Monday, May 31, 2010

# 67 Happy Memorial Day

First a Happy Memorial Day to all the veterans & their families. Next, to everyone, however you celebrate the holiday, take time to remember those who have & are serving our country in all branches of the armed services. As for me, I am going to rest & I will tell you why. I misspoke in my last 2 blogs. For some reason I decided to map out our treks around NYC on my mapping software. This was a mistake. Day 1 was not 2-3 miles, it was closer to 5 miles. Day 2 also was not the estimated 3-4 miles it was more like 8MILES! I feel more tired just knowing how much more we actually walked. Also Mary now swears that I was trying to kill her. I try not to mention that most of the things we saw were on her list of "must sees" because it wouldn't do me any good. After all as all husbands know, right or wrong, it's always the husbands fault.

Yesterday we spent on the motorcycles....destination, Long Island. I mean, come on, motorcycling is a lot easier than walking! Besides, Mary said she wanted to ride her bike in NYC. So off we went, through the Holland Tunnel, right into the Big Apple. No problem. This was going to be a fun day. A nice ride down West Shore Drive, through the Brooklyn/Battery Tunnel, & around Brooklyn to Queens. We made a quick stop at my Grandmother's cemetery. I don't know why, because I don't usually believe in that stuff. I feel that as long as I have memories I can keep my departed loved ones near, but something about her makes me stop by whenever I am in the area.

Anyway, except for the occasional "NY driver" the ride was nice. Memorial Day traffic to the beaches was heavy as expected but nothing to be worried about. We drove around my old neighborhood just to see how it has changed over the last 23 years. We stopped for lunch, went to a bakery I frequented way too often when I lived here, & did some sight seeing along the north shore of Long Island. It's a combination of quaint little villages & Gatsby-esque mansions. We stopped at Teddy Roosevelt's home at Sagamore Hill but opted for pictures & no tour. A tour would entail walking & that was a No-No for today. After that it was straight home. Ha Ha.

No problems until I got to Brooklyn. Of course I made a wrong turn & got lost. Several circles, bumper to bumper traffic, & Mary's hand was cramping up on the clutch lever. The day was suddenly getting longer & Mary's patience was getting shorter. We stopped & got directions from an MTA bus driver & were back on our way. The roads were some of the worst we had ever ridden on & it was still bumper to bumper. Finally the bridge into Manhattan & more B-B traffic. We take the scenic route through China Town to get away from a tour bus that is obviously lost & eventually find our way towards the Holland Tunnel. And we are home, right? WRONG! Not bumper to bumper, PARKING LOT!. Mary's hand is cramping worse, it is getting hot, & the motorcycles are over heating. So we pull over & let the bikes as well as us cool down. My hand was cramping up also but complaining wasn't going to make the situation any better, if you husbands know what I mean. I got us a couple of cold drinks & we sat & watched the traffic NOT move. We literally look at the same car for 20 minutes. We were having conversations with the people as the were "driving" by!

After cooling down for about 30 minutes we started the bikes & got moving. HA! We inched, or on a motorcycle walked, our way to the Holland Tunnel. Upon entering the tunnel, traffic was not much better & Mary's bike started to heat up & run rough again. About the middle of the tunnel it died & panic started to set in. Traffic also started to move so Mary calmed her self, managed to get the bike running, & without letting up on the gas kept it running until the breeze from moving got it to cool down some. Out of the tunnel into the approaching dusk we rode the last mile home. Home, where ever it is never looked so good. The bikes will get put away & probably won't see the light if day until Lake George.

As I said earlier, today is going to be a day to relax, which means laundry day. No walking, no biking, no touristing. Today we will be getting things together for our departure tomorrow. So today is my last blog from our home in Jersey City because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, May 29, 2010

# 66 Touristing Is Hard Work

Yesterday took it's toll. We were both sore & didn't want to get out of bed. So we slept in & had breakfast late. We finally talked ourselves into the walk to the NJ Path train to NYC. And the walking begins. We arrived at Penn Station & walk up Broadway, through Times Square, & on to Central Park South. Now we didn't just march the 30 blocks, we shopped, took pictures, & people watched. As far as I'm concerned NYC is the best place in the world to people watch. You never know what you will see & eventually you aren't even surprised! Well most of the time, but every once in a while you just have to shake your head.

Times Square is a moving sea of humanity & the best way to deal with it is to go with the flow. The theaters & billboards make it look like a never ending party. Central Park is a green paradise in the middle of the concrete canyons. Horse drawn carriages abound & add to the festive look with their flowers & decorations. Our next destination was St Patrick's Cathedral. Huge, massive, beautiful, amazing....what ever you call it, it is something to see. Next we headed over to the UN building. Not so impressive without all the flags flying. Then we headed all the way across Manhattan to the Hudson River. This week is Fleet Week in NYC & as usual the US Navy & Coast Guard were well represented. In addition to the Intrepid Air & Space Museum the Navy fleet was led by the USS Iwo Jima. This aircraft carrier dwarfed the Intrepid & is built with some of the salvaged steel from the World Trade Center. The ships, the sailors, & the Marines were impressive & a fitting start to the Memorial Day weekend. We decided to call it a day & headed back to Penn Station. The train ride back to NJ & the walk home from the station was about all I could handle. As they say, stick a fork in me 'cause I'm done!!!

I figured that we walked about 3 to 4 miles. So much for scaling back. Tomorrow we plan to take the bikes out to Long Island & my old stomping grounds. But first a good nights rest in our home in NJ, because...

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

# 65 Walk Walk Walk Click Click Click...Ouch!

Yesterday we got up early(this is starting to be a habit) & walked 1/2 mile to the water taxi. This boat took us to the ferry from NJ to Ellis Island. Ellis Island was eye opening. What these people went through was beyond comprehension. The hardships & emotional stress to start a new life makes you wonder how bad it must have been where they left. Leaving Ellis Island on the ferry to Battery Park in NYC. We walked through the financial district, past the NY Stock Exchange down to the South Street Seaport. Think a waterfront business district turned into a Yuppie tourist shopping mecca. After lunch we walked across Manhattan zig-zagging our way towards the ferries at the World Financial Center.

Now you have to remember that we are tourists so the whole time Mary is taking pictures. Pictures of buildings, pictures of people, pictures of street signs, & an occasional picture of us. It doesn't sound like we did too much but we figured that we walked between 2 & 3 miles not counting walking around Ellis Island. By the time we got home my feet felt like giant sausages. I didn't think they would ever fit in my shoes again. It was worth it because the only way to see & get the feel for NYC is to walk it's streets.

Today we are going back into NYC & check things out in Midtown Manhattan. We will scale back on the walking so we can recuperate a bit from yesterday. Until the next update, home is in
NJ because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Thursday, May 27, 2010

# 64 Whew! We Made It

With only 90 miles to our next destination the morning was not rushed at all. The truck was still hooked up, so it was breakfast, utilities, walk the dog, & hit the road. At the PA/NJ border we decided to fuel up figuring that diesel prices would be through the roof near NYC. $133 later & on to the Big Apple. As we approached Newark the roads got narrower, rougher, & more congested. Such is traffic near the big cities. I was doing fine but Mary & Foxy were not really enjoying themselves. The bumps were interrupting the dog's nap & Mary was just tensing up because of the traffic & the roads. We followed the directions, found all the signs, & arrived safe & sound. Mary did manage to hold it together, but she still doesn't like driving in the big city. Yet, she still wants to ride her motorcycle into Manhattan...go figure.

After we got the bikes unloaded & the rig backed in we proceeded to hook up the water & electric. As is usual in any adventure a snag, no electric. After checking all the usual suspects we found that the plug at one end of our 50 amp power cord had shorted out. Fortunately we had a 30 amp cord that would make do until we could fix our 50 amp one. We will just have to watch our power usage so we don't blow a fuse.

We are now planning our first day as tourists. Checking attraction schedules, finding routes for trains & water taxis, & finding places to eat. Yes I said water taxis, since we are in NJ the quickest way across the Hudson River into NYC is by boat. The train also goes under the river but lets us off in a different part of Manhattan. Then there is the ferry to Ellis Island. I guess we will be traveling by land & sea while we are here. This is also Fleet Week in NYC so we will try to get down there & see some of the ships & demonstrations they are going to be putting on.

Tomorrow morning is going to be an early one so tonight should be early as well. So goodnight from our home in Jersey City NJ because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary & Foxy too

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

#63 "On The Road Again"

Well as planned we got up early(can you believe it!) & left Greenville. Unhooking the utilities, storing all non-secured items, breakfast, walk the dog, hook up the truck, & we were on the road by 9:30am. I guess we can get up in the morning if we set our minds to it. The plan is to travel about 200 miles & stop for the night. This puts us near Allentown PA & makes it a short hop into NYC. Only about 100 miles. By doing this we can better time our arrival not to be anywhere near rush hour, not that traffic in the NY Metropolitan Area is ever good to be driving a 40' RV. Hopefully we will get there early enough to set up & tool around the area to get our bearings. Maybe even see something on our list of "must sees". We will be there for 5 days and our "must see" list could take up to a month, but we will do our best.

I don't understand it. 6 hours of driving (including several stops), dinner, & we are ready for bed at 8pm. I guess between the 7am wake up & no nap(remember, I take naps now) it takes it's toll. Oh well, not much else to add since this is just a one night stop. Tomorrow, NYC here we come! So, until the next blog, an early goodnight from our home near Allentown PA because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, May 22, 2010

#62 It's Been a Dull Week

Just a dull week getting things done before we leave here for the next leg of our adventure. Monday was laundry day as usual & while I was in town I checked in with the local Ford dealer for some routine maintenance. Getting the truck in for an oil change & transmission service can be a challenge. Just about every dealer can take care of it but they don't always have many diesel mechanics, so scheduling can sometimes be an issue. As it turned out the soonest they could do the work was Friday. That worked out OK since we don't leave until Wednesday & since the weather called for rain for the next few days Friday's clear forecast was a bonus. No one wants to sit in a dealers waiting room for a couple of hours anyway.

Tuesday was rainy as predicted so we drove up to the Green Valley Book Fair. Think a warehouse/barn with all kinds of books from 50% to 90% off. At least 2 hours later (the place is huge!) we had an armful of books & the wallet was only $20 or so lighter. We are talking a mix of hard & soft cover books. We could have bought a lot more but we have space & weight issues to consider. Wednesday was another rainy day so we stayed in our PJs most of the day. It was a good day to update our computer firewall/spyware which took almost 3 hours. It's nice to have 3 computers but every once in a while it is a pain, but overall it is worth it.

As predicted the weather cleared up on Thursday so we went outside to do some cleaning & maintenance on the rig. I got up on the roof to clean some of the seams & re-caulk. We had developed a small leak but like any house it has to be maintained. RVing isn't just for vacation time. I also cut an opening in the bottom of the rig to run some electrical cords for out side use. Now I know you are all thinking, "what a hard working guy, but what is Mary doing?". Well, let me tell you that I got off easy. This dear wonderful woman that I was lucky enough to get to marry me was more than busy. She ONLY waxed 40' of RV,top to bottom, front to back, & it shined. People tell us how nice our rig looks & that it doesn't look it's age & all I can say is it is because of the work we do all the time. I do a lot of fixer up stuff but Mary is the one that makes it look good both inside & out. Sometimes I even help, but I can only take so much credit.

Friday we got up early to got to Ford. Hopefully if they get it in early they can get it back early but no promises. Mary drove the truck & I followed on my bike. This was one of those rare times Mary doesn't ride her own bike but it works out for us. We got long overdue haircuts & did some shopping. Shopping is limited when you are on a motorcycle so it didn't take long. We then rode back to the trailer & decided we would load Mary's bike since the days before we leave call for rain. My bike would be loaded after we got the truck back. Mary has been adamant about learning how to do everything around the rig so I figured now was a good time for her to learn how to load the bikes. I usually load them & she helps me tie them down, but she had never driven one up the ramp & into the wheel chocks. She was momentarily stunned when I told her to load the bike but she sucked it up & said "OK", & as usual she she proved to herself what I already knew. She can do anything once she decides to. Oh by the way, she was so proud that she did this that she made sure that I wrote about it in the blog, so here it is. The truck was done late in the afternoon, we picked it up, took a bite out of the check book, went home, loaded my bike, & called it a day,

Saturday more rain, so we slept in, went out to dinner, & did some grocery shopping. Sunday & Monday we will start packing up, weather permitting. Tuesday will be laundry day & Wednesday we leave. We plan on an overnight stop in PA & then on to Jersey City & NYC. 5 days in the Big Apple! Not enough time, but I am sure we will return. So for now we are still calling Greenville our home because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, May 17, 2010

#61 Worth the Wait

After Saturday's motorcycle fiasco, Sunday went off without a hitch. The weather again was beautiful. We took the same route & both grimaced a bit when we passed the scene of the previous day's debacle. Making it past that point was like breaking through the proverbial
"glass ceiling". After that the road got smoother & curvier & we hadn't reached the Blue Ridge Parkway yet. Once we reached the Parkway the road stretched out some & gave us some incredible vistas. We made a few stops, took some pictures(see Mary on Facebook), & just enjoyed the ride. We got off where the Blue Ridge Pkwy turns into Skyline Drive. That will be another ride on another day. Instead of the interstate we rode through some of the towns that make up that segment of the country we call "Small Town America". The sky started to cloud up so to the interstate & a quick ride home before the rain.

Monday as usual was laundry day so into town we go. The town is Staunton if I haven't mentioned it before. I stopped in at the local Ford dealer to schedule some routine maintenance & we did our grocery shopping after the laundry was done. It was a good day to get our chores done since Sunday's evening rain is forecast to last through Monday & into Tuesday. The truck will be in the shop Friday when the forecast is for perfect motorcycle weather.

First to those who asked for pictures of "St Monte", like any super hero, Monte came in, saved the day, & disappeared in a flash. So, no we don't have any pictures of Monte but that won't make him any less memorable! Second, I really appreciate the comments on the blog. I hope my hints on commenting helped. Anyone having trouble commenting refer to blog #35 if you didn't see it before. And third, the last blog may have been a little long but I felt the story needed telling just to let everyone know that there are still people out there who care about their fellow man. I'll stop blabbing now from our home in soggy Greenville because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, May 15, 2010

#60 Plans? HAHAHA

Well we woke up this morning & it was a beautiful morning. So as planned we warmed up the bikes, routed our ride, ate some breakfast, & off we go. The road was smooth & curvy, the sun was shining, it couldn't be better. We came across a river bed spanned by a railroad trestle & Mary saw a photo op(see Facebook in the next few days) so we stopped. Click, click, click, & back on the bikes. I start mine, vroom, & Mary starts hers, click, click, click. It won't start! We wait & it still won't start!! Here we are out in the middle of nowhere so we call road service. At first we can't figure out where we are. Once that problem is solved the soonest a low voltage/motorcycle jump can get there is an hour. Oh we wait & decide we will laugh about this at a later date. The little bit of local rural traffic is friendly, they stop & ask if we are OK & move on when we tell them we are waiting on road service. On hour later we call road service & it is going to be 15 minutes more. 20 minutes later it will be 5 more minutes. The tow truck comes & doesn't have a low voltage jump. I don't care just try & start the &$^*^#@ thing. It won't start. He says he will send out a trailer that can tow the bike to a shop in town(WHAT TOWN?) but it will be at least 30 minutes more. OK(sigh). We wait. We start to recognize some of the cars & people passing by. Some stop & chat. One couple tells us if we get started to come by their place & hop in the pool since we have been standing out in the heat. The high was probably 80 degrees. Another gentleman says to stop by his store & he will fix us up with some sweet tea. We are amazed at how friendly people are when you leave the dog-eat-dog city/suburban areas.

And then comes Monte. He passed us earlier on his bike & stopped on the return trip. First he told us about a reputable bike repair shop & then he says he will be right back with a volt meter to check the battery. 5 minutes later our guardian angel, Monte, is back. We check the battery & it isn't completely dead. He pulls out jumper cables & 2 bottles of iced tea. He is instantly upgraded to Saint Monte! The jump doesn't work so he says lets wait & see if the jump will charge the battery a little. A few minutes go by & VROOM!!!! He won't take anything & in a cloud of dust and a "See Y'all" our hero is gone. Road sevice can take a lesson.

2 hours have passed & we don't want to chance the bike not starting again so we head home & try to find a new battery. A dozen calls later & the only place open after noon on a Saturday with a battery is 45 miles away in Charlottesville. Pull out the old batteries(I decide mine is on it's last legs also) & into the truck to Charlottesville. Now we are hungry so we stop & have dinner. Back home I install the batteries & both bikes start like there is lightning in "them thar batteries". I guess they both really did need replacing. It has been a long day. We had time to just sit & talk, we met some really nice people(especially Monte), & I got something to blog about. If the weather cooperates we will try again tomorrow. Until then we are home safe & sound in Greenville because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, May 14, 2010

#59 Wash & Wax The House?

Yes, wash & wax the house. When your house is a 40' trailer you wash & wax it. After 1300 miles on the road the rig needed some TLC. Bugs, road grime, & the oil that was leaking from the truck all had to go. Since the weather hasn't cooperated lately we jumped at the opportunity with today's clear skies. It was a mess & took most of the day just to wash it. I guess waxing will be another day. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice also but we feel we deserve a day off. We are going to take the bikes out on the Blue Ridge Pkwy. Last year we rode the southern 3rd of the Pkwy & now we are at the northern end just before it turns into Skyline Drive. One of these years I am going to ride the whole thing from end to end, 469 miles of twisting winding roads made for motorcycling.

We did treat ourselves to new phones this week. Between a promo, customer credits, the usual term commitment the 2 phones were free. Of course that includes the usual rebate hullabaloo, & we had to pay Uncle Sam his share, & of course accessories to go with the new phones. Nothing is really ever free. The phones are pretty cool Samsung Realitys' with a touch screen & QWERTY keyboard. Now I just have to figure out how to use the darn thing. With both of us having the same phone the learning curve improves while we share our trial & error education. I mean, come on, no one actually reads the owners manual do they?

I'm kind of achy from scrubbing the rig so I am going to crawl into my own bed in my own home in Greenville VA because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

#58 Hey Toto! We're Not In Florida Anymore

With me spending the last 20+ years & Mary 30+ years there I guess you could call Florida our home base. I hear that the weather is starting to warm up into the high 80's but up here in the mountains of VA the weather has turned in the other direction. We've had highs around 60 & lows in the low 40's & now it has started to rain. Cold & rainy....another excuse not to get out of bed.

The weekend, even though chilly, was clear so I got some work done on the truck. I finally got my on-board air compressor installed. This project has been on the list for the last 18 months, but between work(I was not yet retired), back surgery, & the "help" of well meaning friends I never seemed to get around to it. Now that we are out in the middle of nowhere, with no distractions, I was able to finish. An air compressor is essential to us when you count all the tires that we have to monitor & maintain. The truck has 6 plus a spare, the trailer has 6 plus a spare, & 2 motorcycles add 4 more for a grand total of 18 tires. Think about trying do put air in tires at a gas station. These days most don't have air pumps or charge for it, they don't have 50 plus feet of hose to get around our "tractor-trailer" size rig, & I probably couldn't even pull in without causing a major blockage for the other patrons.

Monday was laundry day so we made the trek into town. Laundry, groceries, driving there & back, & we are home in just under 5 hours. The hazards of living out in the middle of nowhere. The peace & quiet makes it worth while, we just have to plan our excursions a little in advance. We may go into town again soon. We are looking at new phones. Our old ones are taking a beating. Screens are scratched, keys are becoming temperamental, & everyone likes new things so it's time. We need our phones on the road to keep in touch with the rest of the world & for emergencies. I don't know how travelers did it before cell phones. I guess every previous generation seem like pioneers to the next.

Well today is going to be a cold, rainy, lazy day just relaxing & lying around our home on this mountain in Greenville VA because.......

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, May 7, 2010

#57 What Has Happened To Us?

I first blamed it on 30 plus years of night shift work, then my surgery recovery, & then just being laid back & retired. What am I talking about? How about my inability to get up in the morning? It seems to be getting worse! No matter what time we go to bed or what time we set the alarm for morning still comes somewhere between 9am & 1 pm. We have things to do & our lists aren't getting any shorter. Now we are blaming it on the mountain air. What ever it is we have to do something about it or I'll get nothing done.

Today we decided to do whatever we can in the time we are actually awake. One day jobs may take 3 days but hopefully the list will eventually be depleted. We still walk every day even though Mary has fallen down on her insect ingestion. Today she has started up again. The weather is getting a little chilly at night with temps in the mid 50's. It's great sleeping weather ... another excuse for not getting up in the morning. Well since going to bed early doesn't help I'll watch some TV read some & then go to bed. Tomorrow, what happens, happens. So for now, we are sleeping in in our own bed in our own home in Greenville because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I promised you excitement from our adventures, well here it is. As I've said it is beautiful up here & the weather has been great, so we have been walking a lot more & enjoying it. Well while we walk we also talk. That doesn't seem to be enough for Mary. She now has a new hobby. While we walk & talk she also catches bugs. To date she has eaten 6 bugs of undetermined species. Talk about multi tasking! We couldn't be more proud. I suggested keeping her mouth closed but what do I know, I'm only the husband.

Anyway, laundry day came & went but it took it's toll. Today we didn't get out of bed 'til 10am. After breakfast & some work on the computer planning our trip, we figured "why not wash the truck?". Then since it was already 3:30pm & we needed to shower, "why not wash the dog?". Next thing it's time to cook dinner, walk the dog, & take our walk without the dog. No bugs for Mary this time. Then it's inside before the bugs start to eat us. Turn about is fair play I guess. My list didn't get touched but other things keep popping up. Eventually I'll get to the list. I have 3 weeks since we are home here in Greenville because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, May 2, 2010

# 55 We Start A Routine

For the first time in a while we stayed on track. We got up, did the morning routine, & took the bikes out to gas them up. The weekend people are packing up & leaving. It looks like the routine around here is quiet all week long, the locals come up for the weekend, then they leave, & it starts all over again. There are quite a few RVs left here semi-permanently as weekend cabins & getaways. It's much cheaper than actually buying some property & building a cabin.

Tomorrow is laundry day & we get on with our daily grind. We will try to see some of the surrounding area but ultimately there are a number of projects that I need to get done. The next 3 weeks will be pretty boring so I expect my blogs to be shorter & possibly less frequent. I will keep all up to date on the excitement in our lives in our home in Greenville, because....
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, May 1, 2010

# 54 Things To Do Even In Paradise

Today was the day that we promised ourselves we would get up & get some things done around the house. We set up our canopy & finally unloaded the bikes. Our mail had been forwarded & we had about 3 weeks worth to go through. Our outside lighting & signs were set up & it started to look like home. The weather is supposed to turn a bit rainy so motorcycling may not happen right away.

The campground has been filling up with locals for the weekend so we don't have the place to our selves anymore. We took a walk around the place & heard some loud music. Being the curious sort we had to investigate. Behind the camp office/rec-hall there were at least 3-4 occupied golf carts just sitting there. On the back porch was a set of multi colored strobe lights in sync with the music. It was like a disco & drive-in movie had a love child red-neck style. Oh well to each his own as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else.

Tomorrow we'll try to take the bikes out for a little ride, gas them up, & be home before the rain starts. Monday we will make the trek into town to do some laundry & do some shopping. After that we plan on seeing some of the country side by motorcycle.

Just a reminder you can see picture of our adventures on Mary's Facebook. Also, I love getting the comments on the blog. Most of the comments come through as "anonymous" & that is fine. But if you want a response you have to let me know who you are. Until the next time, from our home in Greenville, because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary