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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mystery Powder

There were a lot of hard goodbyes this week.  We said so long to little Elizabeth and big sis Anabelle.  Hopefully we’ll get back to see  them in early December.

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                   “You better come back soon, Mimi and Pa!”

We left my dad’s house in NJ, it was hard, he appreciated our help over the last several weeks as he recovered from the strange infection that laid him low.  He lives alone and will miss our company.  By 10 am, we were rolling, I successfully backed out of his long driveway and didn’t cause any damage to his lawn.

We headed West, we plan on being at our son Ryan’s home about an hour West of St. Louis by Saturday.  With a tank full of fresh diesel ($3.54/gallon!) and a warm sunny day, we hit I-80.

We worked our way to I-78 to the PA Turnpike, then on to I-70.  One thing we love about having a Class A motorhome is the ability to use the bathroom on the road…the passengers, not the driver.

Marti came back from the bathroom and told me there was some kind of white powder all over the kitchen counter.  That was really strange.

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At a rest stop, I looked at the powder.  It looked like little Styrofoam beads.  There was only one place they could have come from and if they were Styrofoam, it could indicate a real problem.

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The ceiling has Styrofoam in it, with the a/c vents cut into them.  The only way I could figure that the Styrofoam had broken down into powder was some outside influence.  One such influence came to mind:  Mice!

I decided to keep that thought to myself until I could confirm it.  Marti is not too fond of those little creatures.

A little later, Marti found the source of the powder.  Not mouse caused Styrofoam bits, but something even more sinister.

Grits.  (Also known as wallpaper paste to us Northerners.  For some reason, Marti likes them.).

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The grits container in the cabinet over the counter fell over and the top came off.

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As we drove down the highways, bumps bounced the loose grits down on the counter from the cabinet.  Phew!  I had thoughts of a serious battle with mice, instead I quickly fixed the problem with my vacuum cleaner.  Marti ensured this will never happen again.

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Tonight, after a short 433 mile drive (PDD Silver Level), we’re overnighting at a Cracker Barrel. We had dinner and are looking forward to breakfast before we hit the road.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Bopping Around RI and Boston

We’ve been having a great time visiting Marti’s sister Gail in Rhode Island.  My dad has come along with us as it’s been many years since he has been to New England and we’re still having to keep after the daily bandage change from his elbow infection. 

We’ve been enjoying some of New England’s finest cuisine, I went for a whole lobster,

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while my dad enjoyed his sautéed.

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I was worried that there wouldn’t be any lobsters available because those ladies from RV-A-Go Go are in Maine this summer and have been working hard at reducing the lobster population.  ;c)

We spent a lovely afternoon at the beach in Galilee, RI.

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Yesterday, we caught the train to Boston, sure is a better way than trying to drive into the city.

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We took a trolley/harbor tour package around the city on the City View Trolleys Tour, a great deal for only $20 with coupon (that they provide right at the ticket booth).  You can get on and off the trolley at seven stops around the city, plus take a 45 minute narrated tour around Boston harbor.

While we waited to board the tour boat, I got a kick out of this duck drinking at a fresh water discharge from a dockside refrigerator unit.  Smart duck!

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A perfect day for a boat ride, sunny and mild.  Gail is sitting with a map over her head because she doesn’t like the direct sun.

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There are many interesting boats in the harbor.

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How about this one?  The old Coast Guard Lightship Nantucket that has been converted inside to a luxury yacht.  It can be yours for only a mere $7 million.

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We paid our respects to “Old Ironsides”, the USS Constitution moored at the former Boston Navy Yard.

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I liked the 87’ Coast Guard cutter Flying Fish moored at Coast Guard Base Boston.  I never sailed on one, they came out after my sea going days.  But I’d love to get underway on one someday (wishful thinking).

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Beautiful views of the Boston skyline.

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Of course, no visit to Boston would be complete without a stop at the Quincy Market for lunch!

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Dad treated himself to a clam roll sandwich.

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I was very careful not to get in the way of his food, I might have lost a hand.  I enjoyed an overflowing bread bowl of New England Clam Chowder.  It took a while to get it because I didn’t ask for Chowdah, so the server couldn’t understand me…

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Not every journey we take is with our Journey, but we’re still having fun anyway!  :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

37 Years

I must be doing something right, Marti hasn’t smothered me with a pillow (yet).  :c)

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                      Kingston, MA, August 20, 1977.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This Is Going To Be Interesting

Plans change constantly and thankfully, we are “Semper Gumby” (Always Flexible).

Since my dad’s strange infection in his elbow that landed him in the hospital, we’ve been watching over him since he’s returned home.  The piles of pills he now has to take is staggering.  Thankfully, the meds have been helping him return back to full health, albeit slowly.

We originally  had plans to take the Journey up to Rhode Island to visit Marti’s sister Gail for the month of August and have my dad (and his little dog Mindy) drive up in his convertible and join us for a week while touring Boston and Plymouth MA, as well as some beach time at Pt. Judith, RI.

Unfortunately, the healing process has been wearing on him quite a bit and causing some heavy fatigue.  So we’ve changed plans.

He’s been looking forward to visiting Rhode Island for a while now and we don’t want to disappoint him, so we’re leaving the Journey in his driveway (Sniff) and driving up together in our car. 

The trick will be doing the touristy things so dad can have some fun and yet being careful to balance things so we don’t tire him out too much and interfere with his healing process.  We are shortening the length of our stay, too.

On the bright side, he’ll need lots of time to just relax and nap.  That will give me a great excuse to just relax and nap, too.

Like father, like son…   :cD

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Amazon Saves The Day

I thought I thought ahead, but I didn’t quite plan for a sneak attack by my nemesis, Murphy.  Before we left the campground at the Navy base and headed for a prolonged stay in my dad’s driveway, I dumped my holding tanks and gave the black tank a serious flushing with the flush connection on the Journey.

After pulling in the driveway successfully and plugging into the electricity, I figured there was nothing to worry about.

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As usual, I was wrong.  I wasn’t watching out properly and Murphy attacked.

Marti and I are spending time helping my dad recuperate from the infection he got in his elbow that wound him up in the hospital.  All is going well, Marti is nursing him while I’ve been doing odd jobs around the house…yes even painting.  We take him to doctor appointments and numerous chores around town because he’s not allowed to drive (doctor’s orders) for a while because of the meds he’s on.

At night we retire to our own bed in the Journey, it’s nice to have the bed and our bathroom to use at night.  We do use his shower in the house to prevent the gray tank from filling up.

Sitting out under his maple tree (to the left in the above picture) after the chores of the day, I noticed a little drip starting from the wet bay.  At first I didn’t think anything of it, but I decided to take a look.

Good thing I did, because it was a black tank leak, just starting.  It wasn’t leaking at the tank, it was the black tank valve that was leaking, even though it was closed all the way.  It shouldn’t have been too much of a problem, but the end cap I have on the sewer hose connection seemed to be leaking, too.  Ugh!  Not fun stuff.

I figured the black tank valve had given up the ghost.  Prepared as I like to be, I already have a new black and gray tank valve in my spare parts box.  The job to change them out isn’t too bad, but you certainly want to have well flushed empty tanks before you disassemble the sewer system.

Therein lies the problem, no place in the driveway to dump and flush the tanks.  Magnifying the issue, there is no handy RV park nearby and I really don’t want to drive out and in the driveway again if I don’t have to.

I drained the little black tank liquid (very carefully) into a can and removed the sewer end cap.  A quick look revealed why it was dripping.  The gasket, after years of being twisted on and off had become distorted and no longer sealed.

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The gasket is no longer round, it’s now sort of rectangular.  No wonder it leaked.  I had to find a temporary fix, so I Googled for nearby campgrounds and found one relatively close by.  Off I went and they did have a new end cap in their store, which I bought. 

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It stopped the drip, but I wasn’t thrilled with that being my only defense against a potential black tank disaster.  I needed to come up with a more solid, if temporary fix.  Amazon to the rescue.

I ordered a Valterra Twist On Waste Valve.

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It was one of those items I’ve looked at before, thinking it might be handy to have one someday, just in case.  Well, the just in case was here and I sucked up the extra $10 to have it delivered in two days.

It was here this afternoon, I quickly put it on and even though it is a temporary fix, I don’t have to worry about having a new black tank disaster story until I have a good place to flush the tanks and replace the valves. 

It just twists on to the sewer connection and keeps the drips in place.

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The new end cap will fit right on the open end.  A temporary fix, but a very solid one. 

As an added benefit, for extended boondocking trips, using the twist on valve, I can keep it closed, open both the black and gray tank valves and increase my tank capacity, because the liquids will seek their own levels and they will fill both tanks evenly, instead of having an overflowing gray tank and a hardly full black tank.

Mixing the liquids in both tanks won’t hurt anything, so it’s a win-win all the way around.

Finally, a happy black tank, non-disaster story!  :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Squeezed It In

It was a good day, in many ways.  All has gone well with my dad and he was released from the hospital late this afternoon.  That meant we had to “pull chocks” and head to his NJ house to spend a week or so to ensure he was back on his feet 100%.

We departed our campground at Naval Weapons Station Earle around noon for a (only) 113 mile drive to his house.  The drive was pleasant, due to great weather and light traffic from mid day travel.

The worry I had was his driveway, it is long and narrow, and is located off a very narrow country road.  Not only is it a tight turn but I’d have to drive over some of his lawn to swing in.  Twice in the past the ground was so wet the Journey started to sink in and I had to abort the attempts to not get stuck.

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We unhooked the car and I looked over the ground.  Hard to know for sure but it appeared solid.  So I told Marti I was going to go for it and use momentum to get in, just in case the wheels started to sink.

Everything went fine, I squeezed the Journey in and had no issues with getting stuck. 

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I plugged into his household electricity, a 20 amp circuit which will keep the batteries charged and the fridge running.  The forecast is for the weather to cool down at night for the next week so not having a/c won’t be a problem.

Hopefully, the ground will still be dry and hard when we pull out later this month.

We’ve had a great time with Anabelle and Elizabeth, Marti got in a lot of loving with them.

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It was hard to leave them, but we promised to return soon.  How could we leave and not return to see this special little lady and her new sister?

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Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Not So Youthful Youth Group

During our New Jersey stay, it hasn’t been all about granddaughters and house rehab.  We’ve had a laundry list of friends that we’ve been able to visit, too, since we are originally from this area. 

One reunion we went to was at a church we used to attend when we were first married.

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Marti an I ran a youth group there for a number of years before my Coast Guard career took us away.  Over the years, many of the kids stayed in touch with us and a reunion was set up with some of the kids who stayed in or near the area for a lunchtime get together.

We had to get a group picture of the gang.  Of course, Marti and Linda, in the front row, had to revert to their younger antics…

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The real shocker for us was that not only some of the kids were now parents, even a few were grandparents!

That almost made us feel really old until I realized that though I’m starting to get a little gray hair, unlike some of the guys, at least I have it all!  :c)

To top it off, one of the “kids” in the group is now the pastor of the church.  Pastor Lou and his wife Patty are carrying on the work of the church.

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The good thing about the Not So Youthful Youth Group was that we are all so old that there was no running around playing games, we rather enjoyed sitting around reminiscing about the Good Old Days.

If we had gone back and attempted some of the games we used to play, someone might have broken a hip!  :cD

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Got Our Gigs Back

The first day of August gave us a fresh start on our monthly allotment of 20 GBs worth of Internet time with our Millenicom MiFi.  You get so spoiled having access everywhere you go that when it cuts off, it is a bit of a pain having to search out free WiFi to stay connected.  Thankfully, a ready supply of Dunkin Donuts helped ease that pain…  :c)

Once again we’re thankful for the flexibility our full time life gives us.  We can change plans at a moment’s notice.  We got a phone call that my dad was in the hospital with a pretty bad infection in his arm.  No idea how it happened, but he had a procedure to clean out the infection and will stay in the hospital until early next week to monitor the healing process.

Since we’re only two hours away, we went to see him and all is coming along well, he is in great spirits and may be sent home Sunday or Monday, but will need some help at home.  We’ll be packing up here at the Navy campground and heading to stay with him for a week or so until he’s back to full strength.

His house has a long, straight driveway that we can park the Journey in, but it’s a tight turn to get into off the country road he lives on.  Hopefully the grass won’t be too wet and soggy because I’ll have to cut across part of it to swing and make the turn in and I don’t want to get stuck.  Of course, right now it is pouring rain out.  Fingers crossed.

It will be hard to say goodbye to Anabelle and baby Elizabeth (and her mommy and daddy), but knowing that we will be back again does ease the sadness. 

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On the bright side, I’ll be able to keep some change in my pocket now, Anabelle always asks me for coins for her piggy bank.  Can’t turn her down when she looks at me with her baby blues.

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Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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