Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Texas Rally Time

We  blasted off for Spring Texas to join our Chapter of the Heartland owners group, for the Fall Rally! We got T-Shirts! I am always glad to get T-Shirts as it is my primary wardrobe style for most of the year (except at work). I took a pic of our leaders trailer with the Rally Banner attached, to put in the blog, and Peggy took the one of my broad back to show the T Shirt. My Big Horn looked a little puny stacked up against a good many Landmark units attending the rally. The Landmark is the top of the Heartland line and is a very nice trailer. Ron Hoover RV of Houston came with a Landmark and a big Road Warrior, which is a big three axle toy hauler.

The Road Warrior has a garage in the back in with bed platform and bench seats that all raise up to the ceiling to make room for your toys to drive up the ramp. The ramp is the whole rear wall and lets down to the ground. Sorry I didnt get a pic of the ramp.

This Cyclone from New Mexico usually carries a big Harley Trike and the owners wife's Harley in the garage area, but this time they left the motorcycles at home and there were no free bike rides. Every nite the wagon master Jay had big campfires at his site and folks gathered around to swap stories (some of which may have been true) and do the "meet and greet". I did meet some folks for the first time and as always learn some things to look out for with my unit, and some quick fixes.  Ron Hoover was nice enough to also cater our Saturday nite meal, and provided Bar-B-Q with all the fixins. If anyone left hungry, it was there on fault.

And only in Texas, would we try to grill the largest Filet Mignon Steak in the World! I think it turned out pretty good but did not try any.  Okay I fess up, it's only a rock, but while I was playing with the photo editor of Picasa, I managed to lighten the picture up where you could see the people around the campfire. It also made the rock look like Filet Mignon. Now if I could just figure out how to load my pics after changing them to the blog. When I use the "add to blog" button on Picasa, it will only load one or two. If I use "insert image" from the blogspot editor, it does not load the changed photo, but the original. One of these days I have to spend the time learning this program. This winter will be a good time. If you see strange things popping up on the blog, just ignore it. I will be practicing.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Island in the Condo

The Project,,a Mesa Auxiliard De Cocina! huh,,,wait a minute. I don't read Spanish. I think it's Spanish. Could be Greek for all I know. I took a spanish class in high school, but paid more attention to the pretty girl who sat in front of me with the long black shiny hair.

That's better. A Kitchen Island, and this instruction booklet contains IMPORTANT safety instructions. That's the part I should pay attention too. My supervisor, helped me carry the shipping box from the carport out to the Rolling Condo for assembly. I had turned on the air condition, so the air was cool and the tools assembled. Arrggggg!

The box is unpacked, and all materials laid out in neat fashion and accounted for, as the directions call for. But it says I only need a Phillips head screwdriver and a hex wrench (which was included in the package). That can't be right, because everyone knows you gotta have tools to assemble stuff. Peggy get's the booklet and begins with Page 1.

Step one was no step at all. Just Attach drawer sides B to drawer front A, with Phillips head screw (1) and all the parts have little stickers on them. Step Two, insert drawer bottom C into the grooves of the drawer sides B and drawer A. Easy!

Step Three thru 5, put that other thingee together, using wooden dowels 4 into the bottom panel E, place back brace G onto side panel F and bottom panel E. blah blah blah,,,I can do this no sweat.
Ah skip a step or two? Put the wheels on it! Check! No need to read all those instructions. Wonder why she said "No Alcohol" should be used in the Assembly (per safety instructions). I didn't read that! where does it say that? I read Imported to Missouri from Indonisia. Huh! Not made in USA. Is anything made in USA today. On to step whatever it is.

Looking Good! Even got step Six done,,attaching the metal tube (towel rack) with wooden dowels. Door Handles put on. Drawer Handle installed. Top installed using "cam locks" onto the cam bolts! Check. And it hasn't collapsed one time. Amazing. I think we are up to step Thirteen! Time to break out the drinks! Wait there is a Caution on the last page.

This is what it  looks like with the Drop Leaf in the down position. What were those safety cautions? Oh yeah Don't use as a Seating Surface. Maximum Weight 30 lbs on top, 10 lbs in drawer, 15 lbs on shelf, 15 lbs on bottom panel, 5 lbs on towel rack. If you do so it could CAUSE INSTABILITY AND COULD CAUSE POSSIBLE INJURY. Wonder if any Indonesian people found that out the hard way. They are pretty small people.

This is where the Island will ride when we are towing. With the slides in, it fits. Lock the wheels and away we go. See married folk can do a project together that involves tools and teamwork. Brochure says thirty minutes for assembly. We took about an hour and half. We read the instructions carefully. I only had to remove one part that was backwards. Bought it from Wal and had it shipped here via Fed Ex.
Wonder if this piano would fit in the living area of the Condo? Only weighs about a thousand pounds. Nah better read the safety instructions before even trying that. Getting hitch itch really bad. Need to take a trip somewhere.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Congrats to my Pop!

Today I have two reasons to post a new blog. One is to use the new editor function and alleviate my big gripe about placing photos here without taking all day to drag pics around where I want them to go. The other reason is to let the world (okay maybe not the world) or at least everyone that drops in here from time to time know that my dad who just turned 80 years old on the 15th of September also received his College Degree in Criminal Justice from Angelina College. We are all very proud of him for this. He has been attending this College off and on for a looooong time. While working two or three jobs at the time, and seeing that all six of his kids had the opportunity to go to college, he would always put his degree plan on hold to see that we got what we needed.

Confederate Rose

While pulling the Condo out for our trip tomorrow, I noticed that my Confederate Rose (Hibiscus Mubilis) is blooming. It blooms last of any flowering plants on the place, but it also blooms the nicest. Starts out very light pink and then as the day progresses, it turns dark pink. While we are gone to the RV Rally,,,the whole bush will bloom probably. As you can tell,,there are gobs of buds fixing to bloom. They last a day or so, then fall off. Bummer! I will cut them back to the ground this winter when the first good frost comes, then they will reach this ten foot or so height by late summer. Enjoy
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Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Truck / Same old S##$%$#

 You would think that a guy with a new truck would not have to do the poop dump and could just kick back and chill on Fathers Day, while listening to the radio! Not So! I talked Peggy into going to the Lake this weekend so I could test how the new Dodge 4x4 Dual Wheel Truck handles the Rolling Condo. The heat in East Tex has been horrible. The humidity makes it feel even worse. We headed out on Friday evening and made it to camp by 6pm. The next thirty minutes spent setting up and trying to get the Condo cooled down was just awful. We both were soaking wet and give plumb out by the time everything was in order. On Saturday we explored some, but to tell the truth, we did not explore beyond the confines of the truck any longer than a few minutes at the time. With Temps in the high 90's and the humidity near 100 percent, we stayed real close to the A/C. I did learn that I really like the way the dual wheels tow the Condo. Everything seems a lot more stable now. I even got to use the four wheel drive as I had to jackknife the trailer a bit to get it into the spot. The tires spun a bit, so I just kicked it into 4 wheel low and eased on back! Love That! The truck has a lot of stuff to learn, and I have been reading a lot about the operations of it in the Dodge Truck Owners Manual. I usually keep one handy for reference when I forget some function, but nowdays the manual is on a DVD that is included with your purchase. Thats not handy while your driving down the road, to open the manual in a laptop and try to find what your looking for. When I went back to the dealer, I requested a printed manual just like the DVD told me too. The service tech said sure, he could order it, but it would cost me fifty bucks! Does not seem right that you would have to pay for an owners manual. Peggy has taken the challenge up and fired off an email to the Dodge customer service folks, and we shall see. As far as the tank dumping goes. We left camp early this morning to beat the "rush to dump" that happens after everyone breaks camp to go home. We were first and did not have to wait in a line.

I am not exactly happy with the little bit of squat that the heavy trailer does to the new truck. May end up putting some air bags on it to level it out some more. I will be researching this some more to see the available options. Anyone with suggestions on this, feel free to drop me a line. I have even mastered the art of using the Sat. Radio in the new truck. It comes with a years free subscription to Sirius Radio. I have been surfing the channels to find interesting radio. You can find any type of News, Sports, Weather, and music that you would ever care to listen to. I found the Playboy Channel on Sirrius! After listening to some women breathing heavy with music playing in the background, I thought that was dang funny! I could not hear for sure what the women were saying but I am pretty sure it is sex related chatting. I found some better things to listen to on the comedy channels that one can listen to on Sat. After a year, I doubt I would ever actually subscribe to Sirrius. I can just listen to the old FM stations that I have always enjoyed and they are free! Until next time, safe travels to all.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Breakin it Down in Lousiana

I have no excuse for not updating the blog lately, except since our Easter campout in East Tx, Nothing Happened! Maybe not that slow, but pretty quiet. Work has once again interfered with our RVing but we have managed to get a few projects done. Peggy and I have been talking about replacing the "most uncomfortable sleeper bed ever made" with a Loveseat Recliner combo. We spent a couple of Saturdays looking at every furniture store in our area and finally settled on one we liked. A few more days spent getting the old sleeper took apart and moved out then we were ready. While looking for the perfect combo, Peggy mentioned that our living room suite was getting pretty dated, and we have hated it since about a week after buying it six years ago, so we were looking around and Peggy found the suite that she really liked, so why the heck not! Of course it being Mothers Day weekend, there aint no way I am gonna be a naysayer on Mothers Day weekend! So on Tuesday evening, the truck rolls up with the whole load just for us!

The young men making the delivery worked really quick to get the living room furniture in the house and all was going well until I explained that the Love Seat Combo went out to the RV. They drove around back and stood looking at the door of the Rolling Condo and back at the Sofa Combo. I explained that we had some friends who had just purchased the same brand of recliners and knew that they would fit if they took the set apart. They both dug in and removed the frame  holding the whole shebang together and moved them inside and put it all back together. Both explained that they had never put one of those in an RV. When they finished I showed them how the slide mechanism worked and they were very impressed. Of course I did not even think about new curtains, rods, wall stuff, lamps, tables etc...but Peggy is working on that front and will get that in order shortly but first, I had a mini vacation planned for the next weekend so the rest has to wait awhile.

I had planned to take a trip back to the Breaux Bridge area of Louisiana and do some site seeing, so we blasted off on Thursday for four day weekend trip to Poche's Fish N Camp just outside of Breaux Bridge. We left home about 11:30am and moseyed on that way for a 248 mile journey to the RV Park. On the way, I stopped just across the Louisiana border across the Sabine River, and stretched my legs at the visitor center. While there, I spotted this great RV find. Can get it for a song! It is a bit of a fixer upper but nothing we couldn't handle. I think I could get the State of Louisiana to pay me to move it. There is a sticker on the back noting that it has been in this same spot since April 24, or so. Gee I wonder how long they will leave it before dragging it off. I didn't peak through the windows, cause I was afraid something might be dead inside. Perhaps the state is gonna shove it off in a Bayou somewhere for the fish to use as habitat!
The staff at the Welcome center was giving away Coffee, Maps, Cookies, heck I could have just dropped the trailer in the parking lot and set up camp, but we had places to go and people to see, so we didn't dawdle long. Finally pulled in to Poche's about five thirty and got set up well before dark and waited for our friends to come in an camp near us from Port Arthur Tx. Here is the
most relaxing  view of our campsite. Of course the folks flooded in on Friday and it was pretty crowded for the weekend. The best part was the site was free!!! Man can I make a deal with anyone. Of course I did pay hundred bucks for that cap that Peggy is trying on! Peggy was in a real good humor for this pic. It did not last. We left out Friday morning to pick up some staples at WalMart and buy a tank of diesel to do some exploring later. I stopped at the pumps and while pumping I noticed something running out from under the truck. I stooped down and sure enough, a pretty good stream running down from above. I popped the hood and noticed something wet and slick splattered everywhere. I thought that I had a bad power steering hose leak, and could feel the stuff was slick. But my co-pilot casually mentioned that it did not look like power steering fluid (but being a girl, how could she know that stuff!!!) Arggggg!  We called our friends back at Poche's and located an auto repair shop real close to us. They picked us up and we went to talk to the owner. I told him that I thought it was the power steering hose, so he got on the phone  and found that there was not one anywhere near where we were and it would be Monday before it could be fixed. He sent his wrecker driver to pick up the truck and went on back to camp. Happy at least that we had not broken down on Interstate 10, and had somewhere to stay while waiting on the part. The next few days were spent hanging out, eating, and hanging out some more and goin out with friends to eat and come back and hang out some more. Not our plan when we left home, but under the circumstances not a lot we could do. Monday morning rolled around and my friends took us back to the shop to see if things were happening. The owner then told me that I had a bad water pump, not a power steering line and he was working on it at this time and would be through with it in about an hour and a half. I was happy and ready to get loaded up but of course I had to endure a little ribbing about the damage being a water pump and not a power steering hose. Hey! I ain't no mechanic! I did tell the guy I was not sure what it was and that it was a guess on my part. All got a good laugh at my expense but the truck got fixed. We did not get away till 1:30pm and spent the rest of the day driving thru heat and some thunder storms to get home about 7:30pm. On top of all that, I have to take the Rolling Condo to get the same water leak that happened in the flushing system repaired At least I think that is where it is, but I ain't no Mechanic!!! Ask anyone! Safe travels to everyone and take care.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Rig

After returning from Rockport last week, I had to call my RV Dealer and make an appointment for my 5th Wheel for a checkup. I took it in on Friday morning and explained the water leaking situation that occurred after I used the washout function after dumping the black tank. By the time I had delivered the fiver and ran some errands it was time for lunch. While sitting at the cafe, I observed this vehicle pull up. The answer to all my problems! Get a smaller camper. One that I can utilize in all situations and camp sizes. No more worrying whether I can back the rig in a smaller site. Just take it all in one! If you look real close, you can see that this rig has everything a person would need to set up house. Complete with up to date styling, unique to our home state of Texas, what could be easier! Actually this rig is a piece of Art! A fellow that I went to school with made this work of Art, to compete in car shows. Glen Lenderman is the "One man Band" and can simulate a four piece dance band all by himself. I have seen him perform many times and still wonder how he does it. He has an electronic rythm section, some music tracks with backup instruments and he plays guitar while playing the bass tones using a foot pedal system. All I can say is it works! A great musician and gifted entertainer. He only has to pay himself and not worry about band members showing up, or having to make a big paycheck to pay the band! I believe he has been doing this for over 25 years. He also travels in a converted passenger bus, so I guess that makes him an RVer also.
Anyone needed entertainment at your RV rallys or Parks, let me know and I can hook you up with him. Now I just have to convince Peggy that this rig would make our travel much simpler! For some reason I doubt that she will be willing to trade her Heartland Bighorn with two big Air conditioners, refrigerator, flushing toilet, big screen TV and fireplace for the Hillbilly Rig! Everyone Travel Safe and "Ya'll Come Back Now Here"

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Back in East TX and not Happy about it!

Sadly, our week of vacation is over and we are not happy about having to come back to that "W" thing. We even talked about calling in "Retired". Just tell them to pick up there stuff that we have around the house and mark us off the payroll! Would'nt that be fun to do just once. Having obligations are things that we grown-ups have to deal with, and we both have tried to keep ours for most of our lives. I know that I have had a paying job of some kind or other since I was 17 years old and Peggy about the same. We have spent the last week enjoying the company of some retired folks, who just seem to have a "roll with the flow" attitude. No need to worry, just handle whatever comes up and enjoy the here and now. I find that very attractive and could get used to that very quick. I lost track of what day of the week it was and someone in the group said that they may not know and do not care most of the time what day of the week it is.  Peggy and I did learn a new card game for us called Hand and Foot. After receiving some good instruction, we were off and running. The group had a great time playing cards, having potlucks, sitting around the campfire and having Happy Hours! I like the way these folks think. They are either cooking and eating or talking about cooking and eating. How can you go wrong. You meet the nicest people in the RV community. Our neighbor in the park was leaving on Friday headed back for his home in Wisconsin. It seems that he has to get back and start the Maple Syrup operation he owns. Tapping the trees, collecting the sap and making syrup! Pretty Cool even if I dont like Maple syrup. He spends every winter on the Texas coast fishing and doesnt go back until time to do the syrup.  We spent a lot of time Geocaching around the Rockport area. This is a real quick way to learn your way around a new town. Hunting Geocaches takes you all over and around to places that you  would not see if you were just visiting. We found all of the caches that we hunted except for two. I think we finished with about 20 or so located. I found a couple of travel bugs to take back to East Tx and place in someone elses cache, to get them on down the road. The below is a photo of a car, travel bug that is in a race with other Geocachers in the Dallas area to see how far their cars can be taken by folks like me who find them and take them somewhere else.

I got to endulge my love for boats and all things boat related by touring the Texas Maritime Museum. This place had photos of the early side wheel paddle boats that shipped products of all kinds up and down most of the bigger rivers of the state. I even saw a lot of giant photos of the early Republic of Texas Navy that used Schooners as gun boats to attack naval ships of France during the early days of our state. I would have taken some photos to include, but the rules said "no pictures inside the museum". Of course they would sell you pictures produced for this purpose for a "nominal fee". The easy access to this quiet bay made landing ships of all kinds easy and it evolved quickly as the major port to ship cattle and other livestock. This pretty much ended when the railways became active and other areas of the country were used as hubs to ship cattle by rail from Kansas City. The museum also had a large exibit of the early oil drilling operations in the gulf, and the designs of the first offshore oil rigs. Very interesting stuff to me. Peggy took a photo from atop the observation deck on the third floor of the museum of the small harbor.

Here I am trying to steal an anchor for my little flat bottom boat at home. I wanted one that will hold and not let the boat drift off. This should do the trick!
I also tried to find one of these beauties lounging around town, but did not find a single mermaid anywhere around the water.
The City of Rockport has a small nature trail and pond area located right on the highway. We stopped and walked just a hundred yards or so to a bird viewing area and saw this pair of Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks, just called "whistlers" by everyone local. There were about 20 in the group but most swam away as we approached. These two came back once we got still and swam up close enough for Peggy to get a photo. 

After the Saturday morning ritual of dumping the holding tanks we were all set to leave and stopped by the little group of campers to say goodbye. As we pulled up and stopped, water began pouring out of the underbelly of our 5ver. I had no idea where the water came from, since we had just dumped, and worried about it off and on all the way home, wondering where this problem started. As soon as I got online to the Heartland owners forum, and typed in a search, the obvious answer seems to be that a check valve located in the walls of the bathroom has gone bad. This check valve is only used when someone hooks up to the flush valve on the sewer, to clean the tank after dumping. This was the last thing done after dumping all the holding tanks and other owners have had problems with this check valve. The forum even shows photos of the offender and tells of remedies used by other owners to take care of the issue. It is great to be able to quickly go online for an issue and to keep you from going crazy. Luckily we had no inside damage and I will take the Rolling Condo to our local dealer and have this fixed. It will entail taking a wall board off to access the pipes and of course, I could take the wall board off, but probably would make a bigger mess than the water leak. I think I will leave it to the professionals to do, since I have an agreement with those tradesmen. I won't try to do their job if they wont try to do mine! Works for me. As long as it is ready to roll again soon. I had a bright idea to take another route home and bypass the greater Houston area. I hate driving on the freeways and figured that it might take a little longer to go the other route, the scenery would be peacful and the trip much easier on me. I was wrong!  Turns out that I had not accounted for Spring Break, when everyone in the State of Texas who lives within a days drive of the coastal towns, and who owns a vehicle or Motorcycle, attempts to drive in a small area at the same time. So that small amount of time added to the trip meant that the five and one half hours long trip, turned into nine hour trip, with me catching every single red light from Port Lavaca Texas to North of the big bridge crossing in Baytown!  A couple of detours, a missed highway turn, and lunch put us dragging into the driveway about an hour before dark thirty. One very long day on the road. I am never doing that again! Today we have to get the 5ver unloaded and everything back in the proper place and get ready to do that "W" thing very early tomorrow morning. We miss Rockport already!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rockport Texas, and the Birds

We blasted off from home on Saturday morning at 6am, headed to Rockport Tx and a visit with some RV Dreamers we have chatted with online for about a year. My travel programs said it was about 289 miles to our destination, The Last Resort RV park on Hwy 35 just south of Rockport on the road to Aransas Pass. The trip was smooth as silk until we got into Houston. The traffic was not heavy on the north side of town, but as we got to the South Side the traffic picked up and soon, my neck muscles were tight as Banjo strings. The freeway sign said "Major Accident Ahead, Freeway Closed" We kept seeing that sign posted on the traffic control bulletin boards on the side, but never saw a wreck. After leaving Houston proper and the sprawl around it, I started feeling the wind whipping us. The further South we went, the harder the wind blew. Turning off of Hwy 59 onto Hwy 71 around El Campo, the wind was coming from the coast and really holding me up. I noticed the milage on the truck display dropped from nearly 13mpg to 10. We stopped to eat a bite in Port Lavaca and then made it on in. I had copied some directions to the park, but did not take into account that I was not coming in on the same road, so I  was not sure where the park was in relation to our location. A quick call to our RV Dreams friends cleared it right up and we were only a mile from the park entrance, and going the right direction! We soon were backing into our space and the RV Dreams crew came by and introductions went all around. We have enjoyed the time off so far, if we could just get the weather to turn around, it would be perfect. I have posted some pics, but since the rain and cloudy weather arrived, the pics are too dark. We explored anway in the truck, as I am still trying to see my first up close Whooping Crane. We finally got close today near the Goose Island State Park, with a few flying just over our head and seeing some at a distance in the water. Also got to see the Big Tree! The largest Liveoak in the State and possibly in the U.S. With a circumfrance of 35 feet, and an 89 foot crown,,its a dang big tree!! Below are some pics of the waterfront area and Goose Island State Park. Hoping to get a good pic of the Crane before our time is up. Until next time, everyone travel safe.