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About joanesh

  • Birthday July 19

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Pennsylvania (southeastern)
  • Interests
    Travel, Hiking, Kayaking, Birding, Photography, Reading, Knitting
  • I travel
    With Pets

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  1. Jumping in late, as I just returned to the forums. We headed to Cherokee, NC, and ended up with spectacularly clear skies. Our 40 seconds of totality there were just amazing. Well worth the long drive for a short stay, as Pennsylvania was only in the 75% range. (Besides, we needed an excuse for another higher-mileage excursion to continue to put our purchased-new-in-April Bounder.) The atmosphere at the RV campground felt like one big happy family of humanity -- all together sharing the wonder. A really moving experience. The picture attached here is of a small group of us (that is a blurred me turning to run for my DSLR camera, which I had put back on the picnic table in the shade because of how sunny and hot it was just moments before) during the first moments of totality (Howee in the background -- Howee is our "Home On Wheels [for] Esherick's Explorations" (what we named our RV). Notice Howee's interior lights and our mosquito lanterns glowing on the table -- this was 2:36 p.m. EDT at totality, moments before it was sunny with a cystal blue sky). FYI, the lighting in this picture is accurate. And those are complete strangers in the chairs -- just hanging out with us because we had one of the few unobstructed views of the eclipse from our campsite. LOL... it really was just like one big family event (the whole campground erupted in a cohesive cheer when the moon finally competely covered the sun). And, lest anyone is concerned, we had the NASA approved glasses and special certified solar eclipse binoculars and certified solar filters to protect the sensors in our cameras, all of which we could remove safely during the few moment of totality (which is why you don't see them in the pic). We did get some amazing photos. All that is to say, the RV community we experienced during the eclipse reminded me once again of how small our world really is, and how big our capacity is to welcome each other. Great fun! Happy trails, all! Joan
  2. @elkhartjim: Thank you for the assurance; I didn't really think you had anyone in mind in particular (especially me). But your post did make me wonder if those that had so kindly welcomed me (us, my DH and I) and who had taken the time to provide advice and suggestions felt overlooked or taken advantage by my lack of reply. I just wanted to assure them (if they read this) that it was technology (and not a lack of appreciation) that kept me from replying. You're absolutely right, though, about not knowing if what folks take time to suggest is actually of any real help if there's no feedback. Feedback is hugely helpful. We all have so much we can learn. @jleamont: I still have your list of suggested campgrounds and the ideas you suggested when you PM'd me from when we were both encountering forum difficulty (I have them copied and saved to my RV file). I so appreciated your time and effort (and I remember how you spent so much time on the one reply only to have it disappear!). But you persevered! Thank you so very much! @wayne77590 I've just got to remember to use Notepad. I forget. But I have started just doing "select all" and "copy" my messages before I post them, just in case. I'm glad and encouraged to hear you haven't had many issues in the forums (gives me hope that I just happened to jump in at an unusual time for forum maintenance). @kaypsmith : So glad to hear the forums are running smoothly now. I really feel for IT guys, professional and volunteer alike (but especially volunteers). Kudos to them for their diligence and hard work; we wouldn't have a forum without them! I'm delighted to find things working again (and even more delighted to hear that maybe the bugs then were an anomaly and that there's hope for regularly functioning FMCA forums!). I am glad to be back. Thank you all for the welcome back! Good to "see" everyone. I hope you've all had a summer filled with fun, wonder-filled adventures! All the best to you, Joan (EDITED to add: I have no idea why my fonts look funky and the one looks bolded...lol.... so sorry!)
  3. Hello, all! Just a newbie perspective here (one who might be thought of as a one-time poster). Back in late April, I posted two threads (I think, as I recall), one as an introductory topic (we had just joined FMCA and I was introducing myself and my husband, our new RV, etc), and one as a newbie asking for tips/advice you'd give first-timers ("if there was one thing you would advise....") as we were taking our new RV out for our maiden solo voyage. Many of you replied. Your replies to my inquiry (about advice to newbies) were terrific and thoroughly appreciated, and I went through your suggestions at that time and thanked you each (in the topic discussion itself) for your input and let you know how we planned to (or had already) applied your wise counsel. I had every intention of following up after our first solo trip with Howee (our 2017 Bounder 36H) to let you know how it went. I did. And I tried. Oh, how I tried and tried and tried again, losing attempted post after attempted post or finding error messages about forum maintenance when I'd return to try even again. I can't tell you how many lengthy posts I lost telling you all about how well our first solo trip went. I really wanted to let you know (we had a blast and it all went extremely well). I kept trying to post (I even tried removing my computer's browser and reinstalling, I tried alternate browsers, but I just kept getting error messages, or my post would "freeze" when I tried to enter it, and then I'd lost the post all together. There was clearly an FMCA forum issue. After two weeks, I just gave up (and, because I was new to the forums, I assumed that the issues were typical for the FMCA forum itself, and that perhaps the FMCA forum was going to be too glitchy to get involved with -- too frustrating and unpredictable). So I stopped trying. And I started lurking in other forums (but not engaging there like I had hoped to here). Imagine my delight when (now, a couple months later) I logged in today and found the forums up and running smoothly (I actually could log in, *gasp*, and I could actually could read the forums!) A pleasant surprise. And then I see this topic about one-time posters. Ruh-roh. I have to wonder if my not reporting after our first solo adventure (not for lack of trying, but because of forum issues) was interpreted as a user-mindset or as a lack of appreciation (it certainly wasn't that in my case). So, to those of you who may have felt *used* by my original inquiries, that was never my intent. I'm so sorry if I made any of you feel that way. I really wanted to continue to interact with you (love your banter, btw), and I was excited to share our first adventure with you. But forum server glitches became a huge deterrent (for the two weeks I tried), so I quit trying. I do hope the forum glitches are over with now (gosh, I so hope this post actually goes through). Maybe forum glitch isn't the norm here? In any case, back to topic at hand, if that happened to me, I wonder if any of the one-post-users you're wondering about had similar forum-posting frustrations with the server to keep them from replying. Just as I did. Just a thought (I'm a hopeless believer in giving the benefit of the doubt). Again, my apologies. And you have my gratitude for your help getting us started on the right foot! We've had some adventures since then... ai yi yi... some wonderful, some not so wonderful, but we're loving our MH! All the best to you, and thank you again, Joan
  4. @hermanmullins No, unfortunately he wasn't. In fact, we're the first RVers in the extended family. We have a family cottage on a family lake, and have had so for generations, so no one ever felt the need to do anything else. We, however, though we love the cottage and the lake, have the travel bug. There is so much world to explore and see; so very much to learn. We want to do so while we're young enough and healthy enough to travel. We can hang out on the glider at the cottage when we're old. So, no Hermans from my fam were ever in FMCA (nor any one else from my family of which I'm aware). We're the family trailblazers! Thanks for the suggestion though! Joan
  5. @WILDEBILL308 We're making the toad decision soon (not towing on our maiden voyage -- figured we had too much to figure out without that, too). Right now we're trying to decided between a dolly and a trailer. We have two cars we're deciding between to be our toad: my DH's 91 VW Diesel Jetta (standard transmission, front wheel drive) that weights 3000 lbs.; and my 2011 Subaru Outback (automatic with manual transmission option -- I can flip back and forth between automatic and standard; all-wheel drive) that weighs 3500 pounds. The dolly would be for the jetta; the trailer would be for the outback. There seem to be pros and cons to each. Any thoughts? We were just going to go with the dolly/jetta, but we're kayakers. And my outback is already all set to haul kayaks, and it's all-wheel drive (useful for muddy river access points). So we're torn. The subaru/trailer weight combo would be 4500 pounds; the jetta/dolly weight combo would be 3700 pounds (somewhere around an 800-pound difference give or take depending on exact models). That seems significant to me, but maybe it isn't. Ack! So many decisions. But there is no rush on this one. We don't expect to tow anything until the end of July. But trying to weigh (no pun intended!) our options. And insight would be hugely appreciated. Thanks, Joan
  6. @obedb Thank you for the welcome and the advice. Keeping a happy face here! @WILDEBILL308 Thank you again, for your replies both here and on my other post. Lots of great information there, and I will plow through it. So helpful! A couple of quick questions, if you don't mind: 1.) We *do* have a surge protector, but it is built in (not portable). Do you think we should have a portable one as well? 2.) Regarding on the water pressure regulator, would you recommend the adjustable kind with gauge or just the standard? @lmsooter Thank you for reminder about lists. I saved some to PDF that I found on a website somewhere (it's all a blur, lol!), so thanks for mentioning those; I'll print them out and put them on a clipboard. @manholt All great tips, thank you. And thanks for the encouragement for me to drive. I am, but I'll admit I'm still a little intimidated (getting more comfortable as I practice). Everyone in my family and circle of friends is astounded, even shocked, that I'm driving, too (what? little ol' me? short round Welsh grandmother me? me drive?!). But I'm bound and determined to relieve DH, even if it's only on long stretches of Interstate. I'm getting less intimidated the more I do, and will be sure to practice more. @kaypsmith Thank you for your welcome and encouragement. Love the idea of camping in the driveway and using the house as only a store. And I appreciate learning that our lists will be fluid and subject to change. I suspect I'll be changing those lists for a few years! (Hey, that's why we're jumping in now: so we can have five years to practice traveling in the RV before he retires!). @aztec7fan Thank you. I so appreciate the encouragement to lower our driving-distance expectations and the "permission" (if you will) to sometimes drive under speed limit (60-65 mph). We're not getting any younger, and we're learning to "stop and smell the roses" much more. It looks like RVing will fit right into that philosophy! @nitehawk Oh my. I thought just going a 2-hour drive away, within towing distance of our dealer/garage was a reasonable first trip. We do plan to "camp" in our driveway, and to overnight at a campground just 5 miles up the road a few times before we undertake our 1000-mile trip later in the summer. But we thought that we'd need to drive at least a little ways on Interstate to get a feel for the rig and see how it performs on hills and such. The day before we leave on this maiden voyage, our salesperson (been selling Fleetwoods for decades -- an old fart like us) is going to give us a 5-hour tutorial on all the ins-and-outs of our specific rig (during which I will take copious notes and will video anything complicated). It's basically a boot-camp-training on Howee. I sure hope that's enough preparation. We thought doing it the day before would ensure the details were fresh in our minds; and our salesperson (same old fart) gave us his cell phone number so we can call him literally any time 24/7 during our trip for help (not to mention we have road assist if it's something mechanical). I figure we have to go sometime. But thank you for your concern! @FIVE Thank you for the list suggestions, and for the cautions about driving through CGs. I had no idea CGs did that along their roads. We''ll certainly be careful (DH is doing smaller road driving for now until I work up the nerve... lol....). Thanks! Everyone, thank you so very much for your input! If you think of anything else, feel free to keep it coming! I'm soaking it in here. I (or DH) have a few other very specific questions we'll post as we're able, if you all don't mind. Thank you for being so kind and welcoming! Now I'm back to working on my lists! LOL.... Joan
  7. Hi Bill, Glad to know we're not the only folks with a Bounder in FMCA. Yes, by waiting until 2017 we did end up with the 6-speed trans, and the autogenerator thingy that allows smooth/automatic transition between power sources (like my exact terminology there! ). And apparently a whole bunch of features that used to be options became standard in 2017 (those features were not as important to us --bells and whistles aren't our thing as we're more naturalists than techies). We did not order our Bounder, so what we saw is what we got (quite happily). We bought off the lot from a local dealer with a great reputation and with nine on-site full service bays for maintenance and repair (unusual in our region). After looking for sooooo long, when we walked into this specific RV, we just "knew" it was the one for us: had *every* thing we needed or that was important to us -- everything we were looking for, plus, lol...extras we really didn't care about, and we *liked* it -- what it looked like. Admittedly the size is big for just DH and I, but it will be just right when we have the kids and grands visiting. So far, the Bounder seems to handle very well (yes, I am driving it, too; I don't want DH to *have* to do all the driving; I'm happy to help out). DH drove trailers decades ago for North American Van Lines, and those skills seemed to have come right back for him. He's easing into driving Howee quite well and easily. I, on the other hand, am doing well but need more practice (mostly for confidence building). For now, I just do open road driving and leave the congested driving and in town driving to him. We've only taken Howee, who is stored at our dealer's lot, out on our local roads/highways just to get the feel of driving. We are picking Howee up the night before we're scheduled to leave so that we can load and hang out in it in our driveway for 24 hours before we leave. I love your suggestion to try living in it for a day or two at home. Great suggestion! I will make sure to have a pen and pad handy! Thanks for your encouragement, help, and welcome! Will report back after we return. Joan
  8. Carl, Thank you for your kind welcome. I am certain we'll have a ton of questions along the way. And beyond that, it's just nice to "connect" with other coach folks. Traveling in a coach seems like a completely different world and culture than other forms of camping. We hear it's a friendly, welcoming culture (so far it seems to be so), so I'm looking forward to making new friends along the way! Thanks again, Joan
  9. Herman, LOL, yes indeedy, I do. My dad passed over ten years ago now (wow... where did the time go?), and he was good man (not without his own demons as a WWII Korean War vet, but a good man nonetheless). "Handsome, Smart, Highly Insightful, and all around wonderfully good." Yup. That would be it. His namesake (my brother) is the just the same. Love(d) them both to pieces. Must be a Herman thing. I guess my grandfather and great-grandfather (the first and second Hermans in our line), both of whom I never knew, must have been the same. I'd like to think so anyway. Thank heavens there are still Hermans in this world! I will gladly welcome another in mine. *waves* Joan
  10. LOL... I like that tip, Kaypsmith. Keeping it all in perspective, eh? (It is actually good to know we should expect bad days now and again). Thanks much! And now I think I'll go order the DVD. Hehehe...
  11. Thank you, Herman! (that's my brother's and father's first name). Will do! Joan
  12. Hello all, I just introduced myself (and my husband) over in the FMCA Lifestyle/All About You forum, but thought I should post separately here for this topic. We're taking our new Fleetwood Bounder 36H Motorhome for its maiden voyage at the end of next week, and we'd love to hear any tips or wisdom you have for beginners. Though we have backpacked and tent-camped for decades, we are brand new to RV-ing, so any advice you can offer would be welcome and very much appreciated. FYI, we're only going 120 miles away for our first trip, we're going with experienced RVers, we have pull-through/full-hookup/big rig sites reserved, and we're only going for a weekend to put our new RV through its paces. But I don't even know what we should really do to test our rig on our maiden voyage. Any thoughts? Is there anything we should look for, check, or test (that might not be obvious) while pushing through the paces? What is your favorite tip (practical/to-do-or-not-do-item) to offer a newbie? What is one piece of advice/wisdom you would offer about RVing in a Motorhome? Is there anything we should absolutely *not* do or avoid? Are there campground etiquette issues about which we should be aware that are different for RVers (we *are* experienced tent campers)? If so, what are they? There is so much I could ask, but that will do for now, and any input is welcome. I'm am so excited about our new adventures (we both are), but I'm also quite aware that I don't even know what I don't know, and that feels a little intimidating. So I'm trying to learn as much as I can. Any help or insight you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so very much! Joan
  13. Hello FMCA forum friends-to-be (I hope), Just introducing ourselves here. We are younger Boomers, living in southeastern Pennsylvania who plan to hit the road for months at a time in 5-7 years when Dear Hubby (DH) retires. After decades of backpacking and tent camping, and more recently, years of considering and looking at RVs, DH and I took the plunge and bought our first RV: a 38-foot class A motor-home/coach. We bought now (instead of waiting until retirement) because we wanted a few years to work any kinks out and to get our RV sea legs solidly beneath us with smaller-duration, shorter-distance trips before we plunge into the bigger, weeks-on-the-road trips of our golden years. And it's also a means to enjoy being with our adult kids and small grand-kids for a different kind of occasional family vacation. So, here are our RV details: "Howee" (yes, we named our RV Howee, short for Home On Wheels [for] Esherick's Explorations) is a 2017 Fleetwood Bounder 36H (gas automatic engine, 3 pull-outs). Yes, we bought new (no finger wags, please, as we know and usually follow the tried-and-true rule to never buy new, but after researching heavily, looking for years, considering our season of life/needs/budget, and our intended RV use, buying new ended up being the right option for us -- we finally found "the one" that is perfect for us). We purchased Howee last month, and we're taking him on his maiden voyage at the end of April. For our first trip, we're only going 120 miles away (to Gettysburg, PA) with friends who've been RV-ing for decades (they have a large 5th-wheel). That way we have help, if needed, from someone we trust who is experienced with RVs, and we're within a tow-able distance of our dealer/garage should anything unexpected happen. After Gettysburg, over the next 10 months, we have other longer-distance trips booked for more Howee adventures flying solo. We do expect to run into some kinks and bumps along the way, and they won't throw us (we're flexible, adaptable, and DH is a major fix-it/handyman kind of guy). But I am planning to post separately (either in the Type A forum or the General/Misc forum) to ask for tips from you all for our maiden voyage. Or for anything you feel we newbies need to know. I'll be posting in a few minutes there. For now, I was just taking a minute to introduce us (we're Don and Joan, btw) and our Howee to you all. Looking forward to our interactions here! *waves* Thanks so much, all, Joan (and Don) Esherick
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