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Monday, September 9, 2013

Getting Ready To Move On

Ten months we’ve been sitting here at our South Carolina “home”.  Not completely by choice, but waiting for the all important disability examination by the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Columbia, SC.  I’ve had some routine low level appointments, the cataract surgery and the follow on care.  But this is the Big Daddy of them all, and hopefully, will be the last one before the results and my paperwork goes to the rating board.

Just as a precaution if there are any follow up visits from what they find tomorrow, we’ve signed up for a three month workamping stint (Oct, Nov, & Dec) at the Strom Thurmond Army COE Recreation area, located on the border of South Carolina and Georgia, just outside of Augusta.  That way, if a follow up is necessary, it will only be about an hour and a half drive to get there.

It means we’ll be leaving being really close to our grandsons, Andrew and Owie.  We’ve just begun watching Andrew play football.



He’s the team’s Center, and hikes the ball to the Quarterback.  So far this season, they’ve won their first two games.


And Owie just loves to come over to the Journey and play Mimi Marti’s Nintendo WII.


We’ll certainly miss them, but we’ll be close enough to visit at least once a week.  Marti is teaching the boys piano lessons, she’s using her music degree that she worked so hard in college for.  ;c)

To sooth our sad departure, we have a great reason to roll.



We’re going to spend a week with our granddaughter’s Kierra, Taylor and Rebekah at their new home in Missouri, outside of St Louis.  It’s been over four months since we’ve seen them and we need new pictures.  Rebekah is growing like a weed!  :c)

I spent a couple of hours this morning doing my pre-moving checks, with a special add on.  Along with checking the batteries, the engine oil, the generator and so on, I checked the engine coolant for the correct levels of antifreeze and Supplemental Coolant Additives (SCAs).  (Don’t worry Sherry, SCA’s are not something to worry about on gasoline engines).

SCAs are important in diesel cooling systems.  Without going into great detail and putting you to sleep as to how SCAs work, lets just say there are certain amounts that have to be in the coolant.

How to check them?  You use these little test kits.


The Fleetguard kit I bought at a Freightliner dealer.  The bottle on the right I got at a NAPA auto parts store.

Inside they have a little test strip that you dip into the coolant. 


The SCAs, antifreeze and pH levels turn little patches on the strip a certain color.  You match the colors to the color graph on the package and you can get the levels.




In comparing the two test kits, I got conflicting results.  I’m not in any danger, but the results beg a retest.  One of the problems is the test kits have a shelf life and the Fleetguard kit was expired.


I bought these from the Freightliner dealer and these were them most recent ones they had in stock.  The other kit, from NAPA has no indication of any date.  I’m going to hit a couple of other truck dealers and see if I can get a fresh kit or two.   You should check the coolant SCA levels every six months.

Then the all important tire inspection and pressure check. 


I use a good, dual foot truck tire pressure gauge.  You can get one at Camping World for about $15.  Money well spent.  The nice thing about these gauges is you can use it easily on the hard to get dual tire stems.


If all goes well, we’ll roll out Friday after a grandparents appreciation breakfast at the grandson’s school.  About 750 miles to the granddaughter’s house.  I don’t intend to do any PDD driving days, but once I get behind the Journey’s wheel and hit the highway, who knows?

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. We've only been sitting about three months and I know how excited I am about moving on, so I can just imagine how happy you are. Need to get that girlie granddaughter fix.

  2. Hope all goes well with the test and rating board. You have a good backup plan. The miniature football players are too cute (but don't tell them that because I'm sure they think they're tough guys)

  3. Ahhhh... love those grandkids photos! Wish we were close to our own. That test strip kinda reminded me of some other kind of test I've taken... pregnancy? diabeties? good grief! now I'm wondering if I failed or passed. Whatever.... life goes on. Hoping all goes well with our "mustering out" or whatever the heck you call it at the VA with your own health issues.

  4. I'm not sure I could get George to drive over 700 miles to go anywhere :) Those grandkids are sure getting big!

  5. I had NO idea you had been there THAT long. No wonder you ate ready to be on the road. So glad this SCA stuff isn't something to check with David about but what about that dual foot gauge?? :+)). Safe travels!!

  6. We've been four and a half months in one spot, so we can relate!

  7. Safe travels no matter how many miles you decide to travel per day.

  8. Does Marti have any of those cute dresses ready for the girls? Happy trails and I know you will be safe.

  9. It's hard to believe that you've been there that long. Are you sure the wheels will still turn?

  10. What a blessing to be so connected to your grandkids' lives. It sounds like you have a great plan with workamping relatively close to the VA and the grandsons.

    After all our coolant problems, I will need to talk to Vic about checking the additives. Haven't seen him use any test strips before, so good to know.

    We may have to come check out your COE on our way to Florida via Asheville.

  11. Glad to hear the "Roll" date is near. Know you will miss the boys, but it is important to share grandparents with the girls;o)) Safe Travels and Happy Trails...

  12. It is amazing to be able to share so much of your grand kids lives. They are lucky to have you, too. Maybe if you don't have far to travel you go make some loops to bring it up to a PDD day?

  13. So nice to get back on the road again.
    Travel safe and enjoy the trip.

  14. It's always fun to make new plans and get on the road again. You've got new adventures ahead. Hopefully, the VA will also come up with a good rating for you and hopefully, it'll be quick.

  15. I really like and admire the way you and Marti put so much of yourselves into the lives of your grandchildren. It is both great for all of them and wonderful and rewarding for the both of you. Cute pic of Rebekah.

    I just don't understand why it's taken 10 months for the VA to determine if you're disabled? Don't they read your blog??

  16. I just cannot imagine you reining in your days to a non-PDD level :)
    We have been in the NC Triangle all summer and break it up by changing campgrounds every couple weeks. Now we are so used to traveling less than 25 miles a day that we might go into shock when we really leave :)

  17. Enjoy the trip. It is a nice time of year to visit the St. Louis area.

  18. Once again a great maintenance tip on checking the coolant for your motor. Just so everything doesn't go crazy and run out and grab test strips, you should understand that not all coolants need regular additions of SCAs. If using Shell Extended Life Coolant (ELC), for example, SCAs are NOT added. In fact, by using ELC, only an "extender" product is used during the life of the coolant.

    for more information.

    1. Yes, Steve, great point! I guess I need to talk more about extended life coolants and those engines that have a SCA canister that adds the SCAs as needed.

      My CAT doesn't have the ELC, it has Alliance Brand coolant that needs to be checked. Next year when I have the coolant flushed, I want to have the ELC coolant put in.

  19. Always nice to have a change of scenery every now and then. And those granddaughters are just too cute!!