Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What's Going On Now?

What's going on now? Not much. I'm sorting, packing, and throwing away. I'll be on the road at the beginning of June. In the meantime, here is a photo of a Crane Fly from Alpha Ridge Park in Mariottsville, MD. Click the image if you'd like to see a larger Crane Fly!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Who Says Signs Tell The Truth

Two more weeks until I move! So let me take a break to share a western Maryland rest area that I stopped at on my way back from Bowling Green.

This was a lovely area, not far from Deep Creek Lake. To the left of this view of my rig (and the trucker lot) is a pretty lake surrounded by trees newly leafed out.

Turn around, and there are three little huts: one is the "Welcome Center," one contains the restrooms, and the other has the ubiquitous snack and drink machines:

But what does that sign above the soda machine say?

Really? I sure thought it was!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Especially For Val

RVers are a creative bunch! Nothing like taking the whole family out for a stroll in the evening. Wait... are those twins? Guess not.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

On My Way Back

The Life on Wheels (LOW) conference was jam packed with great information. We attended 10 classes of our choice, and there were many times I wanted to clone myself so I could go to more than one at the same time! I opted for a lot of the safety classes. One, on fire safety, was particularly impressive -- and scary. I've upgraded my extinguishers and alarms now.

My refrigerator is subject to a massive recall. Anyone seen Murphy lurking in the shadows? While it CAN be used on electric before it is fixed, propane is a no-no. Murphy hits again -- the kits a dealer will use to fix it are not yet available. So I opted to turn it off. If I can't get it fixed before June, I'll use a cooler until I can.

Tonight I am staying, for the first time, in a free "boondock." This one is the Flying J at exit 185, just inside Kentucky. So far so good! The lot is well lit, food is close, and I can gas up and use the dump station in the morning. Tomorrow I should be back in Maryland.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Life On Wheels

I have finished the Life on Wheels (LOW) pre-conference newbie sessions. I learned a lot, and it was great being around lots of people who knew about what I did (or less!). I actually crawled under the rig to check a fluid level. That was quite scary at first, but now I feel I can do anything!

I have now moved to the conference lot, where I am totally boondocking (no hookups of any kind) for the first time. When I was at New Horizons, I didn't have a water hookup (and lived off the water in the tank), but I could refill the tank at any time. I have had an electric hookup every night. Now I have to live off the battery, propane, and the water in the tank. I figure this will be a good test -- I don't have any real idea of how long everything lasts, but I am still in the middle of civilization if something doesn't go right.

The conference kicks off at 4:00 today, and then the sessions start tomorrow. More and more to learn!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

It's Odonata Time! *

*Sung to "It's Howdy Doody Time" themesong

Another milestone hit today -- I passed through my truck's 500 mile "break in" for towing. During the break in period, the maximum speed is 50 mph.

I never thought I'd be happy to see those "reduce speed" signs on the highway -- you know the ones that happen as you pass through a city when you have to go from 70 to 55? Always a frustration? When, however, you are ALREADY doing 50 in a 70, they come as a welcome change from watching little old ladies with blue hair, who can almost see over the steering wheel, go FLYING by on your left. I really didn't need to worry about passing other cars while pulling an RV -- at 50 mph, believe me it never came up. And speed traps? Ha, I laughed as I watched all the other vehicles hit the brakes.

So here I am in Benton, Illinois, and finally I get to see some sun. It hasn't rained hard very often, but it has usually been cloudy. I got to the campsite early, got unhitched, and discovered a lovely little fishing pond across the street. Lots of Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) flittering about.

And tomorrow starts newbie class!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Camp Horizons and Beyond

Here it is -- my first real campsite!

Yesterday I finally hitched and unhitched -- pretty easy, really. I hitched 3 times and "hit the mark" each time. Unhitching is even easier.

I drove the hitched fiver around for a while (with my "guru" Mike), and that was pretty easy, too. A bit more attention needed, but not hard. The really hard part comes in backing and turning. I know, I just need practice!

While I was on the test drive, I had to come to a stop because -- and I am not making this up -- there was a turkey in the road.

This was a female, crossing the street to check out a male who was proudly fanning his tail to get her attention. I'm sure he was a real hottie in Turkeyville.

I also got DirectTV installed at Camp Horizons (the parking lot at New Horizons where we stayed). Then, for Friday night, I moved to the campground at Milford Lake (photo above) which is a few miles away. My first real campsite! It was nice and woodsy. My DirectTV did not work because there were trees to the north that blocked the signal. My internet connection was dog slow, and I kept loosing the connection (I took my cell phone a few feet away and I was in an area with "no connection"). I didn't feel like changing the connections to try to watch TV with the antenna ("probably would have been no channels anyways" I said to myself peevishly), so I had a pleasant evening basically unplugged. I actually heard what I think is a whippoorwill as night fell.

Today I drove almost 250 miles, and got gas while hitched, twice (I have been dreading this, picturing the fiver taking out a pump or two because I didn't turn widely enough). Tonight I am in a campsite in Columbia, MO, and have sat TV and a fast internt connection. Yippee!

I'll miss the trees and the whippoorwill, though.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Status Report

Weather: Rainy, cloudy, rainy, then misty.
Exciting News: My first pension check came right on time! I have income!
Lessons Learned: Basics of switching between gas and electric power, how to use a dump station (OJT tomorrow), how to read oddly foreign monitor panels, and how to take a quick, water saving shower. This is a sampling from a long list of stuff. I feel like I'm back in school.
Accomplishment: Taking a propane tank to the Place Where They Sell Propane, having it filled ($19), bringing it back, and installing it -- all with NO ASSISTANCE. Am I cool or what?
Tomorrow: I learn hitching, unhitching, leveling and ... driving. Look out Junction City! The guy next to me will be driving his rig (39 feet to my 23) for the first time tomorrow, too. I offered to drag race with him in our rigs, but oddly he said no. Maybe I can practice doing donuts in the WalMart parking lot instead...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

This looks JUST like Kansas, Toto

I have been to San Francisco about 6 times. What can this possibly have to do with arriving at New Horizons to pick up my RV today? Bear with me.

In those 6 SF visits, I have been in two earthquakes. Two. Odds are 1 in 3. So who could be the least bit surprised that today Kansas would have:

If you can't read the words in red, they say "TORNADO WARNING."

Now it wasn't in THIS county, but it was relatively close. Several were seen by spotters, and one probably touched down. We had a very safe place to go if need be -- the "pits" that are used to work on the RVs. Fortunately, all we got here was rain.

At New Horizons:

That little guy is mine! There are three RVs with their humans spending the night here tonight. To my right (your left in the photo) are a couple from York, PA, who have also just moved into their RV and have also never done this before. To my left (out of the photo) are a couple who have fulltimed for years. They will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year! Their napkins say, "Let me call you sweetheart -- because I can't remember your name!"

We all sat around drinking wine, and discussed rigs, campgrounds, and fulltiming. I feel like these were friends I was just waiting to meet. If everyone is half as nice as my temporary neighbors, I know I'll be making the right decision in this lifestyle.

Since my water heater decided to develop a leak, it needs to be replaced. I'm just glad it did it here instead of at a campground someplace. They are in the process of getting another one, and I'm not sure when that will get here. I'm pretty sure I'll be here tomorrow night, but I don't know beyond that.