Thursday, November 22, 2012

From Our Backyard To Yours…

We wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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We are grateful for so many things this year, but mostly for our wonderful family and awesome friends! We love you all!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours…

Or, if it’s not one thing, it’s another!

Recently I’ve read a couple blogs saying that those of us full-timers with a blog tend to paint a rosy picture of things, never blogging about problems we have or bad things that happen. At the time, I thought that was probably true. We do tend to write blogs with a positive spin. I am very guilty of that. I do not like negativity and try to avoid it whenever possible. My motto: “It is what it is. Adapt”. With that in mind, the following post is an example that real life happens to all of us.

We left the Carolina Clan Gathering and headed to Raleigh for yet more additional dental appointments for me. Needless to say, that in itself was a very expensive proposition so we didn’t need any more things to surface and make that sucking sound in our wallet. But surface they did.

On our second day there, I put  biscuits in the oven at 350° for 17 minutes, just like the directions said. When the timer went off, I took them out, determined they weren’t quite done and put them back in for another 5 minutes. At the end of that time, they looked no different than they had the 5 minutes before. Huh? Seemed weird but I was doing other things at the time and blew it off. Blew it off until that evening when I took some fried rice I had made last week out of the freezer and put it in the microwave to defrost. I hit the defrost mode for 10 minutes. The fan started and it sounded like it was working but at the end of that 10 minutes, I still had a frozen brick of rice. NO difference at all. Further checking showed that I had lights and a fan but no heat on either microwave or convection. Bummer! I had 2 nice salmon fillets ready to go into the oven so I had to regroup quickly. Doing them in a frying pan actually works quite well and it only takes a third of the time :)

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After much research, diagnosis: Dead. RIP Sharp Carousel. It appears we may have gotten a few more years out of it than the norm, so I shouldn’t complain. What I found, though, is that I used Mr. Sharp much more than I thought I did! When you have no oven and no microwave, it’s like cooking with one hand tied behind your back. Out comes the crockpot and I quickly learned how to heat leftovers of all kinds in a frying pan :) The repair is going to cost almost as much as a new unit, so we decided to replace the unit once we get to Texas where we’ll be in one place for awhile and can have a new one shipped to us. Amazingly, they still make this exact same model. Unfortunately, no one seems to carry it locally…anywhere, so we’ll have to have it shipped.

A couple days after the convection/microwave died, Rick took our Jeep Wrangler in for it’s regular oil change. He came home with new front brakes! Apparently they were on the hairy edge and in a very short time would have required new rotors as well.

jeep logo

We both felt fortunate they were caught in time, saving us even bigger bucks! Neither of us noticed the brakes being soft and they seemed to work as they always had but the pads were down to 1 mm. so guess it’s a good thing we needed an oil change :)

Fast forward to today. With any luck, I will pass my post-op checkup on Monday morning and we will be on our way South that afternoon! When we are parked for more than a week, we hook up our Battery Minder to the chassis batteries to maintain their charge. We have a parasitic draw on the chassis batteries due to several things needing juice while we are sitting still such as the smoke detectors, CO2 monitor etc. The Battery Minder guarantees we will start when that ignition key is turned :)

Battery Minder

So, back to today, right? It died. The Battery Minder flat out died. I checked our credit card statement on Quicken and found that we had purchased this unit 2 years ago minus 1 week. These units have a 5 year warrantee though. Great right? All we need to do it box it up and send it to the manufacturer along with proof of purchase and they will either repair or replace the unit free of charge. One problem. We cannot find the receipt anywhere!  Anyone know how to repair a Battery Minder that no longer charges?

They say these things happen in 3’s. If that’s the case, we should be good for a month or so :) In spite of these things and the extra expense they created, we still feel like this is the best life we could have chosen. Things are not always rosy in a full timers life, but what a wonderful life it is!

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Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2nd Annual Carolina Clan Gathering, Huntington Beach State Park, SC

We left the Carolina Clan Gathering yesterday after spending the past week at Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, SC. What a week it was! We arrived on Tuesday, October 30th. Several of the gang was already there with people arriving as early as the previous weekend and Monday. Many of us arrived within an hour of each other Tuesday and more drifted in Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

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Tuesday

After lots and lots of hugs and handshakes, we all grabbed chairs and made a circle in Bill and Nancy front yard for Happy Hour. It was still quite breezy, compliments of Hurricane Sandy, and the temps were falling, so by the time it started getting dark, we all dispersed to our own homes for dinner and TV.

Wednesday

We took off on a walk Wednesday morning that ended up being 5 miles. This is a beautiful park and a wonderful place to walk. We started out on the Atalaya trail around to the Causeway, past the Sandpiper Pond Nature Trail to the Beach. This park is right on the ocean and it’s my kind of park. Lots of trees and lots of water. The sites are large and most are private.

Huntington Beach State Park

In the afternoon, a bunch of us ended up down at the beach for some visiting time until the winds chilled us enough to send us home. We moved Happy Hour to Jim and Dee’s back yard to accommodate our growing size.

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Shortly after we arrived, someone noticed a Tiffin Bus on the street that looked exactly like Lucy! Rick walked out to make sure someone wasn’t taking Lucy for a ride :) and met Lucy’s twin and her owners, Carol and Steve. They are friends of Paul and Marti, heard about the Gathering and decided to come join us!

Lucy's Twin

Later on, after dinner, a few of us sat around a campfire at Gin and Syl’s. It was “Survivor” night, so several people stayed home to watch that. When we left, there were still quite a few around the fire. We are not “Survivor” fans but we did have to go home to watch “Criminal Minds” :)

Thursday

Thursday was cool and windy. Many of the group took off on bike rides or went for walks. Our previous day 5 mile walk shrunk to just 2 on Thursday. Neither of us slept well the night before and we were just tired all day. We did make a post office run and stopped at Subway for lunch.

We skipped the normal Happy Hour and had a huge campfire at Gin and Syl’s later. More people arrived that afternoon so the group was overflowing and one fire wasn’t enough to keep people warm.  If there’s one thing all the guys seem to love, it’s building and tending a fire. Before we knew it, we had twin fires going :)

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Bill and Nancy had recently been to PA and had come back laden with pretzels, cookies and a few other goodies. Bill was having a great time passing all those goodies around the circle. No one went hungry in this group!

We cut it short and turned in early.

Friday

After a good walk in the morning with Laura and Bruce-4 miles, we joined 26 others on a kayak trip on the Inter-coastal waterway. What a blast that was! We had 13 Sea Eagles and 2 hard shelled kayaks for a wonderful afternoon. Nancy had researched the tides so we put in about 2:30 PM for maximum advantage. As it turned out, the paddle was only 4.5 miles but it sure seemed like it was much further coming back than it was going out :)

Sea Eagle Regatta

More Sea Eagles

We had hitched a ride with Bruce and Laura to the launch site and on the way home, decided to stop for a beer. It was, after all, beer-thirty :) We chose a little place that actually had available parking, unlike most places. When we walked in, we were the only people there and it was 6 PM on Friday night! Scary! We all ordered a beer, shared some peanuts and decided to stay safe and not order the food :) There were a few other customers before we left but we played it safe and came home to eat :)

We skipped the campfire that night. I’m sure it was wonderful, as usual, but we had had plenty of fresh air and decided to make it an early night :)

Saturday

Saturday, we met up with Bruce and Laura and took off for Camping World and lunch at California Dreaming Restaurant and Bar. Laura eats at one of these restaurants at every opportunity, so we were happy to help her indulge :) I had never heard of them before, but the food was excellent and so was the company!

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While at Camping World later on, I was standing outside admiring their folding bicycles and contemplating possibly investing in a bike in the near future when Paul and Marti showed up. They have folding Dahon bikes and offered to let me try one out when we got back home. They didn’t have to offer twice :) Dahon is really the Cadillac of the folding bike industry but their prices are a little out of my budget. The knock-offs at Camping World did not seem to be built anywhere near as well, but their prices were more friendly. What to do, what to do? Granted, I am still a klutz. I probably have no business with a bike, but I want to increase my daily mileage and a combo of walking and biking appeals to me. I’ve been walking 3-6 miles a day recently. I doubt it’s done anything for the klutz factor, but I did test drive the Dahon and I didn’t kill myself! :)

I’ve decided to watch Craigslist and see if I can pick up a used bike to test drive, so to speak. Part of my problem is, I know nothing about bikes! What would you suggest I look for if I wanted to ride around the campground and also do paved trails? Nothing extreme but more than just riding in circles around the loop :) I welcome all suggestions.

Sunday

Sunday dawned as a beautiful, sunny warm day. It was the nicest day of the entire week. We walked the trails, we walked the beach. We totally enjoyed the weather.

That afternoon, we joined Gin and Syl at their site for a great game of Hand and Foot while watching the Green Bay Packer game on their outside TV. The Pack won and so did Gin and Syl :) They whooped us good!

We had a Pizza Party at the evening campfire that night. Yum! The evening turned short when a cold front blew in and rain was threatening.

Monday

Monday was our last full day there. We had lunch at Capriz with several of our friends. That was SO good! If you are ever in Myrtle Beach, it is a must do! Excellent! We made a short Costco stop on the way home and had another fire that night.

The week had winded down and in the morning, we would be leaving. As the week progressed, I noticed I took fewer and fewer photos. I was having too much fun to be thinking about photo taking. Well, it could be that, but I’m going to say that what happens at the Carolina Clan Gathering, stays at the Carolina Clan Gathering! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle