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