The Vagaries of Cars

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I was sitting in my little corner of the local McD's enjoying my morning coffee and yogurt when I noticed a young couple pull in with an older car. It had "stuff" loaded on the top and covered with a blue tarp. While the lady came inside, the gentleman opened the hood and peered intently at the engine. Wiping his hands as she came out and handed him a drink, they talked for a minute.

I didn't see the resolution but when I looked back they had left. It got me to thinking about some of the cars I have had in the past. At one time I referred to as the lady with the disposable cars since it seemed as though most didn't last more than a year in our household.

There are a few standouts though, those cars whose personality, quirks and/or idiosyncrasies will forever have a special spot in my heart and memories.

The most memorable with a little Kharman Ghia that I bought, I don't remember what year it was but it was OLD and TIRED but it had personality. I mean what other car would honk its horn every time you made a right hand turn? LOL! My husband of the time had no sense of humor though, he eventually disconnected the horn (to my dismay). But the car got back at him eventually. We had gone fishing and on a washboardy dirt road, it's revenge was felt. A large bump and he was suddenly sitting about a foot lower in the car. We got out to take a look...the seat had actually fallen through the rusty floorboard and was sitting on the frame of the car. I laughed but he didn't think it was so funny. Ahhhhh...revenge.

Another car I remember well is my little Ford Falcon convertible...who can resist a car who has to get gas at every fourth oil stop!

Then there was "George", an old GMC pick-up. He managed to survive a can of roofing tar tossed at him, an attack with a tire iron (hey, anyone can get a flat tire, it wasn't his fault), and a cracked engine block repaired with some type of sealer that we were told was used by the egg industry to help protect them during shipment. I have no ides, all I know is that it worked! George was like a family member and when it came time to find him a new home, my brother took him in for many more miles.

My first ever new car was a Volkswagen Beetle, sort of a hunter green and named most appropriately Schultzie. He might have blustered and huffed at times but he was like a favorite old uncle who looked and sounded stern but slipped you candy when your parents weren't looking.

My favorite of all was a 1959 Austin Healey 3000 [6] that I got for $500. It was about 13 years old and a bit worse for the wear. The wheels were spoked and often I'd go out and find another spoke broken. The side curtains (window) were plastic (vinyl, fiberglass or something but NOT glass). When in rained I had to roll up my pant legs to keep them dry from the water coming up through the floorboards and put a towel over my lap to protect them from the water dripping down from between the convertible top and the windshield. This was also the car that gave me the unique experiences of dealing with no brakes (thank goodness for the emergency brake between the seats), a tire blow-out at 50 mph and losing first and third gears. But that car had heart and I will never forget it!

So, got any special car memories of your own?

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Plaxo & Frappr Map [updated 9/24]

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I should be packing, sorting, tossing STUFF but got messing around on the computer (it's over 90 outside) and decided to do some general email address clean-up. I use Mozilla Thunderbird for my email client (if you are still using Outlook Express with all it's security holes, you might want to give Thunderbird a's free, too).

Anyway, I found a way to synchronize my Plaxo information and my Thunderbird address book. Neat, I thought. Unfortunately a couple of things happened....Plaxo ended up with a bunch of email addresses that got automatically added to Thunderbird just by virtue of my sending an outgoing message. (THAT option is now turned off....) This meant that when I sent my update contact email from Plaxo, it went to a lot of folks that it shouldn't have. Hmmmmm.....

Next mistake, I thought I had found a neat little solution for mapping, a concise way for me to visually see who was in an area that I planned to visit. So the first note went out about Google Maps. Turns out that the owner is the only one who can add to Google Maps (thank you to the first person to notify me about this). So I deleted the map and started playing around with Frappr Maps. I hadn't used them in a LONG time so messed up the first two times I created a map.

I think it's set the way I'd like it now. If you just scroll all the way to the bottom of this page, you will see the map. I have added myself and will change my location as I travel, that way everyone can see where I am (as long as I have Internet access). Anyone who knows me can add themselves to the map by clicking the ADD YOURSELF button. Enter a name I will recognize (I have to approve all new pins so that the map doesn't get spammed with folks I don't know), enter a fake email address if you want (I am the only one who can see it, but I did a fake one since I didn't realize it wouldn't be shown) and chose the appropriate pin (if you have RV space or not or if you are an RVer yourself). NOTE: Several new additions to the map came without a name, even though I approve them they don't show. If you added yourself and don't see your pin within 48 hours, PLEASE add yourself again, being sure to add a name first.

I don't know if this will work but figured it was worth a try. It will only be as good as the information entered. So we shall see....thanks for giving it a whirl!

For those who got the Plaxo note for the first time, you are NOT required to join Plaxo, you just need to enter the information you want me to see (email, phone, address, etc). For those who think they need to download something then I suspect you may have Java turned off...I think Plaxo uses that (or else Flash and you may not have that loaded). Worst case, just email me your information and I will update it. I do really like it because if you DO join, anytime you make changes on your information, I see it automatically (and vice versa). Handy....

Okay, enough techno babble for one's to continued communications!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

The final decision is made.....

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Well it's done....the last major decision is made. I've found the trailer for my motorcycle (used) and will pick it up, with a friend's help, on Tuesday. It's a single bike trailer, enclosed, already set up with a chock and d-rings and it's lightweight.

The trailer is made by Chariot Trailer out of Tampa, FL. The price is right, the options on it are right, the quality is right....I think you get the picture. The model is the Cycle Shuttle 10-6. Here are some photos of it.

Since it is fiberglass and waterproof, I don't want to put any holes in the sides (or top). I wanted to be able to store my motorcycle gear in it since 1) there is no room in the motorhome and 2) I need to keep the weight down in the motorhome. After much discussion with the current owner as well as doing some Google searches, I came up with what I think is a good solution.

I plan on getting a couple of large wheeled duffle bags. The ones I am looking at are 40" x 16" x 17" and hold 2,240 cubic inches (200.5 liters). While they weigh over 11 pounds, that won't make a difference since they are on wheels. They are still lighter than some type of trunk, tote or toolbox.

They will sit flat on either side of the motorcycle, strapped to the d-rings to secure them. When I need to move them, I just wheel them out of the way (or out of the trailer). Inexpensive and practical solution!

So now I can concentrate on putting "keeper" stuff in totes that the kids will pick up this weekend (along with my living and bedroom furniture). They are in for a shock....right now the count is 13 totes with at least 2-3 more before they get here. Six of those are the LARGE size. I begin to see why some folks have sheds or small storage units. LOL!

My time is numbered........
  1. Friday (21): haircut, more packing/moving/storing
  2. Saturday (22): final tote packing for storage
  3. Sunday (23): kids arrive, move furniture/totes while I watch the grandkids, go out to eat & visit a bit
  4. Monday (24): more packing/moving/storing
  5. Tuesday (25): pickup new-to-me motorcycle trailer, learn how to use it (oh my, another adventure)
  6. Wednesday (26): final tote packing for storage (any leftovers that I will take to Atlanta with me)
  7. Thursday (27-29): pickup rental car, head to Atlanta for 3 days to babysit the grandkids
  8. Sunday (30): head home - rest & recuperate
  9. Monday (1): return rental car, run any other errands as needed
  10. Tuesday (2-7): tackle office (oh my!!)
  11. Monday (8-12): clean up all final loose ends, get rid of furniture that's left, donate "stuff", take care of closing stuff as I can, change addresses, forward mail, schedule house cleaning....
See? Busy, busy, busy......LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Ten Ways You Know You're Ready.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How you know you're ready to move into your RV full-time...
  1. You have to keep taking clothes out of the RV to the house each day.
  2. You wish you had DirecTV in the RV.
  3. You can't remember which cabinet has what...and realize you don't care
  4. You spend more time in the RV than the house.
  5. You want to spend your nights in the RV even though the bed is smaller, the mattress is older and you hit the walls when you turn over.
  6. You clean the floors in the RV figure you'll clean the house floors when it's empty.
  7. You run the A/C in the RV and not in the house.
  8. You start to realize how few dishes you really need daily.
  9. You make your daily coffee in the RV...and sit there to enjoy it.
  10. You are marking the days off on the calendar, counting down the days till you FULL-TIME!
Till next time - keep on rollin',

Home in name only.....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Well, I'm back the house, that is. I won't bore everyone with the details but had some electrical issues with the RV, go them resolved and still seem to have one more left. At least I know a lot more now than I did when I left.

The Lily Pad is now plugged into the house and I have spent the last several hours starting to sort through all the new items I bought, finding a home for them, reorganizing my totes & storage, and re-evaluating my clothing choices (dark is good...think muddy puppy paws ).

Still no final word on the house closing, we're hoping for the first or second Friday in October but it's all predicated upon the third buyer down the chain (and could be further down but that's all I am aware of). Keeping my fingers crossed!

BoBo did really well last week. As I said, he loved all the other animals and got to play quite a bit with several other little dogs (and us owners got to play untangle the leashes for our exercise). Speaking of exercise...I did so much walking last week that even with a couple of food splurges I lost 2.5#. Wow! Now to keep the momentum up....maybe won't be walking quite as much but I did notice that I wasn't as short of breath when walking BoBo up the hill by the house.

I am still trying to find the best, for me, motorcycle trailer. There are so many options and so little time. I like the idea of the swivel trailers that track with the tow vehicle....makes backing up easy. I like the idea of all the storage offered by enclosed trailers. I like the lighter weight of the all aluminum trailers. I like the trailers that are low to the ground without the steep ramp angle. I like.....well, you get the idea.

As much as I would love to go the carrier/lift route, my RV won't handle that. One thing I did at the Escapade was get my motorhome weighed by the RVSEF folks. They weigh each axle individually as well as each side. I was well under my overall weight limit but my rear axle was within a couple of hundred pounds. That said, I did have a full gas tank and half full grey & black water tanks (had no time to dump beforehand even though they recommended that). My front axle had lots of room to spare so I will be seeing what I can move forward in the storage bays. My rear was well balanced side to side with the front a little light on the driver side (I have three cabinets still empty on that side ). I will get it weighed again sometime after I start full-timing.

So, I will continue plodding along....sorting, tossing, packing, selling, donating as much as possible in preparation for that final trip out of the driveway. The office is the worst part and I am leaving that till last...yeah, I know, I'm the queen of procrastinators! LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Escapade Tuesday Check-In

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Made it to Goshen, IN with one coach batteries died overnight when I went to leave the Flying J. After finally getting my step to come back in...after it VERY slowly went out and then came halfway in, I got back on the road. Made the check-in deadline with room to spare, got parked and set up and plugged into shore power so my frig would get working again (not enough power to fire the propane for the frig).

At that point all I wanted to do was rest....LOL! But had to do the rest of the setup, met two solo guys who THOUGHT they were going to sit and relax and got them to help me with water filter hookup. Nice guys....have met a lot more of the SOLOs folks and am definitely having a good time as well as learning a lot.

I did get the solar power battery guy to check my batteries and they aren't charging. We're not sure why so have an appointment on Friday with the loacl RV Tech (they have a vendor booth and have been booking appointments...they were booked until Friday when I talked to them Monday early afternoon. Wow!!!

Anyway, wanted to let everyone know all is well and we're having fun (and BoBo loves all the new dogs he's meeting).

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Flying J's

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Just a quick update....I made it almost to Indianapolis today...about 340 miles (according to Streets & Trips). I didn't get on the road until 11am but at least I didn't hit rain until after 4pm. I stopped to grab a bite to eat, stopped three times to re-adjust the mirrors (gotta love the rough highways I was on), and the last stop was a Flying J for gas. It was pouring, I needed to move things around a bit inside the RV - including making up the bed. Got a little more settled, walked BoBo, grabbed some coffee & apple pie ala mode and paid for a one day Flying J Wi-Fi pass so I could check in.

Generator is running fine but for some reason I don't get anything from the coach batteries even though they show as charged. And that seems to not allow the refrigerator to switch to propane. Will talk to some folks at the Escapade tomorrow to find out what I'm doing wrong (I'm sure it's me....LOL!). Anyway, the frig will do fine overnight so will turn off the generator when I head to bed (which will be very soon).

I have less than 200 miles to make it to Goshen and the Escapade. Can you say EXCITED!!!!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

On the road again.....

Well, I am two days later getting onto the road than I originally planned. I am about 90% loaded (few minor totes & the refrig left to do) although not organized. I may sleep on the sofa tonight...LOL! I hope to make it just south of Indianapolis today which will allow me to reach Goshen tomorrow during regular check-in/parking time.

I am amazed by how much is still in the daughter is going to kill me when she sees all the totes and there will be at least 4-5 more when I get home. Heck, I haven't touched the office yet!

High chance of rain as I head northerly, hoping that doesn't slow me too much. I probably won't have access tonight but hopefully will tomorrow (even if borrowed access, carrying my laptop). I will check in when I can, otherwise I won't be home before the 18th.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Do you know what day it is?

Friday, September 7, 2007

What a week it's been....I can't believe it's Friday, let's hope I survive the next two days. As mentioned earlier, the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light came on during my trip back from FL. I had no idea where to take it after discovering that Camping World doesn't do engine work and my local Ford dealers don't have service areas large enough to accommodate an RV, even one as small as mine. Fortunately a retired truck driving friend of mine called with a local truck repair shop.

So I called and explained my situation and arranged to take it there on Wednesday. They reset the sensor and all appears okay. Keeping my fingers crossed!

In the meantime I have run myself to a frazzle working on packing up my storage stuff so that my youngest daughter and her hubby can pick it up when then arrive to get my living & master bedroom furniture. Wouldn't be so much of an issues except that I won't be here! LOL!! I got four jumbo totes and three large totes packed for storage as well as three medium totes with stuff to give my daughter & her family.

After picking up the RV late this afternoon, I came back and started filling the outside storage bays. I am at about 80-85% done. I'll finish in the morning and then concentrate on moving stuff inside. My hope is to be on the road by 1 pm, heading for Goshen IN and the Fall Escapade. Here's hoping!

Right now I am exhausted, my arthritis is killing me (back, knees, ankles, hands) from all the standing while my thighs are incredibly sore from so much walking (that's a good thing but won't feel like it until they stop hurting). The exercise is good, the pain...not so much. LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Home for now...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I slept well last night, my final night in the Chattanooga Camping World campground. After walking BoBo, I headed up to the store to talk to the service folks about getting some work done. Long story short, they were booked until next week which wasn't going to work for me. In addition, they don't do any engine work, I would have to see a Ford dealer. Okay, no problem...I'll get the work done in Elkhart, IN while I'm there and I proceeded to get the phone number for my local Ford dealer.

Oh-oh, they don't work on motorhomes of any size. Their bays just aren't large enough. So I proceeded to call an retired trucker friend of mine. He told me he ran into that as well with a friend's Class C. (He called me later with the name of someone close to home that might be able to take a look at it for me. I'll call them tomorrow.)

The ride home was uneventful. The motorhome did very well through the mountains outside Chattanooga....thanks to the Banks system on the Triton V-10 engine. Not a blip.... As I rolled into Sparta I pulled into our local Wal-Mart to do some shopping. I needed a few groceries and had a few things I wanted to pick up (more throw rugs, floor mats for the front of the truck, a sunshade for the windshield, etc). Found an out of the way parking spot, fired up the generator and headed off shopping. Found everything I needed and then some (the usual story ).

From there I headed home, taking it slow on the tight curves that lead to my house. Before I left I asked my neighbor if he would trim the branches hanging over my driveway. He had done so, thank goodness, and I had no problem pulling up the drive to my garage. I found a spot that didn't require leveling (still having issues figuring out the "combination" to getting that perfected), got out and stood back in awe. This was my new home now sitting in the driveway of my soon to be old home.

Let the adventure begin!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Chattanooga, Camping World - Day Two

Monday, September 3, 2007

Another campground night survived....they do have cable TV but I haven't bothered to try to find the cable cord I THINK is in one of the bays. I get several channels off the antenna and that has been fine.

The Comfort Inn behind the campground has great wireless but requires you to log in so still no Internet access. I know everyone is probably wondering how I am doing....LOL!!

Had some good news last evening....I may have a contract on my house! My UPS man and his wife have wanted to buy my house since last year when it was first on the market but they needed to sell their house first. They found a buyer for their house but the buyer needed to sell theirs. Well the chain seems to have been completed....they have a buyer and should be signing the contract Tuesday or Wednesday. Once that is done, then my buyer will write up our contract. From there it will be a race to see how we can coordinate the closing dates and possession. I think I will have a busy couple of weeks ahead of me!

Back to the campground....more firsts today. I decided to try out the awnings. The window awning over the sofa was pull it down and hook the strap. No problems. It was the main awning that I was worried about...remember I mentioned all those steps. I should have gotten the book out first...I ended up getting it started but did one thing way out of sequence and had to get two folks walking by later to help me out. Phew! At least I didn't damage it!

I headed back up to Camping World to see about scheduling a service appointment for new shocks. Strike one....they are booked until late Wednesday. Strike two....they don't have my shocks in stock. Strike three....the earliest they could get them in would be Thursday's delivery. Before I develop an alternate plan I will talk to the Service Manager in the morning and may opt to set an appointment for Thursday afternoon and then head directly to Goshen, IN from there. That gives me two days to load up the RV....oh my! Not going to be spending much time online for a while. LOL!

Then factor in the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light and finding out I have to see the Ford Dealer for that....let's hope it's something simple like an oil change reminder light that needs to be reset.

I forgot to mention what a beautiful sight I saw this morning as I took BoBo out for his first walk. The sun was just over the horizon and as we walked towards the lake I heard a raucous cry. In swooped a gorgeous and huge blue heron (at least that is what I think it was). Before we got to the other end of the small lake, another raucous cry heralded a second heron who settled in the trees. Now THIS is what camping is all about....

Till next time - keep on rollin',

I Survived.....

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Just a little recap of all the occurred today. I unhooked, trying to remember all the steps and left the campground before the other three motorhomes were even stirring...and it was almost 9 am. What a life!

Cloudy with rain in the forecast, I got back onto I-75 and headed north. Traffic was light which helped in the various construction zones. The morning got a little more interesting when my SERVICE ENGINE SOON light came on. Since I had to get gas I got off at the next Flying J to take a phone break, get something to eat and get gas. Called my son and talked to him about the engine. He felt the same was as I did, since it said "SOON" and not "NOW", and all my gauges were reading fine, the engine and transmission were running fine, no strange sounds were heard, it should be okay to continue my trek homeward just keeping an eye on things.

So after successfully getting gas again (yes, this is a big deal for me ), I got back on the road. The rain moved in and out all day. One thing I bought at Flying J was some RainX wipes for the outside mirrors. Once they were water spotted, it was really hard to see what was close to me. Needless to say, it never rained hard again the rest of the day.

I pulled over at a couple of rest stops along the way both to stretch and take BoBo for his potty break. At the second one it was getting hot enough to start the air conditioning so I decided to fire up the generator. Generator started without a hitch....but nothing in the RV was working. No lights, no A/C, nothing. Now I was stymied....I flipped to battery kill switch (for the coach batteries)....OOPS! That killed the generator...okay, store that in the memory bank.

Turned them back on and headed to the rest rooms...on the way back it suddenly hit me. I had never plugged the power cord into the inside plug, thus I had an open power circuit. Not going to work...unlocked the bay, plugged in the cord, refired the generator and voila! felt good to solve one problem myself.

Before I knew it I was coming into Atlanta and the traffic, while better than during the week and much better than if a game had been going on, was fairly heavy. I found my mantra was "Let them flow around me...", keeping my eyes on the road ahead and concentrating on maintaining my lane. I got too nervous trying to watch all three mirrors, the traffic ahead and be sure I was in the right lane to avoid an accidental exit or routing onto the wrong highway. Of course when I needed to change lanes I used the mirrors and the backup monitor.

The backup monitor has been a life saver. I has two level settings, one higher than the other. I initially moved it to the higher setting that gave me a broader view of the lanes behind me. After dealing with 6-8 lanes of traffic all going in one direction (most doing the speed limit thanks to the higher police presence on a holiday weekend), I experimented a little once I got north of town. I discovered that if I used the lower setting it gave me a quick visual of my lane change zone. If a car was in my view then they were in my blind spot and I couldn't move over. If not, then the side mirrors showed me the rest of the story. Now I have to decide if I want to move the top setting down to this level which will put the lower setting closer to the hitch (where the previous owner had it). Another learning experience....

I arrived at Camping World Chattanooga around 4 pm and they were open till 5 pm. The gave me the code for the campground and I did a little shopping (okay, maybe a bit more than a little ). The first thing I got was a stove top cover to both quiet the stove when traveling as well as expanding the non-existent counter space. I also got a sink cover (there are twin sinks) and that lets me put my coffee maker in the corner, just under the plug. Got jack pads, my extra water hose, a mini-dish drainer (sits right beside the coffee maker just like it was meant for that spot), a neat little expandable broom and dust pan (much needed with hardwood floors and all the sand being tracked in), a little rug for the top of the steps so the old one can be outside under the steps, and a few other little things.

Took the RV around to the campground entrance and wound my way around the sites until I found one open that appeared to be fairly level. Now came another new experience....using the levelers for the first time. First thing, one jack couldn't come down. Using my foot (since I had no tools, no little shovel, etc. with me), I finally managed to scrape it low enough that it could come down. Okay, next step. One jack had several inches between it and the ground so I used two of the 4 jack pads underneath. None of the others had enough clearance (note to self, hit the Dollar Store for 4 of those cheaper cutting boards). Back inside to go to the next step....had the instructions right beside me. Still confusing....but after about 30 minutes total time and many (way too many) trips in and out, I managed to get it leveled side to side. It's still a bit down in the front but the refrigerator is level enough to run well and that's the most important thing. (The new thermometer showed me it was running fine, will check the freezer tomorrow.)

Okay, enough fun for one day....time to walk BoBo and then clean up. Talk about hot & sweaty! Met some of the neighbors, they had two Harleys out there so had to chat. Looked at their trailer and really liked it. It was a Haulmark Low Hauler which made it really nice to pull up into. But the last two feet are totally wasted space since it's sloped down. I've seen open trailers set up the same way and I have to decide if I want to pull two extra feet in length just to lower the ramp. I am seriously considering an enclosed trailer now....good place to store my gear as well as extra clothes, books, etc. since I can get one for two bikes and only store one. Decisions.....

Tomorrow the saga continues....

Till next time - keep on rollin',

A Day of Firsts

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Well, I survived my first night in The Lily Pad....all snug and tucked into a corner of the dealer's lot. Quiet location, for the most part, we settled in and headed to bed at 11 pm. I slept pretty well, did dream about what I wanted to do to settle my stuff in my new home.

About 6 am I awoke to a major storm blowing through....heavy downpours, high winds, thunder and lightning. I considered getting up and bringing down my TV antenna but knew that would awake BoBo and there was no way were were going outside in that downpour. It lasted over an hour but finally pushed through the area, headed on to new territory.

The dealer has no service staff on weekends but two of the sales staff showed a little after 9 am. About 10 am, BoBo and I wandered around the front building to wait for the owner to show. Another customer was there and we chatted for a while. Eventually the owner appeared, having slept in a bit being a weekend. He thought I was pretty much set to go, then he found out we still had some things to cover including dumping the tanks.

My firsts today....
  • Backing up my first motorhome
  • Driving my first motorhome
  • Hooking up power and water
  • Starting the generator
  • Putting down the awning (that sucker is HUGE, covers the entire side of the rig)
  • Putting up the awning (wondering how I will ever remember all the steps)
  • Dumping the tanks (glad the black was almost empty because the hose blew off )
  • Driving 225 miles on the interstate in my first motorhome
  • Pulling into my first rest area (truck side) with my first motorhome
  • Getting gas in my first motorhome (lined up just perfect...filler is in the middle of the back....too far to reach with the short hose so had to pull forward & back several times before I could reach it)
  • Spending the night in my first campground in my first motorhome
  • Doing my own hookups in my first campground in my first motorhome
Gee, can you tell I'm excited? Tomorrow I get to try to remember everything I need to do (got to build a checklist), head out and try to make Chattanooga where I will stay at Camping World's campground. I'm hoping they will be open Labor Day so I can get some shopping done.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

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