Thursday, January 30, 2014

Florida, Dover - Thursday, January 30, 2014 - East Tampa RV Resort

Temperatures were just barely in the 50s today and it was raining, so we decided to stay inside.  A couple of months ago we decided to try another DIY project – tire covers.  Tire covers keep the harsh sun off of the tires to prolong wear.
Back in 2008 I bought a new Singer sewing machine.  I hadn’t done any sewing for many years but I had visions of doing amazing thingsJ.  The sewing I had done previously was done on an old Singer treadle machine that I still had, but it did have its limits.  However, after I bought the new machine my life took a very nice, but unexpected turn. 

Greg and I were reintroduced by a mutual friend, got married and consolidated houses.  Then we decided to pursue living fulltime in an RV.  So we had to buy an RV, sell our house and belongings – you see where I’m going here – things got really busy and the sewing was forgotten.  But, one of the things I decided to keep with me when we went on the road was the sewing machine, I still had visions of doing amazing things.
Yesterday we brought out the sewing machine and I started reading the directions, this is more complicated than the treadle machine!

We had previously picked up the materials for the covers at Home Depot so we dug them out today, did some measuring and started in.
I wish I could have gotten a picture of the two of us guiding a piece of sunscreen material that was 4 foot by 8 foot through this sewing machine.  It was definitely a two person job!

At this point we are just about done with this one, we just need to decide how deep the bottom hem needs to be so we have room to insert the pipes that will be used to hold it down once it is installed on the coach.
Tomorrow we’ll work on getting this cover installed over the dual tires on one side of the coach and hopefully we can get the other dual cover put together.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Florida, Dover - Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - East Tampa RV Resort

Happy Birthday to son A.J.!!
We are doing absolutely nothing that is blog worthy.  We are walking 2 miles per day now.  I’ve gone as far as reading an exercise book and deciding on what I want to do and what I have room to do – now I just have to do it.

A swimwear company had a show at the campground pavilion this morning.  We walked up to see what they had, I thought I might be able to find some type of bathing suit cover up.  They did have several sarongs and other cover ups, but nothing that struck my fancy.  They had a lot of high quality name brand suits, all of them for $39.  If you needed a bathing suit, this was the place to be.
This afternoon we rode over to the new Camping World that is just down the road from the campground.  This is one of the nicer Camping Worlds that we have seen, they had a huge selection of things for RVs.

The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting outside in the sun enjoying the 81 degree temps.  It’s supposed to cool down some tomorrow and then get warm again toward the end of the week.
We’ve met some really nice people in the sites on both sides of ours and are thinking about getting together for a small Super Bowl gathering on Sunday.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Florida, Dover - Friday, January 24, 2014 - East Tampa RV Resort

Yesterday we rode the bike to Clearwater to go to Technology Research Corporation, about 45 minutes away.  They make surge protectors for RVs, among other things.  The surge protector we purchased last year quit working, but it was still under warranty.  We decided to return it in person rather than trying to ship it back for a replacement.
I know it sounds like the only thing we are doing right now is dealing with fixing things.  This home is just like any other home, it requires constant fixing, maintaining, cleaning and upgrading.  We just get to do it in warmer weather.

Yesterday was a perfect day for riding, 60s and bright sunshine.  Our ride took us across Tampa Bay - that is one long bridge.  On the way back I saw a couple of dolphins swimming in the bay.
Since the sun was still shining in the afternoon so it was warm enough to sit outside, Greg asked me to cut his hair.  I think if I was really confident enough to hang out my shingle I could probably get some other customers.  Seems like every time I’m cutting his hair, several guys walk by and make a comment about where the line forms.  Unfortunately, I’m only good enough to promise that his hair will be shorter, everyone else may not be too accepting of that limitation.

I made Puerto Rican Shredded Pork, a recipe I got from a National Pork Board advertisement.  The recipe called for browning the pork before putting it in the crock pot, but I skipped that step and it turned out great.
2-3 lb. pork boneless sirloin roast (I used a tenderloin)

Combine in a blender:
5 cloves garlic
1 T. cumin
½ T. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 c. orange juice
4 limes, juiced (I used the juice in one of those little green squeeze limes, 2 T. equals one lime)

Pour the citrus seasoning mix over the pork in the crock pot and set on low for 8 hours.  My crock pot didn’t take nearly this long, watch the temperature so it doesn’t dry out.  When the meat is done, shred it and add some of the cooking liquid to it.
We’ll get a couple of meals of barbequed pork sandwiches and two meals of pork enchiladas from this.

Today, after walking and getting some basic chores done, I decided to sit in the sun by the pool and bring some organization to my Pinterest boards.  I had so many pins under “recipes” that it was pretty hard to find what I wanted.  So, I edited what I had pinned into several different recipe categories – much better.
It feels so good to have a working fridge again.  Having salads for supper and berries for breakfast was really missed, not to mention being able to fix a dish and be able to save leftovers for another meal.

This campground has quite a few scheduled activities during the month, but we have a feeling we would have a hard time participating in any of them.  We originally thought that the people here were about 50% French speaking Canadians, I think we can up that figure to about 90% now that we have walked around the park a few times.  We did see one other RV with Indiana plates but we haven’t seen them outside to introduce ourselves.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Florida, Dover - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - East Tampa RV Resort

Our life is back on track again.  We pulled into East Tampa RV Resort late Monday afternoon.  The sites are nice, but the roads through the park are pretty narrow so it’s a little hard to maneuver a larger coach like ours.  Greg does such a good job of getting this thing around I’m always amazed.  This is where we will be through next week.
Yesterday I got caught up on the laundry and Greg cleaned the outside of the coach and the bike.  Right after that it poured down rain J.  In the afternoon it cleared up enough for us to get out to get groceries.

Today I decided to tackle an in depth cleaning of the bathroom while Greg installed some new lights in the bedroom.  He also replaced some locking latches on the closets.  I’ve managed to break two of these latches and we were having trouble finding replacements.  At the RV Show we noticed latches like them in a couple of the new RVs so we asked about them when we were at Lazy Days.  Since they cost just over $20 a piece to replace I’m going to have to be more careful in the future.
This is a big park.  We walked from our site to the main office today to pick up our mail – the round trip was just under two miles.  We just received all those wonderful Christmas cards from family and friends, we’ll have them displayed to enjoy for a while even though it is past Christmas.  The pool looked inviting but it’s a bit cold to be enjoying it.

I noticed this bush was just starting to bloom.  I also think we passed fields of strawberries with fruit on them when we went to the grocery yesterday.  That seems so funny since we wouldn’t have seen that until June in Indiana.

This afternoon I made chili, it sounded good since it is in the chilly 50s here, sorry northern friends and family.  Greg decided to tackle the central vacuum system that hasn’t been functioning quite like it should be.  Last month while I was vacuuming it sounded like something large was sucked in and it hasn’t worked well since then.  Today he found the problem – the utility knife we lost when we were redoing the headboard in the bedroom.  Once he removed that it’s working just fine.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Florida, Dover - Monday, January 20, 2014 - Our Christmas Present

We left the Florida Fairgrounds this morning and headed to the LazyDays RV Center just east of Tampa.  There we were going to meet up with a representative of WadeRV to get a new entryway rug made.  The one area of our coach that I haven’t liked is the entry area.

Today, I think we made a nice upgrade to it.  The main rug is custom fitted to our dash/chair area and the steps are covered in the same material from the outside in.  I didn’t really get a good “after” picture of the steps, will get that later.
This project took all day and we were glad to be done and on our way to the East Tampa RV Resort where we would have full hookups – something we have done without for quite a while.  All the time we were sitting at the RV service center waiting to get the fridge fixed we had an electric hook up but that was it.  The last three days we have been boondocking (no hook ups).  So, water conservation has been the key for quite a while.
I have to admit that I am not a “camper”; I’m a “traveler”.  I can deal with less than perfect conditions for a while, but let’s face it, I’m spoiled.  I like to sit outside and look at the stars, but I don’t want to sleep under them.  When the mosquitos start to come out I want to go inside where it is air conditioned and sleep in our king sized Sleep Number bed.

I also want lots of hot water and somewhere for that water to go.  I want a fridge that works (finally happening).  In other words I want to take all of the comforts of home with me wherever we go.  Tomorrow I’ll be doing laundry most all day.  Laundry and water conservation don’t go hand in hand, so I’m backed up at least a week and a half on laundry.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade this experience we are having, but lately there have been a few bumps in the road.  I saw a plaque in Cracker Barrel this morning that said, “The thing I like best about my home is who I share it with”.  How true.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Florida, Tampa - Sunday, January 19, 2014 - RV Super Show

This is the last day of the RV Super Show.
The weather is beautiful here.

We looked through all of the class A coaches that would compare in size to what we have now – a 43 footer.  We didn’t really see anything that we would have traded for.  A couple of them that were over $600,000 were really pretty to look at, but they lacked some of the storage we have now and I’m not sure if I could have really kicked back and felt comfortable in them.  At $600,000 it was a non-issue anywayJ.  What we have is home.

As we were walking through the displays this afternoon we ran across Howard and Linda Payne of  It was their website that got us interested in going fulltime back in 2009.  We went to one of their rallies in Kerrville, TX right after we moved into our coach in 2011 and haven’t looked back since.  We’ll be going to another of their rallies this Spring in Tennessee.
The refrigerator is cooling, but not quite like it was before.  We put some pork chops in the freezer and they froze, but the ice cream bars didn’t.  The fridge part seems to be doing ok.  We’ll pick up some more groceries tomorrow, we decided to go easy on purchases until we were sure it was going to work like we wanted.

Tomorrow we’ll be moving into the Tampa East Campground for a couple of weeks.  We weren’t able to get into Tampa South like we wanted – too many snowbirds there already.  We’ll be making a stop on the way to visit Wade RV which is located on the grounds of the LazyDays complex.  We want them to look at a spot we need to have repaired on our passenger chair which was dinged by a runaway screwdriver.  Greg was doing something at the dash to get the Sirius radio working when he dropped a screwdriver and it bounced up and hit the chair.  We also want to see what they can do to revamp some of the entryway.
We came across some of the work that the folks at Wade RV do in some of the top of the line coaches, then we found their booth.  We've found that talking with the exhibitors provides us with some valuable information.  We had several good discussions as we made our rounds.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Florida, Tampa - Friday, January 17, 2014 - RV Super Show

First off, I need to say Happy Anniversary to my Mom and Dad, I think this is #66.  Lots of love to both of you.
We left Jacksonville with a working fridge about 10:30 this morning.  It takes about 48 hours for the fridge to get to the maximum cooling level.  Right now the freezer is fine, the fridge is getting there.  The good news was we didn’t owe any money for getting this thing fixed.  After all the trials and tribulations Norcold agreed to pay for the part and labor and shipping.  We have an extended warranty that would have paid for most of the repair but we originally thought we would have at least our deductible to pay.

We stopped to pick up some groceries that we hadn’t been able to get for the past couple of months – fish, berries, salad.  Our stomachs will probably revolt against eating healthier again.  However, I can truthfully say that Hormel’s canned beef and gravy is really pretty good.  After the grocery stop we stopped at a small Walmart for cleaning supplies, etc.  While we were in there all of the lights went out.  By the time we were ready to check out the computers were back up.
As we were heading to Tampa we saw lots of mowing being done.  This is certainly a sight we wouldn’t be seeing if we were still in Indiana.
Right now we are sitting at the Tampa RV Super Show.  We didn’t get here until around 4:30 so we haven’t been in to see any of the exhibits, we intend to make a day of it tomorrow and maybe Sunday.  We can stay in the parking lot for $20 a night, so we’ve opted to do that for a couple of nights.  After that we’ll go in search of a nice campground where we can stay for a week or so and get some cleaning and laundry done.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Florida, Jacksonville - Thursday, January 16, 2014 - Rivers RV Service

We have a working refrigerator!!!!! 
We were in the service line first thing this morning and it took until 4:30, but it looks like we are going to be out of here tomorrow.  We have to stick around until tomorrow to make sure everything is working ok, but I just peeked and it’s getting cold.

We’ve spent two days sitting in the customer service lounge here at Rivers RV and one thing we have discovered is that we are really quiet people.  I know, some of you may have trouble picturing that, but we’ve listened to a few really outspoken and loud couples.  After listening to a guy in there today, I turned to Greg and said, “I am so lucky”.
We’ve been around here so long the employees here are starting to feel like family and we appreciate all they have done for us, but we are hoping the fridge is still working in the morning so we can head to Tampa for the RV Super Show.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Florida, Jacksonville - Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - Rivers RV Service

I was too disappointed to write yesterday.  The part didn’t show up in Jacksonville as promised.  We could see that it made it to Atlanta, but that is where it stopped.  Once again Greg spent most of the day on the phone with Norcold (the shipper) and YRC (the trucking company) trying to find out what went wrong this time.
It seems the shipping department at Norcold put the wrong shipping code on it so the trucking company didn’t know it was an overnight shipment.  I swear the level of incompetency at Norcold is beyond anything I have ever seen.  We’ve already researched the names of the higher ups at Norcold so I can write a scathing letter once this whole fiasco is over.  We also looked up the higher ups at Dometic, which is Norcold’s competitor, I think they might get a letter also so they will know how bad their competitor is doing.  Believe me we looked to see if a Dometic fridge would fit in our space without having to do a lot of remodeling.

This afternoon did bring good news.  The part arrived here at the service center about 2:30 this afternoon and it is the right one.  We are scheduled to get it installed first thing in the morning.  Keep your fingers crossed that nothing else goes wrong.  It’s officially been two months since this started on November 14.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Florida, Jacksonville - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - Rivers RV Service

Today started out perfectly.  I slept late, had breakfast and then walked up to the dealership and enjoyed a cup of fresh coffee on their canopied patio with the palm trees blowing gently.  The temperature was 72 degrees.
Around lunch time I told Greg I would like to order a pizza and have it on the patio since the weather was so nice.  We got to thinking about the last time we had ordered pizza – when was it?  We both agreed we had been in a hotel and the last time we were in a hotel was last May when we went to Washington DC with Indiana Rolling Thunder Chapter 1.  Pizza places would go out of business if they had to depend on us!!

By the time Greg had called in the order and we received delivery, the wind had picked up to the point that it would have blown the pizza off the table on the patio, so we took it back to the coach.  After that the weather turned down right nasty, lots of wind and rain.
But the afternoon wasn’t totally wasted, I found some interesting RV related posts on Pinterest so I spent a couple of hours looking at them.  I told Greg I was doing “research”, somehow I don’t think he believed me J. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Florida, Jacksonville - Friday, January 10, 2014 - Rivers RV Repair

We left Pecan Park RV Resort early this morning.  After a fortifying breakfast at Cracker Barrel thanks to a gift card we got for Christmas, we headed back to Rivers RV Service to get our fridge fixed.  We had been following the shipment of the part all week.  We could see it was in Jacksonville, our hopes were high.
When they opened up the box we had the same part we had the last time – the wrong one.  Greg put in a full day’s work making his way up the ladder at Norcold until it seems we might have an answer (although we aren’t holding our breath).  It seems that way back in November whoever looked up the part at Norcold, looked up the wrong number for our year and model of fridge.  So the original repair service we used ordered the wrong part number based on that info from Norcold.  Then as our claim progressed, this wrong parts number still kept coming up even though we were sending them the serial number of the fridge, the number on the old part and pictures of what the old part looks like.  But, by the time somebody at Norcold realized what the real problem was, the shipping department had gone home for the weekend.

Rivers RV does have a small area where RVs can hook up so we are staying here.  Last week Greg tried to get the people at Norcold to send the part overnight but they said the trucking company they used couldn’t do that.  Greg comes from the trucking industry and today he finally got through that it was possible and Norcold is now supposed to be shipping the part on Monday (with a new carrier) and it is supposed to be here Tuesday.   If the part gets here and is installed on Tuesday, we will stay until Wednesday to make sure it is working properly.
On Thursday we plan on going to Tampa for a big RV show they are having there.  We are going to try to get into Tampa South RV Resort and spend at least a couple of weeks there.  This park is owned by some people we know from the trucking industry so it would be nice to see what they have going on there.

We’ve cancelled our reservation for the campground in Palmdale Florida where we were supposed to stay for January and February.  We still plan on being down around Lake Okeechobee in March and April where we have reservations.  For the rest of January and February we plan to just play it by ear and stop where we take a notion.  I think we are both tired of being tied down by this parts fiasco and just want to wander for a bit.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Florida, Jacksonville - Monday, January 6, 2014 - Pecan Park RV Resort

I got out my pedometer yesterday and put in a new battery so I could get started on my plan to walk more.  I was hoping to get in a mile and a half a day for a couple of weeks and then start bumping it up until I could make it for five miles.  I did the mile and a half yesterday.  I got in a mile and a third today before it started raining and blowing hard – I know I wouldn’t melt and I sure wouldn’t blow away, but I’m a wimp and headed home.
Greg got us prepared for the impending cold snap here.  He had to dig out the heated water hose and closed off the sewer hoses for a couple of days.  We can usually go for four days before we have to dump the tanks, so we should be good.  It’s supposed to get back into the 70s again by the weekend.  We’ve switched to the floor furnace from the heat pump in order to keep heat in the basement storage area and to keep the floors warmer.  I’m sure we are better prepared for a little cold weather than some of our neighbors.  Our next door neighbor came over last night and said they had never camped in cold weather before and was asking Greg’s advice.

Naturally they don’t have the water pipes winterized here so the campground guys are going around to the sites that don’t have RVs in them opening up the faucets to drip so hopefully they won’t freeze.  A lot of people took off from here this morning, I think heading south for warmer weather.  When it was 49 degrees here at noon, we looked at the temperature where we were supposed to be now before we got stuck in Jacksonville getting this fridge problem fixed – it was 79 degrees.  Norcold is really beginning to tick me off.  Norcold is where our fridge part is coming from.
I’m just hoping that all of the snow and frigid temperatures up north don’t delay our part shipment from Ohio.  It took them ten days to get the wrong part here in good weather, I can’t imagine what it will take in adverse weather!!

In all honesty, a refrigerator part seems like a small thing when I think about what our family and friends are dealing with in Indiana and Kansas.  Our thoughts are with you, please stay inside and stay warm.  Love to all.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Florida, Jacksonville - Saturday, January 04, 2014 - Pecan Park RV Resort

My last post on Thursday indicated that the part for our fridge was in.  I was wrong, the box for the part for our fridge was in – the part that was in it was the wrong one.
Believe it or not, I’ve managed to stay calm through this whole process.  Retirement has evidently mellowed me considerably.

We are staying back at the Pecan Park RV Resort in Jacksonville while we wait on the correct part to be shipped.  The weather here as I write this at 8:40 is in the 50s, but we are expecting some weather in the low 30s at the beginning of the week.  I know I have no sympathy coming from our family and friends up north who are dealing with record breaking cold.  Stay safe, we think about you all the time.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Florida, Jacksonville - Thursday, January 2, 2014 - Elite Resorts, Clermont


I’ve been a bit lax in getting my posts out, but we’ve been having such a good time with the kids and grandkids.  This morning they all took off to get back home. 
Right now we are back in Jacksonville at Rivers RV – guess what, the part for our refrigerator is in!!!!  We will be pulling into the service area first thing in the morning hopefully to get our fridge up and running again.  It’s raining here, so we are inside just being lazy.

We left the Elite Resort in Clermont, FL this morning, we enjoyed our stay there.
This is where we stayed for the week.
The park is very well kept.

Since we spent all of our time at the kids’ condo, we didn’t have time to take advantage of the amenities the park had to offer.  While we were here they had a breakfast, an ice cream social and a New Year’s Eve party.  We found out those folks do like to celebrate New Year’s Eve – lots of fireworks and firecrackers going off in the campground.  I was a little surprised that they allowed this because otherwise it is a very quiet, upscale, gated community.

On New Year’s Eve Papaw Jack Crosley treated everyone to a wonderful meal at Johnnie’s Hideaway in Orlando.  Yesterday we all went to the Sea Dog restaurant, the food was good but it took forever to be served.
I just spent some time reading through some of the blogs written by other fulltime or wanna be fulltime RVers.  It made me realize how very lucky we are to have the support of our family to pursue this dream of ours.  When we announced to our blended family of five children, eight grandchildren and one great grandchild, that we were selling everything and traveling fulltime, I do think some of them were surprised.  But, once they realized we had thought everything through I think they were as excited about it as we were.  Not a one of them made us feel guilty for “leaving them” like some of the stories I just read. 

We’ve been so blessed that all of our children have grown up into very responsible, hard-working adults who are great parents and people in their own right.  They all have their own lives and they know that we will be there for them if they need us, but we expect and they live up to our expectations of taking care of themselves and their families.
Modern technology allows us to keep in touch with our kids and grandkids through Facebook, Face time and frequent phone calls.  Our blog probably allows them to know more about what we are doing than they did when we were home in Indiana.  Our travel allows us to spend quality time with them since they all left home and spread out from Kansas to Washington, D.C.

Our children have become more than the children who used to depend on us, now they have become wonderful friends - and, we are very grateful for their support.