Bits & Pieces

Thursday, November 29, 2007

This will be a somewhat disjointed blog today....lots of little bits & pieces to mention. First and foremost...for you RVers (and riders) out there...check your tires! Why?

Read this blog from one of my friends, Nick Russell (full-timer & rider), for the definitely gory details. Makes you think twice.....I already knew I would need a rear tire on the BMW very soon but his tale reminded me that I need to get new tires on the motorhome as well. They have a lot of tread left but the sidewalls (at least on the four I can see) are showing signs of dry rot. I don't know the condition of the inside rear tires nor the spare but based upon age, I will probably end up replacing them all (to the tune of probably $2000 or so....EEEEK!).

Next are two more blog mentions that are somewhat related in their themes:
Both are excellent and will help non-RVers better understand the call of the lifestyle. I've marked both to read over again from time to time.

The final blog mention is a touching one, it speaks about the folks we consider lost...but are they really? Maybe they are getting it right and we're the lost ones. Randy Gets the Story

Some other bits....had a productive day (read, no two hour nap taken). I got the insurance set on the motorhome, motorcycle and trailer. I had talked to Foremost at the Escapade and gotten some tentative quotes. It was time to finalize and activate them. I was still covered under State Farm but since the house was sold, even though I was paying for the homeowner's I might have had a problem trying to collect if something happened. Full-timers insurance covers not only your contents (personal effects) but liability for accidents that might befall visitors.

Then I made the call to State Farm to cancel all my coverage. This was harder than I thought...I've had coverage with them since I first left home at age 18. All my cars, motorcycles, and houses have been covered by them. But they don't offer any type of full-timers insurance so it was a must.

The campground is probably 95% occupied with the HOP here. They brought in two buses this morning to take them on their adventures. When they returned this afternoon, I was tired just thinking about their busy day.

Almost forgot, got up this morning to no water....looked at the outside thermometer, this was about 7:45am, and it was only 27 degrees out there! Figured the hose had frozen since I hadn't disconnected it...the freeze was totally unexpected. I had water from my tank so that was okay. I took a walk to 1) get a little exercise and 2) to see if I was the only idiot to have their water hose connected last night (I wasn't). Snapped a pic of the geese in Turkey Creek - all headed the other way....LOL!

click to see larger image

Tomorrow is laundry and pack things up in the RV day so that I can head out Saturday morning. Plans call for me to head to the Escapees Livingston, TX park, Rainbow's End, for a day or two, then on to my "home" for the month of December - Luling, TX. Found what looks to be a nice park (good reviews) with everything I need - laundry, pull-throughs (already booked), free wi-fi if I have problems with Verizon (which has been an issue the last couple of days so right now I'm on the last two hours of my 24 hours purchased from Tengo Internet, the provider here), as well as close to the BMW dealer in San Antonio and two good sized Camping Worlds.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Another day in Missouri....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's Tuesday...okay, so I had to look at my Vista gadget sidebar to know that. LOL! The weather continues to be cool, got up around 8am and it was in the mid-30's. Moved up to 41 in an hour but the fog was also rolling in. I took a few photos when I went for my morning walk.

Click to see larger photo

As the fog started lifting I snapped a couple of new shots of The Lily Pad, too. You'll notice the new windshield cover that I got from Camping World. Works great...much better than the curtain that Velcros behind the seats - opens up the living area much more. I took the reflective silver sunscreen that I did use on the windshield and moved it to the back window where it fits very nicely. That is the emergency exit window (don't worry, the sunscreen easily pulls right out) and is pretty much useless otherwise. This helps keep the cold out and warmth in. Added to the effects of the three vent insulation pads I added, I do find it's been easier to keep the RV warm.

Click to see larger photo

Yesterday was a productive day....found a local walk-in clinic where I could get my bloodwork done and new prescription updates. After that I headed to Wally World to get the Rx filled. It's not a Super Wally but it was attached to a little mall so I wandered it while I waited for the prescription. Found a neat leather outlet and picked up a small tote bag and a matching purse ($4.99 each), not in leather but in a Route 66 tapestry print. For that price......

After that I stopped in a salon and managed to get a haircut. Looks like it'll do okay except for a small spot where a cowlick got cut a little short. Oh well, it'll grow. LOL!

Today is supposed to make the upper 50's so I'll dump my tanks, take on fresh water and move some stuff to the outside storage the canvas bag that holds some of my motorcycle trailering stuff. It also help two boxes of emergency flares which are now in the trash. Why? Well, it seems as though I might have mistakenly left the storage bay open and a few items on the ground two nights ago....before it poured. That's what happens when you stop in the middle of something to chat with a neighbor and forget to do a walk-around before buttoning up for the night. Live and learn....LOL! Everything else dried out but the flares were both quite old and now wet so I trashed them.

It's now warmed up to almost 55 so I hooked up the fresh water again and dumped my tanks. I keep hoping the sensors will start working better....added some Calgon & detergent (for the black tank) before leaving Elkhart, hoping the ride down would help slosh things around and clean them a bit. But they're still reading off so will add them again before I head south the end of the week.

The Escapees here for the Branson HOP have been arriving all day...some are trying out several different lots before settling on one that works. I expect we'll be all but full by this time tomorrow.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Guilty as Charged....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Guilty of not setting my alarm clock and sleeping till I wake naturally...

Guilty of not only not knowing the date but often what day it is...

Guilty of not hating having to use a laundromat because it means I can sit, read and people watch...

Guilty of forgetting where I put this and that, but that's okay because I find the other thing while searching...

Guilty of taking time to look around, noticing and appreciating the little things...

Guilty of eating out less because I'm comfortable at the picnic table outside, watching nature and neighbors while I eat what's on hand...

Guilty of forgetting birthdays and sometimes even holidays (sure glad there are e-cards)...

Guilty of daydreaming, listening to my iPod, watching holiday movies, reading, writing and doing what I enjoy when I want to...

Guilty of not letting problems/issues/obstacles stress me anymore...

Guilty of taking time to meet new folks and chat with them when I know there are more productive things I could be doing...

Guilty of living life and loving it...

Are YOU guilty?

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Escapees Turkey Creek RV Park

Friday, November 23, 2007

Took a few shots of the park and inside the new Activity Center here at the Escapees Turkey Creek RV Park in Hollister, MO. Nice park, just my sized....small!

Click on any photo to see a larger image.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Readers Ask....

Round two of "Readers Ask"....and just a reminder, if you want a personal reply to your thoughts, you need to email me through my profile rather than post a comment. Thanks!

I am interested in how they took care of your Coach battery charging issues (multiple fixes) since I have problems similar to those you described.

They actually found several issues. The first was that the solenoid that allows the coach batteries to be charged properly (and also allows them to assist starting the engine when that battery is dead) had a wrong connection on it. That was corrected so that 1) the coach batteries now charge from the generator, shore power or the when the engine is running, and 2) the coach batteries now work properly with the use of the emergency start button. They also moved my LP gas detector back onto the coach batteries so it wouldn't drain the engine battery while sitting.

The last was the cause of the intermittent issues. Seems as though there was a 50 amp fuse/breaker at the converter (under my bed). It would intermittently stop working, preventing the coach from having power from the batteries, even when they were charged. They replaced that and VOILA! Everything seems to be working properly now...knock on wood.

Why did you chose South Dakota for your mail forwarding?

For me the decision was made because I had yet to purchase my RV and SD offered a 3% excise tax that was MUCH cheaper than either TN (where I physically was at the time) or TX, the other state I was considering. I discounted FL because I already knew that auto insurance had skyrocketed in the last few years thanks to the hurricanes. The other thing that helped in the SD decision was no emissions inspections required.

It did mean that I had to travel there to get my drivers license but since it renews on my birthday (September), traveling there in five years won't be that much of a hardship. Lots to see there during the summer/early fall.

The things that seem to come into play when making a home base decision are often:
  • personal income tax (or lack thereof)
  • tax on Social Security or pensions
  • cost of vehicle registration (including any "special" taxes or assessments)
  • cost of vehicle insurance
  • vehicle inspection requirements
  • ability to establish an address acceptable for voting
  • any personal impact on health insurance (for those not on Medicare)
Some other things to consider are:
  • estate taxes
  • online or mail renewal of vehicle registrations
  • online or mail renewal of drivers license
For further information on this you can read my two part article (written about 10 years ago but still applicable): Choosing a Home Base State and the associates Resources page.

Now choosing a mail forwarding service after you have chosen your home base state means researching the companies in your chosen state. Some things to check out are:
  • Basic costs (whether you choose short term or long term is up to you)
  • Any added fees on top of actual postage
  • Will they send special mailings besides your regular shipment and if so, what are the fees
  • Will they filter out junk mail and if so, what are the fees
  • Do they offer registration assistance and if so, what are the fees
  • Do they provide an actual street address and if so, will it be accepted for voter registration
  • When are they open & available and do they have multiple methods of contact
  • Do they maintain emergency contact information for their clients
Call and talk to the folks, get a sense of them and their business style. Sometimes that may tip things in favor of a business with a higher need to feel comfortable dealing with these folks. They are often your life line to the "sticks and bricks" outside world.

Okay, enough serious stuff for today....time to bundle up (still in the 30's but sunny), take a walk and maybe snap a few photos.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Happy Thanksgiving From the Road

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from the road to all my family and friends! I am headed the last 70 miles south to the Escapees park in Hollister, MO where I will have a nice Thanksgiving dinner with other campers. I have a huge apple and a slightly smaller pumpkin pie in my car, waiting to be enjoyed (my contribution).

I have much to be thankful for....
  • Loving family
  • Supportive friends
  • Good health
  • Ability to live this wonderful RV lifestyle
  • ...and much more
Enjoy this day and remember the blessings you do have in your life.....

Till next time - keep on rollin',

What's that white stuff?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Woke up around 7:30 this morning and took a peek out the window. YIKES! It was snowing and blowing....winds of 20+mph with a temperature of 29. I not only had to carry out my suitcase and my laptop, but three boxes of "stuff" that I had picked up at my mail forwarding company yesterday (did combine the nine boxes into those three though....that's why I carried them inside). Oh, and I had to get gas.....EEEK!

Some of you wonder about my having a South Dakota address. As a full-time RVer, I don't have a home base...since I don't own a home. That means I need to establish one so that I can register and insure my vehicles, get a drivers license and register to vote. That is where mail forwarding companies come into play. While not all cater to full-timers due to their specialized needs, there are quite a few that do.

The company I use is My Dakota Address, run by Terri Lund. It's located in the SE corner of SD in the town of Madison. Terri has taken care of registering all my vehicles, getting the tags & titles to me as well as answering all my questions.

I arrived around 11 am on Tuesday. Terri was on the phone but as soon as they put her on hold she bustled around getting my mail and all my packages. By the time I had returned from the car, she was off her call and able to chat a bit. When I asked where I got my drivers license, she reached around and handed me the application that I needed to fill out (yes, I could have done it there but this way she could answer any questions for me). Then she gave me nice weather it would have been walking distance.

I headed there less than 15 minutes I was walking back out the door with my South Dakota license in hand. Now THAT is service!

I got back on the road and headed south, still a decent day for driving. I ended up stopping somewhere around Percival, IA, completely exhausted from the emotional turmoil of losing BoBo, the extremely long driving day yesterday and then another day of full driving. I had hoped to make it further south but opted to stop.

Then I woke up to the snowing & blowing.....I thought it would stop as I proceeded southerly. NOT! It got worse....sometimes a wintry mix, sometimes heavy snow. I stopped in St. Joseph, MO and picked up a few things at Home Depot (still working on using up those gift cards), Target and two pies at Wal-Mart for Thanksgiving tomorrow at the park with the other Escapees.

I stopped just short of Springfield, MO, in Bolivar. It was almost 5pm, getting dark and once again I was beat. All day I kept thanking my lucky stars that I wasn't driving the Lily Pad through that weather. The temperature stayed between 29-31 until after 3pm when it finally hit 33. I worried about ice on the roads and rarely did the speed limit (most other drivers were also cautious). I decided I didn't want to push the last 70 miles, arriving into Hollister in the dark when I'm still unsure of my directions to the park. At least I can see where I am in the morning.

Lastly, I cannot thank you all enough for all your thoughts, wishes, support, hugs, emails and posts. It HAS helped... I think it was the suddenness that really hit me, so unexpected. One of my blog readers posted something that made it a bit easier:

"As it was, Bobo surely couldn't have known what was about to happen, since dogs can't really think into the future, or know that something's about to happen because they've heard about it happening to somebody else.

All he could have known was that he was having one of the peak experiences of a dog's life - getting loose and running as fast as he could wherever he wanted to go! And the next moment he was in heaven, just as though he had run straight there."

That is exactly how I will picture that moment from now on...

Once again.....from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU ALL!!!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Today sucked.....

Monday, November 19, 2007

For a day that started out so nice, it went steadily downhill.

First sign that the day was going down the tubes was seeing two MAJOR one vehicle accidents. One was a semi, looked like the driver fell could see where he drifted off the road and the rig was still there and it had obviously rolled at least once. The other was another large truck...couldn't tell what kind as it was upside down...could just see all the wheels (like a big dumptruck/cement truck size). I'm sure there were injuries in both of them.

Next was getting a bit off-track and wasting about 20 miles till I find my way back to where I should have been. Normally getting lost is no biggie but I knew that I was in for 10 hours of driving as it was...

But those were the minor downers.....trying not to cry now. At a rest stop BoBo got loose (slipped out the door before I had a firm grip on the leash) and got hit by a car. He had already stopped breathing by the time I got there....I then proceeded to throw up. I hope I never see something like that again. The lady driving was almost as hysterical as I was but it wasn't her fault. He had no fear of cars (I mentioned that to friends once) and he darted right in front of her. There was a truck driver who lived in the local area and he offered to take BoBo to his farm and bury him.

Not going to do any more pets....just not meant to be. Every time I think of him laying there, I start crying. Today sucked!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Hollister, MO

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Yup, you read that right....we finally left Elkhart, IN after getting our laundry list of work completed and hit the road. The weather was perfect, if anything it was too sunny since I was driving west.

The first night we stayed at the Effingham, IL Wal-Mart. When I first pulled in, this is a BUSY exit with a lot of stores, hotels and restaurants, I noticed a lot of tractor trailers parked at the far end of the parking lot close to the gas pumps. I parked close to them but not in their midst. There were posted signs about no overnight semi parking as well as security camera notices. I went inside and confirmed that RVs were welcome overnight, then picked up some more frozen foods and fruit. Later that night another Class C pulled in beside me but they were gone by the time I got up.

The next day brought us into Branson....leave it to me to take the wrong exit (one too early) and found myself driving through the center of town. EEEEK! I finally saw a good place to pull off and call the campground to get better directions. They took me the long way round but it meant I got to avoid driving back through town (and that was a GOOD thing). The rest of the ride was gorgeous and all I could think of was how great it would be on the motorcycle.

Today was perfect for what I needed to do....clean the inside of the Lily Pad. Time to shake all the rugs, sweep & mop all the floors, open the windows and let in some fresh air. Went through a couple of the storage bays and found some little things I had been looking for, did several loads of laundry and then I was so beat and achy that I took a LONG, HOT shower in the campground shower. Then I attended the Sunday night Ice Cream Social. Chatted with some nice folks and one lady came over and asked if I was the motorcycle lady from the SKP forums. I told her yes, and she got all excited. I'm used to that from the motorcycle forums but this was a first from the SKP forum.

The campground isn't large but it's well kept, and everyone is very friendly. I don't know the statistics but I suspect at least 50-60% of the folks staying here are Escapees (and it could be higher). I dug out my camera but have been so busy that I didn't take any pictures yet. The trees have lost most of their leaves so I had no problem getting a satellite signal. I opted for a pull-through spot even though all they had was 50 amp and it's a couple more dollars daily. Backing up was not an option....not at the end of a 300+ mile day and getting lost in Branson with a gazillion tourists doing 2 mph due to the crowds.

Tomorrow I'll get the rental car and head to SD to get my driver license and pick up my mail. I will be back late Wednesday. The park is doing up a turkey and those who sign up for dinner bring a dish. I signed up to bring dessert since I can pick something up on the way back from SD. So I'll be getting STUFFED with new more thing to be thankful for.

Not sure how long I will be here...depends on the weather. Right now the forecast temps drop on Wed and Thurs (hi 44, low 28). If it looks to improve next week (which it doesn't right now), I'll stay a bit longer and get in some riding. If not then I'll be heading to TX....just no idea where in TX though. JELL-O plans....

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Stu and Lin: We have finally left the building

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stu and Lin have finally left the building
Nov 17, 2007

Hi all,

After a few false starts and final arrangements, Lin and I have finally started to travel. We are currently in Ohio heading to the KZRV factory for a few warrantee repairs. Then on to Branson for the Christmas shows and on to the Texas gulf coast for the winter. On a sad note, we had to put Ember down, her age finally caught up with her. She was a terrific friend.

Head 'em up, move 'em out

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Head 'em up, move 'em out....Rawhide!
Can you say FINALLY? Actually, I can't complain...I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Today I found out what that reason might have been....

To recap, I arrived here at Master Tech RV, Elkhart, IN on the afternoon of October 29th. I had a pretty extensive list of things to be addressed - some maintenance, some repair and some upgrades. I had hoped to be out of here that Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. Totally unrealistic based upon my "list", but hey, you've got to have hope!

After parts delays, unexpected broken parts, additional upgrades added to the list, part change-outs and last minute emergencies...knock on wood...I should be leaving in the morning after paying my bill (assuming I don't have a heart attack at that point ).

Here is a brief list of what I had done while here:
  1. Engine oil change
  2. Generator oil change
  3. All fluids checked
  4. Coach checked for caulking, done as needed
  5. All lights checked & bulbs replaced as needed
  6. Water leak into one storage bay fixed
  7. Trickle battery charger mounted in engine compartment
  8. Coach battery charging issues resolved (multiple fixes)
  9. LP Gas monitor relocated to coach battery power
  10. Windshield wipers installed (I already had them)
  11. Screen door springs installed (I already had them)
  12. Hot water heater flushed
  13. Clear 90 degree sewer adapter installed
  14. Dometic refrigerator recall work done
  15. Marked wastewater tank valves so I know which is black & which is grey
  16. New side door latch installed
  17. Remanufactured leaf springs installed
  18. Broken suspension add-on part replaced (something added before I bought it)
  19. Bilstein shocks installed all the way around
  20. Rear air bags installed
  21. Water leak into furnace compartment fixed (last night's emergency - no heat - shorted out the circuit board)
  22. New water pump installed (unable to repair leak found while researching the water in the furnace compartment)
  23. Got the rig washed & waxed (done in downtime while waiting for parts)
Phew...I think that's everything...needless to say, not looking forward to seeing the final total tomorrow but this should HOPEFULLY take care of most things. (Note to self: test generator in morning before leaving.)

Yesterday afternoon two of the guys helped me move the rear of the BMW back to the center and redo the tie-down straps. I also took on fresh water (now somewhat depleted due to todays water pump work) and dumped my tanks. I added Calgon to both tanks plus some detergent to the black tank. Hoping that will help clean the sensors while traveling the next few days. I'll get a full hookup site in Hollister, MO so it will be easy to dump. If still not registering correctly, will add them again.

Soooooo, the plans are to pay my bill, hook up the trailer and hit the road...hopefully no later than 10am. I hope to make Effingham, IL where I plan to stay in the Super Wal-Mart there which also gives me a chance to get some more groceries (fruit, lunch meats & frozen veggies & meals). The second day should get me to the SKP park in Hollister, MO (just outside Branson). Sunday will be a day of rest...well, after the laundry is done and BoBo is bathed.

Monday morning I will pick up the rental car (Enterprise) and head immediately to Madison, SD. I should be able to make it in one day since I stop less often in the car and can drive longer (and faster). Tuesday I will meet my mail forwarding folks, pick up my mail, then head over to get my drivers license (boy, do I need a haircut...oh well ). Wednesday finds me back on the road to Hollister.

Because it makes more sense to keep the car for a week, I can do a bit of sightseeing without pulling the bike out of the trailer. Thanksgiving will be a quiet day of reflection, missing my family but enjoying my newfound life on the road.

Not sure exactly when I will leave Hollister and head to Texas...also still not sure where in TX I will be heading. I know a lot of folks in the Dallas/Houston areas and I know of several nice and reasonably priced campgrounds around the Frio River in Hill Country & a bit further south. But I also have a friend who is over in Big Bend and would like me to come that way and do some riding together (although some of the dirt he rides is more than I want to tackle on 2 wheels - he has a sidecar).

So for now, the next two weeks (now till the end of December) will be spent traveling to Hollister, MO and then to somewhere in Texas.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Belated Veteran's Day Thank You

Monday, November 12, 2007

I am a day late but after several discussions today, I wanted to post my thank you to all who have served - past, present and gone to a greater reward. Yesterday was Veteran's Day, today is the Federal Holiday. Government offices, banks and post offices close as well as the occasional other business or school.

Like most of my generation, our fathers and grandfathers probably served and sometimes mothers as well. My father and mother both served in the Navy, both my grandfathers served as well (I'm assuming Army since I don't remember anything different). My husband(s) served Navy, Air Force, Army and Marines (one served twice, two different branches). My son and oldest daughter both served in the Army and were activated while in the Reserves. I guess I always expected that today meant something to everyone.

Today I found out that's not necessarily true. I spent time talking with a business owner, a retired doctor and several other folks of my age, and all were surprised that today was a Federal Holiday.

Then I had an interesting discussion with a man probably about my son's age. He was a veteran and was visibly disturbed that veterans seem to be getting less and less respect, even in this turbulent time. He felt that all veterans should have the holiday a thank you. He goes out of his way to say "thank you" to others who serve.

As I perused my forums and blogs yesterday and today, only one blog that I follow mentioned the holiday. In the RVing forums, one had a thank you was in a veterans folder. Two others....nothing. Yet in at least six motorcycle forums there were multiple threads and messages thanking our service men and women.

Stop and think....where would this country be if not for them? I, for one, don't want to consider that option....thank you all!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

What's my rig?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I spent a little time this weekend uploading photos of my motorhome (The Lily Pad), my little companion (BoBo) and my motorcycle (Squirt) and his home (The Chariot). Using Photobucket I created some slide shows for each one.

So, if you want to learn more about my traveling circus, check out the new My Rig page. (Note: I will update the slideshows with new photos as I take them.)

The highlight of the weekend was shopping for groceries at Wally World. Ahhhh, the joys of yogurt, milk, salad fixings, veggies, fresh meat and fruit! My freezer is only half full though, I had no idea how much room there was, so wanted to be careful.

I've been busy working on client websites but this week I hope to spend some more time on my own. My site for women motorcycle riders, I Ride My Own, has about a gazillion links updates that need to be done, as well as half a gazillion reader stories to post. The site has been sadly neglected and I look forward to reworking it completely. Afraid this will take priority over blog updates so bear with me!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

My own personal drive-in….

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Haven't updated since there was nothing much new. They've been working on my suspension but the final hold-up was the air bag system. It's now here and HOPEFULLY all will go well today with the rest of the work and I'll be out of here tomorrow.

The last two nights have been spent nestled in the Lily Pad inside the facility. Upside? Nice and cozy....especially when it dropped to 30 last night. Downside? No satellite television. Sure am glad I have a huge stash of DVDs. The first night I watched Disney's "Cars", "Ice Age" and "Bug's Life".

"Cars" made me nostalgic for the west since it was set on Route 66 and was a play on the old towns of the 1950's and 60's. Diners, neon lit motels and quirky friends....gotta love it. Factor in the beautiful scenery, albeit in cartoon fashion, and it made me yearn for the west.

Last night I watched "Dreamkeeper", a Hallmark made for TV production. I'm not sure when I ordered it or even why, unless I had seen a promo for the show. It was breathtaking, educational, heartbreaking and heartwarming....three hours long, I will watch this again. If you haven't seen it and have any affinity for Native American folklore, this is a must see.

I'm missing my favorite prime time shows, can't TV what the satellite can't "see", but in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter. Just keep your fingers crossed that the Lily Pad is standing firm and tall on all legs come morning. Oh, and that her water pump leak is fixed as well (yeah, I know, it's always something!).

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Lessons along the way....Setting a routine

Monday, November 5, 2007

As most of you know, I have full-timed before.....the difference was that my husband took car of all the maintenance, repair, driving, etc. That means I have a lot to learn and have been doing so since I started researching going full-time and even more so since I picked up The Lily Pad.

So what is today's lesson? Routines and setting them. No, not the routines like getting up and brushing your teeth while the coffee brews or watching/reading the morning news while you eat breakfast. These routines are things you don't encounter in normal house living.

I knew about checklists and have been developing my informal list of things to do before leaving - I have horrors or driving off with my power or water still hooked up, or worse yet with my trailer hookup only partly done or forgotten. I haven't done the setup side yet, instead I seem to do things as they occur to me but will once the final (or somewhat final) departure list is done.

I know there are maintenance things that need to be done on a regular basis and I'm trying to get a handle on that. There are the things we expect with any vehicle - fluid & filter changes, for example. But those also apply to my generator. Toss in checking the water level in my three batteries. Oh, and now I have a motorcycle that is water cooled. There are things that need greasing, packing, spraying, measuring, wiping, waxing, get the idea.

I discovered this weekend that there are things I need to do every day. That may be overkill but I know that this is a case of better safe than sorry. In this case it's my monitor panel...I tend to look at it every couple of days, when I think about it. This is where I can check my tank levels - fresh water, grey & black tanks, battery level and propane. Previously I was pretty good about checking the black & grey tanks but kind of slacked off because the probes don't seem to be really working (not a big surprise since they are notoriously unreliable). Since I am on shore power, I tend to not check the battery level very often either.

I was watching the fresh water level since I don't really know my tank size - I've been guesstimating 20 gallons. I carry fresh water for drinking and it has stretched pretty far. One morning I noticed it was low and got the guys here to fill it for me. I need to watch how quickly I go through it now that I'm traveling (okay, so what if I'm not moving....).

The last light on the panel is for propane, needed for the stove & oven (which you already know I don't use - in fact I have never lit it), my water heater (which I heat up before a shower or around 4pm when it's still warm outside and it takes less time to heat and lasts till time to wash my face & brush my teeth for bed) and my heat. The nightly temps have been down into the 30's for a while now and even though I turned the heat down to low-mid 60's at night and off during the day, Saturday morning when I check the panel......yup, on empty. I went outside and checked the actual propane gauge and it read empty as well.

Panic time? No, I probably still had some propane in the tank but I didn't want to run it completely dry not knowing if that hurt the system in any way. The good news is that I have a great little Honeywell space heater (I had picked it up on sale at Wal-Mart last spring). Saturday was a gorgeous day, warm enough to sit outside and read so I opened up my storage bins and pulled out the heater, still in the box. My neighbor in the RV next door (the one who woke my Sunday morning asking if I had power), brought over another in case I needed it.

Well, I survived the weekend, got my propane refilled and learned another lesson. Check the monitor panel daily - twice a day if something looks like it's getting low.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Don't sweat the little stuff....

Saturday, November 3, 2007

First update, still in Elkhart. I've opted for some suspension upgrades to the Lily Pad that will help the handling. The parts will be here on Monday and I should be on my way by Wed or Thurs. Looking at the weather forecast I've once again changed my plans. Instead of heading to the Escapees park in Hollister, MO, I 'm going directly to the home park in Livingston, TX. Besides the weather there is also an Enterprise rental office within a couple of miles of the park. So once the rig is parked, I will rent a car and BoBo and I will speed northerly to South Dakota to visit my mail forwarding service, pick up my mail and get my drivers license, then back to Livingston for a couple of weeks. That gives me time to decide if I will stay there longer or head over towards the Hill Country for the month of December.

Now, back to the title subject. I follow many blogs (probably too many) but since most folks don't update every day, I manage to keep up (once again thank you to Google Reader which allows me to categorize the type of blog as well as quickly see which ones have updates to read). Today an online friend posting an interesting blog - What Ifs.... It really hit a nerve with me. Anyone who knows me, knows I am an inveterate planner and worrier. I remember telling my husband before we were married that he would never have to worry...that I did enough for both of us.

Over the last year I have gotten better at going with the flow......not letting the little stuff bother me. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and sometimes that reason may not be apparent to us for quite some time. I've been working hard on trying to simplify my life, working towards a calmer existence where I can truly savor each day and the adventures they bring.

RVing is a huge step in that direction and the What Ifs.... blog got me thinking. I'm having a hard time NOT planning my itinerary, not planning my stops, not managing my life. Why? Why do I have to be so in control? Being a Type A personality is an identity I 'd like to shed but it looks like it will take some time, done in baby steps I think. People tend to see me as adventurous but I know that I'm really my mind I wouldn't be doing all this planning if I were truly adventurous. I'd drive until I wanted to stop, then find a place to do just that. LOL! I worry about power, I worry about water, I worry about gas....yup, there's that word WORRY again.

I need to find a happy medium, get away from X miles a day to X stopping point and move towards a more relaxed pace, enjoying the sites along the way and stopping anytime I see something of interest. Reminds me of when I started my motorcycle trips. I was into day three and realized I hadn't taken a single photograph. While I was enjoying looking at the scenery, I wasn't recording it. Looking back I'm glad I finally started recording it because now, three years later, it all seems surreal until I review those photos. Then every site, every smell, every view, every experience comes flooding back.

In his blog, Michael talks about dreamers. I remember being more of a dreamer until the realities of life, family, responsibilities took precedence. Now I have time to dream again....I just have to let myself. Hopefully reading blogs like his, Ara's "The Oasis of My Soul" and a few others will help me make that transition.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

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