Thursday, May 31, 2012

Target What?

Here’s where we spent last night (Wednesday) in Fredericksburg, VA.  It’s a Target department store parking lot.  I don’t pull into campgrounds at 10:30 at night and besides there were none around.DSC_0001It was a very quiet night not even a security guard drive by.  They turned off the lot lights about 10:30 PM which was a first that I’ve seen.  Maybe they thought the lights were bothering us so they turned them out.  Lights were around just not on this parking lot.

We drove north on route 17 from Fredericksburg up to I-66 then went west to Front royal.  It was about a 85 mile trip.  DSC_0005 DSC_0006 DSC_0007 DSC_0009


We stopped here at this shopping center.  It had a Big Lots, Family Dollar, Goodwill and a Food Lion.  We were set.  I always try to park so it’s  a straight shot to get out.  Here the exit is straight ahead.DSC_0010

On to the park.DSC_0011

The turn in is between those two stone pillars.  Yes it was tight and we have been here before, no surprise.  Yes the road was narrow too.DSC_0012

It’s a Coast To Coast park ($10).  We got a 50 AMP FHU.  They charged us $5 extra a night because we were over 35 feet long.  I had a few words to say about that but lost the battle.  Then they wanted $3 extra night because of the Razor. I informed that it was a register motor vehicle and I was not going to pay.  They wanted to classify it as a golf cart. They evidently saw the license plate and didn’t charge me.  I won that battle.

The sight was a little tight but Carol backed it in on the first try with no need to go forward.  DSC_0013

We will cut some branches down before we leave.DSC_0018 

The temps were in the cool 80s with no humidity.  The night was in the 60s and no wind.  Carol’s bros are due in tomorrow and their sites are behind us.

Oh, getting here I paid $3.72 for diesel in Warrenton, VA at a Quarles truck station.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Solar Panels/Razor/Departing/Departed

Yesterday (Tuesday) I finished the solar panels 100%.  I had some caulking and cable tie downs to finish up on.   DSC_0002  DSC_0001

Steven, Carol’s bro & electrician, did the actual connecting of the cables the day before.

I figure now (yesterday) was a good time to change shocks and repair a stripped lug nut stud on the Razor. Plus install the tires/wheels in the correct mounting direction.  I had a few problems but they all worked out with big tools, a hammer and a pry bar.  A few parts left over.DSC_0004

Now the width is under 50 inches.  I removed the spacers that were on for the oversize tires that I had already removed.  I put the stock shocks on too.  Now it’s 12 inches tall in the front.DSC_0006 Plus the tires now don’t stick out beyond the body like before.  Now when I load it in the truck the tires go between the fender wheels instead of climbing over them. DSC_0007

I have 11 inches of clearance in the center where stock Razors are about 10 inches.  The super shocks (blue) I left on the rear and they are only adjusted for the shortest at this point.DSC_0009

My friend Butch dropped off a CB radio for me to use in the Razor during the Outdoor HOP in Hatch in July.  I still have to figure out where to put it and how to.  At least I got one.

Now for today Wednesday.  I got up and headed for the roof immediately.  I washed it.  Then I washed the Beast and cleaned the wheels.  Next was the truck.  After that I loaded the Razor into the truck.  All this time the clouds were rolling in and even a few drops fell.  I didn’t care.  Everything was getting washed because this was probably the last time for awhile that I will be able to wash everything.  Mainly because a lack of energy.

Mary Dennis (old name) came over to visit for awhile. She let me know that my old friend Don died of lung cancer rather than active alcoholism like I said in an earlier blog.  I feel I had to set the record right for me and him.  He was sober for many years and actively working a recovery plan – great for him.  He got a few more years probably.


This you might find interesting.  We have about 100 miles to go and we won’t be leaving until about 6:30 or 7 PM today.  One is to miss most of the Baltimore and DC traffic.  The I-95 corridor is bad.  We will make it to the other side of DC to Fredericksburg, VA.  Two is our son works the 10PM -6 AM shift at McDonald’s and it’s about the only way we can see him.  He’s in that stage.  We will spend the night in the local area somewhere and boone it.  Thursday we will head out for Front Royal, VA.

We made it down to Fredericksburg, VA (1oo miles)and traffic was horrific due to some sports event near DC.  We saw our son and he is doing very well.  We parked at a nice quiet Target parking lot.  It’s getting cool and all is well solar wise.

See ya…..

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Over

It’s been another Memorial Weekend for sure and it’s over.

Here are some pictures that we took when it was winding down.  There’s 4 RVs in there.  DSC_0007 DSC_0006DSC_0001-001 DSC_0003 DSC_0001DSC_0005 DSC_0005-001 DSC_0006-001

I only had one……and it was damn good!DSC_0008-001 DSC_0010

Carol’s Mom…DSC_0011 DSC_0015


It must be over….DSC_0019

We are now starting to get organized because we are leaving late like in very late tomorrow.

See ya……….

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Starts

First and most important let’s don’t forget what Memorial Day really is.  Gone but not forgotten are those that gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy our life in this great country.  It’s not perfect but it’s the best.

Steven found a possible Bobcat to finish the spreading/leveling the crush & run gravel for his driveway.  I think we are done with the shovel and wheel barrel routine at least for now.

Lorenz Campground (Steven’s driveway/yard) is open for business.  We should have four units here this weekend.  Being that Steven is a electrician they will all have at least 30 AMP electric with water a dump nearby.  Everybody arrived by 8 PM and the campground was in fully operational

Earlier I was getting the campground ready.  Now I remember one of the reasons we went full timing.   No grass cutting. DSC_0004 

In the morning I was on the roof trying to figure out where these solar panels (4) went.DSC_0003

Nice male cardinal.DSC_0010

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Boys & Their Toys

This is two of Carol’s 4 brothers, Steven (left) and David.  David brought over two of his boy’s (10 yr  old) toys to work on this weekend.  DSC_0005

I question who’s toys they really are. Maybe an excuse to own would be more correct. DSC_0003

Might be time to brake out the helmets.

See ya……..

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

W O R K more

After the three of us working on this Tuesday it looked like this.  The pile was reduced by about one third.DSC_0002

After Wednesday it looked like this.  The pile was reduced down to about half of the 22 tons.  The light rain was trying to stop us.  The previous rain just made the gravel heavier. DSC_0004

I would have taken more pictures but I couldn’t lift my finger to take the picture.

Isn’t full timing fun?

See ya….

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Work.  Yes I used the WORD.  Steven, Carol’s bro, decided to order some gravel for his driveway to be delivered today.  I asked Steven if he wanted the driver to spread and he said no.  I used to be an owner operator of a small dump truck years ago. I bet very few people knew that.  Anyhow, the LARGE dump truck arrives with 22 tons of gravel.  OMG!  The driver dumped it.  I think I could have road my side by side ATV Razor over it.  It was a big pile.  You know what 22 tons of gravel looks like?  It looks like WORK.  Steven got home from his so called work day.  We made tacos for diner and then it was work time.  Steven, Carol & myself starting spreading the gravel by shovels and a wheel barrel.  It started to get dark or was that sweat running in my eyes?  We probably knocked out just about 1/2 the pile.  Tomorrow I will take some pictures if I can hold my heavy camera up long enough for it to focus.  Where’s that ibuprofen?  Where’s the heating pad?  Where’s the sauna?  Where’s my youth?

See ya…………

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fuel Prices Going Down/Friends Continue

Fuel is coming down in price, S-L-O-W-L-Y.  But it is moving down.  Up fast and slow to come down, same ole, same ole, nothing new as we know.  It will drop some more after Memorial Day.  It has dropped enough last week in that it will save us about 100 bucks on our adventure going to the west coast in a couple of weeks. Hey, 100 bucks is a 100 bucks.

It started raining last night and really hasn’t stopped.  Well, the new roof is really getting tested for sure.  No problems…yea….

We made reservations for the weekend after the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.  Carol’s bros are Coast To Coast members and we are too so we made them for Skyline Ranch in Front Royal.  Memorial Weekend we and they will be coming here where we are at – Steven’s place. 

Carol & her friends.  Carol went to Applebee’s with her childhood friends.  They were gone for hours.  Two of them still live in the immediate area.  What’s really strange is that all of them are on their first and probably last marriage.  How did they all do that?  It’s real simple. They didn’t die.SDC12696
It rained most of the day clearing up towards the evening. That’s your weather report.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

More Alaska

More Alaska. I figure about $6,300 in fuel for my rig. About 20 nights of boone docking at no cost. It can be more. About 30 nights of no hook ups and paying like in city parks on the water, Denali, etc about $600 and that’s a high figure as all of these are. Parks with full hook ups about 100-110 nights. The average price can be from below $25 to $37 range. I will average that to be about $2,000. So we are looking at about $8,900 at this point. Then there is your food for three plus months and then your entertainment/tourist stops. I would say about $11,000 and have a credit card ready. Yes, it’s expensive. It’s also priceless as they say……


You too can do this.  Put it on your bucket list.  It’s been on ours several times.  We keep putting it back on.

See ya…………….

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Heat Pumps A Pumping

I was up at 5 AM this morning finishing up and getting the blog out.  This is pretty normal for me.

Last night we turned on one of the three heat pumps.   The sucker wouldn’t turn off.  We then tried all of them.  None of the three would turn off.  When the temp was gained the heat would shut off but the blower fan would continue to run. We just turned them all off and went to bed.  This morning I tried the electric hydro hot furnace with no problems.  I guess when Newmar did the roof they did something to effect the heat pumps.  It’s probably something simple since it’s all three doing the same thing.  I will give them a call Monday and see if they can advise me what to do.  I already gave the heat sensors and the thermostat a rap.

I think Carol & I will go out for an early lunch of crab cakes.  This is Maryland and that is what Marylanders eat – Blue Crabs.  We know a local bloody bucket bar that serves up a pretty good crab cake.  At least they did last year.

ALASKA… I did some figuring yesterday.  Our 2011 Alaska trip fuel ran about $4,700 for the 7,200 miles, 3 month trip.  That means it cost about .65 cents a mile for us.  Remember I was only getting about 6.4 MPG.  The last 5 fill ups the Beast has been averaging 6.9 MPG.  Not the best by far but just better. Fuel in Alberta 2011 figured up to be $4.54 a gallon, Yukon $5.25 and Alaska $4.75.  I did not get fuel in British Columbia.  Fuel was higher there and with my large fuel tank I was able to pass on by.  Right now diesel fuel in Anchorage is about $4.59 a gallon.  Fuel in Montana and Wyoming is cheaper right now than last year this exact time.  Why is it more expensive this year every where else?  What’s up with that?  If we had the money we would have gone to Alaska again this year.  Oh well, we will try to wait until 2014.

Heat Pump Update - Oh, I just played with the thermostat and found that the Newmar workers had set the fan on HIGH (continuous) and not automatic for the 3 heat pumps. I knew they tested all the electric equipment after doing the roof work.  Carol & I did too before we left.  Been there and done that before where we didn’t check the work (Tiffin).  We learned a quick lesson of not trusting repair guys especially at the factories.  I changed the thermostat back to the original automatic setting for each heat pump and they all work fine now. I knew it was something simple or at least hoping…..duh…..

Lunch.  This is by far the best crab cake we have ever had.  With tax it was $29 for two people. DSC_0001

This is where we had it in Elkridge.  Try it, you won’t be disappointed. The place has been here for decades.DSC_0002

Afterwards we went to local flea market.  It wasn’t a good one.  The little businesses were stocked pile with junk.  It reminded me of Mexico.DSC_0004

Think I will just set back and slowly digest the crab cake.

See ya…..

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wash Time

Here I go for those that want to know.  If your not into washing RVs you might as well stop here.

Here’s what I used this time…I put a hand mitt on the bristle brush with a long extending pole, a real lamb’s mitt, McGuire's car wash soap, distilled vinegar,  Jet Dri dishwasher rinse and a garden feeder container.DSC_0001

I put the Jet Dri in the garden feeder and hooked it to the hose.  I put the vinegar and McGuire's soap in the bucket.  Then I washed the Beast.  This was the second time I tried the Jet Dri.  I used it with very hard water and it sucked.  This time the water was medium hard and it did fair at most.  I will use it until I run out then not anymore.  It just didn’t work for me for some reason that I ain’t gonna try to figure out.  I do thank the person for the idea.  If it works for you great.  The lamb’s wool mitt sucked too.  It gets way to heavy to work with and it takes a lot of soapy water with it.  There went $27 bucks.  The hand mitt over the bristle brush worked OK.  I’m trying to get away from using a bristle brush on the paint.  I might have to go to a commercial janitorial supply business and see what they got.  I need a new pole too.

I cleaned the wheels and sprayed the tires so the Beast is not looking to bad.  Carol said she would do the windows some day.

We went to the commissary at Ft Meade.  Their meat prices are very good along with the veggies.  Just about everything else is on the high side.  They only sell name brands.  I guess it’s back to Wal-Mart and the Great Value brand.

Carol’s bro tried to get us a bushel of Maryland Blue Crabs for the weekend but struck out.  We cook them ourselves.  Maybe next weekend but that’s Memorial Day Weekend.  We will see.

See ya.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nippy, Windy & Reports

It was only in the 60s today here in Ellicott City/Columbia and the wind kicked up.  The wind is nothing like the winds that howl in Yuma.  I guess because there are trees and rolling hills around here.  Not as flat and open.  The sun was out and that was good of course.  So much for the weather report.

The Beast needs a good washing and even a wax after Newmar replaced the roof and three days of rain.  Hopefully that will happen before Saturday.  I got some scratches on the Beast from some trees in a Cracker Barrel last week.  They are light and a cleaner/wax will remove them.  The solar panels I will install next week – no rush what so ever.  So much for the Beast report.

We are now planning to be in Boulder, Colorado 12-14 June.  Then 7 days in Moab about 15-22 June. Then 23 June thru 7 July in Hatch, Utah for the Outdoor Adventure HOP with ATVs and 4X4s.  We might go back to Moab for some more ATVing.  I put this information out there for those few individuals that were trying to meet up with us for some good times.  So much for a travel report.

My weight has been floating around 202-205 lbs for the last two weeks. Well, I’m finally at 200 and plan to go to 195 in the next two weeks. The first 20 lbs came off fast and then I hit that wall where I couldn’t lose anything. I think it will be a slow process from this point on. I’m working in 5 lb goals now because that is more obtainable. Time is immaterial. It’s the weight goals now. Long term is to be at 180 lbs and then stay between 180 & 185 lbs. What’s long term you ask? About within 4 months for me. I’ve been asked what kind of diet am I on. I guess it’s a diet of sort but it’s mine. I eat beans of all sorts with about 10 different spices or so. I sometimes have them for breakfast and/or lunch. No special regiment. I eat an apple an hour or so before a meal and when I get the munchies. I drink a glass of ice water before a meal and an additional 3-4 during the day/evening. No sodas of any kind. My portions are about half of what they use to be and they were large. I try to stay away from diary products. Eggs I just eat the whites with a lot of spices again. I don’t use salt, butter or sugar. I snack on almonds or sunflower seeds every few days. I just started taking Green Bean Extract pills (2X500 mg) a day. I drink a few beers about 2 times a week. I’m probably around 1,500 maybe 2,000 calories a day with a lot of fiber. Yes I take a vitamin supplement. So much for the weight report.

So much for today…

See ya………

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

RVer Friends Of 40 Years

We actually had some things to do today.  Carol & I went into Ellicott City to get some electrical permits for her brother.  Then we drove around Ellicott City, Woodlawn and Catonsville.  These are places that we use to be around over 40 years ago.  Memories…people say they are great.  They are also a reminder that you are getting older.

Later in the day I helped (watched) Carol’s bro change the oil in one of his vehicles.  Yep, he did a fine job.  Then I grilled steaks for everybody for a nice little diner.

We had some “old” friends, Butch & Kathy (RVers), of about 40 years come over and visit us in the evening.  Damn, they’re getting old too!  We tried to figure out what years we all did what.  I’m sure the Red Dog beer helped a little.   They said I had a little bit of a Texas accent.  You know what that means?  We stayed too long in Texas. 

Butch & Kathy are getting ready to retire and are undecided what to do if anything.  I think a lot of us have been there where we say, “Now what?”.   Some stay in their same routine and enjoy a laid back type atmosphere.  Some of us take to the roads like we did 12 years ago.  Both ways are great and to each to their own of course.  We really enjoy the adventure of the unknown and unusual of traveling around the country.  We are professional tourists.  We are living our dream and enjoy it a lot.

See ya…..

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cancel Plan A Already

Plan A summer plans that I worked on yesterday is now obsolete.  Not unusual for a full timer. We now have gone into Plan B due to us wanting to do something else.  No not changes.  It’s a whole new plan for June & July.  We will help Ed & Sandy Kruty with the Escapees Outdoor Adventure HOP 1-7 July in Hatch, Utah.  The HOP will have available 4X4 and ATV adventures in a vast area of beauty. Check out the HOP.  I think we were asked to help because we have an ATV (Razor) and that’s cool.  It’s a major change in our schedule but we really want to help Ed & Sandy.  When we all get together we have a blast.  We would like to share this good time with more people so come on out and join us for fun and laughs during this adventure in the outdoors.  We will have fun even if you are an old fuddy dud!

We we’re going to go the northern route along I-80 west basically then hang a left in Gillette and go south.  Now we will go along I-70 west then hang a left in Utah and go  south to Hatch.  We will arrive a week early to help set up trails, etc.  We will probably add Moab as a stop on the way out and maybe turn around and go back after the HOP.  There’s a Passport America there that we will try out hopefully.  Carol wants to stop in Boulder, CO and visit Celestial Seasonings (Tea).  So be it.  We will probably stay at the Elks there.  In addition we will be staying at a military campground, more Passport Americas, Corps of Engineers and Coast to Coast parks on the way out.  I forgot to mention Corps of Engineer Parks yesterday.  They are usually very nice along with state parks and national parks.  If you have an old fart pass they really get cheap.  I would say cripple pass but that would get some people upset so I won’t.  I got one of “those” passes due to being a 40% disabled veteran.  I think it might be because I was a Marine for 21 years.

So, we are now in Plan B and it too is in jello except for the HOP.  That’s in concrete subject to normal cracking.

See ya…….

Monday, May 14, 2012

Full Timing & Finding A Campground/Resort

High usage of a campground/resort is usually when the weekenders and vacationers come out in high numbers.  For full timers this becomes a challenge especially when it comes to membership parks.  We will be traveling up north in the busy season this summer.  Today I spent time trying to make a schedule for June through August.  I love Microsoft Streets & Trips for planning purposes. We belong to a lot of membership parks because of owning the RV Driving School in previous years.  In time some will not get renewed but for now we will do our best to use them when ever possible. We have Thousand Trails (TTN), Coast To Coast (C2C), Resort Parks International(RPI), Adventure Outdoor Resorts(AOR), and Resorts Of Distinction(ROD)  We also use Passport America(PA), Escapees and Elks.  This is a lot and most full timers do not have this many. TTN & ROD camping is free.  The others are $8-10 a night.  When I say free camping that is for camping only and does not include the yearly dues which vary. 

We use TTN and C2C the most.  We like using ROD because it’s free camping and we always get our money worth (dues) and then some.  We use ROD 14+ nights a year and that makes the camping less than $10 a night when you consider the dues.  A lot of the campgrounds overlap with other memberships.  Each membership haven different stay length possibilities.  I  would have to write a book to get into all the details for each one.  The basic ones (C2C, RPI, ROD) are 7 days in then move out of the park.  TTN & AOR basic memberships are 14 days in and then move out.

Anyhow, during the busy season it can be very crowded and not have any sites available especially on short notice.  That’s why I’m making plans now so we will get the exact dates we want.  Also, we can always change or even cancel if need be. There is usually not a charge except with RPI. 

We will be South Dakota, Colorado, and California and in the busy areas during June – August.  Why not use the membership parks that are cheap or free?  If we don’t reserve, then we would be charged between $35-50 a night at a regular campground and that gives me a lot of heart burn.

Today is the planning stage.  I plan the routes and then look up the campgrounds along the way.  Tomorrow I will be making the reservations both on line and via the phone. It’s raining today and is suppose to continue for the next three days.  This is a good time to do that kind of stuff.

See ya………………

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blogs & Solar Panels

Wow, the few blogs that I read were all up to date today.  That’s rare and thank you all.  I would suggest putting the price of the campgrounds you stay at.  I think a lot of us readers are curious about that.  What a nice way to start this early morning of mine.  Thank you all, Nick, Sharon, Larry, Greg, & Ken/Jan (no special order).

This is Carol’s other brother David and his son.  That’s a very real smile.  He got to drive the Razor around the back yard.DSC_0009 

I got my solar panels out for cleaning and preping for the install on the roof.  I set everything up as if it was on the roof.  I have to make sure they are screwed into the cross members that are 16 inches apart.  DSC_0004

This was my work table where I had to clean the brackets.DSC_0002

This is Steven, Carol’s bro, helping me.DSC_0006

I didn’t install the panels due to the expected rain for the next 3 days.

We had a pretty big relative gathering that evening for Mother’s Day.  Not counting the guys, we had 5 Mothers and 3rd generation of them.

The guys talked about engines and then camping between now and early June.  The gals talked about ???????

See ya……………

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Arrival & Birthday

We were up and at Denny’s by 5 AM. I got my free breakfast due to me getting another year older presents – just send money.

DSC_0017  DSC_0025

Travelers from years past that stayed on then route 40  (now I-70) thru Wheeling WV will remember the Wheeling Tunnel   DSC_0023

DSC_0024 DSC_0026

We arrived at Carol’s bro (Steven) about 12:30 PM after doing about 330 miles.  Hey girls, he’s single and very available.  This is the house he built a few years ago.  He’s a master electrician by trade.

I washed the bugs off the front end and put the front end shade up.  It has the usual wrinkles in it.DSC_0001

That’s Steven’s fifth wheel behind us.DSC_0002

I got to open up some presents and got some pretty neat ones.   I got some unusual blend of coffees,  some Tabasco chocolate, gift certificates at Applebee's and a yellow T-shirt.  Thank you….but you forgot the money….. 

I took Steven out and around in his backyard in the Razor.  I got that little sucker up on two wheels by accident….oppps. 

Later I had 6 beers and got half way loaded before the night was over.

See ya……