Rolling Through to December

Still with us? Yeah, it’s been a while. Quite a few things going on around here since we last posted in (gasp!) October.

Dates: Oct. 21 to Nov. 2, 2018

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Here’s our latest RV project – a dishwasher. We had looked at small built-in units, but they run around $600-800. After thinking about it for a while, we found a spot where we can install one. After shopping around again, we found that countertop units are $200-300 and are roughly the same size as the built-in units.

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It holds a decent amount of dishes for its size. For now we are running it as a countertop unit, but eventually will install it through the wall next to the refrigerator and into the bottom of the bathroom cabinet on the other side of the wall (very top-right part of the above picture).

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Since the installation is going to take a bit of work and we were getting ready to travel, we decided to hold off on installation until a later date.

Dates: Nov. 2 to 3, 2018

Location: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, Madison, Florida

On November 2, we hit the road heading north for our annual volunteer effort at Fort Toulouse.

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We decided to split the trip in half on the way up and stopped for the night in Madison, Florida (east of Tallahassee). It was a cool, yucky day, but the rain held off when we arrived. We decided to just keep the truck hitched up overnight.

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Dates: Nov. 3 to 11, 2018

Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

On November 3rd, we left Jellystone and stopped at the Love’s Travel Center at I-10 and US 231. David drove up from Panama City to grab some supplies from us. We brought him extra bedding (in case any of his Air Force friends needed a place to sleep) and our MiFi unit so he will have unlimited Internet at home (he had tapped out his phone’s limit).

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Note in the above picture how many trees were blown over. This is about 60 miles inland, north of Panama City. We saw quite a few blown down trees across the panhandle on I-10 and for several miles up US 231 to just north of the Alabama state line.

After having lunch with David, we headed on north to Wetumpka and set up the trailer in our usual spot at Fort Toulouse.

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Most of our time spent in Wetumpka was helping out at the annual Frontier Days re-enactment event they put on in November. Malcolm parked cars as usual and Val helped direct the busses full of school children. We did this on Wednesday through Friday.

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Malcolm parked cars on Saturday and Val wandered around in period dress, visiting with friends we’ve met. Malcolm took some time Saturday afternoon to get some photos. They are all in our photo album at this link: [Click Here].

We left on Sunday morning with plans on stopping on the way home whenever we got tired of driving. We ended up making the whole trip home in one day (around 500 miles), arriving back to our spot around 5:00 PM. We got the trailer all set up before it got too dark.

Dates: Nov. 11 to Dec. 6, 2018

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Shortly after we returned from Fort Toulouse, Malcolm had a Dermatologist appointment to remove a spot on his back. Part of that procedure involved stitches and Malcolm was told to not do anything strenuous (including trying to install a dishwasher). The return appointment for removing the stitches was two weeks later (near the end of November).

Shortly after the surgery, the main air conditioner on the trailer started making a lot of noise. Since Malcolm couldn’t climb up on the roof of the trailer, we called in a mobile repair person. He did a great job of cleaning out a bunch of dirt and debris from the fans in the unit, but the motor was pretty well needing a replacement (it was badly out of balance and the shaft had lots of play in it). We decided that we would order a replacement motor off Amazon and call him back out when the motor arrived.

We’ve been slowly adding some re-decorating touches to the trailer in a more mid-century modern style. One thing we recently added was this vintage “radio”. It was an inexpensive eBay find by Val. It was non-working, so Malcolm gutted it and it now houses a Bluetooth speaker. It also coordinates pretty well with the other items on the table.

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While perusing Facebook, we found out that a high school classmate of Malcolm was in town with his wife. We met up with them for lunch one day at Disney Springs and walked around with them for a few hours of shopping and chatting.

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David decided to come visit us for Thanksgiving as both of his roommates had gone home for the holiday and most of his co-workers were scattered about due to continuing rebuilding efforts from hurricane Michael. We readied the guest house for his arrival.

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David arrived with both of his kitties. This one is Siren. She is less than a year old and recently learned how to fetch a ball and bring it back to you. It turns out she loves it so much that she will keep bringing you a ball until you stop what you are doing and actually play. She will chase the ball for a half hour or more.

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This is Maui. His favorite activities include eating and lounging about the place. He also likes to hide behind our theater seating unit when it is time to go to the guest house for the evening. He ended up spending the night in the trailer with us most every night.

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On Thanksgiving, we ate our dinner at The Wave bar and restaurant at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. They had a great buffet along with a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

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Dinner with David.

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After dinner, we rode the monorail around to the Grand Floridian resort to check out the life-size gingerbread house they have in their lobby. It was pretty awesome.

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We also played a round of miniature golf one day and visited a couple of the Disney parks.

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Morning breakfast line.

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Our air conditioner motor arrived right after Thanksgiving over the weekend. We called the RV guy the following Monday to set up an appointment for him to replace it.

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On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Malcolm had his stitches removed. The spot that was removed was benign, so we’re glad for that.

While we were out one day, we decided to get our flu shots (we missed getting them last year). The local Publix grocery store offered a $10 store card for each person getting a flu shot. Insurance paid the bill for the shots, so we picked up some needed groceries for next to nothing.

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The RV repair guy came out and replaced our motor for us. The air conditioner runs better than it did before. On the day he was working on it, we had a cold snap the night before so it was only in the 40s that morning. A couple days later, we had temperatures back in the 80s and got to test everything out pretty well.

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On the 29th of November, we headed to Disney’s Magic Kingdom for the Very Merry Christmas party. We collected lots of goodies and treats and we got to ride several rides with minimal wait. We stayed until the park closed at midnight and came home with very tired feet.

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We went back to the miniature golf the other day for another round.

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The last couple of days we’ve been busy packing for our upcoming Christmas trip out west. We fly out this Friday, December 7th to Seattle. It’s earlier than we usually head out but we’re doing things a bit different this year. More on that coming up soon!

 

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Remembering Our Wreck

It’s been a little over three years since we had a wreck while driving our RV down the road on our travels. While some people may have done things differently, this was our experience and we think it might provide some food for thought for other full-timers to think about. We hope you never have an accident, but if you do, maybe you’ll have some wisdom to carry forth from this very long blog post.

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015. We’re returning from our annual trip out west to visit family and heading to North Carolina for a family get-together. We left Odessa, Missouri in the morning with a planned stop at Diamond Lake RV Resort near Owensboro, Kentucky. It was a nice, sunny day.

As we approached the intersection of US 41 and Boonsville-New Harmony Road just north of Evansville, Indiana, a minivan in the opposing left turn lane started moving into the middle of the intersection, so we slowed down to see what they were going to do (they had a red turn arrow signal).

Just as we were getting to the intersection, we realized that the minivan is turning left directly in front of us. We had nowhere to go, so we laid on the brakes and t-boned the van directly on the passenger side. We ended up pushing it off the road and into the grass before we all came to a stop.

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We were unhurt. Two occupants in the minivan – the ones sitting on the passenger side – were injured. One required brain surgery later that evening. Though the minivan had side curtain airbags, we assume that passenger might have been resting with his head on the side pillar next to his seat.

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The police came and took reports. Fortunately for us, three different witnesses gave the same report to the officer that the minivan ran the red turn arrow and drove right in front of us. One even indicated that they knew we had nowhere to go and couldn’t stop in time to avoid an accident. At least one witness made sure we had his number in case we needed to talk to him at a later time.

Notes: Make sure you get some solid witnesses. It wouldn’t hurt to get their contact information. If any of them have a dashcam, ask if you can get the footage from them. If you don’t have a dashcam, it might be a good time to think about getting one. Take plenty of pictures, avoid talking to the others involved in the accident, don’t try to help any injured persons unless they are at risk before emergency crews arrive.

Our truck was obviously totaled as was the minivan. Both were towed off. Our trailer hitch broke loose from the truck bed and the trailer slammed into the back bumper of the truck during the impact of the crash. This action bent the frame rails at the front of the trailer as well as the kingpin plate on our MorRyde pinbox.

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The trailer, fortunately, was towable. Full-timing friends of ours were ironically staying just ¼ mile away in the Vanderburgh 4-H Center campground. They helped us unload our belongings from our truck and used their truck to pull our trailer to the campground. They also ran Malcolm over to pick up a rental car and took us out to dinner.

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Notes: Most places don’t have the equipment to adequately tow a large travel trailer or fifth wheel. In our case, we were fortunate that ours was towable by a regular pickup truck and that friends happened to have one nearby. Otherwise, it might be a while before your rig can be towed somewhere safe.

Once back at the trailer, Malcolm started calling both insurance companies. We have State Farm for our truck and (at the time) National General Insurance (through Good Sam) for the trailer. Since we were pretty sure the truck was a total loss, Malcolm also started truck shopping on AutoTrader and found a great deal on a brand new 2016 model about 3 hours away.

On Wednesday, September 30th, 2015, we picked up our new truck in Nicholasville, Kentucky, dropped off our rental car in Lexington, Kentucky and drove the truck back to the trailer. Also, on Wednesday, we tried calling the adjuster for the trailer whose number we were given the night before from the insurance company. The number kept coming back as disconnected.

On Thursday, October 1st, 2015, we finally got ahold of the insurance claims agent. She informed us that they didn’t have any adjusters in the Evansville area or, for that matter, within 3 hours of there. She asked if we could find someone local. We called a local RV dealer and the indicated that they could look at the trailer and prepare an estimate. We put it all on hold so we could continue on our trip to North Carolina in the truck (leaving the trailer behind). The insurance company agreed to pick back up once we returned in a few days.

Note: If the insurance company indicates they don’t have anyone to come out and look at your RV, push them to find one. RVs are harder to provide solid repair estimates for than cars and trucks. Just grabbing a local adjuster may not net you a solid repair estimate. Once submitted, the insurance company will pick over the estimate with a fine-tooth comb, which may take a while.

While on our trip to North Carolina, we made the executive decision that even if our RV was repairable (there were doubts due to the obvious frame damage) we would rather have another one instead. So, while on our trip, we started shopping for a replacement RV. On our way back, we stopped and looked at RVs at three different dealers. We decided on one we found at the last dealer, which happened to be fairly close to Evansville, and put a small deposit on it the next morning.

On Tuesday, October 6th (only a week after the crash), State Farm called and indicated they were declaring the truck a total loss. They paid off the truck loan and sent us a check for the difference within a couple days.

Once back in town, Malcolm went over to the RV dealer on Wednesday, October 7th to make an appointment for them to come over to look at the trailer. He also set up an appointment for having a hitch installed in the truck. They couldn’t get to it until 8 days later, on October 15th. Two people from the RV dealership came over later in the afternoon, took pictures and notes and said they’d start on an estimate the next day.

While we were sidelined at the campground waiting on insurance, etc., we took a little vacation away from it all for a couple nights and got a room at a bed and breakfast up in Brown County Indiana. It was enjoyable and relaxing to get away from all the phone calls and paper pushing.

Once back at the trailer, we decided to start moving everything out in preparation for moving into the new one we had agreed to purchase. On Tuesday, October 13th, we rented a smaller U-Haul box truck and ultimately ended up filling it completely up as well as putting things in the back of the truck and the passenger seat of the U-Haul.

Notes: You don’t realize how much stuff you have with you in your RV until you have to move it all out.

On Wednesday, October 14th, we drove the U-Haul and our truck to Clarksville, Indiana and got a hotel room across the street from the RV dealer. They promised us we could take delivery on Friday morning. The credit union where we had our first trailer loan from agreed to loan us money for the second trailer, as well.

Notes: Alliant Credit Union is a great place to finance your RV if you are full-time. Very few banks or credit unions will loan money on an RV if you are full-timing. If they do, they have to take and put one year’s worth of insurance money in escrow while you have the loan with them. Plan on that extra expense.

On Thursday, October 15th, Malcolm drove back to Evansville to have the hitch put on the truck. After the hitch was installed, he pulled our trailer over to the RV dealer who had agreed to store the trailer on their lot for us pending insurance disposition. He then drove back to the hotel that evening.

On Friday, October 16th, we did our walk-through on the new trailer, loaded everything in it from the U-Haul, took the U-Haul back and were on the road by lunch time, heading to Nashville, Tennessee to join some friends for an RV rally there.

At this point, we owned two trailers – both of which had loans on them. Fortunately, we had been paying ahead on the loan for the old trailer so the next payment wasn’t technically due until the following fall.

As we got into November, we still hadn’t heard anything from insurance on the trailer. Malcolm called a few times and each time was told that they were still looking over the estimate. The sticking point was the frame damage. The RV dealer’s adjuster wrote up the estimate as if the trailer would be getting a new frame, putting the estimate total at $40,000. Of course, an estimate that high needed to be carefully looked at. The biggest problem was that even though National General insured RVs, they often didn’t have to try to fix something with frame damage.

We eventually realized that the trailer would need to be winterized for southern Indiana’s winter weather, so we had the RV dealer do that and paid for it over the phone as well as another month’s storage fees.

Notes: Our insurance, once they found out we were paying to have the RV stored and winterized, reimbursed us. Make sure you find out from your insurance if you will get reimbursed for such expenses.

Also about this time, State Farm contacted us to let us know that the badly injured passenger in the van was suing the driver of the van, the owner of the van (who was riding in the van at the time) and Malcolm for medical expenses. Many people, when they heard this, asked why they would sue Malcolm since fault was obviously with the other driver.

This is fairly common practice since if the insurance companies didn’t come to some type of agreement, the case might go to court. In court, some percentage of fault may end up being assigned to the other driver based on various circumstances, so it never hurts to get everyone involved listed as defendants. In this case, at least, State Farm was the insurance company for Malcolm, the driver of the other vehicle and the owner of the other vehicle, so it was all pretty much staying in-house.

The attorney for State Farm told Malcolm what to expect and that he would pretty much be handling everything for us. We only had to let him know when we were served with the official lawsuit papers. Of course, service would be to our address of record which was a mailbox at the Escapees headquarters in Livingston, Texas – a place which we rarely ever visit.

Notes: If you are a full-timer using a mail service as your domicile, things like getting served papers for a lawsuit or other legal actions become much more complicated. Note that the burden of finding and serving you is usually on the plaintiff’s attorney.

By mid-November, with no apparent forward movement being made by the insurance company, Malcolm left a message on the Good Sam RV forum in the area regarding RV insurance and indicated his concern and displeasure with how the claim was being handled. This got the ball rolling and Malcolm was soon contacted by the head of the RV insurance division at National General who promised to get things moving and to keep in touch with us.

The main problem, according to the head of the RV insurance division, was finding someone qualified to give a proper estimate on repairing the frame of the trailer and who could actually do the work. Not many RV repair places want to attempt that (including the one that came out to work up the original estimate on ours).

Finally, in December, the insurance company indicated that they were going to have the trailer towed to Goshen, Indiana to Lippert Industries, the company that originally made the frame on the RV. Lippert agreed to look at the trailer and give an estimate to repair, if it could be repaired. The trailer was towed to them shortly before Christmas, so it sat until early January, 2016.

Notes: Up to this point, we could technically have continued to live in the RV while waiting on insurance, but we chose to buy another RV and just move on. You’ll note that it has been three months at this point. If you couldn’t live in your RV while waiting for insurance to take action, make sure you know where you are going to live. Note that our trailer insurance only offers to reimburse up to five nights at a hotel or a maximum of $500 while the RV was being repaired. Check your coverage now and think about where you (and your belongings) might stay in such a situation.

In early January, 2016, Lippert submitted an estimate for around $6,000 to repair the RV, including the frame. The insurance company gave them the go-ahead and also sent a check to Lippert for the amount of the repairs minus our $500 deductible.

Notes: Insurance companies typically send a check directly to you to take to the repair place when the repair is done so you can inspect the work and pay for it once you are happy with the results. Why they sent the check directly to Lippert is a mystery to us.

We were happy that the insurance company had finally moved forward and that our RV was now being repaired. Sadly, we found out that repairing RV damage is as fraught with delays as is taking an RV into a dealer to get repairs done.

With work having started the first week of January, 2016, it was June 24, 2016 (nearly 6 months later) before Lippert indicated that the trailer was ready to pick up. Their excuse during most of the repair time was that they were waiting on parts from Heartland (to repair the bodywork underneath the front of the RV).

When Lippert called on June 24th, they indicated that when we came to pick up the RV, we should have our insurance check in hand. When we indicated that insurance said they had sent the check way back in January, Lippert said they’d look for it and to come on up to pick up the trailer. When Malcolm arrived the following Monday, he looked over the work and agreed it was acceptable. Lippert never found the check and indicated they would contact the insurance company to have another one sent.

On June 29th, we parked our first trailer next to the second one at the same RV park and got it ready to sell. We cleaned it all up, emptied tanks and pulled any other accessories from it that we wanted in our new trailer.

After the July 4th holiday, on July 6, 2016, Malcolm pulled the trailer down to Houston, Texas to PPL Motorhomes for them to consign the trailer. Before he left, he called National General insurance, who still had the policy on the trailer, and asked if they would insure it while it was on the consignment lot. They said they didn’t insure consigned trailers, so we had to find another policy.

Notes: Check your RV policy to see if it covers consignments if you are planning on selling your RV in that fashion. Don’t let the consignment lot tell you it’s no problem to not have insurance on it or to not tell the insurance company the trailer is on a consignment lot for sale.  

Our trailer garnered some interest at PPL, but we kept having to lower the price little by little before it finally sold on October 26th (almost 4 months after dropping it off and 13 months after the accident). We ended up having to pay the difference between our loan on the RV and the net amount from the sale at PPL.

Once we received the final settlement papers from PPL (too late to do anything about it), we noted about $300 of repairs were done to the trailer after they took it in. The items supposedly repaired were burned out lights, the seven wire trailer pigtail and the emergency breakaway switch. All of these items were working when Malcolm drove to PPL in July but were not verified there when the initial inspection took place while Malcolm was there. Lesson learned.

When we dropped the RV off to be consigned, Malcolm asked the National General claims agent about how we might go about claiming diminished value on the RV if it sold for less than we owed on it. National General said we would have to talk to the insurance company for the other driver about that (which we never bothered with).

The lawsuit from the accident was resolved in early September of 2016. We were never served papers. The insurance attorney indicated that the other parties had settled out of court (via insurance) and that we had nothing more to do with the settlement. We were sent a copy of the court order to release the suit and told to keep a copy forever to prove we were no longer liable for any damages regarding that accident.

Notes: Keep paperwork for everything. Insurance estimates, traffic accident reports, lawsuit correspondence and so on. Most everything we had was via email or PDF, so we kept it all in a cloud storage location as well as locally.

In August of 2017, we received a $500 check from State Farm, representing our deductible on the truck. They obviously collected something from either the van owner or driver. This brings up a good point:

Notes: You should check your insurance coverage for your vehicle to make sure that you have uninsured and underinsured coverage equal to or greater than the value of a complete replacement vehicle and RV. Most people on the road don’t carry enough insurance to pay for a totaled diesel pickup truck, let alone the RV behind it.

We hope you get some takeaway from this. I think the biggest takeaway that a full-time RV’er should get is thinking about where you and your things will stay if you are out of your RV for several months due to repairs and/or insurance red tape.

If you want to see the entire gallery of photos from the accident, they are located at this link.

 

Catching Up Again

Hi. Long time, no see. Yes, it’s been over a month (closer to two) since we last updated the blog. Here’s a capsule summary of life since we left North Carolina just after Labor Day weekend.

Dates: Sept. 4 to 5, 2018

Location: Point South / Yemassee KOA, Yemassee, South Carolina

David rode back home with us in the RV from North Carolina. Our halfway point stop to his house was the Yemassee KOA in South Carolina. Since we stayed in North Carolina until after lunch time to see Elizabeth and the girls off to the airport, we arrived in South Carolina very much after dark. We just extended jacks and headed to bed.

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Dates: Sept. 5 to 7, 2018

Location: Rustic Sands RV Resort, Mexico Beach, Florida

The next morning, we drove on down to Panama City, Florida, where our son lives.

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We were initially going to try to park our trailer next to our son’s new house that he moved into in July. There is space next to it, but traversing the front yard with the various trees turned into quite the challenge. That, and it decided to start pouring rain just as we arrived. We finally gave up and parked at Rustic Sands RV Park in Mexico Beach, Florida (yes, that Mexico Beach – more on that in a while).

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After getting the trailer set up, we headed back to David’s house. We went with him to PetSmart to pick up his new kitty that he adopted. Her name is Siren and she was about 9 months old.

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We got the grand tour of his new home and visited for a couple days before heading on towards our own home location.

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Dates: Sept. 7 to Oct. 20, 2018

Back at our own place, we settled in pretty quickly and started back in to the normal day-to-day non-travel activities that we do. Malcolm works most every weekday and Val works on various projects.

One project we weren’t prepared for, though, was having to gut and re-do the walls in our recently renovated guest house. It seems the air conditioner just blew all that humid air around in the back part of the house and mold started growing on the paneling (and on the underlying sheetrock).

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Yuck!

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Starting demolition

Yes, we probably should have purchased a dehumidifier for the guest house, but didn’t and now we were going to pay the price. Malcolm took several days to fully tear down all the wall material in the back room (fortunately, the fully drywalled front room didn’t sustain any mold damage).

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Back to bare walls

We found some nice shiplap boards at Lowe’s and ended up using that to re-do the walls. We wish we had done that in the first place as we could tell right away that it was going to looks much better than cheap paneling.

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Work in progress

We put shiplap on all four walls and the ceiling and trimmed out the corners, baseboards and edges. The bathroom side shows how well it came out.

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Sink area.

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Toilet area

We painted the walls a light gray color and left the trim white. We think it looks great. Oh, and yes, we now have a dehumidifier in the room. The first 24 hours it was in the room, it pulled about 8 gallons of water out of the air! It has since been plumbed to expel the water outside through a hose.

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Dehumidifier

Aside from rebuilding our remodeled area, there were no other major things to take care of after we got back. Typical activities such as trimming all the palm trees and pressure washing all the concrete (a downside of living near busy US 27 is all the black dirt/soot/tire dust that collects on everything).

We took a “vacation day” on October 4th and stayed for one night in a room at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. We managed to find the room available on the same day we went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

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Saratoga Springs Resort

We went swimming for a while, then relaxed in our room until it was time to put on our costumes (yes, adults get to dress up for Halloween at Disney).

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Val Relaxing in the Room

We headed over to Magic Kingdom in our costumes and enjoyed a fun evening trick-or-treating (we brought back a huge sack of candy), riding a couple rides and just enjoying the evening.

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Malcolm as Goofy (and Bullseye as Pegasus)

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Val as Merida (from the movie “Brave”)

Other “excitement” this month was hurricane Michael. While the only effects we got in the Orlando area was a breezy, rainy day, our son had a more direct exposure. He lives near Tyndall Air Force Base (where he is stationed) and was ordered to evacuate the area by the Tuesday before the storm hit his area.

David and his roommates boarded up windows and doors at his house and they all headed north to the Montgomery, Alabama area to wait out the evacuation order. Literally today, a week and a half after the hurricane hit, David was allowed to travel back to town to check on his house. He was very fortunate.

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There are trees down everywhere. A couple fell against the side of his house and slightly onto the roof, but just the tops of the trees. It doesn’t appear the roof was damaged by the trees at all.

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David’s back yard was previously heavily shaded by a lot of tall pine trees. As you can see in the photo, above, they are mostly all blown down. Fortunately, the largest tree that fell near the house fell in the back yard.

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The trees on the house were pretty light. Most of David’s damage will be the trim and panels under the eaves. He walked around inside his house and didn’t note any water marks on the ceiling. He also stuck his head up inside the attic area and couldn’t really see much there, either. All in all, he came out pretty well.

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As soon as power is restored to his area, he and his roommates will move back in and start the cleanup process. Water is already running, cell service is good (he FaceTimed with us from his house earlier today) and he even had some mail delivered a couple days ago (an Amazon order).

We’ll still plan on having Thanksgiving dinner at his house unless anything changes from the storm.

 

Birthday Time

Dates: Aug. 28 to 29, 2018

Location: Wytheville KOA, Wytheville, Virginia

After we left Kentucky, we traveled through West Virginia and into Virginia for a stop at Wytheville. On the way, we stopped at Tamarack which is a big building with a lot of crafts and other things made in West Virginia. We also ate lunch in their cafe.

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We arrived mid-afternoon at the Wytheville KOA and set up our trailer. They put us in a new area with a lot of nice, new pull-throughs.

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We decided to cheat for dinner and ordered a couple Hunts Brothers pizzas from the campground’s pizza counter. They offered to deliver it, but Malcolm walked up to pick it up.

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The next morning we hitched up and headed on to North Carolina.

Dates: Aug. 29 to 31, 2018

Location: Falls Lake SRA – Rolling View Campground, Durham, North Carolina

We arrived at the campground in North Carolina mid-afternoon and set up the trailer. It was a 30 amp site, so we ran one air conditioner to cool off the rig the best we could in the 90+ degree weather. Fortunately, our site had a pretty good tree cover.

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After we got the rig set up and relaxed for a bit, we headed over to the Raleigh-Durham airport to pick up our daughter, Elizabeth, and our granddaughters Violet and Scarlet. They flew in to help us celebrate Malcolm’s cousin Theresa’s 50th birthday. We stopped at Cracker Barrel after the airport so that Elizabeth could get her southern cooking fix (they don’t have Cracker Barrel restaurants near Seattle).

The next day, we contacted Malcolm’s cousin for ideas of things we could do in the area and she suggested the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh. The girls had a great time. There were tons of interactive learning things to do. Even the adults found some fun stuff.

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Elizabeth Surfing

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Valerie Surfing

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Malcolm playing a tune on the musical stairs

After the museum visit, we headed to Theresa’s house for dinner and to map out our route there from the campground as well as find out where we were going to park the trailer over the Labor Day weekend at her place.

The next day we loaded everyone and hooked up the trailer to take it to Theresa’s place. We filled up the water tank on the trailer so we could reduce the need for water since Theresa was having problems with her water well.

Dates: Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, 2018

Location: Malcolm’s cousin Theresa’s House, Creedmoor, North Carolina

After we pulled in at Theresa’s house, Elizabeth and the girls got a surprise. Our son David had flown in for the weekend, as well, and had driven on over to Theresa’s house before we got there.

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Set up next to the barn at Theresa’s

We didn’t have enough power to run any air conditioners in the trailer at Theresa’s, so we opened windows and turned on the vent fans. We headed on into Durham for another fun field trip – The Lemur Center at Duke University. The girls had recently been reading about lemurs and the Lemur Center was mentioned in their books.

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Since Elizabeth had pre-arranged for five people for the tour, not knowing David was going to be there, Val decided to stay back in the gift shop while the rest of us went on the tour since they were otherwise booked full.

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The girls both picked out a couple of ringtail lemurs at the gift shop to take with them.

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After our Lemur Center visit, we decided to stop by Target and pick up a couple box fans to help keep the trailer comfortable.

On Saturday, Malcolm’s aunts had suggested we bring the girls over to the hotel where they were staying and go swimming in the pool. We had to stop by Target to go swimwear shopping then headed on to the hotel pool. We all had a good swim before heading back to the trailer, then out to a steakhouse for dinner with the whole family.

Violet wasn’t feeling good on Sunday morning, so we relaxed around the trailer. Malcolm helped Theresa and some of his family decorate up for the birthday dinner later in the day. Theresa’s birthday was on Sunday. One of Theresa’s friends brought some really good pulled pork and we had barbecue sandwiches with birthday cake for dessert.

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We visited with family late into the evening at Theresa’s house (in the air conditioning).

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Dates: Sept. 3 to 4, 2018

Location: Falls Lake SRA – Rolling View Campground, Durham, North Carolina

On Monday, which was Malcolm’s birthday, we pulled the trailer back over to Falls Lake so we could all have one evening of air conditioning and the ability to take showers, if desired, before Elizabeth and the girls flew back on Tuesday. David was going to ride back to Florida with us in the trailer.

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We met the family at Cracker Barrel for Malcolm’s birthday dinner and to say goodbye to the rest of the family members that were still in town.

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The two birthday cousins

On Tuesday, we took our time getting ready and about 2:00, Elizabeth and the girls headed to the airport in the rental car while we hitched up the trailer for the trip back to Florida. We had one minor glitch before we left and had to fix a slide out seal that had come loose. Malcolm and David took care of that and we were on our way.

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Nashville and Kentucky

Dates: Aug. 12 to 25, 2018

Location: Seven Points Campground, Hermitage, Tennessee

On the weekdays during the two weeks we were here, Malcolm worked downtown in his office. He rode the train in every day. Some days Val dropped him off at the train station and other days he drove the truck over and left it there all day. Val worked on various sewing projects.

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The Morning Train

The weather was nice most days. It rained one morning as Malcolm left the trailer but had fortunately stopped by the time he got to the train station.

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Barge Traffic in Downtown Nashville

Over the weekend, we did some antique shopping at a couple places in downtown Nashville. One specializes in mostly mid-century to 1970’s items. It’s always fun to walk through.

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We also did our laundry at a laundromat over the weekend so that we could catch up on our clothes washing since we don’t have sewer hookups at the campground. We did hitch the trailer up over the weekend and took it to the dump station and back to the site on Saturday morning.

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Mid-stay tank clearing

On the last workday, Malcolm left the office a little early and caught the first train out of town at 4:20 instead of 5:05, getting off at the first station where Val picked him up. We went out to dinner at a pizza place nearby before heading back to the trailer to start packing it up to leave.

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The Last Train Ride

On Saturday morning, the 25th, we hitched up the trailer and dumped the tanks once again and headed from Nashville to northeast Kentucky, where Malcolm grew up.

 

Dates: Aug. 25 to 28, 2018

Location: Ashland/Huntington West KOA, Argillite, Kentucky

We arrived at the KOA and set up the trailer on Saturday afternoon.

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KOA near Ashland, KY

After relaxing a bit, we drove into Flatwoods, Kentucky and had dinner at the Giovanni’s Pizza restaurant where Malcolm often went when growing up in the area. They had the usual pizza buffet set up. We added side salads to our meal along with the restaurant’s special red salad dressing (very similar to a Catalina dressing).

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On Sunday morning, we went to church with a couple of Malcolm’s classmates at Advance United Methodist church in Flatwoods. After church, Malcolm’s classmate Margaret King drove us over to the Chinese buffet for lunch. We had a great time visiting with Margaret and eating lunch.

We spent Sunday afternoon relaxing at the trailer. It was pretty hot outside and we just felt like sitting inside and doing nothing.

This morning (Monday), we drove out in Greenup County and visited the two covered bridges that are still standing. Both have been rebuilt to some extent over the years, but one is still in active use for light vehicles.

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Bennett’s Mill Covered Bridge

We also drove to the Greenup Locks and Dam on the Ohio River. You used to be able to take a tour of the locks and watch the barge traffic moving through, but you can only view it from the river bank now. We walked down to the bank and watched for a while, taking a few pictures.

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Tugboat heading to the locks

We drove on into Ashland and had lunch at Panera Bread followed by a shopping trip to Joann Fabrics. From there, we drove around town for a bit then headed back out to the campground to change clothes for a dinner engagement. On the way, we stopped at Crisp’s Dairy Bar, a local favorite, and got some frozen treats.

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We headed back into town and met several of Malcolm’s high school classmates (and a couple of their spouses) for dinner at Blazer’s restaurant in Ashland.

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We had a great visit and a pretty good turnout. Malcolm’s classmates decided after the last high school reunion last year that it would be fun to get together on a more frequent basis, so they go out to dinner once a month now as well as some other special get-togethers.

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The Dinner Crowd

We sat around and visited until about 9:00 when everyone started heading for home. We said our goodbyes and headed back out to the trailer to get ready for our trip tomorrow. We’re heading to North Carolina for the Labor Day weekend, with a stop tomorrow night in Wytheville, Virginia.