Our Schedule

June 19 - 21... Forrest Bo Wood COE park, Sullivan, Il.

June 22 - 24... Linder Point COE, Coralville, IA

June 26 - 29... Heartland RV Park, Hermosa, SD

June 30 - July 4....Nebraska Tailwaters COE, Yankton, SD

July 6 - July 9 .... Turkey Creek Escapees Park, Branson, MO

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?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

May 31 to June 13, 2017

Ocean View,  NJ

On May 31 we pulled out of our friends driveway near where we used to live to our destination for two weeks.  It is about a one hour drive to Lake and Shore Thousand Trails campground in Ocean View.

After getting set up we headed back to my sisters house to bring her rig to the campground.

This is a family friendly campground with a lake, pool, arcade, mini golf, etc.  As school was still in session in NJ, the campground was quiet during the week.   The weekends, not so much.  Rigs are really packed in.

Being an old biddy, I like the quieter times and wide spaces we find at Army Corps of Engineer Parks.  On the flip side, I would not enjoy long term stays at 55+ parks.  Gotta hear kids laughing and playing too. That is why we like to mix it up a bit.

While in this area, we have enjoyed the company of friends and family.

June 4:    A visit from our good friend Tom.  And an introduction to the new lady in his life.  Monica. I am thrilled to say, we hit it off from moment one.

June 5:   My brother Norman visited along with his friend Donna, another nice lady. The woman on the right is my sister Debbie who got off work early enough to join in the visit.

June 8:   Our granddaughter Charlotte graduated 5th grade down in Maryland.   It was a 128 mile drive each way but we would not miss it.

Daughter Amy started a new job to day before with the State of Maryland so was unable to attend.  In years previous the graduation was at night so when she accepted the job she thought it would not be a issue and did not attempt to negotiate the day off.  But she found out two weeks before, the graduation would be at 9 am.  Here is daddy Scott and Charlotte.

June 9:   Several years ago we attended an RV show in Atlantic City with our friends Helena and Adam.  At this time they were thinking of getting an RV.  Well this year they did it.  They are now considering selling their home and hitting the road.  They came for a visit to "pick our brains".  Good thing they came now as we notice we lose brain cells on a daily basis.  Here are Helena and Adam (and Leonard).

June 10.  Another long drive.  But for a special reason.  June 10 is our 28th wedding anniversary but even better it's Abby's 8th birthday.   So this day was an even longer drive. All the way  from the south Jersey shore area to York, PA for a luncheon at a Chinese Buffet.   Abby loves her sweets.  As a special treat, today she was allowed to eat all desserts.  (She did have some mac and cheese too).  Also joining us were Grandson Justin and his beautiful girlfriend Karlie who drove over from Philadelphia.  That's Abby on the right forefront.

After lunch and a visit to the girls favorite huge consignment store in York.  Justin and Karlie came back to the campground for the night.  On Sunday they toured the Cape May Zoo.   If you ever have a chance, this is a must see in the area.  Then they went to the beach and back here for steaks before fighting the traffic back to Philadelphia.

June 12:  A visit from my cousin Mae and her son John.   We always enjoy good conversation with both John and Mae.  So happy they were able to get down here for the day.

WHEW!  We leave here tomorrow.  First we will take Debbie's rig back to her house.  Then we return to our friends driveway for one night.

On Thursday we go to Cordorus State Park in Hanover, PA.  On Sunday we leave with Charlotte and Abby headed west to visit some interesting, historic and fun places.

The picture of the bird in the header is a baby oriole.  I heard this poor baby crying.  He must have fallen from a tree and landed on the screen we have attached to our awning.  When Len went to move him, he flew to the ground.  There he hopped around and attempted to fly.  I watched as his mother came to him several times but very briefly.  Not long enough to get a  picture.  The last I saw him he had hopped under my sisters RV.

Until next time.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A bit of PA/MD/NJ time

Upper Deerfield, NJ

Monday May 15.....We left Alabama headed northeast.  The first night of travel we spent at a rest area in VA.  Seems impossible that at one time we would leave NJ on a Thursday after work, stop at a motel in Cleveland, TN and then drive on to SW Louisiana the next day.  A total of 1 1/2 days on the road (pre-rving).   Now it takes at least 4 days for that trip and two days just from AL to NJ or PA.

Tuesday, May 16. I had made reservations for Hershey TT park near Lebanon, PA starting the 17th.  We had planned on over-nighting on the 16th at Hollywood Casino near Harrisburg, PA and going to the campground the morning of the 17th.  For those not Thousand Trails members........when making reservations at one of their parks, you are guaranteed there will be a site for you......but not a site location.  When you arrive, you drive around to find one.  We find the best times of enter one of their parks is either early on a Sunday or Tuesday or Wednesday.

We got to the casino earlier than expected.  I called the campground and getting no answer, we drove the 14 miles to it and took a chance there would be a site available.  There was....in the location we prefer.

Wednesday, May 17. This park is 7 miles from my daughter Terri so on this day we visited a bit and to check out  their patio area they just completed extending.  Looks good!

Thursday May 18.   My other daughter and family live about 52 miles from the campground.  Amy is an archaeologist and has been on a project that takes her away from early Monday to late Friday each week.   I called her husband, Scott, and asked if we could come for a visit.  He said the girls did not know we were in the area and it would be a surprise.  We got there a little before they got off the school bus.   And what a surprise it was to them.  So excited.  Scott invited us the stay for supper.  A nice visit.  I didn't take any pics but we will have the girls for most of the summer, so expect many!

Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20   Grandson, Justin and his girlfriend Karlie, came to Terri's for the day, night and next day.   This is Justin with Terri and Steve and, of course, Leonard.  Karlie had gone to visit her mother Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, May 23.   We had planned on leaving the campground on Wednesday the 24th but Scott had an overnight assignment (also an archaeologist) in Richmond, VA.  So on Tuesday we gladly packed up, took the rig to our friends where we Mooch Camp in NJ, and drove back to MD in time to get the girls off the school bus.   We spent a delightful evening with them and saw them off on the bus in the morning then we headed back to NJ.

Since here, it's been lunch with my cousin and brother, doing much needed clothes shopping ( no sales tax on clothes in NJ unlike AL with a 9% tax), a final doctor appointment with our long term doctor here.  We gave her some sincere hugs and got them back.  We have appointments back in Alabama in late July with a new doctor.

Next Wednesday we head to another TT campground near Cape May, NJ for our annual camping alongside my sister for two weeks.

That header picture......... Cane...... our favorite grand dog.

Memorial Day weekend.   Thanks to all who served.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

As we get ready to hit the road once more.

Cullman, AL

So much to do when preparing the travel for two months.   Sure are looking forward to seeing northeast family and friends and then traveling with the granddaughters.  But first....

After the month of March trip and finding our shed was broken into, all buildings are now alarmed.  Both shed and garage have horse fencing over the windows.  Plus other security measures are intact.  This is truly a nice neighborhood but no doubt even nice neighborhoods have thieves.

As we were enclosing the shop/garage, a family moved in and then young ones were born.  Finally the young ones where kicked out to find their way into the world.   But for one day they explored the inside of the shop.

Last weekend our granddaughter Lindsey was confirmed into the Catholic Church.  We took a quick 4 day trip.  We left Friday morning and drove the 580 miles to Len's brother in Sulphur, LA were we spent the night.   Then got up Saturday morning for the 160 miles to Pearland, Tx where daughter D'Juana and family live.  Saturday evening we attended a concert of the Pearland HS orchestra at University of Houston conducted by son-in-law Joe.  Lindsey is one of the orchestra members.
Followed by dinner at The Spaghetti Warehouse.

The confirmation was late Sunday afternoon so the party was prior to the ceremony.

Len and grand kids...Lindsey, Alex and Jared

Here are Alex, D'Juana, me, Len, Lindsey, Joe and Jared

I especially like this photo to Len and his daughter, D'Juana

Following the ceremony we drove back to Louisiana for the night and then back home on Monday.

Yesterday Len mowed the yard and did some weed whacking.  This takes a bit of time.  It looks just fine.  However, in the afternoon it rained, during the night it rained, it's drizzling now.  So won't look fine for long.   He showed our Daughter-in-law Lois how to operate the John Deere.  We asked her to mow the front of the property a few times during the two months we are gone.

We told her not to mow the backyard as it is still full of holes, rocks, etc.  You can see we still haven't gotten to the end of the property as it goes back to those taller trees in the background.

We have a peach tree but unfortunately, the peaches are mostly dropping off.  Can someone tell us how to prevent this next year?  This is our fig tree.

Only a few branches have figs.  We hope to get them when we return before the birds.

We volunteered at Hinton Retreat Center in Hayesville, NC with a couple of other NOMADS back in 2010.  I remembered they lived in Alabama.  I checked and they were about 50 miles away.  Yesterday we drove to their house and got re-connected.   Nice visit!  When we return we plan to meet up again.  Meet Sandy and Roger:

The final concern before we leave is Sunday...... the cat that was left here by the previous owner.  I've yet been able to touch him.  But now when I feed him he no longer runs to the side of the house, but stays on the porch about 3 feet from me.

When we were gone in March, our closest neighbor Cindy came every few days and left food for him.  Last week we went to PetSmart and bought a timed feeder.  It is a Lazy Susan type contraption with 5 compartments.  We set it to move every morning at 7 am.  We put it out one night.  The next morning EVERY COMPARTMENT WAS EMPTY.   We know it wasn't Sunday.  He would never eat that much overnight.   Each compartment had about twice the amount he eats at one time.  We suspect raccoons figured how to turn the compartments and had an overnight feast.  So much for that plan.  Cindy has agreed once more to stop every few days and fill Sunday's dish.  In the meantime, he will have to hunt.

RV mostly packed..... we are ready to head out Monday morning!   If you are family or friends in the northeast... might be seeing ya'll.  (Yea, youse guys that's southern talk).

Sunday, April 30, 2017

More visitors and one job DONE

Cullman, AL

If you remember, when we bought this property back in December they had just removed a double wide trailer that sat out by the road.   What was left was a garage/shop with only three sides.  One open side had been attached to the trailer, the other was the entrance to the two car garage.  There was (is) an enclosed storage area.   The shop as it was:

In the last month we have worked to enclose the entire shop.  Len missed having a workshop.

Working on a scaffold is not my favorite activity.   I don't mind working on the ground.  I don't mind working on the scaffold.  It's those trips up and down.  But I held my breath and did it.  Oh, that's not me up there.

Once the side wall was complete, it was time for the doors.

DONE!   Friday morning all was DONE.  It is even alarmed to lessen that chance that we are burglarized again.

That is not to say it is completely secure to everything.  A bird had built a nest behind the electrical breaker box.  We hear peeps and when we get too close either mama or papa flies out.  Now they exit and enter under the space between the doors and the ground.  From the sounds we hear, it can't be long before the young ones will be following their mama outside.

Feeling real good on Friday, having completed this job....we were awarded further.  Mid afternoon I got a call from a friend, Glenn.  He and his wife Jamie moved from New Jersey to Texas several years ago.  But they still spend a lot of time in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.   Glenn said they were on I-59 just leaving Georgia and into Alabama.   They wanted to stop by for a visit.   YIPPEE!  I gave him our address and he put it in their GPS (isn't technology great).

A few hours later....... they found us.    We caught up for a while...then Len put some burgers on the grill.

A short while later they said they had to get on their way.  We would not hear of them going any further that night.  That is why we have a guestroom and we so much enjoy their company.

After a good nights sleep, we visited some more in the morning.   Here is Janie, Glenn and Tiny:

Yes, what a treat!   They assure us they will be back during another of their trips north or south.  We are counting on it.  A couple of years ago we visited Glenn and Janie in Texas when we were staying at the Escapees Park in Hondo.

One of the many benefits of our traveling fulltime, was meeting new people and catching up with long time friends all over the country.   Now that we are partially settled we hope many old-time and new-time friends catch up with us here.  If the recent past is a barometer the prospects are good.

Until next time.....