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WHEE...... Home in Alabama!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sweet home......

Cullman, Alabama

We left Branson on Saturday, July 8.   Our intent was to stay there until July 10 but we did all we wanted to do and all us of were anxious to get to Alabama.   We left around 8 am with the intention of taking two days to get to Cullman.   However, we were past Memphis between 2 and 3 pm.  As there was less than 200 miles to home, why not?   So on we drove.

We arrived in Cullman about 7:30..... still light out.   Oh my, the lawn.   It had been raining almost continuously since we left for this trip two months ago.  Son Lennie and DIL Lois came a couple of times to cut the grass between rain showers.  There are sections of the property that were bush-hogged earlier in the year.  With all the rain, no lawn mower can get through it now.   The weeds and grass in the future pond area is as high as when we moved in.

On Sunday, Lennie and Lois came to the house, with Lennie helping Len by weed whacking.  And we've mowed twice in the week we've been home.  It is getting a third mowing as I write this.

Now we see more of what is growing on the property.

The grand-daughters have had a few day trips with Aunt Lois .... one day to a water park and another day to the library.   It gave these exhausted grandparents a short rest.  Thank you Lois.

Did we rest?   Well not really..  We worked each day removing EVERY THING from our Open Range Fifth wheel.   This rig is 15 months old.  So far two spring hangers have broken, causing damage to tires, a crack formed in the fiberglass under the bedroom slide.  It's been fixed twice.  It's split again.  The batteries to the residential fridge/freezer will not hold a charge.  It's been worked on 3 times, at three different dealers.  The overhead track on the shower door lost the screws, causing the doors to be inoperable, the heater has been worked on twice (we think that issue is solved,,,but do we really know as it's in the 90s out) and now the flooring in the kitchen and into the living area is soft and sinks when walked upon.  The area is getting larger almost daily.  Obviously flooring is rotted.  We've talked to both the local Open Range dealer and the manufacturer Highland Ridge in Indiana.  Arrangements are being made for Highland Ridge to pick it up and take to Indiana for repairs.  Fine.... make the repairs.  We don't want this rig anymore.  Fix it and we will sell it.

The yard is now looking good.   Still there are things that need to get done.  But so peaceful having morning coffee on the front porch and watching the darkness gather at night while listening to the tree frogs and crickets.

Until next time......

Friday, July 7, 2017

Branson days

Turkey Creek RV Park
Hollister,  MO

We left Nebraska Tailwaters COE park on July 2 and drove to White Cloud Casino in White Cloud, KS.   This is a small Iowa Tribe casino with 6 RV sites.   Here we had full hook up 50 amp service at $5.00 a night.   This is our 2nd stay at this casino.  We were here back in 2012 for 5 nights.  However, this was a one night stay.   We went into the casino and ate at their small buffet.  We came out smelling putrid.  Those of us not used to the smell of cigarettes do notice!  All clothes went immediately into the washer.  All 4 of us took showers.  All heads washed.  Ah,  we smell better.

On July 3 we arrived at Turkey Creek, an Escapees Park.  Normal charge is $101.00 a week for members plus tax.  However, we wanted 50 amp so add on $2.00 a night.  Also the fee is for 3 people. So another $1.00 a night.  Still, Escapees membership is well worth the $39.95 a year.  Rained most this day.

July 4.... Fireworks.  After another day of rain.  Earlier in the day there was a Pot Luck dinner in the club house.  The girls enjoyed the variety.  Especially the Little Smokies wrapped in bacon.  Could not get enough.   At dusk, campers here pull their chairs up to one area of the campground for great viewing.  Lucky us, right outside our door.

Those sitting there for the view are our Granddaughters and a friend they met at the park.

On July 5 we went to the afternoon show of a group of 5 young men called Forever Young.  All sorts of music and dance as they told their stories of being friends in HS, going their separate ways and re-connecting years later to now do what they love .... perform.

July 6......The highlight of the day was Charlotte and Abby meeting Debbie and Gordy.  Last year when Len and I were here in Branson to attend the NOMADS annual meeting we went to a Tribute to George Strait show starring Debbie and Gordy.  We purchased two sets of CDs.  The girls fell in love with one disc and kept it and played it over and over and over and over.  So.... as a treat.... they met Gordy and Debbie.

This is a dinner show.  How cool!   Our assigned seating was right in front on the stage.

Abby meeting  Gordy

They know several of the songs this couple sing.   Two were in the act...... I Want a Cowboy and You're Looking at Country.   I think Debbie was impressed that these two sang right along with her.  I know all the people surrounding our table sure were.

BTW, now the girls have their own set of CDs.

That brings us to today, July 7.   We did the Duck Ride.

First around Branson  on land, then into Lake Taneycomo.

Each had a turn "captaining" the boat

An older Duck Tour Boat, no longer in service.

From there we went to a fish hatchery.  Feeding the fish.

By this time it was lunch...  So BAR B Q it was.  Then back to the campground and remaining inside with the temps outside 96.   Tomorrow we head back to Alabama, with an overnight stop to be determined, somewhere mid way.

Until next time

Saturday, July 1, 2017

South Dakota ... Revisited

Nebraska Tailwaters COE
Crofton, NE

So..... how many of these landmarks do you recognize?

Lots to do.....   As their motto says.      Great Places...Great Faces.

Until next time.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Two Presidents

Onawa, Iowa

After our ordeal with the spring hanger back in Ohio, we have really traveled the miles.   Our first stop was at Forest Bo Woods COE park in Sullivan, Il.   What would a camp-out be without Smores?

One day we drove the short distance to Lerna, IL and the log home of Abraham Lincoln's father and step-mother.  Abe never lived in this house but visited often.  The last time was after he was elected president but before he was inaugurated.

Re-inactors are working here and answering questions.   At the visitor center children get to choose to dress in period costume.  Abby was game but Charlotte only wanted an apron.

There is a nice picnic area on the grounds, of which we took advantage since it was lunch time and we had packed a lunch.

The next day we drove to Springfield, Il.

This is the home that Abe and Mary bought and lived in prior to moving to Washington.   It was originally a story and a half, but with a growing family additions were necessary.  Their son Eddie died in this home from TB shortly before his 4th birthday.

Mary's bedroom.  Ugly wall paper. No  wonder she suffered from Migraines. 

Following a visit to the house, we then toured the Lincoln Library and Museum.

And drove by his burial site....

We left Sullivan on June 22 and drove to another COE park (Linder Point) in Iowa City, IA.
Shortly before we got to the campground we saw sign for

Alrighty then.... let's visit.  It was only about 7 miles from the campground in the small town of West Branch, Iowa.   This small house is where he was born:

The Museum and Library:

We left Iowa City this morning and are currently overnighting at Blackbird Bend Casino in Onawa, Ia.   This casino has 14 RV sites with 50 or 30 amp electric.   Just pull in, plug in and stay for the night.....FREE.

Tomorrow we will go about 360 miles and overnight at a truck stop in Kadoka, SD.  Then on to the sights of SD.

Until next time.....

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Eliminating stress

London,  Ohio

Sometimes one is weighed down looking at various options when making a big decision.  Today we make one.  I feel better.  Less stressed.   Let's review:

In 2009 we bought our 3rd RV.  But our first new one.  A 2009 Montana.  We had few problems with it.  We lived and traveled in it 5 years.  But having an RV fridge just didn't cut it.

 A few stresses we caused.  Worse one was when Len got too close to a gas station barrier and separated the back cap from the side walls.   This happened in May, 2010.  The repairs were finally done in late August. NO, we didn't cause the delay.  Blame it on the dealer. During most of this time we lived in it with a temporary fix.

Oh, we've had flat tires, etc.  Many flat tires.  Once we had two blow outs in less than 3 hours.  Both on Interstates. In the busy northeast... Connecticut then New Jersey.  Both on same side. That was lucky as damage was done to the rig. Nice is wasn't on both sides.  This was on a Saturday afternoon.  Could not find a place to buy trailer tires.  Betty Barnes came to the rescue.  She and Dave were 54 miles away and had a 2010 Montana.  Got their spare, put it on and got back to where they were working security.  Got new tires Monday morning.

Back to the issue with the repair work on the back cap. When we got the rig back, they had changed out the steps. The bottom step was now 24 inches from the ground. Said they needed to be changed.  Why?   No reason to change steps when the damage was done in the back.  Who damaged the steps while at the shop.  Could not get satisfaction until I wrote to Good Sam.

Should have changed out the RV fridge to a residential in the Montana.  Instead we bought a 2014 Cedar Creek.

What a mistake.  First issue...... we were wearing out the tires.  The unit leaned 1 1/2 inches to the left.  We called the manufacturer, Forest River.   They told us to move things around. What the HELL!   They built the thing.  What should we move?  The refrigerator?  The stove? The fireplace? the hot water heater? the pantry? the shower? the furnace?  The cabinets for pots and pans and dishes?  The table and chairs?   Just tell us how to do that.

So we replaced the 7,000 pound axles with 8,000.  At our cost of over $5,500.  An extra leaf was added to level the rig.  A few months later the spring came apart. At the base of the Delaware Memorial Bridge.  Luckily they were working on the bridge and the left lane was closed.  We were in the next lane.  We destroyed about 10 barrels.  Could not get through the tolls as the rig was pulled at a right angle from the truck.  Len had recently had surgery.  To the rescue my brother Norman, my nephew JR and SIL Scott.  At the base of the bridge.  In the rain.   Shop that put on the springs and hangers would not make good.  Well, they agreed to cut the repair bill in half.  Whoopee.  Len checked their work later and the torque was not right.  Probably wasn't right the first time either.

Not too long after,  lights were flashing while we on I-10 in San Antonio.  Bolts on the rack on the back of our rig broke.   We were dragging our generator.  Len put new bolts on.  Lasted 2 miles.  On the overpass.  No place to pull off.  In heavy traffic.  A sweet young man stopped to help.  This was not long after Len had knee replacement.

This rig.....  sometimes the residential refrigerator works while not plugged to shore line.  Sometimes it doesn't.   Been in shop twice for it. We had the rig only months when we noticed a split in the skin near the bedroom slide.

 Took it to the dealer where we bought it.  They had  a body shop do the repair.  Lasted 35 miles.     Then a spring hanger on the left broke chewing up tires.  Took it back to the shop.   Five days in a motel.

And who can forget when moving into our house in Alabama.  Rig was stuck in saturated ground. Len hit the gas backing up.  I yelled to stop.  He didn't hear.  Backing up, backing up, backing up.  Yelling, Yelling, Yelling.  Windows up in truck. Crash

Then  heater stopped working.  We paid $360 to a mobile repair person who said it must have had a spider or dirt it in.  Worked a few days.  Quit.   Took it to  an Open Range dealer 46 miles from where we now live.    They fixed the split in the skin.  They fixed the heater.  They hit the roof going under an overhang.  They  damaged awning.  We have a new awning. They damaged the roof. They patched the roof and will replace it when we get back to Alabama.

This brings us to today.  Len inspects the rig quite often when traveling.  You never know.   One half on the right spring hanger is broken.  Needs welding.  So here we are.

When preparing for  this trip, I planned to overnight at the Pilot truck station near London, Ohio.  When this happened 150 miles back, I Googled Open Range dealers in Ohio.  There are three.  One is in London.  Can you believe a little good luck?   It is RIGHT NEXT TO PILOT.  We will be there when they open tomorrow morning.

But, it the meantime.  Len and I have had enough.  Enough I say.  After this trip, the RV gets sold.  We have a nice home to Alabama.   We've had 7+ years of fulltime RVing plus part time for almost that many years.   We don't need this stress.  Our sanity and health comes first.

We used to love it.  Now we hate it.  We have two RV sites on our property.   We thought one would be empty for guests.  Soon there will be two.   RV friends.... come visit.  We will have plenty of room.

Anybody in the market for a PIA RV?