Thursday, May 18, 2017
While Alex did the paperwork with April, I started cleaning the coach from stem to stern. She was a dirty girl. Every day in REVtown she came back dirty, sometimes from the work, other times just from people in and out. Add us living in her and she is a dirty girl. You sweep and pick up during the week, but a good cleaning would be a waste of time. Now that she was finished, it was time to go to work.
When Alex came back, he went to Kroger to get cold cuts for the road. I set off to start the laundry. It wasn’t laundry day, but I planned on using the facilities one last time before hitting the road in the morning.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Today marks four weeks that we have been here in REVtown. Never thought we would be here this long.
The jacks came in today after 10 and we got a call that the guys would be coming for the coach around 11:45. They came at 11:30 while we were getting the kitties packed up. Off to the waiting room in Purgatory again. Hopefully, for the last time. Alex went with the coach.
Around 1:30 or so, Alex came back to the waiting room and told me the jacks were in, working and the coach was back in our spot. I packed up the kitties while he went back to open us up. We were done! Finally! Except for the paperwork. That would get done tomorrow.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
They came at nine and worked on the heater on the outside of the coach. They didn’t have to even come in to do the work. An hour later and they were done. Our rear heater worked. Now we are down to one last thing on our to fix list. And hopefully the parts will be in tomorrow around 10:30 and they can get us done. Yippee!
Once the guys leave, we take showers and head to Fort Wayne to Aldi to stock up on wine and veggies. After dropping everything off, it’s off to Walmart to get the beer and Admiral Nelson we couldn’t get on Sunday. Then we are off to Krogers to get Hebrew National jumbo hot dogs and a few other things you can’t get at Walmart. All ready for hitting the road. As long as the jacks get fixed tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
Monday, May 15, 2017
We have a 6:00 am start today. Back in the waiting room. The kitties have been good all day until we get back to the coach. Then Poco went Loco, really Loco, and scratched and bit me when I went to take her out of the stroller. Alex got her inside and I cleaned up my bloody hands and wrist. Once she was inside, she was back to her sweet self. Such a Demon child from Hell!!
We got the kitchen slide fixed today. Just a minor adjustment. So nice to be able to spread out again. Still waiting on the parts to replace the jacks. They are due in on Wednesday. Hopefully, we are close to getting out of here.
Since all of our REVtown pals are gone, Alex and I spent the rest of the day relaxing. Probably a good thing since both of us are sick. I forgot how miserably my allergies react to spring in the north.
Tomorrow they are working on our heater. They don’t have to take the coach into the service bags so they are coming by at nine and doing the work in our parking spot. We get to sleep in. A good thing since we are sick.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Happy Mother’s Day!
Nice sunny 70 degree day for all the moms.
We head to Walmart for supplies and find out you can’t buy beer, wine or alcohol of any kind on Sunday in Indiana. Not till seven Monday morning. Yikes! Guess we will be back tomorrow.
Such a nice day that Alex puts out chairs and we spend the rest of the day sitting outside relaxing. A pleasant change.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
If it’s Saturday, it must be laundry day. And so it is. Alex helps me lug everything down and I spend my morning in the laundry room.
As we were having lunch, Sue and David were ready to leave. We said our goodbyes and off they went east, first stop upstate New York to visit family. And just like that, the Fab Four became the Dynamic Duo.
The mowed grass from yesterday turned into a sinus infection today and I woke clogged and coughing. Perfect! Can’t wait to be totally miserable in Purgatory this week. Maybe I am moving from Purgatory into Hell!
Friday, May 12, 2017
7:00 AM start today. Always tough to find a spot when I get in after six o’clock. Everything is taken but one sofa opposite the Angel’s Bakery kiosk. But there is a dog there, so I move the empty sofa over and get set up. Murphy’s law kicks in and the people with the dog leave. I start to move the sofa back, and the very personable Jackie, who mans the customer service front desk, starts to yell at me not to move the sofa because it will scuff the concrete floor. She will help me move it. She runs over but can’t even lift it let alone move it, so I push it back. She tells me she can get maintenance to move the furniture if I need it again and I remind her that if someone gets non-pet owners to use their very nice lounge upstairs there might be enough room for pet owners in the downstairs pet lounge. Later when Alex comes back in, she gets him and starts complaining about what I did and he tells her the same thing about the non-pet owners taking up our space. Shot down. Crash and burn. No sympathy there.
They finally mowed the lawns here. They were getting pretty high. We can actually sit outside now and not get lost in the grass. The only problem with that is I am allergic to the grass, so I am sneezing all day.
When our coach comes back later that day, our kitchen slide won’t go out. Not as spacious as normal, but the two of us can make it through the weekend. But not great for company, so we get Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Supreme to eat at Sue and David’s. They have more room. This is a first for them. They have never had stuffed crust supreme. Not that it is something that should be on someone’s bucket list, but since we are in Decatur it is a high point. Almost like a native food.
We watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and then it is off to bed for us since we had to get up early today. Sue and David are leaving tomorrow, whenever they get it together. No rush.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
6:00 AM start time. Another fun filled day in Purgatory!
Twelve hours later we are doing burgers for dinner at Sue and David’s. We have gotten into watching Wheel of Fortune at seven and Jeopardy at 7:30. Sue is a big fan of both so it has become our thing to watch together. After that it is off to bed so we can get up at 4:45. I may be a retired senior, but this getting up in the middle of the night and being expected to function like an intelligent human being is a lot of hooey. Can’t wait to get back to a normal routine again.
Sue and David think they are done. They are just waiting to finish up on the paperwork and they will be off. They may take off tomorrow or Saturday.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
We have an 11:30 start time. The sun is shining, so we are grilling hot dogs for lunch with Sue and David at their parking spot. I have the kitties in their stroller and they are at least staying quiet long enough for me to eat. After that we walk around the parking lot and then head into the waiting room. We only have a little more than an hour, so not a bad day in Purgatory.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Day off, again. Tick tock!
Monday, May 8, 2017
Day off! Waiting for parts and decisions. A good thing and a bad thing.
Good thing, not having to get up and spend the day in the Purgatory waiting room. Bad thing, one more day stuck here.
Sunday, May 7, 2017
No rain. Two in a row. Amazing! Still below normal temps.
I spend the day working on our TV viewing situation. We have been trying to figure out the cheapest and best way to maintain our television viewing pleasure.
When we first got this coach, knowing we would be living in it, we tried the Dish pay as you go plan for a month to test it out on a long weekend of camping. Our coach came with a satellite dish installed on the roof, so we bought the Dish Wally receiver from Camping World along with the dongle so we could watch local stations, CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, etc. After doing battle with the set up and not getting any help from Dish or Camping World, we broke down and got the “Guy” to come over and get this thing up and running. I don’t know whether he fried the Wally receiver or it was hosed when we bought it, but we ended up having to buy a T211 receiver from him. It took him way longer than he anticipated but eventually he got it up and running. We paid Dish for the month package that would give us the all stations we like to watch. What we came to find out was it isn’t the package you have but the satellite dish. We have a satellite with only one head. It only picks up on one satellite and we get whatever stations it broadcasts that are in the package we bought. So all the other stations don’t ever come through. Dish doesn’t tell you that you will be paying for channels you won’t get.
For us to get all the channels in their better packages, or Direct TV’s package, requires us to change our satellite dish to the tune of $3,300 for the satellite dish and labor to install it. Before you can change out, you have to know if you want Dish or Direct TV, two different dishes, two different satellites. You need the correct dish for the correct company. Then pay for their monthly home package. We would get four receivers and the ability to record. This would also require a two year contract with the special package price good for one year. After that, you pay whatever the monthly rate would be. Hefty price for TV.
So with that I mind, I have set out to see if some combination of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime could work for us. Or Sling TV or anything else I hear of.
Here is the scenario so far. I have an Apple TV on the bedroom TV. We like stretching out in bed to watch our shows. I have a Roku on the TV in the living room. Not as cozy and comfy. We have unlimited data with Verizon.
Netflix, love it. When I get someone else’s free wifi, I download shows. Then I can stream them via Apple TV with no problem, no delay. Netflix also works perfectly on my iPad or iPhone.
Hulu works great on my iPad or iPhone. When I try to stream through Apple TV I get a black screen with pretty green Hulu letters. The iPad shows the app, but it doesn’t make it to the screen. If I use a connector to hook up through an HDMI cable, same pretty screen. If I use Apple TV directly to connect to Hulu, I can watch, but at some point the streaming stops and I get an error that tells me I need an HDCP cable to view. Apparently, Hulu knows of these problems but doesn’t have a fix yet. Check back next week, I am told. Using Roku gets the best results. You can watch but with interruptions. If all of this isn’t enough to set your tail feathers on fire, Hulu, who advertises that you can watch yesterday’s programs today, does not have all shows or all cable networks.
I still have a Comcast account which works fine on any of the devices, but won’t let you stream using Apple TV or an HDMI cable from an iPad because it claims licensing issues. You can use a laptop with an HDMI cable to watch on your television. Additionally, many shows are not available on their app, siting they can only be used on your home television.
This has been my Sunday. While not necessarily great, I have gained valuable information.
The hunt continues.
Saturday, May 6, 2017
No rain! A first! The sun actually does visit this part of the world! Temps are still below normal, but at least we have blue skies.
No flood in the kitchen and we have ice. Another good thing.
I get to catch up on paperwork and laundry and Alex does things around the coach.
A quite, peaceful and productive day!
Friday, May 5, 2017
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
We got to sleep in an extra hour. Wonderful for the body,but not so great for getting a spot in the Purgatory waiting room. By the time I get in, everyone has settled into spots in the pet area, whether they have pets or not. Sue and David had put their jackets on the couch I normally sit on, but people don’t seem to grasp the concept that the seat is taken and are sitting there anyway. So I move a couch from the area where Sue and David are sitting and take a chair from where I usually sit and make my own little world facing the window and the parking lot. This actually works out much better. The cats are isolated from the dogs and other people, I can still talk to Sue but I am blocked off from all the other people that would normally try to sit and chat, dogs in tow. Maybe it will be a calm, quite day?
I don’t understand these people with their dogs. They see there are three cats sitting calmly on the couch, yet they come over with their dogs all bouncy and enthusiastic and want to sit with us. When I politely ask them not to, they all will say their dogs don’t mind cats. Not one of these pet lovers can grasp the idea that maybe my cats mind their dogs? And I would rather not stress them out anymore than need be? That strange dogs and cats don’t usually get along? They can’t see the cats going into defense mode?
Today, among other things they were working on, they were finally replacing the entire ice maker unit in the freezer. If we are lucky we will have ice and no floods. We shall see.
It turns out to be a somewhat decent day in Purgatory, if you don’t count the guy snoring next to me on the couch where I usually sit. His wife is sitting next to him, but doesn’t seem to mind the noise. Can’t wait to get out of here!
So ends another week in REVtown!
Thursday, May 4, 2017
May the forth be with you! For all my Star Wars geek friends.
Another typical day in Purgatory.
We are going to Pizza Hut, remember no judgment, with Sue and David and another couple, Karen and Jay. I am tired and not interested in RV talk, I have had more than my fill. I would like to have a conversation about anything but RVs, but that is not where we are headed. Eventually, we move on to other topics and the evening goes well. Then it home to bed for another round.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
We got to sleep in. Ah!
We woke up when the eyes decided it was time to open. We had breakfast and got dressed, then went in to see everyone in Purgatory and double check that we were off. We were.
Alex had made an appointment for 5 in the afternoon to get new tires for Sergio, our Fiat 500. We figured we would be done with service on the coach for the day and 5 was a safe bet. Now that we were off, he called to see if he could get in earlier. He could, so off he went. I went back to our coach to take care of paperwork.
When it got close to noon, I texted Alex to bring back lunch. He brought home Wendy’s salads. Before you judge, remember there is not much in the way of restaurants in Decatur. And Wendy’s doesn’t make a bad chicken Caesar salad. Anyway, while we were eating, the service tech came knocking to work on the coach in our parking place. We asked for a few minutes to finish eating and gather the kitties up. Fifteen minutes later he was back and the kitties and I were outdoors again. We took a walk around the grounds before heading to Purgatory. This time it wasn’t so bad since it was around one o’clock. We wouldn’t have that much time there. As it turned out, I was back home after 2.
Skip managed to get his coach in for service and get it fixed, so he was getting ready to head out in the morning. Alex helped him with a few remaining problems, one being his electric cable not wanting to retract. They also found and fixed a crazy rattling, clunking sound on the roof. It turned out to be the roof vent cover. He came over for awhile to chat in the early evening before he went back to his coach to work, real work, the kind you get paid for. We would see him in the morning before he headed out.
All in all, not a bad day in Purgatory.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Same old, same old. So ends another day in Purgatory.
Tonight we are going to Sue and David’s for diner.
Sue made a pot roast and I made Dutch apple pie. Well, Mrs. Callender made the pie. I just popped it into the oven to make it edible. Hard to make pies and such when you don’t have a home till 3 or so each day.
When we were just finishing our yummy dinner, a coach pulled up. I looked out and said that it looked like Skip’s coach. It was. Low and behold he was back in Purgatory! Like Hotel California, “You can check out any time you like,But you can never leave!”
We went out to see what was up. He made his trip to New Hampshire somewhat successfully, if by successful you mean he made it there and back, but had problems, least of all no heat. If you remember, he had the heat fixed before he left us the last time. So now he was back. He was beat. And not a happy camper! He had been driving since 5 am. The guys helped him get set up, we said our good nights and went back for dessert. He would be back in Purgatory the next morning.
We had a great time with our new friends and when the witching hour struck, we went home so they could get ready for another day. We were off for the day, but needed to check in once we were up to make sure things didn’t change.
Monday, May 1, 2017
The start of another week in Purgatory!
We’re back in for six o’clock. It’s raining. Again. What a surprise! There is only one word to describe this place and that is gray. It is always cloudy even on the rare occasion it is not raining, making a bad situation even worse.
Deb and Frank are waiting to meet with their rep and then they are off to Rhode Island. By nine they are gone. The Sensational Six are down to the Fab Four.
Sue and I hold down the fort while Alex and David go back and forth between the waiting lounge and the service area. David also takes their dog for walks when the rain breaks.
The high point of the day is lunch. Angel’s Bakery has a little kiosk in the pet lounge. They have a full retail establishment not far from REVtown. Mackenzie comes in between 6 and 6:30 with sweet treats for sale. We give her our lunch order before she leaves around 8:30. That is our first milestone, Mackenzie leaving. The next milestone is Mackenzie coming back around 10:30 or 11 with everyone’s lunch order. Then we get to eat! Yes, we eat lunch at whatever time she comes. We are Pavlov’s dogs. Remember, we have been up since 4:45!
Before you know it, it is noon. Big, big milestone! We celebrate having only two and a half hours left. We cross from AM to PM. Ticking away time. I know what prison is like. And I don’t like it.
After lunch Alex goes back to the service area to see what’s going on before the day is over at 2:30.
Somewhere between noon and one o’clock, the kitties start getting really antsy. I can’t blame them. They have been stuck in our tiny, confined area for six hours already. They are very, very good kitties. If you don’t come over to see us, you wouldn’t know they are there. No noise like the dogs. Vino Loco hides under his blanket most of the day. Gizmo Loco sits next to me watching everything that goes on. It’s Princess Poco Loco, aka Misssy Pissy, that gives me the most trouble all day long. She would normally be sleeping most of the day, but here, no way. She wants to check out everything. She won’t sit still. Miss Atti-tude really kicks into gear around this time of day and gets her siblings going. So now I have to juggle three cats who want to start moving around, each in a different direction. Their stroller is their anchor point. The last few hours cruise by fast with them driving me crazy.
We wait and watch for our home on wheels to come around the bend. Then we can pack up and go home.
This is how my day in Purgatory goes.
Five days a week.
Sunday, April 30, 2017
It’s nice to sleep in past 4:45 in the morning, especially when it is raining, again. Or is it yet?
Tonight we are having some friends over for dinner. In addition to our new friend Skip, we have met Deb and Frank from the east coast of Florida and Sue and David from Maine. Deb and Frank are living, aka parked across the road from us, to our left. We met them the first week we were here. Sue and David are friends of theirs. They are three spaces up. They came to REVtown the weekend after us. We became a fun force of six.
Thursday we had dinner at Deb and Frank’s. Tonight we are hosting the evening meal. Only problem is tonight is a school night and we all have to be up in the morning to start another fun filled week so we can’t indulge too much.
I made garlic shrimp and pasta. Sue brought brownies and ice cream. We all had full bellies. After dinner, the boys end up in the living room and the women gather around the dining table. Good conversation abounds until our witching hour hits and everyone has to go home and get so sleep.
Deb and Frank are planning on leaving in the morning once they finish up with their rep. The rest of us are stuck in Purgatory’s waiting room, again. It is amazing how sitting in Purgatory for eight and a half hours can suck the life out of you!
Off to bed we go. Power up for another round.
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Decatur, Indiana has a Walmart and a Kroger’s. Your dining options are limited to Burger King, Arby’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s and Subway. There are a few local restaurants but that is it. No movies, no national restaurant chains, no malls. If you want the big city life, you have to go to the big city. So off to the big city we go!
Fort Wayne is located in northeastern Indiana, the city is 18 miles west of the Ohio state border and 50 miles south of the Michigan border. In 2015, the population was estimated at 260,326. Fort Wayne is the 77th most populous city in the US and the second largest in Indiana, after Indianapolis.
Fort Wayne has pretty much all of the national big box stores, or at least the ones I like. We stopped at Aldi’s for supplies and then headed to Jefferson Pointe, an outdoor mall. In a land where it is almost always gray, rainy and cold, I don’t get the attraction of an outdoor, open air mall. It was raining, of course, so wandering the mall didn’t seem like something we wanted to do. Just get our stuff and go home. Not a great economic driving force.
We had lunch at Panera’s, which was packed. Soup and salad is always a great lunch especially when it is cold and raining.
We drink a lot of seltzer and rather than tote mucho bottles on our trek, we use a Soda Stream. A few carbonated canisters are a lot easier to store than tons of bottles and they last longer. Also, you don’t have to find grocery stores as often. We needed to replace one canister that was empty before we really get to traveling on down the road. Bed Bath & Beyond is the place to get a replacement. We were also looking for a new kitchen rug, remember the flood the night before, garbage bags for our SimpleHuman trash can and the pull out drawers you can use in cabinets. Fleetwood makes kitchen cabinets that are somewhat deep. As long as you don’t plan on getting anything out of them on a regular basis, no problem. You can just keep things stored. But always having to pull food or pots or anything else you use on a regular basis out of the caves, and it gets real old, real fast. So we have been trying to find drawers that can fit the odd size cabinets. If we were home, we could build drawers to fit and buy the hardware, but on the road we don’t have the tools or space to be building anything.
We had no success on anything except the Soda Stream canister. For whatever reason, BB&B had every bag except the size that fits our butterfly can. Since we are going to be here awhile, I ordered the bags from Amazon. Finding a rug in the size we want is a fun shopping experience on the internet, which may take some time, first in deciding and second to find a place where we can have it shipped.
A quick stop at the local Walmart and it was home for some rest and relaxation.
Friday, April 28, 2017
We have the day off. Or so we thought.
They were waiting for parts, so we got to sleep in. While we were sitting at the kitchen table enjoying the last of our coffee, we got a knock on the door. April, our service rep, came to tell us they were coming to pick up our coach in fifteen minutes to work on the refrigerator that has been leaking and not making ice since the day we bought her. The appliance tech got the parts and Fleetwood had to pull the fridge out before he got there to do the repairs. Yippee! The thought of no more water flowing from the fridge and making a mess everywhere was too much to hope for.
So we had to quickly get dressed, pack up the coach and kitties and back to Purgatory we went!
They kept the coach till the 2:30 quitting time. Apparently, the drain was clogged and the water line had been crimped, one causing the flood, the other causing the lack of ice. This was the third time this fridge was looked at, twice at LaMesa in Fort Myers, Florida and now here. The appliance tech told us we should have ice if not that night then the next morning.
Somewhere during the night, Alex got up to find the kitchen flooded, again! Water had been pouring out of the freezer and traveled all the way to the front of the coach through the kitchen rug and the rug at the cockpit chair. So at 3:30 in the morning, we were mopping up yet again. The six foot rug went in the shower to drip dry. So did all the towels. The ice maker got turned off. By the way, it had yet to make ice cubes. We piled more dry towels under the freezer and went back to bed. At least I did. Alex laid there fretting for hours. So much for crossing one off the list.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
We had a day off from Purgatory!
We decided to tour the factory to see how class A coaches are built. The tour takes about two hours and starts at nine each morning. The REV Recreation Group manufactures American Coach, Fleetwood RV, Holiday Rambler, Monaco and Trek. They have three manufacturing facilities here totaling over 500,000 square feet on 100 acres. They produce over 3,000 motor homes each year. There is also the Service Facility, aka REVtown, a Parts Distribution Center and a Retail Store. All total, they employ more than 1000 employees. Needless to say, it is the only game in town!
If you decide to do the tour, remember to wear shoes. No open toed or open heeled shoes allowed. They must be closed and make them comfortable, since you will be walking for two hours.
During the tour, you start with an empty chassis. There are stations for everything that goes into the coach. First you will see the chassis being fitted with plumbing, electric, heating/ac, and anything else that lives in your floors. The sub-floor gets put down and then the tile. You see the exterior walls being fabricated, interior walls being erected and connected to what was put in the flooring and appliances going in. Forklifts run around like ants. After checking out the massive holes in the exterior walls, you can see the slides going in. And don’t forget the roof. Once it’s all together, it’s off to the paint building to put those gorgeous color schemes on the body of the coach.
It is an interesting way to learn about these coaches, or a great way to educate yourself if you are in the market for a class A. You can visit other RV manufacturer’s facilities and compare before you make your purchase.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Day 7 in Purgatory!
Nothing to do from 6 am till 2:30 pm except keep three little kitties in line, keep them calm, cool and quiet! It’s a very long day sitting doing nothing. Alex goes back and forth between the waiting room and the work area to check on progress. At least they have good coffee.
People come over and have a chat, since I am pretty much stuck in one place with three kitties. I am a captive audience. This place is it’s own little community. Revtown, as I call it, is a fun place full of drama and much like a soap opera or high school. Everyone is trying to impress everyone else with their RVing knowledge, money or stories. The boys all swap coach stories and knowledge. Alex says he is learning a lot. I am polite, but that is running thin with some, so I tend to keep to myself, which I am sure makes me stuck up or a bitch! Don’t really care.
We did make friends with Skip from Solanta, Alaska. Though not new to RVing, this is a new coach Skip bought on the internet. He flew down with his puppy to pick up the coach and head to New Hampshire to bury his recently deceased mom. He came to Revtown for basic maintenance before heading east when problems popped up and he too was stuck in Purgatory. He was released today and started on his journey, a week behind schedule. As soon as mom is laid to rest, he will be coming back this way heading to Seattle to cross into Canada on his way home. We are going to try to get together. If not, will see him when we pass his way in Alaska.
We have the morning off tomorrow. Parts aren’t do in till mid day, so we are planning on doing the factory tour. No 4:45 am alarm.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Purgatory up next!
On to Decatur, Indiana and the Fleetwood Service Center, aka the REV Group. The REV Group consists of Fleetwood, American Coach, Holiday Rambler and Monaco.
We arrive and get our assigned spot. Space 405, next to the fence and railroad tracks. Now you might think this is a lousy spot, but I like it. We are parked parallel to the fence, so we don’t have anyone on either side of us, no one behind us and Skip, from Alaska, of all places, in front of us, and that is only because Fleetwood took Skip’s designed spot. Everyone else is in a back in spot with other coaches on each side. We are kind of secluded compared to everyone else. Plus we have a great view of everything, including the railroad tracks, and not just looking at the side of another coach!
The “campsite” is a paved parking lot that is fairly level. The REV Group supplies electric at the sites. No water or sewer on site. To dump or fill your water holding tank, you have to drive down the road a bit to another area of the facility. This means water usage, including showers, needs to be conserved. Likewise, the potty. Otherwise, you are breaking down camp and trucking on down the road to fill up or dump. There are bathrooms and a very nice laundry area inside the building so that helps. Still, you can’t help wish for the days of a full hookup site. The longer you’re here, the more you wish.
Thursday, the 20th, at six in the morning they come and take your coach. Had to set the alarm for 4:30 in the morning! This is too much like work!
Now we are truly homeless!
They have a nice waiting facility, with leather couches and chairs, where there are vending machines and free coffee. Upstairs there are televisions and areas where you can work on your laptop plus more couches. They have free wifi, but we’ve all noticed it seems to be turned off at night. We have our own Verizon Jetpack, so life is good for us.
You can bring your pets into the facility, but they must be on a leash and kept downstairs. For dogs, it isn’t such a big deal. When they are bored, they can go outside for a walk. For cats, it’s a big deal. We load our three into their stroller and off we go. Vino, aka Mouth of the South, starts howling as soon as we get inside. Fortunately, he calms down after he comes out of the stroller and hides under my jacket. The girls hang out in the stroller. Later in the day, I try to take Princess Poco Loco out of the stroller and she throws the biggest hissy fit ever, growling and hissing and clawing. She is not a happy camper! So a bleeding me puts her back in the stroller.
It has been a long day for them and us. Normally, your coach is delivered back at 2:30, but today they decide to work until 4:30. The day in Purgatory just got longer, but at least more time is being spent on the repairs.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
No trip to Kentucky is complete without a trek down the bourbon trial. So today we head off to Frankfort, Kentucky to see the Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Buffalo Trace is the oldest legally operating distillery in the United States. It even remained operational during Prohibition, for medicinal purposes. Granny would complain to her doctor about her aches and pains and the doc would write her a prescription for alcohol. She could get a pint ever two weeks.
The Distillery sits on 440 acres and has four centuries of architecture. The grounds are magnificently maintained with green grass hills and beautiful foliage. The Distillery is now a National Historic Landmark.
I am not a bourbon fan. My tastes lean more towards wine and Disaronno. On occasion, rum, tequila and maybe vodka. But that is a rarity. But I am always interested in learning about anything and everything. So I guess bourbon will be next on my list.
Buffalo Trace offers five different tours. The Bourbon Barrel Tour is just that, everything you ever wanted to know about the barrels that age the bourbon. You need reservations for this Tour and it is only available at 9:30 Monday through Friday. Their Hard Hat Tour shows everything from grain delivery to distillation. Reservations are required. Tours are Monday through Friday at 10:30 and 1:30 and Saturday at 10:30. The National Historic Landmark Tour is a reservation required tour that focuses on the buildings, architecture and history between 1933-1953. The Ghost Tour, which is what I would have loved to go on, is only available Thursday through Saturday at 7:00 pm. You will need reservations for this tour that shows some of the most haunted areas, including Stony Point Mansion, where it is said that the ghost of Colonel Blanton still resides.
We took the free Trace Tour of the distillery, which tells you about the history of the Distillery and the bourbon making process, with Freddie. This tour is available Monday through Saturday, 9 to 4 and Sunday 12 to 3 with tours leaving every hour.
Freddie’s father and grandfather both worked for the distillery. His family has been working there for over one hundred years. He has all the knowledge you would ever want or need to know about making hootch, as he puts it. Freddie told us, on a walking tour of the grounds, that, in the old days, the federal government mandated that buildings that store booze put bars on all the windows below thirty feet to prevent the barrels from “disappearing” before the taxes were paid. Each full barrel weighs 550 pounds. The Feds found that the barrels were made in such a way that they could be dropped from twenty feet and bounce without being destroyed. Over that and kaboom! No more barrel. So to keep distilleries paying taxes, bars were required on any window under thirty feet. No skipping out on paying those taxes!
Freddie taught us how the three grains, corn, rye and malted barley, in different combinations, make the different types of hootch. Have a gluten intolerance? Get a hangover after drinking? Then the main ingredient of your drink was wheat. Try one with the main component being corn.
We saw the bottling process from entering the bottle to packing the cartons. We even got complimentary bottle stoppers from Blanton’s Bourbon with a trace of bourbon on the stopper. Kentucky law makes them trash the stoppers when they have a problem on the line, so that’s how you get the stopper. One thing we learned about Blanton’s, they put a letter of their name on each stopper. If you collect all of the letters, you can spell out their name and it is a big deal for bourbon drinkers. I wanted the last letter, S, so Freddie said Alex had to have the beginning letter, B, which made us BS. Funny man!
The tour ends with a taste testing. Oh course! Freddie brought out four different bottles of bourbon, Eagle Rare, Maker’s Mark, Bourbon Cream and White Dog. You start out with White Dog, a mash right out of the still. Freddie poured a bit in your hand and had us smack our hands together. You smell and taste what is left in your hands. This goes on several times. Each time the result brings you closer to the main ingredient, corn.
After that, each person gets a shot of two of the different bourbons. So a couple would be able to get to sample each of the four. We learned how that little drink, the shot, was named. Back in the day, when someone rode into town on their horse, all they wanted was a drink. But they didn’t have any money. But they had a gun, with bullets. Each bullet was worth twelve cents. A drink cost twelve cents. So they traded a bullet for a drink. Hence, a drink becomes a shot.
They have a nice buffalo themed store where you can purchase any of the bourbons, clothes and various other items. The Firehouse Sandwich Shop has burgers, and of course, sandwiches. I had a pulled pork sandwich and Alex had a very tasty smoked hamburger.
All in all, a very fun and interesting place to visit to learn, not only about making bourbon, but about the history of the area and our nation.
Check out the photos in the Photographs and Memories section.
Monday, April 17, 2017
We had a heavy rain last night that made me think we were in Florida again. Since we were not traveling far, only 72 miles today, we were able to watch the radar and wait out the storm. We filled the propane tank before heading off and leaving this campsite behind. A little more than an hour late and we were at Whispering Hills RV Park in Georgetown, Kentucky.
Georgetown is the seventh largest city in Kentucky and is home to Georgetown College. It is the county seat of Scott County. It’s biggest claim to fame is the massive Toyota plant built in the mid-1980s. And I do mean massive, or should I say huge!
Whispering Hills has plenty of rolling Kentucky hills. The campsites can accommodate a 40 foot rig, but little else. As a result, people park their vehicles in the roadway, making for a tight squeeze for anyone trying to drive down the road and in some cases, someone trying to pull in. The first night we were there, we had three rigs come in at the exact same time, two in the spots adjacent to us on the right, and a fifth wheel to our left. Traffic jam in the campground! Camp staff had to find the owners of the vehicles parked at one of the sites so one of the rigs could back in. Like I said, crowded roads.
We opted for a back in site, since we were going to unhitch Sergio anyway to go into Frankfort the next day. This saved five dollars a night over a pull thru. Sounds like a trifle amount, but it adds up. Their utilities were spaced kind of far apart, three to four feet between each. That made placing the coach in the best spot for hoses and cables to reach a challenge.
In addition to the rolling green hills, the campground has a pool, playground and basketball court. We were down by the lake and we could see and hear the Canadian geese. Living in Florida for fifteen years, it was a treat to see them again. They do say you can fish in the lake, but tell you that a Kentucky fishing license is needed, in case the state comes through and checks. Laundry and shower/bath facilities are also available.
Behind the lake, up on the hill, there were cows. And there was a donkey. We never did see it, but we heard it, many times. Our kitties have never heard a donkey, so each time it brayed our guys were running to the windows to see what the noise was. They never got to put critter to sound.
After spending nights sleeping with traffic sounds, we were able to sleep with county sounds. Geese, donkeys and the train whistle in the distance. Nice!
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Today we have showers. And then sunshine. And then showers. And then sunshine.
In between the round of showers, we take a ride to the Village Shops on 25. Quaint is the only way to describe this old fashioned little village of shops. It is Easter, so everything is closed except the Chocolate Factory. Dan, the proprietor, makes all the chocolate, fudge and coffee the shop sells. We buy fudge and one of my favorites, chocolate covered raspberry jellies. Since there is no one else around, Dan has the time to chat. He is originally from Pennsylvania, lived in Renfro Valley for 30 years except for five years in Indiana. We learn that this cute little village has suffered under bad management but is now on the mend. There is what is called the Old Barn and the New Barn, both music halls that have been the bedrock of the musical community in this area. They recently built a tunnel to go under the highway to go to the ticket sales office, motel, restaurant and post office. Dan tells us that the village was packed the day before, but the holiday has everything closed. Oh well! Just our luck!
Tomorrow off to Georgetown, Kentucky.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
The first full day here we drove a half an hour south back to the Corbin area. It has many of the big box stores and one very quaint attraction. It is the home of Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken. The original, but restored, 1940’s restaurant still stands and serves up the Colonel’s chicken. There is the Colonel’s kitchen and other artifacts and memorabilia to see. Look in the Photographs and Memories section to see some photos.
Coming back to the campground we took a ride through the beautiful rolling hills and enjoyed the colors of spring. Every shade of green from new leaf green to the dark colors of the evergreens. Add purple, russet, yellow and white flowering trees and shrubs and you have an artists delight.
Friday, April 14, 2017
Leaving Cartersville, Georgia and heading to Kentucky.
We don’t like to just wing it for finding a campground. Some people drive until they are ready to stop for the night and look for a campground in their path and see if they can get a spot. Not us. We like to know where we are staying and have a game plan. We’ve gotten skunked before. When you are tired, not being able to stop for the night and rest makes for a very bad trip.
So we had spent the night in Cartersville trying to map out the rest of our trip to Decatur, Indiana, looking for places to stay since we were having such bad luck on the phone trying to connect with our original selections.
We wanted to stay in the Corbin, Kentucky area because it fit in with our mileage requirements and it looked like there were some interesting things to see. That didn’t work out. So we ended up in another KOA, this time in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky in Renfro Valley.
This KOA sits on the top of a very steep hill/mountain. It has only 19 full hook-up 50 amp sites. The rest are various combinations of hook-ups at 30 amp, with a few 50 amp, no sewer. The odd thing about this campground is that it does buddy sites. We may not have millions of miles under our belts, but have thousands traveling around the country. We have never encountered this in any state campground or private one. Buddy sites have coaches alternate the way they pull in. So on one side, you are closed side to closed side. We were so close to this neighbor that you could see every mark and screw in their coach. Very easy to pass the Gray Poupon without even getting out of your seat. Check out the Photographs and Memory section to see some pictures of this site. On the other side your door opens to your neighbor’s door and you share the common ground, which in this campground is no more than 15 feet of space between the coaches. Their rationale is people like to meet people. I like to meet people too, but I also like to be able to sit outside and have some privacy. Some peace and quite. Our neighbors at this site were nice enough, but they sat outside all day and most of the night smoking cigarettes. I don’t want to sit in the great outdoors breathing cigarette smoke, so we weren’t out much. They had a bunch of people over one day so things were quite crowded. The site we had was directly in front of the office, bath house, and their campground vehicle parking. Overall, nothing you want in a campsite.
Some other down sides to this campground; lousy water pressure and brutality bad cable. They do offer volleyball, mini golf, shuffleboard, horseshoes, basketball, a jumping pillow, playground and pool. It is a small campground, so a walk around the grounds is quick.
The claim to fame for this location is their music history. If you are into country or bluegrass music then you will want to check out the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center where bluegrass and county musicians play.
Once we got settled in we took a ride to the local Walmart for some supplies. There are only very small local stores. No big grocery chains. So Walmart is king. This is a dry county, as are many in this state, so if you come, make sure you have enough liquid libations to carry you through.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
After two nights in Jennings, Florida we are off to Atlanta, Georgia, or so we thought.
On travel days, we get up and do the usual, have breakfast and stow away everything that can shake, rattle, roll or go flying while cruising down the highway. Then it’s adjust the bed to its upright position, bring in the slides, jacks and do the air suspension.
The bed goes into position. So next on the list to do is to bring in the slides. Full slide, no problem. Kitchen slide, a breeze. Bedroom slide, nothing, nada, zilch.
For those of you not interested in the War and Peace version, here’s the short version.
Alex MacGyver starts the troubleshooting routine to no avail. So a call to Fleetwood Service in Decatur, Indiana was next. We got Shane, who had us completely strip the bedding and mattress to get to the mechanics underneath. If you remember, we were all closed up and packed tight. So this was not a fun task. Shane told Alex MacGyver that Fleetwood puts a block of wood into the base of the bed to hold the magnetic contacts together that are used to extend or retract the slide.
Looking at the connection, it was easy to see what happened. When we first got to Jennings and dropped the bed, Prince Vino Loco, our fat boy, was hiding down there unknown to us. If you know anything about cats, they love to find the darkest, tiniest, most obscure hiding places. Under this boxed version of a bed is a favorite napping place for all three of our cats. Once the bed was down, Vino freaked out. He couldn’t get his big, old body out.
Vino’s escape attempt must have gotten him tangled in the wire and not only did he pull the contacts apart but pulled the block of wood out of the plywood base. In Vino’s defense, there was only one tiny screw holding it to the base with about an 1/8″ of it actually in the plywood. An accident waiting to happen. Alex MacGyver got out his handy, dandy cordless drill and container of screws, went to work and bam the slide was coming in.
So with only a slight delay, it was back on the road toward Atlanta.
We wanted to spend a few days in Atlanta, but since it recently had I-85 collapse in the northeast area, we decided against it. Hot-Lanta would have to be another time. Even so, we were not looking forward to the trek. The grand debate was whether we should go straight up 75 or take the loop. Anyone you talked to had their opinion. We decided to go straight up mostly because the traffic reports at the time showed more bad spots on the loop than 75. In spite of the slow downs, it wasn’t that bad going through Atlanta, it was north of the city that had the problems.
Our goal on this leg of the journey was to work on the 2-2-2 rule. Drive for two hundred miles, get to a site by 2:00, stay for two days. One thing we didn’t take into consideration was it was Spring Break and Easter week. Campsites can be hard to come by, depending on the time of year and location, especially if you want to have full hookups and prefer a pull thru. If we are staying any length of time, a back in works fine, as we would be disconnecting the car anyway to explore. For an overnight, a pull thru makes life easier. Based on this turn of events, we had to adjust our itinerary a bit to get sites that could accommodate us. For tonight, we settled on Cartersville Cassville-White KOA in Cartersville, Georgia, about 40 minutes north of Atlanta for the only night they could host us.
We had a site right on the highway, so traffic sounds. There were plenty of semis turning down the road on the other side of the street. Prince Vino does not like the sound of all that traffic so he tends to voice his dislike all through the night. His discontent does not make for a good sleep.
This KOA has the usual pool, basketball, corn hole game, horseshoes, volleyball and a kid’s playground. There is also a very limited camp store. Their cable wasn’t bad as camp cables go. Every station on the listing came in decent. The sites are close. If you don’t plan on spending a lot of time relaxing outside or you don’t mind hanging with your neighbors it can do. We had smokers next door who, ironically, had a big No Smoking sticker on their fifth wheel door. Sorry, but I am not a fan of cigarettes, so I was not outside alot.
One unusual thing they do have is how you exit. We were right on the highway at the entrance. To exit we had to go back into the campground, pass the office and make a U-turn around the dumpster and dump station. A little crazy when a rig is there using the dump station. You kind of cross paths. This KOA is not bad for an overnight stop, but I wouldn’t want to spend any great length of time there.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
First stop, Jennings, Florida. Jennings is a town in Hamilton County, Florida with a population of 833 at the time of the 2000 census. Not very big or very much to do here. Just a stop on the highway.
We are at Jennings Outdoor Resort Campground on State Road 143 off I-75 exit 467. This campground has paved pull thru spaces and paved roads. Although paved, the campground is very, very tight. Road wise and site wise. It was built over thirty years ago when RVs were a lot smaller. We have a 40 foot class A and had to disconnect the car, our little Sergio, a Fiat 500 Sport, to hookup the utilities. If not, we would have been hanging into the very narrow road. Not a biggie, but something to keep in mind for big rigs or inexperienced RV drivers.
There is a big beautiful pond with ducks and fish where catch and release fishing is allowed with no license. They have a playground for the kids and a very nice pool. Also included are the usual shuffleboard, horseshoes and basketball. They do offer limited cable for an additional fee. There is a convenience store and laundry. I took advantage of the laundry to wash some rugs. I found it was very clean and the machines were quick.
Overall, it is a nice park. The close proximity to I-75 does give you quick access to the highway but also gives you traffic noise. I am a city kid, so it is music to my ears. Others might not find it quite so endearing. The infrastructure; pavement, wood structure, is showing its age, especially with Florida’s harsh environment.
If you visit, make sure you take what I call the trip down memory lane. The original owner has quite a few antiques in the store and if you walk around the recreation facility, be sure to check out the old pay phone. Show your kids a bit of history!
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
And so the adventure begins!
We have officially become nomads.
For the past month, we have been living in our RV in a campsite we have been to before, going to places we have been before and still seeing all the people we know and love. Same old, same old.
Today we hit the road for good, or maybe worse. Only time will tell. From this point forward, everything is brand new.
It is exciting but also very sad. We are leaving behind good friends and beloved family. It is a bittersweet moment. But the call of the open road is like a siren’s song. She is calling and we must follow.
Sunday, April 9, 2017
My husband Alex and I have always been considered the black sheeps of our respective families. Never quite fitting into the conventional box. We have been dive masters, road Harley’s, lived and sailed on our sailboat. Me, I have been something of a gypsy, a nomad. Always in search of something new. My Cousin Joan once told me she left an entire page in her address book, you remember address books, those paper versions of our phone’s Contacts, just for me. Maybe she thought it would shame me into staying put, but I took it as a challenge. So the natural progression to satisfy our gypsy souls was an RV.
After four RVs and many years doing not as long as we would like trips, we decided to retire and hit the dusty trail. And so the real adventure began.
We toyed with the idea of keeping our Florida home as a base, someplace to come back to a few winter months each year. We were fortunate enough not to have had a mortgage on our home, but even after running the numbers, taxes, insurances (Florida insurance, Yikes!), electric, and yard maintenance, it didn’t make sense. We were just throwing money away. Not to mention worrying what would happen while we were gone, especially during mean season. The next idea was renting it. But if we stayed on the road longer then the law allowed, we would be paying capital gains. Not something we wanted to deal with. So the logical conclusion was to sell. Like I said, here the adventure begins.
This move was like no other and I have done many. In past moves, you pick up your stuff and put it in boxes, put it on a truck and move it to your new place. You weed out the things you don’t want, but for the most part, it’s the same stuff just in a different place. Not so in this case.
We had the task of cleaning out our house. Everything in our house. All 60 something years and everything you have inherited from everyone else in your life. A strangely eerie and liberating experience.
If you have ever had to clean out a loved ones home or apartment, you can understand the emotions. Each item you touch had some meaning, some reason why they kept it, why it was a part of their life. And you have to consider that when deciding its disposition. Do I keep it? Do I throw it away? Would someone they knew and loved want it? Only this time, it isn’t someone else’s stuff, it’s yours. You feel like you are going through a dead loved ones things, only you are that loved one. This is the eerie part. It’s almost like you are dead, watching this from another plane of existence. Deciding the fate of everything you hold dear, everything you spent your entire life accumulating. That feeling stays with you but somehow you move past it, move through it and start deciding the fate of all your things. This is the liberating part. Freeing yourself of all the stuff. All the stuff you haven’t used or touched in years but still cling to. Cutting the tether that holds you to all the conditioning you have been taught.
We opted to put our most important things in a storage pod. We thought about a storage unit, but that would mean moving everything to the unit, and worse, coming back and moving it into a truck to take it to whatever part of the county we decided we were going to live. The logistics of this option was just too much; coach, pets, time, energy. So a pod it was. They could deliver to our future location.
Next comes the hard part, decision time on all our things. The first decision was, is it something I want to keep? If so, do I want it in the coach or pack in the pod. Both have limited space. If it is something I can live without, again liberating part, is it garage sale, a giveaway or trash? This went on for every single, solitary item, from clothes to furniture to tools right down to DVDs, music and alcohol. Not one item is overlooked. An exhaustive job. But finally it was done.
We hired what I called pod people to pack the tons of stuff into the pod. Not an easy task. It was like a jigsaw puzzle. But they did it. At that point, we no longer were brick and mortar homeowners. We were, but there was nothing in there to make it home. So we began our living in an RV. In our driveway. With everything just tossed inside. For the next few days, until they pod was picked up, we had the last garage sale, dropped things off to friends and family, made a few trips to the local dump and started the task of organizing the coach. Then off to spend our first month as full time RVers at Riverside RV Resort & Campground on County Road 769 in Arcadia, Florida while we waited for the closing and to tie up lose ends.
Riverside RV Resort is a Good Sam Encore park with the older, original section and the newer section called “The Lakes”. The Lakes offers more spacious sites with ponds and room to spread out. A little pricier but well worth the money if you are spending any amount of time there. Catch and release fishing is allowed and if you are new to Florida, you might even see a small gator or two. Native Florida birds make the ponds a favorite spot so have your camera ready. The Resort offers cable and wifi. Full hookups, a pool, shuffle board, pickleball and water aerobics are some of the things to keep you amused. A very nice campground that we definitely recommend.