Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dear Lord, please help me!

I am typing on the laptop so this will be brief. Steve & Mike went with me to NJ where we met Porter Adcock of the NuWa Owners Club & Carolyn, the seller. We got the rig hitched and l asked Steve to drive back and to stop at a parking lot closer to home, where I took over and practiced in a large empty area of the lot. Although I did well at turns, I tried many times to back into a space but just couldn't do it. I think it must be like when I had to learn to parallel park in order to get my driver's license at age 16 - after lots of practice it suddenly comes to you.

We brought the rig to an RV storage lot about a mile from Mike's home, but when trying to go through the unhitch process we realized we had no power at all. It turned out that the batteries were dead, probably due to being unused for a couple of years, so Mike used his jumper cables and we were able to get unhitched We will have to take the batteries to get them tested tomorrow, and possibly I will have to buy new ones. So stay tuned to find out what else can go wrong.

I've decided to stay and practice until I feel confident in starting out, but I will plan to use pull in campsites. I believe I will be ok once I get to the highway, and I can always stop at big empty parking lots along the way!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

I got up at 5:20 am this morning as Steve and I promised to take Katy and Ara to the Mall for the Black Friday shopping expedition. I have probably been in a mall no more than 5 times in the past 5 years. I don't like to shop, and don't like crowded stores and parking lots. Only one person in the world could get me to go out into that scene, and it is my beloved granddaughter, Ara. Steve drove and found a super-close parking space, carried packages and was generally helpful; the girls shopped for warm clothing, and I enjoyed every minute of the trip! We were back home by 12:30 and I've noticed that Ara has a different outfit on each time she walks into the room. I realize how life is so different with a 2 month old and a 2 year old, but when you add a 19 and 21 year old to the mix it can hardly get much better than that.

I'll be up early tomorrow morning for the trip to New Jersey. The next time I post I will actually have something to report about my life as a fulltimer!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

I am enjoying the day and we are all taking part in the preparation of a great meal. I am making the dressing and doing a spinach salad. The boys went out this morning for bagels and donuts - a great breakfast when you don't get them very often. My son, Steve, came in yesterday to celebrate the holiday and he will be baby Justin's godfather at the baptism on Sunday. Granddaughter Ara and niece Katy are here from college, so I'm really enjoying family.

I guess we will join the shopping crowd tomorrow - Ara, being from California, didn't fully realize how cold it can be in central Pennsylvania, so we will get her some sweaters and other warm clothes. And then on Saturday Mike and Steve will go with me to pick up the 5th wheel and truck. I hope to be able to drive it back, but it's nice to know that Steve will do it if I don't want to drive in Saturday NJ/NY traffic.

I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Registration complete

I just heard from Terri at MyDakotaAddress that she has the license plates & registration, and is getting them in the mail to me this afternoon. I have the insurance cards via email from the agent in Madison, SD, so I'm all set from the legal standpoint. Now I just hope everything goes well on Saturday.

I'm also set for a mail delivery on Friday. It is really different - getting mail twice a month rather than 6 days a week as I was used to. I had my new toaster oven shipped to SD because I didn't know that it would arrive before I left - I should have just had it sent here to NY.

My rv-dreams are coming true - I'm still keeping my fingers crossed though.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ready to sell the Jeep

I had my red '97 Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd washed and detailed today, and it looks so beautiful that I hate to have to sell it. The leather upholstery looks like new, all carpets were shampood, everything cleaned and polished, and dog hair removed. On the outside it is a gorgeous shiny red, and even the tires look terrific.

We went to West Point again today, ate lunch and visited the PX, Commissary and Class 6 stores. I got a few items for the RV and my son surprised me with a vacuum cleaner he saw me obviously wanting to buy but didn't. He must have gone back for it when Sandy and I started walking over towards the Commissary with the baby. It is compact and will stow away easily, I think, and I should be able to use it on the carpet and the linoleum, so I won't need a broom. I have a push broom for outdoors that I can use to clean off the roof or slides. I can't wait to start putting things away in the RV next week.

The temperature was 17F this morning at 9 am when I took my car over to be cleaned and there was frost on the windshield. I have been reading that the entire east has been under a cold snap lately, so it looks like I may even be in the cold when I reach Asheville. My granddaughter reported they had snow in PA today, and she said it was beautiful. Knowing that she will be in much colder weather than I will, I gave her my treasured Aran sweater. It was handknit & sewn and made to keep a sailor warm in the cold icy waters around Ireland. It kept me warm when I lived in Ireland, and putting it on brings instant warmth, so I hope she gets much good out of it.

Speaking of my granddaughter, she told us that out of over 1500 students, she won a contest to design and paint a mural for the school. She isn't even an art major, so it is really an honor, but I have no doubt she is the best. Do I sound like a proud grandmother?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

About a week to go.....

In about 8 days from tomorrow I will be picking up my Hitchhiker II in NJ. There has been some drama over the past couple of days regarding my learning to hitch/unhitch the 5ver, but a man from the Mid Atlantic Hitchhiker Club has offered to come to Burlington to show me. I am so relieved that I will get some expert advice from a person who has a similar rig. Also, the seller sent me a box that arrived in the mail today, containing the Hitchhiker User manuals, which she has very neatly organized and labeled, plus a large assortment of keys for RV and truck, and some miscellaneous items for the rig.

Add to these the GPS, Pressure Pro System, converter box for the TV, as well as many smaller incidental items, and I have enough to keep me busy for a month of Sundays! If I can just successfully get it hitched and drive it back to NY, I won't unhitch it until I arrive in Greencastle, PA where I will stop for my first night of my fulltiming lifestyle. I'll have the service that I want done there and will probably be at the CG for two nights, then continue south on I-81. I have a campground in mind for the next stop, as well as one a bit further along in case things go well and I arrive earlier than I am estimating. I really want to get to Asheville and begin to load up my belongings that I will take, including a set of sheets and a blanket that I will need. I don't want to buy additional bedding since I have plenty in storage, so between sleeping in my warmest clothes and wrapping up in a cotton bedspread provided by my d-i-l, I think I can stay warm enough. My cookware & dishes are also in storage, so I'll be eating out for the most part enroute to Asheville, but I bought a new coffee maker and will be able to make good coffee along the way.

I am filled with trepidation now, but I know I'll be fine once I have done the hooking up process a few times and driven a few miles along the road. Of course, the weather is always a worry this time of year, but I can just sit tight for as long as it takes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The sun is shining again

There are angels out there watching over me, and I seem to do my darndest to foil their efforts. Yesterday I was whining about Walmart and the toaster oven that I couldn't seem to buy. Well today I looked online at the catalog for my credit card's rewards program, and lo and behold, I got the exact same $40 toaster oven for 9750 points. I needed to use 6000 points before December or I would lose them anyway, so I'm glad the little imps at Walmart put them way up too high to reach.

The funds were FINALLY deposited to the seller's acct., so I'm expecting the title in the mail tomorrow, which I will forward on to Terri in SD along with appropriate forms and a check for the 3% tax. I'm planning on picking up the rig on Nov. 29 and hope I can drive it back here with no problems. I also called Keystone CG & RV Service Parkin Greencastle, PA and found I would have no problem getting a site at the CG, and can have the needed service done. I asked about washing & waxing the RV, but the estimate of $400 makes me think I will wait until I get into warmer weather and do it myself, a little at a time. A week at a CG with good weather and nothing else to do should give me enough time.

It's nice to have something to smile about today.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lessons learned

I have been feeling so "down" for the past week. One reason is that I recently had another birthday, and that has always made me depressed, but once it's over with I normally snap back. This delay with the RV really has me getting close to angry though.

The lessons I have learned in the past few months: I am going to start putting myself first, and do what I need to do for myself. No one else does, and I'm always too nice to push for what I need. No more Mrs. Nice Guy!

The Garmin GPS situation has gotten a little better. I went to Walmart today and decided that I'm not going there any more. What a wasted trip. They carry the exact toaster oven I want but the shelf is always empty of stock. I was walking behind the paint department and found numerous boxes of them on the top shelf (unreachable, of course) along with other boxed small appliances that belonged in another part of the store. Also back near Paint, I saw a man who somehow found a ladder, climbed it and was getting something he wanted off the top shelf. If the ladder had been closer to what I needed I would have waited until he was through with it, but it was too big to drag through the store. Naturally there was no store employee to be found.

Then I asked for and got absolutely no help from staff regarding something to charge the GPS with (other than charging it in the car). Yesterday at Target I was told that the Motorola cell phone uses the same charger as the Garmin GPS, so the lightbulb went on when I was coming home. Sure enough, when I plugged my Verizon phone charger into the back of the Garmin, and into an outlet, the GPS screen lit up and the unit is getting charged at this minute. DUH!

So while I will use Walmart if I absolutely must, I don't plan to shop there from now on. Most of the Walmarts I have been in are about the same in my experience, but then so are most of the other discount stores. I think I am just not into shopping at all, so I'm never going to look forward to going into any store other than a Costco (my fave) or an organic food supermarket.

I also went to A&P to get a few cleaning supplies for the RV, and waiting at the checkout I dropped the case with my glasses. When I let go of the cart to retrieve the case, the cart rolled forward and hit the gentleman in front of me! I grabbed the cart and while I was apologizing to him I dropped the case again, this time in a different direction. A woman picked it up and handed it to me, but didn't let go of it right away - she asked "do you have it ok?" I wanted to stand there and cry, but at my newly advanced age I'm too big to cry, I guess.

And the seller of the RV is starting to piss me off.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rarin' to Go!

I'm all set to get on the road but I still haven't heard anything about the $ being deposited in the seller's acct. This is the worst experience I've ever had buying anything of this value, and no house purchase has ever caused me all the grief. If any future RVers are reading this, my suggestion is to buy from a reputable dealer (if you can find one :-)), or else obtain a cashier's check, which I would have done but the changing of my address and banking with an out of town credit union messed that up. I will take my credit union any day over a bank though - they aren't the problem here, and they aren't holding the money somewhere/using it interest-free for a few weeks.

I drove back from PA yesterday in a constant rain. That was the first trip I've taken in years where I drove so much on US and state highways that went through so many small towns, the speed limit was constantly changing, etc. No comparison to the US & state highways in the west, such as New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. The scenery was beautiful though and made up for the inconvenience.

My Pressure Pro system arrived while I was away. I opened it and took a look at the instructions for installing it, and decided I may have that done along with the rest of the RV service I want to get when I am a little further south. It doesn't sound like anything I can't do myself, but for that kind of expense I don't want to mess it up.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Well,I got it!

Ara went to her early class this morning and then we drove over to Walmart where I bought a Garmin GPS. I fooled around a little bit with it and was able to get a signal from the window sill of her 4th floor dorm room, but the battery is really low so I haven't fully explored the possibilities with it. I think I may charge it while I'm driving back to NY tomorrow, but I'm not going to mount it in the Jeep and will wait until I get the truck.

I appreciate the comments made to yesterday's post, and I agree that I will really need to cross check with a regular map. I love maps anyway and plan to get a whole new set from AAA as soon as I get back to Asheville.

When I retired in late 1996 I was more technologically adept than most of the people I worked with, and I decided I had reached the peak of whatever I wanted or needed to know. I took off on an anticipated 2100 mile, 6 month backpacking trip, lived in a tent, cooked over a tiny backpacker's stove, and learned to live with only what I absolutely needed - no technology needed. I found my way by following the white blazes painted on the trees, and used topo maps. I had no cell phone, computer, gps, or any of the electronic devices that most hikers wouldn't leave home without toeday. It was a wonderful feeling to meet the challenge of making it on my own. The fact that I had to stop after about 900 miles was because of health issues and not because I was under-equipped. Now I'm starting a whole new gypsy life, and I'm not yet sure how I feel about getting all the electronics that I'm told I can't do without.

I will agree that I should have a cell phone when traveling, and I can even go along with the GPS, but not that I "must have" them. I just hope they don't eventually mask my common sense.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Greetings from Pennsylvania

I'm typing this from the dorm at Juniata College in PA this evening. I decided to visit my granddaughter and am staying with her tonight & tomorrow night, and will return to NY on Thursday. She is at a 9 pm class, giving a presentation, so I am able to use her computer. My laptop won't connect to the internet for some reason. This afternoon Ara showed me around the campus and then we drove into town for a pizza, and she drove back to the college as I don't like to drive in unfamiliar territory in the dark.

Tomorrow we will visit the Walmart, first of all to try to find me a GPS. I've seen a couple of models that I liked at Costco but they were out of stock, so I will see what they have here. If I don't find anything I can always go to Best Buy, although I get so exasperated in that store that I swear I will never go back. On one of my last trips there I bought a telephone answering machine on sale for $6 and the salesman tried his best to sell me a $12 one-year warranty! I may just opt not to get a GPS anytime soon, as I'm sure I will be ok in the 5ver since I don't intend to drive through city streets, and that's usually the only place I have problems.

Speaking of the 5ver, there is still no word on the funds being deposited to the seller's account, although today is a Federal holiday so I wasn't expecting anything to happen until the end of the week. So her bank keeps the funds for half the month, and doesn't pay either of us interest on the money - very interesting. There oughtta be a law......

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another weekend rolls around

Time is passing so quickly (except for my getting title to the 5th wheel and truck), and another weekend has arrived. On Friday we went to West Point to the PX and Commissary, and I must say that it is beautiful there in all seasons. Some of the trees are still in their fall colors, and driving through the rural areas of NY you see one postcard scene after another. We came back from the Point and then my middle son (recent bridegroom) who is on the East Coast attending business meetings and conferences, stopped by for a couple days' visit. He left this morning, but it was great to see him even briefly. He will be back for Thanksgiving and then the baby's baptism the weekend after, as he will be the godfather.

I'm thinking of going shopping again today although I don't want to get into a crowd of Christmas shoppers. I will try to get a few more things for the 5ver, although there isn't anything I can't do without starting off. I certainly won't be cooking until I retrieve my cookware & dishes from Asheville. I might forget how to cook in the interim!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shopping trip!

I went shopping at Walmart today, thinking I would buy some things for the RV, such as coffee maker, toaster oven, slow cooker, rice cooker, and the like. They must have had a busy day yesterday and hadn't re-stocked yet, because the only thing I could find was the coffee maker. It is exactly what I want - capable of brewing a good amount of coffee, but more compact in size than the one I have in storage. I also bought a permanent filter for it. There was a 3 qt slow cooker on display but none in a box; several brands of rice cookers on display but not the one I want. There were three boxes with the toaster oven I want, but they were all dented. I looked at GPS systems but don't know enough about them to select one; I couldn't even find radios - want a weather radio as well as a CB radio, but no luck. I might try Target next, and hopefully Costco. I have cut down my shopping and credit card use to nearly zero in the past year, so it actually hurts to even go near a store, and forking over money is worse. I just hope I can get back to frugal mode soon.

I've also been studying the Passport America directory for possible campgrounds on my way south. There is one that looks interesting, on the border between PA and MD, and they have a 13 bay service area, store, etc., so I could get the work done on the 5Ver as well. I will call them soon to get details on what they offer as well as to possibly make a reservation. I'm not sure I want to drive from Dutchess Co. NY all the way to the southern PA border in one day - the first day of my fulltime RVing life - but I may decide to try it. I will need to slow down to a snail's pace compared to how I usually drive on a trip - usually 550-700 miles a day, and I rarely exceed the speed limit!

And the best news of the day - I got two emails from Workamper News that my resume had been looked at by two different employers. WN doesn't tell you more than that, so you have to wait to be contacted by a potential employer, but at least I know my resume is being seen. Once I have a good idea of my schedule I will call the parks directly about a job - so far there are two in Northern CA that I am interested in from Jan/Feb for 2-3 months.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mysteries of banking

I checked my account last night before going to bed and found that the checks I wrote for the 5th wheel and the truck were deducted from my account. It will be interesting to see how long the money takes to get into Carolyn's account. Somehow, I don't trust the banks--it's all done electronically and shouldn't take more than a day to transfer. At least it's not my bank that is holding things up.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Making my lists

It's Sunday and I have been making lists of things I'm going to need. I think I will shop at Walmart tomorrow during the day when it shouldn't be crowded. It is amazing how many little things I am going to be needing, from small dishpan and drainer, to coffee maker & vacuum cleaner, and loads of things in between.

The reason I am cooling my heels waiting forthe check to clear is that I hadn't yet changed the address on record at my bank, so the cashier's check would be sent to my old one in NC, where it would be forwarded by the post office to South Dakota. I could have changed it to my son's address, but as the change takes place on the following day, I was running short of the time that I planned to drive to NJ. As it turned out I had an extra day due to the rainy weather on the original date set, but I was concerned about the timing. So I opted for writing a personal check and never dreamed it would take so long. It makes me wonder who has the money from the time it leaves my account to the time it will be added to Carolyn's account. If you think of how many checks clear a bank every day, we are talking more the a small sum of money. As I have always banked at a credit union and I think they only issue bank checks, I probably would have had the same wait for the bank check to clear. This may not have been a problem had I purchased from a dealer.