Friday, November 29, 2013

The Appointment

It's been awhile since I posted, but we haven't done a lot.

Our trip to Mitchell, SD was so that I could be close to my Pheasant Hunt. Part of my (not Carolyn's) full timing lifestyle was to travel the country seeing the sights, fishing, and hunting across the country. All the magazines had indicated lots of places free to hunt. That is still the case, but getting a little older :( it is a little more difficult to walk 10 to 20 miles across terrain that you don't know hoping to see the ever elusive game animal. Also all the farmers have found they can make a fair off season living leasing their land out to hunters. All that boils down to, it is harder to do that than I thought.  The conclusion is to find local outfitters and book hunts for a few days and sit back and let them do the work to get WHERE I need to be. :)

My hunt was with an outfitter in Woonsocket, SD. Note that we are residents :) so that is a savings already. We stayed in Mitchell, SD at Fam E Fun Campground. Nice campground and easy to maneuver around. Owner is friendly and lives on site.
It was about a 40 minute drive, but had shopping and activities close by.

It seems that Huron, SD may be the center of the area Pheasant activities. A ride through town found this.
We had our limit each day. Hopefully they will be good eating.

Getting to Mitchell we drove 4 hours through a storm with 24 mph cross winds and gusting to 44 mph with driving rains. It was not a pleasant day at all.

After that we dropped down and went by the Blue Ox factory to have the hitch serviced.  We had it serviced Feb of 12.  The factory here did a much better job and went over everything. It works a lot better now.  They have a nice campground for $20 per night and free if getting service done.

From Pender, NE we headed south and stopped in Independence, MO for a couple of nights.  On the way out of town we stopped at a Blue Beacon Truck/RV wash. I've heard about them and some have really talked them up.  The bus was filthy after driving in the rain. Just walking outside I would get dirty.  I got in line with the 18 wheelers and finally moved into the bay after about 30 minutes.  I was concerned with brushes being used and scratching the paint.  There were no brushes used just 2-3 guys on each side with a pressure wash and a row of nozzles down the center on top. Took about 10 minutes. I got the Rain X applied also and total was $47.00.  It was clean. I didn't take the time to dry it down when I pulled out so I got some water spots, but I don't think my wheels had been cleaner.

We headed further south and stopped below Branson in Omaha, AR.  It is a nice area with drives that are nice this time of year.

We went on down to Grenada, MS to stay at Frog Hollow Campground a few days.  Carolyn's sister Linda lives just up the road and we had a nice visit.

From there we went to Tiffin Meca (Red Bay) to get the body work from all the wrecks :(( done.  I also had a problem driver side window MCD shade that needed to be fixed.  Consensus was to replace it and we did.  We drive from there to Guntersville, AL and it didn't work.  Luckily we are going right by there Monday on my was to AR for another appointment. (quack quack).  I think is just an electrical connection that came loose.

We have been here in Guntersville seeing family and friends for Thanksgiving.  It got down to 16 two nights ago.  We have been in the cooler than normal weather for three months now.  My buddy Steve has been sitting in Destin, on the beach, in shorts watching he outside TV.  I think that might be pretty nice for a change so after my next appointment (Duck Hunt) and a week of Doctor appointments in Birmingham we are headed on South.

We had a great Thanksgiving and as usual ate to much.  We have a lot to be thankful, good health, great healthy family, and the ability to be at this place in our lives.  More on that soon.

Till next time.  Run your life, don't let life run you!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Their Turning Off The Lights

Our leisurely summer is over and it is time to head south.  Last night the temperature got down to 33 degrees on one site.  To compound that problem the campground is turning off the water tonight at 11 PM.  The last two weekends have had local MN Good Sam rally's.  They blow in Friday and blow out Sunday AM.  As you can tell most have left this morning already and the few left related with the rally are rolling up their hoses.  It does make for a quite campground. :)
The site has been a nice one.  It's real level and larger than some we have been in.  The park, St Cloud Campground and RV Park, touts itself as a rally park and has a building set aside for that activity and a kids game room and playground.  It also has a few long term residents, but their sites are clean and well maintained.
Our summer, although starting a little late, mid July, has certainly been laid back.  We spent 6 weeks in Michigan and 6 weeks in Minnesota.  We saw a few sights along the way and really enjoyed the Lake Superior shoreline.  It is like going to Florida and enjoying the Gulf, but it is all fresh water and clearer than the Gulf.  The drawback it is cooler although we did see people swimming at different places.

We stayed initially in St Cloud to allow for the insurance adjuster of the guy that hit me to come by.  I figured that being mid Friday PM that they got back to me that Wednesday would be a good day to leave.  My surprise came Sunday evening the adjuster called to set the appointment and Monday AM at 9 we had a check in hand.  It wasn't a bad experience at all, just the hassle of it. 

The park was nice enough with shopping close by so we decided to stay another week.  It was to far to go to our original plan to International Falls.  One of the reasons we wanted to go was to see Voyager National Park and if they closed the government that would not be open.  They did, and it was, so it was a good decision not to go.  Sometimes regardless what I do we get it right. :)

Going into town one day (Walmart run) found us on a traffic circle.  The truck GPS told us to go to the 3d exit.  A major discussion started about whether to turn right or left.  Having been a country boy going to Germany in 1972 it didn't take long (once) to find out a left turn puts you on a perpetual loop. :)

We were just delaying heading south until my appointment Oct 19th in Woonsocket, SD.  We decided to stay another week only to find out that the water would be turned off on our last night.  There wouldn't even be a faucet in the park to get water. ???  Even in the south we have freeze faucets.  So we were going to have to move anyway.  We are headed to Mitchell, SD tomorrow in preparation for my 19th appointment. 

I guess we'll let winter or fall anyway blow us south.  If you haven't guessed yet, I like cool weather. :)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

There Will Be Bad Days

We enjoyed our stay in Grand Marais, MN.  We got lucky upon our arrival.  They have reserved sites and non reserved sites.  We had reservation for 3 days, but we wanted to stay at least a week.  I figured as big as the place was I would be able to, upon arrival, wangle a spot of some kind.  One of the lake sites which are non-reservable had just become available.  I was asked if I wanted a water spot, and my reply, "if I have to" :).  While the smallest of the sites along the water, it had a beautiful view.

We were close enough to town to walk to eat and close enough to the local areas to take a leisurely drive to see the sites.  We took a drive up to Grand Portage and the border and were to surprised to see a lovely area.

The first picture is overlooking the bay and the second is High Falls in the State Park.  The town of Grand Portage also has a nice National Park informational area discussing the Obijiwa Indians and their involvement in developing trade in the area.

After two weeks were going to have to move so we decided to head on down the road towards International Falls.  We had to go all the way to Duluth to stop by Walmart and get our meds renewed.  All went to plan until I pulled into the Walmart parking lot which was within a mile from the Int Airport.  My MCD shades went haywire and wouldn't respond and my direct wired windshield night shade went 2/3d's the way down and stopped and wouldn't do anything.  I thought the batteries had gone out so I went in to get new ones.  That didn't fix the problem.  Called MCD and after about 30 minutes he asked me if I was next to an airport and I said yes, the map indicated one reasonably close.  Seems that some airport frequencies will override the wireless controls to the MCD shades and when we move away they will start responding.  That would not work with the windshield shades as they are direct switch wired.  The closest dealer for MCD was Anoka, MN which is about 2.5 hours south.  A couple of calls later I had a place to stay the night and headed that way.  After a few miles I tried the wireless shades and they were working correctly.

Upon arrival and unhooking the truck someone, I think at Walmart, had backed into the MH.  I was a little perturbed.
The next morning called Shorwood RV in Anoka, MN and luckily arranged to bring it on in and they would work me in.  It was determined the motor in the shade was dead.  A call to Tiffin to find out the stock number revealed they had 26 of them in stock.  I think this is a recurring problem and they would send one out UPS that day to arrive tomorrow.

We arrived about 9:30 and my part had just arrived.  I was parked on the street, and the Svc Mgr said he would be right out. :)  When he arrived we were standing outside on the curb talking when a pickup pulling a brand new trailer pulled out of the Dealership.  I immediately started saying and yelling he was not going to make it and was turning to sharp when he hit my DS front mirror. 

Luckily the mirror broke away and HE stopped before it got into the windshield frame and cracked the windshield.  The mechanic went and got wrenches and we got it back into place and all of the mechanics still work.  It just has a pretty good scratch on my big chrome mirror. After all of the problems the last few days I did speak a little harshly to him, but after a few minutes of repairing and calling Tiffin for part prices, I did go and apologize to him and shook hands.  It happens to all of us and no one was hurt.  Since he had insurance it was just a little inconvenience. 

We got our shade motor replaced, it had completely come apart and he had to dig gears and such out of the tube.  We motored on to St Cloud, MN about 50 miles away and are waiting to hear from his insurance adjuster.  Maybe Wednesday or Thursday we can go on.  Anyway we have full hookups and there is a little to see around the area.  The fulltiming lifestyle allows for instant changes like this and I've had to react to similar changes throughout my working career.  So it is no problem.  Also, the leaves are turning, we'll do just fine. :)

When life throws you a lemon just make lemonade and watch a sunset. :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Land of "Gitche Gumee"

It has been far to long since my last post. We have been moving slowly across the Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior area into Wisconsin and Minnesota.

We made our trip into the UP landing in St Ignace at the Tiki RV Park.  It is a Passport America park and St Ignace is located right on Lake Huron.  We really liked the slow pace of the town and ended up staying three weeks.  The town is a small town with no traffic lights.  A traffic jam happens every Saturday night about 10:15 pm when the summer fireworks are over.  It only lasts for about 10 minutes and due to the location of them (over the harbor) you can see them from just about all over town.  The park is almost downtown and close to plenty of places to eat.

While there we went on some excursions.  The first was to Whitefish Point to the Marine Museum.  A very moving and well presented exhibit of all the shipwrecks of the area.  Everyone can relate to this one.
Another trip was to Taquamenom Falls State Park. Had some good paved trails and platforms that allowed great access to the falls.  A pretty good falls that had lots of water going through it.
We made a trip to the Soo Locks also.  We got lucky with our arrival and there were two ships scheduled within the next two hours.  One 700+' and the other mid 600'.  They locked through at the same time.  The picture shows the larger one in front of the smaller one heading out of the lock.
Everyone goes to see the above sites and they are all worth a trip, but we got an extra perk when a Tall Ship came into port heading to the Chicago tall ship race.  The SSV Niagra came in.  We thought we would get to see it under sail, but it came in and left under its own power.  It was a cool experience to see it so close.  Its crew is made up of mostly kids paying their way to crew the ship.  We happened to meet up with some parents that were there to pick up their 18 year old daughter. This was her second year and we learned a good bit about the experience.  Believe me when I say this is not a cruise boat experience. :)  I don't think I would like it now, but when I was a kid it would have been fun.  I would have had to mow a lot of yards to come up with the funds. :(
After our laid back three weeks in St Ignace we headed to Munising, MI to take a Pictured Rocks Cruise.  The City Park was certainly not a destination park, but it was nicer than any other park in the area.  We did not have full hookups (although they are available but booked far in advance) and only 30 amp, but due to our short stay and the lower temps we survived.  The first site did not have good power and kept knocking the breaker off.  Upon moving that did not happen again and we were on about 1/4 acre.  You could park anywhere as there was no set pad.  The power and water hooked up in the middle of 4 sites.  An extension for power and water was necessary.

Our main reason for coming here was to take the Pictured Rocks cruise.  It was nice.  Over our four days there we picked the best day for a cruise and it turned out very nicely.
There are 15 miles of bluffs to ride by.  It is one way out, turn around and then back.  I would sit on the Port side or left side of the boat on the top.  People are kind of in the way for some nice pictures going up, but on the way back they get a lot closer and you have the advantage then.  I like advantages. :)

We went to Houghton, MI and stayed in the Houghton City Park.  Now I'm here to tell you that this is a nice park in downtown.  Houghton is a college town with lots of restaurants, a Walmart within 1 mile, and PO and other government buildings close.  It is well up the peninsula which allows day trips as far as Copper Harbor which is at the end.  One word of caution is make sure you have fuel before you leave town as it is scarce up the peninsula and/or very expensive.

We ended up staying here 12 days because of the nice peaceful site.

Each site has a balcony with there being 6 sites on the upper level overlooking a row of sites below. The river flows below with Hancock on the other side of the river.  Although not really looking for it, most sites have another sewer outlet which would allow a MH to face the river.  Extension cords would be necessary.  I didn't do this, but it looked feasible.  This is a busy park and reservations are a must.  We got lucky and since it was coming up on Labor Day I called about 10 days out and got a site although I was going to have to boondock for two nights.  When we arrived, this was fixed and we wouldn't even have to change sites.  We were lucky indeed.

Our next stop is Ashland, WI to the Kehrer RV Park owned by the City.  While it is right in town you are on the water with nice views.  Our reason for being here was to go on the Apostle Island Cruise.  The cruise goes out of Bayfield, WI which was only about 40 min from the park.  The weather was pretty active with either wind or rain coming through.  We picked the best day we could and dealt with it.  The weather while out changed 3 times.  From fair to cloudy and windy with 3-5' waves to fair again.
We enjoyed the trip, but I was expecting more of the wave washed rocks.  While there were a few other areas the one they showed us was only about 300 yards long and we spent a little time there so taking pictures was not a problem.  The narration about the area and the islands was very informative and since it was 3 hr and 15 minutes there was a need to fill up time.  Overall a good experience.

We took a lot more pictures at each place, but not wanting a War and Peace blog post only selected a few.

We are currently in Grand Marais, MN.  That will be next time.  We love to travel slowly and see a few sights along the way.  We like to eat along the way and are enjoying the local fish servings. :)

Next time.

Run your life don't let life run you!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Never Never Land

I have been accused of hanging around with Peter Pan and Captain Hook in Never Never Land.  Well, Peter Pan I'm not.  We've just been having a great time and the longer you don't post, the harder it is to start back.  For awhile we were traveling every couple of days and seeing things every day with great friends.  It is tiring to say the least, but currently we are in St Ignace, MI until the 15th and are relaxing and seeing the sights.  I'll try to recap what we've done as best I can.

We went to Red Bay to get our stove fixed.  That is an important thing to me, but Carolyn for some reason could care less. :)  The sealed knob switch was sticking and was hard to light and the igniter would stay on.  After finally getting it out, (I had to help) the tech scratched his head and said he didn't have a clue about what to do?????  His suggestion was to spray contact cleaner on it and that would free it up.  It did and we put it back in. I was soaking wet after all that and I'm the customer. I was helping because the helper was putting my awning back together. It was practically rebuilt and a wonder it hadn't fallen off. My 3 hour express bay turned into all day and barely got through.

We left heading toward B'ham for some Dr appointments.  The stove would not light much less stay igniting. A return to Red Bay was in the plan.

The 4th we headed to Crossville, TN and stayed at the Bean Pot Campground.  Not a bad park, but was heavily wooded.  My request for a sat site gave me a shaded site with a hole in the trees to my front.  Perfect. We had a family reunion on the 7th and we had a great time and visit with family in the area.  Our boys came with their families and we had some grand kid time which is always good.

We then went back to Red Bay, but not to Tiffin.  Didn't want to get into the wait in line stuff.  We just called Brannon at Custom RV and he worked us in.  1 hr after our arrival I had a replaced stove and another minor thing fixed.  The stove was one he had taken out of a new RV and replaced with an electric or induction stove.  It still had the new labels on it. :)  Wonderful.  Now I'm in business, Carolyn is still not impressed, although this one does work great.

The best thing about the last Red Bay visit is I had my 32" LCD TV replaced with a 40" Samsung LED and sound bar.  It is sweet and the sound is great for watching action movies and things.  Now the LCD was a good picture especially after running everything through the HDMI plug, but this LED is wonderful.  It actually makes some shows look computer generated they're so clear and sharp.

We then dropped the old TV off at my folks house and headed north.  Met a guy at Tiffin that talked up the Michigan and the Upper Peninsula so that sold it for me.  We needed to get out of these 90+ deg days.  We landed in Cave City, KY overnight and went to Camp Atterbury, IN (Mil Fam Camp) for 2 nights.  It wasn't far off the Interstate and only $20/night.  It was pretty hot and we popped the breaker on the pole 5-6 times.  We just ran the generator until the sun went down.  The next morning they got maintenance to replace the breaker as the other one would be hot when touched.  There were no problems the next day and for my troubles didn't charge for the second night.  I'm all for that.

We had friends, Steve and Debbie, coming through Michigan and were in Sawyer, MI staying at Kamp Across From The Dunes RV Park. We stopped in to see them for two nights.  Friends Dennis and Deena were in northern IN and as we drove by a sign that mentioned the town they were in, I sent them an email saying we were headed to Sawyer, MI.  The next day as they were headed north Deena finally red the email and came to a screeching halt just 10 miles from us.  A few calls later they were snugged into the same park as us and the good times proceeded.  The park is across from Warren Dunes State Park and gave some beautiful sunsets.

The next day we all said our goodbyes and we followed Deena and Dennis to Indigo Bluffs in Empire, MI.  They were going to see friends they met this spring.  Indigo Bluffs is a park where you buy your lots and they rent the owner pool and unsold lots.  It was a beautiful park and the surrounding area is stunning to say the least.

While there we ate extremely well :) and had a great time.  The county has a zoning ordinance that keeps out the big box stores like hotels, fast food, and grocery stores.  They are all available about 30 min away in Traverse City.  The result is a low key laid back atmosphere where local stores can continue to do business without major competition from people that can buy in bulk.  Much different from most other places where the small business is all but run out of business because he cannot get his material as cheap.

We then went to Mancelano, MI to Whispering Pines RV park to kick back and see Carolyn's niece which she hasn't seen in a long time.  The cool days, 60's and low 70's, are continuing.  From here we can drive to the coastal areas and see the sights.

There are a lot of different boats up here.

More later. Stay tuned.  And we ARE having a great time.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hello, We're Back

Our three month to the day hiatus has come to an end, thank goodness. We now find ourselves back on out original journey with some changes. We sit in Red Bay to get a few tweaks (we hope) accomplished this week. Hopefully we can get these done this week because they close for the week of the 4th. What doesn't get done can just wait. Luckily there is nothing major, unless they find something. :(

Dad is currently in outpatient rehab. He is mobile (on a walker), but still needs to gain some strength. He is able to get about the house and do for himself. That is a great relief. We are extremely lucky to be in a position to assist in these times of need and consider ourselves fortunate.

We got to see the grandchildren in their ballgames and dance recitals and I would post pictures, but I'm sure everyone knows what that would be like. They probably have an album full of these themselves.

While hanging out in the old home town, I rode into areas I hadn't been into for 40-50 years. It looked a lot different. In some cases it was a good change and some bad, but I guess change, good or bad, is good.

We have a family reunion in TN for the 4th we're going to and then who knows.  West is the general consensus. On the way we are going to stop in Stuttgart, AR (Duck Central) and find  an outfitter or two that I can drive my MH into and stay in it. Some duck hunting this fall is definitely in the offering if the snow doesn't get me in the west. :)

We have been here for only a day and have met our neighbors that going to fulltime also. That is the great thing about this lifestyle.  The people are great and the times you can have sitting on an old airport runway in front of repair bays can create great memories and friends.

One thing, we were just here a few months ago and they have opened up the new highway bypass. I missed my turnoff and ended up in MS before I realized I had gone about 4 miles to far. Luckily it was an easy turnaround and back to where I should have turned.  It just goes to show how sitting for long periods can dull you thinking. :)  Need to be moving more.

Still loving the lifestyle and some days sleep until 6:00 AM. Follow us as we encounter new adventures.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Out of Hibernation - Almost

Had a good winter in the Clermont area with the family.  My shorter stay this winter turned into a longer - 7 week stay.

As mentioned before we got to see several of our RV buddies while there.  Went to the RV show in Tampa and saw Deena and Dennis, several RV Dreamers at the get together at the floating pavilion, Steve and Debbie, and Rick and Elaine

We were going to the Keys and stay and the Navy base there.  This time of year usually requires boondocking until you move up to a full hookup site where you can stay for only 14 days before you rotate back to boondocking.  I've had doubts about my batteries capabilities all year and this fall it just got worse.  End result, didn't think I could boondock without running the generator all the time.  That would be a no no.

Rick and Elaine asked us to come the The Glades in Moore Haven, FL.  So off we went to Moore Haven.  I didn't get out of town good until the generator started and basically had to run it all the way.  The Glades was a pretty nice campground on grass sites.  The sites were a decent size and had all kind of activities.  We extended a week and had to move from our primo site next to Elaine and the pool, but the site we selected was out in the country.  i.e. no one close.
We had lots of fun and also Valentines Day dance.  There was lots of fun, food, and dancing.
While at the Glades I saw on the news where up north they had a polar plunge.  I thought it would be neat if we had one.  I prepared a little flyer and set it up for the next night as it was going to be the coldest of the winter.  I was trying to get a huge turnout. :)

I didn't get any takers like I thought.  I thought it would be an annual event, but being a man true to my word, I didn't let it slow me down.
I did draw a crowd so I did have some supporters. Who knows, maybe next year.
I was doing real good until it slipped out on Elaine's blog that the pool was heated. I've been in a lot colder water duck hunting and would have again if it hadn't been for Kevin, thanks.

Headed from The Glades to Cedar Key to see the sunsets and eat some great seafood.  It was cold and windy most of our week, but it was still a good time.  While getting there we had to run the generator half the time so I pulled the plug and a guy that knew about solar and stuff.  I headed into Mayo, FL and got 6 new AGMs installed.  His place is a boondocking site, but within 1 mile was the Suwanee River Rendezvous RV Resort.  3 nights later with batteries installed we boondocked and being successful were on our way.  Most of the time the inverter reads full charge.  It didn't do that before.  Hopefully, I should be good to go for 6-8 years on batteries and not have to touch them. :)

We got to Birmingham in a long day pull.  We had an appointment or two and were leaving Friday Mar 22d.  The night of the 21st got the dreaded call that my dad had fallen and broken his hip and would have surgery Friday at 10.  We headed toward Guntersville.  Got checked in to the Hospital about 11 AM.  We finally had surgery at midnight, a long day to say the least.

We are back to a Rehab facility and will have to see how this progresses.  Luckily I was within 100 miles of home where I can lend assistance.  The west coast will have to wait awhile.

So here we sit engine idling and awaiting departure, kind of like being on the space shuttle.  Wonder what I could do with that. :)  More later.  There are just the high points. Got to get back to a more normal pattern of blogging, hopefully there will be something to talk about.

We consider ourselves luckier than most.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Start of a New Year

We ended up the year busy, but quietly.  My shoulder scope went well and didn't hold us up much.  We pulled a "PDD" and drove straight to the Orlando area on the 16th, about 9 hours.  We arrived shortly after dark expecting a thundering crowd.  No one was around :(  We got situated in the driveway and were all set up when they arrived.  It is quiet here with everyone going about their daily activities. 

Christmas came along with a few birthdays and in general we both ate way to much.  This year for New Year's Eve there was a party with a lot of neighborhood friends.  It was the first year in many that we stayed up until the magic hour.  I'm glad I don't do that every day.

Shortly school will start up and we'll be on our own all day.  We hope to get to see some of our new RVing friends we've met on the road this month.  Several are close to us so we will see.  Hope to start out late this month on our quest to hit the west coast this year.  We had a great time this last year and have great expectations for this upcoming one.

There will be more posts when we start doing things. Hope to see you soon.  It's all good.