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About this blog

An account of our travels and tribulations.

Entries in this blog

 

Adventures of a Shadetree Mechanic

Our travel schedule for this summer is taking shape. We have a short trip coming up in two weeks so it is time to get the motor home road-ready. I took it out for a short drive several weeks ago and had it safety inspected for the Texas license renewal. Lights, wipers and horn all work. A brief look a the tires and a check of the current registration and insurance papers, verify the VIN and I'm good to go. On that drive I was reminded of a recurrent problem we've had. Our alternator has b

tbutler

tbutler

 

Good News - Bad News

As of our last post we had just entered Colorado as the heavy rain and flooding occurred. We stayed for a week and got a first hand look at some of the damage. What we saw in the Denver/Arvada area was minor compared to the real damage which occurred in the mountains and out on the plains as the flood waters continued to disperse. There are towns in the mountains which have no road access to the outside world and likely won't have until sometime next spring or summer. Countless roads washed

tbutler

tbutler

 

We start at day 1...

I am Tom, my wife is Louise. I'll not spend time on further introductions. If you want more information, please see our Meet a Member feature under Join FMCA on the main menu of the FMCA page. I promise you more information than you could possibly want to know. Even my friend Pipewrenchgrip said he read MOST of it!!! I have been very active on the FMCA Community the last few days. We are away from our motor home doing babysitting for my daughter and her husband. Grandson Ryan and granddaughter

tbutler

tbutler

 

Our Favorite Places - In Love With Deserts - Part 1

In our first year of full-time living in our motor home we enjoyed a number of deserts in California. Since then we have visited deserts in other areas and always enjoyed the experience. Having taught school all my life, I had never had the privilege of traveling extensively in the cooler months of the year. This, it occurred to me, was the reason I had never spent time in any desert. Our first real desert experience was Joshua Tree National Park near Palm Springs. We stayed in Indio, CA, for a

tbutler

tbutler

 

Visiting the 50th State

It has been a while since my last entry but I have an excuse ... Louise and I have just returned from a visit to our 50th state. It was the 50th state we have visited together and also the 50th state for the U.S. Of course, I'm speaking of the only state that is impractical to visit in a motorhome! Hawaii is one long wet drive and the puddle is so deep. We elected to make our trip on a cruise, which, in a way, is a little like living in a motorhome. Our ship, the Celebrity Constellation, was t

tbutler

tbutler

 

Living the free life! Where shall we go today?

Here is how our travel decisions occur. As full timers we don't have a home to return to, so none of those pressures factor in. We hadn't set a definite date for our departure from Sandpipers Resort in south Texas until today. Several days ago I picked up a message that mentioned the dates for the Sun 'n Fun Airshow in Lakeland, Florida. We were planning to be in Florida for the launch of STS 125 and STS 127. Those are two Space Shuttle launches scheduled for May 12 and 15. The dates for the Su

tbutler

tbutler

 

Fakes right, goes left!

Ok! So I had this great excursion of air and space planned for this spring in Florida. It was so simple, depart south Texas, drive north, keep making right turns until we got to Lakeland, Florida. Then we got a phone call from Louise's sister. Her mother had a heart attack on Friday, April 10. Our plans immediately took a tailspin into the trash can and we shifted gears. After some discussion I canceled my tennis match for Saturday morning. Louise arranged to get us out of the couples water voll

tbutler

tbutler

 

Trees: Love 'em, Hate 'em

I've been up on the roof washing and cleaning for the last few days. The experience brings to the fore one of the conflicts that plagues me. At heart, I'm a big advocate of trees. They are essential to our existence. Trees are beautiful and useful. Trees are also a nuisance. On the good side, trees provide shade and keep our motor home cool. We're in San Andreas, California, and the forecast for the next two days are temperatures in the 100s, so I'll really appreciate the trees around us. I hav

tbutler

tbutler

 

Travel Log From California to Southern Texas

We recently made a typical trip that included some sightseeing and maintenance stops. I submit this description as an example of full-timers' travel experiences even though we are no longer full-timers. This trip is like many drives we have made as the final trip of the summer travel season. We left south Texas in early May of 2011. We visited family and I had knee replacement surgery during the summer. We left Missouri September 7 and arrived in California on September 16. After a stay of a mo

tbutler

tbutler

 

Rolling On!

A month ago we had the close call with fire (see my previous post, Good News, Bad News) in Lander, WY. Leaving Lander we made a dash for California. A night here, two nights there, and next thing you know we are in Valley Springs, CA. Our son-in-law and his father installed a 50A hookup for us on their home so now we can park next to their driveway. What about the lawn you ask? In this part of California, rock and gravel are a natural ground surface and we found the parking spot just made f

tbutler

tbutler

 

Exploring Old Territory

This summer is our 15th summer on the road.  We've traveled in every state in the US (except Hawaii) and every province in Canada (except Nunavut).  Given that experience, there are still new things to do and see.  We left Scottsbluff, NE on August first headed for Denver.  We have family, a sister and daughter there and we've stopped there at least once every year.  Still, we found something new on this trip.  Louise's sister and her husband have now retired and we had a nice visit with them an

tbutler

tbutler

 

Countdown to the Total Solar Eclipse 2017

In a previous entry I described the total eclipse of the sun which is happening next month, August 21, 2017.  Total solar eclipses are rare.  How rare?  It has been 26 years (July 11, 1991) and that was only seen in only one state, Hawaii.  The next solar eclipse for the US will be April 8 2024.  This one enters from Mexico into Texas and slices northeastward through New England exiting the US in Maine, continuing on through New Brunswick, and Newfoundland.  There have been many partial eclipses

tbutler

tbutler

 

The Rapid Pace Continues

In one week we have traveled from New York through Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick and we are now just outside the city of Quebec. We have visited Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. The weather was cloudy and threatening rain but we never got more than a light sprinkle. The view from Cadillac Mountain always amazes me. From Ellsworth to Calais we took a different route than in past trips and this rewarded us with new and interesting scenery. In New Brunswick we stayed o

tbutler

tbutler

 

Good-bye, Bowling Green

Friday brought the end of the FMCA International Convention in Bowling Green, Ohio. Everyone was up and moving early. Neighbors said good-bye, caravans formed up, a few wise individuals sat in lawn chairs and watched the parade of motor homes. The electric was shut off as I was winding up my cord. We were away a few minutes after that. The parade out of the campus was orderly and didn't take long at all. The police were manning the signal light to ease our way onto the highway. Louise and I se

tbutler

tbutler

 

A Summer Like No Other

Our travels this year have been delayed by family illness, a trip with grandchildren, a broken awning, a Monaco International rally and the FMCA International Convention. So it was almost the end of July when we began our summer travels. We will have to return to Missouri to take care of painting the awning we had replaced. We'll head west to California by the end of September and be in our winter resort by the first of November. So we get about six weeks of travel this summer. Like all people,

tbutler

tbutler

 

Not the Typical Camp Meal

Louise and I were invited to dinner Friday night. The campground owners here at Sandpipers Resort where we have stayed each winter for nine years now invited 14 of us to dinner. It was seven couples who have assisted them in improving the resort in one way or another. Most of them were involved in the construction of a new shower house for the resort this past summer. Louise and I contributed other skills. Louise is writes the publicity materials for the resort and occasionally has articles publ

tbutler

tbutler

 

I Got a Round Tuit Today

This is a shout out to Brett Wolfe. We went in for maintenance at Cummins West in Avondale (Phoenix), AZ today. In a post several months ago, Brett had suggested replacing the belts on the engine and saving the usable used belts as back up in case a belt breaks. I asked the service representative to replace the used belts and save them for me. We were having the generator serviced at the same time. In the discussion the service rep asked if I wanted the belt on the generator (7.5 KW Onan) repla

tbutler

tbutler

 

Putting Her to Bed

It's been a shocking month and a half since I've written about our motor home and the experiences it brings us. There are many excuses: busy lives, family challenges, etc. Most of all, there has been little activity involving the motor home. We parked the motor home in the driveway next to our new mobile home at Sandpipers on October 13. I buttoned her down with window sun screens, and tire covers. Then we began to unload our gear from the closets and cabinets. This was new territory for us. For

tbutler

tbutler

 

A Lot of Work for a Little Mouse

I haven't been doing much work around the motor home lately. My left knee replacement is healing well and I'm up to getting out and around more these days. The water filters in the basement needed replacement so I waded into the midsection of our home. As I began removing stored equipment I noticed little chewed bits of the blue shop towels I use. So now my task becomes a project. Sure enough, there are more and more signs of a mouse. We haven't had one for eight years but it has finally happene

tbutler

tbutler

 

Trying a Different Route Pays Off

We have just completed our trek across country from Missouri to California. We've done this trip many times since we have grandchildren in both states. The quickest route is to travel I-70 west to Denver then jog north on I-25 to Cheyenne, Wyoming where we pick up I-80 on to California. This trip we decided to take a different route. We planned to visit friends in Yankton, South Dakota so it seemed that going north into Iowa and then west to Sioux City, Iowa would be a nice change. Interstate 70

tbutler

tbutler

 

Encounters with Native American Cultures

Seattle, the largest city in Washington, is named for an Indian chief. Many other features in this area have Native American names. On our travels, we visited several museums and cultural centers that helped to build our understanding of and respect for the culture. Our first museum was in Coulee Dam on the Colville Indian Reservation, in north-central Washington. The Colville Confederated Tribes Museum has a good historical record of the tribes with many old pictures, examples of clothing and

tbutler

tbutler

 

We're Still Rolling Along

It is hard for me to add things to my BLOG when we are living in our fixed home. Now that we're back in the motor home for the summer I have dozens of things to write about. At home I've been busy settling in for two years now, kind of like a dog turning around several times before it finds just the right spot to lay down. During this period of settling in I am afraid that I've been pretty much ignoring the motor home through the winter. It's plugged in and we keep minimal heat and air condition

tbutler

tbutler

 

Signs of Recovery on the Road

We have traveled 6500 miles so far this summer. One of the things we have noticed while on the road is that there seem to be many more motor homes on the road this year than in years past. I can recall the days when we considered purchasing a motor home and then first hit the road. We would drive down any road and see lots of RV's of all kinds. Then the industry fell on hard times. Fuel prices went up and motor homes pretty quickly disappeared from the roads and highways. We traveled through New

tbutler

tbutler

 

The F in FMCA

Louise’s mother, Irene, lived in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, for many years. When we visited her one of the things she would always talk about was the production of her fruit trees. She kept count of the number of oranges, lemons and grapefruit that each of her three trees produced. We used to laugh about her recordkeeping tendencies. She did serve as the chief accountant for the Denver airport for many years, so she came by the recordkeeping honestly. Tonight as I was recording our mileage for

tbutler

tbutler

 

Don't Just Sit There

Two years ago studies came out that identified one of the most dangerous items we use daily. It is an item that we all enjoy and doesn’t seem that dangerous at all. It isn’t cigarettes or liquor. It isn’t fast cars or fast women! One of the most dangerous things for people is the chair you are sitting in right now as you read this. Yes, I too am sitting in a chair as I write this. We all love to sit in chairs. Chairs are in front of TV’s and that is a glorious reason for sitting in a chair. Chai

tbutler

tbutler

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