Day Tripping - San Antonio TX

Monday, December 31, 2007

The weather forecast held true - low to mid 70's and sunny, dry and no wind. Perfect day for a ride. The plans were for Ara, with Spirit in the sidecar - the only way they travel, would lead me to San Antonio via some back roads. We planned to check out the Alamo then visit Riverwalk, staying until after dark to enjoy the night lighting.

While it was 36 when I got up, I knew the day would quickly warm up. That meant digging out my electric jacket liner, socks & gloves. Fortunately they fit into a nice little roll bag also sold by Gerbing. Found that and dug through the bags (remember, all my bike riding gear is in the trailer in rolling duffel bags) looking for my overpants. Before I found them, I decided to pull out my textile jacket which I thought would fit better with the electric jacket liner. I pulled on my boots and realized that my favorites were going to be too tight to wear over the electric socks - they zip up the front so there isn't any adjustment to them. So scrounged around in the bags again till I located my lace-up boots (the ones with a chunk out of the heel from my hot pipes on the Harley).

Next thing to do was try on the overpants while wearing my jeans. It's been two years since I last wore them and I was concerned as to how restrictive they might be. Fortunately they still fit (phew!) and while tight were okay to wear. Dug out a couple pairs of gloves of varying weights, my polar fleece buff and my regular buff.

Yesterday Ara helped (okay, he did it and I barely helped) mount my new Cortech mini-tank bag I had just got from (great company for us motorcyclists). I love it! Now I have a convenient place to put sunglasses, pocket camera, chapstick, gloves, etc. Managed to get the electric gear and my overpants into the Cortech Tail Bag I had previously bought. Water bottle, cell phone, wallet, etc. all loaded and we finally got on the road.

Now no laughing here....I actually put gas in the BMW for the FIRST TIME. It's not as easy to do as it was on the Harleys. I couldn't see when it's full so I had go really slow and hope the auto-shutoff would cooperate. It did...fortunately. Then we headed on down the road, enjoying the sunshine and the feeling of just being in the wind. This time of year, in this part of Texas, there isn't much scenic to see. Fairly flat, mostly brown and leafless, but that was okay.

A few false starts on routing gave me a little practice in tight maneuvers - definitely have to get my levers adjusted on the bike, that should make it a little easier on me. Will get that done when I get my new rear tire on Jan 8th. Due to the false starts, a GPS that seemed to have a mind of it's own, we opted to jump onto I-10 for the last stretch into San Antonio.

Parking in San Antonio, even for a Sunday, was slim. We double-parked on a little round-about to take a break while we assessed the parking situation. A van driver from the Radisson talked to Ara and offered us free parking at the hotel but since we needed to be where we could easily come back and check on Spirit, we declined. He then pointed out that the parking where we currently were was unrestricted on the weekends AND there was room for us to back in between the cars.

Click any photo for larger image

First we visited the Alamo. There was a long line waiting to go into the shrine and neither of us wanted to wait that long so we wandered the grounds, enjoying the sights.

After that we went back to check on Spirit before heading over to Riverwalk. It was more crowded that expected but that may have been due to it being lunchtime. The tables along the water were packed. We walked, snapped some photos, walked some more, sat a bit, and walked again. Here are a few photos I snapped...if you want to see the GOOD ones, be sure to watch for Ara's blog update. His photos are always amazing!

We wandered back towards the bikes and decided to grab a bite to eat. While we quenched our thirst and filled our tummies, we discussed our options. It wasn't even 2:00 and neither of us wanted to hang around another four plus hours to see the lights. We headed back to the bikes and Spirit, who was ready for a walk and a potty break.

When we got back to the bikes there was a gaggle of teenaged gals waiting for their ride. They were fascinated by Spirit, as was everyone who sees him in the sidecar, and they wanted to know if we had ridden from Florida (Ara's license plate) and South Dakota (my license plate). They seemed disappointed when informed that we were full-time RVers (not sure they even knew what that was...LOL!).

The ride home was uneventful, we had no routing issues and I was ready for a break when we got here. It's been many months since I rode as much as we did today...gotta work on that!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Stu and Lin: Update from Livingston, TX

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Update from Livingston TX
Dec 30, 2007

Our adventure continues as we bask in the warm climate of east Texas. Not only the weather but the folks around these parts are warm and wonderful as well. (That's some Texas talk). We have been sitting here at Rainbows End RV Park for about two weeks. We spent a very nice Christmas with around 50-60 of our new friends. It was a pot luck affair. We met some fellow motorcyclists and are planning to ride with them soon. Stu has been riding just about every day the weather is good. New Years Eve party is next, looking forward to some more fun.

Heading south, down the Gulf coast in January. Hope to catch up with some friends in Mission TX.


New & Noteworthy (or not)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Been both a quiet and yet busy week, will post more later but wanted to jot a couple of notes.

Note 1: For those who follow my blog via some type of reader, I have changed the format to a short rather than full which means you will have to click the title to read the rest of the entry (at least that's how it works in Google Reader). While I realize that isn't as convenient, it's the only way you will ever see my entire website. Since I use Google ads and a couple of affiliate programs to help finance the cost of maintaining my websites, if no one sees those ads, they can't click them. So, I apologize for the slight inconvenience but do appreciate those who check out the featured ads.

Note 2: Worrying about keeping mice out of your RV (&/or car) during these winter months. I've read many different remedies and we all know that bait/traps work but prefer something that doesn't require having poison around or handling dead rodents. One remedy I had seen mentioned several times was peppermint oil. In my RVing Riders forum, I mentioned that to someone who was looking for winterizing tips. Another reader decided to give it a try and has been posting to let us know that it appears to be working. Check it out here.

Note 3: I've got company! I've been corresponding for several months with another full-timer who also rides a BMW (with a sidecar for his pup, Spirit). We had hoped to meet in Big Bend but I never made it that far. He is heading back east to spend some time with his mother who is flying in from Germany for a month's visit but his route was taking him along the coast, several hundred miles from my campground. Two days ago I get a phone call and he's decided to re-route (don't you just love setting your plans in JELL-O, I'm still working on that but am getting a little better) and going to come this way for a visit. I will post another blog with more details and are a couple I snapped when we took Spirit for a walk yesterday as well as one taken this morning as they headed off for a ride (click for larger photos).

Be sure to check out his blog, The Oasis of My Soul, for a feast of photos and an outlook on life that I hope to emulate even a little bit. He is truly my hero and now a good friend.

Note 4: I've been fighting what I thought was a cold but have decided is actually allergies. I still get the sore throat from time to time, sniffles & sneezing off & on as well as headaches. All seem to be worse after being outdoors for a bit so thus the final deduction - allergies. UGH! We'll see what happens when I leave the area and travel through NM to AZ, where I will spend most of my time until spring.

Note 5: I hope everyone is getting ready for a wonderful New Year. As some of you know, New Year's Eve is always a bittersweet time for me. This would have been my 22nd anniversary. A special date no matter how I spend it.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Tag, you're it!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

We all remember playing tag when we were kids...great way to get exercise and unless all your friends ganged up on you, the playing field was pretty equal. Well, I've discovered that we can play tag as bloggers.

I was reading an entry in my middle daughter's crafting blog and she was all excited because she'd been tagged. As I read about the tagging, I thought this would be fun to share with RVers. There are many, many blogs I follow. Some folks post daily, some more than once a day, some less frequently and some very infrequently. But I follow them all (and thank goodness they don't all post every day - phew!).

So, here are the rules as I've modified them to fit our RV lifestyle:
  1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
  2. Share 5 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
  3. Share the 5 top places on your "want to see or want to see again" list.
  4. Tag a minimum of 5, maximum of 10 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
  5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
See? Fun and here are my lists.

Random/Weird facts about me:
  1. I didn't get my first tattoo until age 54 - I now have six.
  2. Besides 30 years as a computer professional I have also been a:
    A & W car hop
    Grapefruit packer
    Fiber optic construction inspector
    Long distance telephone operator (back when we used switchboards with wires)
  3. My favorite ice cream is black raspberry -- followed closely by Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey!
  4. I hate to have my head underwater when swimming.
  5. My favorite flowers are daisies and black-eyed susans (I also love wildflowers).
Top 5 Seen/See Again list:
  1. Yellowstone - rode through from three directions on the motorcycle, now want to camp there.
  2. Australia - maybe someday....
  3. Alaska - since I know I will never ride my motorcycle TO there, what better way to go than RV there and then ride!
  4. Yosemite - never been there but hear that it's better than Yellowstone.
  5. Glacier - another visited on bike but want to camp there, and I want to revisit the Blackfeet friends I made in nearby Browning while volunteering on the reservation.
Now, who to tag....I hope all selected will play along! Since I'm the starter, I'll go with ten blogs I follow - listed in no particular order.
  1. Diane & Andy - diandy
  2. Ellie & Jim - justravelin
  3. Chris & Jim - Geeks on Tour
  4. Kris & Al - On the Road
  5. Sandra - Nightly News
  6. ZoAnn - O. B. Sirius
  7. Randy & Di - Life on the Road
  8. Tom & Paula - Our Adventures with Emily
  9. Kelly & Al - Travel with the Bayfield Bunch
  10. Brian & Heidi - RV Boondocking the Good Life
Let the games begin! Everyone enjoy watching for the TAG posts from these folks - I'm headed off to let them know they've been TAGGED.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Sing a song of sixpence

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye;
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened,
They all began to sing.
Now, wasn't that a dainty dish
To set before the King?

And boy, do they make a racket when they're all perched in the tree outside your door!

While they can be entertaining, they can also be annoying. Fortunately they don't stay very long before departing.

The day was a quiet one...talked to my three kids, watched Christmas movies and made played on the computer, working on some routing for next month and tried to not eat too much junk food . The weather was good enough to ride but I got involved watching a movie I had recorded but not thing I knew it was almost 4:00. Of course they're talking about rain tomorrow and cooler temps once again.

I've enjoyed reading various RVing blogs to see how everyone celebrated their holidays. They ranged from being with family, being with other RVing friends in campgrounds to being on their own in the middle of nowhere. No matter how they spent the day, their spirit shone!

Seems like there was something else I wanted to blog about but nothing comes to mind...maybe tomorrow. LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Twas the night before Christmas....

Monday, December 24, 2007

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the park
Not a creature was stirring, not even a lark....

I'll spare you the rest...LOL! Well, it's Christmas eve and I hope everyone is doing well. I'm all bundled into the Lily Pad, space heaters firing. It was 31 at 8 am this morning but only supposed to dip to the upper 30's tonight.

I got my mail forwarding package today....thank you to all who sent cards and a BIG thank you to my mystery Santa who sent me an adorable little pillow. They enclosed a note but didn't sign I'm stumped! But I do love the pillow, now decorating one end of my sofa.
I just ate lasagna for dinner, that's what I would have been having if I'd made it to my youngest daughter's house in Georgia. I'm settled in watching The Santa Clause and The Santa Clause II movies. I've managed to record a bunch of holiday movies and plan on enjoying them!

I also played a little with making a video with my laptop's on-board webcam and then putting that into a little movie. Hope you enjoy (if I get it to work...if not click HERE)!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

RVing, the Cowboy Way

Sunday, December 23, 2007

From time to time I check my old hometown newspaper online. This week I found a very interesting story about Bill Inman who is traveling from Oregon to North Carolina....on his horse Blackie. His wife follows them in their truck pulling the stock trailer which is also their living quarters most of the time.

I haven't read their entire blog but I intend to, I did read a couple of the latest entries. One really struck a note with the cooler weather moving back into my area. If you think you're cold, read this entry and see how you feel.

As Rvers we enjoy traveling the road, carrying varying levels of modern conveniences with us. We live with a sense of adventure in our hearts. We drive long days and short days. We cover a few miles or many miles. Bill tries to cover 25 miles a day...

As Bill says on his website Uncovering America, "Sometimes people are going so fast in pursuit of happiness, that often times they pass it right by." Most of us full-time RVers completely understand what Bill is trying to say. We're all uncovering America in our own way....

On a side note, thank you to everyone who wrote with get well wishes & remedies. The cold is better but not completely gone. I pampered myself and enjoyed digging out my Tazo Zen green tea (I'd forgotten how much I liked that). I even managed to sleep a full 10 hours one night.

I also took a short ride on Squirt...he was happy and I worked on bonding more with him. We managed to find groceries and the Post Office before heading back home. The wind is now blowing in another cold front so not sure when I will get out again.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

A little slice of heaven...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Yes, a little slice of heaven...okay, maybe it was two slices....fine, have it your way, it was really three slices. I tested out the on-line ordering offered by Pizza Hut. Love it! I haven't had pizza in months and it really tasted good. Nice change from my current diet. Actually, I was pretty good. I packaged up the left overs for three more meals. More calories than I need but you've got to pamper yourself ONCE in a while.

Made it to bed at midnight...woke up at 4 am with a horrible sore throat. Gave up and got up at 5 am, took some aspirin and made some hot tea. Going to see if my neighbor will take my mail to the post office. Will be a veg day for me while I hope to beat this bug quickly.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Where'd the sun go?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Yesterday was gorgeous....sunny, warm and dry. After sleeping in too late, tossing out an entire loaf of bread because it was already moldy (note to self: oven needs to be kept cracked to keep down the heat generated by the water heater located below it) spending an hour chatting with my neighbors, it was time to unload Squirt from the trailer.

Moving the bags to the picnic table, I first unloaded my favorite helmet, three sets of gloves, my favorite boots and my leather jacket. I moved them into the rig where they would be easily accessible for riding and temperature controlled. I know at some point I will need to redistribute things in the bags and keep one inside the RV but that's a chore for another day.

Tackled the tie-downs at the rear, took a minute but they released. Phew! Now on to the tough part - the front ones. Remember, the front ones match the ones in the back that slipped and let the rear end bounce. I had bought them because I thought they would be easy on my hands since they had large plastic coated ratchets. Unfortunately it takes two hands to release them...and strong ones at that. After working at it for half an hour, and really straining my right hand which is still puffy this morning, I went over and asked my neighbor to help.

Using the side door, he worked on releasing the right side. We did this side first since the kick stand was down and that would take the weight of the bike - of course the front chock also helps keep it upright. After several tugs, pulls, twists, yanks and strains, he got it to release. Now to the left side....

As you can see, there isn't a lot of side room when the bike is loaded. Well, my neighbor is a bit on the short but round side. With the bike leaning it's very hard for anyone to squeeze past the saddle bag, so I stood on the right side and pulled it upright so he could get past. Fortunately this side released a bit quicker even though he still wasn't sure what the "trick" was to getting them to let go (note: I left the tie-downs bagged and sitting in the kitchen/lounge area for anyone who wants them). He squeezed back out and started to leave....I asked him if he would hang around a bit since I had never backed a bike out of a trailer & down a ramp before.

Another adventure....I know anyone experienced would have had it out in a tenth of the time it took me. LOL! But I did it and didn't lose my balance or get stuck. Whoo-Hoo! Even better, it fired the first time I tried. No gloves, helmet but I ran it around the park twice to get a sense of it again and to let the engine warm a bit. Even in that short a trip I could sense how much better it handled being on dirt, gravel and grass (as I avoided speed bumps when possible).

I parked it in front of the Lily Pad and snapped a few photos. A successful day! I didn't go for a longer ride since being the anal person I am, I wanted to map out a route as well as figure out where to find the Post Office and local grocery store.

Since it was warm (mid 70's) and sunny, I pulled down my side awning over my living room window. I was amazed at the amount of moisture still inside as I rolled it down. Guess that means I need to do the same with the big awning to let it dry out, too windy yesterday though.

Spent the night writing out my few Christmas cards (family & a very few friends) so I could mail them today. Spent an hour on the phone with an old friend from the local area, then another half hour talking to a new friend in the area. Mapped out a nice 110 mile route for today then watched some shows I recorded and finally off to bed, still too late but at least before 1 am.

Got up with full intentions of heading out at a decent hour to drop off my mail at the post office, pick up a loaf of bread and do the nice ride I mapped out. Well, sometime during the night fog moved in....BIG time fog. I opened the door and everything was dripping wet. UGH! Back inside after checking the bike and being sure the cover was still secure.

It's now 1 pm and still in the mid 60's and cloudy although the fog has dissipated. First things first, I need to dump the tanks today. As many of you already know, the gauges aren't to be trusted and since my black tank never reads below 1/2 tank, it's hard to know when to dump. I had read where you can tell when you see the water rising when you flush the toilet. Well, that happened this morning. I had dumped my gray tanks before I headed to the Ford dealer in New Braunfels but not the black. That meant I only had a week's worth of gray tank use so since I'm hooked up to water, I just ran it to add more to the gray and then dumped. I'm getting pretty good at it...what used to take me 30 minutes now takes maybe 10.

My shirt has changed from short sleeve to long sleeve to short sleeve again, it's one of those days. I'm trying to wear my holiday shirts...I kept them, I need to use them. I have three short sleeved and three long sleeved plus two sweatshirts, all for this time of year. Today is the kind of day when a 3/4 sleeve would be perfect. Figures....

I am truly seeing that I can live comfortably with much less than I have with me...but it's hard to get rid of things that are duplicated (plastic bowls, extra plates, too many coffee cups, shoes, shirts, etc) when I know I will have to buy replacements at some point. So I won't hesitate to toss when well used/abused and slowly cull things that way. I'm still working on the paperbacks...just have to avoid that section of Wal-Mart. LOL!

Time to get off my butt and take a walk...before it rains....and yes, it looks and feels like it will rain soon. Sigh....hoping for some sun tomorrow....Christmas cards are REALLY going to be late now.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

More Sunday Sundries.....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Miscellaneous ramblings....

I posted about my new memory foam pillow and someone asked what the brand was. Well, unfortunately the box is gone. I bought it at Wal-Mart, it was in a box AND it is pillow shaped (not the funny contour kind that have been around for year). It's basically a latex foam pillow with memory foam. Makes it heavy and even a little hard feeling but thanks to the memory foam, it's very comfortable.

Another reader asked who wears socks....that's easy, anyone with cold feet! Oh, and if anyone finds Ellie's (new) tan washcloth in a Ft. Worth laundromat, let me know and I'll get hold of her.

It's been a couple of days of high winds, rain in either a drizzle or downpour, nighttime temps in the 30's....all in all, a great time to cuddle up on the sofa and either read or watch the glut of holiday and romance movies on television. I was watching one, it was nearing the end and I was crying happy tears (yes, I'm a sucker for a sappy story with a happy ending) when there was a knock at my door.

Turned out to be another lady solo RVer, Ann, who had been referred to me by my friend Nick Russell (editor/publisher of The Gypsy Journal). She had some questions about Bluebonnet Ford where I recently had The Lily Pad serviced. We managed to talk non-stop for well over an hour and if it hadn't been getting late, would have chatted a lot longer. She will be attending The Gypsy Journal Rally in Casa Grande, AZ in February and we'll catch up then. It was nice talking to another solo lady, comparing notes on our rigs, our stuff and dealing with the daily adventures.

Turns out she had "Service Engine Soon" light problems as well with her previous RV, also a Ford. Coincidently, she also had a Banks performance system on that. Hmmmmm......seems she had her O2 sensor replaced several times, fortunately for her, all done under warranty. The second time it was replaced the mechanic told her that the Banks system seems to cause problems with the O2 sensor. Something to think about....

After she left I downloaded email and found a note from another RVer.....mentioning the EXACT SAME THING! He added that the gas mixture can impact it as well. Now that I know I have a good, functioning O2 sensor, I won't panic if I see the light coming on again (assuming that everything else seems to be okay and running smoothly).

The weather is supposed to warm up this week....finally. I need to get the motorcycle out and do some riding. I have to admit that I have been thinking more and more about my decision to use the motorcycle as my "toad". The sightseeing on the bike is the best but the day to day convenience isn't. I guess I'm turning into a fair weather rider. But I'm not giving up (or in) right away. I promised myself that I would give this setup the winter/spring before I made and decisions. I know I need to bond more with the BMW....without that any decision wouldn't be fair.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Mysterious Disappearances....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

You know the ones I'm talking about. You wash a load of clothes. You dry the load of clothes. You fold the load of clothes. One sock dry, one sock missing. It was a brand new pair of wasn't in the washer or dryer. It wasn't on the floor or in the hamper. It was gone...mysteriously disappeared. Because it was new, I saved the single sock, left it on the side of my dresser for months. I just knew the sock had to never did and when I started closing out the house and moving into the motorhome, I reluctantly tossed it out.

To back up a couple of days, I opted out of traveling to New Braunfels and the Ford dealer (and Camping World) on Wednesday as scheduled. The winds were gusting at 20-30 mph and it was rainy. Since I wasn't in dire need, I delayed a day and headed over there on Thursday. The Ford dealer, Bluebonnet Ford, was easy to find and got me right in. VERY nice dealership! Got some good news....the cruise control recall had already been done. This was doubly good news because evidently the parts were available when it was done since my cruise control works. They are currently disconnecting the cruise and will reconnect it when parts are available...which no one when that will be.

Then came the bad news. They checked out the error code that I've had on since I brought the RV home in August (service engine soon) and sure enough, I needed the O2 sensor replaced. They had it done in 30 minutes....and I walked out $400 poorer. The motorhome seemed to be peppier but that could be due to not having the trailer attached.

From there I headed to Camping World to get the microwave trim kit put in but discovered it wasn't there yet. Rather than fiddle-faddle with running back again, I just made an appointment for 1 pm on January 7th, the day I leave here. I'll head over there, get the kit installed, get my tires re-torqued and any other little thing that has cropped up, taken care of.

From there I headed to Wal-Mart and picked up some groceries as well as a couple of other things. One of those "other things" was a new's memory foam and I thought I'd see if it would help the stiff neck I've been waking up with every morning. I tried it out last night and I slept really well, waking up another gray, foggy day.

Because it was early I decided to toss on my bathrobe and check email before getting dressed to go do laundry. Most times I just get dressed. Here the story cycles around to the beginning....I pulled on my robe and the missing sock dropped to the floor. Kills me to toss it's brand new!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Stu and Lin: Rainbows End, Livingston TX

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rainbows End, Livingston TX
Dec 12, 2007

We are well and in Livingston TX for the next 4 weeks (maybe more). It's just north of Houston, a short drive from the coast and within striking distance of Austin, so there is lots to see and do. Next week we'll become real "paper" Texans. Weather is cool but pleasant. No ice or snow....yahhh!!!


Settling in....Packing up

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday was a blur....I had trouble sleeping Sunday night (Monday morning) and finally crashed at around 4 am. This happens every once in a while...part of having fibromyalgia is dealing with sleep disturbances which for me pop us as insomnia every once in a while. I woke to a drizzly, cool day which became a total veg day for me. Spent several hours researching parks in the Casa Grande - Ajo - Gila Bend area of Arizona for February. Watched Christmas romance movies that I'd taped, read and relaxed.

Last night I watched the end of a movie in the bedroom....fell asleep and turned the TV off at some point. Twice I woke to pounding rain, my first thought was - what would I do in a flash flood situation here. My second thought was - did I ever turn the weather radio back on. The rain passed and even though I woke a couple of times, I slept until well after 9 before finally rolling out of bed. It was already up to 72 outside..what a change from yesterday when we stayed in the mid-40's all day!

Today was a productive day, I finished adding the pages for all the states in my Campground Review section of the website. I know...slim pickings in there since I've only stayed in four campgrounds so far (IN, MO & TX)...but it's a start! I love reading the reviews on other folks sites so figured I might be able to help someone else make up there mind someday.

When I took the trash out this morning I saw my two neighbors across the way sitting outside and stopped to meet them. Two very nice gentlemen, Mark and Darrell (Daryl?), who summer in Minnesota, their home state, and winter in the south. We sat and chatted for several hours before I excused myself to get back to things in the rig. I did explain my trailer situation to them and they both offered help anytime....just give them a shout.

I answered some emails, read some blogs, watched another movie while the weather got drizzly for a bit (lost the satellite signal) and finally called Bluebonnet Ford in New Braunfels to see about getting in for my cruise control recall as well as getting my O2 sensor issue checked out. I'm hoping it's not an expensive repair and also hoping that my gas mileage will improve a bit when done. I got voicemail and left a less than 5 minutes I got a call back. Not a problem to bring it in tomorrow and if it turns into an overnight issue, they have power plugins. Nice!

So I started putting things away in the RV, took off my Christmas decorations, stored the folding chair back in the storage bay and realized I needed to get the trailer issue resolved. Since Mark & Darrell were sitting outside with a third gentleman that I hadn't met yet, I headed over to see if they could come help.

Well, within 15 minutes we had the shaft back in place so we could lower the front of the trailer and then got the rear stabilizer arms lowered. I opened it up so they could see the bike and we all chatted a bit before they headed back to their picnic table. They assured me they would keep an eye on the trailer while I was gone. I do have a lock on the coupler combined with a plug that should keep it secure.

Now, back to the flash floods and other natural disasters. I have a lot of friends who have been really nailed by the ice storms in the mid-west. Toss in the heavy rains in the northwest, droughts in the southeast and weather has definitely been on my mind. Over a year ago I bought a small Midland Weather Alert Radio, knowing it would be a good thing to have in the RV since I wouldn't have any TV access to local weather conditions. I remember setting it up to find the local weather and all was well and good as it sat on my kitchen counter in the house.

Fast forward and here I sit with the radio, plugged in with fresh batteries for backup, and no idea how to program it for the local weather. I have the book....somewhere....but rather than spend hours trying to find it, I opted to do an Internet search. I knew it was a popular brand, Midland, but I wasn't sure what model it was and couldn't find that printed on the radio anywhere.

So I used Google's image search and entered "Midland weather alert radio" and quickly found a photo that I could identify as the one I have. Then I went to regular Google and searched "Midland WR-100 manual" and the first link was to Midland's site where I found manuals for all their radios. I saved the manual for mine radio, opened the PDF file and very quickly got it working. So now I can look forward to being jolted out of a sound sleep when there is a severe weather alert for this area....and I have the instructions so I can set it up quickly the next time I move.

So, tomorrow I'll be on the road, without the trailer, and will hopefully be back tomorrow night - Thursday at the latest. Rain in the forecast again, cooler temps but looks to be a nice weekend. Maybe some riding?

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Sensible, Silly, Sundry Sundays

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I promised more photos of the park, here are some I took this morning while it was still overcast. I walked along the river aways, then back to check out the laundry, rest rooms, showers and kitchen/lounge area. All very nice! For $250/month including electric, I think I'll be quite happy here for a month. Lots to check out within an easy 100 mile riding radius, too.

click to see larger image

Breakfast Outdoors

A little Christmas decorating

...and a little more

I had a nice breakfast outside on the picnic table...set out a few Christmas decorations outside. Worked on my photos after straightening up a little (wouldn't want to go overboard...). Around 1 pm I had visitors - Karon arrived first. She has been following my postings for close to two years now. Shortly afterward Ellie arrived. They are both readers of and often post in the forum and visit the chat room there.

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What wonderful ladies...we chatted for several hours, the time flew. We have a lot of commonality and I look forward to getting to know them both better. If I make the RV-Dreams Rally, they both plan to be there (I think....LOL!). They both brought me wonderful gifts that they I'm thinking about what I could manage creatively for new friends....nothing decided, that will take a while. Crafty stuff has never been my forte' - think I passed that gene along to my daughters.

After they left I decided to try to unhook my trailer. Worked out pretty well except that I forgot I would have to move the motorhome forward to get it out from under the motorhome hitch. I managed to pull it forward enough without having to unhook. But I still need a bit more before I level the trailer and put down the stabilizer legs (or are they arms...LOL!) Guess I'll do that when I head back to New Braunfels to the Ford dealer and Camping World (microwave trim kit needs to be installed and my tires re-torqued, at least both are no charge). But hey....I did get it unhooked & remembered chocks!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Luling, Tx - Settling In

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Well, I finally made it. I ended up spending one more night in Camping World's parking lot. I could have rushed to the campground but would have been dealing with getting-off-work traffic and ended up setting up in the dark. Plus I wanted to stop at Wally World on the way over to pick up some groceries.

For some reason I didn't sleep real well so I ended up not getting up until 9 am. Dumped my trash, did my walk around and headed out. The morning was overcast but muggy. By the time I checked out of Wally World, it was 82 inside The Lily Pad...fired up the generator and started the A/C for the rest of the drive.

Missed the was closer to I-10 than I anticipated so turned around and headed back. Got checked in, found my site and after two go-rounds, got parked. First time the trailer was a little too crooked for me, so I went around again and took a wider approach.

The park is small, I'll do more investigating tomorrow and take some more photos. There are a fair number of seasonal RVs here, great rate. There is Wi-Fi but they told me it was sporadic (I haven't found the signal yet so I'm using my Verizon card). There is a small but nice pool....if it stays as hot as today, I'll be checking it out as an exercise alternative to walking.

I took my time with my setting up, first hooking up my Surge Guard with the lock. Since I was previously at Escapee parks, I hadn't used the lock but with a replacement being several hundred dollars, figured it was time to try it out. Oh, the red thing you see sticking out is a Plug Dog from Coil 'n Wrap. Makes it much easier to pull out when it's time to disconnect from power or my generator.

Back at the Fall Escapade I had bought a better water filter from the folks at RV Water Filter Store as well as two short hoses to help connections and a bunch of quick connects. I hadn't taken time to put it all together but since my inline water filter was leaking, I knew it was time to switch. Worked out great and I love the brass quick connects.

Oh, wondering what it's sitting in? I picked up one of those oversized cupholders that you see in many auto or marine sections. Looked like it would fit...worked perfectly!

Then I dumped both tanks....may have found the source of some of my smell (the new toilet has helped immensely but still some odor). Will post more about it tomorrow. I used my RhinoFlex Sewer kit for the first time....very nice! I bought it when I realized my current hose might be too short for some today. It had been sitting in a box in my it's settled into a storage bay.

Came in, unloaded all the stuff that resides on the floor of my shower...extra water, large laundry bottle, dishpan holding more baking soda & vinegar (great for de-scumming drains) & some other miscellaneous stuff. As soon as the hot water had cycled, I popped in and took my first long shower in the rig. Previously it has been campground showers or sink baths due to water conservation as well as watching holding tank levels.

All in all, a good day....tomorrow I hope to meet up with two other lady RVers who are in the area.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Power, Thunderstorms, Surges & Protection

Friday, December 7, 2007

We all know we should...protect ourselves from incoming power surges and lightning strikes...but how many of us do? I don't have surge protection on my appliances....I know I should but it's a hassle for me to pull the appliances out, get to the plugs, insert a surge protector and set it all back in place. If I ever get a friendly and generous "handy man" around, maybe then.

But in the meantime I have taken two steps to help. First is protection for my laptop....I bought a small battery backup (UPS) for it and it protects against surges and sags, something that will age the laptop boards quickly. So when the laptop is plugged in and running or even just charging the battery, it's got a fairly even power source feeding to it.

But thanks to 1) lots of education from the forums and my books and 2) another RVer who was swapping out a 30 amp Surge Guard to a 50 amp Surge Guard, I do protect my rig when parked and plugged into shore power.

If you've ever wondered if these things are worth it (I got mine at half price since it was used once or twice), here are some photos to help you make up your mind. First, here are the catalog photos for the portable unit I have (there are others that can be hard wired and probably other brands as well).

Now here is one that DID it's job...took a lightning hit and saved the RV from what could have been a catastrophic event. I saw this sitting behind the counter while here at Camping World in New Braunfels and asked if I could take a picture of it. Mike, the gentleman in the first photo, was more than willing to help.

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Makes you think.....what is a couple of hundred dollars for that kind of protection? Priceless...

Till next time - keep on rollin',

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