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My Favorite Things (then)

A couple of days ago, I started to clean old document files off my laptop. For a computer geek like myself, this is a bit like cleaning out my closet. I may not need a certain shirt, it has a stain, or it doesn’t fit, it needs to go, but I still want to hang on to it. My Favorite Things (then)

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Tow - Motorcycle Trike Plus Small Car

We will start RVing full time this summer and are very excited to start this new life style!  We want to tow motorcycle trike and also have a car.  Suggestions on towing?  We have also considered towing the trike, selling the car and renting a car, as needed, as we travel across country.  Has anyone rented vehicles while RVing?  Thanks for your suggestions. 

edharbin

edharbin

 

Looking Up! (from my archive)

I am not sure if taking pictures of a Great Horned Owl nesting in a large live oak over our coach made me think of this old FMCA blog entry or not, but if it did then that is okay. I wrote it not long after we lost our grandson.  I re-read it myself this morning and I like it so maybe you will too.   Looking Up!

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Half a Half In pictures

June, July, August. I took a lot of pictures because our life in the mountains provided a lot of great opportunities to do so. The rest of the year was even better...you will see!  June, July, August Travel Blog Pictures

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-Gramps-

 

I'm Not a Praying Man....

The movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” starts with snow falling over Bedford Falls, and the sound of people engaged in fervent prayer. These prayers to God in Heaven are coming from many of George Bailey’s friends and almost all of his family. I'm Not a Praying Man....

-Gramps-

-Gramps-

 

best price on Tires

I have a set of Good Year tires that was put on my 40 ft Monoco Camelot  in 2010 outward they look good but all I have read leads me to think now is the safe time to change all 6 tires . Am I correct in my  thinking ? What would be the best tire ? 295/80R/22.5 /H Thanks   
 

jeromepoole

jeromepoole

 

The Great American Total Solar Eclipse of 2017

August 11, 1999 Louise and I traveled to Paris to see a total solar eclipse.  The trip was our first adventure to Europe and was a wonderful adventure that helped convince us that there was much to see in the world.  Our trip was a success, we saw the total eclipse briefly as the clouds parted during totality.  The sight was spectacular, something that many people may live a lifetime and never experience.  I had traveled with my family to Hawaii July 11, 1991 to see the total solar eclipse there.  Spending the night alongside the highway in the desert on the western side of the big island, Hawaii, we were clouded out and sat through the eclipse in a light drizzle.  Then, June 21, 2001 Louise and I traveled to Zambia in southern Africa to see the solar eclipse once again.  It was another great adventure filled with African wildlife and many memorable experiences.  Once again, we were successful and were able to observe the total eclipse of the sun.  This time the sky was smoky as it was the season for burning off old crops in preparation for the coming planting season. I describe all this to emphasize the importance many people attach to chasing the shadow of the Moon.  The total eclipse is only visible when you are within the total shadow of the Moon.  You can see an eclipse in the partial shadow but it will only be a partial eclipse.  I would never pass up a chance to view a partial eclipse but the real prize is the total solar eclipse.  The thing about a total solar eclipse is that the full shadow of the Moon from which you can view the total solar eclipse is a very narrow band.  For the eclipse in Paris, it was about 70 miles wide at its widest point.  The eclipse in Hawaii had a shadow width of 160 miles at its widest point.  The African eclipse was almost 125 miles wide at its widest point.  To experience the longest possible time in the Moon’s shadow you must be near the centerline of the path of the shadow.  Given all that, Monday, August 21, 2017 you will have a chance to see the Great American Eclipse.  It has been many years since a total solar eclipse could be seen in mainland US.  This eclipse will cut a swath across 12 states starting in NW Oregon at about 10:18 a.m. PDT and will exit the US at 2:48 p.m. EDT in Eastern South Carolina.  Other states that will see the eclipse include Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, extreme northeastern Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, northeastern Georgia and the western North Carolina.  You won’t have to travel to a distant country, this eclipse is coming to a state near you!  All areas in those states won’t see totality, the shadow is only going to be 71 miles wide at its widest point.  You will need detailed information to get as close to the center of the shadow as possible.  In an article on the History of FMCA from May 2004 FMCA Magazine there is a reference to a meeting of motor homes at a total solar eclipse at Hinckley School in Hinckley, Maine on July 20, 1963.  Out of this gathering of 26 “coach owning families” grew the present organization.  That eclipse was one of a series of eclipses in a sequence that astronomers call a Saros.  From one eclipse to the next in a Saros is 18 years, 11 days and 8 hours.  It happens that this eclipse was number 19 of 77 eclipses in Saros 145.  Its path came onshore in North America in western Alaska, crossed Canada and exited the continent as it passed across Maine.  Alaska and Maine were the only states where the total eclipse could be seen. There have been several other eclipses in Saros, 145.  In July 31, 1981 number 20 in that Saros crossed Russia.  It was not visible in North America.  On August 11, 1999, number 21 of Saros 145 crossed Europe, the Middle East and exited into the Indian Ocean from the eastern coast of India.  Louise and I traveled to Paris, France to observe this eclipse.  There were clouds around and we drove frantically across northern France looking for an opening in the clouds as totality approached.  When I took a wrong turn at a roundabout and then attempted a U-turn on the road the wheels mired down in mud when I pulled onto the shoulder.  We slid into a ditch.  A passing couple from Belgium stopped and said (in perfect English) they would call a wrecker.  We watched as the clouds parted and the partially eclipsed sun became visible.  The wrecker arrived just as the shadow of the moon was within seconds of reaching us.  We shared our Mylar glasses with them and then put the glasses aside to watch the total phase of the eclipse.  We weren’t on the centerline but were well within the path of totality.  It was our first total solar eclipse and we were hooked.  During the total eclipse the corona or outer atmosphere of the Sun becomes visible and any prominences (loops of solar material) or flares will show up.  All these can be viewed without eye protection.  Looking at the rest of the sky, planets and bright stars will be visible.  Being aware of other circumstances, the temperature will drop as if the sun has set, birds may sing and then grow silent as they roost for the short night caused by the eclipse.  Right at the beginning of the eclipse and again at the end you may observe the diamond ring, the last glint of direct sunlight through a lunar valley as the rest of the Moon is surrounded by the faint light of the corona.  If you are hampered by thin clouds you may be able to watch the shadow of totality sweep across the clouds.  That brings us to the Great American Eclipse of 2017.  This eclipse occurs on August 21, 2017.  It is number 22 in Saros 145, 54 years and one month after the eclipse in Hinckley, Maine.  This total solar eclipse will cut a swath across 12 states starting in NW Oregon at about 10:18 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time and will exit the US at 2:48 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time in eastern South Carolina.  Do the math, that is about one hour and 30 minutes, coast to coast across the United States.  At any given location, the eclipse will last for about two minutes to as much as 2 minutes and 40 seconds.  Other states that will see the eclipse include Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, southern Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee and the northeastern tip of Georgia.  All areas in those states won’t see totality, the shadow is only going to be 71 miles wide at its widest point.  You will need detailed information to get as close to the center of the shadow as possible.  You should make plans to see this eclipse in person.  You can watch it on TV, view it a hundred times on YouTube but there is nothing like standing in the Moon’s shadow.  Everyone in the US, part of Mexico and Canada will be able to see a partial eclipse but only those in the narrow total shadow of our Moon will see the total eclipse.  That path is widest and the eclipse will last longest in western Kentucky.  More important will be the weather across the country.  Watching weather patterns as the eclipse approaches may give you a general idea where to set up to see the eclipse.  Then plan to take the toad to the actual observing point.  Expect to be joined by throngs of people from around the globe who are also scrambling to see this spectacle of nature.  As the eclipse draws closer, I’ll fill in more suggestions for observing the eclipse.  In the meantime, consult some of these websites to find information on your own.  Some RV parks near the path of totality were already taking reservations for the time around August 21, 2017 last summer. References: NASA Accuweather Great American Eclipse Eclipse 2017      

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

GPS info

We are looking for a computer program that can be loaded  on  our computer for planning trips and tracking . We used Delorim for a number but they have sold out. I want something that will give bridge heights fuel stops . Thanks 

jeromepoole

jeromepoole

 

GPS info

We are looking for a computer program that can be loaded  on  our computer for planning trips and tracking . We used Delorim for a number but they have sold out. I want something that will give bridge heights fuel stops . Thanks 

jeromepoole

jeromepoole

 

GPS info

We are looking for a computer program that can be loaded  on  our computer for planning trips and tracking . We used Delorim for a number but they have sold out. I want something that will give bridge heights fuel stops . Thanks 

jeromepoole

jeromepoole

 

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity   Going back to our last RV trip, we stopped in Americus, GA. The world headquarters of Habitat for Humanity is located here.  Not far from the headquarters building is an information center where you can learn about the work of the organization around the world.  A volunteer will give a brief overview of the operation followed by a very impressive video of the sad living conditions of millions of people.         After you watch the video, you can walk thru a self guided tour.  First on the walking trail is examples of how the poor live in various countries.  After you complete this section, you enter an area where you will see the types of buildings that the organization builds for families in countries around the world and how their design matches the culture and climate of these places.  They make the point that this is a self help program.  Those selected to receive a house must work on the project themselves and must pay a no interest loan back.                                                           If you have never seen these living conditions, it is an eye opening experience.

guldenschuh

guldenschuh

 

Happy New Year to All!

Happy New Year! Another year, 2016, is coming to an end.  We are happily ensconced in our winter home here in Texas.  I’d say deep in the heart of Texas but it is more like the tippy-toes of Texas, way down south almost on the US-Mexico border.  We had a light shower this morning so my outside work is delayed until the ground and grass dry.  I’m enlarging the patio in our back yard and adding a walkway alongside the house to replace the path I’ve worn in the dirt.  The lawn needs mowing and I need to check the roof after a particularly windy night earlier this week.  None of this was necessary when we were full time!!! I just picked up my iPad to check the weather.  What an amazing device the iPad is.  It’s a second computer that I can grab and get information from almost instantly.  Handier for checking information than opening a document on my computer.  Pop it open and get an address or phone number, open a map and zoom to any area you want in just a minute.  The world at my fingertips.  I like to reference it while driving the motor home but of course I can’t so I turn that duty over to Louise.  She is less a fan.  I need to talk her through step by step to get the information that I want.  Occasionally, she will agree that it is helpful to be able to zoom in on a map and see road detail that isn’t in the trucker’s atlas.  We use it to search for cheap diesel, find rest stops, overnight parking, and campgrounds.  It saves us money and makes life on the road much easier. Several years ago, I took the training to get my certification as a Texas Master Naturalist.  It is similar to the Master Gardner program.  The focus is on all of nature, not just plants and gardening.  In fact, the Master Naturalist Program began here in Texas when some Master Gardeners became adventuresome and were introducing many fringe areas to the Master Gardner meetings.  They were bringing in bugs, birds, butterflies, soil science, water conservation, native plants, invasive species and a host of other topics that were related to gardening but not quite part of the Master Gardner area of focus.  So, they started something new.  It has grown from a single chapter in San Antonio to over 40 chapters state-wide and is now found in many other states.  I mention this because when we return to Texas I pick up the mantle of a Master Naturalist and dig into volunteer work at some of the local nature and wildlife parks here in the Rio Grande Valley.  January is the beginning of our annual class for certification and we have 24 people lined up for the training in our local chapter.  I will have the stage at the orientation session as I describe the program, it’s history, purpose and the training program which starts them on the path to certification.  I will mentor three of the new trainees, giving them encouragement and advice to help them reach their goal.  I also do the website for the chapter.  My favorite volunteer activity is to assist a local high school teacher, a trained wildlife biologist, with his bird banding.  It has expanded my experience with birds and pushed me to learn new skills.  There is nothing like having a bird in the hand.  What amazing creatures they are.  Of course, there is the occasional Cardinal that will get it’s beak on a bit of a finger and it won’t let loose until it draws blood.  Putting bands on birds is real research, helping us learn more about the birds, their migration patterns, their longevity, their patterns of movement and much more.  On our return to the RGV in late October, we stopped north of Houston so I could attend the Master Naturalist annual meeting in Montgomery.  I enjoy these meetings.  We stayed at the KOA in Montgomery, a nice very large park with strange KOA rules.  Louise is happy to have some time to read and relax outside in the sunshine while I’m spending the day in meetings.  There is always something new to learn and this meeting was no exception.  Meeting other TMN’s and learning about their activities is inspiring.  There were over 300 TMN’s from all over Texas in attendance.  One of my friends received an award for 4000 hours of volunteer time and the corresponding Presidential Volunteer Certificate of Recognition.  This is the program started by President George H. W. Bush, his “Thousand Points of Light.”  Her husband received an award for 5000 volunteer hours.  That is some real dedication to the community and its nature parks and centers. Our motor home has spent the last two months in the shop.  There were several things that needed work on the motor home and some body damage from an ill-advised backing maneuver so we decided to get all the work done at one time.  We didn’t anticipate it taking two months but ordering parts takes time and then I think of one more thing and that takes another part so here we go again.  I’ve already moved it from the RV shop to Freightliner for some chassis work, brakes, belts and more.  That was done while waiting for one of the last parts to be ordered.  Then I found that the step cover that slides out to keep the grandchildren from falling into the stairwell wasn’t working.  That means another part… When the RV shop releases it, I’ll take it to the flooring shop to get new carpet.  We debated going to tile or other flooring product but finally decided the simplest thing was to simply replace the carpet.  Once it returns home we will do a complete restocking.  We cleaned it out completely before turning it over to the RV shop.  That is something that hasn’t happened since we moved into it in November of 2003.  I’m guessing more than a few things that we removed won’t go back.  It needed a good housecleaning.  Here’s hoping that 2017 finds all well with you and that the coming year will bring you good fortune and happy travels.

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

SEIKI TV'S

Hi,  My wife & I are new to RVing. We recently found out that the 3,  32" SEIKI TV's in our Thor coach will not receive/download digital cable channels. I have covered every possible solution and come up empty. I was told that this type of TV doesn't have what is called a QAM Tuner; therefore is unable to download digital channels. I didn't realize that anyone in this day & age made a TV that wasn't cable ready? Has anyone else experienced this problem and if so does anyone have a solution, short of buying new TV's. My coach is a 2016 and I would think that the MFG (THOR) would have put better quality TV's in their coaches... I'm frustrated and upset. Cal Jennings

jentech48

jentech48

 

Frank Vargish

We are planning a trip in the spring to the Florida panhandle.  Any thoughts on where to go, sites to see, etc.  We have a 43 foot rig.

vargish

vargish

 

Jerome & Judy

I am interested in. seeing some spring Braves baseball I was thinking of camping at Fort Wilderness in Orlando. Has any one tried this ? Let us know. Thanks Merry Christmas12

jeromepoole

jeromepoole

 

Snowbirding in Florida

Over the past 16 years, I've done a considerable amount of travel in Florida.  I did some of this travel as a vacationing tourist, then as a cyclist, and more recently as a Florida snowbird. Living on the east coast, Florida has been an easy and warm place to get to.  It's also a diverse and fun place to visit. I can't say I've been everywhere (like Johnny Cash) nor am I an expert on Florida.  But I've been to enough places that I felt I could share some of my Florida snowbird wisdom.  This post is not meant to be complete or exhaustive.  It's just my take on some areas and things to consider when snowbirding in Florida.  Let me start by telling you why I started going to Florida. Discovering Florida Growing up in Maine, I endured my share of harsh winters. As a kid and young adult, it was actually a fun time because I was an avid skier. But as I got older and couldn't handle the black diamond trails any more, winters became something that I had to tolerate and wait out. When I became a long distance cyclist, spring became a favorite time to head south for a week-long biking vacation. Even though I was still working, each March I would head to Florida for a week-long bike ride with the Bike Florida group.  I did those rides for 8 years and got to explore many areas of north and central Florida from the seat of my bike.  It was these rides that gave me the notion for escaping the New England winter and spending that time in Florida When I retired 8 years ago, the winter escape notion became a reality.  It was so easy to hop in my car, drive south for three days, and be back in summer like weather. At first, we started out going down to Florida for a month and renting a condo.  We began our stays near the northern east coast areas, which I was familiar with.  Then we tried extending our stays to two months.  We rented houses in The Villages and in New Smyrna Beach, condo's in St. Augustine Beach, and quickly got hooked on the snowbird lifestyle. When I started RVing, I did the math and found out that renting a site at a Florida RV park for 2 months was much less expensive that renting a condo.  It was a no brainer to turn a two months stay into three months.  This year we'll be staying for four months. We've spent our snowbird time at many places in Florida.  You can see the places we've stayed on the map below.  Some of these places have been for months at a time and others have been for a week or more. Areas of Florida Some may think that once you cross the border into Florida winter weather disappears and summer time magically appears everywhere.  Based on my experience, that's not the case. Some areas can be down right chilly during the winter.  Here's how I separate Florida into climates zones. North Central - from the GA border down to Daytona, over to Ocala, and up to Lake City. Jacksonville, the east coastal areas, and Gainesville are the populated areas.  Everywhere else is pretty rural.  This area is more of as summer time destination and less of a snowbird destination.  Winters can be chilly with daytime temps getting up into the 60's.  Some days may hit the low 70's, but those are infrequent.  Other than Daytona, the coastal areas are not as developed with high rises as they are in the southern area. There are some nice coastal State Parks in this area.  Fort Clinch, Little Talbot Island, and Gamble Rogers all have camping near the water.  Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine is one of my favorites places to stay. The Panhandle - those areas west of Lake City to the Alabama border.  Other than Tallahassee and the coastal areas, it's very rural.  It's one of the most diverse and prettiest areas in Florida.  Also, it's my favorite area to visit.  The Emerald Coast with its white sand beaches and emerald colored water are beautiful.  The area from Panama City to Fort Walton Beach is densely populated and a very busy area.  Winter temps can be cold (in the 40's and 50's) and the weather can be wacky (e.g. snow, hurricanes). Like the North Central area it's more of a spring summer destination and winter is the off-season.  My favorite area in the panhandle is the Forgotten Coast near Apalachicola. There are several nice beach side coastal State Parks in the panhandle.  St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is my favorite. Central - those areas south of Daytona to Melbourne then over to Tampa and up to Ocala.  The big cities of Orlando, Tampa, and St. Pete dominate this area.  The large 55+ community of The Villages just south of Ocala is in this area.  There are lots of RV parks along the I-4 and I-75 corridor.  I did theme park trips when my kids were young so those aren't a draw for me but they are for many.  We have spent snowbird time in the Tampa area and found the winter temperatures to be moderate with lots of days in the low 70s. Southern - everything south of Melbourne to Tampa.  The winter weather in this area is more warm with daytime temps in the 70's and 80s.  Overnight freezes are rare.  The coastal area from West Palm down to Miami is very developed.  It can also be pricey. The gulf coast side is less developed and more laid back.  I don't know the reason but this area seems to attract folks from the Canada, Central and Mid-West states.  I like the gulf coast side the best.  To me, folks on the gulf coast side seem more friendly.  The winter weather is warm, it's doesn't have the high-rise sprawl like the Atlantic side, and the casual atmosphere is easy to take.   Securing a Place to Stay If you want to spend some snowbird time in FL, I recommend that you reserve a place ahead of time.  Heading to FL during the key winter months of January thru March without any reservations is a recipe for major disappointment.  Most of the nicer RV parks and campgrounds in popular areas are booked months in advance Florida's State Parks are popular places during the winter because of the price and their locations. But stays are limited to 14 days.  Sites can be reserved a year in advance and in some places like the Keys, they are booked within minutes of becoming available.  The demand for campsites seems to follow the weather.  State Parks in the southern area get booked up more quickly compared to the Northern areas. For my winter stays at Florida State Parks, I've booked six months in advance and have always found a site. If you wait until October and November, the selection and duration will be limited.  Many state parks hold a certain number of sites for walk ins.  The popular municipal Fort Desoto Park near St. Petersburg gets booked up quickly.  Non-residents can reserve sites 6 months in advance and the good sites get taken quickly. Private RV parks are popular places for snowbirds.  Many offer amenities like swimming pools, pickleball, tennis courts, and cable TV.  The social amenities like theme dinners, card nights, golf outings, and dances are also draws for the snowbirds.  Parking shoulder to shoulder for a few months in an RV park may not be for everyone.  But I have found that the social interactions and making new friends is an unexpected benefit of the RV park lifestyle. Many RV parks offer seasonal discounted rates for month-long stays.  The park where I stay in Fort Myers Beach offers seasonal rates for 3 month stays.  Many snowbirds find a park they like and then keep returning year after year.  Some parks cater to their returning customers and will let you keep the same site as long as you reserve it a year in advance. This is what we have started doing.  Before we leave Fort Myers Beach in April, we'll book our reservations for the following year. Renting a house or a condo, works almost the same as getting a campground or RV site. You need to book in advance.  Many local realty companies offer rentals or you can try sites like vrbo.com and airbnb.com. If you rent a house or condo, you may not get the social interactions that you can get at an RV park.  I found this to be true when we rented at St. Augustine Beach and at New Smyrna Beach.  The Villages is an exception to that statement.  We spent one winter renting a house in The Villages and it was one of the most fun times we've had.  I played golf all winter on the free golf courses, rented a golf cart to get around, took several dance lessons, and went to music events just about every night.  It was a blast and I really got hooked on that lifestyle.  When my RVing days come to an end, I may settle down in The Villages. One strategy for finding a place is to select some different areas and do short stays to see how you like it.  Trying different areas for a week at a time is a great way to explore Florida and find out which areas appeal to you. Cost The cost to stay as a Florida snowbird is all over the place.  As I mentioned above, the coastal areas are more expensive than being inland. The Florida State Parks are the best deal at around $28 per night for most parks (some are less and some are higher).  But you are limited to a 14 day stay.  You can move around to different sites within a park, but in many parks you must leave the park for 3 days before you can return.  The max number of days you can stay at a specific State Park is 56 days within 6 month window.  Moving to different parks is also an option. Private RV park rates vary widely.  A beach front site at the Red Coconut RV Park in Fort Myers Beach will run you over $100 per night (no seasonal rate is offered).  The monthly winter rate at Bryn Mawr RV Resort at St. Augustine Beach is around $1,200 per month ($40/night).  A seasonal 3 month rate at Blueberry Hill RV Resort in Bushnell will cost around $600 per month ($20/day). For a 4 month stay at Fort Myers Beach (just a mile from the beach), I pay a monthly winter rate that averages out to be around $37 per night.  The normal daily rate is $62 per day. Boondocking opportunities in Florida are limited.  There is dispersed camping in the Ocala National Forest and in the Apalachicola National Forest but stays are limited to 14 days in a given month.  I've been through both of these forests and they are very remote. Not all Wal-Mart in Florida allow overnight parking due to city and county ordinances. There are some truck stops along the key Interstates that allow overnight parking but these aren't intended for snowbird stays.  Boondocking may work in some places if you're doing a short stay or just passing thru but it's not a strategy I would recommend for an extended stay. Condo and house renting prices also vary by location.  We rented an ocean view condo in St. Augustine Beach for around $2,900 per month.  A small house in The Villages will cost around $3,300 per month and higher during the winter months. Snowbirding in Florida can be pricey,  If you are focused on reducing expenses, then look for places away from popular areas and try for places in the Northern and Panhandle areas. The Snowbird Lifestyle For me, I put lifestyle over cost.  It all about how I want to spend my days.  I prefer to spend my winter months in a warm climate near the ocean.  I like to spend my days being outside walking, biking, kite flying, or just sitting on the beach.  I also like not having to drive to get to places.  In the afternoon or evening, it's an easy walk to several places where I can enjoy some live music. Also, I have grown to enjoy the RV park lifestyle where I get to socialize and spend time with my fellow snowbirds.  We attend the weekly Saturday morning breakfasts at the RV park and play in the weekly corn hole tournament.  Sunday afternoons are usually spent dancing at Doc Fords Rum Bar. It's a great way to spend the winter. You can see more or my journeys at my website:  jdawgjourneys.com   Disclaimer:  References to specific campgrounds, RV parks, or websites is for example only.  These aren't listed as recommendations and I have no affiliation with any of the businesses or websites that are listed in this post.  All rates and prices listed are approximate based current published rates at the time of this posting.  

italo

italo

 

A Half Year in Pictures

I thought I would  tell a happy story. It is a picture story, about what we have done,  and where we have been, the first half of this past year. I have heard that pictures are worth a lot more than words.Take a look, if you please: Half Year in Pictures

-Gramps-

-Gramps-

 

jerome poole

We have just purchased a used RV and are looking for the best insurance coverage.  We would like replacement cost.  Any suggestions or experiences would be greatly appreciated. We also like any suggestions on what we should include in the purchased coverage as some policies let you pick and choose. What would be the best companies to deal with in customer service and coverage.

jeromepoole

jeromepoole

 

Mail forwarding while out of town for 2 months.

We plan on an extended trip January through mid March. Has anyone dealt with DakotaPost or other services. Thinking about having a family member check and forward our mail but a little concerned if it becomes a problem for them. Your thoughts would be appreciated. eagle43

eagle43

eagle43

 

Consumer Alert

Merchant Alert!!   Recently we experienced a failure to our cooling unit on a Norcold refrigerator.  I opted to purchase a new cooling unit with a lifetime warranty.  The Cooling Unit was purchased from Arcticold Refrigeration--Renaud Mills. New Brunswick E4V2X3 at a price of 700.00 delivered.  It was supposed to be in stock and ship right away.  MISTAKE.  We have been taken for our money.  Searching this companies background we find they have been shut down and seized in the past.  Canadian law allowed one of the owners to reopen and they are right back at it again.  We are not negative people and we only want our money returned.  To date we have involved FMCA, Good Sam Trouble Shooter, Better Business Bureau of Canada, and the Consumer Protection Agency of Canada.  Its been over 2 months and Arcticold will not answer emails, phone calls, or respond in any way.  Since Canadian law is so lax we just wanted to warn other FMCA members and any others that may read this to not make the same mistake we did.  It can cost you!!!!

jonesdnl

jonesdnl

 

Motor Homing and Family Visits

When last you heard from us we were winding up a huge tour of the National Parks in the Four Corners area.  We arrived in Las Vegas for an extended stay.  Actually, it was planned as a departure point.  We stayed at a park in Henderson, a southeastern suburb of Las Vegas.  The rates were good and the security was by all accounts very good so we felt comfortable leaving our coach there while flying to St. Louis to be with family for the big 50 birthday party.  Las Vegas RV Resort turned out to be an excellent choice.  In early September, the park is mostly empty but the staff is on duty taking care of the park.  During the winter this must be quite a busy park but for now, it provided easy access to the Las Vegas area and the good security we wanted.  There is a gate house with someone on duty 24/7.  We spent several days out on the town.  I had a Euro recliner that was part of the original coach equipment.  It was showing its age and I had been considering replacing it.  I figured a larger city like Las Vegas would provide a good selection of furniture stores.  A little internet browsing and we picked several stores to visit.  The first had recliners, the big puffy kind, not exactly what I needed.  The second store had one that looked good and it was on sale but, they didn't have it in stock.  It would be several weeks, we weren't staying that long.  On the way to the car, we walked past a tent sale for the same store.  We decided to take a look and found a nice chair and ottoman combo that fit our needs.  These were clearance items so I figured what we were looking at was the item on sale.  It looked to be in good condition so we caught a salesperson between corralling children playing on the furniture and put in our request.  Over to the register, provide all the information and we get directions for picking up our, new in the carton, chair.  It was half the price of the one we had looked at in the main store and was quite similar.  I'm in it now!  I put the old chair out on the street in the RV park with a  note attached, "Free to a good home."  The next morning it was gone!  We did the obligatory run through some of the big casinos on The Strip.  It really isn't as exciting as it was when I was young.  They even charge for parking these days.  We drove out to Hoover Dam one day.  We've done the dam tour before and I'd recommend it to everyone who is interested in taking a look at this amazing piece of engineering and construction.  This time we took the walk across the Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.  This is the amazing engineering project that allows US Hwy 93 to bypass the dam.  The views of the dam and the canyon from the walkway are spectacular and unlike a helicopter ride, you can linger and take all the pictures you want.  There is a great array of informational panels and displays about the project.  We flew Southwest Airlines from Las Vegas to St. Louis on Thursday, September 8.  Friday we attended a practice marching band performance at our oldest grandson's school.  He has found his calling in marching band and we enjoy the seeing the performances.  Saturday we pitched in and helped get everything cleaned up and ready for the big birthday party.  We had several people in the family turning 50, my youngest sister and our oldest son-in-law were both celebrating.  I myself had just turned 70 but nothing was said about me being one of the celebrants.  About an hour before the party my brother and his wife who are living in Kentucky arrived.  There was a decorated table with my name on it and a sign that said, "70 Rocks!"  My grandchildren had picked out some special rocks to anchor the sign, rocks that we had brought them from our travels.  Our oldest daughter and her husband hosted the event using their garage, driveway and patio to entertain the crowd.  We had great weather, a musician had been hired for the night, there were plenty of snacks, beverages, and several campfires with chairs set up around.  We had a very enjoyable evening visiting with family and friends.  Sunday we slept in then went to an RV Show with the other two birthday celebrants who are both into RV's now.  My oldest daughter and her husband have a nice travel trailer that they have been using for some nice family trips.  My younger sister and her husband have a Class B that he used for commuting to work across the state for years.  The RV Show had a good display of trailers and motor homes all on a shopping center parking lot.  In previous years the venue was indoors but for various reasons they moved outdoors, more appropriate I thought.  It is fun to look at the state of the industry even if we weren't shopping.  Monday morning we were on our way back to Las Vegas.  Tuesday we had an appointment at Freightliner in North Las Vegas, to look at a few chassis problems.  They were short handed and didn't think they could do more than look at any problems.  So we left there disappointed.  We had a Wednesday appointment at Cummins in  North Las Vegas and went there to see if we could get in early for engine maintenance.  They were booked so we ended up at Walmart for the night and got in early the next day.  Wednesday we departed North Las Vegas about 1:00 p.m., temperatures still near 100, and headed into cooler weather in northern Nevada.  US Hwy 95 along the western border of Nevada is a common route when we leave Northern California on our way south to Texas.  This was the first time we'd traveled that route headed north.  It does make the scenery a little different.  We covered a little over 300 miles that afternoon and settled in for the night in a "dispersed camping" area alongside Walker Lake.  Temperatures were in the 60's overnight and by morning, the coach was nice and cool.  A little more than 200 miles through the Sierra Nevada on California Hwy 88 to Jackson and on to Valley Springs to our youngest daughter's home. We've been here two weeks now, temperatures in the low to mid 90's are a little warmer than desired but a cool front has come through and they have dropped into the 70's into the afternoon and 50's at night.  That's more comfortable.  It never (hardly ever) rains when we are here in the fall and this fall is no exception.  We stock our wine rack while here in California.  We have a favorite winery nearby and we will take several cases of their wine with us as we return to Texas.  There is also a liquor chain here, BEVMO (Beverages and More).  They have periodic 5 cent wine sales.  Buy one bottle at regular price and the second bottle is 5 cents.  We enjoy a variety of wines and this gives us a chance to spend a little more than normal on a bottle of wine and still keep it on budget.  So we'll look a little like bootleggers as we head for Texas.  It's all legal!  The motor home makes a great truck. Our two youngest granddaughters live in Valley Springs and their schools year-round schedule has them on vacation for the next two weeks.  That is our mission, to keep the girls busy while they are on vacation.  Their mother will be on vacation next week and we'll all head north to their "OHO," their Oregon House.  Several years ago they purchased a house on the banks of the Umqua River in western Oregon.  The whole family loves to fish and the river is in their back yard.  The house is on a good sized hilll, well above river level so anything resembling normal flooding will be no problem for them.  We'll spend a week there then depart for Texas as the family returns to California and back to work and school. 

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