Further North

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

Since we last posted, Malcolm flew out to San Diego the week of March 14th for work. Val stayed behind in Alabama. Once Malcolm got back home, we decided to stay one more week in Alabama so we could attend Easter Services at our home church there.

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Seals on the beach in La Jolla, CA.

Our son, David, moved out of his dorm room at Tyndall AFB and into a house he is sharing with a fellow airman. As part of that process, he and his buddies came up and cleared his stuff out of our 10′ x 15′ storage unit. We moved our stuff to a smaller 10′ x 5′ unit and gave up the larger unit.

After David and his roommate got settled in, they decided having a pet might be nice. We made suggested to them that they could take Callie and they agreed. We drove down on the Saturday before Easter with Callie and all her gear and dropped her off at the house. We visited for a while before heading back to Wetumpka. So, now we are pet-less travelers again. We often miss being greeted at the door by a cat, but we feel she’s probably in a better situation not traveling around so much, especially given her age (almost 13 years old).

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Callie commenting on the new place.

We packed up and left Wetumpka this past Monday and arrived here at the Nashville KOA mid-afternoon.We’ve been having random power problems with our 12V system since mid-winter. When it was colder, we chalked it up to the weather’s effects on the hydraulic system and so forth. We would randomly find the 12V breaker tripped after hooking up the trailer, despite leaving the power cord connected until we were hooked up to the truck.

Our inverter beeped all the way from Alabama to Nashville and refused to power up to keep our residential refrigerator running. Fortunately it was a short enough trip that everything stayed cold or frozen. Once we got set up here in Nashville, Malcolm checked the batteries and found that they were all very low on water. Essentially, the batteries were pretty much ruined.

We picked up one battery and ordered a second from Collum & Massey (the local RV dealer next to Camping World, who was out of batteries). The second one came in on Wednesday, so we now have two new batteries, full of water and that should hold a charge. Malcolm is going to add checking the water in the batteries to a monthly checklist he is going to eventually get around to making up.

We’ve done a couple modifications to the trailer. We painted our bathroom a dark teal color. It was supposed to be a lighter shade, but we didn’t realize the store mixed the wrong color until we had one coat on and it dried. We decided to just stick with that color anyway. Today, we put up some peel-and-stick gel tiles for a backsplash.

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Blue wall and gel tile backsplash.

While we were in Wetumpka, Malcolm found an old stereo receiver at a thrift store for $5. He figured for that price, it wouldn’t hurt to at least try it out to see what condition it was in. It turns out it is in very good condition considering its age (decoding the serial number, we found that it was built in August, 1971).

The only thing done to it so far, other than cleaning, is to shoot some contact cleaner ($12 from Amazon) in all the knobs and switches. That got rid of all the typical scratchy noises and it plays really well. It will eventually need a few parts replaced, but the parts are inexpensive and relatively easy for Malcolm to replace. He figured it would need some tinkering.

Malcolm added a shelf in the overhead cabinet over the TV and put the receiver on the bottom and the other electronic gear up on the shelf. We bought a pair of bookshelf speakers and used Command Strips to attach them to the cabinet top under the TV. Malcolm wired everything up, including pulling the speaker wires for the outside speakers and hooking them up to the “B” output on the receiver. Now we can listen to music inside, outside or both at the same time.

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The new stereo setup.

Another random thing. Before we left for Hawaii, our son came up and brought a present that he and his sister purchased together for our 30th wedding anniversary. Our son-in-law’s cousin’s partner is an artist at Disney. He did a commissioned piece for us based on pictures and information our daughter sent to him. You can see Callie and our traveling horse, Bullseye (above in stereo picture). Val and I are wearing hats/ears relating to our respective favorite Disney characters – Minnie Mouse and Goofy. And, of course, Cinderella’s castle in the background. (The following photo was taken from Instagram. Our copy is framed).

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Our new picture.

Our 2015 travel quilt was delivered while we were in Alabama. It came out great. Callie is modeling it for us here.

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2015 Travel Quilt

We still owe everyone some pictures from Hawaii. We’ll try to get those out here soon. We will be in Nashville until the end of next week. We’re taking a weekend trip up to Kentucky, then we’ll be back here another week.

 

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A Missed Anniversary

We’ve been so busy visiting family here in Washington that our three year full-time RVing anniversary just slipped right on by us. Here’s a bit of a retrospective of the past year and the past three years.

We took delivery of our original trailer on September 7, 2012 and spent the night in it on the dealer’s lot. We stopped by a campground on the way home on the night of September 8, then parked it in our driveway at the house and spent the night in the house on September 9. On September 10, Malcolm took the trailer to work, then we took it on to Fort Toulouse Campground in Wetumpka, Alabama. We ended up just living in the trailer from then on. We consider September 10 as our anniversary date even though we really didn’t start doing any full-time traveling until January of 2013.

Here are some random stats for each of our three years of full-timing:

Year 1 (2012-2013)
Miles: 16904
States: 25 – AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, IA, IN, KY, LA, MO, MS, MT, NC, NM, NV, OK, OR, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WA, WY

Year 2 (2013-2014)
Miles: 18995
States: 20 – AL, AR, CO, FL, ID, LA, KY, KS, MO, MS, MT, NE, OR, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WY

Year 3 (2014-2015)
Miles: 21520
States: 22 – AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, IL, IN, GA, KY, LA, MN, MS, MT, NC, ND, NV, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI

Looking at the number of nights we’ve spent in different campgrounds, we come up with the following top 20 over the past three years. The number of days we’ve spent there followed by the campground name:

390 – Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama
143 – Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee
32 – Washington State Fairgrounds, Puyallup, Washington
28 – Vacationer RV Park, El Cajon, California
25 – Kentucky Horse Park Campground, Lexington, Kentucky
22 – Traders Village RV Park, Houston, Texas
21 – Fort Wilderness Campground, Bay Lake, Florida
19 – Lone Star Jellystone Park, Waller, Texas
18 – Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds, Goshen, Indiana
18 – Westlake RV Resort, Houston, Texas
16 – Whispering Hills RV Park, Georgetown, Kentucky
15 – Lake Chelan State Park, Chelan, Washington
15 – Pineglen RV Park, Panama City Beach, Florida
13 – Lazydays Campground, Seffner, Florida
13 – Levi Jackson State Park, London, Kentucky
13 – Mission Bay RV Resort, San Diego, California
12 – Two Rivers Campground, Nashville, Tennessee
11 – Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, Alabama
11 – Rainbows End RV Park, Livingston, Texas
9 – Gig Harbor RV Resort, Gig Harbor, Washington

Interestingly, if you take out the campgrounds we’ve stayed in to be near an office where Malcolm works from the above list, it looks like this:

32 – Washington State Fairgrounds, Puyallup, Washington
25 – Kentucky Horse Park Campground, Lexington, Kentucky
21 – Fort Wilderness Campground, Bay Lake, Florida
18 – Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds, Goshen, Indiana
16 – Whispering Hills RV Park, Georgetown, Kentucky
15 – Lake Chelan State Park, Chelan, Washington
15 – Pineglen RV Park, Panama City Beach, Florida
13 – Lazydays Campground, Seffner, Florida
13 – Levi Jackson State Park, London, Kentucky
11 – Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, Alabama
11 – Rainbows End RV Park, Livingston, Texas
9 – Gig Harbor RV Resort, Gig Harbor, Washington

Some other little tidbits:

Longest driving day in miles: 587 – June 28, 2013, Deer Lodge, Montana to Gig Harbor, Washington

Shortest driving day in miles: 2 – July 29, 2015, From Jellystone Park to the KOA, both in Nashville, Tennessee

We traded in our 2013 trailer for our current 2015 model on March 26, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. We pulled that first trailer 46,991 miles.