Saturday, November 14, 2009

# 29 Still Alive In The Golden Years

It has been a while but I am still alive and kicking. Well I'm not kicking so much right now. It seems that I have thrown out my back again and have been bed ridden for the last week. Another spinal injection is scheduled and hopefully I can get back on my feet again.

The previous weeks have been busy if not eventful. Life still is full of day to day chores like cleaning and shopping. Our youngest granddaughter turned 3 and Granddad & Grandmom decided to take her out for the day. Lunch, a movie, and a trip to the toy store to make a list for Santa. Science needs to learn how to bottle the energy of a 3 year old because Granddad & Grandmom were beat by the end of the day.

The first of November was Bike Nite in Plant City. It was a great ride & we saw some awesome bikes. There were also a number of groups organizing rides for different charities. We always like to help out those less fortunate and we will get to ride our bikes around FL at the same time. With the holidays rapidly approaching we will try to schedule as many rides as possible. This all hinges on how my back responds. Mary has also started playing Bingo with the old ladies. I don't see me joining in, so I will have to find myself a hobby.

Well, wish me well with my back and I will keep everyone up to date. Until then we will be home in Largo FL because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, October 24, 2009

#28 Do We Know How To Retire?!?!?

Well, we have been back in FL about 3 weeks and have we been having fun! First we arrived at our old site, then we decided to move to another site, had to do some re-arranging, tree trimming, and leveling on the new site. I hurt my back and had to get an appointment for a spinal injection. A week of nothing until the shot and then some relief. Mary has been having some foot issues for a while and it was coming to a head. It was time to take care of that. Schedule the foot surgery and live with her nerves until the big day. Finally the day is here and she is dreading having her toe "CUT OFF"! Not quite, it was an ingrown toe nail that was getting very painful and needed to be dealt with. Surgery was a success but she is not able to wear shoes for a little while. Let's see what else we can dream up for fun. Oh yeah, Mary has developed "trigger thumb" and needed a shot of cortisone and possibly surgery for that down the road. Next we have dentist appointments, annual physicals(with all the appropriate tests), and we might as well throw in a colonoscopy just for giggles!!!!

I always laughed about the T-shirt that made fun of the "Golden Years". You know the one that talks about bladder issues, prostrate problems, vision, memory and hair loss,not to mention the aches, pains and all the other joys of aging. Right now I am not laughing. I AM accepting, but not laughing about the fact that we are getting older. When did that happen? Really our health is reasonably good, but things happen and they have to be taken care of. It just seems that it all happened at once. The good thing is it will all be taken care of at the same time so we can get back to enjoying life.

We saw the kids and grand kids and are looking forward to spending time with them throughout the holidays. The Snow Birds are starting to arrive and there will be good times to be had with them also. And then there are our friends whom we have missed while we were gone. The time will fly and it will be April before we know it and we will be on the road again to seek out more adventures. If you have been following us on line and are in the area I hope we see you soon. But if that doesn't happen I will keep in touch with the blog and Mary on Face Book and you can join us through the Internet in our home where ever it maybe because.....

Home is where we park it,
Fran & Mary

Sunday, October 11, 2009

#27 October??

I know when you retire that days and weeks sometimes run together. You wake up and don't know what day it is or the week gets away from you, but I think I have lost track of the seasons! We headed back to Florida figuring that it would be October and the weather would be cooling down some. Instead we are greeted by highs in the 90's and overnight lows in the mid 80's. What's going on? Is it still summer or did we miss winter completely? I am tempted to hook up and head north for another month or two. 10 days ago we are enjoying highs in the low 70's and lows in the low 40's and now I am sweating so much I am showering 3 times a day!!!!! In the future we may spend less time in Florida than we planned.

Anyway, we are here and are getting together with friends and family. We are looking forward to our "snow bird" friends returning and being able to participate in more of the activities that go on during their stay. The holidays are always highly anticipated and more so now that as retirees we can spend more time with our family, especially the grandchildren. There are a few things I would like to look into as hobbies to fill in some of the down time as well as some things that just need to be done.

Speaking of things that need to be done, we are going to start a diet. Yes I am going to try to lose some of the blubber but that is not what I am talking about. We are going to put the rig on a "diet". There are too many "things" that we carry around that we don't need. They take up much need space and add too much weight, all of which makes for inefficient RVing. Less weight means better fuel mileage and safer traveling. Being overloaded is one of the most common problems facing RVers. Having more space will make it easier and more efficient to set up and tear down camp as we travel. So this is a win-win situation. Full time RVers are known for their freeing themselves from being slaves to "stuff", so this will probably be an on going process as we travel. Well we have work to do, so until next time.

Home with our friends & family in Largo FL because....
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, October 3, 2009

#26 Heading to Florida

We are heading back to FL for the winter. This will be home for the next 6 months. We spent the last 6 days in Celina OH. The high during that time was 70 degrees and the low was 38 degrees. Now we are in FL and the temperature is in the 90's. PEOPLE, it's October! I was hoping it would be a little cooler by now. Oh well that's what AC is for.

Ohio was the last state that seemed to be taken over by corn. I don't know if anyone has coined the term but with that much corn growing over your head I think I was suffering from "Corn Claustrophobia". When I left Florida I had a case of "Flatland Fever". This country is so big that it is possible to overdose on it. It's a classic case of too much of a good thing and I am going to enjoy every bit of it!

Our time in FL will be spent getting in touch with friends and family. We will also be cleaning and working on the rig to make it more efficient on the road. There will be some day trips around the state to some of our favorite spots and others we just never seemed to have the time for. Other than that we will be doing the hum drum routine of being retired. So for now, even though our home is not permanently in Florida, we are now home in Florida because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

#25 Puttin' On The Rally Hat, Gloves, Scarf....

Here we are in Celina OH. We are participating in the Gypsy Journal RV Rally. This is a collection of like-minded people and the vendors who sell products unique to our RV lifestyle. The weather has been just a tad bit colder than we are used to in Florida. Today's high was
55 degrees and the low tonight is expected to be 38 degrees. I have been wearing a jacket most of the time and I think Mary is wearing everything else in the trailer. With a t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, scarf, and hat she looks like a multi-colored Michelin Man. I have to give her credit for even going outside. The winds have gusted to 50+ mph so you know it felt a lot colder. Even the dog has adapted to the cold. Now her walks outside are purely business...out, squat, in, and that's it!

The rally itself has been a lot of fun so far. We have met some very nice and very interesting people. Full time RVers are a unique breed created by living in close quarters and ever changing neighborhoods. Mercer County Fairgrounds is our current home and has been very accommodating. There are as many different RVs as there are RVers. Motor homes of every description, 5th wheel trailers from 20' to 40', and a motor home that runs on vegetable oil! This has also been a learning experience. We are going to seminars on everything from RV fire safety to RV insurance and almost anything else RV related you can think of. There are also a hundred ways you can part with your money. Anything from must "haves" to "what do you do with that?". Self control is the policy of the day, but there is always tomorrow.

We will be here through the weekend and then we will move on. Where to? I'm not sure but our plan is still to be back in FL by November. Anything between Ohio and Florida is fair game. I will keep you informed as we make plans. Freezing our butt's off, in a field, at the fairgrounds, in Celina OH, this is home because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

#24 Making a House a Home

We are still in Elkhart and have been doing some shopping. After all, this is the "RV Capitol of the World"! Not only do they have RV factories, there are also RV accessory manufacturers, customizers, surplus parts warehouses, etc. An RV, like any home, starts out as a house, residence, or abode. You then make it your own and it becomes a home. Well, we have been doing just that since we bought our trailer. Little things like curtains, pictures, and other decorative touches. We have also done some plumbing and appliance upgrades. Now we are redoing some of the furniture. This is no small undertaking when you consider that all the furniture that comes with an RV is built in. This involves tearing out the old and custom building the new. If you didn't already know, the Amish are some of the finest craftsmen in the country if not the world. Their woodworking skills are more than skills, they are art. The install is planned for Friday and I will let you know how it went. We are excited about the improvement to come.

I also mentioned in the past that the food in Amish country is to die for. It might also kill me. We went to a family style, all-you-can-eat dinner today. Six hours later I still feel like I might burst. The food, while not fancy, is so good we couldn't say no when they asked if they could bring us more. When I found out that they didn't have a roll out service to get me to the car I had to stop, but not after some home made Dutch Apple pie. I had to try it, and it was worth it, but I could not finish it. So we stopped at the bakery and got a custard pie to go. I may never eat again after we leave here. I was just glad that I fit through the door to the trailer when we got home.

Well we have to get things packed so we can move the trailer. That's one of the nice things about living in an RV, when I need someone to work on my house I just bring it to them! After the furniture upgrade we will get ready to leave for Ohio. There is an RV rally put on by a couple who put out an RV newspaper called "The Gypsy Journal". We've met them before and look forward to seeing them again at the rally if they aren't too busy. We have volunteered to help so this should be interesting as well as fun. I will write more later. "til then.....

Continuing to make our house a home in Elkart because.....
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, September 18, 2009

#23 We Are NOT Alone!

It was an easy day's drive, even with staying off the interstate, and here we are in Elkhart,IN. We set up our rig and and met up with the organizer of the rally we are going to in Ohio. Nick is a fun guy to talk to and I hope we get to talk to him more before the rally. Heck, we even volunteered to help. As I have said in the past, this is the RV capitol of the world. I would guess that there are more RV manufacturers in this part of the country than anywhere else. RV's seem to be as common here as taxi's are in NYC. The looks we get on the road are more "what's different between our rigs" than "WOW, that is a big trailer". There is also that knowing nod between RVers that says "this is the life".

Being the RV capitol there are factory tours, dealers, parts warehouses, and accessory manufacturers galore! Sounds like there is some shopping to be done. Maybe some medium to large ticket items and upgrades. If we take the motorcycles maybe we won't buy things we can't carry. Yeah,right! We'll find a way. We are riding the bikes because the weather has been beautiful. Oh, did I mention this is Amish country. Interesting people, these Amish. A very different lifestyle, but as they say, "different strokes for different folks". Most of you know that Amish don't drive cars. Transportation is horse and buggy. That means that vehicle emissions are different than we are used to. Biodegradable, yes. Messy, yes. Pungent, OH YEAH! Add to that, we are on motorcycles and get to appreciate the aroma up close. Yuck! The crafts are beautiful and the cooking is all home made and out of this world. This is not the place to start a diet.

We did take the truck out this morning and found a couple of wholesale parts warehouses. Found several things we were looking for at a substantial savings. We had fun generally browsing through all the different parts from lights and cabinets to axle assemblies and waste water holding tanks. We also found a few things that will make some of our planned upgrades a little easier to do.

Tomorrow we stop being tourists and go back to being just retired. The day to day things that need to be done.Things like laundry, washing the truck & trailer, and the ever popular "honey-do" and project lists. There are fall festivals we will try to squeeze in along with a couple of factory tours. So, for now we are calling Elkhart,IN home because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

#22 Not Goodbye, See You On The Road

It has been 10 days camping at the "Good Friends Family Campground" but we must move on. Staying in our friends backyard and being able to spend quality time with the best of friends is worth more than gold. The great thing is that they will be in FL this winter so we can see them again. As long as there are roads ,RV friends will always be there. The "Good Friends Family Campground" will always get 5 stars.

We spent some time looking at property to possibly set up a home base for us with the rig. It is a nice neighborhood and has some interesting options. Foxy rode around in the golf cart and I think she is starting to wonder what has happened to her big truck with the big back seat. She likes to stretch out and the cart cramps her style. The boat ride on the lake, meeting the neighbors, and making real estate agent could do more. It is tempting but we shall see.

Our last day we spent mostly by ourselves. We took the bikes on some of the back roads between Indianapolis and Terre Haute. Yeah, they grow alot of corn but the countryside, small towns, and rural America at it's finest are something to see. After 110 miles we returned home, tired and needing to get ready to leave. More of our RV friends from this area showed up to say "Hi" and "Bye" and make plans to get together in the winter. We Snowbirds just have to flock together! We didn't make it to the charity run from the Indy Speedway but maybe another time.

The bikes have been stowed, laundry done, things packed to travel, and our last dinner with our friends before we hit the road. Tomorrow we head for Elkhart In, the RV manufacturing capitol of the world. There will be more friends, RVs to see, some factory tours, and modifications we are thinking about for the rig. A week or so there and then on to Ohio for an RV rally. More on that another time.

Although we are moving our home, from our friends home, to another place we will call home, we will always BE home because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

#21 Our Home/ Not Our Home

Well here we are in Poland IN. It is a quiet little community that shows me why some people like to live away from the hustle and bustle of urban and suburban life. It's not cliche when you say everyone knows their neighbor. This is how I remember neighborhoods when I was a youngster. At night the sky is so clear I think you can see every star in the heavens.

Our home on wheels is now parked in our friends backyard. A hose and an extension cord and we are good to go. I know it is their home but we are still in our home, and the best part about it is these are such good friends that they make us fell like their home is ours. This stop is for visiting and enjoying their company and no more. That is as it should be. We did take a trip into Indianapolis to visit the Speedway and museum. It was pretty cool to see it in person after all the years of watching it on TV. Mary and I have the opportunity to go on a charity motorcycle ride that starts from the Speedway and is supposed to include a couple of laps around the race track itself. Helping charity and driving on the most famous racetrack in the world? How can we pass that up. I will let you all know how it went later on.

We will be spending about a week here and will miss our friends when we leave but, they are RV friends and we will see them again in the winter when they come to FL. Like I said in another Blog, RV friends are the best. It doesn't matter how long it is between meetings it's like it was yesterday. We will spend the rest of our time here talking, laughing, eating, and just being happy having such good friends.

Well as Jim Nabors sings at the Indy 500 every year we are "Back Home In Indiana" because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, September 5, 2009

#20 A Milestone?

20 Blog posts, and I didn't think that I would have enough to write about! I know when it starts feeling less and less like a vacation there will be less to write about. We shall see...

Back to Louisville. I forgot to tell you that we went to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. The grounds are impressive with the landscaping, historical monuments, and the buildings themselves. Walking through the paddock area you think the place is huge until the driving tour takes you around to the back stretch. Then you see all the real behind the scene areas. 40 plus barns with 20 stalls to a barn. You do the math. Then there are quarters for the stable hands, all the maintenance buildings, and other associated facilities. Modernization and expansion is inevitable but the local historical societies stopped any proposed changes to the famous "Double Spires". The new parts on either side of the spired area dwarf the old grandstand but it makes it no less impressive.

Today it was wineries!!! 80 miles, 3 wineries, 3 different wine tastings, several gallons of wine in the back seat, and a nice buzz. All in all a good day. Some of these wineries are not exactly on the beaten path. Narrow winding roads getting narrower and narrower, nothing and no one in sight, and I am starting to hear banjo music. Sorry about the stereotype from the boy from NYC. After the roads get to their narrowest they disappear! Now it's just gravel and dirt! Eventually there is a building with some good wines and the nicest people. It was a long day and with a fair amount of wine samples consumed we thought it best to go home. Mary fell asleep on the way(see buzz) and when we got back to the trailer she was ready for another nap. So was I!

Well, we are getting some things packed for our morning departure so I will call it a day. We will be calling Poland IN our home next because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, September 4, 2009

#19 Speaking On-line W/ A Big Stick

Here we are in Louisville KY, our new home for 3 days. We are in a KOA (Kampgrounds Of America) that resembles an RV parking lot. The rigs are squeezed in like giant sardines! I'm glad this is only 3 days, but it is as they say"location, location, location". 5 minutes and it's "hello downtown Louisville".

On the way as we approached Bowling Green KY we started to notice a lot of Corvettes on the road. We started to count(it was easy since they were caravaning)and came up with about 150! At the rest stop Mary meet one of the 'Vette owners and found out that it was the 15th anniversary of the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green and that the group we saw was 178 strong from FL & GA. We passed the museum and the grounds were covered in 'Vetts! Then we saw another group coming from the north w/ a police escort and counted another 120+!! We understand that they were expecting several thousand over the weekend. It would be something to see but we wanted to get on our way.

Those of you who know Mary know that she just thinks pigs are the cutest things around, after your's truly of course. Well we came across a livestock truck loaded with them and she started squealing like a little piggy herself. I think she was trying to communicate. I didn't have the heart to remind her they they all had names like "Bacon", "Pork Chop", & "B-B-Q". She knows, but tries not to think about that. To her there is no connection between her favorite pork product and Wilbur the Pig.

Growing up playing Little League baseball you learn Louisville Slugger is something you have just got to have, so here we are where they are made. The factory tour and museum were awesome. How they went from making 1 bat in 30 min. to 1 bat in 3o sec. is cool. More unbelievable is how they were able to duplicate bats by hand and eye in the old days. For those of you Rays fans we saw BJ Upton's bat from his post-season tear of 7 home runs. We also saw them making bats for Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria. How cool is that, especially if you're a fan. I had heard that in the past the vault with all the individual players original bats(the ones used to make duplicates when a player needed them) was off limits for the public. Now that all the dimensions for these bats are computerized you can go in the vault and handle the originals made for each player. It was neat to be able to hold the bats that were handled and specified by each player. I personally held bats for Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Pee Wee Reese, and Hank Aaron. What can I say,COOL!

Tomorrow we will check out some wineries and farm stands and then Sunday it's on to friends who live near Indianapolis.

"Til next time...we are home in Louisville because.....
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Thursday, September 3, 2009

#18 Just a Short Note

This is a rare morning Blog. Most times I write at the end of the day but today is different. We were supposed to leave this morning but it has been raining all night and it is still going strong. Loading the bikes and hooking up are not fun in the rain so we are thinking about waiting a day. After all we are on no particular schedule.

Back to Nashville...Once we decided not to see the nite-life of the country music scene, the Country Music Hall of Fame was next on our list. Now, I like country music but only over the last 15 years or so. The HOF has a lot of artists and memorabilia from the 50's,60's, & 70's. Not a lot that I know about but Mary was raised on that stuff by her grandparents. So on we went. The place is pretty cool but again, if your not up on the old stuff it gets kinda ho hum. We took a break to go feed the parking meter and have some lunch. On our return we were told that they were recording an episode of "Crook & Chase", a talk show that has country music stars as their guests. Our tickets to the HOF gave us admittance to the taping. The guests were Wynonna Judd
and Chris Young. Wynonna, eh. Chris Young, cool! The show was pretty cool. We have been to a TV taping once before but this was different. A couple of years ago we saw David Letterman and his show is taped just as you see it on TV plus a warm up act and the band playing during commercial breaks. This show did all the interviews first and then the acts played at the end. They then piece it together to look like it was taped live. The whole experience was neat and was definitely the highlight of the day! We went back into the museum and saw the rest of the artifacts and called it a day. We actually had been there over 5 hours, so it must have pretty interesting after all.

Uh oh, I've got to go. It seems that the sun is starting to come out and we are going to be leaving after all. Finish breakfast, clean up, hook up, and loading the bikes can take an hour or two so I had better get going.

Getting ready to leave our home in TN for our home in KY because....
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

#17 Still At Home

Yes we are still at home, no we aren't still in NC. We made the trip to Nashville TN in 6 hours. Not bad when you consider that we are towing our house behind us! We also make frequent stops to stretch our legs and let Foxy out to do what she does. Besides that, we are in no rush to get anywhere anymore. Again, another perk of not having a job that you have to get back to. I know I go on about being retired and some of you may be getting tired of hearing it, but, what I want you all to know is how great it is and that I hope that someday all of you can experience it yourselves. So, forgive my excitement about being retired and keep your dreams alive for your future what ever it may be.

We are at a campground just outside Nashville, at a substantial savings in camp fees. After we set up the rig we took the bikes into Nashville just to look around and to get our bearings. Walking down Broadway we passed the bars and "honky-tonks" with all the wanna-be country music stars. You know, the ones who think they sound just like George Straight or Reba McEntire but sound like a cat in a blender. Occasionally you find one that does sound like the stars or better yet have a good sound of their own, but they are few and far between. If it was easy we all would be recording stars! It was fun because we enjoy country music but as we walked down the street we realized that the bar/club scene was not for us anymore. A good concert with people our age(not that I'm saying we're old) and like tastes is more our style.

Well it has been along day, what with all the traveling and setting up, not to mention I missed my nap.... I did tell you that I now take naps?..... I will sign off for now in the same house in our new home in Nashville TN because........

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, August 30, 2009

#16 Goodbye NC

Tomorrow we leave NC and head for Nashville TN. We have had a blast here in the Smokey Mts. The scenery, the weather, the riding, and the people made it a memorable stay. We will return. Our friend, Kenny, was the perfect host. His campground was ideally located for our adventures and had a view to die for.

Before we prepared to leave we made a trip into Cataloochee Valley, which is part of the Smokey Mt Park system. The elk are back! They have been reintroduced into the area and seem to be thriving. These animals are something else to see. We can get within 50' of them from the road at times. I now know what the word magnificent means. Some of the adult males have antlers that must be 5' wide and 3' tall. That was the interesting part of the trip. The wide eyed, grip the arm rest, heart stopping part was the ride there. Imagine, if you will, turns so tight that you can see your own butt going the other way! How about two way roads that are no more than 10' wide, and by the way are dirt and gravel unless you are brilliant enough to go on a drizzly day when they turn to mud! And add to that the locals that seem to think this ideal road(NOT!) is perfectly suited for 30' horse trailers. Oh, and one more thing...we were in our F550 dual rear wheeled truck. You all know, the one that resembles a small semi! At least once I know that one of my rear dual wheels was hanging off the side of the mountain with nothing below for 50-100 feet. Well we survived, but new Fruit-of-the-Looms are in order.

We spent the morning riding the bikes on the Blue Ridge Pkwy and coasting down "Wheeeeeee Hill". That is what we now call Soco Rd from Cherokee to Maggie Valley. Why? Well the road is 7 miles of 9% downgrade that with your clutch disengaged will allow you to go from 40mph to way to fast in no time. While this is happening all I hear in my intercom is Mary gleefully squealing "Wheeeeeeee"! At least I know that she is having as much fun as I am. The rest of the day we spent loading the motorcycles, packing away gear, and generally getting ready for our morning departure. Hopefully we are on the road by 9am, but you know what they say about the best made plans.

Well this is goodbye from NC, a great place to call home for a month, because....

Home is where we park it and next it will be Tennessee,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

#15 Starting To Feel Retired

It's been about a week since you last heard from me, and let me tell you why. After 3 months of retirement we are starting to get into retirement mode. At first it just seems like a long vacation but then you realize that vacations can't go on for ever. Think about what you spend on a week long vacation, now think about all that you do in that week, now try to imagine keeping up that pace and the associated expenses for 52 weeks a year! You will die of exhaustion if the money doesn't give out first. Now we do all the mundane, day-to-day things of everyday life without the headache of going to work 5 days a week.( I know. Me? 5 days a week? HA!) Toss in a hobby and some time to relax to take up some of the 40 hour a week grind and "Voila!" you have RETIREMENT! It gets a little boring but we are loving it.

This week was just that kind of week. We cleaned house, did laundry, finished washing the trailer & truck, talked to the kids, finished some projects, and went through the mail. Mail is different now. Since we are on the road our mail has to find us! Enter mail forwarding companies. These companies will set up an address for you, receive your mail, and hold it until you contact them with an address to send it to. It could be a friend you will be visiting, the next campground, or Post Office General Delivery. With proper planning your mail can be at your next destination before you are!

We now also have time to visit with friends. A 3 hour trip over to Charlotte NC would be difficult to squeeze in to a work week but not now. In fact with no real schedule we made it a 2 day trip. There was time to catch up with some really good friends and relax without having to worry about rushing back. The time went by quickly but we made tentative plans to get together again, whether in Charlotte or somewhere out on the road. Back at home we needed a day or two to wind down(HaHa) and get a few more things done on my project list. Today we were planning on taking the bikes out for an hour or so. 7 hours later we had ridden up to Clingmans Dome, climbed the trail up to the observation tower, climbed the tower, back down the tower & the trail, stopped to take pictures along the Smokey Mountain Hwy, hit the veggie stand and wound up at home! Whew!!! Clingmans Dome is at an elevation of 6643 ft. The trail is .5 miles and seems to go STRAIGHT UP! Hey, I'm a retiree! I'm too old to exert myself like this. I guess I'll just have to take a nap. Oh, that's another thing. I now take naps. Naps are GOOD!

Well it's nap time so I'll say goodbye for now. We will call NC home for one more week because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

#14 Reply, Reply, Reply!

Well I guess everyone has heard about my head vs trailer incident. Based on the comments and e-mails I am glad to hear that all are getting a little chuckle out of my pain. To those who say I should be slowing down in retirement, you have got it all wrong. Now is the time that I can go out and grab life by the horns, live life with gusto, not waste one precious day of my life. To those who have hinted that maybe Mary really is the one who gave me the conk on the noggin', knowing Mary, do you think that I would have gotten out of the hospital that quick? If Mary did it to me I probably did something wrong, after all I am the husband and as all husbands know,
"it's always the husband's fault". To all of you who suggested that I should permanently wear a hard hat of some kind...this is not the first knock on the head that I have had. Maybe all those lumps and bumps are what makes me the writer of such a spellbinding Blog!

Ok, lets Blog. Sunday we drove the truck (possible inclement weather) over to Hendersonville to see some friends that we met in our RV circle. That is the great thing about RVing. You meet the best people from all over the country and never feel like you really leave them when you travel. Like one of our RV friends said"RVers live in a neighborhood 3000 miles wide". On Monday we drove the truck to Ashville,home of the Biltmore Estate. A little too pricey for my taste to walk through America's largest home, so we drove into downtown Asheville. Disappointing. A small city with urban blight creeping in. There's always tomorrow. Tomorrow, Tuesday. We saddle up and head out to another stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The morning dew is still on the grass and the road, but the sun is rising and it is turning into a beautiful day. More mountains, twisting roads, and awesome vistas. I know I sound like a broken record, but after 20 plus years in flat Florida the mountains are breathtaking. We ride to the BRP Asheville visitor center, buy t-shirts, watch a movie and sit out a short rain storm. Heading home, the roads are wet so we stop for lunch. Discussing the fact that we have covered 85 miles of the parkway, we realize that when we ride the whole 469 miles plus 105 miles of Skyline Drive into Virginia we will have a real adventure to tell about!

As you may surmise, I am healing and can get my helmet over the added nugget on my head! I hope all are well and enjoying our Blog. Please write and let my know. Until the next time...

From NC for a few more weeks because ...
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, August 15, 2009

#13 "Cool" but Fuzzy?

Let's see, how should I start? Well I might as well do this backwards. On Fri I was getting the bikes cleaned up for a ride on Sat w/ some of the other bikers from the campground. While cleaning one of the bikes I stood up abruptly and my head was equally abruptly stopped by the hitch on the trailer. Ow *&$#%#&*!!!!!! I held my hand to my head and, WHOA!!!, lots of blood. Son of a *&$*@*@!!!!! Ice, compression, worry from the wife, and 2 hours later a trip to the ER. A choice, needles & staples or let it stop by itself. Since it had pretty much stopped already I opted for no more holes in my head. See, those people who say motorcycles are dangerous are right, but only if you CLEAN THEM! Saturday morning we skipped the ride only because my helmet wouldn't fit on my fat head with the recent incident's augmentation(aka bump-on-the-noggin).

OK, lets see if I can confuse you'all. That's Southernese for "everyone". I think I'm hangin' out in the hills a little too long.Back to Monday. Did some shopping @ the local veggie stand. Mary is loving the fresh produce and I am loving eating it! Fresh tastes sooooo much better. A little on-line shopping that night. Shopping, a way of life that just follows you where ever you go! Tuesday was a lazy day because it rained all day. Any day can be a lazy day if you don't have things to do. Wednesday we slept 'till noon since the morning brought more rain. After the sun came out we decided to wash the rig. Got halfway done and will finish the rest another day. The road grime isn't going anywhere.

Thursday we got up and wanted to go for a ride. Gatlinburg TN seemed like as good a destination as any. Waynesville to Cherokee on to 441 through the Great Smokie Mountains National Park. 441 follows 2 different rivers over the mountains, down the valleys, up and around curves and twisted roads that only a twisted mind on a motorcycle can appreciate. 30 miles later, Gatlinburg! For those of you from Pinellas County think John's Pass w/mountains. If I didn't mention it before Cherokee is John's Pass w/Indians. Everything has gotten so commercial that the journey has truly become more than the destination! As long as the natural landscape of this country remains, there will always be beauty to be seen from a motorcycle,RV, or car window when we travel. Our trip back was supposed to be a straight shot on I40. Surprise!!! I40 is not your typical 8 lane super slab of highway. It was mostly 2 lanes each way, again up and over and around mountains at a posted speed of 55mph(50mph for trucks). An hour later we pulled into the campground, looked at each other and couldn't bear to ask the other to cook dinner. With sore butts(150 motorcycle miles) we climbed into the truck and treated ourselves to dinner out. Afterwards we walked the dog, called it a night, and fell asleep to dreams of twisting mountain roads. We slept in Friday morning and that's where this Blog began.

Aside from the ER excitement, we are still having a blast and living it up in our home on wheels in NC because....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Sunday, August 9, 2009

#12 I Should've Retired Years Ago

Hope everyone is doing fine & enjoying the Blog. I thought an insight to our life style might be interesting. Mary says I am just bragging, so be it. We start each day in the morning, which a lot of you will undertsand is not normal for us. 30 years on the night shift & the concept of morning gets real blurry. Breakfast is now an everyday occurrance(see morning). Walking the dog is a must, it helps keep the trailer livable. Then the important decisions are made, what's for dinner, what do you want to do today, what time do you want to go to bed, etc.? Lately we take the motorcycles out everyday & see another stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is something to see & should not be missed if the opportunity arises.

I did mention the dog, right? You might have noticed the short, hairy, 4 legged peson in the profile picture. That would be Foxy. She is loved family member just like the kids, grandkids, & spouses. I think I am lower than Foxy on Mary's list, but I'm close! Foxy is 14 years old, a mix of Corgi & Chow & whatever, & has the sweetist disposition of any dog I have known. Most people who meet her agree! She travels well and might have a slight perpetual case of narcolepsy. This dog can sleep! The look on her face when we get up in the morning for the morning walk is priceless. A peek, a look over her shoulder, & a look that says "where the heck are we?". She does not like the water but is intrigued by it. My concern is that she will get too close & fall in & then the wet dog smell. Yuck!!!! We love her, but know that at the age of 14 her time is probably short. We will miss her but like "empty nest syndrome" life changes & a whole new set of opportunities will open up.

Today the dog has been walked, breakfast has been eaten, steak is for dinner, & we will be doing some laundry(still wearing clothes) & the rest of the day doing NOTHING!

Since we haven't moved, we are living the life in NC because....
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Just a short note. Some of you have asked about commenting on the Blog so I have enabled the comment section. I look foward to your comments, it lets me know if anyone is enjoying my Blog. Please keep it clean so I don't have to shut it down!

Thanks from NC...still ,because....

Home is where we park it,

Frank &Mary

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

#10 Retirement, Aahhhh

Well here we are in Waynesville NC. The plan is to be here a month & I don't see that being a problem. Our rig is parked in a site that backs right up to Jonathan Creek. Lounge chairs, camp fire, babbling creek, a drink in my hand...that's the life.

First I have to take care of some business. Apparently someone felt neglected when I said that we spent time w/ family on the east coast of FL because she wasn't mentioned by name. Yes we were visiting uncles, but I forgot to mention that my daughter,Jessica, also was there. She also brought Jim(friend/family). I hope this makes up for any slight that my have occurred.

Now back to our adventures. When we set up in NC Mary found a stowaway. While she was in the shower she was accosted by a Florida lizard. I guess the lizard wanted to go on vacation. After 5 days of lizard terror(sounds like Godzilla) the hitchhiker was banished from our home. Apparently Mary is going to have her own version of "Wild Kingdom". One day while riding our bikes around the mountains she captures the elusive NC Yellow Jacket, IN HER MOTORCYCLE JACKET!!!! After being stung twice & screaming obscenities over her microphone, she stopped,killed the bee, and swore vengeance on all flying /stinging creatures on Earth.

On another tangent, we have 4 grand kids, all living in FL. As dutiful Grandparents we spoil them in any way possible. Now we have to spoil them from afar, which means buying & shipping gifts from wherever we are. Needing to send a package we prepared for our trip to the Post Office. Gifts, packing, tape, name tags, etc. We arrive @ the PO... name tags on gifts, gifts & packing in box, box sealed & taped uhhh...Mary's address book is @ home. Ooops! Mary waits, Frank runs back to the trailer for the address. 57 total years in the Post Office & we don't remember that you need an address to ship a package. We're retired, we don't have to remember anything!

Well I am going to sign off for now, but I will return. I don't remember everything that has happened(see above) but when I do I will add it to the Blog.

From our home in Waynesville NC because,

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Thursday, July 30, 2009

#9 North Carolina

We left Ashburn which was only a stopover. Next stop...Winder GA. Awesome state park for RVs. Fort Yargo State Park had huge RV sites, trees, a lake and it wasn't 90 freakin' degrees!!! The site had water & electric, but no sewer hook-up. We don't have to empty our waste water tanks but every 4-6 days depending on usage.

This brings us back to RVer self entertainment. I got myself a new toy! Remember that clear plastic tube that offers a wonderful view of the sewage dumping? Well I've gone one better. I have added a macerator pump. Think garbage disposal for poop!?!?! It grinds all the sewage solids & pumps it through a 3/4" hose instead of the standard gravity drain 3" hose. It also will pump the ground-up sewage up hill!!! Why, you ask is that important? Well with no sewer hook-up you have to move your whole RV to the remote dump station or use a portable waste water tank. The macerator(AKA "Poop Shooter") will pump the waste up into the portable tank in the back of the pickup truck which is much simpler to drive to the dump station. Voila! Poop is gone!!!

Ahh, the joys of RVing. And to think this is the life we voluntarily are living and enjoying!

Our business complete in Winder GA, we head to Cherokee NC area. Arrive safe & sound and see a friend we planned to meet. We will stay in the area for a month and check out the local attractions. I will keep everyone up to date on our adventures. Until then.....

Home is where we park it

Frank & Mary

Monday, July 27, 2009

#8 Leavin Florida?

Well, we spent two days visiting with the uncles. Reminisced(a bit much), laughed(a bit more), & ate(WAY TOO MUCH!). Left the east coast and headed to Ocala for a final safety check on the rig before we hit the road. Everything checked out except for the brakes. It's always something! The brakes turned out to be a minor issue, but took some time & labor before we could leave. I was determined that I was leaving FL today, so we left Ocala and headed 80 miles into GA before stopping. I am out of FLORIDA for the next 3 months!

We have been using our new satellite TV and are enjoying it in ways you wouldn't believe. First of all, you have to understand that RVers find novel ways to amuse themselves. If any of you have seen Robin Williams in "RV" then you must remember the "poop " scene. Well instead of the mess, insert a clear plastic piece of tubing so you can see what is being dumped. Watching and critiquing while the dumping process is going on can be disturbingly fascinating! That is old hat now. We have an automatic satellite dish! On a brick & stick house a satellite dish is aimed once & you are done. When your house is on wheels every time you park, the satellite dish has to be re-aimed. Our new dish stands itself upright, rotates to find a satellite, & then fine tunes it's direction & elevation so the signal can be received. This process can take 5 to 10 minutes. Imagine if you will two RVers(who will remain nameless) powering up the satellite dish and then running outside to watch the show! Hopefully the novelty will wear off or we will find a new diversion before too many people think we are completely bonkers.

Tomorrow we will head farther into GA, take care of some business, and then on to the mountains of NC for a little bit of doing nothing. Till our next post.....

Home is where we park it (for tonight it is Ashburn GA)
Frank & Mary

Thursday, July 23, 2009

#7 On Our Way

We packed everything away , hooked up our rig, & left Largo by 11:00AM. I have decided that we have too much "STUFF"! That means,if I want to get rid of some of "our" stuff I will have to start with "my" stuff. Living "Full Time" in an RV means having minimal amounts of stuff,only necessities. Uneventful trip to the east coast, but are looking foward to spending time with family.

This retirement thing can be addicting. Get where you get when you get there, hanging out by the pool, cruising around (on motorcycles) just to check out the neighborhood, or just doing nothing.

We will be visiting for a few days & then on the road!

Till my next post, Frank & Mary @ home on the East Coast because...
Home is where we park it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

#6 YEEHAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK , I am going to try this Blog thing seriously now. June 1st I was officially retired!We are planning some serious traveling now! We will be crossing Florida to see some family, then to GA for some personal business, next NC near Cherokee to see friends and stay for a while. We are planning on staying in NC for about a month. After that, Ohio, Indiana, Arkansas, Texas, & who knows where. People always ask where we are headed and I always answer "which ever way the truck is pointed.

We have spent the last month getting everything ready to travel. Planning for our mail to be fowarded, bill paying set up, servicing the truck & trailer, etc. It looks like we are just about ready. July 22 is our scheduled departure or as we like to call it, the beginning of an adventure, our new life on the road!

I will try to update more regularly, heck I'm retired. What else do I have to do? Keep up with our travels and find out. To all our friends at work, we do miss you and hope you will keep in touch and we will try to do the same.

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Thursday, April 30, 2009

#5 Update

Just trying to keep all updated. Mary has to try harder to stay healthy.She fell and will need surgery! My retirement is looking more and more iminent. The plan is still to hit the road permanently in the spring. We will try to take a few trips this fall to get ready for our new full time lifestyle. Here's hoping Mary stays healthy and we can start this next stage of our lives.

Home is where we park it
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

#4 It's Been a While!

I know that it has been a while since my last post. Not a lot has happened in regards to our future adventures and I was a little depressed about that. Mary had some medical issues that forced her to leave her job and that saddened me even more(her health and the fact that we worked together and I would miss her while I worked). Well things are starting to progress again and I will try to post more often. It looks like I may retire a little sooner than I thought(a good thing) and our life on the road will be on track again.

We will begin preparing the rig for full time travel. That includes getting rid of non-essentials to lighten the load. The problem as with any married couple is that my non-essentials are not the same as Mary's. There will be some discussion, haggling, arguing, debating and most of all compromising. We will try to keep you informed of our progress.

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary