Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Where Did The Time Go? It’s Almost Time to Leave.

When we first arrived here at the NC State Fairgrounds, it seemed like a long stop for us. It was going to be just short of 3 weeks. That seemed like a long time :) The time, however, has gone by quickly.

Last Saturday we were visited by Ronnie and Cynthia. They live here in Wake County and hope to be full timers sooner rather than later. Cynthia contacted me through our blog and asked if they could come visit, meet us and talk about their full time plans. 

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They arrived with gifts in hand! They brought us a bottle of wine from their home town and a jar of fresh peach preserves. It certainly wasn’t necessary but we sure didn’t turn it down and have enjoyed both very much. Thank you!

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We sat around outside and visited for the afternoon. It’s very apparent that these 2 know exactly what they are doing!  They’ve owned RV’s for 19 years! They are afraid that their plans to switch from a 5th wheel to a motorhome is going to be really different. We tried to reassure them that it’s not going to be very different at all, and if they know about the systems of their current RV, switching wont’ be a really big deal. I hope we convinced them. They are anxious to start their new life but are taking their time and doing things slowly. I think they have the right idea :)

While we were showing Ronnie and Cynthia our Lucy, I noticed that we had drops of water coming out of our front A/C :(  We’ve had some sweating and condensation from high humidity, but this was actual drops of water falling from the unit. After they left, it got worse. Water started to drain out of the unit, not drops, but dribbles. Once we removed the screen and filter, we found the coils were frozen solid. They also were dirty. Guess we need to address that. :) So, we turned off the unit and allowed it to melt.

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I expected the melting to drip down and so, a towel became a fixture in the living room for a couple days. Surprisingly, not a drop dripped inside. It melted and drained through the roof drains as it was designed.

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The next day, Rick climbed on the roof and cleaned the inside and outside condenser coils while I washed and replaced the filter inside. By the end of the project, we were back in business and everything seems to be working as it should. (fingers crossed)

On Monday afternoon, we drove out to Jordan Lake to visit with our friends Gin and Syl.  They have their house on the market and are counting the days until they can join those of us on the road. We sat out in their “yard”, enjoyed the scenery and had a great visit and many laughs. We hope to see them down the road sooner, rather than later :)

Tuesday, we met daughter, Nicole, for lunch at the Bull City Burger and Brewery in downtown Durham. We had a wonderful lunch and got all caught up. She is home for a couple months this summer, but is going back to Florence in October. We might have to take a little side trip from our North American adventure and visit her over there this year :)

Today, we had our teeth cleaned (Thanks Darcy and Beth!) and got our flu shots. Tomorrow, I go for my annual mammogram and Friday morning, we leave and head west. It will feel good to move again :)

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Greek Fest!

In all the time we lived in the Raleigh/Durham area, we never made it to the Greek Fest held at the NC State Fairgrounds. We intended to go, several times, but never quite made it.


One of the perks of coming back here was the unexpected surprise of the Greek Fest! Right here! While we were here! Hard to turn that down.


This was the 30th Annual Greek Fest. Maybe it was meant to be…30 years. Anything less wouldn’t have been as sweet :)


The “hike” to the Greek Fest was all of a couple blocks from where we are located. We left Lucy on Friday afternoon at 4:00, hiked down the road, and there we were!


This is a pretty big deal. There was art.
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There was song.
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There was dance.
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There was food.
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For us, it was definitely all about the food! Smile
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It was well worth the wait! Smile
Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blog Changes, Additions and Deletions

Over the weekend, I spent a little time working on a map of our travels with Lucy. You will find a small portion of that map on the left side of the blog. If you click on the map, it will take you to a larger version of the map complete with stops. I wanted a map of our travels and thought you might like to follow along.

The second change to the blog is in the comments section.  I had always opted for the word verification instead of the owner approval. I felt that if you went through the effort of verifying that goofy word, there was no reason for me to have to approve your post on top of that! 

This post from Rick Doyle got me thinking about the need for even word verification. It seems that Google has a super spam block in place and is actually doing away with the word verification in the next version of Blogger.

It appears that the reason most bloggers use comment moderation is to get the email notifying them of the comment. If this is the only reason to use comment moderation, that can be easily rectified by enabling email notification. This post will show you how.

I find it tedious to leave a comment on a blog when both word verification and comment moderation are enabled. There’s just too many hoops to jump through and after jumping through them, I still don’t get the gratification of seeing my comment posted. I must wait. I never go back to see if it made the cut. It’s my guess that all this hoopla discourages people from leaving comments in the first place.

I thought I would get rid of all that obnoxious bologna and just see what happened if I left it totally open to any and all comments and didn’t put any obstacles in the way. I am happy to report that nothing has changed. I get all my comments as always, emailed to me as they occur and no spam.

Won’t you join me? Let’s make things easier on each other.

Thanks for stopping by.  Turtle

Monday, September 19, 2011

Purging and More Basement Storage Space

While we are stationary taking care of doctor and dental appointments back in NC, we decided to do a bit of purging. As we’ve had Lucy for a year, it seemed like a good idea to get rid of things we haven’t used in that time. The purge is still on but Rick decided that our golf clubs were first on the list to go. We’ve hauled them around since the beginning but have never used them. I quit playing years ago and he quit a couple years ago. We originally thought we’d take it up again in our old age :) but it’s not likely. In the meantime, 2 full sets of clubs including hard travel cases can make a huge dent in available basement space.

Last Friday, Rick pulled them out of the basement. He opened the cases, took out the bags and clubs, laid them out real purdy-like while I took pictures and  before long, they were on Craigslist. Well, that’s not exactly true. I used to be an html wiz on Craigslist. I had gorgeous listings and I sold a lot of stuff. It’s been over a year since I’ve had ‘stuff’ to sell and I lost my touch :) It took me awhile to find it, but it eventually came back to me :)  So, by the end of Friday, they were listed :) By the end of the weekend, they were gone.

Valley Deluxe Cargo Basket on AmazonThis gave us some amazing space in the basement. It kind of boomeranged from there. The ladder we usually carried in a cargo basket on the hitch of the Jeep now fits underneath along with a few other things that were always Jeep-bound. By the end of his purge, Rick found he no longer needed nor wanted our cargo basket.  Voila! Another Craigslist listing :) Hope it goes as fast as the clubs !

While we were purging, Rick completed a new project that doesn’t take up much space but sure makes my life easier. Many thanks to Paul and Jill, AKA Dunkin Donuts, for this idea. Although I love my combo washer/dryer, there are times that I like to just hang things on hangers and let them air dry. This is particularly true if I’m behind on the wash and, by doing so, I can wash many more loads in x amount of time by line drying :) I present to you, the awesome motorhome drying machine! :) 

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Let me demonstrate…my very cool clothes dryer :)

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How cool is that? I’m so lucky Rick didn’t pull out the tools and put them all on Craigslist!

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Life With Lucy…One Year Later

We have now owned Lucy for 1 year. We flew to Little Rock on 9/11/10 to purchase her and bring her back to NC with us. It will always be one of my “good” memories of 9/11. On 9/13/10 we handed over the check and took possession. It was love at first sight Red heart

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She’s not without her faults and we’ve had a fight or 2, but she’s settled in nicely and she’s our comfort; a part of the family. She has frustrated us, amazed us and given us more than a few “ah-ha” moments.

Early on, everything was a learning experience. We knew nothing, other than what we read, about how to handle her, how to maintain her tanks, how to maintain and care for her batteries, inverter, generator, slides, water heater, hydraulics, air bags, power cord reel, roof. I could go on and on, but I think you get my gist.

As they say, experience is the best teacher. We still don’t have a lot of experience, but we sure have learned a lot! I compare it to a baby in its first year of life :) We’ve gone through dead batteries, slide issues, roof leaks, no hot water, no power and a few others. With any of these issues, when it happens, you know there’s something wrong and you’re about to learn something new! If you were very, very lucky, you figured out what was wrong quickly and then took the steps to correct it, sometimes by paying someone else to fix it :)  In a few instances, it takes weeks or months to pinpoint a cause such as a roof leak. We found out early on, that the most obvious cause was almost never the real problem. The second most obvious cause is also never the problem :) When you take your house down those long bumpy roads, it stands to reason that seams will stretch and pull and fittings will jiggle loose and need constant monitoring and maintenance. Once a leak has sprung, it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack. Guess how I know this :)

One major thing we learned was to never, ever assume something is hooked up correctly no matter who did the work before you. We realized several months ago, that Lucy’s alternator was not charging her house batteries (she has 4) while we were driving. The house batteries charged from shore power and they charged with the generator running but, not from the alternator.  The inverter kept everything running while we were driving but by the time we reached our destination, the battery charge had dropped significantly and it then took quite a while on shore power to bring the charge back up. We knew this wasn’t the way it was supposed to work but we didn’t know what was wrong. As we are both anal when it comes to researching this stuff, we researched ourselves crazy. We finally narrowed it down to a charging solenoid between the house and chassis batteries that is notorious for going bad. That had to be it. What else could it be? I found a new one online, but before ordering it, Rick did a couple tests to verify that it was, indeed, the solenoid. Wrong. Solenoid was fine. Sure glad I didn’t order that thing! More head scratching for the next couple weeks. More research. Every post we read where someone had the same problem, ended up being a bad solenoid. Tested again. Nope. This is when Rick got out the schematics for the wiring of the batteries, inverter and whatever else is tied together down there in that humongous grouping of wires of many colors :)

Me: I didn’t know you could read a schematic.

Rick: I can’t. I guess I’m going to learn.

Me: Good luck with that Winking smile

Well, he may not have totally learned how to read those schematics, but he did figure out that one wire was connected to the wrong battery. It should have gone to a house battery and was, instead, connected to a chassis battery. How that happened or how long it had been that way was anybody’s guess and Lucy wasn’t talking. He changed the wire around and the next time we traveled, we were on the road 5 hours and when we arrived and plugged into shore power, the charger went straight to float :) Hurray!

Now, I have to admit, 12 months ago, I would not have understood one single thing I just said! So, if I lost you there, I apologize. Unless you are the owner, or about to be the owner, of a motor home, you’ll likely never need to know that :) And if you’re one of those engineering types, you are probably laughing your butt off right now trying to figure out how something so obvious could be so difficult! Oh well :)

Then there was the day Lucy refused to start. She sluggishly turned over the first time we attempted, but that was all she’d do. Her batteries were fully charged but just like a stubborn mule, she refused to even click when we turned the key. As most of you might remember, we had to have her towed to a service center and many $ later, she started right off after having us buy her a new starter. If she only would have talked to us, and told us her old one was on it’s last leg, we could have saved ourselves some grief and $. Now, even after several months, each time we turn the key we both smile when she fires right up.

Lucy is now sporting her first booboo. This too, was a learning experience. Never attempt to make a right hand turn into a narrow driveway when there are heavy whiskey barrels full of flowers on each side of said driveway. Even if you think you’ll make it :) Also, never underestimate how strong whiskey barrels are! In a fight, odds go to the whiskey barrel :)

As we go along,  we continue learning stuff together…almost daily…the 3 of us. It’s always something, isn’t it Lucy?

If you’d care to share any tips or wisdom, please leave a comment. Sometimes, it just takes one idea to make the light bulb Light bulbcome on!

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First Annual Carolina Clan Reunion

There are few reasons to ignore your blog for over a week. But, the best of those reasons is because you were having too much fun to blog! Such is the case for us this past week :)

We left Mount Airy, NC on Tuesday, Sept 6th, drove south to Cheraw, SC  for the First Annual reunion of the Carolina Clan. What a wonderful time we had! We had all met at the RV-Dreams rally in the Spring and/or the previous Spring. We were the first to arrive on Tuesday afternoon. We were all concerned about TS Lee bringing a lot of rain to the area, but we were pleasantly surprised to find none. Not one drop of rain. YAY!!! The sun was shining when we arrived and it was still shining when we left :)2011-09-06 16.01.39

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On Wednesday, we were joined by  Paul and Jill, Ray and Kris, Gin and Syl, Trish and Dan  and Evin and Steve. It was like a family reunion. Everyone greeted each other and got caught up with each others adventures. Later that evening, we congregated at Bill and Nancy’s vacant site (they were arriving Thursday) for a campfire and visiting. It was wonderful to see everyone again.

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Thursday  brought  in the last  of the stragglers, Bill and Nancy along with Laura and Bruce.  “Let the party begin :)” We took the kayaks out in the afternoon for awhile. Most of us have inflatable Sea Eagles but there were some hard kayaks as well. With the group together, we looked like an advertisement for Sea Eagle though! :)

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Thursday evening, there was another big group campfire/happy hour(s) at Bill and Nancy’s site. As a thank you to Bill and Nancy for organizing this reunion, we presented them with our George Forman grill. Just a small token of our appreciation :) george George had been a very used part of our household so we took him on the road with us. He has been traveling with us since January and we have never used him. We have done our best to give him away to a good home, but have never found a taker :) Here was our perfect opportunity! They thanked us for thinking of them but you could see the wheels turning in their heads. They were going to re-gift it to someone, anyone! We didn’t care as long as it wasn’t us!

Apparently, George was busy Thursday night. He traveled through 2 or 3 rigs, always hidden but also always discovered, until he ended up back under Lucy Friday morning :(  We had run to the store, so we ended up with him by default. We were the only ones not home.  At that point, Rick was going to dump him but I thought we could have a little more fun with him. The “Where’s George” game was on and it lasted all weekend :)  We made up the rules as we went, but basically it boiled down to whoever was the last person to discover George had to keep him until next year and bring him along to the Second Annual Carolina Clan Reunion :)  The last time I saw him, he was wrapped in a towel and well hidden :)

Friday night we had a group dinner. Everyone just brought something. There was no formal organization. Everyone just brought what they had and it worked out great. We even had homemade ice cream…thanks to the guys willing to crank!

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That night, around the campfire, we laughed so hard we cried. We don’t even remember what was so funny. We told stories, we talked about George, we talked about Bruce and Laura having one of those aha! moments when they realized they had been paddling their kayak backwards :)  We just laughed.

Saturday morning, Bruce, Laura, Bill, Nancy and I went on a nature hike. I was a little worried about running into my least favorite slithery creature, but Nancy told me she’d protect me. Those of you that know Nancy, know she’s half my size :) “Besides,” she said, “there’s probably bear out here and they eat snakes!” Isn’t she cute??? We didn’t run into either, but we did run into a bunch of British troops training their dogs. They were way out in the middle of nowhere. It seems they were shipped over here for a month of training. They were in full uniform and I know they were very hot. It was a hot, humid morning. One of the young men we talked to said they were used to cold and rain in England, not heat. He found it very hot here. We ended up walking 5.6 miles Saturday morning. It was a good hike.

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Saturday was exercise day, I guess. After the hike in the morning, we did a 5.5 mile kayak paddle in the evening. It was a full moon and every month the ranger leads a moonlight kayak ride through the cypress trees at the other end of the lake. We needed to meet the Ranger across the lake, behind the main park building, at 6:30 PM. 

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First, however, we had gotten wind of a prank Bruce and Laura were about to play on Paul and Jill, so we got in our kayak a little early and paddled over to their site to see the show :) Paul and Jill had teased Bruce and Laura unmercifully about padding their Sea Eagle backwards. It’s actually an easy mistake to make. The seats are separate and you just put them inside and climb in. Their kayak looks identical on both ends so they didn’t realize that their seats were facing the back instead of the front. The skeg that helps track the kayak is in the back but in their case, it was in the front :) It didn’t track at all :)  Paul said he was going to get duct tape and stick arrows on the sides showing “front”. Well, while Paul and Jill had left their kayak unattended, Laura and Bruce flipped their seats around and then the whole boat so it looked the same as when they left it. We were all sure they’d put it in the water that way and “attempt” to paddle away. Well darn! They were expecting something like that and looked! They quickly switched their seats around and launched. Jill got in first, then Paul. But Paul had some difficulty and before we knew it, they were both in the water and the kayak was upside down! It wasn’t what we had expected to see, but it was funny :) No one was hurt and it was all in good fun. They are now known as Dunkin Donuts :)

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The weekend went by so quickly and on Sunday morning Ray and Kris pulled out to head back to Kinston. They had to be back to work Monday morning and they sure didn’t want to go. Ray has 2 more years before he can retire, but he sure wants it to happen now! It’s ok Ray, we won’t use up all these neat places before you get out here :)

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Shortly after Ray and Kris left, Bruce and Laura packed up. They moved their rig to the boat dock parking lot and hung out with us for awhile longer.  No one wants to leave. Of course, the novelty would wear off quickly, I’m sure, if nobody did leave! :)

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Sunday nights campfire was our last as a large group. We toasted marshmallows and made s’mores, ate peanuts, pretzels, chocolate covered almonds, cookies and anything else people had leftover. No one wanted to drag all that stuff back with them. We also laughed a lot…again. Evin and Steve left after the campfire. They have been staying off-site and just spending their days with us as their new 5th wheel hasn’t arrived yet. I didn’t realize that they were heading home Monday morning and not returning to the campground. Sorry we didn’t say good-bye, Steve and Evin, but we’ll see you down the road.

After Bill and Nancy left Monday morning, Rick and I took off for one last paddle around the lake. When we returned, I went in to make lunch and he started cleaning up the Sea Eagle so she could be deflated and packed away in Lucy’s basement. We love our Sea Eagle.  I see many more paddles in her future :)

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The rest of Monday was spent as quiet time. There are 4 couples left and, I think, we all needed a down day. This was a good one.  Our last sunset wasn’t too shabby either :)

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This morning was our turn to leave :(  We left behind Trisha & Dan, AKA: MacGyver and Conniver Smile, Gin & Syl, AKA: (shhh, I’m not telling) Smile and Jill & Paul, AKA: Dunkin Donuts. They are all staying at least one more  day. It’s hard to say good-bye but we did so knowing that it was not good-bye, just see you down the road :)

Thanks for the great time guys! Hey, where’s George???

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle