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