Adventures in RVing

July 7 to 8, 2019 – Shawnee Forest Campground, Vienna, Illinois

We got up early this morning to hook up the RV and head on up the road to our next stop in Illinois. It was a 460 mile trip, so we wanted to get going as soon as we could.

We were out getting things ready to go around 7:00 AM when Malcolm turned on the tire pressure monitor system as part of his routine. It started beeping about low pressure, supposedly on the front-left trailer tire. A quick check with a pressure gauge verified the bad news. So, our early start was delayed while Malcolm put the spare on the trailer and tossed the bad tire in the back of the truck.

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Being a Sunday, there wasn’t much we’d be able to do with the tire so we decided to go on ahead on the spare and take our chances. We made it to Illinois without any further tire issues. While inspecting the low tire, Malcolm didn’t see anything in the tread or sidewall area. It might be yet another cracked wheel (would be our third one). We’ll know when we get it checked.

The campground we are staying in is pretty nice. It is brand new (opened on Memorial Day weekend of 2019). The owner met us at the entrance and, finding out about our tire issues, offered to contact RV shops for us tomorrow if we wanted him to. We told him we’d let him know.

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The sites here are built on the side of a hill and, while generally level, are still a bit uphill and off-kilter just a bit. We see this a lot. Regardless, the utilities work and we’re not too far up in the air on the low side.

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Malcolm identified a couple local places that do tire work. He’s thinking of taking the low tire in to one of those places as soon as they open to see if they’ll at least give it a look to see what the issue is. If they can fix it right away we’ll put it back on the trailer.

Otherwise, if it turns out to be a cracked wheel, Malcolm can at least start contacting the wheel supplier for, hopefully, another wheel (if the replacements are under warranty). We’ll see. We might end up buying a steel wheel (like the spare wheel) to at least get us across the country so we have a spare tire available.

To the best of our recollection, today’s trip went through more states in one day (four) than we’ve done before (we’ll have to look back and see). We started in Alabama and traveled through Tennessee and Kentucky on the way to Illinois.

 

 

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Visit With Friends in Alabama

July 4 to 7 – Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

We ended up leaving a day earlier than expected and headed north on July 4th. We drove almost 500 miles to land in our old hometown of Wetumpka, Alabama. We had one of our favorite spots reserved for us at Fort Toulouse by the staff, who also indicated we didn’t owe anything for the stay (I think we last left with a few nights prepaid from our last monthly stay).

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Our Shady Spot

On Friday the 5th, we hit a couple of the local antique and flea markets before picking up pizzas and taking them over to our friends, the Miltons, for lunch. Val helped sort out extra yarn from the prayer shawl ministry while Malcolm kept the Miltons’ grandson, Jay, entertained.

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Checking out Malcolm’s Watch

We had dinner with the Miltons (grilled chicken, etc.) and visited into the evening before heading back to the trailer for the night.

On Saturday, we headed back over to the Miltons so that Malcolm could take pictures of their grandchildren. They fed us lunch and we visited until mid-afternoon (naptimes) before heading back to the trailer.

We went to San Marcos, our favorite local Mexican restaurant, for dinner then filled up the truck with fuel, grabbed some cash from the credit union (that we still bank with) and headed back to the trailer to start packing everything down for our continuing trip on Sunday.

 

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!

 

Frontier Days

Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Dates: Oct. 30 to Nov. 6, 2017

The beginning of the week was spent in preparation for being busy the rest of the week with our volunteer duties at Frontier Days. Malcolm made sure that the RV tanks were emptied and, after having several evenings of cool weather, getting one of our propane tanks refilled.

After returning with the filled propane tank, Malcolm hooked it up to the trailer and found that the connection was leaking propane. After checking nearby at Lowe’s to see if they had anything (not really), Malcolm ordered a replacement on Amazon for next day delivery and fixed it on Wednesday after the piece arrived.

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Waiting for the new hose to arrive.

On Wednesday, we all headed out to take care of our volunteer duties for Frontier Days. Malcolm and David directed traffic and parked cars. Val worked with herding the school buses full of children in and out.

Thursday morning, Malcolm woke up feeling fairly bad (fall allergies) and stayed in while David and Val headed out for traffic and bus duty. It probably was good that Malcolm stayed in as there were light rain showers off and on during the day.

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Maui watching people outside the trailer

On Friday, Malcolm was back outside working with the traffic crew. Val was back with her bus crew. This is the only picture Malcolm took at Frontier Days from his vantage point in the middle of the road.

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Saturday was fairly hectic, parking-wise. We have a smaller number of people working parking duties. There were no buses to take care of, so Val spent part of her time sitting in the Friends of the Fort tent and handing out information while wearing some of her new period costuming. She also took our golf cart and offered rides to people.

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Photo Op with Davey Crockett

This morning (Sunday), we loaded up our sewer tote and took it with us to donate to some friends. We went to church and met a friend of David’s after church for lunch at Cracker Barrel. Once we were back home, we started the process of breaking everything down to travel back to Florida. David packed up his stuff, along with Maui, and headed back home this afternoon.

On Saturday, Malcolm had run out for a bit to pick up a U-Haul trailer so that we can take our golf cart with us back to Florida. Today, Val drove it around the park for a bit to get used to having a trailer behind her. After running around for a bit with the trailer empty, we loaded up the cart, strapped it down and went out again for a practice run. We also stopped by the gas station and filled up the car.

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Loaded and ready to go

We realized that the golf cart really was the last thing of ours still here in Alabama, so taking it with us more or less finalizes our move away from Alabama as a sort of home base. Of course, we’ll still stop by from time to time since we still have so many friends here.

Speaking of “friends”, this week also ended up being ladybug swarming season. We’ve found a few flying around inside the trailer, but not near as many as we’ve seen in years past. We think we may have eliminated more entry points over time.

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Please – let us in!

Tomorrow (Monday) morning, we’ll hitch up the trailer to the truck and, with Val following along with the car and golf cart on the U-Haul trailer, we’ll head back down towards home. It will probably be a two-day trip there.

Hanging Out Up North

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

Dates: Oct. 24 to 25, 2017

We stopped for the evening in Madison, Florida at the Jellystone RV Park. It helped break the trip up since it is 480 miles from Davenport to Wetumpka. We unhooked the truck and took both vehicles to fill them up with fuel, then relaxed in the trailer after fixing dinner. We were up the next morning, hooked up and rolled on out to Wetumpka.

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Our site at Jellystone

Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Dates: Oct. 25 to 29, 2017

We arrived at Fort Toulouse around 2:00 in the afternoon and set up in our usual site. We went over and retrieved our golf cart and our sewer tote and settled in for a several day stay. Malcolm worked on Thursday and Friday. Val did some running around, shopping and picking up items we had delivered to friends.

David came up to stay with us on Saturday. He will be with us for about a week. He also brought his cat, Maui, with whom Callie is not impressed.

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Maui “helping” Malcolm

Today, the three of us went to church and caught up with old friends while we were there. We had lunch out and headed back to the trailer. David and Val relaxed while Malcolm took care of emptying tanks and filling the golf cart batteries with water.

We have a couple more days to relax (or work, in Malcolm’s case) this week before Frontier Days starts (on Wednesday). We will all be volunteering for various parking duties during the week (Frontier days runs from Wednesday through Saturday).