Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I hope everyone has a happy and safe new year's eve, and I wish you all the best for 2009.

I don't celebrate the holiday like I used to and this year will be no different. My daughter & her husband are staying home this evening, so I invited myself over. I'll take the two dogs with me and go early in the afternoon, probably staying the night there since I won't want to drive back after dark. Tomorrow I'll pack everything that needs to be stowed in the 5ver so that we're ready to roll into Cal Expo on Friday. On Saturday I'll attend my youngest granddaughter's 1st birthday party.

We took the collar off Mandy last night so she could get some decent rest. This morning I thought she looked better, but she started rubbing her eye with her paw so I put it back on. I'll give it a couple more days but frankly I'm not sure if she will ever be ok.

What a year this has been! Goodbye to the old and welcome the new.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Jeep Cherokee

When I left NY in my Ford truck and 5th wheeler, I had to leave behind my beloved Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd. There are so many features of that vehicle that I miss every time I drive - compass, outside temperature, mpg computation, how many miles until I run out of fuel, etc., but I really need to sell it soon. My son in NY, Mike, put it on Craig's list and quickly got 3 calls about it. I think at least two of them want to see it tomorrow afternoon, and I'm really hoping it sells. Before I left NY I took it for detailing and it looked spectacular! Mike took photos outside and inside to go with the ad, and the people calling are very impressed with how clean it looks. I swore I left the NC title in NY, but found it this morning in a folder in the 5th wheel. It's probably a good thing because my signature needed to be notarize and the title accompanied by a bill of sale, so I sent both signed documents via UPS and they should arrive in NY tomorrow by 1:30 pm. How appropriate if I can close out the year with the sale of my Jeep. Then I will wake up on New Year's morning a brand new person!

I don't think Mandy will be a brand new dog, however. I am administering the eye drops & ointment as specified, and I hope it's working because as of yet she certainly can't open her left eye. The collar gets in her way so that she can barely come up or go down steps, through a doorway, or eat/drink. I will probably remove it in a day or two, and then assess the quality of life she is living.

I was thinking over the past year and what a time I've had. This time last year I was in Sacramento and getting set for the drive back to Asheville. My youngest son and his wife were expecting a baby on the 28th of December, but it was late in getting here. Since I had registered for school the spring semester I needed to start back by New Year's Day. I left in the pre-dawn hours and drove for 120 miles in an extremely heavy fog. When I stopped for coffee in Merced, I got a call that Sarah had gone to the hospital and was ready to deliver. I turned around, drove back to Sacramento in the fog and met my brand new granddaughter. The next morning I started for Asheville.

I loved my classes and got A's in both. It wasn't until June that the thought came to me I could no longer manage living by myself on 3/4 acre in the mountains, so I decided to get my house ready to go on the market in July, got an offer to purchase in August, and went to closing the 17th of October. Sometime after making the decision to sell I began looking into the fulltiming lifestyle and it immediately appealed to me. Don't ask me how I rationalized I could live in, drive around the country, and maintain an RV by myself, but here I am! If I was younger I may have taken more time to plan and dispose of my belongings, but I have never been one to take a long to make up my mind to do something, and that's the way I've sort of fallen into this lifestyle. Sometimes I feel like I'm on a magic carpet ride, and at other times I shake my head and ask "woman, what in the world possessed you to......."

Monday, December 29, 2008


I love it when I can get something settled. I called Cal Expo this morning and reserved a space for 30 days, beginning the 2nd of Jan. It is comforting to know where I will be for the next month, and I think I will enjoy the stay there. The only reason I can figure for the 30 day maximum stay, is that Cal Expo has events planned throughout the year and they like to keep spaces open for vendors. In January alone there is a Sportsmen's Expo, and a Home & Landscape Show.

I called the Nu Wa authorized service in West Sac this morning, but the service dept is closed until Jan 12th. I had hoped to get that taken care of before moving into Cal Expo, but I can wait. There is a recall on the Glide Rite pin box that needs to be done, and Nu Way sent me the parts.

I need to get ready now to take Mandy to the vet, so I will probably add to today's post later on this evening.

The dog has a huge ulcer on her left eye, and we came away with eyedrops + ointment. I think the drops is an antibiotic to prevent further infection. The vet put a collar on her so she can't paw at the eye and further irritate it, and it's comical to see her try to eat and drink with it on. It's difficult for her to get settled down also, and I really do feel sorry for her. I hope this takes care of the problem and she gets back to normal.

Steve and I went to get the propane tanks filled, and the man wanted to know if the tanks were for an RV. He kept directing his questions and comments to Steve, until he told the guy that actually his mom was the owner/driver of the rig. The man's eyes got real wide and he finally looked at me and then my truck, and asked "So YOU drive THIS truck and pull a 35 foot 5th wheel???" I'm finding that it is a common reaction--people just don't think of an older woman doing this sort of thing. I still feel sort of like an imposter who is trying to pass herself off as a fulltimer who knows what she's doing!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I have looked at several campgrounds in the Sacramento area because I would like to be able to open out the slides, hook up the hoses & electric, etc., and live in my RV. Nothing seemed 100% right for me until I drove through the campground yesterday at Cal Expo, the state fairgrounds & exposition center. One big difference is the rigs that are parked there - all seem to be in good shape and the areas around them are well taken care of. One drawback is that there is a maximum stay of 30 days, but I think I will move in around Jan 2nd. They have plenty of pull thru sites, full hookups, tv, wi fi, and all the amenities, and it is in a good central location - at least I know I can find my way from there to where I will want to go. I really hope to hear back from some of the letters I've sent about campground jobs, so that would take care of where I will stay next.

I have an appointment with an opthamalogist the 12th, and I hope that if I need surgery they can schedule me pretty quickly, and that the recovery period is short. I will need to be able to hitch up the 5ver and do all the work required to get ready to roll, as well as what is required in a campground job, such as lifting. But in the meantime I have a lot to do and I'm getting pretty antsy to get things accomplished. Tomorrow I will make arrangements for service for the 5ver and I hope I can just take it from the service bay over to the Cal Expo Campground.

My dog Mandy seems better this morning although she still rubs her left eye. We see a vet tomorrow and maybe it will just take some ointment for a few days.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A bit sad this morning

I am really worried about Mandy, the smaller of my two dogs. She had been my ex-husband's dog, and when he died nearly two years ago, I took her back to NC with me. She's a sweet little thing, about 13 or 14 yrs old. I thought she was getting catarracts and knew her vision was getting worse by the week. When I saw a new vet in Asheville a couple of weeks ago, he told me she had glaucoma. Since yesterday she won't or can't even get up, and keeps rubbing her eyes. I think she may have gone completely blind. I picked her up and carried her outside this morning, but she isn't eating or drinking anythng - but did take the doggie biscuit I offered her this morning. It is very sad to me and I don't quite know how to handle it. It will be easier when we are in the 5ver I hope.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After

I had a wonderful Christmas with family yesterday, and today has been an easy, relaxed day. Steve drove me through 3 local RV parks but none of them were perfect - one was nice enough but the manager wasn't very friendly. I will keep looking although there isn't much that is close to where I want to be for the next month.

We stopped to fill up my propane tanks. The sign said $3.99/gal. for propane. I have two "30's" and am not sure if that is two 30 # tanks or two 30 gal. tanks. Either way, it sounds pretty expensive. I paid $26 for each tank in North Carolina. I'm hooked up to Steve's electric so that's how the fridge is running. I turned the heat off but there was frost on the grass this morning, and I think I should probably set the heat at 55 or 60 degrees, which would keep the basement warm. There is so much I have yet to learn.

Steve and Megan gave me a down comforter for Christmas. I have always wanted one but have been too frugal to buy one for myself. I am so excited about finally having one and being able to stay warm. The dogs and I are staying inside their house temporarily, and I commented on how much I loved the down comforter on the bed I'm using, so they went out and bought me one.

There probably won't be much to write about for the next few days unless I find a suitable RV park. I am so anxious to get into a space for a few weeks and start an early spring cleaning! I did the basics when I was in Asheville, but the rig will be so beautiful when I have it spruced up. The exterior is going to be a big job, though, and I will throw a work party and entice the kids & their spouses to help.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas today and best wishes for the holiday season.

Yesterday was sort of a laid back day for me. I spent the day at my daughter's house and even went to a mall with her to look for maternity clothes. I carried the hangars to the dressing room and the shopping bags out, which is about all I'm good for on shopping trips. She got some very nice clothes, and I was surprised that the mall wasn't packed with shoppers, nor were the streets gridlocked. That is unusual for the Sacramento area. We went to the Folsom Outlet Mall, and I will have to drag myself back soon to find some shoes, but I will put it off as long as I can.

My son in law made his signature enchiladas for our dinner, and a bit later my granddaughter drove me back to Steve's house since I shouldn't drive in the dark and it was raining fairly heavily. She will pick me up again today since I just left my truck there. I really don't get into the Christmas spirit any more but will try to put my holiday mood on today.

One thing I accomplished yesterday was to take a look at volunteer.gov and pick out several jobs I might be interested in. I sent about 4 emails to inquire, and I think I would especially be interested in Lassen Volcanic Park, which is about 100 miles north of Sacramento. I will definitely come back here about the middle of June and stay until Jeannie has the baby in early July. There are also a few positions open in Stanislaus River campgrounds which would be in the foothills to the Sierra, a bit south of here. It would be great if I could work out something with both parks stretching over the time I'm here. We will see, as it's early days.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chillin' Out

I spent yesterday recuperating from my long drive, and today I ventured out to my favorite Costco store. I got a few good things for snacks and a bottle of wine to take to wherever we are celebrating in the next few days. I also bought a sheepskin seat cover for my truck - if it is a good fit and looks nice I will get one for the passenger seat, otherwise I will just take it back.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Safe arrival

Since I missed yesterday (Sunday the 21st) I will combine the account of my last two days. I left Indio, CA at 8 am Sunday morning. The dogs woke me up at 5am, scratching, licking, yawning & stretching, so I finally just got out of bed and prepared for an early departure. I took I-210W around L.A. according to Ms. Garmin's directions - even got off to refuel and found my way back safely!

The loooooong climb up to the gap and back down into Grapevine was a real killer. My truck performed liked a champ, but the road was really bumpy and there was much more traffic than I would have preferred. CA has a 70 mph speed limit most places, but only 55 for autos pulling trailers and trucks.

I started getting calls from my kids, starting with Mike in NY, urging me to try to make it to Livermore for dinner. My brother and his wife, Rob & Maria, traditionally have everyone to their house a few days before Christmas, and it was a golden opportunity to be with so many of my family. Another brother & his wife, Steve & Nancy came over from Suisuin, and my sister Amy and her two daughters were there, as were my 3 kids and their families. They all toured my 5th wheel and were pretty astonished when we pulled up. I got off the freeway and waited in a parking lot for my son (Steve) to come over and drive me to Rob's house. It is a very easy drive and the streets are wide, but at that point I was exhausted! I think I drove a few miles under 500 for the day, and will never do that again, but I'm so happy I got there. As they poured out of the house each one said "You drove THAT all the way here?" When I looked at it anew I was pretty surprised myself.

This morning I left Livermore about 8:30 and met Steve near his house so he could drive the rig here. He nearly got it backed into the driveway, but the roof edge of his house was just too low and too close so he parked it in the street in front of his house. He unhitched it and pulled the truck into the driveway, but I'm just too tired to go anywhere at present. I've taken one nap and plan to have another one very soon.

With all the bumpy roads I've been on lately I will need to tighten every screw and bolt in the 5th wheel. But that will happen when I'm at the campground and can put out the slides. For now I need to rest.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Finally in California

I am at an RV Park in Indio Ca, at an outrageous price, and then they charged me an extra $1 per dog. I am close to the gate, but it is a sharp right turn and I don't know if I can make it in one try. I'm planning to leave early so as to get through and around LA before the traffic starts to get heavy. Being Sunday morning it should be lighter.

Last night I stayed in Marana, NM, about 10 miles west of Tuscon, and had no wi-fi, so I wasn't able to post, read emails, etc. Tuscon was a tense drive - construction with narrow lanes and concrete barriers at the sides. Phoenix, this morning was a little easier, but it was more complicated getting through it.

But 1st things 1st. I had been on the road about 1/2 hr this morning when I stopped at Flying J for fuel. Most of them have an entrance that is marked Cars & RV's, so when I saw Cars I pulled in only to discover that I should have taken the next entrance marked Trucks & RV's. The lanes were narrow and since they had no pull thru spaces for RV's, the big rigs were parked every which way and blocked any turns you could make. I came head on with a woman who was trying to get to the dump station, but she couldn't back up very well, she said. Needless to say, backing up isn't an art I have perfected either, as yet. An angel came along in the disguise of an elderly gentleman (about the same age as the other solo female RVer and me) and finally got her backed up and where she wanted to go. Then he turned my rig around a sharp corner so I could go on my way, over to the proper fueling section. In the meantime, big class A's kept coming in and blocking things even more, but it finally got worked out. It took me an hour for the stop! When I told the man how wonderful he was, he said he had been a truck driver for many years. Then he said he would go see if any other women needed help!

I am really tired of desert. I'm tired of I-10. I wish I had been able to stay on I-40. Going through Quartzite was an experience however, First, you start noticing an RV or two among the desert plants & cacti, and then more and more, until all you see on both sides are RV's.

I used my slow cooker yesterday for the 1st time and made a chicken stew. It was yummy, and I will have more of it for my dinner tonight. I'm so glad to have something good to eat.

I'm off now to walk the dogs. They really take advantage of me in this RV lifestyle, and expect to be walked a time or two more than they got when we lived in NC. They are adjusting well, however, except that the one with glaucoma isn't very happy with a long walk. She just wants to go quick and get it over with and back into the RV. I'm learning that I have to watch her more closely as she will run into an obstacle rather than go around it, because she can't see. Poor thing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Heading out of Texas today

I didn't get up as early this morning because I knew I couldn't access my coffee maker, so wouldn't be having breakfast at home. My kitchen counter makes an"L", with the sink facing the living area. There are 3 overheads, two are accessible to either side, and one is only accessible from the living room side. I couldn't put the sofa slide out because the electric post is on that side of my RV and it is a very tall one. There is no way that I see that I could have parked any differently to get that slide out. Well, the 3rd overhead cabinet is where I store my coffee maker and slow cooker! With the slide in I can't get to it. I usually just put the coffee maker back into the box and set the box under the dining table among the chair legs, but for some reason I decided to put it where it belonged. I had a cup of instant coffee this morning - YUK!

I took the dogs out before daylight. Behind the fence in the back of the property is a field with two oil wells, with one of them pumping this morning. They were both idle when I went out yesterday evening. They are so quiet it is sort of eerie, especially in the pre-dawn hours.

I'm running low on suppers, so I took chicken out of the freezer this morning and hope it thaws somewhat by this evening. I think I will make a stew in the slow cooker and let it cook overnight. It should be ready by morning, but how in the world will I carry it because it will be too hot to put in plastic storage containers. I'll have to see how warm the outside of the cooker gets - maybe I can set it in one of the sink bowls for the ride tomorrow.

I'd better start making my rounds to get the interior ready for travel. I always do the bedroom when I get up - put everything away and pull in the slide - so that's one part of the rig I can forget. I'll post later this afternoon, if possible.

I arrived intact at the Western Sky's RV Park in Vado, NM, just inside the border from Texas. I think the drive through El Paso was much worse than around Dallas-Ft. Worth, traffic wise. And this was at noon on a Thursday! I'd hate to be in rush hour traffic. There are high winds and dust blowing everywhere, and the rig is rockin & rollin.

Nothing much to report from Midland to Vado, except most of it was very flat. The speed limit along most of that road is 80 for cars, 70 for trucks, and 65 at night. Imagine the fuel efficiency at 80 mph! I stayed at 60-64 and it's just as well. I can't believe how many drivers just casually pull right in front of a large vehicle, be it an RV or truck. Do they have any idea how easily they could get run over?

I hope my rig doesn't get blown over by this wind. I'll be glad to see daylight tomorrow morning and move on out. I did get my tanks emptied and 2/3 tank of fresh water, but still no propane. I had hoped to get it here, but as the park is under new management they don't have the license to sell propane yet.

The owners seem to be quite young (at least to me). When I was registering, the young man came out from the office and said "Are YOU driving that RV?" "Yes, I am", I responded. "By YOURSELF???" I don't see that it's enough to make a great big deal about as I am sure there are other older women out there with more sense of adventure than common sense.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Learn something new every day

I had some time to spare this morning so I decided to tackle the waste tanks. I got the cap off with no problem and a chunk of ice fell out, so the cap was probably frozen on and why I couldn't get it off yesterday. I hooked everything up and it worked beautifully. I thought, "This is a cakewalk!". I also put a lot of water into the fresh water tank, but now that I've taken a shower I should go and do everything all over again. I took time to chat with my neighbors, twin sons and their mom, who are traveling to visit family in CA for Christmas. We hope to possibly meet up again along the way.

I got on I-20W with no problem. It was foggy and visibility was ok but I was extra careful and left plenty of room. A lot of people were doing that. In a couple of hours the fog burned off and I was surprised to see a cotton field on one side. It still hadn't been picked, but I passed many fields that were harvested. I am always surprised how low to the ground cotton grows. I can't imagine picking it by hand, with a heavy sack thrown over your back and having to lean down that low. I once worked with a woman who had picked cotton as a child and she described the backbreaking work for very little pay.

As I drove on I marveled at the juxtaposition of oil drills on one side of the highway, and hundreds of windmills on the other - fossil fuel and the power of the wind. It went on for miles that way, both the drills and the mills set in among the cotton fields. Further down the road I was stunned to see what looked like ice at the sides of the roadway, and then realized it was all fluffy white cotton that escaped the bailing process.

Further along when a car pulled up alongside me and honked the horn, the man in the passenger seat pointing back to my rig. When I looked closely in the side mirror I saw that my storage compartment door for the waste tanks & hoses had come open. I swear I closed and locked it, but I guess not. I pulled over when I could and got out and secured it. The incident sure stuck a pin in the big balloon I was going to get for doing such a fantastic job of emptying the tanks!

I had planned to stop in Big Spring and in fact, got off the interstate, but never could find the RV park. A couple of calls to the phone # for the park just got me a recorded message. I followed directions from a clerk where I refueled, but after driving through downtown Big Spring for a pretty good distance, and listening to Ms. Garmin's frantic instructions to "turn left and then turn left", I decided to drive on to Midland. I had selected 3 possible parks in Midland, and had written them down with phone numbers, so I phoned the 2nd one and found they had a level pull-thru site, and I gave Ms. Garmin the new information so she could lead me to my destination. Whatta lady!

I didn't realize until I entered the city limits that Midland was the home of George & Laura Bush. It even has a skyline with some tall buildings!

I arrived at the CG at 3 pm and was very glad to shut down and hook up. I only hooked up the electricity and I should go out and do the water before it gets dark. On the other hand, maybe I could wait until my destination of El Paso tomorrow..... The campground is fine with plenty-wide spaces, but the ground is covered in a thick layer of fine dust. My black truck will look awful by the time we leave here, as will my 5th wheel.

It's nice to have free wi-fi again but I probably won't do much more than check out campgrounds for tomorrow night. I drove 6-1/2 hrs today, which is an hour more than I intended, and I can feel the tension seeping out of me.

I will say I am getting adjusted pretty quickly to the life of RV'ing, but it's like being on a balance beam. I do something very well - lean to the right, and then something really dumb - lean to the left. I suppose as long as I keep coming back to center I'll be fine.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Into Every Life.....

....some rain must fall, and freezing rain as well. I woke up at 6 am thinking I would try to get away early, like 8 am or so. When I took the dogs out for a walk before daylight, we nearly slipped down the steps which have a thin glaze of ice on them. A little before 8 am I went out to put the maps and things into the truck, and the windows are covered in ice - not the kind that cracks & scrapes away easily. So I will sit here and wait for a couple more hours and see what is happening. I found a radio station that gave a traffic report and it didn't sound good, but it's probably par for the course in any large metropolitan area: accidents, overturned vehicles, lanes blocked, icy patches on the roadway. Even if I can get away by 11 am, I might go as far as Abilene, but it looks like I might be staying another day. Dang, that means I will have to pay another $5 for internet! I also should dump my tanks & take on fresh water, but this isn't the optimum weather to do that. And of course there is the possibility of running pretty low on propane.

I'll check in later today, and I'll no doubt be here at the same campground.

LATER: I could have made it out of here today, but was just too chicken to try, so I paid for another night's stay. I think it will start to warm up early in the morning, so I'm hoping to leave at 9 am. I'd go earlier except I'm sure the interstate is jammed with commuter traffic and I sure don't want to get caught up in that!

I am so bored - if I had known I would have taken chicken out of the freezer last night and tried a crock pot meal today. I haven't had a slow cooker for a lot of years, but I thought I might try it again in the RV - less mess to clean up. I hope my vegetables keep ok until I can use them.

After I stopped by the office to pay for another night, I cross the road to the convenience store for a 6-pack. They have gas pumps as well as diesel, and the canopy looks very high - high enough for my rig to fit. The clerk was very friendly and told me they had a good price on diesel, but I couldn't see the sign and didn't ask the clerk how much. It will be so convenient to stop there I will pay whatever it is, and then I will be getting on the interstate with a full tank, not that it will last me for very long!

I tried hooking up the hose to discharge waste, but I can't get the cap off the discharge pipe. I either tightened it up too far or threaded it incorrectly, and it's too cold to be out there playing with it. If the weather was good there might be folks outdoors that I could ask, but winter in one of these places is forlorn! If I ever get the hang of things I think I will enjoy boondocking. I just need a quick & easy (and reliable) way to monitor my propane usage, and a little experience using the generator. That will happen in spring or summer however.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I made it past Dallas

I woke up to a very cold & drizzly morning in N. Little Rock, and as already decided, headed south on I-30 to meet up wih I-20. I left the CG at 8 am, took the wrong ramp and found myself headed back to LR. No problem - it was an easy circular route to make to get back on track, and Ms. Garmin agreed with me.

I-30 through Arkansas is a very nice route. There wasn't much traffic, and in fact most of the traffic when I left the campground was going the opposite way into LR. Once I got into Texas the traffic increased substantially, and about 50 miles out of Dallas an icy rain hit the windshield--more ice than rain. Ms. Garmin got a little upset when I turned onto 635-S rather than drive through Dallas, but kept recalculating and finally let me have my way. We are at Treetops RV Village in Arlington. I don't plan to unhitch because I want to get out of here in the morning, although the likelihood is that there will be sleet or snow by morning. The rig is slightly tilted and it's bugging me. I put out both slides on the "upside", when the heaviest slide is probably on the dining/entertainment side. With it in I can't access the kitchen unless I want to go outside and in the rear door. I'm debating adding some fresh water to my tank, but I think I'll hold off until I see if I can get into warmer weather tomorrow. I really don't want to do anything outside except for having to walk the dogs.

I can't say how pleased with myself I am that I maneuvered around Dallas. I think the Big D and Boston are the two cities that I hate to even think of driving near, and Dallas-Arlington-Ft. Worth is just too big for me. I'm not used to seeing so many malls as I saw on the way in!

I'm paying about $2.39 for diesel but have seen gasoline for as low as $1.44. Wonder how long it will last. The lowest price for diesel was 2.289 at Love's in Mt. Vernon, TX. I will try to avoid Love's whenever possible because they simply don't give you enough room. I wish they would post a sign saying "Trucks & RV's" if they don't mind RV's filling up in the truck lanes. At least Flying J usually has a separate RV Diesel lane(s). To someone who is new at this it is difficult to find my way into the proper section or lane. Most RVers have another set of eyes to look for signs while they, the driver, watch the proximity of islands, pumps, and other items just waiting to scratch or dent your rig. I do pretty well at watching the rig, but then I sometimes miss the sign.

Enough complaining about fuel stops. I would like to post my preference for small RV parks & campgrounds. It seems the larger they are the less space they give you, and the spaces are turned every which way in order to squeeze more of them in.

I'm off to walk the dogs, then I'm coming back in to stay and get into warm jammies & fleece robe at 6 pm! Decadent.....

This is a Passport America park so the fee is very reasonable, however, you have to pay a separate company, Tengointernet, $5 for 24 hrs of wi-fi, so that brings up the actual rate a bit higher. But it is close enough to I-20 which I will return to in the morning, and I was ready to stop for the night. I had thought I would drain the waste tanks and take on some fresh water but it is too cold and windy to do anything except hook up electric.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ready for a new day

I had a decent enough sleep last night because I spent so many hours in bed! Until the late, late hours the truck traffic was pretty heavy, and then it started up again before dawn. I don't mind it though - I would far rather drive on a road with trucks than with heavy car traffic. Why is it that when you get near a large city, say Nashville, people drive like idiots? I've never minded the trucks and have always tried to take their size and weight into consideration, and to give them plenty of room. Now that I'm driving a truck & towing a 5th wheel, I've noticed the same consideration from many of them. I have to drive through Memphis today, and that is always a challenge.

It was windy last night, and when I woke up I raised the blind to see what the outdoors looked like. I thought it had snowed, but it was all the RV spaces and lanes that are white gravel. After I bundled up and got outside I realized that it is relatively warm. Little Rock, my destination today, looks ok too, but OKC will be very cold tomorrow so I may have to change directions and drive south. I need a thermometer for the outside temp, for the truck as well as for the 5ver. The ones at Ace Hardware were either too big or looked like too much to set up. I want something I can stick on the window & be done with it!

I want to mention that Miss Garmin performed fairly well. She tried to steer me straight through a big road construction zone in Knoxville but I just followed the signs to stay away from it; then I would have taken the bypass around Nashville but she told me to go straight through. I followed her directions and probably saved many minutes and miles, and it really wasn't so bad after all. I won't do that for Memphis though and will take a good look at the map before I leave.

I will add to the post when I get to my destination if they have wi-fi available.

LATER: Checked into a KOA in N. Little Rock by 3:30. It is very nice, but I don't think I can aford KOA's every night. I believe I will go south to Texas tomorrow since the weather through Oklahoma & the TX Panhandle doesn't look promising. I will probably find rain tomorrow no matter which way I go, but I just don't want icy rain.

The ride today was bumpy in parts of east Arkansas. With winter approaching the roads will only get worse. Ms Garmin took me around the north of Memphis, by the way, which I could have found myself because it is well marked. But it is nice to hear her tell me to keep left or keep right when the interstates keep splitting off.

I can say one thing definitely: I DON"T LIKE FUELING UP - mainly because the stations seem to be very confusing. I guess after you've done in 100 times it might get easier, but they usually don't mark clearly where the RV's should go, and when they do, I can't find the lane for diesel. I've had that happen a couple of times today. I will have to get fuel soon after leaving tomorrow, but hopefully I can make it out of the city and heavy traffic before I do.

Speaking of fuel, I am beginning to doubt the mpg for diesel fuel that I've sometimes seen reported. I think I'm getting 10 or 11, and I am sure I'm not overweight. And the truck just had service.

It feels good to be out from behind the wheel and sitting in my house on wheels.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 1

This is the first day of the rest of my life, and what I'm considering to be the first day of my life as a fulltimer. I hitched up this morning - the 2nd time in my life I ever hitched. The first time was nearly a disaster, and this time was nearly flawless. (I would say completely flawless but I don't want to tempt karma.) Since I'm going to be living in Cali for the next few months, i will start talking Californian and say I had a HELLA GOOD day!

When I had driven 320 miles and stopped at the Flying J where I had planned to overnight, I found they didn't have pull-thru spaces. My backing up skills wouldn't bear up in a crowded lot, so I drove on to the next rest area. It didn't feel so great there, and a woman who travels with her husband in a big truck told me a man was shot in the head there a couple of weeks ago, and the perp still hadn't been caught. Soooo, I drove on out. The sun was going down and I felt a little desperate since I don't see well in the dark. I had driven nearly an extra 40 miles and decided to get off at the exit for Loretta Lynn's RV Park, even though I knew it would be outrageously expensive. As soon as I got off the interstate I saw a sign for a KOA campground just about .3 of a mile back a little lane. I'm here now, have electric, the 5ver is warm, I had a bite to eat, and life is good.

After I had hitched up the rig this morning, and was preparing to do the walkaround, Brant from the CG drove up and asked how I was doing. I told him I thought I did ok, but would he please check it out to make sure I did it correctly. It was comforting to have someone check me out and it bolstered my confidence in myself. What a great place and what great people!

I was thinking of the similarities between learning how to hook up & drive a rig, and my first few days backpacking. I made a lot of mistakes at first, but each time I got the routine down and soon I could set up and take down a camp almost on auto-pilot. Of course the fulltiming life requires more critical skills and the consequences of a mistake can be catastrophic, but I see that I can do something new, and do it well, and get better and better at it. Maybe everything in life is a practice field for what comes next, and I feel so fortunate to be where I am today. And being raised by parents who constantly reinforced their belief in my worth certainly played a major role in who I am today. WOW, I'm on such a high it might be hard for me to get to sleep. Nah...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Packing up

I am trying to get things ready so I can leave tomorrow morning. One of the svc techs at the campground came down to make sure I knew how to empty the tanks and close everything up. The gate on the kitchen waste tank was broken, so another tech came and fixed it. I have been so fortunate to have decided on this CG because they have been super. I will also try to hitch up this afternoon before dark, as I will sleep easier knowing that I only have to circle the rig a couple of times to make sure everything is secure.

It was really cold this morning and is much cooler today than yesterday, with gusts of wind making it less comfortable to be outdoors. My mom is turning over in her grave because I'm suffering from bronchitis yet I go out without wearing a hat, my jacket unzipped, etc. Sorry mom.

I had planned to do the laundry today, but took care of it last night. It didn't take long using 2 washers & 2 dryers, and I'm good to go for another couple of weeks. It cost me $6, and at that rate the total will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 a year. It would take me several years to recoup the cost of a washer & dryer in the rig, and besides, a laundromat is a good place to people watch. Last night there were 3 Mexican guys doing their laundry, and as always, I find that Mexicans & most Central Americans are cheerful people, so I always feel happier around them. When I carried my laundry outside and got into my truck, I saw the three of them watching out the window, probably admiring my truck!

I'm going to go fuel up and when I come back home I might allow myself the luxury of a mid-day nap. This RVing gets to be hard work!

Brant (from the CG Svc) came back because I mentioned that I have never been able to find the electric breaker panel. I had even called Nu Way and spoke to a rep who said it was on the right coming in the entry. It isn't - what is there is the genny control switch. So the rep said it could be in one of the storage bays but I still couldn't find it. Brant came in and found it in about 2 seconds flat - below the fridge. He also found that the breaker for the microwave was pulled; he reset that and I now have a usable microwave! Then he tried to figure out why my water heater only works when the turned to propane, and not electric. He found the switch under the sink, but turning the electric on caused it to smoke so he quickly turned it back off. That will be an item I'll have to ask Nu Way to fix when I get to Sacramento. The rep told me there is a Nu Way dealer/svc in West Sacramento, which will be convenient.

Again, I can't stress how fortunate I have been to have stayed here for a week. In that time I have learned so much about the 5ver and so many little problems have been solved.

I didn't end up hitching to the truck after all. I have stowed most of the items inside the Rv, and all I will need to do in the morning is to make coffee, walk the dogs, pull in the slides, hitch up, and then do two or three walkarounds to make sure I've done everything I need to do. I'm usually up at 7 am, so I should be able to get on the road 2 to 3 hrs later. I'm sad to leave but can't wait for new horizons. I've planned my tentative mileage & overnight stops for the first 3 days out. I probably won't post tomorrow night as I will likely stay at the Flying J in Fairview TN. I just couldn't find a suitable CG in the area, but there might just be one when I get there. The next two nights will be spent at KOA campgrounds, in N. Little Rock and in Rockwell OK. (near OKC). A woman I correspond with, also a solo, agrees that finding a suitable place to camp is really more difficult than you might think. For one thing, you have no one to talk it over with or to look up the campground websites, books, etc. You sure can't do it while you're driving; seeing a sign for a campground usually doesn't tell you how far off the interstate it is, whether they have pull thru spaces, accept pets, wi-fi, etc. If you have a navigator then that person can check it all out, call the CG and so on. So in essence every cloud has a silver lining, and every silver lining has a cloud. I AM REALLY KEYED UP ABOUT THE NEXT STEP - WISH ME LUCK!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Soon, I'll need an ark

....not a 5th wheel. If I was back in my old house I would be rejoicing over the rain, and even yet, I'm happy for western NC that experienced severe drought the past couple of years. I doubt if there is any way to really enjoy being in a 5th wheel during prolonged rains, and especially with two good-sized dogs. I try to dry them off when we come in, but they still end up shaking the water off and track their damp paws all over, and this occurs at least 3 times a day.

First off this morning I went to Advanced Auto Parts and bought a suitable tire gauge. Then to the doctor who told me I had bronchitis and prescribed an antibiotic plus a cough syrup with codeine. I feel better just knowing that I'll start feeling better soon.

Then I took the truck to a Penzoil "jiffy-lube" type of place. I was lucky they had no other vehicles when I arrived, because customers started piling in while I was there. The service guys all just loved my truck! They were probably thinking, "What in the world is that old woman doing with such a fine truck". But good southern boys who are raised right don't say things like that. They said something like "A woman came in today, she had to be Grandma's age, bless her heart, and she was drivin' a FORD F-350 WITH DIESEL ENGINE AND DUALLY TIRES!!! Bless her heart."

They showed me the air filter, apologizing for the cost of a new one, but I decided to go ahead and get a new one now. The filter cost $40 and they had to get it from a NAPA parts store a few blocks away. They checked my tire pressures which were fine. I asked about the fact that the outside dually was put on reversed, so that the valve stem pointed inward and was on the inside, making it difficult to get to. One guy told me his step dad had the same truck and the tires were put on in the same manner. So I won't worry about it, and I hope I don't experience any problems on my trip. When checking me out, the man again apologized about the cost of the air filter and said he didn't charge me the bottle-of-oil surcharge. I didn't ask, but would figure the surcharge is for the recycling of the old oil?

Next I had my prescriptions filled, followed by a trip to the grocery. I just set the bags in the fridge and will have to sort everything out and put it away properly this evening. I can see that it isn't going to be possible to stock up very much on fresh produce or meats. I'll just have to shop more often.

It doesn't look like the rain is going to let up and I'm debating driving through it to the storage bin for one more time. I still don't have my bath towels, except for one large bath sheet I pulled out of one box, and two bath mats. The dogs stayed home while I ran my errands this morning, but I hate to leave them alone again in the afternoon

I think I will opt to make a storage run while I'm feeling inclined to do it. I've been so slow to get moving lately that this sudden burst of energy must be taken advantage of.

A little later and I am back from storage. Never did find my towels, but I got my electric throw, an afghan throw, and a heating pad. Bring on the cold! (Just kidding)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A very very rainy day

Today it is raining harder than yesterday. The rain hitting the RV seems much more intense than when you're in a stix&brix, and I listened to it all night long. To make matters worse, there is a little shelf next to one side of the bed on the slideout, and it was very wet this morning. I couldn't find any trace of moisture on the walls, rug, or anywhere else, so I think it must be a window seal. Of the items given the ok by Keystone Svc were the slide gaskets and window seals. I need to do a thorough check around the rest of the 5Ver to see if there are any more obvious leaks.

I took the dogs to the vet for a nail clip & check up before leaving. Mandy's eyes have a blue hazy film over them which I assumed was catarracts. Turns out she has glaucoma. Both dogs have lost weight since they were last at the vet, which is good in the case of Lady especially.

On my way to the vet I stopped in my dr.'s office and got an appointment for myself at 9:10 tomorrow morning. I hope I can stand another night of coughing and feeling miserable. I will just have to stand it.

I am tired of the rain because I have other things to do, like one last trip to storage to pick up important things I may need. With the heavy rain I can't set boxes in the back of the pickup so I will be limited to what I can fit on the passenger seat. I could leave the dogs here and use their space to hold storage items, which is what I just might do. They look so much more comfortable curled up on their big fluffy round doggie beds than in the small space of the extended cab.

When I went outside with the dogs this morning I noticed a nice Class B parked about 4 spaces over from me. Right now I think I could go for the ease and compactness of a Class B, although in reality I wouldn't want to full time in it.

Several people have mentioned a small electric heater as a way of conserving propane. I have thought of that, but I'm not sure where I could put it that it couldn't be tripped over by the dogs. How hot do they get? Can I set it on the dresser/vanity top? I hope to be in a much warmer climate soon so maybe I can just make do. I'm used to living in a cool house and just add and subtract layers of clothing depending on how active I am, but I think since I've been coming down with something I am more chilled than usual.

After searching a long time for suitable campgrounds close to the interstate, a light bulb went on it my head, and I thought "Marty, don't stress it. If you don't find a CG just stay at a Flying J or rest area on the interstate." I've never done it before, but I'm perfectly willing to try, and the Flying J would be my first choice, mainly because of the easy access to coffee & breakfast in the morning.

I hope I can shake the blah feeling and get something done today. I don't have time to loll around, but can't seem to get motivated at all. Nothing else to report.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rainy Day

I don't know if I will get much done today. For one thing, it's raining. Not that it should make any difference, but it's an excuse. I may walk up to the CG office/store in a little while and drive them crazy. I'd like to figure out what is wrong with the light fixture over the dining table, as that is where I have my laptop set up and I need more light. If there is a drawback to this particular 5ver it is that it's fairly dark inside. There are the shades that are two in one (I can't remember what they are called), but the first layer is a beige color which blocks the sunlight. The second is a white layer that lets in a bit more light, but not all that much. The electric lights inside aren't as bright as those in a stix & brix, not even as bright as CFL's which I used in my home. I have plenty of windows but they aren't the gigantic picture windows you see in some units, but I understand that the larger the window the less energy efficient it is, so I'll be satisfied with the smaller ones.

Another problem I have is that I put things away and then can't find them when I want them. I am frantically looking for the box of Pressure Pro equiment but can't find it anywhere. I think this problem will eventually work itself out. It's easy to find the dinner plates, the coffee, etc., but where do I store the various sizes and supplies of batteries? The maps? The Pressure Pro?

I have always been very picky about who cuts my hair and I just hate it when I have to find someone new. I phoned my hairdresser in Swannanoa on Saturday, but she was off for a week. So when I went over to Walmart early Sunday morning I walked into the salon and got a haircut. What a terrible job of it, but I'm not as upset as I once would have been. I'd like my hair to look perfect, and since it is very thick I need a good cut, but frankly I don't give a damn! So if you are at a rest stop and wonder, "Who IS that woman with the crappy haircut?", that'll probably be me.

I think I've used a bottle of propane since Friday afternoon, and this is only Tuesday. It's going to get expensive at this rate,and I hope I can find a way to reduce it. I can usually set the heat down to 60 at night - could probably go lower because I sometimes wake up from being too warm. I think the water heater is set for electric right now, as is the fridge, so that shouldn't be affecting my propane usage. I need to go check it again as the tank may not actually be empty yet. I must have gotten the water problem worked out because I had a wonderful shower last night and the water temp stayed consistent.

I brought my 6' ladder from storage but for the life of me I can't get it to fit into the storage bay, partly because it's so unweildy and I have trouble maneuvering it. I may take it back to storage and hope I don't need one before I reach CA.

I spent a lot of time last night looking at maps and trying to find CG's along the way to CA. I haven't decided if I will take I-40 yet or go on down to I-20, but I prefer 40. I did figure a way to completely avoid Atlanta if I should go to I-20, and that is through Knoxville & Chattanooga, and straight to Birmingham. But if I stay on that route it will lead me right through DFW, one of my worst nightmares! I'd like to stop & visit a friend in Oklahoma, so that's the route I'm hoping for.

Finally, the state of my health. I don't know what's wrong with me except for the awful cough and congestion plus losing my voice - could be just about anything. I got some Vicks Vapo-rub and found it actually works! Who would think that the $3.50 jar of something that my mom kept on hand for when we had chest colds would be just as good if not better than paying to see a doctor and getting an expensive prescription. Mom usually did know what's best.

Monday, December 8, 2008

More of the same--work, work, work!

It's back to storage again today and I'm returning a couple of boxes of things I don't need. I've decided to try to find a place for my desktop & monitor, and as long as I can hook up to the internet I'll keep it. I doubt I can though, because the desktop didn't have a wireless card in it--I had to buy a router when I got the laptop so I could use it at home. If I eventually buy an air card I will need a different type of router, so maybe it's not going to be worth it? It's all more complicated than I have time or inclination to figure out right now.

I slept well part of the night but was awake with a coughing spell for what seemed like hours. Maybe I do have a cold and in that case I should have tried one of those miracle patent medicines touted by Paul Harvey. I didn't, so now I suffer. (For any readers out there, let me hasten to add that I don't actually listen to Paul Harvey and know only what I've been told he says.)

Sometimes I wish I was married to a man who understands electricity, plumbing, and things like that. (Not often, but sometimes). I got my hot water running a couple of days ago but it wasn't consistent - ran hot & cold, and didn't seem to mix correctly. Now I don't think I have hot water at all. I have the switch turned to use electric, but when I had hot water I tried it on propane. I don't want to use up my propane to have hot water on tap 24/7, and I don't want to waste fresh water by runing it for a long time to see if the hot is really working.

I also wish I had whatever coax cable I need to hook up my tv to the cable here. I haven't watched tv since I left NY and would like to keep track of current weather conditions. I have an antenna on the rig but don't have a clue what it will do or what to do with it. I get a beautiful blue screen when I turn the TV on! I got the converter box since the TV is not digital, but will wait until I get to CA and have my son, Steve, hook it up. He may not know it but he is also going to hook up the pressure pro, plus some other little odds & ends.

I'll be on my way now and maybe post again later in the afternoon, if anything happens worth writing about.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another Sunday rolls around

First, thanks to everyone who posts such kind comments to my blog. Reading them is really uplifting, and when I get discouraged they keep me going.

I have developed a full fledged case of laryngitis and can barely squeak. I'm going to make a trip to Walmart this morning, and then back to storage for some more boxes. It's amazing that what looks like a lot of space when it's empty, begins to fill up fast. I still don't know about the desktop - I don't want the weight or the space it takes up, but I sure like the windows XP operating system a lot better. Vista seems to keep crapping out on me! O course, it could be the electric in my 5ver. Sometimes I think there could be outlets and/or lights that need to be looked at. Last night I noticed the light over the dining table stopped working. I had a spare bulb, so with a lot of trouble I got the covering off only to find that a new bulb didn't help. There are three bulbs, so maybe they all have to be working? I'll pick up some more at Walmart and try that. and start fixing meals rather than eat out.Meanwhile I tried to replace the fixture and couldn't get it to go back on.

I'm enjoying my first pot of coffee in my new home! Now I need to buy some food

I woke up early this morning (probably 2 or 4 am) to the sound of an alarm going off - outside somewhere, not in my 5ver. It kept up for some time, and I actually went outside to see if I could tell where it was coming from. I couldn't, but was pleasantly surprised to find out it had warmed up considerably. It's far from being warm, but it's above freezing.

One of the comments to my blog was about my profile regarding bluegrass. If anyone out there loves bluegrass as I do, you can go to bluegrasscountry.org. There is a registration and sign on procedure that allows you to use a higher quality transmission, but it's not totally necessary. I love the Ray Davis show, which is on from 3-6 pm EST Mon-Fri, and 10-1 on Sunday. On Sunday Ray's show follows a great 3 hr program of gospel music, called Stained Glass Bluegrass. When I lived in a house I listened to Ray Davis faithfully every day, ever since I found that I could get it over the internet. When I used to commute to work in Washington DC I found his radio program, and it probably saved my life! The heavy traffic and road rage was beginning to get to me, but you can't get mad when you're listening to those plumb pitiful tunes, or the fiddlin' or the gospel. I once found myself a couple of blocks from home praying that the traffic light would stay red so I could hear the rest of "hymn time", which is a Ray Davis tradition and ends each hour of his show. He is getting to be an old man now, and does a lot of reminiscing about the old days and the performers, and it's fascinating to hear his stories.

I need to get myself going this morning and I find I get tired really early in the afternoon and don't want to do much then. I had hoped to be in the RV-Dreams chat room last night but the computer suddenly stopped and I couldn't get it working again. I don't know if it's aliens or the fairies who have followed me from Ireland.

When I went back to proofread what I had typed I must have hit a key that brings up spell check, so a lot of words are highlighted in yellow. I hope they don't appear in the blog itself. Does anyone know how I can reduce the sensitivity of this keypad? It is driving me bonkers~

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Add-on to Saturday's Earlier Post

Ah, the lovely sound of a Harley! There evidently was a rally here today and coming back from storage I got caught up in a massive traffic slow down, caused by all the people who had gathered along the way to watch, and of course decided to leave at the same time. Gene Lumus Harley Davidson is right across the highway from my campground and is always the staging point, and a couple of hours later I can still hear them going up to I-40. It's a nice sound but I wouldn't want to hear it very often.

I brought back a truckload of boxes from storage and have pretty much decided what will go where. I've put away all of the clothes, but the kitchen stuff will have to wait until tomorrow when I can buy something to line the shelves so things won't shift so much in transit.

I had a good morning - walked over to Burger King to get coffee & an egg biscuit. Later on I went down to the campground store and chatted about items I need to buy and how I didn't have a clue how to use them, namely hoses for waste disposal. Lucky for me one of the guys working there sold me the hose & connector and came to the campsite, hooked it up, leveled my rig and showed me exactly what and why he was doing everything, and then unhitched the 5ver for me, again explaining everything. I'm not sure if I will remember it word for word, but I think I'm understanding the "why's" of things, which helps. He also tested my Onan generator and affirmed that it worked. The seller bought it but had never used it - if I do any boondocking at all I'll be glad to have it.

I took a shower and washed my hair, but I had trouble adjusting the water - it went from cold to hot and back to cold. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it. Since I hadn't gotten my bath towels from storage yet, I had to use one of two that I keep to wipe the dogs off when they have been out in rainy weather or early morning dew. One had been used and one was clean, but I obviously got the wrong one because I got some dog hair on me!

Some of the boxes I packed are things I have already decided I won't use or don't want to give up the space to bring along. First thing to go back to storage is panty hose! Second, my high heel shoes. Third, anything that looks like make-up. Oh, blessed freedom!

I'm still debating about the desktop computer - I haven't brought it over yet and wonder if it will take up too much space. The thing is, I have so many programs & things on it that I want to keep, but I haven't suffered too much in the last 2 months without them, so maybe I can make do with the laptop (and the horrible Vista).

I apologize if I've repeated anything that I posted this morning.

In Asheville

I will try this one more time having written several posts last night and this morning that disappeared into the ether. I had problems with the electric last night and lost a very long post when everything went off, including the fan for the heater! Another cold night. Things are fine now and I'm waiting for the water to get hot enough to take a shower & wash my hair, and then I will try to get some of my belongings from storage.

I'm at Miles Motors for a week - CG, sales (Jayco) and service. I sure wish I had waited until arriving here before I had service done in PA. Just a quick glance at this operation will tell you it is far superior, including the tech. The campground is good with some mountain views, although it is in the Swannanoa Valley and you have to be up a bit higher in altitude to get the gorgeous views. This place is 2 miles from where I lived, and this is the first RV dealer I visited when I thought about fulltiming. They only sell Jaycos which aren't suitable for full time use, so I didn't go any further with it.

I am developing laryngitis I think, and from past experience I know it just has to run its course. Fortunately I'm only a few miles away from my doctor, and I'm glad to be in comfortable surroundings.

I just don't have the patience to go through all the difficulties I experienced between PA and here, except to say that I stopped the night before last at Walnut Hills CG in Staunton, VA. Very scenic, with level sites and friendly folks. It is one of the few in that area that is open for the winter. After asking the service folks at Keystone to check my propane levels, I thought they were adequate. Not so. I ran out about 6 pm on Thursday night and went to bed to stay warm. I was colder than any night I ever spent on the Appalachian Trail, when it got down to 18 degrees one night. I think the temp at Staunton was somewhere in the low 20's, and I tell you my hands and feet were numb!

I have been making one dumb mistake after another and wonder when things will start to be easier. I'm glad to be here for at least a week.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Getting over all my mistakes

Where to begin. I left NY Tuesday morning, thinking I had hitched properly after many attempts. I drove about 300 miles to Keystone CG & RV Svc, in Greencastle, PA. Fortunately there were level, pull-in sites. The next morning I drove the rig a couple hundred feet over to the service area, and found to my surprise and horror that I hadn't hitched properly, and it was lucky for me the 5th wheel didn't disconnect. They de-winterized the 5ver, did the recall work on the fridge, replaced the front bay door that had been damaged, checked and fixed some small items, and charged me a lot of money. The 5ver needs re-caulking which I'm going to call on my 2 sons & s-i-l to do for me when I get to CA, as well as to install a water purification system. The caulking & water purifier would have been a lot of money, and I don't know why they didn't do the water thing - I would have paid for that.

While I was waiting I spent some time in their store, and bought a hose for fresh water plus the pressure valve. Somehow, I must need an an adapter at the point where the hose attaches to the 5ver, and i haven't had water since I left NY. I was tempted to just go to a motel tonight to have a hot shower & wash my hair, but hopefully I can get some help for it when I get to Asheville. I also can't get the microwave to work, and I'm not even about to try the stove yet. I'm getting hungry and really in need of water. Once the fridge was fixed I transferred some food items & beer from the cooler to the fridge, so I plan to dump the ice & water from the cooler into the toilet! unfortunately the food items consist of Marzetti's slaw dressing, vidalia onion dressing, mustard, capers, a jar of gherkins, and some jalapeno queso dip that I've been dipping tortilla chips into for my dinner the past 2 nights.

A very nice camper stopped by to see if I needed any help at Keystone, and he hooked up my electric, then came in to show me where to turn on the heat, so I haven't been cold at night. (In proofreading my post I took a 2nd glance at the previous sentence, and want to assure all readers that it isn't like it sounds.) I bought a cheap blanket at Walmart a couple of weeks ago, and lay on one side and pull the other side up over me, since I don't have my sheets yet. I refuse to buy another set, as I have a set for winter and one for summer, and they are enough. I can't wait to get to Asheville and get my belongings, so I can start to live in my new home. I've cleaned countertops, drawers, and some shelves, but I still need to put the Dirt Devil together so I can sweep the floors and vacuum the carpets. I would eventually like to get the carpets cleaned, and if anyone has suggestions as to what to use, please let me know. I don't want to spend a lot of money on a carpet cleaner, but don't know if I would want to do it by hand either. The outside of the rig is absolutely filthy since it has been sitting in NJ for two years! Not sure what I'll do about that, although it's crossed my mind that I could get some cleaner/wax and do it myself a little at a time, or I may eventually find a truck wash.

I'm going to read all about the water heater now, and then assemble the Dirt Devil, so that's it for today. If I think of anything later that I missed I'll add another post.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Gypsy is a GPS convert

I am planning to leave on Tuesday morning for the drive to Greencastle PA. The GPS gives the estimated time as 5 hrs & a few minutes, but I'm sure it will take me at least 6, and maybe more. I have been taking my things over to the rv today and loading them - I really don't have all that much but more than you might think. I can't use the area behind the front seats because that is where the dogs have to ride, so I'm limited to the passenger seat & pickup bed to carry everything.

I tried to introduce the dogs to their new home today and Lady absolutely refused to go up the steps. Since she weighs 85# I can't really lift her, and she can be contrary enough to twist out of her collar. I think I will tighten the collar when I get to the campground, and drag her! I don't know what else to do. When I was carrying things to the 5ver I just attached her leash to the big handle, and she went under the 5ver to hide. When I came out she was lying out in the sun.

But the real story today is that I have become a convert to the cult of GPS! You may recall that I have sworn I would never buy or use one, and then when I bought one I said I would only use my maps and the GPS was just for show or in case I got desperate. Well this morning I got the google directions to the kennel in Hyde Park to pick up the dogs. I usually drive up the Taconic Parkway and know that route pretty well, but NY has signs posted at every entrance to all parkways that only passenger cars are allowed. I know for sure that in the past they have ticketed drivers who tried to take a pickup truck on the parkway. I have heard that they relaxed the rules somewhat, and I have seen many pickups on a couple of the parkways, but my son said that my F-350 with duals might be borderline, so I decided to take an alternate route.

The alternate route took me into Poughkeepsie, and I must have missed a critical turn because I found myself on the Mid-Hudson bridge going across the river into Ulster county! When I finally got to a street that I could turn into, with a traffic light to help me get back out, I pulled into a parking lot and got the GPS out, and got directions from there to the kennel. It was perfect and the nice lady gave me excellent directions. When I got the dogs I programmed in the return trip, but decided I'd had enough with Poughkeepsie so I drove the way I always have in the past - the nice lady kept having to recalculate, but I don't think she got as upset with me as I thought she would. The bottom line is: Gypsy is sold on the GPS! I will still look at my paper maps, and I may change the route on my own, but the Goddess of GPS is going to be my principal guide from now on.

So all those who told me I "must have" a GPS, you can go ahead and say "I told you so".