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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Out Of GBs

Yep, we’ve hit the 20GB cap on our Millenicom MiFi so we’re off line until 1 August.  Fortunately a nearby Dunkin Donuts free WiFi is close by to check our email.

We think the large amount of usage is because of Marti’s iPhone and iPad settings to her Facebook page that was automatically downloading every posted video on both units.  She has gone into her settings and adjusted that to stop.

So rather than buying another 20GBs of data from Millenicom for the rest of July (no refund or rollover on unused data), for the next day or so we’ll just have to check in on Dunkin Donuts free WiFi. 

Oh darn, pass me another glazed donut…  ;c)

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Care Of An Older Motorhome

Yikes!  I can’t believe that our Winnebago Journey motorhome is over seven years old already.  We purchased it new in May 2007 with a plan to use it as our full time home.  It was built in November 2006.

It has worked out wonderfully as we had planned for it to do.  Yes, a little tight on storage space (what fulltimer hasn’t had that problem?) but has given us faithful service over the years and the 66,000 miles we’ve traveled in it…so far. ;c)

No matter where you live, or what you live in, maintenance is always a requirement.  If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ll know I’m a stickler for preventive maintenance.  One item that has been on my list for a while now is taking care of a rust issue on my basement compartments.




This rust under the basement compartment doors is a long time issue on older Winnebagos.  I had it on my 2003 Winnebago Adventurer and have it on the Journey.  Despite Winnebago claiming they use primer on the steel used in the construction of their products, it still remains an issue.  I hope they’ve corrected it in current models.

That being said, every brand of RV has its problems and I had to get this fixed.  I did some touch ups a few years ago, but the rust reappeared in those spots and broke out anew in other areas.

First off, I got out my electric drill and some wire brushes.


With an eye on safety (always!) I got all “dolled up” for the task.


I spent several hours grinding and cleaning out all the rust to get back down to bare metal.


Once I got all the rust cleaned off, I gave the areas a coating of this Rust-oleum product.  (No I’m not making shadow animals).


After a coating of the rust reformer dried, I followed up brushing on some Rust-oleum glass black paint, and managed to more of it on the affected areas than on myself (for a change!). 

All the work came out well.  Another job scratched off my list.



With what this motorhome cost, I intend to do everything I can to keep it running well, looking good and “ship shape”.

Marti doesn’t help me with these kinds of tasks, she takes care of things we both agree are a higher priority.


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Monday, July 21, 2014

Bath Time

One of the things we like about staying at military campgrounds (besides the price) is that they allow you to wash your RV.  That’s a huge thing for me because I like to keep the Journey clean, something that’s pretty tough to do as fulltimers.

Having a little time off from helping out at Corey and Amanda’s house with both the granddaughters and the renovations, a couple of nice days gave me the chance to give the Journey a long overdue bath.

As usual, I started on the roof, I wash it a couple of times a year using Spic-n-Span.  It does a nice job on the grime that gets deposited up there.  Am I starting to sound like a commercial?


That was the first day’s job.  Today, I set out to finish the Journey’s body, which had it’s normal road dirt and bugs plus some of the run off from the roof washing.

I’ve tried many wash and wax soaps over the years with some pretty good success with Blue Coral.  However, I’m always on the hunt for a better product and I think I’ve found it.  It’s from the boating world, which has some of the same cleaning issues that we RVers have.

It is OrPine Wash and Wax, which I ordered online from Amazon.  I was surprised when it arrived the very next day.


It is super concentrated and the quart can make up to 96 gallons of soap.  Biodegradable, too.  It has a nice pine smell which left the Journey smelling like a large car pine air freshener.  :c)

It comes out in a thick blob which mixed up very nicely.  I noticed right away that the suds stayed formed and didn’t thin out as I scrubbed the Journey.


After washing half of the 40 foot length of the Journey, it still remained sudsy in my bucket.


I was quite pleased with the way the Journey came out, even my aluminum wheels sparkled.


I’m quite pleased with OrPine and I think I’ll use it from now on (unless something even better comes along).  ;c)

Disclaimer:  I have no connection with the company, just passing on info of something that worked well for me.

And now, for one of those amazing things you see in a campground, how about this setup to get your satellite TV?


Maybe one person in the RV doesn’t like what the other person watches on TV?  :cD

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Newest Addition To The Flock

Our heads are spinning and our hearts are singing as we welcomed our newest granddaughter to our family.


Elizabeth Mae was our special delivery.   We visited her in the hospital, along with big sister Anabelle.  Not too proud of a grandmother, eh?


I was even trusted enough to hold her, despite my normal clumsiness.


Anabelle was thrilled to hold her new baby sister.


It was a long day for Anabelle, she conked out on the ride home.  She had her own baby to practice on.


Finally, Elizabeth came home after two days in the hospital, Anabelle was thrilled to welcome her home.


I know ya’ll got a laugh about needing a spread sheet to keep track of all our grandkids birthdays and such.  Here is proof that I’m going to need a label maker, too, to be able to tell them apart.

If you remember, the end of April, granddaughter Charlie (Charlotte) was born out in Missouri.  Now we have Elizabeth.  The problem is, I can’t tell them apart.  You think I’m kidding?  Check out these two pictures and see if you can tell who’s who.


                           Charlie or Elizabeth?


                         Charlie or Elizabeth?

                              The Answer?

                          I have no idea!  :c)

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Why We Came To New Jersey

Here is why:  Elizabeth Mae Dahl, 7lbs 9oz, 20 inches, born 13 July 2014.


She is our granddaughter number six and grandchild number eight.   Anabelle’s new little sister. 

We’re going to need a spread sheet to keep track of all the birthdays!  ;c)

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

New Juice

We’ve been pretty busy working on our son Corey’s fixer-upper house.


It was built in the early 1960s and that was the last time anything was done on it.  Corey and Amanda got it for a good price, but it’s going to take a lot of time and sweat equity to get it up to where it should be.   Marti and I have been stripping old wallpaper and removing the left behind glue residue using diluted fabric softener and scrapers.



All while being closely supervised by Anabelle,


and Cooper, the Golden Retriever.


However, today I took a break from house renovations to get some new “Juice” in the Journey.  The engine starting batteries were nearing the end of their service life, so I replaced them.  They were over seven years old.  I believe in preventive maintenance and it was time for them to go before they died and left me stranded somewhere on a cold, rainy night.


First thing was to turn off all power in the Journey, from the campground power pole, to the main battery disconnect switch.


I carefully disconnected all the cables, starting with the negative side first.


Working very carefully, and taking very special care to lift the batteries using my legs so as not to injure my bad back, I removed the old batteries and installed the two new ones.


Before securing the cables back in place, I cleaned all of them with a wire brush to ensure a good solid connection.


It took me an hour to replace the batteries.  Looks good, for the next seven years.


I took the old batteries back to the Freightliner dealer where I bought them for recycling.  The batteries had a $40 core charge and I wanted that money back in my pocket.

I researched the batteries and the only place that carried the exact battery I needed was Freightliner.  Sam’s Club, Costco, NAPA, none of them carried the 1000 CCA batteries I needed.  Cost from Freightliner was $150 each (plus tax).  Cheap insurance in the long run.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Painting And Pulling

While we’re here awaiting the new incoming granddaughter,  we’ve been helping Corey and Amanda with their newly acquired fixer upper house that they’ve just bought.  This house needs some serious repairs, but for the price they paid, the repairs will be worth it in the long run.  For some reason, the extreme makeover the house needs is taking longer than the hour renovations we see on TV.

Once again, I’ve been wielding a paintbrush and as much as I dislike painting, I’ve actually been able to get more paint on the walls than myself. 

The house was built in the early 60’s and the owners had a love affair with wallpaper.  I’ve found I dislike wallpaper even more that painting.  I spent a couple of hours removing (pulling) wallpaper from one room and still have to go back and scrub off all the glue before I can repaint the walls.  I’m thinking there must be a special place of punishment in the afterlife for the inventor of wallpaper.  If not, there should be.  ;c)

Amongst all the wallpaper and paint, we’ve been challenged of working around a golden retriever and two year old Anabelle who loves to help.

It’s been a long day.  Motrin has been consumed and we’re taking tomorrow off to rest, pick up some new batteries for the Journey, rest, install the batteries, and rest.  Did I mention we’re going to rest before picking up those paintbrushes again on Wednesday?

Of course, if DIL Amanda goes into labor, all bets are off!  :c)

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Birthday America!



               Hope you all have a great holiday celebration!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I’ve Been Excused

We had a nice, relaxing, kick back day here at the Naval Weapons Station Earle campground.  We have been going so much during the month of June, we looked forward to a couple of days to rest and recuperate.

First item on our agenda was to sleep in late this morning.  Did I mention that we’re on a military base?

Right at 0800, loudspeakers all over the base played the National Anthem, as the flag was raised for the day.  After 30 years in the military, how did I forget that? 


Needless to say, we woke up, not complaining, it was so nice to hear the music.  And the words kept running through my head all day.  Too often we take our country for granted, and forget to honor the wonderful nation that is our home.  But patriotism is alive and well in the U.S. Military.  :c)

No Anabelle visit today, she has pre school several days a week, so we’ll just have to be patient.

Our mail package was sent to Corey’s house and in it I got a letter from the Minnehaha County, SD Jury Manager.  I have been officially excused from jury duty (Phew!).  Some day I’d like to be a juror, but now wasn’t a good time to be in SD for the month of July while DIL Amanda is getting ready to have her baby.

Our Independence Day Plans include a visit to my dad who also lives in NJ, about an hour and a half from here.  Even though we talk regularly on the phone, it will be good to see him in person, along with some of my brothers and sister.

I have a few minor maintenance items I hope to get accomplished while we’re here.  One major issue is I want to replace the Journey’s two chassis starting batteries (I had the three coach batteries replaced at the Winnebago factory service center in May).  They are over seven years old and even though they are working fine, they are nearing the end of their service life.  I want to replace them before they fail and leave me stuck on the side of the road some rainy night.  Call it heading off Murphy…

They are large batteries, and I will have to go to a Freightliner dealer to buy them.  I’ve checked Costco and Sam’s Club, they don’t carry batteries in the size I need.  I’m sure they won’t be cheap, but it is money well spent in my mind.

I can even wash the Journey here in this campground.  When I recently washed it, I didn’t do the roof, so now I’ll have plenty of time to get that done.  Maybe if I get a cool day, I might even get some wax on it.

Of course, that’s if I can work around the painting schedule at Corey’s house.  ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

After The Squeeze

It was an even tighter squeeze when we awoke at the Flying J this morning.  During the night one truck on our right side pulled out and another pulled in, a little closer.  With some careful backing and guidance from Marti who monitored me from outside, we hooked up the toad, topped off the fuel tank and went on our way.  All this by 9 am.

I’ve received a bunch of questions from folks on our traveling style and why we choose at times to utilize Flying Js, Walmarts and other places that welcome RVs overnight.

We have a different travel style than many RVers.  We are mostly destination travelers, we know where we want to go and we want to get there in the quickest way with minimal traveling off the route we’re on.

We tend to travel longer days than most people (ergo the PDD Driving Club) and spend little time at an overnight stop.  Because we may only be spending a few hours resting after a long day’s drive, we have a bit of heartburn paying for a campground. 

Since the Journey carries almost all our earthly possessions, we run close to the maximum weight ratings for it, making us keep a close eye on our fuel mpg and costs.  We plan routes that are the most direct to our destination and do not as a rule travel too far off the route for an overnight stop. 

Even though we are Passport America members and will use their participating campgrounds, if we have to drive more than a couple of miles to get to them, we’ll pass because we can use spend more money in fuel than we’d save at a PPA park.

Walmarts are usually our first choice for overnight stops.  There are thousands of them across the U. S. and most have the welcome mat out for RVs.  Some don’t allow overnights due to local ordinances, but as we travel, we’ve never run into one.  The lots are big and easy to find an out of the way corner where we can park and open the slides to be comfortable.  We always ask permission at the customer service desk, checking to make sure it’s okay to stay.

Flying Js are our second choice, they are pretty well around the major highways, most have easily accessible fuel pumps and have dedicated RV parking. 

We’ve also stayed at Cracker Barrels, they are RV friendly and it’s tough to pass on one of their breakfasts before heading out in the morning.

As to rest areas, we’ve only stayed at a couple overnight.  We try not to use them because of the hard working truckers that need a place to park for the night due to government regulations on how many hours they can drive in a day. 

We have a diesel generator on the Journey and we use it all the time, it gives us a/c in hot weather and the ability to use electric heat in cooler weather.  We can also use the house fan without engaging the a/c to circulate air and it gives us a nice white noise that drowns out sounds from outside.  We have a satellite dome and use it to enjoy a little TV before turning in and grabbing some shut eye.

When we are “tour traveling”, sure, we slow down, pick great places to stay, things to see and use nice campgrounds, with military campgrounds being one of our favorites. 

So after our tight squeeze, we ended up with this campsite, which was our destination for this trip:


We are staying at the Naval Weapons Station Earle campground in Colts Neck, NJ for the next four to six weeks.  Why?  Well this is one reason:  Anabelle!   We haven’t seen her since just a couple of hours at a wedding last March.


She’s had a great time with Mimi Marti already today.  It was worth the quick 187 miles we drove to to get here.  She liked trying out the princess cup we brought her from Disney World.


Our DIL Amanda is due to deliver a baby sister to Anabelle in another week or two.  We’re here to help out for that special event as well as giving our son Corey a hand on their new house they’ve just moved into, it’s a fixer-upper, but they needed more space for their growing family.

Mimi Marti will get to do the baby sitting, while Corey and I wield some hammers, saws and paint brushes around the house.  And to think I swore I’d never pick up another paint brush after all the painting I did to get our house ready for sale.

Marti doesn’t look too unhappy with her job, does she?  :c)


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