Monday, November 30, 2009

A Chilling Job

We each have our jobs to do around the good old RV home, and one of mine is defrosting the freezer.  There are many other jobs that are a lot more unpleasant, but I still hate this freezer job.  I wish I had a frost-free freezer, but I don't know if they even make those for RV's....and ours works fine and I couldn't afford to replace it anyway.  So, buck up and just get the dang job done, I tell myself!

I always know when it is time (even if I never opened the freezer to look inside) because our ice maker sort of groans at us when it is trying to unload the ice tray inside.  This time of year it makes more ice than we really use, so I sometimes throw half a bin of ice away.  During the summer, there is no way I'm throwing away ice!

So I armed myself with a few kitchen towels, a pan of hot...not boiling...water and began the great job of getting rid of the frost that had accumulated on the back of the freezer and around the ice maker.  In a relatively short period of time I had the job done and I put all the frozen food back into both sides of the freezer and shut the door.  Hopefully, I won't have to do that for another 2 months or more.

Here in Western Washington we are gearing up for a cold front that will be moving in soon.  I check the internet weather page often.  I don't want that "you know what falling" and catch us unprepared....and I'm hoping that this cold front doesn't bring rain with it that will turn into that dreaded "S" word.  Of course, the weather report changes often so what I see today may not be what will happen in the days ahead.  I did see that very soon our high temperatures will not be above freezing.  Oh, wonderful.  One time I checked the web it said that on Sunday the low would be 15 degrees F.   WHAT?  I was cold just thinking about that.  Then this evening when I looked again, the prediction had changed for Sunday to a low of 22 degrees F.  OK, that's better but not much. 

26 days from now and we'll be on our way south, and hopefully, to warmer weather.  That will be a welcome change.

Until next long for now! 


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Zoolights....A Twinkling Sensation

I'd been checking the weather reports for 3 days before Saturday arrived.  We wanted to go see Zoolights Saturday night but we didn't want to do it in the rain.  The reports were looking good, but I still checked carefully Saturday morning, just to be sure.  Yep, we were going to be good to go!

For the past 4 years we'd gone to Tacoma's Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on a Saturday night after Thanksgiving.  We always go with Stephanie, Darin, Zoey and Mackenzie to see the beautiful lighting display at the zoo.  It's called Zoolights.  Each holiday season the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium decorate the entire zoo grounds with fantastic lights in all the colors you can imagine. 

We drove our SUV because we have the 3 rows of seats to hold everyone.  We picked the kids up at 4:00 and the girls were pretty excited about going. (click on photos for a larger view)

It took about 45 to 50 minutes to drive from Tumwater to the waterfront at the Port of Tacoma.  By the time we got there, it was dark.  The lights will look really good now.  The gates opened at 5:00 and there were already people waiting in line.  We got our tickets and were ready to see the show.

Almost all of the zoo animals are safely tucked away in their zoo homes.  They still have a few reptiles to observe in their special area and we saw some meerkats in a habitat area as well.  We didn't come to see the animals this time anyway, we came to see Christmas lights.  It was very cold (probably 40 degrees F) with a bit of wind off the water, but we'd all come prepared with heavy coats, hats and gloves.

The paths are well lit by the rope lighting, so there is no danger of falling because you cannot see where you are going.  The zoo is handicapped accessible, and it is easy for wheelchairs and motorized scooters.  You can actually rent those here if you have the need.

Almost every shrub and many of the trees are done up with the colorful lights.  There are some large candy cane lights to show the way here in this area.

There is also a huge rainbow of lights leading the way to the Kids' Zone.  Zoey and Mackenzie are hopping under the rainbow here.

There was one really beautiful tree done up with green and purple lights.  It stood out easily among the other trees.

There were camel rides this year, but we didn't do those.  They wanted an additional $5.00 to ride a stinking camel being led around a small ring.  No thanks, but there was a cute display with camels to mark the area.

This tree with lighted snowflakes was a new display this year.

We also found a nice arrangement of deer.  The girls really liked these.  

Before we left, Zoey and Mackenzie got a ride on the antique carousel.

This is a nice zoo, and the kid's come here several times throughout the year to see the animals and watch the shows.  Stephanie always buys the "yearly family pass" and then they can come as often as they we all get in free to Zoolights that way!  Can't beat that with a stick!

After we left the zoo, we drove over to the wharf area and ate dinner at Duke's Seafood Restaurant.  They have good food (and some healthy choices) and the girl's will eat good meals there.  We had a great evening of fun and I'm glad we went this past Saturday....I checked the weather for next Saturday and we are supposed to have rain and a "HIGH" of 33 degrees in Tacoma.  Holy Smokers....that could mean that dreaded "S" word could be on the way.  Hope not.

Until next long for now!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

No Complaining in Galesburg, Illinois

While I was getting dressed this morning, I had the TV on a local news channel.  I wasn't listening intently, but I did catch part of a story about complaining.  It seems a lady who lives in Galesburg, Illinois had gotten tired of hearing folks in her town complain about things all day long.  She wanted to do something about it.

I guess she went to her city council meeting or something like that (remember, I wasn't listening closely) to try to get them to do something about all the negativity in the town.  They heard her arguments on the topic and (maybe to shut her up) they created a once-a-month "No Complaining Day" in the town of Galesburg.  Galesburg is a little north and then west of Peoria. 

This whole process seemed a little stupid to me, but it got me to thinking about the issue of complaining.  We've been RVing since 1988, and we have come across a whole bunch of other RV folks on our trips and in RV parks and most of them are friendly, happy people.  Oh, you'll always find a grumpy-butt somewhere in your travels, but mostly they are a non-complaining bunch.

Not that being an RVer means you have nothing to complain just seems that the overall joy of traveling or living in an RV supersedes the neccessity to complain.  An RVer may have some health concerns or financial concerns, or any number of other issues that are troublesome....but you don't get an earful from them about it.  Most of the time when we happen to come upon a person or couple that RV's, we are just sharing the thrill of the RV experience and exchanging tips or ideas that are helpful.

In 1997, we spent 5 weeks up on the Blue Ridge Parkway dry camping in the various parks along the way from the north end to the south end.  We stopped for several days at Rocky Knob Park, south of the Roanoke area.     As we were walking around one of the camp loops one day, we stopped to talk to an older couple that were sitting beside a huge Airstream travel trailer.  They offered us a chance to sit and talk for a while.  In the process of the conversation, they told us they had been coming to the parkway from the flat lands of North Carolina for many years so they could cool off in the summer heat.  They had traveled all over the U.S. and parts of Canada during their RV years.  They then told us that the trip they were on was going to be their last.  The man said, "we've just given up any enthusiasm for it anymore".  He wasn't complaining, just stating a fact.  He told us his age was 87 years.  I'm thinking....he's probably just tired!  At 87 years old, most folks just want to slow down and "set a while".   But he was so happy, and so was his wife.  They shared with us some of the places they'd been to and how they always went to the Airstream rallies over the years.  Anyway, we waved goodbye and set off back to our own RV to enjoy the cool day. 

At the same campground that year, we camped next to 3 brothers and their wives.  Each had their own camper.  One had a truck mounted camper, one had a travel trailer and the other had a Class C motorhome.  (by the way: folks in the south call all RV's could have a $500,000 DP and they'll call it a camper...just the way it is there, and you must not be offended)  Well, these 3 brothers were a hoot.  They were well up in their late 70's and still having the time of their lives.  We spent 3 days camped next to them and we heard such great stories from them.  Never heard a word of complaint from any of the 6 of them.  

Maybe we've just been lucky to find fun, happy people to meet and talk with.  But I really think it has more to do with this whole RV lifestyle.  Doesn't matter if you are a fulltimer like us, a part timer, a short term vacation traveler....seems everyone loves what they are doing.  Check out the other blogs displayed on my Blog List and you'll read posts from the other bloggers....they are all happy folks enjoying the things that are important to them. 

RVer's come from all walks of life and experiences.  Seems that when we meet or get together none of that matters because we are all sharing something we have in common....the joy of an RV life.

DISCLAIMER:  I'm not saying that the nice folks in Galesburg, Illinois have nothing to complain about.  I don't know exactly what their complaints were, but given this economy and the state of the nation, there are plenty of things to worry about and complain about.  I am just posting my story about the "non-complaining" RVer's we've come across in 21 years of RV travel.

Until next long for now!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Family Day on Thanksgiving

We're recovering today after eating too much dinner yesterday.  As our newly created "tradition" dictated, we took the family out to the Oyster House in Olympia, Washington for Thanksgiving dinner.  This was our Fourth Annual trip to the Oyster House for a wonderful buffet.

We are only a family of 7 here in Washington, and not all of them really enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving offerings.  By taking the kids out to dinner they can each eat items of their choosing....and there were a lot of dishes to choose from.  We had these options:  baked salmon, roast beef, glazed ham, and roast turkey, dinner rolls, cheese, assorted fruit, olives, pickles and cold veggie trays, green salad, cucumber and onion salad, Waldorf salad, glazed carrots, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatos, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, apple pie,  2 types of layer cake, and frosted brownies.

It was all very good and nobody went away hungry.  Zoey went to the buffet table for seconds of watermelon and black olives.  What a combo!

Mackenzie enjoyed one of the frosted brownies after she had eaten a proper meal. 

When we left the Oyster House, I had the gang stop so I could snap a picture.  Then Bruce took one of the girls with me.

We went back to Stephanie and Darin's house and played a game of Clue. 

It was a good day and we enjoyed the time together.  All of the kids had a busy week and were glad for this day of food and fun.

Until next long for now!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cafe Samovar....Alaska

Thank you to my newest "follower", Karyn.  I appreciate you checking out this little blog about our fulltime RV lifestyle.

Again, on a thankful note, I was thinking about our trip to Alaska in the summer of 2006.  We went mainly to allow my Dad to see an area he had wanted to see for a long time.  Since he passed away in Nov. 2007, I'm so thankful we took the time for that vacation with him.

Unfortunately, I wasn't a blogger back in 2006 (didn't even know anything about it).  I don't have a lot of photos to show for that trip on my blog now.  I did come across a couple of prints I had from a funny place we visited when we stayed in Homer, on the Kenai Peninsula.  Homer is 220 miles south of Anchorage.

While we stayed for a week in Homer, I saw a little advertisement about the Cafe Samovar.  It looked like an interesting place, and we were looking for a little adventurous day trip.  Cafe Samovar is in the tiny town of Nikolaevsk, which is 25 miles north of Homer, just inland from Anchor Point.  Part of the road from Anchor Point was paved and the rest was a dusty, dirt road, as so many are in Alaska.

It took us a couple of wrong turns, heading into some private roads, before we found the exact turn to Nikolaevsk.  This town was founded by Russian Old World Believers who fled from communist Russia back in the early 1960's.  Since the town is so small (pop. approx. 500) it didn't take us long to find the Cafe Samovar.

At first glance, we thought maybe we'd just drive by and not stop for lunch.  Then we remembered we were on an adventure, after all, so why not go in?  Here is the little cafe.  (click on photos to enlarge)

The owner/proprietor is Nina Fefelov, and she is quite a character.  We had pulled the car into the dirt parking area and were debating on going in when Nina came out and waved to us and beckoned with her arm to come in.  What could we do now?  Better just park and go in.  Nina was dressed in full Russian costume and she really looked quite beautiful and interesting.

Even though her website says "reservations strongly recommended" the place was totally empty except for the 3 of us.  Nina had us sit up at the counter that she had partially sourrounding her kitchen entrance.  As we sat on the high stools, she talked non-stop.  She handed us each a menu and gave us little time to look it over, before pointing out several items she recommended and then said, "Don't worry...I fix for you" and took the menus away.  I think that should have been our first clue.

The whole time she fixed the food in her tiny kitchen she talked a mile-a-minute.  We were able to look around the room we sat in which doubled as her gift shop, too.  There were tons of doo-dads, knick knacks and hand made shirts, purses, etc.  all over the room.  She had many sets of the Russian nesting dolls and Russian icons and books for sale also. 

The meal was very good and consisted of several courses, each one very small but adequate.  We ate borscht and piroshki among other things. She insisted we have her special, home made Russian herbal tea.  Dad hated tea, but took it anyway....who could resist Nina, she practically force fed him.  He took a sip or two but that was it.  I asked if I could take some photos of her and she said, "Sure, but you have to buy something from my shop first."  OK, so I bought the smallest set of the Russian nesting dolls I could find ($25.00) to send off to the "Grands" back home. 

After our main course, Nina prepared dessert.  But first she insisted we dress up in some Russian shirts so she could take photos for us to take home.  I thought Dad would pitch a fit, but like a trooper he went along.   He wasn't pleased about having to wear a pink shirt, either. 

We ate our dessert and then Nina presented us with our "bill".  It was over $100.00 for the 3 of us to have lunch.  I questioned the amount and she grabbed her menu and pointed out several things she had fixed "especially for you, and you ordered them."  OK, OK, I didn't want to upset the locals, even though I knew we were being had...big time!  We paid the bill (cash only, no credit cards unless she could tack on another 15%). We smiled politely and got the heck out of there before she talked us into buying something else.

As we got in the car and drove out the dirt parking lot, Nina stood outside waving and smiling happily.  I'm sure she was smiling and thinking, "oh, I sure got them good".  It did give us something to laugh about over the next few days, in spite of the fact that we got screwed over for the meal.  I do think I'd go back again, though, if we ever do go back to was that entertaining!

P.S.  Nina's Cafe Samovar is also a B & B if you are ever interested.  I don't even want to know what she would charge for that !!!

Until next long for now!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grandma and Papa to the Rescue

Our daughter, Stephanie, called Monday to see if we would be available for a rescue mission today at lunch.  Seems that our granddaughter, Zoey's, preschool was having a Thanksgiving feast and the Moms or Dads were invited to come and eat with their little one.  Stephanie and our S-I-L both work as managers at grocery stores and there is no way on earth that either of them would be able to get time off the day before Thanksgiving to get to the school.   Hmmmmm.  What to do?  Call Grandma and Papa.

We had nothing going on today except to get Annie the Schnauzer to the local PetCo for her "hair-do".  So....sure....we could be there for our little Zoey.  Stephanie took some pumpkin cake as Zoey's contribution to the pot-luck for 4 year olds, so we didn't have to take anything except the camera.

When we got there, the kids were all on the rug singing songs with their teacher, Miss Kim.  We were the first to arrive and when we walked in, we got all their eyes looking our way.  After they checked us out, they turned and went right back to the singing.  

After the singing, the children all went to their tables, which were already set for them.  They sang a cute little blessing for their food before eating.

I helped Zoey fix her plate, as the Mommies did with their own children.    Zoey did real well with the mashed potatoes and gravy.  That's Grandma's girl, lots of gravy.  There were also a lot of raw veggies and dip, sweet potato casserole, a rice dish, sliced cheese, and one Dad brought in a giant cheese pizza.  I just know that those original Pilgrims and Indians would have been jealous of that pizza!  No turkey to be seen, though.

We didn't sit at the tables with the children, but we did sit in those itty-bitty chairs that are just right for them.

Zoey was all smiles, and happy that she had somebody from her family that came to her feast.

Miss Kim took our picture before it was time to leave. 

We were happy to fill in for Stephanie and be there for Zoey.  After all, that's what Grandma's and Papa's are for.....helping out in matters of love and sharing.

Until next long for now!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We Are Thankful

I am very pleased to announce my latest "followers"...Mark & Teri, from Texas.  I thank you so much for joining my whole group of followers.

Those of us here in the U.S. will be celebrating our national Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.  As I reflect on our lives together, I know that Bruce and I have so many things to be thankful and grateful for.  I just wanted to take a few moments to list what some of them are.........

*  God's love
*  40 years of marriage to my best friend
*  2 great children and 1 great son-in-law
*  2 wonderful granddaughters
*  that our parents raised us right
*  a home to live in and food for our table
*  good health
*  the benefit of health insurance
*  cousins and other relatives we love
*  good friends
*  the ability to travel at will in our motorhome
*  a great country to live in (even though it has problems)
*  our blog followers....yes, we are thankful for each of you

Bruce says to add "senior discounts" to the list of things to be thankful for.  OK dear, whatever!

There are so many other things to be thankful for, that the list could be endless.  We realize that there are so many people that do not have a list as long as ours because they live in poverty or have grave health concerns, or live in countries with war and destruction.   For those people, we can offer our prayers for deliverance from these circumstances. 

I hope my fellow American bloggers will be able to enjoy their own holiday celebration with the family they cherish, or enjoy the holiday in the solitude they find necessary. 

To one and all Happy Thanksgiving.

Until next long for now!        

Monday, November 23, 2009

Travel Guide Book Information

Welcome to my latest "follower"..."Rocks off with Debbie".  I appreciate you checking in from time to time on my blog.  I hope you enjoy the adventures of our RV fulltime lifestyle.  We think it is the best life possible for us right now!

Yesterday Sue and Doug posted a comment regarding my previous post, "We Are Always Traveling".  They wanted to know where to purchase a couple of the books I'd mentioned.  I'm sorry that I didn't include that information in the original post.  Sometimes when I'm brain is going 90 mph on a dead end road!  I'm going to give some of the information I have at my disposal regarding the purchase of a couple of those books.

The Next Exit we purchased at Camping World.  You can also buy that through the online store, The RV Bookstore

The RVer's Friend can be purchased also through The RV Bookstore online (see above).  We first purchased this many years ago as "The Trucker's Friend".  Later they offered the edition specifically for RVer's and we have had at least 3 editions of that. 

Also at The RV Bookstore, we have purchased ---
(some also available at Camping World)

Camping With the Corps of Engineers
Guide to Casino Camping
National Park Service Camping Guide

Over the years we have bought a wide variety of directories and guide books at Camping World (as mentioned above), but The RV Bookstore is the best source for all books regarding the RV lifestyle.  They seem to have the most selections available.  I purchased my Moon Travel Guides at Borders Bookstore, but The RV Bookstore has several of those also. 

I didn't mention this in my previous post, but if you travel in the off-season you may want to take a look at "The Guide to Free Campgrounds".  They have 2 for the western states and one for the eastern states.  These are of particular use for folks that travel with medium to small rigs (although some places can accomodate bigger rigs).  In 1997 we left Tumwater on April 3rd and were heading east.  We used "The Guide to Free Campgrounds" every day and we spent ZERO dollars on camp fees all the way to eastern New York state.  That did not include any stops at a WalMart either.  These were bona fide campgrounds or parks for RVer's.  At that time we were driving a 30-foot Southwind Storm and it fit pretty much anywhere we wanted to take it. 

We usually buy our guide books every other year.  2010 is our year to replace our old editions and we'll be buying those soon.  Even at the large chain bookstores you can find some great books oriented towards the RV traveler.  I have also purchased a couple of regional travel guides (Washington in this case) at our local Costco store.  (I just have to stay away from those food sample tables)

If anyone has another question or comment regarding this material...please don't hesitate to say.

Until next long for now!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We Are Always Traveling

We are always traveling.  If not in reality, then in our plans and dreams.  We're big planners, always looking ahead to see what we might do.  We've only been fulltimers for 16 months and we have not taken the time to just meander around the country.  So far we've had definite destinations to get to.  We've got one more "have to" destination this coming spring and then we'll open our plans up for that meandering I mentioned.

Given the fact that we do like to plan for future trips, we keep a certain number of reference materials on hand.  Some are necessary for most RVer's and some are just necessary for our particular needs.  We also keep some items in the toad at all times because we enjoy exploring the areas where we parked the RV and we may need a map or an exit guide.

"Most" serious RVer's probably have a campground directory or two with them.  We keep the Trailer Life Directory with us, although there are other good ones too.  This is invaluable in locating camping locations throughout the U.S., Canada and even Mexico.  (click on any photo to enlarge)

The TL Directory also has some good information on:
* Rules of the Road/Towing Laws
* Fishing Licenses
* Road Condition/Weather Information
* Offices of Tourism
* RV Dump Stations....and much more

Also with us are two favorites for when we are traveling, especially on the Interstate Highway system.  They are The RVer's Friend and The Next Exit.  When we buy a new edition of The Next Exit, we take the old one and put it into the toad.  These are great helpers in locating services along the highways as we travel from one place to another.

The RVer's Friend is very helpful now that we have a DP motorhome.  It gives locations of truck stops that "welcome RV's".  "Friend" also has listings for state and national parks, Corps of Engineer parks, dump station locations at highway rest areas, and Michelin and Bridgestone tire locations near truck stops.  Each state map in the "Friend" guide also shows phone numbers for Road/Weather conditions, tourism office, and the amount of State Fuel Tax Rates for both diesel and gas.  Of course, those can change between new editions, but it gives you an idea of what the tax is.  If we are almost to a state border and we need fuel we can check the "Friend" to see which of the 2 states has the lowest state fuel tax.

The Next Exit is a comprehensive guide for locating services along Interstate Highways only, but we use it often.  It lists by exit number what we will find...before...we get to the exit and pass it by.  Using this we can plan ahead for a WalMart, restaurant, gas station, or any retail store located within 1 mile of that exit.

We also keep a few maps and Tour Books with us from the AAA.  Washington, Oregon and California are always with us since we are in those states most often.  We get a lot of good information from the AAA Tour Book when we are planning to stay in a certain location for a while.  It helps us find museums, historic sites, parks, dams, gardens, lighthouses....and everything else you can think of.  

I have my large Rand McNally Road Atlas kept behind my seat up in the front of the motorhome.  I use this to document the roads we've traveled on in each state we go to.  I use my pink highlight marker to do this.  It is just a fun way to be able to look back at each map from time to time to see where we've already been and to plan to visit those places we've yet to see.  I started this practice in 1997 and I had lots and lots of roads and highways marked from coast to coast.  Then in 2001 our motorhome was stolen and my road atlas went away with it.  :(   So I had to start all over again.
This is the map page from the state of Florida.

Road Trip USA and Frommer's Exploring America by RV are also helpful.  Road Trip is my favorite and it is a Moon Travel Guide.  Moon publishes the greatest travel guides.  They are fairly heavy so we only have 3 others and we have those back at our daughter's house until we want to use them.  Road Trip USA we keep with us.  In fact, we are planning to use Road Trip this coming May when we travel from the east coast area back toward the west coast area on US Highway 50.  Each of these guide books list tourist areas, restaurants, attractions, roadside oddities, motels (we don't need those), and off the beaten path places to explore.  Wonderful references.

We also have a few other reference books we enjoy using:

* Pacific Northwest Camping (for tenters and RVer's)
* Moon's Washington Handbook
* Moon's Oregon Handbook
* Moon's New Mexico Handbook
* Guide to Casino Camping
* Camping With The Corps of Engineers
* National Park Service Camping Guide
* Coast-2-Coast, AOR, ROD membership park directories
* Washington Off the Beaten Path
* Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb?  (tours of presidential gravesites,  weird, I know)

So it looks like we have our work cut out for us in trying to utilize all of these guidebooks and directories.  Guess we better get started.....on December 26th.

Until next long for now!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lake Front Property....For 36 More Days?

I've been remiss in thanking my newest "follower"....Susan Bidniak.  I'm sorry to have been so forgetful.  So, THANK YOU Susan for joining the ranks of followers of this blog.  I appreciate it very much !

I counted up the days on the calendar this morning until D-Day.  That is....our departure day for our winter trip.  We have 36 more days after today until we will be heading south for, hopefully, drier and warmer weather.

One of our destination points on this journey will be the greater Yuma, AZ area.  Winterhaven, California to be exact, which is just across the AZ border and into California.  We'll be at the Pilot Knob RV Park for about 5 days.  In the meantime, we will "enjoy" our lake front property here in Tumwater, Washington.  When we get copious amounts of rain in a relative short period of time, this mobile/RV park has 2 flooded areas where the road dips down.  It will all drain away, but not until it stops raining so hard.   


If you haven't paid attention to nation-wide weather reports, we here in the Pacific Northwest have been receiving lots and lots of rain.   I repeat....lots and lots of rain.  Not that I'm really complaining as it sure beats snow.  Last winter we stayed here in Tumwater and....wouldn't you know it....we had record breaking amounts of snow for our area.  So, the rain is tolerable.  Except by Annie the Schnauzer. 

Even though Annie was born and raised here in the northwest, she is not a fan of the rain.  She is reluctant to go outdoors for those necessary potty walks.  Sometimes it seems more like she's going for a drag and not a walk.   So, Annie is hoping for a break in the weather....and soon.  Unfortunately, she is going to be disappointed as 2 more storm systems are waiting off the coast to blow in over the next few days. 

It may be time to get the row boat out and be prepared.

Until next long for now!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The One Book Bookstore

Have you ever been to a bookstore?  Of course you have, but have you been to "The One Book Bookstore"?   Who would sell only one book?   Walter Swan would, that's who.

In April of 1992, Bruce and I had taken a little RV vacation to southern Arizona.  We ended up in the small town of  Bisbee.  Bisbee is a former mining town and a quaint little tourist town now.  We wandered the streets of Bisbee looking in the assorted antique shops and gift shops.  On Main Street we came upon "The One Book Bookstore". 

That was an interesting name for a store, so we had to check it out.  Inside we found, guess what?  We found the one book that was for sale and it was titled "me 'n Henry".  We also found the author and store owner, Walter Swan.  Mr. Swan was sitting in his old rocking chair wearing his trademark black stetson and faded coveralls.  He was holding court, more or less, with all the tourists shopping in the store.  

This is the front of the book's dust jacket. (click photo for larger view)

We bought a copy of his book and Mr. Swan autographed it for us.  It reads, "Walter Swan, April 14, 1992, Bisbee Arizona".  Mr. Swan established his first store in the display window of an old J.C.Penney in Bisbee.  He sent his manuscript to many New York publishers and all rejected him.  Not to be discouraged, Walter went to a vanity publisher and paid $650.00 to publish his book of stories himself.  He took his books around to many gift stores in several towns in Arizona to see if they would sell them in their stores.  If they didn't reject him outright, they offered to sell it for 40% of the profits.  Walter didn't think that was a good idea, and not to be discouraged again....he opened his first bookstore.  

At that time, he only had the one book so he named his store...."The One Book Bookstore".   He was very successful and went on to write several other books.  He couldn't sell them in the original store, so he opened another and called it, "The Other Bookstore". 

Walter was born in 1916 and was the second son of five children born to Albert Swan and Olive Moore.  Henry was Walter's older brother and those 2 boys had all sorts of interesting adventures growing up on the family homestead in Cochise County, Arizona.   Walter's book "Me 'n Henry" is a great read with stories titled:  Money In The Ashes, Old Buck, Trapped By A Finger, The Cake And The Crochet Hook, The Wild Cow, and many more.  These are gentle tales of the old west with, according to Walter, "no bad words and is squeaky clean".

This is the back of the book's dust jacket. (click photo for larger view)

Walter passed away on October 30, 1994 and is buried in Hereford, Arizona.  Walter tried to live a good life and lived by these words:  "Always Be Kind, Have a Good Attitude, and Never Give Up".    I don't know if "The One Book Bookstore" is still open in Bisbee.  We haven't had the opportunity to return there yet.  It is on our list of things to do.  Maybe you would like to check it out for yourself someday.

Until next long for now !  

Friday, November 13, 2009

Well.....It Was Friday the 13th

The day just didn't turn out like we'd planned...but it was Friday the 13th after all.  We woke up like we do every morning (thank God) and after brushing our teeth we began making our bed.  When we take the bedspread off at night, I put it up on the chair in the living room until morning.  This morning when I went to get the spread to put on the bed, it was wet!

It had been raining a lot the past week and especially hard last night.  Yesterday, when I was doing my house cleaning, I found a small wet spot behind the living room chair back in the corner.  I know all about condensation in RV homes and all of that as we had dealt with it all last winter.  This wet spot didn't seem to be overly large, so I chalked it up to condensation and made a mental note to watch that area closely.  But when I found the bedspread to be wet this morning....and it had been in the vicinity of that wet carpet, I knew we had a problem.  

Bruce came in and looked above the chair and found a drip of water up on the bottom rim of the slide-out.  Oh no, this was what we thought we had taken care of at the Winnebago factory last August.  Readers of this blog may remember that we spent 11 whole days in August getting both of our slide-outs removed and rebuilt due to water damage.  Winnebago offers a 90-day warranty after factory work.  So quick....grab the calendar....oh no....we were about a week past the warranty period.  

No matter, Bruce called the Winnie factory ASAP.  He explained the situation to the service manager in Iowa.  He was told that Winnebago would extend the warranty to cover damage repair "if" an authorized Winnebago service center looked at the leak, assessed it and called to report the findings.  OK..fair enough and we quickly prepared for a 25 mile drive south to Chehalis and the Uhlmann's RV Center.  

We met with Josh at Uhlmann's and he wrote up the service order and had the tech drive the RV back to check things out.  We waited.  After a while he came out to say that it appeared to only be a problem with the sealant and that it could be fixed in about 4 hours time.  He had called the factory and got permission to do it as a warranty claim.  Whew!  We were hoping for that outcome, but again, it was Friday the 13th.  

We sat around in the customer waiting area for a little over 4 hours.  Annie and Bruce watched NCIS reruns on the television and so they were happy.  

When it was time to get our wonderful RV home turned back over to us, we were ready to hit the road.   It was getting late and we wanted to get back to our RV park and get set up before total darkness arrived.  The bill for the repair work was $250.00 and I'm so happy we did not have to pay it.  Yippee!  So Friday the 13th wasn't totally unlucky for us in the end.

Until next long for now!      

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Love Small Spaces on Cleaning Day

It's only been 15 1/2 months since we've gone "full time" and I don't regret that decision at all....especially on house cleaning days.  I love our small space of approximately 350 to 375 square feet.  It is wonderful!  In the old sticks-n-bricks it took me half the day to clean the house well.  Now I can get it squeaky clean it about an hour and a half.  I put Bruce to work in a couple of areas, also.  No room for slackers around here!

In fact, here is Bruce getting that kitchen counter scrubbed thoroughly.  He better if he knows what is good for him....the commandant will be by, after taking photos, to make the inspection. 

Ahhhh.....his work passed inspection and the kitchen is gleaming.

I always clean the bathroom.  I am particular about getting it cleaned the way I prefer.  I'm really satisfied with only having 1 bathroom now, too.  I know some RV's have 2 bathrooms, and many RVer's prefer 2, but I'm glad we only have 1 to clean.

I also do the vacuuming.  Bruce gets the job of washing the vinyl flooring.  (lucky him)

Here is the "dining room" all dusted and cleaned.  We always keep our table leaves extended when we are parked.  That way I have full use of the whole table for my scrapbooking projects.  It also helps when the "Grands" come over and there is room for all 4 of us.

The "living room" is all neat and tidy.  That is until Annie the Schnauzer gets on the couch and pushes the pillows around.  By Bruce's chair we have a small desk/table where we can keep the computer and the printer.  IKEA special for $20.00.

Sometimes, if we're going to use the computer for most of the day, we'll hook it up at the dining table where we have more space.  Bruce is hard at work doing his on-line banking.  

RV living does involve some sacrifice in space, but we are just fine.  Close quarters are fine and dandy with us.  I know lots of RVer's that have what they consider the best of both RV and a sticks-n-bricks home.  That is good, if that is what they want.  There are many ways to enjoy living in an RV and traveling....part time or full time.  Take your pick!

Until next long for now! 

Thank You....Twice

Rick to the rescue....and a great big THANK YOU for helping me attach a sitemeter to both of my blogs.  Rick is a master when it comes to computer technology, and has been known to assist other bloggers quite a few times.  I really appreciate my neighbor to the north (British Columbia) for guiding me through the process for the added gadget.  I think I'll leave well enough alone for a while.  My blog will just be as it is for the time being.  I am busy with other projects, and I've torn my hair out enough lately.  I have to let it grow in some more before I allow blogging to frustrate me again.


Another great big THANK YOU to my latest "Follower", Karen in the Woods & Steveio.  I hope you stick around for a while with my blog....we'll be on the move traveling again beginning December 26th.

Until next long for now!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Blogger Dashboard

I know that I'm a real dud when it comes to computer technology and I hardly know any of the proper terminology, so my problem is vexing, to say the least.  I've tried to seek help from "Blogger Help" and get nowhere with that. 

My problem is my Dashboard set-up.  I cannot add any of the advanced gadgets or features.  I've done a couple of the very simple things but am now stymied.  When I look at any of the tutorials on Blogger, the Dashboard never looks like mine.  The bottom line on my Dashboard reads:

New Post     Edit Posts    Settings    Layout    Monetize

The Dashboard I see on the tutorials has a "template" tab down with the others which is supposed to link to "customize settings".   I do not have this on my Dashboard and can find no way to update my Dashboard to the kind I see in the videos. 

If anyone has a suggestion for me, that would be easy for me (the dunderhead) to understand, let me know.  Thanks.

Until next long for now!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Altered Dreams

Hello and THANK YOU, to my newest blog Follower....Karen.  I appreciate you taking the time to check in with this RV lifestyle blog from time to time. 

I don't think of myself as "old", but I am "older".  Well, Einstein, I can say to myself....who isn't?  Every day we live, we get one day older and I am now 58 1/2.  Don't forget the half. 

Everyone has had dreams for their future while they are busy getting through life -- raising kids, working jobs, and taking care of our homes.  Some folks get to realize their dreams eventually, and others don't.   In some cases, those dreams get altered.  That is our situation....altered dreams.  That doesn't have to be a negative thing, however, if you approach it in the right frame of mind.

Long ago, in a galaxy far away (Southern California) when we were raising our kids in the 70's and 80's we had more money than time.  Bruce and I were working a family business and it kept us busy.  Bruce would work 10 hours a day and sometimes 6 days a week.  Vacations back then were glamorous, but short.  We were fortunate to be able to take our kid's to Hawaii 4 times and stay in nice hotels.  We also took them on about 10 cruises to places in the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico and through the Panama Canal.  Great fun in 2 weeks or less.  Bruce and I would also dream about someday being able to travel to the Orient and Europe.  

Reality hit in 1984 when our business began having issues due to our industry suffering major setbacks and disaster.  We struggled for a while but began to see it was futile to continue.  In late 1986, we gave it up and sold off equipment and the building.  That next summer in 1987, still unemployed by choice, we took the 2 kid's on a whirlwind, around the country, trip in a van.  We had no RV at that time.  With only 2 months of time available, we hit the highlights and made a grand circle from Cypress, California to Florida and to Maine and across the northern part of the country to Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone before going back home.  With a 15-yr. old and a 12-yr. old, we knew we needed to see places that would be of historic interest plus pure entertainment.  So, we included Disney World and 4 other amusement parks scattered throughout the 2 month period.  It was on that trip that we knew for sure we wanted to avoid motels and restaurants and get an RV.

As things turned out, Bruce never went back to work.  We did get an RV and took short vacations until the kid's finished high school.  I worked for 5 years as an Instructional Aide at a school from 1988 to 1993.  In 1990 we had begun looking after our 3 remaining parents, also, because we had the time to devote to that.  

Since we were no longer employed in any way, and not planning to be, we knew our dreams had to be altered.  There was never going to be enough money to take frequent vacations abroad....or any, actually.  So, we had to ask ourselves, "Is that OK?"  On the surface, we could pop off an easy answer of "yes".  But in digging down into our inner selves we had to be sure that we were OK with that.  The answer is a resounding "YES".  

In the USA Today I saw this "Snapshot" graph that showed the "World's most expensive cities for foreigners".  Looking it over, I knew that we'd never see Osaka, Moscow, or Hong Kong.  Or Rome, Paris and London for that matter.

The United States and neighboring Canada still have a lot to offer the traveler, especially the RV traveler.  So, I don't think we're too broken up over the fact that we will not be traveling to Europe.  When I read the other RV blogs here in Blog Land, I get so excited to look at the photos posted and read the text that comes with them.  Every single place that I've read about, I'd love to see.  Each one of my fellow bloggers has shown us a bit of the continent that is of great interest to us.  If we live to be 80 and can travel in our motorhome until that age, we will never run out of interesting things and places to visit.  Although, we've been blessed to have already traveled a lot by motorhome, going to all 49 states we can drive to, we want to return to every state and do a thorough tour of every part we can manage, now as fulltimers.

So, that is our "altered dream" get to visit every place you all have blogged about.  And that ain't bad!  

Until next long for now!    

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Meet Dorothy

Yesterday I spent about an hour visiting with my friend, Dorothy.  I really became good friends with Dorothy after my Dad passed away in 2007.  We lived in the same 55+ park as Dorothy and although I'd shared a "Hello" with her from time to time, I never got to know her very well back then. 

My Dad used to visit with her every day when he'd take Annie the Schnauzer for walks.  He'd visit with a lot of the folks living there at Eagle's Landing but Dorothy seemed special.  So after Dad passed away, I took on the task of walking Annie and making the rounds of all Dad's old friends.  Like with Dad, Dorothy became one of the more special people to visit with.  Since we've become fulltimers and sold our home in Eagle's Landing, I don't see Dorothy on a daily basis anymore.  She has a little e-mail machine, though, and when we are on the road traveling we keep in touch with frequent e-mail messages.  When we return to Tumwater to visit family, I see Dorothy several times as well.

Yesterday I found Dorothy baking Lemon Bars for some company she was expecting later that evening.  Dorothy is a very good cook and baker.  She will be 94 years old on her next birthday and her only complaint seems to be some arthritis.  Not bad!

Dorothy saves the monthly newsletters from the park for me so that I can catch up with what all the "old folks" are doing.  That is nice of her.  We always enjoy great conversation.  Sometimes she tells me the same story she told me on the previous visit, but who cares?  I don't let on that I've heard it before and she enjoys the telling of the event so much. 

I gain as much, if not more, in blessings from my visits with Dorothy as she seems to gain from them.  It is a mutually beneficial thing.  Annie the Schnauzer gets to go along for the visits, too, and enjoys a treat or two.

I'll be seeing Dorothy a few more times before we leave Tumwater in late December.  I look forward to it and I know Annie does.

Until next long for now!