Friday, September 30, 2011

Heavy Rain & Fairgrounds

Get you this…DSC_0238 DSC_0240  DSC_0246 DSC_0248 DSC_0251 DSC_0252DSC_0242  DSC_0259 DSC_0262  DSC_0267 DSC_0272

Nick wants to know if they have all left yet……DSC_0256

The rally was over after the donuts and coffee this morning.  Some people just had to leave.  A few paid $200 to get pulled out because they couldn’t with for the fairgrounds.  They probably weren’t full timers and had to get somewhere now! So be it.  I suggest everyone should get a tow service like Coach Net full timing or just traveling around for awhile.  It’s well worth it.  What do I know from over 40 years of RVing and including over 11 years of full timing.

Anyhow…..See ya….

Thursday, September 29, 2011

On the Road Again!

Yep, it’s been a week since the last blog.  We have doing some “stuff” and other things that had higher priority. My mind can only hold so much anymore. We are firming up plans for the retooling the RV Driving School for 2012.  It needs a facelift and that’s one of the things we have been working on pretty hard the last two weeks or so. 

Continuing the arranging for the Beast to get updated has been another.  That will start next week with a trip to Spartan chassis and getting the windshield replaced. We also had our “camping” trip last weekend with the relatives which turned out real nice and a lot of fun. 

We just ended our time here at the Gypsy Journal Rally. in Celina, Ohio. It was a little tiring but well worth the laughs with friends. I did one panel discussion, three driving seminars, and two seminars on Alaska in four days.  Carol did Line Dancing everyday and helped out with most of the seminars.  We also ate dinner out at Chinese buffets two nights in a row.  That was the hardest – whew, won’t do that again.  Last night at the last drawing we won a Epson printer.  That was great.

When we got back to the Beast the Magna Shade had blown off again.  The rain didn’t knock over Carol’s potted plant.  It didn’t blow over the little green man who gets blown over a lot.  But that friggin Magna Shade was hanging down on the wipers – not good.  I had to get on a ladder to put it back up for the second time.    $450 and so far I’ve been very disappointed in how the thing is supposed to go on the windshield and stay on.  Even after it was returned from the manufacture and I reinstalled the magnets it still doesn’t work the way they said it would.  So far, I still do not recommend getting this product.

So here we sit, rally over and nothing to do except to enjoy the rainy weather and a little of doing nothing special.  Saturday we plan to move back to Nappanee to pick up a microwave vent part from Newmar.  We plan to stay at their RV park until Tuesday. Tuesday we move to Charlotte, MI to the Spartan factory for a Wednesday appointment.  Then Thursday we move to Elkhart to have our windshield  replaced Friday.  Then Saturday (8 Oct) we don’t know where the hell we will go and really don’t care, we’re full timing on the road.  I think we will be heading south towards Mississippi then Texas.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Time To Start Packing Up

It’s the day before we hit the road.  Like most full timers we have to get ready to move.  Stuff like laundry, grocery shopping at our favorite store like Food Lion and the Ft Mead Base.  We don’t think we will have full hook up for about 2 weeks.  Doing the Gypsy Journal, then the repair shop for the windshield and then to Spartan for a chassis update, then to Howe, IN to a little campground we like, then to a Thousand Trails and full hook hopefully. That’s about 2 weeks.

Carol will go out with some long time friends for lunch.

The Beast was cleaned but it has rained several times this week so it has lost it’s luster.  But the wheels are shiny!

We will be moving a lot for the next 4 weeks or so.  We will end up in MS about the 3rd week.  Carol’s bro, Steven, will meet us down there for his vacation from Baltimore. Then we head for the Barn in Livingston and to arrive just before Halloween and the Escapees Boot Camp.

Carol went to Applebee’s with her long lost friends of several decades ago.  It was one of those three hour lunches.  She evidently had fun because when she returned she talked for another three hours.  We will have to have a cook out with her friends next time we come this way.

We then decided to make a run to base to pick up some last minute stuff – booze.  It’s now approaching 4 o’clock – what the hell.  We went for it.  Traffic was getting heavy even on the back roads.  We got there and got our “stuff” and then went for the food.  It was not crowded at the (I can’t spell commissary) grocery store on base.  The barber shop was crowded so that was a no.  Now it’s approaching 5 PM, time to leave.  Yep, right in the middle of traffic of course.  It wasn’t stop and go so I was OK with that – just heavy. We had left overs for dinner and watched some TV.  Carol got the inside of the Beast a little more ready.

Earlier I called GEICO and found out instead of $500 deductible I had $50 on the windshield.  then I called to reconfirm our installation in Elkhart.  They changed the date I had already confirmed with them.  Oh well, now instead of Monday it goes in on the following Friday the 7th.  We are OK with that – no major changes.

This weekend we will be “camping” with relatives in Front Royal, VA.  We had no problems with getting into a Coast to Coast park because it’s suppose to rain all weekend.  So be it.

See ya…..

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

MD, VA, MD Which Way Do We Go

We are in Columbia near Baltimore, MD. Our son lives in Fredericksburg, VA which is a 100 miles from here.  We were going to take the Beast and stay at a local Coast to Coast Park but we are out of time.  So we will pack up the dog and drive down.  Mind you this is thru DC during the afternoon to arrive about 3 –4 PM.  Just before the major traffic hour.  All hours are just about major anymore.  We will take him our flat screen TV out of the RV.  He’s got the old type TV that he watches rented movies on. This one will be real good for that. We will probably go bowling and then to Golden Corral for dinner.  After that we go back thru DC again just after the rush hour.  Well this is what we got planned. Let’s see what happens.

Thank you for the suggestions on cooking and getting off the water spots on windows.  Now I will  just have to try the suggestions.

We left in the car about 1:30 PM.  Traffic was heavy but moved fast and no traffic jams.  About a 100 miles and we were there about 3:15.  Yes we cruised.  We got to see our 5 year old grandson and mother for about a half hour. We stopped at Toys R Us and got him some Match Box cars. DSC_0007

He got to meet Brandy and was very gentle .DSC_0020 Father/Mother breakup right after his birth and lives with his mother very close to Dad.   So far we get to see him and his Mom every year.  He’s starting to remember us at 5 years old.  We send him post cards and he remembers us and the RV. 

Then we met up with our 33 year old son.  We went to our normal Golden Corral there and pigged out.  They’re steak was really good. 

Then our son wanted to go bowling which we did.  Not saying who won all three games but he was the oldest bowler in our group.

Then it was back to Baltimore and it had started to rain.  Traffic was moving and we got back about 9 PM.  I lasted to about 10 PM and I went to bed.

See ya……………….

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tight Schedule

I have already made tentative appointments after the Gypsy Journal Rally.  One is for 8 AM Monday 3 October with Master Tech RV in Elkhart, IN.  They will be replacing our windshield.  I say tentative because I have to call GEICO and put a claim in.  Then call Master Tech and tell them to order the glass about a week ahead of time.  I already gave Master Tech the paperwork.  Then that following Wednesday (5 Oct) I made an appointment with the Spartan chassis manufacture. I want them to go over the chassis while it is under warranty which will include a ride height check.  Also, they got some tech bulletins to update the coach.  Two are tag axle brakes and bearings which I’ve had/have some problems with.  Also, replace the Turbo exhaust pipe. Then we will probably meet Carol’s bro, Steven, somewhere during his 10 day vacation the week of the 9th (Oct) or the following week, maybe in Mississippi.   We have a Boot Camp to do in Livingston, TX starting 4 November.  We  will have some business to catch up on during October also.  We just don’t know where it will take place.

This schedule is of our doing just like it is for a lot of full time RVers.  Some of it is out of necessity (windshield) and some out of “let’s do it now.” That would be the Spartan chassis. Some of it’s let’s have some fun like being with Carol’s bro on his vacation.  We call that “speed RVing”.  He has just so little time to do a lot in.  Then we take a vacation after his vacation and rest.  It’s fun or we wouldn’t do it.

See ya……

Monday, September 19, 2011

Baltimore Freightliner

Today was get the Beast in for service at Baltimore Freightliner with Carol’s bro, David.

The Beast fit with no problem.  We had to wiggle and waggle and turn to get it aligned up to get it in.DSC_0003

David really is on top of things, literally.  He’s laying on top of the engine while I’m taking the pic inside the coach.  He found two antifreeze leaks which he fixed. He also found one turbo exhaust leak caused by a rotting pipe.  He said he couldn’t fix that because it was not a Cummins part but a Spartan Chassis part.  Being that it was under warranty that Spartan would have to replace this 4’ by 4’ tube/pipe so as not to void the warranty It’s similar to the pipe that he has his hands on.  It’s the second pipe down.DSC_0001

He changed the two fuel filters, oil filter, the air dryer filter and the hydraulic filter, lube, etc. He also serviced the generator.  David said that he liked this chassis and that it was very well built like a bus – heavy duty.  The Cummins engine he said was just ‘OK” being that it was an 2006 and not newer.  He’s a Cat man.  The “Beast” has been fed.  By the Cummins book it said 20K between oil changes.  I will stick with once a year.


So the Beast still has to go to Spartan in Michigan to get a full chassis check out next month.

See ya………………

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cooking A Roast

I went to Walmart and got the Rotella oil for the Beast and a filter for the generator.  I like Rotella and have always used in all of our diesels. 

Later we got a call from David, Carol’s other bro, who said that he couldn’t get any Maryland Blue Crabs for today. Damn…..

So, how do you cook a 5 lb roast and it’s late in the afternoon?  I called Brenda Neil to find out. She said to wrap it up real good and put in the oven for 2 hours at 400 degrees.  It came out medium – medium rare and it was a little on the tuff side.  Any other ideas out there to cook something like this on short notice?

We had relatives over and all was well. We’re trying to get the RV serviced and see all of our friends and relatives between now and Thursday.  Friday we leave.  It’s tight……

See ya…………………….

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New TV

It was time to change the TV out.  My brother in law Steven just love’s to tear other people’s “stuff” apart.  The difference is that he can put it back together better than it was.  Plus he likes spending other people’s money – mine.  So, we took the measurements and went to Sam’s.  We picked out a Phillips 32’ LED (not LCD).  Got it back and went to work, mostly him.  I was the gopher. Carol was gone so we weren’t neat as you can see.DSC_0001

Plus we installed the WII.  We were able to use the old mounting bracket which saved a lot of Steven’s energy and me heart burn.  We even hooked up  the TV HDMI with a cable to the computer.  That is so cool to plug the computer into a 32’ screen.  The photo slideshow is outstanding.  The color with the LED screen is really great.  Carol loves it.  Happy woman is a happy man!!!!!!!!  We (me) even cleaned up the place. It took several hours for that.  Work 10 minutes and rest for 50.  It’s a Husband’s Union thing!DSC_0002 DSC_0004

It’s tight and the screen is 100% visible.  This TV is in for the long haul…

The rest of the day I had to watch NASCAR racing to make sure it was OK.

See ya…….

Friday, September 16, 2011

Here Comes Da Cold

Today I got up at 4 AM.  I don’t know why!?.  Because I just do!  Why lay in bed when I wake up. I get up for an hour or two and then go back to bed.

The predicted cold wave is coming in. The handy dandy weatherman says it will be in the low 60s this week and night temps getting around 40 or so.  It’s almost time to leave. This expected weather is on our edge of “time to move.” The Hydra Hot is already on and running for our heat.

Carol & I went shopping today. No big deal.  the rest of the day I vegetated. Tried to look up tech bulletins on the internet on the Beast’s engine with not much luck.  Other than that – nothing really.

See ya……

Thursday, September 15, 2011

So Much To Do In So Little Time

I was up at 5 AM doing the blog, tweaking our schedule on Microsoft Streets & Trips, & etc.  when the sun came out I went out and washed the front end.  A lot of bugs.  Then I cleaned some lower panels on the the Beast to get the major dirt off.  I 'ill wash it another day.  I put the magnets back on the windshield for the Magna Shield. The Beast faces the afternoon sun so what the hell.  I took the magnets off because I thought the windshield would be replaced by now.  That didn’t happen for a variety of reasons.  Anyhow, I just put it all back together quickly and it was better than originally installed but appears to be cut incorrectly still.  I will take my time to install the shade once the new windshield is installed early next month.   DSC_0001


Here are our neighbors.  They’re dead…it’s a cemetery.DSC_0002

Carol’s bro Steven’s stumpy behind us.DSC_0006

Our front yard.DSC_0003

“I don’t care what you do, just don’t take me out of my soft bed.”DSC_0005 

About 11 AM and I had to go inside.  The humidity was to much for me and Carol. The temps and the humidity is expected to be low starting this weekend.  The Beast should be going into the shop early next week for some expert eyes to look at the underneath stuff.

For dinner we went to the Texas Roadhouse with a bunch of relatives.  On the way there we got into traffic and a mean looking sky.DSC_0002-1 DSC_0004

The old guys (40s) are Carol’s bros. The rest are their kids/boyfriends.DSC_0006-1

The comedian on their side of the family.DSC_0018

See ya………………

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy Birthday

We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel of course.  It costs us $11.10 and a $2 tip to eat breakfast.  Plus we got two coffees to go included.  We thanked the manger for the night stay. We like Cracker Barrel.  I think it was 8 AM when we pulled out.  Nice scenery going into West Virgina and Western Maryland. Our windshield was real buggy so pictures just weren’t happening that much.  The Beast did very well in the mountains.  It climbed all of them except one at 50 MPH at 2,200 RPM for those that are interested.  This 400 Cummins seems to have a higher need of RPMs than our previous engines.  The others would run the best up hills about 2,000 RPMs.  Some day I will look up the torque and all that kind of stuff.

DSC_0006 DSC_0009 DSC_0010 DSC_0016  DSC_0020 DSC_0018

Welcome to Maryland.  Our first real big traffic jam that we have seen this year.  DSC_0030

We did another 315 or so miles and arrived at Carol’s bro home about 2-3 PM.  We pulled into our 50 AMP FHU next to his garage and we were home.  The temps were in the high 80s and the humidity was terrible for us.  We cooked steaks for Carol’s bro birthday.  Her other brother came over too. He’s the diesel mechanic. We talked hours about engines, transmissions and the like. 

Carol and I recorded America’s Got Talent grand finale and watched late last night.  It was great.  Well deserved winner.  He was a black guy who was a car washer but sang and sounded like Frank Sinatra.  He was good!.

See ya.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On The Road Again

Despite Newmar’s attempt to keep us longer. Here I am at 6AM waiting for Newmar. they came out about 6:15 Am and took our RV.  they said would hae it back by noon.DSC_0002

Well, noon came and gone.  In the mean time I thought it would be time to have a pow wow with the head mucca mucca guy of their service department.  I asked for him and got his right hand man.  Anyhow, all is resolved to both of our likings – kinda.  It was a give and take for future possible repairs to the roof..  Anyhow, we got about $11K worth of warranty work done on our 2007 Beast and it didn’t cost anything.  The Beast came out about 2 PM and we left.  We got 7 miles and had to turn around and go back.  Nothing on our steering wheel (cruise, wipers, etc) worked.  I told them last week after they had worked on some dash gauges that the wheel stuff wasn’t working.  They said they would check it out.  It seemed OK. Anyhow, everybody was gone. I got into the fuses and pushed and pulled on them all.  It started working again.  It must if have a loose wire or fuse.  We got back on the road about 3 PM.  We went 320 miles and ended up in Georgetown, OH at a Cracker Barrel.  Carol’s bro birthday is tomorrow (Wed) and we want to be there in Columbia, Md near Baltimore.

There are a lot of wind mills around Van Wert now. DSC_0015 DSC_0004

And they are still building them.DSC_0017

Got fuel at the Murphy station at Walmart in Van Wert. It was $3.74 and thus worth the extra effort to get into the station. It was pretty tight and not for the faint.

The Beast likes running at night on cool roads.

See ya…..

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thank You All

It seems my little story about our empty nest neighbor at the hotel was an exciting read to a lot of you.  Man, you should have been there.  It was even more exciting in person.  Those underwear are long gone!  Thank you all for the nice words……

People said that the flags weren’t flown at half mast the other day on nine eleven in the pictures I took.  Those pictures were taken across the country.  I enjoy taking pictures of Old Glory while traveling.

We drove the Beast up to Hopkins, MI Saturday.  We had dinner with one our instructors and and his wife, George & Valarie.  We try to have dinners with our instructors because we like to eat out and that gives us a reason.  It was a pleasant trip up and back. 

We got back to Camp Newmar and our little Green Man was still holding our spot along with five million of the school’s cones.  We talked Larry & Marilyn to come down and camp in the S.O.B. (some other brand) campground here. It’s one block from us and it’s free. They got water & electric on concrete.  Some are on gravel.  Anyhow they arrived about 3 or so.  We went over for four o’clock then to dinner.  Dinner – the regular restaurants were closed due to Sunday and nine eleven. We ended up at the KFC/Taco Bell for dinner. 

Before all that we had A LOT of motorcycles go by us at the Newmar Campground.  I mean a lot.  That reminded me of the time Carol & I got to lead a Toys For Tot Run to Baltimore from Ellicott City in December on our Full Dresser Red Harley (Rudolph the Reindeer). There was thunder going thru Baltimore that day. Now that was cool.  That was several hundred Harleys going thru Baltimore with a police escort and with us leading.  Now that was exciting. Anyhow this very very large motorcycle run was in conjunction with a nine eleven event down town here and other towns and this heard of motorcycles rode thru.

Here’s some favorite pics.DSC_0004

Mama was riding too!DSC_0010

Some people like yellow….like Denny OrrDSC_0019

And a few like Orange more…….DSC_0027 DSC_0029 DSC_0030

I started this blog early today (4 AM) and my goal is not to get into any trouble today. We’re going into public later today and it will be tempting and a challenge.

Today (Tuesday) which is really yesterday (Monday) is when I wrote part of this. You think that is confusing to read this try to write it.  Anyhow, we went to the RV Hall Of Fame later.  It’s really an outstanding must see in Elkhart. We got a special tour by Al Hesselbart who is the historian for it.DSC_0011DSC_0002 DSC_0004 DSC_0005 DSC_0006 DSC_0007 DSC_0008 DSC_0009 DSC_0010 

Then we went to a local Chinese buffet for dinner.  That’s Al on the left.  Carol & I met Nick & Terry (Gypsy Journal) , Greg & Jan, Marilyn & Larry (Larry out of pic).  We talked before we ate and afterwards.  We told old and new stories.  It was a great time.  This is one of the great things about RVing.  That is we won’t see these people for awhile now….YEA!!!! just joking of course.DSC_0012

Tomorrow should be our last day and we were told only a half day.  I say that would be rare for them.  I’m suppose to see “the boss”  about the roof.

See ya……….