Monday, October 26, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Fulltimer - Hanging Out at Panera

Yes, I'm killing time at Panera this afternoon.  Freightliner issued a recall for the steering box on motorhomes built between 2004 and 2008.  So I called Truck Center in Springfield last week to set up an appointment  to see if the part needed to be replaced on our motorhome.  I told them that we lived fulltime in the motorhome.  The appointment was set for 8:00am this morning, and I had a dentist appointment at 8:00am.  Not a problem.  It doesn't take two of us to drive the motorhome to Truck Center, and I didn't need Dan to hold my hand at the dentist.  And we knew it shouldn't take too long to see if our steering box was actually on the recall list.  If it was, the part would have to be ordered and we'd have to take the motorhome back another day for a 4 hour appointment.  And Dan wanted to take it to another truck place where he gets the oil and filters changed and thought he would have plenty of time to get that done this morning.  He wasn't happy with the first oil change done at Truck Center and the price was higher.  We had to take it to Truck Center for the recall because they are a Freightliner service center.

So we were up at 6:00am, walked the dog (he was a little confused at having to go outside in the rain and the dark so early in the morning); had breakfast, and finished packing up the items that I didn't put away last night.  Even just driving 5 miles, we still need to stow things as though we are moving down the road.  We do leave some things out on the non-skid mats and several things are anchored down with museum putty, but we still have to go through the whole pre-travel process.   We both left our driveway at 7:30.  I put a load of clothes in the washer at the local laundromat and went to the dentist.  (Small town, don't need to worry about the clothes).  Finished with the dentist about 8:30, dried the clothes at the laundromat, visited with another lady there for about 1/2 hour and finally went back to the house about 10:30.  NO MOTORHOME, NO DAN AND NO TRUCK.  Now, I had been told it would only take about 1/2 hour to check for the recall.  And it's still raining; not hard, but a steady drizzle.

Called Dan and he said they hadn't pulled the motorhome into the shop yet!!!   He told them that we lived in it fulltime as he watched another Mandalay motorhome being pulled into the shop (a 2008 model there for another recall).  The shop guy, whose name was also Dan, said, "Oh, I didn't know that."  So it finally got into the shop at 11:00.  I, in the meantime, was sitting in our driveway with the dog in the car, reading a book.  There is no furniture in the house, and there is a problem with the furnace so we haven't been able to heat the downstairs.  Pete is coming Tuesday or Wednesday to fix it. 

We decided to meet at Denny's for lunch, since all the food is in the Mandalay which is now in the shop.  As I was driving to Denny's, Truck Center Dan called to say that our gear box was NOT on the recall list and we could pick up the motorhome.  Dan had checked about getting the oil changed at the other shop, but they can't do it until 1:00pm. 

Soooooo, that's why I'm hanging out at Panera.  Denny's doesn't have WiFi, or I would have just stayed there.  Kasey is really confused.  He can't understand why he has to stay in the car all day. 

Oh, I almost forgot.  Dan also has to get propane today while he's running around in the motorhome.  We haven't been running the motorhome furnace, but also don't have much propane.  We do have 2 small electric heaters which work real well to warm things up in the early morning. 

Just another day in the life of two RV fulltimers.  The day didn't go as planned, but nothing bad happened; we don't have to schedule another appointment for the recall; and we got the scheduled maintenance done and checked off the list. 

Back to working on the house tomorrow. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Musings on Our Lifestyle and Back in Illinois

We arrived back in Rochester on Friday, Oct. 16. It is really interesting to see how some things have stayed the same and others have changed after having been gone for several months. There was extensive road work being down on East Lake Drive, the main road we take to get to Springfield, when we left in June. Most of the time the road was one lane during the road work. It was heavily traveled, thus the need to widen it; but it seemed like it was taking forever to finish the work. The work is all completed, with turn lanes, a traffic signal, new grass on either side and one of the smoothest surfaces we've ever seen. And a hike and bike trail. I hope the people who use it every day appreciate all the work that went into it.

Our neighborhood looks about the same. The house looks just like it did when we left (in need of getting the remodeling done). Our neighbor has kept the yard mowed and checked inside occasionally. After getting the motorhome parked and hooked up (we have 50amp and water on one end of the house and access to a sewer drain in the basement to dump the tanks via our macerator pump, we talked a little about our emotions and feelings of coming back to this house. We concluded that we really don't have any feeling one way or another, except the need to get this remodeling done so we can turn the key over to the realtor!! We raised our family in this house. Dan built the house the spring of 1978 after Sarah was born, and all our children graduated from the Rochester Schools. We have LOTS of memories of kids over to visit, birthday parties with grandparents included, Easter egg hunts in the back yard, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners around our big Amish built dining room table (with card tables added as a daughter-in-law and sons-in-law were added, and then grandchildren). Other memories of each child learning to drive, working at the local grocery store, library and restaurant and then leaving for college or the military, or just to "find themselves". At one time both parents and two children were all in college at the same time. Dan built a house for my parents just one block away so they could be closer to us as they were becoming less independent.

But time marches on and children establish their own homes in 5 different states, our parents do not live forever and our own needs and wants change. I'm not sure our needs and wants change as much as our sense that we now have the freedom and abilities to pursue some of our dreams which may have been put on the back burner. We neither one have a sense of "coming home" to this house.

We so enjoyed our three months in Seattle. Dash Point State Park is actually located on Puget Sound in Federal Way, just south of Seattle; about 25 miles from Gretchen's house. We were maintenance volunteers at the park. Our campsite certainly didn't have the "it" factor as we were parked across from the office and maintenance buildings. But we did have a nice big grassy yard and met and worked with a fabulous group of park rangers and park staff. And we were able to set our own hours independent of the campground hosts, so we could come and go as we pleased. This was especially helpful as Gretchen needed quite a bit of help after Edie was born. Our previous visits to Seattle with the motorhome we had parked in Gretchen and Rodney's back yard in West Seattle, and that was beginning to feel like "home." I'm sure if we volunteer at Dash Point again, we'll feel right at home.

Here are some pictures of our site at Dash Point.

This is the entrance sign on the beach side of the park. Our site was about 400 ft to the right of this sign.

The entrance booth to the beach and day use area looking toward out campsite.  This was my work station on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons as I passed out trail maps, answered questions, gave directions, and reminded visitors of the donation box.  Dash Point SP is supported by the state, but all donations are used for improvements and projects at the park that are not covered in the regular budget.  The 400 acre park is located within the city of Federal Way, and is heavily used by the local neighborhood families. 

Our motorhome is visible in the background.  You can see, I didn't have far to walk to work, and Dan just walked across the street to the maintenance area where he repaired and revamped all the old wooden picnic tables.  He recycled the usable wood and bolts and used other recycled wood that was leftover from other projects. 

Lucy and Grandpa blowing bubbles in our
yard next to the motorhome.

Just relaxing.  Notice Grandpa and Lucy's legs.  The office is in the background just across the street from our campsite.
This is Edie and her mom.  Edie was asleep in the motorhome when the other pictures were taken.
As I said before, we felt right at home at Dash Point and look forward to returning in the future.  And we get to see spend more time with our granddaughters and their mom and dad also.

We left Seatle and headed toward Colorado to visit our grandsons in Carbondale, CO.  How about this scene as we approach Redstone Campground in the White River National Forest just 13 miles south of Carbondale?  That's Mt Sopris.  It never fails to invoke a sense of awe in me.  Mt. Sopris is on the northern edge of the Elk Range and its twin summits are 12, 935 ft tall.  It sits at the confluence of the Crystal River and Roaring Fork River, both noted for their trout fishing.  The Crystal River flows right by Redstone Campground.

One of our favorite campsites at Redstone Campground.  And since it is a National Forest Campground we're able to use our Federal Senior Discount Pass and cut the fee by 1/2.  There is a $5/day charge for electricity which is not discounted. 

We really do feel like we've come home when we pull into Redstone. 

And here are Isaac and Elijah

So, even though we no longer live in a "sticks & brick", and we hope to be rid of it very soon; we make each place we stay our home.  Some are more special than others, but we feel very comfortable in our home on wheels.  We have everything we need with us and have found that we just don't have the "wants" that we used to.  Our biggest "want" is that our kids didn't live so far apart (diesel fuel isn't inexpensive), but I can't think of a better way to see this wonderful country, meet new people every day, and spend as much time as we want in various parts of the country. 

More about what we're doing this fall in a later post. 

Till the next time..........

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Short Catch-up

I know; I've been VERY remiss in not keeping up with the blog, and I apologize to everyone who so faithfully checks to see what we're up to. I'm working on a "summer summary" and hope to get it posted in the next week.

In the meantime, we've been at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort since last Sunday, enjoying meeting friends at the rally, hosted by Howard and Linda Payne. We really enjoyed seeing old friends and catching up with them. Especially Denny and Char from Bloomington, IL. Char celebrated her birthday at the rally.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHAR! Denny and Char just started full-timing about 2 weeks ago.

We'll be leaving here tomorrow for Converse, TX (near San Antonio) to a Cummins garage to have a vibration in the engine checked out before starting back to Illinois. That's AFTER we get the chassis batteries back from AutoZone where they are being recharged. Seems we been having battery issues off and on for a few months. Something is draining the batteries, and we're not sure just what that is. Soooo, will probably be in another shop before long. That's the downside of this lifestyle, and can be very aggravating when something happens, but the traveling, meeting new people, seeing new places and the views out the front window make it all worthwhile.

So until next time,
Safe travels to everyone leaving the rally today and tomorrow.