Wrapping up at the Escapade

Thursday, July 28, 2016

We are not your typical Escapade attendees, at least not anymore. We used to be, back when we still had a lot to learn. Neither of us attended any seminars this time around. I had hoped to go to Chris & Jim Guld's (GeeksOnTour) blogging seminar but ended up sticking around the rig while our new awnings were being put up.

But we did do one thing typical of most attendees - spend money! In our case, quite a bit of money. First was new awnings all the way around as well as new slide toppers. We also added two new window awnings over the garage windows, something Stu wished he had done originally.

We used the folks at Shade Pro RV Awnings (800-328-5100). Ken Thompson did an amazing job! Professional job and we are really pleased. Oh, and our original awnings were brown but had faded to a tacky green color. I love having the brown back!

The next was a tire pressure monitoring system. Based on personal recommendations and previous experience with the vendor we chose, Stu bought a Tire Traker system with sensors for each tire as well as an extender (due to our extreme length). Daryl & Cheri Lawrence know their stuff, stand behind it and encourage you to call anytime if you have issues. That's how they've taken care of our Progressive on-board EMS system, too.

We also had a tech out to get our automatic Directv (rooftop) dish working. We haven't been able to use it since we upgraded to the Genie last September. Poor Stu had to set up a portable dish at every stop. Now I have to remember to power it up and down. LOL!

The final expense was for a CCW (concealed carry weapon) class for Stu. All that is left for him to do is get his fingerprints taken and mail the application, photo (taken in the class), fingerprint card and money to the state of Florida for his non-resident CCW. When we get back to FL, he will do some shooting and purchase his handgun.

What else have we done? Well, we are getting ready for our fourth dinner out with friends. The first night, Monday, we ate with Bill & Dottie (Stu's old partner and his wife). We last saw them in Gettysburg for breakfast. We each drove an hour or so to Montpelier for dinner at Sarducci's. Great Italian restaurant and I got to take some nice flower photos.

We also had a peek-through view of the capital building.

Tuesday we went to dinner with friends Steve & Peri who we first met in Ecuador. They planned to stay forever but health issues forced them back to the US. They bought an RV and headed north to the Escapade, our gain. We had a great dinner chatting about everything, just getting to know each other better.

Then Wednesday we went Italian again, having dinner with our friends Charles & Chris Yust. Tonight we are back to Texas Roadhouse (steak is always good) with our good friends, Chris & Jim Guld.

We also got in a nice motorcycle ride on Sunday, a day off for me since I planned to write as much as possible during the week days. All I wanted was ice cream...and the GPS obliged, dumping us right at Ben & Jerry's. Yum!!!

We've attended one social gathering with the Full-Time Class of 2007. I first met these folks in 2007 at the Goshen, IN Escapade that year. We've decreased in numbers due to death, health and going off the road, but that hasn't slowed our enthusiasm when we're together (especially when food is involved).

No idea what Bridget & John Hatch were doing - playing hide & seek?
Co-director of the Escapades, Bob Pinner with Norah Glover on the right, enjoying the food.
Linda Fleeger addressing the group.
The weather has been good other than a big storm on Sunday late and another about an hour ago. Nice enough that I've been able to grab two nice sunset photos.

Today may be closing day here, but we're not done. Tomorrow we go on a HOP (Head Out Program). Our day will consist of maple syrup, cruising Lake Champlain and ice cream. Yum!! Saturday is our rest day before we head back to Twin Ells campground on Sunday.

Life is good!

Ciao for now!

Quick Overview of Escapade Arrival

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A quiet night  Saturday and Sunday morning we headed over shortly after nine to check out the vendors. Stu wanted to get our awning replacements set up ASAP. We need the two big awnings, all three window awnings and all three slide toppers replaced. Talking to the Ken Thompson of Shade Pro RV Awnings (800-328-5100), we also decided to get window awnings for the two garage windows. Sometimes we'd love to leave the windows open during a light rain and now we can.

Next stop was talking to the satellite TV guys. There were two vendors - I went to one and Stu went to the other. We haven't been able to use our automatic dish since we upgraded to the Genie last September. We hope this will be a minor fix.

Final stop for Stu was Daryl Lawrence's booth to buy a new tire monitoring system. Our current one is the one I bought from now retired Mike & Pat McFall back in March 2008. It has served us well but it's dying and the technology has improved dramatically. We had chatted with Daryl when we had dinner with him and Cheri back in FL (oh yeah, Nick & Terry Russell as well as Charles & Chris Yust were there, too). We talked about the tire monitoring system Daryl sold and found out that was the one Nick was using and recommending.

Daryl is the one who sold us (and installed) our Progressive EMS system at one of the Gypsy Journal Rallies that Nick & Terry used to host. It has saved us time and time again from electrical disaster (we highly recommend getting an on-board electrical management system).

We also managed to get in some hugs from Charles & Chris Yust who were busy with insurance questions & quotes as well as Chris & Jim Guld, our good "Geeks on Tour" friends (who also scuba dive).

A final walk down the Chapter and BOF tables and we headed back for the night. Here are a few photos...

Will post more on Thursday, last day of the rally. All our purchasing should be done, most meet & greets done, too. Friday we are on a HOP to visit some local things - an all day event. Saturday will be a full rest day!!

Oh, so far I have gotten just under 2000 words written in Almost a Touch (book three in my Klondike Mysteries) - no more done today since I've been helping a friend with some blog issues. ;)

Ciao for now!

We made it to the Escapade!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

We managed to get out of Twin Ells park by 10:30, only 30 minutes after our target time. The drive was scenic and took us through some pretty little towns. Two bridges to get across Lake Champlain and then we were on the interstate. A fuel stop, that just "happened" to have a Dunkin' Donuts attached, and we arrived in Essex Junction between 12:30-1:00ish.

The parking crew was amazing! What a great job they did, got us parked where we could easily unload the bike. It was quite warm as we set up, but shortly after two we walked over to the registration area. Registration was quick and easy, we got our badges and what we need for our HOP at the end of the Escapade. 

We met several friends along the way; John Hatch, Jan & Bill Mains as well as Barb & Tom Westerfield. We are greatly missing Nick & Terry Russell, Jan & Greg White, JC & Bev Webber, Jim & Ellie Meacham, Renee & Dave Zittel, Mike & Elaine Loscher and many more who couldn't make it here this time. We hope to see all of them again as we travel the next couple of years. 

I took a lot of great photos along the way, not sure if I can get them to load in this app (I'm writing this on my iPad Mini). If not, they will be in a later post. 

Well that seemed work...here is a scary bridge. No height markings but we cleared it. Phew! 

As we walked outside after registration and chatting with friends, this was the sight in front of us. Yikes!

We made it back before it hit...here is a composite photo. 

Well, time to relax for the evening. Tomorrow we will check out the vendors and meet more friends, both old and new!

Ciao for now!

Sing it! "North to....", ummm, New York?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

It's been a whirlwind of driving, eating, visiting and more driving since our departure from Delaware. The next two weeks aren't going to change much but I wanted to drop a short blog with a few photos from our driving and our campgrounds.

Our first stop was in Gettysburg at Artillery Ridge Campground. We had been there before and it was as nice as ever. Not inexpensive due to 1) the popular area, 2) it being the high season and 3) the amount of amenities offered. We were only there for one night and had a nice long site. The highlight was meeting Stu's old partner, Bill Metcalf, and his wife Dottie, for breakfast the next day. Oh, and I forgot to take ANY photos of the campground...weird, I know. LOL!

Bill & Dottie Metcalf, Stu & Donna
From there we moved on to Fantasy Island Campground in Sunbury, PA. A decent park but not the best for big rigs. But we did enjoy the drive....PA is a pretty state, especially this time of year. We used our Passport America membership and only paid $20 for a 50 amp FHU site.

[all photos for the day here]
Then it was on to northern PA where we settled into the KOA in Marshburg - up on the hill from Bradford. If you have read my Klondike Mystery books - this is where they are set. My late husband and I lived there for three years and loved the area. It was time to meet friends - again, photo miss. Sorry! But I did take a lot of the campground and Bradford.

KOA's are never our first choice due to price, but this one is very nice AND convenient. No TV due to trees and almost no phone signal (so no WiFi).

[all photos for the stay here]
After three nights there, it was time to move northeast. Our next stop was at Babcock Hollow Campground (Jellystone) in Bath, NY.  A nice short day and pretty scenery being in the southern tier of NY state. Fairly convenient to the interstate but in the country, we liked the park and the management. No WiFi but they are working on it. We had TV and some phone/Internet. Oh, missed the site photo so this will have to do.

[all photos for the day here]
One night and we were on the road again - for a long day. We left at 10 am and weren't settled at the KOA in Newburgh, NY until almost 7 pm. Again, pricey but we had a great site. If we return, we will try to book the same spot. We managed (barely) to get TV but we had phone and Internet. Great campground, lots of amenities (that we never use). We were there to visit family and yes, I missed taking photos again. Guess I'm getting senile. Sigh...

Stu went out for a nice two hour motorcycle ride while I recouped from not feeling real well. Photos in the album (linked below). Also some nice pics of two antique cars we saw on our drive from Bath to Newburgh.

[all photos for the stay here]
A short visit and we were on the move north to Twin Ells Campground in West Chazy, NY. Another great rate, thanks to our Passport America membership. Up to five nights at $15 a night plus electric. Wonderful staff, nice location, quiet, amenities (that we won't use) and a great site. We have phone. We have Internet via our Sprint hotspot. We have free campground WiFi. We have a huge pull-through with 50amp FHU. A little brook runs behind our site for extra privacy. Ah...life is good. So good that we have booked the week after we leave the Escapade!

We have already run errands in Plattsburgh - found a Sam's Club as well as the Super Wal-Mart. Had a nice lunch at Duke's Diner and mailed some things. Today Stu went for a six hour motorcycle ride while I caught up with laundry and paperwork. Tomorrow he will probably ride again while I tackle Almost a Touch, book three in the Klondike mystery series.

[all photos for the stay here]
Saturday we head two hours to Essex Junction, VT for the Escapade. While there, we will be meeting up with a lot of RVing friends as well as new RVing friends that returned to the states from Ecuador where we initially met. We also hope to meet up with Bill & Dottie again.

We will be there until the 31st when we will move back here to Twin Ells. We have motorcycle friends coming in from Canada for a few days then. I'm hoping to get enough writing done to be able to enjoy a few rides! Blogging will happen as there is time....patience, please! LOL!

Ciao for now!

A little Xtra with your iPhone

Monday, July 18, 2016

Some of you don't own iPhones, feel free to skip this post. Some of you may already know about this feature, feel free to skip this post. But I hope you will still pass the information on to others that may not be aware of this newer capability.

I'm not sure when it started. Stu has an iPhone 6 and I have an iPhone SE. Both offer this emergency medical info feature and we both use it.

From Apple's support page:


This information is now accessible from your phone without needing the passcode you have set.

No iPhone? Check out this article from PC Mag to see if there is a possible solution for your phone. Note: the article is a year old and we all know how quickly things change!

On a side note, Apple plans to add Organ Donation options to the Health app in iOS10:

Apple is set to give U.S. users of its mobile Health app a one-tap option to sign up as organ, eye, and tissue donors...this fall when iOS 10 is released. 
The option to enroll in the national donor registry will be made available via a button in the operating system's native Health app, which allows users to view and manage their health and fitness data.

In the meantime, enjoy the summer and be safe as you can out there!

Ciao for now!

Rollin', rollin', rollin'

Monday, July 11, 2016

We are on the move!! Because our WiFi access is unknown, I'm scheduling this in advance. We have reservations in several places/states between now and the Escapade in Essex Junction, VT (July 23rd-31st). We will post when we can but feel free to check out my Facebook page, too.

Here is our itinerary (by nights):
  • 7/10           Gettysburg, PA 
  • 7/11           Sunbury, PA 
  • 7/12-7/14  Bradford, PA (where my Klondike Mystery books are set)
  • 7/15           Bath, NY
  • 7/16-7/17  Newburgh, NY
  • 7/18-7/22  West Chazy, NY
  • 7/23-7/30  Essex Junction, VT (Escapade)
No idea what we will be doing the month of August - too early to plan, but I hope to be writing. LOL!

We will check in as we can but if you don't hear from us...don't worry! No news should be good news.

Ciao for now!

Why Amazon Prime?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

While the countdown continues to July 12th and the big Prime Day at Amazon, I thought I'd showcase some of the items we have purchased over the last few years. You'll see a wide variety from travel items to household goods to fun things and even gifts.

We have occasionally used the next day delivery at a typical cost of $3.99 extra per item. We rarely have had an issue with a late/delayed delivery and if we did, we contacted Amazon and got a month's extension on our membership.

In the Kitchen:
Gourmia Dual Coffee Maker
We love that this takes up little space, fills both small and travel mugs and uses both grounds or K-cups.
Oster Blender
Perfect for those morning smoothies, although with limited counter space it has to be stored in a cabinet.
Oneida Flatware
This is the set we ordered to take to Ecuador with us. We liked it so well, we are reordering for here.
Hitting the Road/Air/Water:
Rolling Duffel Bag
Stu uses this to carry all his scuba gear when we travel.
Outlets To Go Power Strip
We each carry one since we sometimes travel separately. We keep this and an extra set of all the necessary cables & cords for our devices packed and ready to go.
Travelon Packing Envelopes
These are so handy for many things. Great way to keep accessories organized, helps avoid  loosing small things as well. We use them for many different things.
For the Home & Office:
Sentey LS-6141 - 7 port Usb Hub 3.0 + 3 charging Ports
This is the perfect USB hub in my work area. Since it's powered, my portable hard drive runs fine on it as well as other USB accessories.
HP LaserJet Pro M277dw Wireless All-in-One Color Printer
Our new color multi-function laser printer - delivered free in two days!

Pens, ink cartridges, badge ID holders, cordless phones, label maker, and several Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) (great for keeping your routers/modems/tv boxes running during those power blips) are a few other items.

Just For Fun:
Samsung 128GB SD Card
Stu loves these for his GoPro but we also use them in our cameras.
GoPro Hero4 Silver Edition
Stu's upgrade for his old GoPro.
We've ordered clothes, scuba accessories, media streaming boxes (Roku & Amazon Fire), e-readers, tablets, laptops, toiletries, jewelry, tools, repair parts for our RV, and even FOOD! But one caution. Amazon has grown tremendously and it is wise to price-check things before purchase. After comparing shipping added to the purchase price, we opt for Amazon at least 90% of the time. But be aware...

Also be aware there are some items where the two day shipping doesn't mean two days from "today". Most of the time it does but you should always look at the "guaranteed delivery date" for each item as you check out.

Ciao for now!

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