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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Goldilocks and the Three Chairs

I don't expect kids of today to remember the story of Goldilocks, not with all their video games and text messaging, but for those of us old enough to own a recreational vehicle, this might make some sense to you.

I've been on a quest for the last several years to find the perfect lounge chair for carrying in our Journey.  It has to be comfortable, easy to use, store and has to be reasonably priced.

My first attempt was a Walmart special, it was $15.  It was light and folded up nicely, sliding easily into my basement storage compartment.  

I thought these were a great deal, in fact I bought two of them, a Republican chair (a red one) and a Democrat chair (a blue one).  I opened the chairs up at our campsite, got my book and a Diet Coke and sat down to enjoy a nice day.  Until I found myself upside down with my you-know-what in the air and bathed in Diet Coke.  The chairs were too unstable.  Too small.

The next chair I won in a contest at Camping World.  It was the only thing I've ever won in my life (why couldn't it have been the lottery?).  It was free and it only cost me $115.

This is a really nice chair, it has a nice padded cushion, can be locked in any position you want and folds up nicely.  So how did a free chair cost me $115?

Seems that the chair found Marti and I competing for it, racing to see who could stake out the chair and leave the a**-over-teakettle chair for the other one.  I broke down and bought the second chair for $115. 

But, even though the chairs are so comfortable, they are way heavy, bulky and don't fit in any of our basement storage compartments.  They either live in our garage or are carried in the toad, bumping out the scooters.  They were too good to be true.  Too big.

On with the search.  Wandering around the aisles of a Cabela's Outdoor store, I found this chair.

It is very sturdy, lightweight, easy folding and fits nicely in a compartment, all for $30.  It is not quite as comfortable as the big chair, but still does a great job of being cushy on the tushy.  Just right.

So there you have it, too big, too small and just right.  Bet you didn't think I could bend a fairytale into an RV topic. ;c)

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Finally! Our First Camping Trip of the Summer.

 Last weekend we brought the Journey home from Harmony, PA and today we left for our favorite campground, Bull Run Regional Park.  It is located about 9 miles form our house.  I had gotten home from work earlier so I brought the Journey over from our storage lot and set it up on our site, a real good one we've been trying to get for years.

Today I was in the right place at the right time, as I inquired in the office for a site, the person that booked the good site called to cancel his reservation.  Score!

After setting everything up, I picked up some food items, went home, packed the usual stuff and waited for Marti to come home from work, her office is only about 3 miles from out house.  Marti finished up relatively early for a typical Friday and we zipped off about 6:30 pm.  Upon arrival, I grilled some burgers, Marti sauteed some asparagus and we settled in for a nice meal.  Finally away!  Until...

Yep, her phone rang.  To make a long story short, she left to go back to her office.  When you're the boss and you run a 24 hour facility, some things require you to handle personally. 

At least I got a meal in her.  Hopefully she'll get back to the campground soon and won't be bothered anymore for the weekend.  Retirement looks better every day.

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Preventing another Oil Spill

It's a real tragedy, what has happened in the Gulf of Mexico with the  Deepwater Horizon oil platform accident and the resulting oil spill.  It will take many months for the affected shoreline to get back to normal, and the accident investigation and subsequent litigation will go on for years.  The attention the media has given to this tragedy has been huge, too.

I change my own oil on our Journey motorhome.  The Cat diesel engine has a large oil pan that holds almost 5 gallons of oil.  The average oil drain pan you can buy holds maybe 2 1/2 gallons.  My quandary was how to drain my old oil without causing another oil spill.  I change the oil at my house.  I'm sure I wouldn't be very popular with my neighbors if I spilled oil and had, in front of my house, the 6 o'clock news team trucks, hazmat vehicles and a line of lawyers waiting to file a lawsuit, leaving many ambulances un-chased.

Enter this neat little device called the  Fumoto Drain Valve.  This company  makes a small valve that takes the place of the oil pan drain plug.  The valve can be opened and closed, allowing me to fill up my drain pan, shut off the flow, empty the drain pan into my old 5 gallon gas can that I use to recycle oil, and the re-open the valve and drain the rest of the oil out.  When all the oil has drained out, the valve is closed and the little handle is locked so it can't accidentally open.  That would be bad...

Fumoto makes drain valves for many common engine applications.  The valves can be ordered plain or with a nipple so you can attach a hose and drain the oil into a jug.  The valve cost $24, cheap insurance in preventing another large oil spill. 

I'm happy because changing my own oil saves me considerable money, I help keep the environment clean by capturing all the old oil and recycling it, and the neighbors don't have to suffer through talking to the local reporters for the 6 o'clock news. ;c)

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

No Tickee, No Shirtee

Traveling the country brings enjoyable views of all kinds of scenery, mountains, lakes, oceans, desert and more.  We love to enjoy (and often photograph) the view from the large windshield in our Journey.

When we stop for the night or find ourselves in a campground, no matter how good the view, we like our privacy, too.  Our Journey has nice pleated shades that draw across the windshield and make the inside cozy and warm.

Plus, nobody gets to see me in my Sponge Bob jammies...except Marti.

When we're ready to take off the next morning, the pleated shades part in the middle and fold back on each side nice and neat.

The downside is after a while, with the sun beating down on the shades and temperature and humidity changes, the pleats begin to loose their shape and stiffness and become very hard to fold away.

What should you do?  Take down the shades and iron the pleats back in?  Or buy new ones?  Naw, there is a very simple, cheap and easy solution.

Taking a clue from my local dry cleaning shop who does my shirts with extra starch, I bought this.

Every once and a while, when the shades start droop I give them a quick heavy spray of starch and let dry.  It doesn't matter whether the shades are left open or folded back after starching, when the starch dries, the pleats are again stiff as a Marine standing at attention.

Quick, easy and cheap.  A perfect solution for a lazy owner (who, me???). ;c)

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Taking our Journey Home back to our Temporary Living Quarters (Stix-n-Brix)

After the morning attack of the little, gray haired lady, we decided to pack up and get going, after all she woke ups up 15 minutes early.

Marti took care of the inside, I unhooked all the utilities and Zoe supervised, making sure she didn't get left behind.  She wasn't going down those steps for anything.

Since this was only an overnight, we didn't bring any food, so we decided we'd grab a quick bite from Burger Death.  I had set the leveling jacks to auto retract, but my right rear jack wouldn't come up the last half inch, it has done it before and a short drive would vibrate it back in place and turn off the jack extended alarm.  We drove about a mile to the BK and while Marti ran in I pushed on the jack pad with my foot and it slipped up into place.  Ahh, silence, off went the alarm.

While Marti was in the BK getting our chow, I did my walk around the Journey and the Element.  I double check all the tires, jacks, basement doors, slides, and the tow bar hook ups for anything out of place.  Just to be sure.  Because I'm anal and don't trust myself.

Marti came out with the breakfast goodies and we rolled on to the highway.  Zoe was disappointed that Marti didn't drop any food.

A few miles down the road, we opened the biscuits and the order was wrong, sausage instead of bacon.  And along with the sausage not being right, the eggs were not edible either.  Too late to turn around.  So much for breakfast.  At least the road was clear and traffic was light.

Until the dreaded orange barrels appeared, along with a long, back up in a construction zone.

After a while, we were moving again.  We drove for several hours until we came to a rest area, time for a break, take in a nice view and de-water the dog.

An almost perfect picture: My bonnie bride, the dog and flowers.  If we could have included a baby holding a chocolate bar, it would have been perfect.

We chatted with some of the folks in the rest area and a lady said she had just heard on her car radio that heavy thunderstorms with hail and high winds were moving in this direction.  We decided it would be a good time to get out of Dodge and beat the storm.  It was not to be.  A pickup broke down in the exit road and we were stuck until a tow truck could get it out of the way.

Finally the tow truck got it out of the way, but the storm clouds were moving in.

We headed on down the highway, but we didn't beat the storm.

It became a real frog strangler of a storm.

After a couple of hours of sloshing down the highway, we stopped at a Pilot Travel Center for lunch.  I ran in through the rain and grabbed some food, then ran back to the Journey.  While I was inside the truck stop, I heard they had a tornado warning posted for the area.  As I munched on my sandwich, we kept watch on some trucks parked in the lot.  We decided if we saw a truck get airborne, it would be time to seek shelter.

Zoe was not thrilled with the sound of the rain pounding on the roof and all the thunder and lightning.

We were lucky, all the trucks stayed planted on the ground.  The storm stopped and we got back on the road.

We even passed a reconstruction of Noah's Ark.  It wasn't far enough along to have done us any good.

We got to our town and decided to go straight to our storage lot instead of going to the temporary living quarters (our house) and offload.  We didn't have much with us because it was just an overnight. We live in an HOA controlled community and cannot keep the motorhome at our house.

We got the little we had taken with us into the Element and that is when I missed my camera memory stick adapter and Zoe's dish.  OK, I'm not perfect...yet. ;c)

It was only an overnight trip and we drove about 700 miles, up and back.  But being in the Journey made it feel like a vacation and refreshed us both.  Another taste of our fulltime adventure coming soon.

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Technology Beat Down

I'm the King of good ideas.  Unfortunately, most of the time, they're not that good.  You also could say I'm just plain lazy.
Case in point, yesterday I bemoaned the fact that I left my camera memory stick adapter in the Journey so I couldn't transfer pictures to my laptop.  I was going to have to get it from the Journey in the storage yard today.

Enter the light bulb going off in my brain.  I had to pick up some dog food for Zoe on the way home from work so why not look at the camera area of the store and see if they carried an adapter.  Score!  They did!  And it was only ten bucks.  I saved myself an 18 mile round trip to the storage yard and now I'd have a spare adapter.

That's were the light bulb burn out.  I gleefully inserted my memory stick in the adapter...and it doesn't work!  I've been beaten by technology...again.  It says it is an adapter that will take my SD memory stick, but for some reason it won't transfer pictures.  The old you-get-what-you-pay-for.

Tomorrow, I'll be making that 18 mile round trip to the storage yard.  But all is not lost, I left Zoe's food dish in the Journey, too and the way she gobbles down food, well serving it on a paper plate, it ain't pretty. :c(

Please Stand By, We're Experiencing Technical Difficulties.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Some days you start off getting out of the wrong side of the bed...

 We had to leave the Indian Brave Campground today with the Journey and take it home to Virginia where we live.  I had the alarm set for 9 am so we could have a leisurely pack up time and get on the road well before checkout time.

So there we were, still enjoying the warmth of the covers on the bed when BAM! BAM! BAM!  Somebody was pounding on the bedroom window, not a simple knock, but sledgehammer like blows.

After I landed back on the bed, from jumping out of a sound sleep, my skin and my covers, I looked at my watch. 8:45.  I grabbed some clothes and went to the Journey's door and looked out, expecting to see some gorilla looking guy or a whole swat team.  What I saw was a sweet little, gray haired lady wearing the nicest smile.  Figuring I was safe and not going to be mowed down by a whole host of thugs, I unlocked the door and went out.

She apologized over and over but asked if we could please move our Element, which was parked off the road in front of our site.  She was in the motorhome next door and was afraid if she pulled out, she might hit the car.  The non-seasonal sites in the campground are really close together and don't have alot of maneuvering room.  She wasn't going to take the chance so she came knocking.

I moved the car and she waved thanks, pulled the motorhome out of her site and drove out of the campground.

Marti and I decided to take lots of pictures of our trip home today and show what we did as we traveled.  I'm not going to be able to finish this post until tomorrow because somehow, after unloading our stuff and Zoe from the Journey in our storage lot, I left the adapter for my picture card on the counter. Duh!  A nice finish to the day. :c(

Marti felt bad for me so she made another batch of cookie bars.  Probably better than chicken soup. ;c)

I'll swing by the storage lot tomorrow on the way home from work, pick up the adaptor, get the photos and the rest of the story posted.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Is it wrong to Hug your Motorhome?

Today we took a little spin up to Harmony, PA, Marti, Zoe and I.  We drove the Element to pickup the Journey.  Our son-in-law Brian was using it to live in for the past two and a half months while undergoing training for his new job.  He finished yesterday and left for his new home in South Carolina.  Heather, Andrew and Owie are happy to have him home for good.

We arrived at the Indian Brave Campground and checked in, then drove over to site 14 and there it was.  Marti said she wanted to get a picture of me and the Journey.  It was hard not to give it a hug, but I resisted...for a little while, anyway. ;c)

We certainly do enjoy the Journey, but were so glad to help Brian and Heather out in their job and moving transition by making it available for his use.  He did good and now he's fully trained in all aspects of the Journey's systems, so he can do all the hookups and driving on our next annual trip to Disney World.

So for today's post, I thought I'd show the interior of the Journey, I certainly have posted enough pictures of the outside.

Here is the driver's position.  I tried to get Zoe in the picture, but as usual, she was camera shy and turned as I snapped the shutter to show her best side.

Up front is the TV, we have a King Dome in-motion satellite dish on the roof.  Great for our trips with the grand kids.

Right behind the driver's seat is the Rest Easy Sofa.  Marti and I often sleep here when we're traveling with other family members.  It is leather covered, we wouldn't have chosen this option, but the Journey came through with it.  We find the leather to be a little cool and slippery with the sleeping bags.  But it is soft and comfortable.

Opposite the leather sofa is this jacknife sofa.  It can sleep two adults and has alot of storage underneath.  We wish this fabric was also on the leather sofa.

Looking aft (towards the back for you landlubbers) you can see the width of the living area with the two opposing slides open.  When the slides are in, the couches come to about the width of the door, plenty of room to walk around.

The kitchen counter, with Marti's coffee pot under the cabinet and the microwave/convection oven over the stove top.

The table, with storage under each seat.  It folds down into a bed and can sleep two kids or one adult.

We really like the four door Norcold refrigerator, it has metal sides that are magnetic, so we can stick magnets and pictures on it.

It has an ice maker and plenty of room for Marti's coffee.

As well as room for my Diet Cokes.

We have a six drawer dresser and lots of cabinet space in the back, as well as a washer/dryer in the cabinet under the TV set.

A full queen Rest Easy air bed and a full closet that extends almost the whole width of the bedroom.  We're not crazy about the air mattress and feel it's not very comfortable.  If and when it fails, we'll replace it with a good quality standard mattress.  We didn't order it, it came with the Journey in a special package.

The shower is large and roomy.

The powder room with the toilet and sink.

So that's the nickle tour of the Journey's interior, it's comfortable for just the two of us or a whole gang.  Now you know why I had to give it a hug. ;c)

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment.