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Running up the coast

Our next excursion had us running up the coast to Hilton Head South Carolina.   Since it was the week before Christmas, we figured it would not be overly busy.  All packed up, so off we go.  We did not get far up the interstate when the TireMinder TPMS went off in it’s oh so subtle way…  Funny, when that particular alarm goes off, the dogs completely freak out.  Maybe the alarm broadcasts on the frequency only dogs can hear like a dog whistle?  Whatever the reason, good time to pull off and check it, calm down the pups, get fuel and a propane fill since it is going to be cold in SC (we hope…) The TireMinder alarm turned out to be ‘Nos’.  ‘Nos’?  What the heck is that?  While the diesel pump continued to drain my wallet, I grab the TireMinder manual… ‘Nos’… ‘No Signal’.  Ah… one turn on the valve stem and back in business.  At that point I gave them all a ‘twist’ just to make sure we did not get the ‘Nos smoke alarm’ again.  Back on the road. We arrive on time at the Motorcoach resort that is literally smack in the middle of town.  What a fantastic place!  It’s hard to describe since you are in the middle of town, but seems like you are in the woods.  We could walk or ride our bikes to anywhere we needed to go.  As an added plus, there are really good bike paths everywhere.  I highly recommend this resort if you are in the South Carolina. Jacks down, all hooked up – time to sit back and enjoy the area.  As Lisa and I walk through the park (daughter and pups in tow), we are again struck as to how many friendly people we run into from all over.  I have to say that Hilton Head generally has very nice / friendly people.  Maybe we hit at the right time and everyone was in the Christmas spirit.  Either way, the beach area is superb and dogs where allowed on the beach (which they enjoyed immensely).  The shopping seemed to meet the approval of both my wife and daughter which like the diesel pump, tends to drain my wallet.  Glad to do it as they are totally worth it! I have to give the park an A+.  The staff was very friendly and accommodating and the resort was spotless.  The spots were large and well cared for.  I would be curious to return in the summer to see how the experience would be different with a summer crowd - the pool at the resort looked amazing, but i was not brave enough to jump into the cold water.  Well, back home to map out our next outing….

markandlisav

markandlisav

 

Would you like a booth or table?

Our original booth dinette in the rig was showing its age.  Not that it had seen heavy use, but the original equipment furniture was definitely not what I would consider high quality.  Besides, the booth was the last remnant of the paisley originals that needed to go. So the question – replace the booth with another booth or put in a table / chair setup.  Lots of info out there and ways to go, but I guess it just boils down to personal preference.  In the end, we decide to go with another booth – one that matches the sofas that had been already been replaced.  Local shops wanted in excess of 3k to do the job.  DIY time.  Shop4seats.com had the match we were looking for and the price was reasonable.  Six weeks after ordering it show up ready to be installed.  Let the fun begin… Taking out the old unit proved easier than expected.  I guess demo is always the easier part of the process.  During demo, I was amazed at the lack of finish for an electrical outlet (120v) that was on the backside of the old unit.  I am no electrician, but this install (from the factory I assume) was terrible.  Mixed conduit that did not match, junction box not properly sealed, and the list went on.  The scariest part was when I disconnected the wiring coming up under the side – burnt wires.  Apparently, at some point water from an open window got into the junction box.  I am amazed the outlet even worked.  OK, time to install the new unit and wire the outlet properly.  I decided to relocate the outlet and junction box to provide better access and protection.  Despite best efforts to identify everything I would need, several return trips to Lowes and Ace hardware needed… as usual. The install went really well.  Needed longer lag bolts for the seat belts on the forward facing side.  The electrical went very well too.  Moment of truth – turn on the breaker and test the outlet with volt meter.  Everything works!  Time to move on to the next project…

markandlisav

markandlisav

 

Born Again Driver

I must admit, I use to be one of ‘those’ drivers.  I was very impatient with slower drivers and large vehicles.  It became like a chess game for me, plotting my next move to get me ahead of the perceived roadblock to my progress.  Then… we bought our RV over a year ago.  Thirty-eight feet plus our Jeep Wrangler in tow.  Suddenly, almost amazingly I am quite content to ride in the right lane at or slightly below the posted speed limit.   ‘Look at all these crazy drivers out here’ I say to my copilots (wife and pups).  ‘Wow! That one was close!’ I exclaim on a regular basis. I discovered something again during our RV adventure… there are good people out here in the right lane.  Slow lane?  I think not – more like careful, experienced drivers that see the big picture of arriving safe in one piece (not to mention saving on fuel).  So I take ranks now with my brothers and sisters in the right lane.  As the rest of the world speeds by – changing lanes rapidly, talking on their cell phone and yes TEXTING at 90 mph, I will be holding my own in the right lane, safe and steady. Strangely enough, I drive this way now even when I am not in RV.   Seems like the good habit of courteous / safe driving has rubbed off on my ‘civilian’ habits as well…. who knew….

markandlisav

markandlisav

 

Here we Go

In preparation for our Key West trip, we decided it might be a good idea to take the family and rig out for a weekend ‘shakedown’ prior to leaving.  All packed, frig loaded, tow car connected – ready to go… Well, no.  We had just made it to the end of the street and the dreaded “check engine light” comes on.  Abort!  Back at the house, I dig through the freightliner manuals I have and of course hit up good old ‘Google’.  Fault number found, it appears to be an EGR valve (did I mention you really have to not hate fixing things on an RV???).  Long story short, my local repair facility did not have the EGR valve in stock and we were scheduled to leave in 6 business days.  Thankfully, they overnighted the part and had it installed just in time to load up and hit the road… Not exactly the way I wanted to start off.  Leaving at 4:00am for the long drive, I thought we hit a bad omen with the interstate being closed at our exit.  Sign from above to abort? Nope – press on and let the chips fall where they may (Coach.net membership is current I hoped).  I never watched the dashboard as much as on that trip. All in all, a smooth trip down to Blue Water Key Resort.  Wow, the website really did not do it justice.  What an amazing place and staff.  The fishing, food and atmosphere of the Florida Keys were perfect.  Seven days flew by and we really hated to leave.  On the last day, my wife and I reflected on our RVing experiences up to that point.  What really amazed us is how many friendly people you meet.  Walking through RV parks with the pups, we really have met some nice folks.  It kind of renews my faith people, which honestly gets tested from time to time in our daily lives. The trip home from the keys was smooth and uneventful.  Once we got home, my wife and I discovered we were thinking the same thing.  In the past, we loved going on vacation, but we were all “glad to get home” when it ended.  This time, we did not have that feeling.  While it was nice to be home, we missed being out in the rig in a new place.  Even the kids felt that way.  Stress level at an all time low.  Well, back to work / school / normal lives to raise the cortisol levels again…

markandlisav

markandlisav

 

On our way...

Like so many others, our kids are growing up and moving on with their lives.  Happy to see them grow and become independent, but sad to see that part of life ending.  At this point, my wife and I kind of looked at each other and asked, “what’s next”?  Great question.  I grew up RVing and always enjoyed it and thought it would be cool to do in retirement, but my wife was a hard sell.  Strangely enough, it took hurricane Matthew hitting us in Florida to help my cause.  As the hurricane bore down on us, we (along with thousands of my fellow Floridians) had to decide to stay put or evacuate.  Having pets, it is difficult to find places to go besides an emergency shelter or hotel hundreds of miles away.  At that point, I told Lisa that if we had an RV, we could just pack up and go – kids, dogs, bird and rabbit.  We decided to hunker down… The hurricane passed – lots of damage – no power or water for a week.  Another opportunity to mention if we had an RV, we could at least have a cool place to sleep and take a shower.  We started the RV search the  month after the cleanup 😊. What to buy?  New or Used?  Class A or C or 5th wheel?  After many discussions, going to RV shows, wearing out my fingers on Google and looking at about everything for sale in 200 miles radius we decided on a used Class A diesel.  Growing up, my family had a Class A and it was a great way to travel so I think I certainly leaned that way.     During our first months of being “newbie” RVers, I discovered a few things. First, RVing was VASTLY different to what I remember as a kid.  In those days, we had an old 25-foot Banner RV on a Chrysler chassis that rode like a tractor.  The new RV rides like a town car and probably has as much square footage as the house I grew up in (not really...).  With all the advantages I assumed there were going to be some disadvantages.  I was right.  This new RV is a complex rig.  I quickly came to the determination that if you don’t like fixing things or understanding how they work your rig will spend a lot of time at a repair facility.  The first six months was us literally learning the systems, operation and monitoring of this new house on wheels.  Fortunately, we had the bonus of being able to park the rig at our home and plug it in to 50 amps – helps the learning process and gave me a ‘man cave’ to hide in from time to time and read the stack of manuals I had.  We would take the new member of the family out for short trips, hoping our two dogs would acclimate quickly.  One did… one did not… Oh well, time for the first vacation in the RV and test our plan.  Off to Key West…

markandlisav

markandlisav

 

Smart Wheel Problems

I own a 2013 Monaco Knight.  Sometimes the smart wheel works and sometimes it doesn't.  This is with all controls.  I will attempt to turn on the cruise control with no luck.  Same with the engine brake.  I will drive numerous miles and it will start working.  I have replaced the clock spring and smart wheel controller.  Anyone have the same problem.   Thank you

rtinnman

rtinnman

 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine Looks at the Rio Grande Valley

For sixteen years we have returned to the Rio Grande Valley, in the southern tip of Texas, each fall.  We enjoy the mild winters and the abundance of recreation, natural resources and wildlife in the area.  The December issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine is dedicated entirely to the Rio Grande Valley (RGV).  This publication from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is an excellent resource for those looking for a spot to visit in the winter, perhaps like us, you'll find it to be just what you are looking for in a winter residence.

In commemoration of their 75th year in publication they decided to focus on a single area of Texas and the staff decided that focus had to be on the RGV.  They sent the entire staff to the RGV, housing them at Estero Llano Grande State Park south of Weslaco.  Every article in this issue of the magazine is about the RGV; its people, nature, history and recreation.  A one year subscription (10 issues) costs just $18.00.  There are regular offers in the magazine for $12 per year and 2 years for $20.  You should be able to purchase this issue at any Texas State Park.  You can read any or all articles in this issue at:  https://tpwmagazine.com/

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

Mr. Sam

With the possibility of the vote allowing other units into the Association along with the health insurance state lines being erased how would the members feel about looking at health care being included in the benefit options for all members?  The average age of our members will drop significantly allowing the possibility of a very large group with a younger age average.  So many younger RVer's  are self insured and work self employed, as I have, or for small companies that may not offer insurance.  Just a thought.

wmsam@sccoast.net

wmsam@sccoast.net

 

Life Happens When You Aren't Looking

I had to check my last blog entry to see when it was posted.  It was September 6, not quite three months ago.  Since then we have been on the go... We spent a month with our daughter and her family in California.  Our granddaughters are growing up fast but a few golden moments still to go.  We took them to a working farm.  A 1940's version of a poor working farm.  We slept in the rehabbed chicken coup.  The girls fed the cows, gathered the eggs, bottle fed some really large calves, made friends with an aging bull that was as big as a house, well, maybe a chicken coup.  The girls loved the tire swing and the adopted kittens.  Thankfully they didn't ask to take them home.  During our stay in California I spent several days communicating with everyone in government I could to convince them to get on top of the situation in Puerto Rico following hurricane Maria.  My comments were the same that I heard from numerous others, this was an extreme circumstance.  The nature of the island and the near total destruction was going to make recovery here much more difficult than any other area.  Today as I write this, most of the island remains without electrical power and hundreds of thousands of island residents have left the island and come to the mainland US, mostly to Florida.  There are many in and near Houston and throughout Florida who are dealing with the aftermath of Harvey and Irma yet today.  They are so much better off than those in Puerto Rico.  Roads and bridges remain out of service.  Food and water are difficult to get in many locations.  Huge numbers of people are living in what remains of their homes with no hope of secure shelter in the near future.  Give what you can to agencies involved in hurricane relief.  Our return trip from California has lately involved a trip north to Elkton, Oregon to the Oh-Ho (the Oregon House) for a week with the above family.  This year they were off to Mexico and we got relieved of grandparent duty a week early so we made plans to attend an event we haven't been able to see in 16 years on the road.  We were able to get last minute reservations with the Monaco International Chapter of FMCA to attend the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.  I can spell it without looking it up or playing word check lotto - now.  We invited our friends, former FMCA members, now without the big wheels, to join us at the Fiesta.  Five days dry camping with four adults on board - and we loved it!  The event is spectacular.  We were parked four rows back from the launch field.  Our gathering point for meals and socializing was right on the front line.  I attended most launches and recoveries.  I was hooked.  If you attend, and if you love balloons for the flying or the beauty or the excitement of the launch and recovery, you will love it also.  There were 550 balloons this year and most launched in the morning and returned by noon.  The evening glow is fun, no flying but great chance to visit with pilots and crews. We left Albuquerque buoyed by the events of the five days at the Fiesta.  We paced ourselves across west Texas and headed for Corpus Christi.  Since 2012 I have been active in a group called Texas Master Naturalist.  Formed from a splinter group from the Master Gardner group in San Antonio in 1998, the Texas Master Naturalist program has expanded to more than 40 chapters state-wide.  Each year there is a statewide meeting of participants.  In years past the meeting has been at remote resorts near interesting nature sites.  As the size of the organization increased, the character of these meeting has changed.  This year almost 600 Texas Master Naturalists gathered at the Corpus Christi Omni Hotel.  I have attended several of these events and enjoy the chance to meet and talk with Texas Master Naturalists from other areas and learn about what they are doing.  We spent the weekend of October 20 - 22 in Corpus Christi before making the trip to our winter retreat in Edinburg, Texas. So now we're home.  Unpacking, cleaning up our mobile home residence, settling in to our winter routine.  We have excellent lawn care during the summer but now that's my job.  Lots of little things like having the air conditioner serviced, loading the refrigerator, turning on the DirecTV receivers, getting caught up with six months mail that has been stored.  We have the letter stuff delivered but the rest sits in a container waiting for our return.  I have created our bicycle ride schedule for the park, Louise has conducted her first book club meeting.  Louise spend a weekend in Austin for her retirement occupation, the Texas Silver Haired Legislature, a senior citizen group organized to promote and look out for the interests of senior citizens.  She is very good at this.  So the holidays are upon us.  We will bicycle South Padre Island Tuesday this week.  We play golf on Monday, I bowl in a league (as a substitute for a friend) on Wednesday, Thursday is a day of leisure for me, my chance to mow the lawn.  Louise plays cards with groups of ladies whenever she has a chance.  Friday our park bowling league begins it's season with an organizational meeting.  The weekend?  This weekend we are painting the deck and porch.  With luck, we'll have that finished tomorrow. I spent last Sunday helping band birds, a citizen science activity.  We capture birds in mist nets, the birds are measured and weighed and tagged with a leg band and released.  If or when they are recaptured, we learn about their travels, habits, age, and many other possible bits of information.  It is basic avian research.  The kind of thing that professional scientists are too busy to do.  The professionals are delighted to have the data.  They, their graduate students, and others use the data to increase our understanding of the life of birds.  This is one of my volunteer activities for the Texas Master Naturalist program.  I will attend a chapter meeting Monday night and will receive my re-certification pin for 2017.  Re-certification requires eight hours of advanced training and 40 hours of volunteer work each year.  Retired?  Yes.  How else would I be able to do all this?  

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

toad braking

what are some 4wheels down braking by members over the years. pros and cons  thank you

eddyjtri

eddyjtri

 

Matters Of The Heart

Diane and I have a saying that started after our grand boys came along. We used it on them (and they would use it back if necessary) if one of them or I (Diane has complaints but never whines about anything) mumbled and groused about something. “Whining is not attractive” Matters Of The Heart Blog Post

-Gramps-

-Gramps-

 

Trying to get a new Eagle 45 serviced....

Since retiring my wife and I decided we wanted to get out and see some of this amazing country -- so we decided we would consider RV'ing. I joined all the associations, read all about coaches: Manufacturers, Size of coach, Horsepower, equipment, reliability - even which Tow vehicle we would pull...... I did the research!    We visited dealers around the country, looked at coaches, test-drove a bunch and settled on a new American Coach - Eagle 45A. Our first venture into 'the freedom-of-the-road'. We paid the money took delivery and really enjoyed the first few weeks..... that was until I encountered the only aspect I hadn't researched..... service (or lack of)!    As with all vehicles of this complexity, there were some things that needed attention - many relatively minor and just needed adjusting - a couple very significant and making the Eagle unroadworthy .... specifically loose windshield that could be moved with simply pressure of the thumb and when using the windshield washer - the water came down inside the coach and ran down the back of the TV - due to the fact that the feeder-hoses had not been connected. So, I tried to get the items fixed.... wow, was I in for a surprise! My wife and I live South of Denver in Colorado.... we contacted the authorized service center closest to us.... they said it was a 4 week wait for service... so I booked the coach in... during the wait period they called me and said their bays were not big enough for a 45 ft !   I then spent 3 looking for alternative service centers... after communications with American Coach we were left with Lazydays in Loveland, CO.... They quoted SIX weeks before they could book it in - no choice, right - so book it in I did.  I gave the rep on the phone a list of the work required, she told me it would take three weeks to do the work.... three weeks!   But, no choice, right?  When the appointed day arrived, i delivered the coach to Lazydays and went through the list of work with the service rep that booked in the coach.  I confirmed I would pick it up in 3 weeks - all was set, all was agreed, all was good..... not! After three weeks I contacted Lazydays to find out they had not, in their words, "completed as much of the work as they would have liked"..... Actually - to be accurate - they had completed exactly NONE of the work!  Not one item - Nothing! They invited me to take the coach, and book it back in when the parts arrived from American Coach.... They could not, or would not, give me a date when that might be. I explained that with a loose windshield and no ability to clean the windshield while driving, I didn't think the coach was roadworthy - they agreed but followed up with "nothing we can do, the manufacturer hasn't approved the warranty work and we don't have the parts!" So, a little frustrated with American Coach for being so unresponsive - I called A/C customer service..... Lazydays had not even contacted the manufacturer! The rep from A/C said she would call Lazydays to see if she could help... she did, they said they could get the windshield and washer fixed.... but it would take another week, seriously? So, the point of this post? Is this normal for this industry? Do you/we really put up with being lied to and intentionally mislead? Dont the manufacturers realize that their authorized repair centers reflect badly on them?           If I were asked by a friend if they should buy a motorhome, I would say "NO - not unless you want to be frustrated, lied to and wonder why you paid so much money for a vehicle you cant enjoy due to the appalling service provided!"

DBH

DBH

 

BUYING NEW TIRES

ANY ADVICE REGARDING TIRE CHOICES FOR OUR ALLEGRO BUS, MICHELIN GOODYEAR AND TOYO ALL HAVE A GOOD TIRE BUT THE TOYO HAS THE BEST PRICE BY A LONG SHOT.  EVEN WITH THE MICHELIN FMCA DISCOUNT 8 ZXA2'S WERE OVER 6 GRAND. LEANING TOWARD TOYO'S. HAS ANYONE TRIED THEM?

BRADSIL

BRADSIL

 

Saying good bye is never easy

It's been awhile since our last post, a lot has happened. We left PA on 13SEP17, as planned. Our first stop was Twin Lakes RV center in Lagrange IN. Had a few minor things checked out and serviced. Then it was a short hop down the road to Dan's Hitch in Elkhart to have our Roadmaster Brakemaster installed on our 2016 Nissan Frontier. I bought it in Chandler at the convention and then learned about the M&G system. I would much rather have had it installed but Roadmaster was going to charge me $200 to ship and restock the Brakemaster so I figured since I had it, I would keep it. Had no idea it would take them 6 hours to put the thing on. They did a good job but the guy at the desk, Ryan, should not be dealing with the customers at all. SOB is rude and obnoxious. Would I use them again? Heck no. Then we did a night at Walmart in Gary IN and on to Des Moines, IA. I wanted to stop there because I am still being jerked around by Remco on the disconnect I bought for the truck. Went to a real good shop called Westside Mechanics owned by Bill Bryant. Great guy and a great tech. Really knows his stuff. Took a look at the disconnect and said the remedy is for them to build me a new drive shaft. Remco didn't want to hear that. The issue is still not fixed and I will elaborate on a future post. We then stopped at the Amana Colonies and met up with a fellow youtuber. After a few days it was on to Sioux Falls, SD for our residency. For those of you wondering about the title of this post, here is the reason for it. We go into Sioux Falls on Friday the 22nd and checked in to Yogi Bear's Jellystone campground. This place is like the Chuckie Cheese of campgrounds and just as expensive. We hooked up and settled in for the night. Got up Sat morning and did our usual morning ritual and took the dogs for their walk. On our way back to the coach Penny (the white one) lost control of her back legs and laid down. I was able to get her up on over to the grass while Sweetie Pie went and got the truck. We made a few calls and after describing her symptoms, was told the animal ER was the place to go. So we took her down to the ER and got her checked in. Long story short, she had a tumor on her heart that ruptured, filling her heart with blood. Doc could have drained it but it would have just filled up again. I could see she wasn't getting any better and was actually getting worse. The options were few and none really any good. Then reality set in and I realized I was about to have to say good bye to an old friend. We get very attached to our dogs and she was only 10. This came as a total shock. I could see she was laboring just to breath so I set down on the floor with her while the Doc did her thing. I've had to do this 3 times now and it never gets any easier. I always stay with them till the end because I don't want them with strangers at the end. I want to be the last person they see before they go. So, I said my goodbyes, told her what a good dog she was and told her I would see her again at the bridge. Did I cry? You bet I did, like a freakin' baby. My eyes are misty as I write this. So, now we still have Jack and he is just now settling in to being the only dog. Penny was 10 and Jack is 8. She was always there and now she's not. For a few days he would look for her. He'd go to the back of the truck expecting her to jump out. When I would walk him, he'd stop at the corn field and watch for her. We've always had 2 dogs and now it is like we are out of balance. We will get another dog but not sure when. When the time is right, the good Lord will show us which one he wants us to have. It's always been that way. Saying good bye is never easy. For those of you coming to SD for your residency, there are a few things Dakota Post neglected to tell us. We were told once we get there to make an apt with a certain employee and she would help us with what we needed. To be honest, she wasn't much help at all. When I went for my driver's license, I was asked if I wanted the word "Veteran" put on my license. What I wasn't told was that you need to have something that says you were Honorably discharged. Even though I was, even though I had my DD214 and even though I was 100% disabled (which I'm pretty sure you have to be Honorably discharged to get), I couldn't get it. I told the dude, no big deal. I don't really care if it says it or not. So, if you want "Veteran" on your license, you will have to prove you Have an Honorable discharge. Then it was on to DMV to get our tags. No problem on the truck but to get tags for the coach, we had to show the UVW (unladen vehicle weight). Nobody told us about that but since it was listed on our PA title (which we had because the coach was paid for in full), we thought we were good. Nope, they wouldn't accept it. When I asked why, I was told that "anybody could have put that on there". Not sure about SD but back in PA, we don't write up our own titles. That comes from an office know as the "DMV". I thought that was where I was, same office, different state. I have a real hard time trying to deal with that level of stupidity so I just quoted Arnold and said, "I'll be back". I called Thor to try and get something with the listed UVW on it. The first lady I talked to found it and was going to email it to me. Great. Never got the email. So I had to call in again and the next guy I talked to said he couldn't find anything on it. Pretty much just too lazy to dig very far. I called a third time and talked with a guy who not only found it but emailed me a screenshot of it. I went back to the DMV and showed them the screenshot and was surprised when they said, "Yeh, we can accept that". They wouldn't take it off of an official PA DMV title but they would take it off of an email somebody sent me. So, lesson #2, you will need something showing the UVW if you want to get tags for your coach. Now, for lesson #3. We could have rolled out of here then but since we want to get our gun permits, we have to be residents of the same county for 30 days. What DP neglected to tell us is that you can't apply until after the 30 days and it can take up to a week before you get it. Not sure why that is but after 30 days we wanted to roll south but now we have to wait another week. Being in South Dakota around Nov 1st is pushing it a little too close for us but we have no choice. This was a long one so for those of you that hung in here for it, I do apologize. I'll try to keep them shorter from now on. Stay tuned and stay sharp.

Punxsyjumper

Punxsyjumper

 

Anticipation!!!

This has been a busy past couple of months. Last week was busy and tonight we are kicking back with a cold one after one heckuva busy weekend. Why so busy? Fulltime RV life starts wed morning. We are so ready to roll. First stop will be in Elkhart IN for a few service issues that need taken care of. Nothing major. Then it is on the SD for our residency. Will be there for 30 days and then south to visit Sweetie Pie's cousin in OK. Then down to TX and over to Lubbock. After that, the schedule is verrrry flexible. Maybe down through Las Cruces and over to Tucson. We've been invited for Thanksgiving with friends in Yuma. Then up to Pahrump, NV. I think on the way thru Quartzsite we might do a recon and check it out since will be coming down for the RV show in Jan. Once we get rolling I will be a little more active with the blogs. Going to continue my youtube channel (Punxsyjumper) but instead of doing farmlife like I been doing for the past 10 years, it will be RV life. Even got myself a drone so, watch out! Hope to get some good drone footage of some spectacular sights. Stay tuned and stay sharp. 

Punxsyjumper

Punxsyjumper

 

And Now Comes Irma

As the news of Harvey begins to fade from the news, the next major disaster looms just off the southeast coast of the US.  A hurricane that looks like a buzz saw in the satellite movie clips is making its way toward Florida.  There are other states that may be the location of landfall, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi are all in the cone of uncertainty.  So as I write I'm using Florida but this applies to many other states as well.  The damage this hurricane causes could easily surpass Harvey, Andrew, Katrina and all previous hurricanes in recorded history.  Each storm was different, none was good. If you own an RV, you are ideally prepared to evacuate.  I can't imagine not doing so.  There is nothing you can do to save your sticks and bricks house.  If you are in it when it floods or is destroyed by wind, you are risking your life for no good reason.  You are risking not only your life, those who may have to come rescue you are at risk as well.  If you live in Florida, you likely have a good understanding of hurricanes.  If you don't live there, you should be gone by now. For those not familiar with hurricanes, Irma is a monster.  Wind speeds of over 180 MPH have been registered by the Hurricane Hunters.  Wind gusts over 200 MPH have also been measured.  Those are unencumbered wind speeds, taken over the open ocean, there is nothing to slow the wind.  As Irma approaches land, wind speeds at the surface will be less, but not much less.  But the wind speed isn't just wind.  The wind carries debris.  We're not talking about lawn chairs, we're talking about pieces of houses, 2x4's, roof shingles, broken glass, street signs, entire roofs of buildings, sheets of metal stripped off metal buildings and so much more.  The faster the wind speeds, the more debris and the larger the pieces.  When any of these objects impact your home at 100 MPH, it will cause damage.  Buildings that are sturdy buildings sustain horrible damage during hurricanes.  You don't want to be in the building when that happens. Flooding due to rain, storm surge and runoff in ditches and streams will be severe over a wide area.  This storm covers a huge area, states other than Florida will almost certainly experience heavy rain and flooding.  If your home is flooded and you stayed in it, now you are living in misery.  The water is not pristine, it carries bacteria, chemicals, mud, insects, and more.  There is no normal once water enters you home.  The rainfall almost certainly will not be what Harvey brought.  Unlike Harvey, Irma is in a hurry.  It will be hit and run.  Like any hit and run, you won't believe how much damage can happen in a short period of time.  Following the storm, even if your home sustains no damage, life will be very difficult.  There will be no electric service for many days, weeks or perhaps even months.  There will be no air conditioning or fans.  Supplies like water, groceries, fuel, batteries, toilet paper will all be in limited supply.  Mosquitoes and other insects will swarm over the debris.  An alligator was removed from one of the homes in Houston, Florida will likely see the same.  If you are able to leave, do so.  Do so now.  You can return following the storm and be a helpful volunteer resource instead of being a victim.  Don't wait for officials to order evacuation.  Get ahead of the game, hit the road.  Public officials have to balance many factors before ordering evacuation.  You as an individual have only your own personal safety and your life to consider. Maybe Irma won't hit where you live.  Why take a chance?  Waiting will only make evacuation slower and more difficult.  If the storm misses, you will have had a trip to remember.  We are all rooting for a miss but everyone is planning on being hit.  Hope for the best, plan for the worst.  Good luck to those in Florida and along the East Coast.

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

Falling Headliner

I have an 06 Winnebago Vectra. The headliner is falling,I realize this will be an expensive project. That's not as much of a problem as finding someone who is able or willing to do the job. If you have had this problem pleas let me know what you did to take care of it.

olliejr

olliejr

 

Harvey was a Rabbit when I was in High School

The Junior Play when I was in high school was Harvey.  My best friend played the lead role, Elwood P. Dowd.  Elwood, a grown man, had an imaginary friend, Harvey.  Harvey was a rabbit, a six foot tall rabbit, according to Elwood.  I had a minor part, acting was never my thing.  Anyway, these days there is another Harvey and it isn't a rabbit.  Harvey is dumping a huge quantity of rain on the upper Gulf Coast of Texas and now Louisiana.  A stalled storm can unload a huge amount of water on any given spot.  Think of it as a conveyor belt, picking up water from the warm water in the Gulf of Mexico and carrying it to the coast of Texas where it deposits it, continuously, in huge quantities.  Several years ago we had a single thunderstorm that sat right on top of our RV Park in Texas, Sandpipers Resort.  I can say that the thunderstorm sat there for one hour because I looked at the radar record as and after the storm was over.  In one hour this thunderstorm dropped 5+ inches of rain on our park.  The low spot in the park became a lake, we dubbed it Lake Sandpiper.  Our mobile home was on the northern edge of Lake Sandpiper.  Fortunately for us, 5 inches wasn't enough to do any damage but a few other homes sustained some minor damage.  Lake Sandpiper, having no drainage outlet other than a 2" pump, persisted for a week.  That was but a single thunderstorm.  I used to live in a rural area in Missouri.  We had a thunderstorm that dropped 11 inches of rain in one hour.  It was an amazing to watch the water come down in such a torrent.  Immediately, the local river became a rolling current, filling it's banks and then spilling over into adjacent agricultural fields.  Tiny creeks became impassible, low areas flooded and became stagnant for weeks.  Crops died from excess water, people were delayed on their way home but no one died and the area recovered almost without any concern or help being necessary. Harvey is a different matter.  Harvey is a succession of such storms.  And the storms aren't falling on an agricultural area, not even a hilly area, Houston and many of the other towns along the Gulf Coast are on the coastal plain, a wide flat area along the coast of Texas that extends from Louisiana all the way to Mexico.  Drainage is slow in flat areas particularly when they are only a few feet above sea level.  Add to that the fact that much of the Houston area is covered with pavement which doesn't absorb water but sheds it into nearby ditches.  Pavement isn't the only impermeable area, homes themselves have roofs which are by design impermeable.  Who would buy a leaky roof?  So lawns and parks are the primary areas that absorb water when it rains.  Urban areas are particularly prone to flooding.  I can recall a visit to Houston many years ago, on our way from Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio to Fort Bragg, NC.  We were visiting some relatives that lived there.  During our visit a short thunderstorm passed over the area.  Upon leaving, we saw significant street flooding.  Nothing that prevented our travel but we drove through six inches of water in places.  So Houston and it's surroundings are prone to flooding and Harvey is the perfect storm for the area.  I'm not ignoring other towns, many towns further south along the shore took the brunt of the winds of Harvey.  There have been many clips on the news showing the destroyed buildings.  Some towns are nearly completely leveled.  Fortunately the death toll in those towns is amazing low.  Within Houston, the disaster is multiplied by millions of lives.  A city has problems that no other area has.  The density of population multiplies the inconvenience, loss of life, financial loss by millions.  Ability to move the population, evacuate the area, is highly limited by the sheer numbers that are involved.  The after-effects of this storm are going to be sobering.  Katrina and now Harvey have inflicted huge losses and pain on populations in large cities. Anyone involved in disaster planning for large population areas should be alarmed and should be working to re-evaluate their disaster plans.  Metropolitan planning needs to account for population density and evacuation routes and plans need to be studied and improved.  We can do better if we will learn from the past and present.  Our home in Edinburg, Texas was spared.  Harvey hit land far enough north that people staying in our park sent messages via Facebook and other communication letting us know through pictures of sunrises and sunsets and words advising us of no wind, no rain, that all was well in Sandpipers.  In fact, announcements about RV Parks recently have focused on a very few that are taking storm refugees.  I can't imagine a park that wouldn't take refugees from Harvey if space were available.  In the RGV there are about 80 parks that will accommodate thousands of RV's during the winter.  Those parks are largely empty right now and could provide a place for RV refugees to stay.  If you are looking for a place to go with your RV to get out of the way of the clean-up, call any of the parks in the RGV.  With luck you may even get a site that might last through the winter.  There is no doubt that complete recovery will take years.  Tonight I sit in a safe and secure place but I can imagine the intense concern and dread of those in the Houston area.  It's called empathy, a normal human emotion.  Don't fight it, consider your life and what you would feel if you lived in the Houston or central coastal area of Texas or Louisiana tonight.  Our thoughts are with those in the grip of the storm tonight and into the future.  "Lake Sandpiper" April 10, 2015

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

Health insurance

Looking to start working remotely in September and was wondering if anyone has or is working from motorhome and what you did to set up laptop/computer to motorhome.  Any information would be greatly appreciated.

kevin1960ward

kevin1960ward

 

Eclipse Success

August 21 was a happy day for eclipse viewers in Riverton, Wyoming.  We stayed in the Riverton RV Park, a Good Sam park right in the town of Riverton.  Riverton was not exactly on the center line of the eclipse but was well within the band of totality.  We were giving up about 8 seconds of totality staying at that location as opposed to setting up at a remote location somewhere.  It was nice to be able to get up, walk out the door and set up to observe the eclipse just outside the door of our motor home.  At sunrise, there was a veil of thin cirrus clouds moving in from the northwest.  The forecast called for occasional smoke from fires in Oregon but we never saw evidence of that on Monday.  We were sharing the campground with many other eclipse observers.  Telescopes were set up at many sites.  It was fun to watch individuals scurrying to set up equipment.  I also was scurrying.  I carry a small telescope, a Meade 5" scope and a large tripod to support it.  I had various camera gear, my still camera is my main tool.  I've been experimenting with video and had a GoPro set up and also a regular video camera.  Neither of the video efforts were useful.  It's a learning process.  An event like the total solar eclipse is not a good time to be experimenting.  With just 2 minutes and 20 seconds for the show, there is no time to make adjustments or change things in mid stream.  So I set those things up and just let them run, hoping for some level of success.  There was a film crew in the campground and they had a compliment of complex, high end cameras to document the corona, the outer layer, of the Sun.  Similar crews were stationed across the US in a coordinated effort to get something like 90 minutes of continuous video of the corona.  There were also observers who had only the solar glasses to view the eclipse.  They were relaxed, lawn chairs set up was the extent of their preparation.  One couple we met was in a rental RV.  They were from Belgium and had made reservations at this RV park in early 2016 as soon as they began taking reservations.  As mentioned previously, we paid a premium fee to stay in the park and we were lucky to get a site following a cancellation by someone who had made reservations long ago.  As part of our fee, we got a number of perks that aren't part of a normal RV park stay.  A pair of solar glasses, a Moon Pie, root beer floats Sunday afternoon and a catered dinner on Monday evening helped give us more for our money and helped build a campground community.  The camp owners were out and about visiting with all their guests and we enjoyed many a conversation with them and other guests.  The partial phase of the eclipse began at 10:40 a.m. with a shout of "first contact" from someone in the campground.  People continued to visit, wandering from location to location, discussing the eclipse, visiting as friends.  Every so often, people put on the solar glasses and looked up to check the progress toward the big show.  A herd of about 30 cows and calves were bedded down in the shade of some trees just across the fence from the campground.  As the eclipse proceeded to about 75% the entire group got up and headed off toward the barn.  We all had a good laugh. As the Sun became a thin crescent, my eye was glued to the telescope.  It gave me the most precise view of the final moments before totality.  As the eclipse became total, I backed away from the telescope and looked up at the eclipsed sun.  The view through the telescope might seem to be a better choice but its field of view would contain only the entire Moon or Sun when at lowest power.  It works fine for the partial phases but for totality, nothing beats the naked eye or a pair of binoculars.  My preference is just the naked eye.  Nothing is like just standing in the shadow of the Moon and looking at the amazing corona.  After a minute or so, I began snapping pictures with the still camera.  I wasn't making adjustments, just taking a number of photos.  Looking around I was able to see Venus high overhead.  I never was able to see Jupiter or any other stars.  I did seem to catch a star or planet in my still photos, I haven't been able to identify it yet.  As totality ended a cheer went up across the campground.  The thin veil of clouds had moved off as totality began and we were able to see a beautiful total eclipse of the Sun.  There followed a period of conversation among all the observers, sharing impressions and feelings about this event.  I had a host of equipment to pack away but that could wait.  There was a tremendous emotional charge that needed to be savored and shared.  Slowly we began packing away our equipment and returning to more normal activities.  Before the following partial eclipse some people began leaving the campground.  Throughout the afternoon, more RV's made their way out of the campground.  In mid-afternoon we left the park in the toad to go in search of eclipse T-shirts.  We were amazed to see traffic backed up in Riverton.  Cars would move from one traffic light across an intersection into line for the next traffic light. We took back streets to the campground in order to avoid the traffic jam.  Later in the afternoon we had a conversation with a fellow camper who had left the campground for home.  They got through town and then encountered a traffic back-up several miles out of town and were down to a crawl, 2 mph or so.  They decided to turn around and stay overnight to leave on Tuesday. We also left on Tuesday morning.  There was no traffic jam in town or on down the road.  Traffic was almost certainly a little heavier than normal but on a 80 mile stretch of two lane highway we seldom had more than two or three vehicles behind us.  We were never slowed down by slower traffic, plenty of opportunities to pass when we needed to do so. The next total solar eclipse will occur in 2024.  That eclipse path crosses from Mexico into the US near Del Rio, Texas and cuts across the country to the northeast, exiting into Canada from Maine.  Once again there will be millions of people who will gather to observe the total eclipse of the Sun.  We found the remote area of Wyoming to be an easy place to get to the path of the total eclipse.  We were far from large cities, the nearest were Salt Lake City and Denver.  We were at least a two hour drive from the nearest interstate highway.  This made for an area where crowds were manageable.  We were pleased with the readiness of the small communities to serve the influx of eclipse watchers.  The local merchants were promoting and accommodating eclipse crowds.  There were activities in the park, a shuttle was set up to transport people from one location in town to another.  Thinking of the next solar eclipse I don't think there will be a place this remote.  The population of central Texas, San Antonio, Austin, Temple and Waco are all just off the line of totality so there will be huge crowds headed for west Texas to observe.  To the north and east there are no good remote locations, huge population centers will be nearby along the entire eclipse path.  Let's hope that some good lessons were learned from this event.  Start planning for the next if you didn't get to see this one.  Make reservations early and hope for good weather.  

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

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