes we have for sale when a guy drove up and delivered 375 more! I helped him unload them and had them put away fairly quickly. I just had to make sure I didn't include them in last months inventory since they came in this month.
We are feeling a little more comfortable with the routine and Rudee even let me leave for a few minutes to run to McDonald's to pick up our lunch. :-)
At closing time we have to balance our drawer and deposit the $$ into the bank. We start by uploading all the information on the computer to the corporate office. This takes anywhere from 15-20 minutes and while Rudee is doing that I run to a nearby store and buy a money order with the cash we took in. Then we scan the money order and any checks we took in into the deposit software and upload that to the bank. See, not too hard, just lots to remember. :-)

We will be here through Saturday and then leave for our sons wedding early Sunday morning. Thursday and Friday will be our days off and we are planning on taking the subway back into the city for some more sightseeing. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 28, 2012

overdosing on history

Monday was a day off for us and we headed into DC to see some of the sights. I knew from listening to others that DC has a good mass transit system and parking downtown is almost impossible so we decided to take the subway, a first for us. I'm sure it was pretty easy to spot us as tourist just by the look of confusion in our eyes as we tried to buy our tickets and find the right train heading the right direction. :-)

The subway is actually really easy to get around on and we both enjoyed the experience.
We visited the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and the WWII Memorial.

We even had a flyover by Marine 1, not sure if the "prez" was on board or not but it was pretty cool to see it in person since we had seen them flying on TV.

Plus we got a nice view of The White House as we toured the area.

Both of us were pretty  bushed from all the walking but we had a great day.

We are not the only roving managers working for our company, there is another couple who have been doing this for almost a year now. We have talked to John and Gaetana a couple of times and were really hoping to meet them in person sometime. Turns out they were just finishing up an assignment in Maryland and hoped to get the chance to drive over and meet us before they got their next location. I called Gaetana Tuesday morning to let them know we would be moving to the storage lot today and hoped they were still in the area so we could meet. She told me they were not only in the area but the company wanted them to relax for the next week and they would be our relief on the 6th when we had to leave. Cool! I asked where they would be camping and she said they had arrived in the area late Sunday and were at some farm in Northern Virginia. Now, what's the chance??!! I asked if they were at Greenville Family Farm Campground and she said "yes", I told her "so are we"! Turns out they were on site #10 and we were on #18. Too funny!
We had to pack up and leave but did get to meet them before leaving and made arrangements to have dinner together that night.

We made the short drive to the storage lot and got parked fairly easily, a lot easier than last time for sure! We are hooked up to 50 amp electric and water. The sewer is close enough so that I can dump the grey water continuously through a garden hose and will use our new macerator pump for the black tank when we need to empty it.
We bought the macerator (think garbage disposal for sewage, ewwww) at Camping World in Detroit last week. The pump grinds up the "stuff" and pumps it through a garden hose allowing you to empty your tanks into a septic tank, sewer clean out or even a normal toilet up to several hundred feet away. The company is even reimbursing us for the $250 cost of the pump. I did buy new hose which is a very different color than our drinking water hoses. Sure don't want to get those mixed up! :-)

Wednesday was a work day for us and we went over everything we needed to know to run the "store" while the existing managers were gone. We are both a little nervous since this will be our first time alone but we have to start somewhere!

Thursday we headed back into DC. Our first stop was the Holocost Museum. We spent a couple of hours here before heading to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum where we grabbed a quick lunch.

We spent the rest of the day going through the several buildings that make up the Smithsonian. Wow, turned into another long walking day! :-)
Rudee talked to one of the security guards at the American History Museum and he directed us to a nearby restaurant for supper.
Aria's is a casual dining grille right in the heart of downtown. We selected a table outside and enjoyed a leisurely meal while people watching. They even had live music in the courtyard and it didn't cost us an arm and a leg! We shared an appetizer of chips with 3 different dipping sauces and an entree' of Chicken Parmesan, all for under $20!

Today we caught up on some errands and got ready for Saturday, our first day on our own :-o. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, September 24, 2012

arrived in Virginia

Saturday there was a threat of rain and we hoped it would hold off long enough for the kids to make their rounds. We bought two big bags of candy and wanted to get rid of it, we sure didn't need that temptation hanging around the 5er. :-)
The trick or treating was supposed to start at 5pm and, sure enough, the rain started at 4:30. I went outside and put the awning out so we could stay dry but had my doubts there would be any kids coming. Rudee had the candy ready and we bundled up (it was a cold rain!) and waited.

I guess a little freezing monsoon can't hold back the lure of free candy because here they come! :-)
We had around 30 "spooks" help relieve of us of our candy.

The campground was having a haunted hayride later that evening and we talked about going but it was still raining and had gotten colder so we just stayed indoors with the fireplace on. :-)

Sunday morning we were up early and packing up for the road. We pulled out of the campground about 8:30 and headed back onto  the toll road. Our trip today took us through Pennsylvania, a little bit of Maryland and finally into Virgina. The traffic steadily increased as the day wore on and after 320 miles we were ready to stop for the night. I researched campgrounds in the Washington DC area near where we would be working and there were not a lot of options. Most were too far away and all of them were very high priced. I stumbled on this place Greenville Farm Family Campground. They have mixed reviews on the internet but were fairly reasonable for the area and could accommodate us. We arrived with an open mind :-). The entrance was a bit weird, down a long lane and then you have to make a loop around their garage next to their house where the office is. Once we registered we drove back to the campground area. This is a working farm as well as a campground. The pull through site we were assigned was long and fairly easy to get into. The biggest complaint we read about was the sites being unlevel, well ours was too but nothing that a couple of boards under one side of the 5er tires couldn't solve. We are paying $40 per night for a full hook up, pull through site and are about 20 miles from the storage facility so this should work well for a couple of days.
Our plan today is to drive over and meet the managers and scope out the RV parking at the storage lot before deciding if we will move over there or extend our stay and commute. Then we are catching the train into DC and will do some sightseeing before starting work Wednesday. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

training done, moving on

We finished our training Thursday and got the call to move to Virginia and cover for a management couple who are taking vacation. OK, now the hard part begins. We have to get this big old 5th wheel out of this tight parking spot between all these buildings. :-o
Friday morning we packed everything for travel and I hooked on. With Rudee guiding me I tried several different ways to make the turn between the buildings to head out the exit row. We finally got the 5er into the row by backing down it but to do that I had to jacknife the truck at a sharp angle and did not have room for the front of the truck to "swing around" so we were straight. We unhooked the truck and I was able to reposition it and then hook back on and back out of the storage facility lot. The only casualty was a broken turn lamp lens on the truck from a gutter downspout :-(.
The whole ordeal took us over an hour just to go about 100 yards! I told Rudee, never again will I put us in that position. When we get to a new assignment there will have to be plenty of room for us, if not the company will need to reimburse us for a nearby campground, a motel or we will just move on.

Once we hit the road we were both stressed out and still had to put some miles under our belt. We headed south skirting Toledo and then jumped on the Ohio Turnpike. I avoid toll roads as much as I can but this is the quickest way east from here and the company will pay me for the toll charges we incur.
The toll road was not too bad and we made pretty good time. We did stop in one of the service plazas for a break and I noticed they had a lot of services for RVers although the $20.00 dump station fee seemed a little "over the top" :-o.
We decided to pull in fairly early and found a KOA just east of Cleveland that could accommodate us. We pulled in to the Streetsborough KOA  just before 4pm and got set up in a nice long pull through. This week end they are celebrating Halloween with a bunch of activities including the kids trick or treating. The last several years we have joined our motorcycle buddies for a week end camp out at White River Campground in Indiana for their Halloween week end. This will be the first year we have missed and were both kinda bummed about it so we decided to stay an extra night here to rest, recharge and celebrate Halloween :-). We will be missing our friends back home but are looking forward to the "fun" here. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

still training

We are still in training here in Michigan. We have been learning a lot! I sure hope we can remember it all :-).
There is one other couple working for the company as roving managers and Rudee called them and picked their brains a little. They really like the work and are enjoying themselves. They welcomed us aboard and gave us all their contact information offering their help whenever we needed it.
Our training at this site will be completed today and then we train for two days at a nearby site. Friday we don't know where we will head. Talking to the other roving team this is somewhat normal and you will only get 24-48 hours notice when moving to a new site. This will be something new to us but we are "mobile" so it is not really a problem,

Here is Rudee hard at work learning how to complete one of the many reports that are required each month.

Last week when we had our tires mounted the technician could not get the winch that holds the spare tire to work correctly. We just put it into the back of the Dakota temporarily but I wanted it back under the 5er out of the way. Saturday I got the chance to take a look at the winch. Unfortunately it was beyond repair and I needed to do something different. With Rudee's help I removed the winch and crank handle figuring I could put some bolts through the cross member that the winch was mounted to and attach the spare to that. We made a run to the hardware store and bought the longest bolts they had a the necessary nuts and washers. Once we got these installed we found that the bolts were about 2" short. Rats! Back to the hardware and I bought some threaded rods called "allthread" and a few more nuts and washers.
That did the trick and we were able to get the spare mounted again! :-)

Sunday we headed west to visit Mike and Les Kennedy who are fellow fulltimers and have been staying nearby.

They visited us in Terre Haute before heading to Michigan where Mike decided to have a heart attack :-o. Luckily they were close to good medical care and, after getting a stint, he is well on his way to a full recovery.
They had made arrangements to meet Jim and Sandy at their "summer home" in Dimondale Michigan for a cook out. We enjoyed spending the day with them and getting to know Jim and Sandy.

The weather has turned a little cooler, I guess it is just a reminder that summer will soon be over :-(. I am not looking forward to the cold and snow but we'll take it as it comes :-). I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

busy week

We have been training everyday this week preparing for our jobs as roving storage unit managers. Our days are spent renting storage units, taking payments and closing accounts as the people "move out". Our shifts are 9am to 6pm but we usually don't get away from the office until around 6:30. We are both getting the hang of things but there sure is a lot to learn :-o.
Today was a bit different, we were scheduled to have an auction at 1pm. We stayed busy with our "normal" duties as well as having to answer call after call from people asking about the auction. We can't give out a lot info just time, place and procedures. several tried to pump us for the number and content of "units" we had up for bidding but we are not allowed to release any of that info. Rudee and I had no idea anyway so we were just as curious as the bidders were. :-)

The bidders started rolling in shortly after noon and we had about 30 people participating. The auctioneer laid out the ground rules and then we all paraded to the first unit. My job was to remove the lock, break the seal that had been attached to the latch and open the unit for the bidders to inspect. The rules are just like on the TV show Storage Wars. They have 5 minutes to look in the locker but they cannot touch anything or go inside the unit. Once everyone has gotten to look inside the auctioneer sells the contents to the highest bidder.
I enjoyed watching the bidders and had fun trying to figure out who the "pros" were.
We sold a total of 8 storage units. A couple of them were pretty sparse and one of the "pros" bought one for $5.00. There were several boxes, a decent looking kitchen table and 2 chairs. Right after he won the unit he reached in and picked up a gold bracelet that was on the floor next to one of the boxes which turned out to be a heavy chain made out of 14 carat gold. Not a bad find for $5.00!
Once all the units were sold the winning bidders all came to the office and paid for their unit. They have 24 hours to clean out the locker and most of them spent the remaining afternoon doing just that.
Tomorrow I get to sweep all the emptied lockers out so they are ready for new renters, lucky me! :-)

We have not gotten any information on our first assignment but our training will be completed tomorrow. OMG! Are we ready to do this on our own? :-o
I guess we'll find out pretty soon.
Our plan is to move the 5th wheel out of the storage lot Saturday and will probably find a campground close by with full hook ups. Our black and grey tanks are starting to get a little full. :-) I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

rocky start

Saturday evening all the kids and grandkids met at our site for a taco buffet, campfire and mini birthday party for moi :-). We had a really nice time but the night just flew by and then it was time to say goodbye to them for awhile. That is probably the toughest part of this lifestyle, all the "see ya laters" :-(
We will be getting together again in 5 weeks for our sons wedding but, again, it will be too short of a visit.

We took our time Sunday morning getting on the road. We were headed for Elkhart Indiana where we would spend the night. We planned to arrive before 4pm but even the best laid plans go astray. We were about 50 miles away when one of tires on the 5er threw it's tread off :-o

I pulled over right away and was able to get the spare installed in fairly short order. We do have Good Sam Emergency Road Service but using the air supply on the truck and my impact gun I can change a tire pretty easily. No sense sitting on the side of the road waiting for what could be a long time when I can be back on the road in 20 minutes myself. :-)

The tires we had were Goodyear Marathons and you don't have to search long to find a lot of people having problems with them. Rudee and I discussed it and decided to go ahead and replace all of the tires on the 5er with heavier duty ones. I knew it was going to be expensive but since this is the 2nd blow out in less than a year we had to do something.
I have weighed the rig and we are within specifications for the existing axles and tires but heavier tires with a better speed and weight rating will give us better piece of mind (I hope). The tires we are buying are 14 ply Goodyear G614 radials with "Made in the USA" stamped on them. No more Chinese rubber for me!
Monday morning I called Goodyear and reported having problems and they directed me to a nearby dealer. I called them and they had the type and size of tires I wanted so we packed everything up and headed over.
The manager came out and inspected the old tires and called Goodyear with his findings. He spent the better part of an hour just communicating back and forth with them before saying they would only warranty one of the old tires for a whopping $50! The one that threw the tread caused some minor damage to a floor cross member and the fender molding so that has to be handled separately. I was not too happy with their decision and will be addressing it with corporate soon.
The manager said it would take them about 1 1/2 hours to change all 4 tires and the spare so we decided to get an early lunch to kill some time. We were hoping to get on the road by noon and he was estimating we would be done by 12:30 so no problem. Unfortunately the manager was a bit optimistic on his time estimation :-(. We were gone for well over an hour getting lunch and when we returned the right side wheels had been removed and they were waiting on the tires to arrive from their "warehouse". The technician said the warehouse was nearby and the manager was picking them up, He told me it shouldn't take him more than 1 1/2 hours once the tires arrived. Yep, another 1 1/2 hours ..... crap!  The tires finally arrived and were mounted, balanced and put on the 5er. We pulled out of the lot at 2:30pm only took them 3 hours and 45 minutes to replace my 5 tires. Yep, Goodyear is gonna hear about that one too. So if you are ever in the RV capitol of Elkhart, Indiana and need tires, I would not recommend Masten Goodyear unless you really want to make a day of it!

Once back on the road we made decent time and arrived in Lavonia, Michigan in about 4 hours. We were a little later than we planned but you just have to roll with the punches I guess.
While deployed at a storage facility we will be parked on site. Each facility is a little different and this one has some challenges. The first was getting parked near the electric plug in. They installed a 50 amp RV hook up but it is at the rear of one of the storage buildings down a narrow alleyway with very little room to maneuver. I swear I don't know how we did it but we managed to shoe horn our rig into position. Poor Rudee was running from one side of the rig to the other helping me. There is no water or sewer hook ups but we will be fine for the few days we are here.

Tuesday will be our first training day and looks to be busy since there will be an auction here later this week. Wish us luck! I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

and the adventure begins!

Time to let the kitty out of the burlap. :-)
Rudee and I applied and have been hired as roving managers for a storage company. The storage facilities are in several states (not all) across the U.S. and we will be paid to travel to the sites where the current managers have left the company and new managers have yet to be hired. We will run the facilities until replacements are found and trained. Eventually we will be the ones doing the training but need to get comfortable doing the jobs ourselves first.
Our training begins Monday when we travel to the suburbs of Detroit to a facility where we will assist with an auction :-o. I have heard the auctions are the hardest part of the job, with the "corporate" team coming in and hanging out with you for a day or two to make sure all goes well. We like the TV show "Storage Wars"  where they show all the fun and excitement of auctioning off the contents of the storage units but don't think it will be all "fun and excitement" for us :-). Who knows maybe I'll get to meet Brandi from the show someday :-) ........ YUUUUP!

This job will take away some of our freedom since it will be a 40 hour a week job when we are on assignment but will still give us some opportunity to explore some new areas and still make a nice chunk of $$. They even reimburse us for our medical insurance! Cool!
One big downside is a lot of the states they do business in are cold in the winter. Shoveling snow, or even seeing snow for that matter, is not what I wanted for this lifestyle but we have spent cold winters in the 5er before so don't see that as a deal breaker. We still have all of our cold weather "stuff" so we are prepared for it, just not looking forward to it :-).

Both of us are excited for this new chapter and our bank account sure can use the boost. We will be saying goodbye to the family today :-( and heading north tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


We have had a couple of wrinkles in our plans lately. Monday morning Rudee called her Mom and she was not acting right and was hallucinating. Rudee's sister lives right next door so Rudee called her to go over and we loaded into the Dakota and drove over as well.
We took her to the emergency room and they kept her until late that evening doing every test imaginable but could not find a cause for her confusion. She was given a liter of fluids through her IV and the more fluids she got the clearer she became so we all figure it must have been from dehydration. As they were preparing to release her we got a call from Rudee's sister that her Dad was having more difficulty and they wanted to bring him in to get checked out. I drove back to Plainfield, loaded her Dad in the car and drove him back to the ER. He has been retaining a lot of fluid in his legs and his feet are almost double in size. His doctor has been reluctant to put him on a diuretic because his blood pressure has been low but he is now having trouble standing and walking.
When I got back to the hospital and got him checked in Rudee's Mom was being signed out. We hung around for another hour to make sure her Dad was being taken care of. Once her sister arrived we headed home with her Mother. Since it was after 9pm and no one had eaten anything we did a drive through at Mickey D's for a late supper.
Once back at the in law's house Rudee's brother came over to stay with their Mom and we returned to the hospital. They finally decided to admit her Dad for the night to try and get the swelling down while monitoring his blood pressure so Rudee went back to their house and I came back to the 5th wheel. It was past midnight when I finally made it home, a long day for sure.
Rudee has spent the last several days at her parents while I have been commuting back and forth. Her Dad is still in the hospital and we are hoping he will be released today. They were set to release him yesterday but his BP was low. Rudee's sister then found out they were not giving him the medicine he takes to raise it so hopefully that little issue will be corrected today. He is a terrible patient and just wants to be back at home. I guess I can't blame him, I don't like hospitals much either. :-)
I am thankful we have been available to help out during all this, I guess He puts us where we are supposed to be, when we are supposed to be there. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 24, 2012

wedding plans

Our son is getting married in October in Pennsylvania. We have been making plans for "our portion" of the wedding. You know all those things the grooms parents are supposed to provide.
With the wedding in an unfamiliar area it has been a little bit of a challenge finding a suitable place for the rehearsal dinner. Rudee booked a place a couple of months ago and settled on the menu so at least that is out of the way.
Today I did what every man lives for, I took my wife dress shopping. Whoo hoo, that's always a "fun" time. :-)
We hit several of the bridal shoppes looking for "mother of the bride" dresses because they don't have anything called "mother of the groom" dresses. Don't ask me why.
I decided to be a good boy and help pick out a nice outfit for her keeping my fingers crossed that no one I actually knew walked in the door and caught me. :-) Sorry ladies but it's a guy thing, don't expect us to be happy just sitting around while you try on dress after dress after dress. Same goes for underwear shopping which by the way we have totally different ideas of what type and amount of material makes up a "nice" pair of ladies undies! :-)
Sooooo, back to the bridal shop ...... I found a really hot looking number in a color that would match her eyes and is not the same color as what the mother of the bride is wearing. I pulled it off the rack and showed it to Rudee who thought it looked pretty good. I checked the size, yep right size. I then checked the "other" tag. $39.50 Wow, what a deal! I was convinced we had found "the" dress, and it was on sale! That is when Rudee pointed out the decimal point was further to the right. Three Hundred and Ninety Five Dollars???!!! How do these people sleep at night? Now I know why we got the primo parking space right up front, no one can afford to shop here, including us so we headed for more "frugal" pastures. :-)
We did find her a nice dress at another bridal shop that did not have the word "boutique" in it's name. They didn't have any $39.50 dress' but the sticker shock was a little easier to take after that initial heart attack. :-) Plus she looks way Hot in her new digs! Now we have to look for shoes and a purse to match .... will it ever end! I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Movin' On

We made the decision to leave the KOA and move on to bigger and better things. The working conditions were "challenging" to say the least. We loved the work and the other workcampers were great. We became lifelong friends with several of them and enjoyed working and spending free time together but other issues prevailed.
We pulled out Monday morning and are headed for what we expect to be a great new adventure. Please be patient with me as I don't want to jinx anything by spilling the beans too early, just rest assured we are landing on our feet and look forward to the next chapter in our lives. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

plans taking shape

We have been considering where we want to go next and have been weighing our options for possible work locations for next year. I have sent out a few "feelers" and have received some great feedback from other experienced full timers. With that in mind we applied for a position with the Mount Rushmore Historical Society working in their bookstores at the monument. Yesterday afternoon we were offered a position for next year and accepted!
This will be a little different than working in a campground and we are looking forward to it, plus, we like the area and want to explore it some more. Sturgus here we come! :-)

We have also been investigating another opportunity that could lead to a more longer term commitment and provides a more stable income while still letting us travel. We are still in the "talking stage" of this but it may lead to something. We should know more in the coming weeks.

Work this past week has been pretty mundane. The campground was slow and there were very few "projects" to work on so our days were spent cleaning, picking up trash or the other 101 things needed to keep the campground rolling along.

We only have a matter of a few weeks left to work. Our last day will be Sept. 30 and then we will leave here and head north to prepare for our sons wedding on October 13th.
Hard to believe that the summer season will be winding down soon. I remember a few years ago having to start thinking about winterizing the camper. That was always a sad day, knowing it would be several months before our next outing :-(.
No more though! Now we can hook up and head for our next adventure :-). I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

kids visit

Amanda, Ryan and the grandkids came and spent the week end in the park. They arrived Saturday morning and had one of the 2 room cabins reserved. We still had to work our shifts both Saturday and Sunday morning but were able to spend some quality time with them.
Saturday afternoon was spent at the pool and we had such a good time. The 2 older ones are pretty good swimmers but the youngest, Olivia, was still afraid. Well let me tell ya, that all changed Saturday. Her Dad helped her get over her fears and within an hour she was swimming! Rudee and Amanda had left to make a run to McDonalds for a take out lunch and she couldn't wait to show them how she could swim. She was so proud of herself (so was Dad and Grandpa)!

Here is the gang at the petting zoo visiting Stormy and Cookie.

and another one taking a "train" ride.

Monday was our day off and we took advantage with a bike ride. Our son and fiance' live in Lafayette which is about 80 miles so we headed that way. The day was perfect with clear blue skies and comfortable temperatures in the middle 80's.

Once in Lafayette we made a stop here:

Now, being a guy I love these things ...... the bigger the better! When I see some big ones, or even smaller ones for that matter, I start to get all excited, my eyes bug out and I tend to just stop and stare at them. I just want to reach out and grab one!
Yummm ......... chicken wings! :-)

Sometimes I wonder how Rudee puts up with me! :-)

We are planning on attending the Indiana State Fair today, should be fun. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

working the week away!

Rudee made the trip to Plainfield and spent the day with her Mom and sister. Once her Mom's doctors appointment was out of the way they did some shopping and went out to eat making it a "girls day out". :-)
I, on the other hand, took a quick ride on the bike around town. I stopped in a few stores comparing prices on oil for the Freightliner. I need to get the oil changed before we leave here. The truck takes 10 gallons of oil at each change. No, that is NOT a typo, it actually holds 10 gallons! :-o
I found a decent deal at the local farm store, they were having a special on 2 gallon containers of the type I use. I usually buy the 5 gallon buckets but this time the smaller containers are a better deal at just under $100 total.
While riding I noticed the skies getting darker and decided to head home. As usual we had storms all around us but no rain for us. It is so dry here that it will need to rain for several days to rehydrate all the plants and grass.

I was talking to Dave, one of the other work campers, and he told me they had to take the boss man to the hospital. They were trimming some trees and one of the limbs had one of this attached to it

The hornets didn't take kindly to him disturbing their home and he got stung 17 times before he could get away from them. They gave him some benedryl at the hospital and sent him back home to rest. He is fine now and back to work but we still have some p/o'd hornets to deal with. I'm not sure what the plan is going to be but right now we are leaving them alone. Their nest is away from any campers and high enough in the air that they should not bother anybody until we can get them removed.

The weather here is still hot for Indiana, upper 90's most of this week. The ac's are getting a work out but are doing a good job of keeping us cool.
We did venture out Wednesday morning. We picked up the oil I found and then stopped at Napa and got the filters. Doing the basic service on the truck (oil, all filters and lube) costs about $200 as long as I do the labor myself. We only run about 5,000 miles per year on the semi so the good thing is I only have to change it once per year.
Ryan, Amanda and the kids are coming for a cook out this week end so looks like I may have some "cheap labor" available to help me. :-) I'll keep you posted.