Saturday, December 24, 2016

'16/#53 Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah

It's that time of year and I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah. We are still here in Missouri and if nothing else it definitely feels like Christmas! The temperatures will bounce back and forth between the upper 20's and the low 50's. And there is even a possibility of a little snow. Hopefully it is snow and not freezing rain. Either way we are prepared.

This is a time of year when people get together with friends and family to celebrate their respective holidays. This year we are not going to be able to do that but will celebrate on our own. I'm sure there will be phone calls and messaging going back and forth, but other than that it will be a quiet time for us. I think this year we will enjoy the quiet and reflect on all the things we have to be grateful for. The list is long, but I will say that our friends and family are near the top of that list. Of course there is our health and a roof over our head, and the ability to live this adventurous lifestyle we have adopted. We are also grateful for whatever the future holds for us. Whether it is new friends that we meet or wondrous things to be seen during the rest of this adventure, it is going to be one big surprise party.

Don't think that I am looking through rose colored glasses. I know that there will be bumps in the road and setbacks along the way, but that is what make the good things even better. How you decide to deal with these glitches in life determines the kind of life you will have. We look at them as learning experiences that will make us stronger and that we can pass on to others to help them have better lives.

We are also continuing our commitment to helping others. We found a local food bank and have made them our "pay it forward" project. Every week when we go shopping a few extras find there way into the grocery cart to help those who may not have the things that we take for granted. It is a good feeling to know that some one's day is a little easier, a little brighter, or a little less stressful because someone cared.

So on this Christmas Eve and First Night of Hanukkah we wish everyone happiness and good health from our home in Forsyth, Missouri because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, December 17, 2016

'16/#52 As Ready As We Can Be

The cold weather that has been forecast is starting to move in. This morning the temperature was 57 degrees and it is supposed to drop down to 11 degrees tomorrow morning. That is a 47 degree drop in 24 hours! Right now it is 35 degrees, a 22 degree drop in 7 hours. As I have said before, the trailer is skirted and heat lamps have been deployed. Propane tanks are full, electric heaters are on, and the electric blanket is ready for tonight. That is everything we could think of and are hoping it will be enough.      

Right now I am sitting here filling propane cylinders as people come in to get ready for the cold. I am watching bad TV and drinking a lot of coffee. Mary is at work and I am planning dinner. One of the girls where Mary works just quit so she will be home a little later than scheduled.

I am going to end this blog since there is not much going on here at our home in Fosyth Missouri because.....

Home is where we park it,
RFrank and Mary

Thursday, December 15, 2016

"16/#51 'Tis The Season No Matter Where Home Id

It is only nine days until Hanukkah and ten until Christmas and we are still here in Forsyth, Missouri. If you have been watching the weather you know that a real cold spell is headed our way. We are hoping that we stay just south of the front and that it doesn't last too long. We have added a few more deterrents to the cold. Underneath the trailer skirting we have a halogen light to heat our water filters and the attached hoses. It should also help with the cold coming through the floor of the slideout. We are from Florida, so we need all the help we can get to keep warm. Saturday we are expecting a high of 56 degrees during the day and overnight lows of 10 degrees! We won't see temperatures above freezing until sometime Monday! It is definitely feeling like Christmas.
 We have done some decorating for the holidays with most of it inside. Outside we have a wreath on the door and out front a small yard sign. Inside we have our flat Christmas tree, a little bit of garland, a couple of hanging ornaments, and a few more seasonal items we have picked up over the years. We also have our menorah out for Hanukkah.

People have been coming in to get their propane tanks filled. I expect it to get busier as the temperature drops. With ready access to propane I am making sure that we always have our tanks full. Along with several electric space heaters we hope to stay defrosted if not warm. Most RVs are not made for sustained cold weather, unless you consider the ability to move to warmer climates, HAHA!

Well that's all for now from our home in chilly Forsyth because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, December 8, 2016

"16/50 BRRRRRRRRR!!!!

We told everyone that we are going to winter in Missouri and try something different and people thought we were nuts. Well it is definitely different. Since this RV adventure began we have wintered in Florida every year except once. That was the year we worked at Amazon in Kentucky, and that was only until December 22! This year we are planning on staying the whole season here in Forsyth.

Mary did her usual research on line about preparing an RV for winter weather. A list was made of all the things we needed to purchase and install to be ready to survive the cold winter. As usual we put everything off until the last minute and only started our preparations once the temperatures started to drop. As you may have seen on Mary's FB page the bottom was enclosed with styrofoam insulation. This helped quite a bit keeping the space under the trailer at least 10-15 degrees warmer than the outside air. Next we put window insulator kits over the windows. You know, the plastic that sticks to the sides of the windows and then shrinks taut when heated with a blow dryer. That did wonders stopping the drafts that were coming in around the windows. Also, before we left Florida we stocked up on pool noodles. When cut to size they work great to fill in the gaps around all the slide outs.

Well we thought we had done really well at winterizing our RV for the winter. But not yet! We already had a heated hose from our stay in Kentucky and figured that would do us here in Missouri. Not quite! The other morning, when the temperature had dropped into the mid 20s we woke up to a little surprise. Mary had no water to flush the toilet. Fortunately RVs have a fresh water holding tank, so a flip of a switch and the pump kicked on and we had water again. But now we had to make sure it didn't happen again. With some pipe insulation and fiberglass batting we went to town on everything that gets water to our home. Any exposed hose was covered, our water filters were wrapped, and we even wrapped and covered the park's pipe that comes out of the ground. This morning we woke to an outside temperature of 19 degrees, under the trailer it was 39 degrees, and we had running water. SUCCESS!

Inside the trailer it is a whole different story. Our electricity is free since we are work campers and we get compensated for only so much propane each month. Because of this we use electric heat as much as possible and conserve our propane. At night that means we lower the furnace thermostat to 50 degrees and enjoy the warmth of our electric blanket. In bed it is heaven, but out of bed.....brrrr. This morning while we had outside temp of 19 and underneath temp of 39, inside it had dropped to 51. When we wake in the morning the thermostat goes to 70 and electric heaters are turned on. Once we are up and moving the furnace gets shut down and the electric heater keeps us around 65 degrees.

I think that is enough about our winter survival trials for now, so until the next blog from our home in Missouri because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

'16/#49 Yogi Hits The Road

The owners up here in Forsyth have decided not to be a Jellystone park anymore. The franchise fees were not justified in the business plan. Today it was time to say goodbye to Yogi.

Gary and I, with the help of a guy with a sign installer's truck got Yogi off his base and into the back of Gary's pickup. I'm not sure where Yogi is headed but I am sure he will find another home soon.

Mary is going to post more pictues of Yogi's departure on Facebook. Now we are living here in our Yogi free home in Forsyth because....                                               

Home is where we park it,                                                                                                    
Frank and Mary                                                                                                                      

Friday, November 25, 2016

'16/#47 Happy Thanksgiving

Well here we are on Thanksgiving Day. It was just the two of us and we had a very relaxing day. Dinner for two was the usual turkey, stuffing, and assorted side dishes. Actually it was just a turkey breast, but that gives us more than enough of the part of the bird that we like the most.

We started the day by sleeping in knowing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was being recorded. After our eyes were open for a while we started watching the festivities from New York and preparing our traditional dinner. With everything going smoothly and the parade on DVR we decided to take advantage of a quiet day by doing laundry! Yes laundry. Why not? Dirty clothes never take a holiday.

With the laundry done and time before dinner we flopped into our easy chairs and started watching movies that we had saved on  the DVR. Later we had our dinner, ate too much, and cleaned up. Then we continued our mission of doing as little as possible and just relaxing. Aaaah, a perfect Thanksgiving.

Well, we are still here in Missouri and enjoying the cooler weather in our home in Forsyth because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Monday, November 21, 2016

'16/#46 The End Of Birthday Season

Yesterday was my day to run all over town and get my free birthday meals. That meant a trip into Branson which is about 25-30 minutes away. There are two parts of Branson, MO. The most well known is where all the theaters and restaurants are located. Then there is downtown Branson. Think of Las Vegas the town and Las Vegas the "Strip".

We first headed to the theater area and Denny's for breakfast. This is twice we have been here and both times it was pretty busy even though there doesn't seem to be many tourists. I guess it is like it is in Florida, busy with snowbirds in the winter and busy with locals in the summer. Up here in Branson I guess the seasons are reversed.

After I filled myself with more breakfast than I should we drove west out of Branson just to see where the road went. Not too far down the road traffic stopped dead so we made a quick right turn and wound up on a stretch of highway that seemed to take us out into the middle of nowhere. The road eventually took us right back into Branson. I guess all roads here lead to Branson!

We headed back east toward Branson proper because Mary wanted to go to Dick's 5 and 10 in downtown Branson. It was probably an old five and dime in it's day but is now a tourist attraction. Dick's is now primarily a tourist town gift shop with everything Branson. It was kind of neat to see some of the old time gifts, toys, games, and candies that brought back memories of my youth. Some of it just reminded me of how old I am.

We didn't buy anything. There was nothing there that we couldn't live without and the tourist stuff was your typical tourist trap trinkets. If you have been anywhere you know what I mean. The magnets, key chains, hats, shirts, are all the same where ever you go, just tweaked to reflect the area they are promoting. Whether it is from Daytona Beach, NYC, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, or a hundred other places the junk is all the same "made in Japan" crap!

After walking around a while it was time to find me a free dinner. Back to "touristland" Branson and a nice meal at Ruby Tuesday. The sun had gone down by now and the temperature was dropping so we put on light jackets and enjoyed the cool clear evening before heading home.

I am starting to get used to the narrow, winding, unlit, back roads around here....especially at night with the sun gone and total darkness by 5:30pm. There just seems to be too many hours between sundown and bedtime this time of year.

Well I am going to get busy outside since the weather is beautiful today. The high will be around 60 degrees and sunny so we are going to enjoy it while we can here in our home in Forsyth because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Friday, November 18, 2016

'16/#45 Signs Of The Season, Birthday Season

November is the beginning of the Holiday Season and in our house it includes birthdays. November has no less than four birthdays in our immediate family, and more counting close friends. If you follow us on facebook you know Mary just had a birthday and mine is just a few days away. We are always thankful for all the friends we have, but are reminded at times like these just how many friends we do have. It took Mary a day and a half to respond to all the birthday wishes. We went into Springfield for her birthday and just relaxed. We strolled around the mall, checked out some stores, and did a little shopping. Later on we went out to a nice dinner and Mary considered her birthday a total success.

While we were walking the mall it dawned on me that I am reaching "official" retirement age in the next few days. As I walked the mall I also realized just how old I am. I always love to people watch and comment to myself about what I see. Unfortunately I was listening to myself and came to the conclusion that I am just plain old! The thing that hit me the most was the clothes people wear. I see girls wearing pants so tight they couldn't hide a pimple while there are guys who could carry a whole turkey in their pants with room to spare! Has clothing gotten that ridiculous or am I just old? Maybe a little of both? Oh well, I guess getting older beats the alternative.

Another season is heading our way soon. The forecast is for cooler temperatures in the next week. We have been enjoying unseasonably warm weather for this area and have taken all the credit for it. We claim to have brought some of the warm Florida weather with us. The night time temps will be dropping down to freezing the next couple of nights but we are prepared. With proper clothing a furnace and portable heaters we are ready. Add to that the wind has picked up quite a bit.

We also sell propane here and have some of the best prices around. We expect to sell a bit of propane the next few days. That is one of the jobs we are responsible for and expect to be busy with it all winter.

That's enough for now. So we will be staying warm in our home in Forsyth because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Sunday, November 13, 2016

'16/#44 No Unicorns Or Rainbows

Just sitting here and contemplating life and thinking how greatful we are to be able to live our chosen RV lifestyle. Most of the time it must sound like we are living out a fairy tale but like everything in life there are bumps in the road. As they say," to get a rainbow you have to have some rain". Well the past few days we have had some of that proverbial rain.

An RV with a family pulled in next to us with 3 little girls. Now, I know what you are equals out of control noise, but you are wrong. The kids were great. They played, had fun, rode their bikes, and had fun around a campfire. So "what is the problem?" you ask. The adults seemed to spend their day walking around their rig opening and closing the storage doors on the RV, and when I say closing I mean SLAMMING them so loud that it startled Mary and me so much we literally jumped out of our seats! It wasn't an occasional bang but continuous for an hour or so at a time.

I know I sound like a cranky old man, and I am, but seriously! When the noise outside sounds louder than anything inside the house it is a bit too much. I don't think there was that much banging around while the RV was being made! We are RVers and not campers. We take our home with us and live in it and try to be courteous to those around us. We would hope it isn't too much for others to try to be good neighbors also.

That was my rant for the day. The family next door is leaving today so the noise should subside. Our life is wonderful, but as I titled it, it's not all unicorns and rainbows. So we hope to have a quieter time here in our home in Missouri because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, November 10, 2016

'16/#43 Settling In...Kinda?

Well here we are in Forsyth, MO. With a population of 2200 it is the epitome of small town America. Driving through town (which took all of 5 minutes) we found the Post Office, a couple of small grocery stores, a couple of gas stations, and a handful of restaurants. The only chain restaurant in town is a McDonalds, which we probably won't ever visit unless we get so bored we are looking for a part- time job! LOL! One of the grocers is a Save-a-Lot and one of the gas stations is a Casey's. Other than that everything is locally owned and operated. Heck, the Jellystone RV Park we are working in is probably one of the better known names country wide, and we are actually just outside of town.

The owner has given us the keys to the kingdom and shown us around. It is a nice RV park reasonably close to Branson MO, which probably makes it a busy little place during the summer months. Right now there are eight sites occupied in the park and that includes us. Several will be leaving in the next week or so and the rest will be gone by mid December leaving us as the sole occupants other than an occasional drop in over the winter.

Yesterday we got out and started taking care of the leaves. Up here in the mountains there is no shortage of leaves. We just have to blow them off the sites and around the office to keep the place looking presentable. We will also have to fill propane as needed. With our prices lower than anyone else in town we should be busy with that during the colder months. We have even turned our furnace on for the overnight hours. It had gotten down to 45 degrees last night so the heater was nice. We also have a couple of electric space heaters and an electric fireplace to use during the day. At night we have an electric blanket for when it gets really chilly and of course a quilt on top of that. I don't see us having a problem with the cold.

After blowing some leaves and having dinner Mary looked outside at the dark sky and said it must be getting close to bed time. I had to burst her bubble by telling it was only a little after 5:30 pm. Between the time zone change and Daylight Savings her internal clock is all screwed up! I figure we will be used to it by weeks end.

Well that's all for now from our home in Missouri because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Sunday, November 6, 2016

'16/#42 We Have A Home For The Winter

After four days of travel and 1100 miles we have arrived in Forsyth, MO. This will be home for us this winter. We have workcamping jobs here that require minimal work on our part and will give us some time to decompress after the past 6 months. The owner up here said the last time he had workcampers for the winter they left because they were bored. A little boredom sounds real good right now. It will also give us a chance to recharge before our adventure picks up again in the spring. More on that at a later time.

The trip from West Memphis Arkansas to Forsyth,MO was interesting. Two different routes were planned and the merits of each were debated. The more circuitous one was over 500 miles and over 6 hours whereas the more direct route was less than 300 miles and just over 4 hours. All righty then, the direct route it is! The first 175 miles was great. There were good roads, whether interstate or state roads, with little or no delays.

Things changed after we crossed into Missouri. Between the GPS and Google Maps and our paper maps we were forced to choose on the fly several times which state road to take. You have to understand, with a 40' trailer and two lane country roads with no place to turn off, things get interesting. Once you commit to a route all you can do is see it through and hope for the best. This time there was more than hope, there was a bit of praying going on also.

What we thought would be an east-west state road through several towns turned into nothing more than a road through a national forest. The towns consisted of signs with town names and population totals between 50 and 300 and no people or buildings in sight. I think we were way back in the woods. The road was well paved but was undulating and serpentining so much that Mary was starting to get car sick! She never gets car sick or sea sick or any other kind of motion sickness!! Then the pavement started to deteriorate!!!It was maintained but there was as much patching as there was original pavement! Add to that, no towns along this route means no gas stations either!!!!! I was having no problems with car sickness but there was a pit in my stomach as I watched the fuel gauge creep towards empty. I don't believe in signs but I was looking for one at that time. Preferably one that said DIESEL!!!!!

Believe it or not things got worse! A sign announced a "One Lane Bridge Ahead". Oh goody ( note the sarcasm)! The signs also noted that the bridge was impassible during high water and the weight restriction was right near our rig's total weight. I am now sweating bullets!! We get to the bridge and it is one lane, the road surface is less than 2 feet above the water, and there is a car approaching from the other side!!!The car pulls over so we can go first. With a final wish that the bridge builders did an above average job we rolled across. Whew! Made it and now the only worry is are we going to run out of fuel in this butt clenching, banjo playing, god forsaken forest!!!!!!

With the dash computer telling me I have "50 miles to empty" I am overjoyed to see a gas station with a diesel sign. I go in and they tell me the were struck by lightning and none of the pumps work. The bottom of my stomach drops. Fortunately there is another station with diesel just 8 miles down the road. A full tank and all is well....or is it? 25 more miles to go to Forsyth and the narrow two lane road is more like a roller coaster than a road. The car sickness continues!

Sorry about all the exclamation points, but the trip was pretty intense. Well needless to say we made it and pulled into the campground. I don't know if I will ever get Mary back in the truck again without assurances that we will only take main highways from now on. For now, we are settling into our home here in Fosyth, MO because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Friday, November 4, 2016

'16/#41 Going The Wrong Way?

I know it has been awhile since I have blogged, but we are traveling again and I should be able to find material to share. Mary has all but completely recovered from her knee surgery and is able to travel without any restrictions. I am once again the only thing slowing her down! The month of October was busy between surgery, family, and friends. We were able to get to the east coast to see Uncle Don and Grace before we left and managed to see our Cody friends Margaret and David while we were there. Back in Pinellas County we spent some time with the kids and grandkids knowing we would miss them throughout the holidays season. Add to that all the friends that wanted to get together before we left on our adventure, the month flew by. We also spent way too much time eating out instead of our usual cooking at home. We now need to go on diets heading into the holidays. Sound like fun! NOT!!

Some how with all that was going on we managed to get everything done around the rig to prepare for the road. We left Wednesday morning around 5am and made it to Alabama in time for dinner. It was a long day but we were able to put almost 550 miles behind us. Alabama was just an overnight stay but we found a nice family RV park just off the highway. Our next destination...Arkansas.

320 miles down the road in West Memphis, Arkansas is Tom Sawyer RV Park. We have stayed here before. It is a great place to relax right on the shores of the Mississippi River. Something about watching the tug boats pushing barges up and down the river is so calming. I'm not sure how calming it is for Mary, with her jumping up all excited everytime she hears a boat out on the river. It doesn't matter as long as she is happy, and the look on her face says she is.

Tom Sawyer is a 2 night stay so we will get a few more things done to the rig that came up in our travels. Nothing major, just the usual things that arise from owning an RV. It's no different from owning a home. We live by the list because if we didn't nothing would get done. Most of the list is checked off and since the campground has free laundry we decided to take advantage of that. One more night watching the river traffic before we head on down the road. Next stop will be near Branson MO.

Now in case no one noticed, we are heading north, and as everyone knows this is the time for the annual southerly migration of the American Snowbird. Everyone has been telling us that it is going to be cold where we are planning on staying, as if we didn't know! First of all we are preparing for the cold weather. And second after 3 years of year round Florida and a gazillion degree weather we are looking forward to the change. Third and lastly we are looking forward to something different. We may never do it again but we will have done it. Also I am sure we will have stories to tell around the campfire while we are warming up or thawing out, whatever the case may be.

I guess that is enough for now. The rest of the day will be relaxing in our home beside the lazy Mississippi River because.......

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, October 6, 2016

'16/#40 When It Rains It Hurruicanes!!!

                                                                                                                We are 3 days out of surgery and Mary is doing well. She is still in a lot of pain but it is a different kind of pain. I guess you would call it a healing pain. Mary wonders, like all of us who have had surgery, why we can't just wake up from the anesthesia, be cured, and get on with life? I wish.......Any way I think she has done well going from this to that in 3 days.

To anyone who is wondering we are on the opposite side of Florida from hurricane Mathew. On the other hand we have family who are near where it is going to make land fall. We are worried but they are in a safe place to ride it out. Positive thoughts for them and everyone else who
will be affected by the storm.

We are moving this Saturday. This move has been planned and has nothing to do with the arrival of Mathew. With Mary tooling around on a bum wheel I will be looking to our grandson Alex to give me a hand with the move. I can do it but another set of eyes is always a help.

Anyway we will be watching the weather like everyone else and hoping that it doesn't cause too much damage. Safe and sound in our home in Seminole FL because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

'16/#39 The Jello Is Starting To Set

The main reason we came back to Florida was to get Mary's knee checked out after she hurt it in Kentucky. We have been to a couple of doctor appointments and had an MRI done and the verdict is in. No surprise, surgery is in her future. This is something we have been through before, so we know what to expect. If all goes as planned we could be back on the road by the beginning of November.

Now comes the fun part! Trying to get all the doctors, the lab, and the surgery center all coordinated so that the pre-op planning doesn't take longer than the recovery is always a challenge. So many medical professionals as well as the insurance companies don't seem to understand that us every day people have demands on our time also. I have said in the past that if doctors and hospitals had to pay us our hourly wages every time they made us wait they would find a way to be more efficient and empathetic about the needs placed on our time! Well wish us luck.

While we have been in Florida we have had a chance to spend time with our kids and grandkids. Hopefully we will get to see some of our friends before we leave also. We will also make a trip to the east coast to see Uncle Don and Grace. We can't come to Florida and not stop in to see those who are so dear to our hearts.

It is a relief knowing that surgery will fix Mary, but she is kinda bummed out about it. She wishes she could just be well and get back to whatever adventures the road holds for us. For now we will make the best of things and try to see as many people as we can while we are here in our home in Seminole Florida because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, September 10, 2016

'16/#38 So Much To Do And So Little Time!

Here we are back in Pinellas County Florida with a to-do list that seems a mile long and getting longer by the minute. There are so many people to see and things to do that we are having to prioritize. Then we will see how many things can get checked off the list.

We always find ourselves back here in Florida even though we are full time RVers with our home on wheels. With all our family and a good number of friends in this area I guess we will always call this home no matter where we park it. Also knowing the area and having connections here makes for a comfortable setting. We have doctors here that we have seen for years, businesses that we know we can rely on, and many other places we have gone to over the years that just brings back memories that warm our hearts. Still, we are looking forward to getting back on the road to see more of the country that has inspired us to take on this adventurous lifestyle.

Again we have slept in and enjoyed it after more than a month of 5am alarms while at Amazon, but early risings are in our future if we hope to at least make a good dent in the list. The plan is to stay here for about a month and then it is back on the road. We have a destination in mind that will allow us to relax and also help feather the nest egg. More on that later.

So for now I will finish my morning coffee, get moving, and start to tackle the list, hopefully with some gusto. Here's to a productive day in our home in Seminole Florida because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

'16/#37 Enough Is Enough...Bring On The Jello!

The time has come and we have decided to leave Amazon. Mary's knee is still bothering her and it isn't getting any better. I haven't acclimated to the rigors of the job and need to rethink the jobs I will consider in the future. Monday was our last day and we will be leaving Cambellsville tomorrow. Today was spent getting everything ready to travel with our destination being Pinellas County, Florida.

Pinellas will give us a chance for Mary to see our family doctor about her knee and we will get to see the kids and grandkids again. There were a few things we left undone when we last left, so we will have the opportunity to take care of that also. It would have been nice to feather the nest egg a little bit but it wasn't meant to be.

Tonight will be an early night so we can get on the road early. We should make Pinellas by Thursday afternoon and hopefully early enough to get settled in before dinner time. There really is no rush but we are looking forward to seeing everyone.

So this is our last good night from our home in Campbellsville because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Sunday, August 28, 2016

'16/36 Looking At The Jello!

We have been here at Amazon for 4 weeks and we are looking at things differently. I know we are 4 years older and feeling pretty good but things have changed. It is taking us longer to get used to the rigors of the job and the end of December is still a long way off. We are going to do our best but will keep one good eye on the jello!

On a more positive note we have been looking at opportunities for next year. We always look in areas we want to visit and see if there is a work camping job that will allow us an extended stay to see some more of this wonderful country. There are a couple of jobs that we have applied for who have shown interest in us. Heck, why shouldn't they? Confidence a little too much? Maybe, but it works for us.

Well we will keep plugging along as long as we can, here in our home in Campbellsville Kentucky because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

'16/#35 Time To Relax And Think

Nothing real exciting going on here in Campbellsville. We have been busy working and recovering. This time around at Amazon seems harder than the last time. I don't know if we are getting older or we just remember it differently than it really was. Maybe a little of both. We are giving it a bit more time before we make any decisions. The thought of leaving is on the table though. That means we will have to make new plans for the next few months. Oh well, that's the jello in our life.

We have met a bunch of really nice people here at Amzon. Work campers almost always show up with a good attitude and a smile. I guess that comes from being hired as a "short timer". Most of the full time employees are pretty decent also, but there are a few that look at us like something stuck to the bottom of their shoe! Now I know how the casuals felt at the P.O. every Christmas. I tried to treat them with respect but, I know that some of my coworkers resented them being on the workroom floor. Seasonal supplimental workers are a necessary evil. Without them the temporary surge in work would never be completed or would be an impossible burden to those who had to deal with the extra work. I guess I have a new perspective now that I have been on both sides of that fence.

Another difference this time at Amazon is the benefits. Apparently health care insurance is now being offered to the work campers and some of them are excited by this. I guess if you have no insurance it is a big deal. We are fortunate to have our insurance through our retirement and are not interested. The bad part is now that insurance is offered there is no longer a shopping discount at Amazon. BUMMER! We were looking forward to saving some money on Christmas shopping and a few other things we needed to get. Oh well, I guess Amazon isn't going to get as much of their money back from us as we planned! LOL!!

We are off the next three days and are going to relax and run some errands from our home here in Campbellsville Kentucky because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

'16/#34 Are We Getting Older?

We have finished our first 2 days of 10 hours each at Amazon and are really feeling it. My feet are sore and my back is achy. Mary's hips are hurting and her knee is acting up. We knew it was going to take time to get into the swing of things but....WHY? I guess as we get older it takes longer to acclimate ourselves to the physical rigors of a new job. At least we have 3 days off to recuperate.

Another sign that we may be getting older is our reaction to some of the items we come across here at Amazon. Do you remember the candy necklaces we had as kids? You know, the colored sugar beads on an elastic string? Well I found a "G"string made of it! Maybe , but why? The first thing that came to mind is how messy and sticky they got if you actually wore them around your neck. Maybe if I was younger and more adventurous in the bedroom my mind might go in another direction. I guess I'm not that old. My mind went there eventually! Mary found a 5X bikini. Really?!?! And that is all I am going to say on that. But in the same vein I found a mesh body stocking in a 3X with 3 openings. Two were in front above the equator and the third was lower and around the back! I guess everyone deserves to feel sexy!

Now we get to the kinky stuff. There was a "Gay Male Chastiy Device" that I am glad was in a plain wrapper. On the other hand Mary found in a clear plastic bag a uretha enlarging penis plug! I am cringing just writing about it. Some things need plain wrappers!

I am signing off now, Mary has breakfast on the table in our home in Campellsville because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, August 6, 2016

'16/#33 The Amazon Trek Continues!

We are enjoying our one day off before we go into the normal 10 hour days they work here at Amazon. The first week of 5 hour days was a nice break in period and also let the work campers or Camper Force employees know what it will be like. We are guessing that 3 - 7 campers have already quit. This job is not all rainbows and unicorns, but it also is not the hardest in the world. A lot of the campers are retired and haven't work like this in a long time or never worked anywhere but behind a desk. This is true factory work! Concrete floors, constant noise, moving equipment, etc. I hate to say this but the PO plant has trained us exactly for this kind of job. We have also been able to impart some of our acquired wisdom to others about how to deal with the conditions here. Things like lifting, the right kind of shoes, stretching exercises, and others have already helped a few of our Camper Force co-workers.

Like I said in the last blog, this building is mostly clothing so the unusual item of the day is hard to come by. Since it is clothing, Mary had to pick a "Lacey Jock Strap". To paraphrase "an ass for every chair" how about "a sack for every pair"? And it rhymes!! My pick was a complete tuxedo set with shirt, tie, cumber bunt, etc. The odd or cute thing is it was sized 8-12 months. How adorable! The most common thing we are noticing is the sizes. Common, ordinary, every day items in sizes you don't find at Walmart. How about lady's thongs in size 5XL or bigger. If you are that size isn't all underwear a thong?  Men's belts in size 50" or 60" or larger? That is a lot of leather!

Well I've got a few things to take care of around the trailer and then I am going to relax the rest of the day. Tomorrow starts 10 hour days. We only have to work 2 days before our 3 days off so that worked out nice! Until the next blog good bye from our home in Kentucky because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

'16/#32 Setting Down Temporary Roots!

It's been a while since I have blogged so let's try and catch up. Our 10 days in Pigeon Forge were relaxing. There was nothing we had to do but get in touch with some of the friends that we made when we worked at Dollywood 5 years ago. We only knew these people for the 5 1/2 months that we worked there, but became such good friends that it was like we had never left. We also had a few things looked at on the RV and are planning to do some more to make our travels easier and more enjoyable.

The next leg of our adventure took us 5 hours down the road to Campbellsville, KY. We will be here for the next 5 months working for We worked for them several years ago and they have been asking us to come back since. Amazon uses a lot of work campers to staff during their peak season leading into Christmas. We are part of the first group of 80 that is starting earlier than ever before. Apparently Amazon is doing well and they rely on work campers to get them through the rush.

Since our last time at Amazon things have changed. This Fullfilment Center(FC) no longer has everything under the sun on the shelves. Campbellsville is now primarily a clothing distribution center. Other FCs will specialize in books, electronics, etc. No longer will we be able to compare the weirdest thing we have picked from the shelf. I take that back. We will still compare but I don't expect as many off the wall items as we once saw. In 2 days Mary has found an inflatable gorilla suit and a pair of size 15EEE cleats. I found a sew on patch that says "Embrace The Suck". Today I also picked at least a dozen leopard pattern pregnancy bikinis. Is the whole Swedish bikini team in the family way?!?!? I'm sure there will be more odd items to report.

I will have more tomorrow  from our home in Campbellsville, KY because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and mary

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

'16/#31 Back To The Scene Of The Crime!?!?

Monday we set out for the next leg of our adventure. It was only going to be a short drive to St Augustine, FL...the scene of the crime(aka our honeymoon). We always try to hit St Augustine whenever we are coming into or leaving Florida. This was only going to be a short overnight stay. With a couple of errands to run, diesel fuel to top off, and dinner at one of our favorite restuarants we were ready to leave Tuesday morning.

Before the sun was up our wheels were on the highway. We wanted to put some miles behind us and overnight somewhere in NC. We stopped for breakfast in GA and kept on motoring down the road. With no traffic to speak of we were making very good time and so no problem getting to NC. Cutting across I-26 we started calling ahead for a campsite for the night. I don't know what was happening but everyone was full. We could boondock in a Walmart parking lot but we try not to do that if we can help it. Finally a place near Hendersonville had an opening and they would hold the spot for us.

Off the exit ramp fom I-26 Google maps was taking us through some seriously scenic back roads. I'm talking dirt and gravel here! All of a sudden the all too familiar beeping of the TPMS started going off, AGAIN! Another parking lot pit stop and we were able to get to the RV park. Another old tire let go. I should have just put new tires on before we left, but 6 tires at $175 apiece told me to wait. 20/20 hindsight!! This time I crawled under the rig to check the dates on the rest of the tires. Beside the one that blew I had one more that was over 5 years old. I replaced the blown one and put the old one up for the spare until next month.

With just over 100 miles to get to Pigeon Forge we slept in a little later and drove into town to get the tire replaced. Again, they  had no room or equipment to handle a 40' 5th wheel so in the parking lot across the street we set up shop. With the bad tire in the shop we took off the old tire and put it up for a spare and waited. Once the tire was done and mounted we were back on the road.

Lunch was at a truck stop on I-40 in NC. Our next stop was the Tennessee welcome center. We gathered the usual tourist information and got some advice on a scenic route through the mountains. This time the road was paved! We arrived in Pigeon Forge a little past 2pm and got right into the tourist traffic that I had forgotten about. It has been 5 years since we had been here. We are looking forward to meeting up with some of the good friends that we made when we worked here at Dollywood back then. Reminising about the good times we had and all the trouble we got into will be fun. I guess we are returning to another "scene of the crime"!

I will sign off now just like I did 5 years ago from our home in Pigeon Forge because...
Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Monday, July 18, 2016

'16/#30 Tomorrow We Finally Leave Florida!

It is only 80 miles to the Georgia border and Florida will be in our rear view mirror. Getting here was an adventure in itself. We left Largo Sunday morning and headed east to see uncle Don and Grace. Crossing the state was uneventful. So much so that Mary slept a good part of the way with her head wrapped in a towel to block the sun light. I am already in trouble for taking that picture and sharing it so I've opted not to do it here. As we were getting off I-95 the tire pressure monitor(TPMS) started to scream. I slowed down and opened the window just in time to hear a tire pop and whistle as the air came through the part of the tread that had peeled away. Again with the jello?!?

It being Sunday there was no shortage of empty parking lots to pull into. We jumped out and the pit crew went to work. Bad tire off, spare tire on, and back on the road in less than 30 minutes. Over the years I have gathered all the right tools for such an occasion since we have been left stranded for hours by our road service. AAA is a little better, but it is more difficult to find road service for an 18k pound RV. Even with AAA it is sometimes easier to do it yourself.

Port St Lucie RV Park was only a few miles down the road so we decided to get settled in and then get a new tire. I will NOT travel without a spare. Now remember it is Sunday so finding a tire shop open and with the tire we needed proved to be a challenge. Finally found one about 20 miles away and drove there with the tire in the back of the truck. Most of these places either don't have the equipment or the space to work on a 40' 5th wheel so we would have to put the new tire on back at the RV park.

Once all that was taken care of and we got cleaned up we had a nice visit with Don and Grace. Neither of them are spring chickens but they are doing very well considering. We all went out to dinner, said our good byes, and went back to our home in Port St Lucie because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, July 16, 2016

'16/#29 The Road Is Calling!

Our week in Largo is almost over. We have seen everyone we wanted and are ready to hit the road. Everything on the truck is set and the trailer has no more things to be fixed. It looks like we just have to dump our tanks and get hooked up to be ready to go.

As always there is a little bit of "jello". I went to get the motorcycle to load it for the trip and the clutch was stuck. If I can't get it unstuck myself it will stay here in Pinellas County until we get back and have time to get it into the shop. Research tells me that it is a minor thing from sitting too long long, so I am keeping my fingers crossed. We were looking forward to using the bike in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Today will be a lazy day. Lunch at our favorite Cuban sandwich shop and dinner with the daughter will finish our time here. Tomorrow we leave early for the east coast to see Don and Grace before we leave Florida. We will also have a short stay in our favorite city in Florida, St Augustine! Then it is "Pigeon Forge Here We Come!".

So, this is my last blog from our home in Largo because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Sunday, July 10, 2016

'16/#28 The Plan Is Coming Together

Summer in Florida was not in our plan but that is the nature of "jello". Things are starting to come together. As I have mentioned the fridge turned out to be a minor thing. Mary helped me change out the lights on the trailer so we could check another item off the list. The truck was a little more problematic.

After some research on line I found the best way to move the wiring harness to inside the truck bed. The hole was drilled and the cable snaked through the chassis. Splice the wires and we are done. Not so easy of course. Testing the plug and there is no current to the terminals. After double and triple checking we called a friend who has an auto repair shop to see if he could help. After a few minutes with the right tools everything was working! Thanks Richie!!!

Saturday we washed the rig. At 40' long and 13' tall we knew we had our work cut out for us. Add to that temps in the mid 90's with feel like temps between 105 and 110 degrees and it was going to be a long day. We got it done but we don't want to do that again any time soon.

Sunday we finally left Zephyrhills. We are in Pinellas County for a week. The storage unit needs to be emptied and everything needs to be packed away for travel. We also have to get the motorcycle from my daughter's house and load that. During the week we hope to see everyone before we leave.

It is hot as hell again so we are calling it a day for outside stuff in our home in Largo, Florida because ....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, July 2, 2016

"16/#27 Might As Well Blog

Zephyrhills is still home for now and we are enjoying our time here. We have gotten to see some of the friends we have made over the past 3 years and the to-do list is getting shorter. With no real time schedule we have also been taking advantage of this down time to recharge the old batteries. Ours, not the trailer's.

I was just working on the list when the skies decided to open up with some liquid sunshine as it is likely to do at  any time here in Florida. It gives me a break and lets me blog a little while I wait out the rain. Blogging while sitting still is not the most interesting thing to do or read, but it gives everyone an idea what our life is like. As we have pointed out to many people this is a lifestyle and not a permanent vacation. While we do get to see and do some really great things the hum drum of everyday life is still a big part of what we do.

The rain looks like it has blown through and I am sure it is like a sauna outside but I have to finish the job that was interrupted. Oh goodie!! The holding tanks will be flushed once again in preparation for our not to far in the future departure. See what I mean about hum drum?

So here's to checking one more thing off the list in our home in Zephyrhills because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

'16/#26 LOOK OUT!!!! It's A Jello Storm!

The kids have been dropped off and we are relaxing again. The last few days of the trip the fridge started acting up. Since we had some work done on it a year ago in Zephyrhills we figured "why not have the same guy check it out?". So our home is in Zephyrhills again.

 The fridge turned out to be a minor thing so that is good now. The truck/trailer connector had a few issues, so I was prompted to accelerate the plan to move the connection from under the bumper to inside the truck bed. This was always in the plans but the timing will let us take care of it now. And to complete the jello trifecta one of the tail lights on the trailer decided to become fickle. Two new tail lights and we will be good to go.

Pigeon Forge is still on the schedule, even without the kids. We still have a lot of friends in the area that we would like to see. On top of that Amazon has contacted us about working for them again. It was something we were planning anyway, but they now want us there as early as the first of August. This will be the beginning of their peak season so it shouldn't be as crazy as November and December, which will let us get into the swing of things gradually.

 With the money we will be earning there plus not having to pay rent for that time we will be able to feather the nest egg a bit before we head out on our western adventure. If we can just control ourselves with the Amazon employee discount we will save quite a bit of money.

We will sit tight here in Z-hills for the 4th of July holiday just to avoid the insanity of driving during that time. Then we we will head over to Pinellas again. We still have a storage unit that we have to empty, a motorcycle to load up, and friends and family to see before we leave for at least the next 5-6 months. That is as far as we are planning for now. Why tempt the jello!

I am signing off to get some things done at our home here in Zephyrhills because....

Home is where we park It,
Frank and Mary

Monday, June 20, 2016

'16/#25 I Think It's Over

This adventure with the grandkids has not gone as we had hoped. We always knew that our plans were written in jello but this is even worse than we thought it would be. The plan was to have the kids with us the whole summer or as I said many times "as long as they can stand us or we can stand them". Well the tolerance point is 10 days. We are on our way home.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                                    Many of our friends had warned us about taking grandchildren on vacation. Loving relationships strained by the proximity of the limited space in an RV, the mile after mile of boredom traveling to a destination, and trying to simultaneously have a parent/child and grandparent/child relationship are just too much. We thought we were different and of course our grandchildren would be no problem but we learned other wise. As we have aged we have learned that things that we ignored from our kids drives us batty as grandparents. The kids, expecting nonstop fun from Granddad and Grandmommy are disappointed. It all comes down to "Oh well, we tried".

The kids will be home soon and we will have a few things to take care of. Then we we will recalculate and set out in a new direction on our adventure as a duo instead of a foursome. The trip, while not always fun will be remembered and that is ultimately what we wanted to do. Make memories.

This the last leg of our journey so goodnight from our home in Jacksonville FL because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

'16/#24 A Day Of Ups And Downs (In more ways thn one!)

We have arrived in the Big Apple and are ready to see some sights. First we had to get to our campsite in Jersey City. Lots of fun negotiating all the construction, pot holes, and over all terrible traffic and remember this is with a 40' trailer swinging around behind! Once we got settled in we made plans for the next day.

We were going to get to the bottom of the NYC  scene by starting at the top, literally. Our first stop was at the newly opened One World Observatory in the new One World Trade Center tower. Talk about breath taking views. There will be pics on Facebook that I can't seem to get posted in the blog. It doesn't matter because the pictures don't do it justice. Besides the panoramic view, there is an interactive tablet that points out and talks about landmarks throught the city. We easily spent an hour or two just walking around in circles and staring out at the skyline that has made NYC world famous.

Now that we had seen the top it was time to get to the bottom of everything. That meant the 9/11 Museum. The whole museum is underground ,directly below the Memorial Pools Waterfalls. These pools are built in the foot prints of the Twin Towers that feel on 9/11. The museum talked about the building of the towers and then told of the horrors and heroism durring the terroist attack of that horrific day. Our grand kids, having been born after 9/11, did not understand what it was all about but they did understand the losses suffered by those who died and those that were left behind. It was an emotional visit. Anyone who doesn't have that catch in their throat or a tear in their eye just doesn't have any feelings at all!

As I said our day had it's ups and downs, from the top of the world with a birds eye view to the bottom of our hearts in the basement museum where it will always be remembered. So emotionally drained I am saying goodnight from our home in Jersey City (just a stones throw to NYC) because.....

Home is where we park it,
Fran and Mary  and the kids

Monday, June 13, 2016

'16/#24 Next the Big Apple

Tomorrow we leave Fredericksburg and head to New York City. We are not looking forward to the traffic around Washington DC. I guess we will just get on the road and chug along like always.

My side is still sore but it is getting better. Our refrigerator on the other hand is not doing so well. It looks like another road trip to get it fixed. The jello has been shaken again.

This time it means canceling the DC stop and rerouting us through Indiana. That will let the kids see some other parts of the country. We may get to see the friends that we missed on the last trip. Funny how things work out.

I am lying on the heating pad and contemplating a pill before going to bed. So goodnight for the last time from our home in Fredricksburg because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary and the kids

Sunday, June 12, 2016

"16/#23 And Then They Rested

550 miles and twelve hours then 350 miles in seven hours and it is time for a break. We will sit here in Fredricksburg VA for 2 nights before we head on to our first destination....New York City! There is a pool and a play ground for the kids, but the best part is it isn't the inside of the truck! We love our F350, but four people sitting in it all day gets old real fast.

The kids can stretch there legs and we hope to see a friend of ours while we are here. I on the other hand will take advantage of the time and try to heal. I have had a chronic cough for the past 2 months and was getting sore muscles in my side. Add to that all the work I have been doing to get ready for this trip and I have gotten pretty achy. Today I sneezed in the truck and I thought my side was going to explode. Needless to say I was hurting pretty bad. Mary was talking hospital but I convinced her it was muscle pain and not related to my past back issues. Some rest, a heating pad, and wahtever pain pills I can find and I should be back n travel mode.

The kids have been helping Granddad wheer he needs and Mary will do most of the driving when we leave. It is going to be an early night thanks to a muscle relaxer so I will say goodnight from our home in Virginia because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and mary and the Kids

Saturday, June 11, 2016

'16/#22 Day One A Resounding Sucess

Our goal was to be on the road by 5am. We pulled out of the park at 5:15 and that is close enough for me. Being Saturday and early in the morning we made great time. The kids slept until we decided to stop for breakfast. After breakfast we continued on our adventure.

Crossing state lines is a bench mark along the way. So we were excited to leave Florida and cross into Georgia. It was a small monkey wrench when we got off at the welcome center. The welcome center was closed so we had to go around and find somewhere else for a pit stop.  Once that was done it was on down the road again. I-95 is a short stretch through Georgia so we soon crossed into South Carolina.

At the S Carolina welcome center we stopped for lunch. The kids found out what traveling in the RV is like. After lunch we launched onto the last stretch before stopping for the night. Once we got settled in we found a gas station so we could have a full tank in the morning. Back at the park we heated up some dinner and filled our own tanks.

Today was a 550 mile jaunt so we were tired and will call it an early night. Tomorrow will be a shorter day and we will stay for 2 nights and visit with a friend in the area. So I will sign off now from our home in Florence S Carolina because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary and Johnny and Becky

Friday, June 10, 2016

'16/#21 Day Zero!

Today is our last day of preparation. We leave early tomorrow morning so any last minute details have to be ironed out today or they won't get done! All the tanks will get a good flushing, lug nuts tightened, and the usual walk-around the RV will start our day. Everything inside will get secured and the kids will get their personal belongings settled in. The kids will get instructions on RV life like short showers and RV toilets.

There is a week's worth of laundry to do and a few last minute errands to run. We might even get to see a couple of friends and family before we go. On a very positive note, the shocks came in yesterday and Mary and I got them installed. It was one of those rare times when you say a job will only take 30 minutes and it actually does. I take that as a good omen for this trip.

We spent some time on our mapping software planning our stops and printed it out last night. We use a GPS but anyone who has experience with a GPS unit knows how inaccurate they can be. To cover our bases we use the GPS, mapping software, and a truckers road atlas. Now with smart phones we add Google Maps to the mix. With all this travel advice we figure we should at least get close to our destinations.

Tonight we plan on dinner with Rachel so she can say goodbye to the kids without having to get up at an ungodly hour tomorrow. Everyone will be showered this evening and we plan on hooking up the truck before we go to bed so we can get an early start. With everybody so excited we figure we can have a long first day on the road and get quite a few miles behind us.

We need to get ready for "Day One" of the Great Adventure of 2016 so I will sign off now from our home in Largo because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Sunday, June 5, 2016

"16/#20 Travel Quotes

I saw a quote on Facebook that struck home. "I travel because I'd rather look back at my life, saying 'I can't believe I did that' instead of 'If only I had...' ". Some of the trips we have been on and the things we have seen will be what we look back on for the rest of our lives. And the trips we have planned will give us more to look back on.

This next trip will be even more special because we will spend quality time with our grandchildren. Not only will we have memories, we will be making memories for the kids and we will be in it with them. Talk about special!

Currently we are now living back in Largo, FL. We are close to the grand kids while we are preparing for our next adventure with them. Of course there had to be a little jello in the mix. Upon arrival as we were setting up Mary noticed a bubble in a tire on the RV. The only tire on the trailer that wasn't a Goodyear failed on us. It was a sign that we need to stick with name brand tires. The tire that failed was a tire we had picked up when we had to replace a flat tire several years ago. A new tire is ordered and should be on the trailer in a couple of days.

This week will be busy tying up all the last minute details. A new tire monitoring system is installed, the kids stuff will be stowed, flushing and dumping the holding tanks, and we should be just about ready to leave. I'm sure there will be things that pop up and that will be taken care of too.

We are taking a well earned rest before dinner here in our home in Largo because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, June 2, 2016

'16/#19 Feeling Bummed

Mary just got an e-mail from the White House in Washington D.C. It seems that either we got bumped from our scheduled White House tour or the tours have been canceled for the time frame we will be in D.C. We were looking forward to taking the grand kids on the tour while we visited our nation's capitol. There will still be plenty to see and do but this was going to be a high point on this trip. Mary is trying to call in any favors from friends who still live in the D.C. area.

On a better note we have been able to get a lot done to get ready for this trip. Fixing the shocks shouldn't take long once the parts arrive. Then we just have to get the kids gear, clothes, and whatever else they want to take with them stowed in the RV. There will be a crash course on living in an RV and we will be ready to go.

I don't know who is more excited. Could it be Mary and me wanting to give the kids a trip they will always remember? Maybe it is the kids wanting to go on an adventure. Or it could be Rachel looking forward to a quiet summer without all the drama that comes with being a single working mom trying to keep 3 kids busy and out of trouble for 2 months. What matters is we are looking forward to some quality time with our grand kids and Rachel is hoping the kids have a summer that they will never forget. I guess she remembers the trips she went on with us when she was their age.

Well it is time to relax before the next round of preparations starts here in our home in Zephyrhills because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

'16/#18 Always Something And Not Enough Time?

We are back in Florida and we are hip deep in jello. After the tire issues we now have to replace a shock absorber that broke when the tire blew. Finding the shock was a problem since RVs and trailers are not built with any standardization. It took some time but we found the parts at a good price. I just hope that it shows up so we can hit the road on time.

Getting set up we came upon another problem. Our loft area has always been used for storage and it has worked well for us. When we left Elkhart we committed the cardinal sin of not securing everything. Heading in to the garage we couldn't open the door. Apparently the bins in the loft tipped over and came crashing down and caused the ceiling to drop in the garage. Three trips to Home Depot and a full day of sweating and the garage ceiling is back to where it should be and better than before.

While we are here in Zephyrhills we have been catching up with friends that we left just a month ago. It seems like longer but I guess that happens when you have good friends. We will also see family in the area before we set out for our summer trip.

As soon as the shocks come in we will install them and get ready for our adventure with the grand kids. Until then goodnight so I can get a well earned nights sleep in our home in Zephyrhills because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, May 28, 2016

'16/#17 F:%×@!: Jello!!##

Finally on our way back to Florida and the jello gets shaken again. On our way towards Atlanta Mary heard something. I don't see anything but I keep looking. Then The Tell-Tale signs of a tire coming apart appear. I get off at the next exit and of course there is a tire that is destroyed. To make it worse it is the tire on the middle axle of our three axle trailer.

The first thing we have to do is find a parking lot big enough for us to get the trailer in to change the tire. Since it was dinner time and rush hour we figured it would be quicker to change the tire ourself than to call Road service. 40 minutes later we were back on the road. It's nice to have the right tools but even better to have the right partner to help. Mary is the best! I don't know too many wives that would be crawling around under an 18000 pound trailer to change a flat tire.

We finally get to our Campground in South Atlanta and get the trailer set up. At this point nobody wants to cook and I need diesel in the truck. It's time to unhook the truck go get diesel and something to eat. By the time all running around is done it is almost 10 o'clock and we are both ready for bed.

Saturday morning we call around for a new tire. Luckily there is a Goodyear dealer two exits down the road with the tires we need and at a good price. Yes I said tires! In the morning when I got up the tire next to the one that blew was flat. That means 2 tires need replacing.

So here we sit waiting for new tires with our home behind the Goodyear dealer because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

'16/#16 There's Always Room For Jello.....NOT!

If you follow us at all you have heard us talk about shaking the jello. That is a reference to my answer to people that ask "what if (blank) happens?" I always respond "Our house is on wheels and our plans are written in jello". Well the jello has been shaken! This past Saturday we were getting the rig ready for a Sunday departure. We closed up the slides and drove to the dump station to empty all our waste water tanks. when we returned to our parking spot to set up for the night the jello fell on to the floor. As the newly repaired slide slid out, the corner caught the linoleum and ripped it right off the sub floor. Mary's language was more suited to a trucker or sailor but I whole heartily agreed with her.

Well we settled in for the weekend and tried to relax before meeting with the repair shop personnel on Monday. Mary did a lot of sleeping Sunday rather than stay up and dwell on things we couldnn't do anything about until Monday. Monday would come around soon enough.

Monday morning and our service writer is just as upset as we were. The shop foreman wasn't happy either and promised that everything would be fixed and quickly. We were told to pick out what ever new flooring we wanted and that the floors in the whole rig would be replaced  to match. The techs worked on the slide to figure out why this happened in the first place and make sure it didn't happen again.

Here it is Tuesday and the slide problem has been addressed. The new floor is being put down as we speak.We should be in our home tonight and if all goes well we could be on the road Wednesday. Fingers crossed and a new tray of jello not withstanding.We should keep be able to keep all our plans even if they have to be abbreviated a bit.

So I will sign off now here in the customers lounge next to our home in Elkhart Indiana because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, May 21, 2016

"16/#15 Getting Ready To Move On

The work on the trailer is done and we are happy with the end result. It is time to head on down the road. Today we finished putting the trailer back together so we could find all our stuff. While emptying the kitchen cabinets we found out that Mary has a problem. It's not drugs or drinking like so many other people have to deal with. No, Mary just has to be different. We found a stash of 14 containers of antiseptic counter wipes under the kitchen sink. Now you have to remember that we live in an RV and storage space is at a premium so, 14! I don't know if it exists, but I think she needs to find a meeting for her particular addiction.

Everything is back in the cabinets and we are heading out to do some laundry. After that a quick stop at Walmart, fill up with diesel, and back to the repair shop. By the way the repair shop is Duncan RV Repair in Elkhart Indiana. I didn't mention them by name until I could assess the work they did for us and I give them a big thumbs up! Everyone was friendly and tried to be as helpful as they could. There was plenty of room for RVs to park with utilities available(water and electric, plus a dump station). And they don't mind if you have to stay a while even when the work is completed. A few days of free camping while preparing for travel is always nice.  If I ever need work done again I will make the trip back to Elkhart!

Once we get back to the shop we will dump all our waste water holding tanks and top off the fresh water. Tomorrow we hit the road. Our first stop will be at one of our regular stops in Indiana, The Alice and Larry Family Campground. If you have followed us in the past you know of this place. Cozy, welcoming, and just like coming home! It also happens to be the backyard of our dear friends Alice and Larry. We can't pass through the Hoosier State without stopping in. We wouldn't want to and they wouldn't allow it. Hopefully we can find the time to see another friend of ours who recently moved up here to central Indiana. With a week blocked off we should have plenty of time.

The laundry is almost done so I will be signing off now from the laundromat near our home in Elkhart because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

'16/#14 Good Choices

We are still in Elkhart. Bright and early Tuesday morning they took our rig into the repair shop. About 80% of the Rvs they work on are motor homes which means taking it into the shop involves turning the ignition key and driving through the garage door. A 5th wheel like ours is usually moved by fork lift. Our trailer is on the top of the size scale for this type of RV and sometimes cannot be moved by fork lift. This was the case here and the truck they usually use to move larger 5ers was not available so I had to move it into the garage with my truck. It was not a problem and the tech was impressed with our coordination while backing into a tight spot. 10 years of experience pays off!

Since we travel with our whole house, packing is not a skill we have mastered and being displaced from our home was  more than a little inconvenient. We looked like rednecks going on vacation. Everything was packed in grocery bags and Styrofoam coolers. On top of the contents of our refrigerator we had enough clothes for 3 days. We are hoping that it won't take any longer than that.

Fast forward to Wednesday at 11am and the phone rings. The bulk of the work is done and if we want we could stay in our rig tonight. Tomorrow they will finish a few of the minor things on the list and will be done. We opted to stay in the motel for the extra night so the rig didn't have to be moved just to save one night in a rented room. Also, the rig wouldn't have to be moved again to finish the work. We were prepared for 3 days in the motel anyway. 1 day would have been great but 2 is still better than we had hoped for.

If we are satisfied with the overall work and the time to complete it, the trip to Indiana was a very good choice. Driving 1200 miles to get repair work done might seem excessive, but if you want the job done right you go to people who know what they are doing. As I've said before, Elkhart is the center of the RV manufacturing universe and has everything needed to solve your RV problems.

Excited to get back into our home in Elkhart because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, May 14, 2016

'16/#13 We're Not In Florida Toto!

Today we have to take care of our holding tanks. Since the sites at the repair shop only have water and electric, dumping the tanks requires us to move the trailer to the dump station. It's not a big deal and we can always use the practice of hooking up and unhooking. The only problem is the temperature today is only going to get up to  45 degrees with gusty winds. Having lived in Florida for 3 decades it strikes us as weird that people are walking around in shorts and t-shirts in this weather. Meanwhile we are digging out electric space heaters and filling propane for the furnace like the next ice age is coming. Fortunately we can make our home nice and cozy when the outside elements are (relatively speaking) arctic.

Now about the repair work. A new floor has been ordered to replace the rotting one in the kitchen slideout. That is the main purpose for this trip. Hopefully that will be ready to go early this week. We are also replacing the kitchen sink and while that is being done the faucet and filtered water tap will also be replaced. The sink is turning into a problem. RV sinks are not the same standard sizes as residential sinks, On top of that ours seems to be an unusual size and configuration from normal RV sinks. The shop has had no luck finding a sink to fit and we don't want to have to replace the whole counter top to start from scratch. What to do?

Sounds like a road trip! We are in the birthplace of most of the RVs on the road so we should be able to find something. There are a number of RV surplus and salvage stores in the area to check out. Nothing was found in Elkhart so on to Michigan. It is not that far of a trip. We are so close to Michigan that this area is called "Michiana"!

There is a place that we have visited before that is RV parts heaven. It is the resting place for all RV parts past and present. Old warehouses full of bins with everything from unique screws to whole axle assemblies. We head back to the section of sinks and wade into the collection with our measurements and a tape measure. The stainless steel sink we find is the right size but not the right configuration of bowls and faucet holes. Damn! Digging in we find a white fiberglass one with the right dimensions and a fauet configuration that just might work. On top of that it is only $35! Most of the sinks for RVs were starting at $125 and they wouldn't work for us. White is not our first choice but I think we can make it work. Back to the repair shop to see if they had any luck, if not white it will be.

It has reached the high temp for the day and I am sitting here blogging and drinking coffee. Mary has decided not to get dressed yet and is lying in bed playing on her phone. Sometime we will have to move and get the tanks dumped, preferably before they overflow. So I will sign off now from our taosty warm home here in Elkhart Indiana because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

'16/#12 Just Chillin'

Just touching base with everyone who may be following us. You have to remember that we retired 7 years ago. Then we came off the road for 3 years to take care of some personal business. Now we have re-retired and are looking forward to a more relaxed pace.

Well relaxing is what we are doing. The repair shop is getting ready to start work. The prep work is the first step. They are taking measurements, lining up materials, and scheduling things to hopefully inconvenience us as little as possible. We have been doing a lot of catching up. Catching up on reading, trip planning, and naps.

It may sound very boring but right now boring sounds good. Soon enough we will be on the road with the grand kids and then on to our own adventures. Until then i will keep on blogging about our relaxing life in our home in Elkhart because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Monday, May 9, 2016

'16/#11 Here We Sit

Scene, RV repair shop in Elkhart, IN, 53 degrees and drizzling. We are sitting in our RV waiting for a tech to be assigned to us. This morning we got up, showered, had a quick breakfast, and went into the office. Angela took all our information and made a list of everything we wanted checked on our rig. We had come up with a short list of minor things beside replacing the floor in the kitchen slide. While we are here we figured let the experts check everything out. We could wait in the customer lounge but why? Our home is right outside the door, and where can you be more comfortable than at home?

It is even more important to be comfortable since we are both not feeling 100% these days. This has got to stop! It has been 2 weeks for me and 1 week for Mary. Coughing, sneezing, runny nose all non-stop. Sore throat from the cough, headache from sneezing, and Mary's nose is sore and red from constant blowing. Not to be gross but this snot fest has got to end. Our major purchases on this trip have been tissues!  Mary is going to lay down until we hear from the tech.

Guess what? Mary lays down and there is a knock on the door. I did a walk around with the techs and they are going to make a plan to get the repairs done. Remember, we live in our RV so the longer we can stay in our rig while they work on it the better. This repair shop is also very busy. They have excellent reviews and this puts their services in demand. This is why we drove 1400 miles to have this work done. Fortunately we have blocked out enough time for all the work to be taken care of.

So here we wait in our home in Elkhart because...

Home is where we park it,
Fran and Mary

Saturday, May 7, 2016

'16/#10 A Leg Up On One Leg Down

The first leg of our adventure is realized. We arrived in Elkhart Friday afternoon and were able to check in with the repair shop early. They have RV facilities so we will be staying here over the weekend and will be ready for our Monday appointment bright and early.

The next 2 days we will do some exploring and running of errands. Propane needs to be filled and we will be scoping out hotels in case we have to be out of the rig any time they will be working on it. As any RVer will tell you we must find the local Walmart and check out the local businesses. This area is teeming with Amish so that is always fun and there are a number of RV parts clearance and salvage warehouse to explore.

Beside the errands mentioned we will just relax until Monday here in our home in Elkhart, IN because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Friday, May 6, 2016

'16/#9 Forget The Rest Of The World!

With Manchester, TN in our rear view mirror we figured on one more over night stay before we get to Elkhart, IN. Looking at the map and taking into consideration how we were feeling somewhere around Louisville, KY seemed like a good place to stop.

Now you have to understand we are of a one track mind right now. We are traveling with blinders on. And we only have the finish line of this journey in mind. Do you see where I am going with this? We didn't! Trying to find a campground near Louisville seem harder than it should be until someone pointed out this was Derby weekend. With over 150,000 people attending the Kentucky Derby and thousands more just wanting to be near the action, campsites are as rare as Triple Crown winners. Ok, no more horse references. We got lucky since we would be in and gone before all the RV parks got full. By post time we will be long gone from anywhere near Louisville.

The overnight temps went down into the low 40's but we were prepared. Furnace on, quilt on the bed, and the electric blanket plugged in and we were nice and toasty all night. Still we had to get out of bed in the morning and shower if we wanted to be out of here reasonably early.

Up, dressed, and ready to go Louisville will soon be the next view in the rear view mirror. So I am signing off now from our home near the Kentucky Derby because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

'16/#8 And The Bumps In The Road Start

Mary wasn't feeling great yesterday. Since I had not been feeling good for a few days before of course it was my fault that Mary got sick. I am the husband and it is my job to be wrong. Woke up this morning and neither one of us wanted anything for breakfast, which translates to no one wants to cook. So we hit the road and would see what happens as we woke up.

Mary's app found some cheap diesel so we decided to fill up. It was a Murphy station. So we found the Walmart and no Murphy! The Murphy was a free standing station across the street. Now to get there involved a right on the main road and a U-turn to get back to the Murphy. All this with a 40' trailer. This Murphy guy may have cheap fuel but he is becoming a pain in the butt! It was worth it because we saved 16 cents per gallon.

Back on the road and it was time to get something to eat. We like Cracker Barrel because they usually have RV parking. Into the parking lot and over to the RV/Bus spaces. I don't know what kind of RVs they are expecting but I couldn't get half of our rig in to one of those spots. I back up to the far end of the parking lot and took up about 8 regular parking spots. TOO BAD! It was a nice breakfast and Mary got to drink a gallon of hot tea. It made her feel better and our bellys were full.

Onward we go. Past Macon, around Atlanta, through the usual construction all to the harmonizing tunes of us both clearing our sinuses while destroying the forest one tissue at a time! We stopped at the Tennessee welcome center to get information on campgrounds. Found one in Manchester that sounded promising and would have us off the road by dinner time.

The campground was supposed to be a couple miles off I-24 but after 15 miles of winding 2 lane country roads we came to an intersection with 2 dead ends. I was hearing banjo music and it was time to turn it around. Back on the interstate we found a much pricier KOA but didn't care at that point. Mary wasn't feeling well again and I was getting tired.

The KOA is nice and clean and I didn't have to drive any more. We had dinner which was primarily soup for the sickies. Mary is getting the blankets out because the overnight temps are going down into the 40's. We may boondock yet since I did get the generator running. It was just the propane transfer switch had to be reset.

We are half way to our destination and are pleased with our progress. It will be an  early night what with dealing with the time zone change. Yes we have crossed into the Central Time Zone. So goodnight whatever time it is from our home in Manchester TN because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

'16/#7 First Full Day On The Road

We opened our eyes at 7am and got ready to hit the road. Mary wanted a refresher course on our macerator (aka The Poop Shooter!). For those of you new to the blog the macerator is a garbage disposal/pump for our poop water. Sounds gross but it has it's advantages at times over the usual gravity dump system. It is also fun to think of ways to start trouble. Think feces throwing monkey with a turbo charged launcher. I'll leave the rest to your imagination. Everything was unhooked and stowed. The truck was hooked up, trash disposed of and the final walk-around to make sure we hadn't forgotten anything. It was now 9am and we didn't care! No more clocks to punch. No schedules to keep. It is now time to relax and enjoy.

Down the local streets and onto I-95 and we were on our way. Oops! Forgot to fuel the truck up before we left. No problem, we will stop on the road. As everyone knows fuel on the interstate is always more expensive than a ways off. We were finding prices 30 cents over what they were getting in town. Not a problem, Mary has an app for that, Gas Buddy. While everyone was getting $2.45 a gallon she found a Valero station that was getting $2.07! Sign me up!!!  We get there and there is no way I am going to get into the station pulling a 40' long, 13' tall trailer. Again, no problem. Unhook the trailer on the side of the road, pull in, fuel up, and hook back up to the trailer. Simple as that. Everything went smoothly and it only added 5 minutes to the stop.

Back on the road and Mary is having sinus issues. Into the back seat with a pillow and she is out like a light. About 1:30 I pull into a rest area and we have a nice lunch. The generator wouldn't start but nothing to worry about. It gets fickle some times. On through Jacksonville and onto I-10. Time to find another place to fuel up. We are fueling up more often because of the 37 gallon tank. Our old truck could carry 74 gallons. More stops, but who cares? We are in no hurry. Mary's app finds a Murphy gas station with diesel for $2.04 a gallon! Yay!! A little problem. The Murphy is in the parking lot of one of the busiest Walmart's I have seen in a long time. I can get into the pump OK, just have to watch out for traffic. I get to the pump and have no problem. Fueling is finished and every car in a 20 mile radius has come to the Murphy station. I'm not getting out! Marry blocks traffic so I can back out of the station and down the parking aisle for Walmart to get the hell out of there. Success!! And we are back on the road again.

We get onto I-75 and head into Georgia. Crossing state lines makes it official...we are RVing again! Ran into rain, well actually a down pour. Then there was a clicking sound which we figured out was small hail. It didn't last too long but we were getting tired and hungry so we looked for a place to stop for the night. Boon docking as out until I got a chance to check the generator, so we found a little RV park in Arabi, GA. The kids that run it just bought it 4 days ago so it is a work in progress. They are excited and ambitious and we think they are going to turn it into something really nice.

Well I am feed but still tired so I think I am going to take a shower and call it a night here in our home in Arabi because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Monday, May 2, 2016

'16/#6 Finally On Our Way

Sunday was the day that we start our new adventure. Driving out past the Southern Charm sign for the last time was bitter sweet. Lots of memories and lots of friends left behind, but the rest of the country in front of us. For those left behind, just know that we will be thinking of you often.

Our first stop is in Port St Lucie, FL to see Don and Grace before we head out of state. It feels good knowing they have each other and are doing well. A couple of nights there and we will then head north to Indiana to get some work done on the rig.

The trip across the state was uneventful but it did get us back into RV mode. The new truck performed flawlessly and I am looking forward to seeing if the fuel mileage will be better than the old truck. The ride seems to be smoother and the 6.7 engine feels more powerful than the old 6.0.

Of course there has to be something, even a minor thing, that has us stop. Almost to our destination we have a car pass us by with the universal and useless signal that something is wrong. The passenger is hanging out the window, flailing her arms, and pointing towards the rear of the rig. That could mean anything from "a light is out" to
"the trailer fell of the truck"! Looking in the mirrors and out the rear window we see nothing amiss but we pull over to check. Better safe than sorry, right? We walk around the trailer and see nothing. The tires are all good, nothing is hanging from underneath, lights are what's up? Yes UP! It seems that one of the covers for the roof vents has come unhinged. Up on the roof I swing it back in place and lock it down. No idea how it could have come undone but all is now OK. Thank you to whoever flagged us down. It was something minor but thank you still.

We plan to leave Tuesday and take our time getting to Indiana. We have heard of too many flat tires in the RV forums lately and from experience I believe that excessive speed is a major contributor. I know that since we have kept our speeds below 65 mph tire problems are almost nonexistent.

So this is goodnight from our home in Port St Lucie because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, April 23, 2016

'16/#5 Crunch Time!

We are down to our final week and it is time to finish our to do list before we hit the road. To simplify things we rented a storage unit and emptied the trailer of anything we didn't need for our trip to Indiana. Once we are ready to hit the road for our big trip it will be easier to organize things since everything will be out of the trailer and we can start from scratch setting things up the way we want.

The trailer has been moved 3 times this week which gave us some much needed practice hooking up and unhooking. There has been a great improvement over the comedy of errors from last week. Also we drove the rig about 100 miles to check it out for anything else that might need tending to.

This is the first time we have towed with the new truck and it performed perfectly. I drove to Pinellas county to the storage unit in the morning and  once Mary was awake she drove back.

To celebrate a good day we treated ourselves to dinner at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. It is a favorite for us and we will miss it once we leave Florida.

Time for a nap and later more to do list. Til the next post from our home for one more week in Zephyrhills....

Because home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, April 21, 2016

'16/#4 Getting Ready, Getting Close

Yesterday was another long day. The rig went into the shop for it's road readiness check up. The General RV doesn't take reservations so it is first come first served. RVers deal with it differently than others. When possible they will show up the night before and sleep in the service line until morning. It is hard to get there earlier than that!

I got there an hour and a half early and was third in line. Fortunately they had enough openings to get me in, but they weren't sure at first. I spent the whole day sitting in the waiting room while they gave the rig a good going over. Not the most efficient group there but it finally was done.

By the time I got back to the trailer park it was7 pm. That was 12 hours that I will never get back! Now we have to finish packing stuff away for travel. With only 1 week to go all I can hear is the clock ticking away.

The to do list is getting shorter and we are getting excited. So long for now from our home in Zephyrhills because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Monday, April 18, 2016

"16/#3 Moving??????

This past weekend was interesting. Tiring, frustraing, productive, but interesting. We have finally moved on. Not very far mind you, it was a move to another site in the same park. "Why?" you might ask would we move to another site whem we are planning to leave in a couple of weeks.

First, we always get a safety check before we head out after sitting for a while. The new site makes it easier to pull out at whatever ungodly hour of the morning I must to be at the head of the line at he shop. Pulling all the wheels, checking the brakes, greasing the bearings, etc.

Second, we wanted to go through the "crap" we have gathered while we were sitting still and get rid of what we didn't need. All RVers and anyone who has read this blog in the past knows how often the RV has to go on a diet to keep it under the weight restrictions dictated by the chasis components.

Third, we thought it would be a good idea to go through our RV routine to decamp. Stowing gear, hooking up the truck, and all the checks and double checks associated with the process. This part turned out to be the most embarassing and humbling part of our weekend. It was a comedy of errors, literally! It was amazing how much we forgot that was once done as second nature. We are RVers, we are NOT supposed to sit still for 3 years!!!! We are glad the there weren't too many people eatching. That would have made it worse.

The move was successful and we are set up on our new site. And the adventure is starting.

Until the next blog form our new home still in Zephyrhills because....
Home is where we park it.

Frank and Mary