Monday, August 31, 2009

Three Stooge's Painting Company

Here is reason #49 why I love being a fulltime RVer......I never have to paint the inside of my house again.

Call us gluttons for punishment, but we offered to help our son-in-law, Darin, paint a bedroom today. Our granddaughter, Mackenzie, wanted her bedroom painted blue. When they moved into the new house 1 1/2 years ago, the builder painted all of the rooms a nice, light taupe color with white mill work. It looks very nice and sophisticated. The girls didn't actually like that color for their bedrooms, so their rooms are getting painted colors of their choice.

Tomorrow is Mackenzie's 8th birthday so we all decided she got to have her room painted first. Thankfully, dear Darin had already painted the ceiling with 2 coats of off-white paint yesterday. All we had to do, then, was paint the 4 walls. Simple? Well, maybe not so much.

Bruce and I have painted rooms in our homes many times. I don't know what the problem was today. This time with Darin, Bruce and I in the one room made it seem like the Three Stooge's were doing the painting. Our daughter, Stephanie, had taped off all the mill work yesterday to help us out. She had to be to work this morning at 3 am, so she wasn't there to help us. (or to see the Stooge's in action)

I put tarps along the wall where we were going to begin. Darin and Stephanie had purchased those painting pad things instead of paint rollers...and we have used those many times also. I got in there and loaded up my pad and began to paint the wall. Uh oh....dang it. There was paint drips on the tarp and then they somehow jumped off the tarp and onto the carpeting. Quick! Get the bucket of soapy water we already had on hand. I guess we knew disaster would strike at some point. Holy cow what a mess. I quickly gave Darin my job after I cleaned up the carpet and I got the little foam brush to do the corners and around the mill work. Darin began painting and we heard...Uh oh. He had been holding the paint tray with one hand and wasn't watching what he was doing and the thing tipped and he dribbled paint all over the front of his shirt and on his shorts. Hey, it could happen to anyone I told him. (secretly glad I wasn't the only stooge in the group) He was now wearing a white T-shirt and black shorts with blue paint decorating the front.

Then we got that mess cleaned up and we began in earnest once again. Pretty soon we heard from Bruce...Uh oh....I've dripped on the carpet where the tarp shifted. OK....soapy water to the rescue. The cell phone rang and I picked it up....Uh paint was on my fingers and now it was on the red phone. Hmmmm. I'll get that cleaned up later. We had spattered so much paint onto the tarps that our feet were getting into it and then we had to be careful when we walked around because we left paint marks on the other carpet. More soapy water to the rescue.

When we were finished with the base coat...groan, it needs 2 coats.....I rolled up all the drippy, paint spattered tarps and threw them into the garbage can. Good idea to just start with fresh, clean tarps I told Curley and Moe. I'm Larry, and I named Bruce Moe, because Moe was usually the more bossy stooge! :) Then I began checking all the carpet to see if I needed to clean up any paint spatters. Oh, only about 127 of them. I set to work cleaning them up.

We ate lunch while the first coat dried. Stephanie came home from work and we sent her to her own bedroom to take a nap. We didn't need a 4th stooge. After lunch, I cut up some fresh tarps and I taped them to the carpet around the walls to try and cover everything without allowing the tarps to shift out of place. It worked better. We got the second coat of paint on the walls and it looked good. We let it dry while we cleaned everything up, including ourselves.

We got that room finished with 2 coats in just the one day. Now, on Friday or Saturday we will tackle Zoey's bedroom. She wants a lavender bedroom. I wonder how Curley (Darin) will look wearing lavender on his clothes this time?

We found a couple of blue paint spots on the white baseboard trim that will have to be touched up with white paint one of these days. In the meantime, quoting my Grandmother...."A man running for his life will never notice it and a blind man would be glad to see it". Truer words were never spoken.

Until next long for now!

Update on Annie the Schnauzer

Annie the Schnauzer is doing fairly well for a sick girl. She pretty much slept her way through the weekend. I think she wanted to hide out in the RV as much as possible because of her funny looking shaved leg. As you can see in the photo, her left front leg had been shaved down so the doctor could insert the I.V. needle. I explained to her that the fur would grow back and everything would be OK.

She is tolerating her 3 new medications pretty well. I stick the 3 pills into a piece of cheese and then poke it back far into her mouth and hope she swallows it. We've been lucky except for one time when she managed to spit just one of the pills out. She has to go back to the doctor in a few days for a blood test to see if the digoxin has to be regulated. I'll ask the doctor at that time about her lack of appetite.

In the past I could hardly get her food into her bowl before she was gobbling it up. Now it can sit in the bowl for hours before she takes a bite or two. We do not push her...we let her decide when she wants to eat and how much. I am hoping this is an adjustment phase with the meds and it will get better in time.

Annie no longer wants to take much of a walk either. Once again...we leave that up to her and if she balks we take her right back to the RV. That might get better in time, also.

It's a good thing we'll be in Tumwater for a few months and she can see her regular doctor. There will be time to get her meds regulated and keep her monitored. She has not had a fainting spell or seizure since last week. We try not to let her get too excited and bring on another episode.

I'll be glad the end of December when we can get her out for some more traveling. Annie loves to go places and see new things just like we do. She really thinks she is people, and we will not tell her any different.

Would you?

Until next long for now!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday...a Lazy Day at Home

After a couple of days stressed out over our dear Annie, we just hung out at home today. There was a light rain falling early this morning and we didn't even go out for our early walk. After our breakfast of oatmeal with blueberries, we gave Annie the Schnauzer her 3 new medications for her heart problems. She munched those right down after I stuck them into a small piece of fat-free cheese.

Annie has been listless today, taking naps much of the time. Dr. Mitchell said she might be like that for a few days while her body adjusts to the Digitalis. We're giving her all the time she needs, letting her call the shots on what she wants to do.

We ate a Weight Watcher approved sandwich wrap for lunch (still getting those Disney World pounds off) and watched the movie Ocean's 12. It was a good movie, but a bit confusing sometimes with so many characters. It wasn't raining after lunch so we were able to take off for our 1 hour walk at that time. Gotta get those miles in, 6 days a week, whenever possible.

I also got caught up with the laundry by doing 3 tubs of clothes in our little Splendide. I love my little washer and dryer. A few chores here and there today, but mostly reading and watching TV.

After our walk, I began reading the book "Google Blogger for DUMMIES." Please bear with me as I try to improve my blog in the days to come. There are so many things to learn to make it more interesting for my loyal readers. I'm doing my best to figure out the best gadgets to add (or not) and to make mine as interesting as those I'm following as far as the RV life goes. I really enjoy all those blogs on the RV life, fulltimers or part timers.

The sun is shining here in Tumwater this evening. The rain is gone and the sky is a beautiful blue. Life in the Pacific Northwest during the summer months cannot be beat. Still can't keep us here all year, though, as we are always planning a new trip. Love this fulltime RV life!

Until next long for now!

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Life As A Fulltiming Dog -- by Annie the Schnauzer

Nobody consulted me about starting this fulltime motorhome journey! Hello, I'm "Annie the Schnauzer" and I live in this Winnebago motorhome with my Mom and Dad. Truth is though, I really enjoy RV travel and I've been doing it since I was just a puppy. Back then we just went on long vacation trips and always came back to our fixed home. I am now 12 years I guess I'm a veteran of this RV life.

Living on the road can be pretty interesting for me. Used to be I had a dog door and a backyard to play in. No more dog door, but I have a lot more space in the great outdoors to play in now. (I've had some major troubles lately and you can read about that further on in this post) I always get excited on travel days when I see Mom moving the slide rooms in and when Dad goes outside to unhook our utilities. I know just what is going on. I always jump up on Dad's driving seat so I can look out the big window and watch what is going on.
Mom and Dad have to go away sometimes and leave me home alone. I don't know why I can't go with them everywhere they go, but they do take me to a lot of places. When they are gone away, I jump up into Mom's front seat and wait for them to return. I am always right there when they open the front door and it seems like they have been gone forever...even if it has only been 10 minutes. Hey, I don't wear a watch!
Our Winnebago has these great windows by the dining table that are way down low. I think they might have been made just for me. Ya think? Anyway, it gives me a great place to do some people watching. I'm always on the look out for a dog friend so I can bark out a greeting to them, too. Mom put one of my 3 dog beds by this window so I am comfortable. I sometimes take naps here, too. My Mom is so special and she always tries to make me happy.

My Dad is way cool! He bought this car organizer for all of my stuff. He found it at the car wash place down in Palm Springs. It has a pocket for my traveling water bowl and food dish. Mom always keeps 2 servings of my dog kibble in the organizer in case we are out touring around for a long time. See, I told you she was a great Mom. I also have my own water bottle in the organizer. I could always just drink out of Dad's water bottle and I wouldn't spit it in or anything. Really! Also in the organizer is a whole supply of "poop bags". I don't have to explain what those are for.

Here is another one of my dog beds. Mom and Dad keep it in the back of the Explorer so that I have a nice place to rest while we drive or if I have to stay back in the car while they go and do whatever it is Moms and Dads do.

This window guard is a really great thing my Mom found in the Dr's. Foster & Smith catalog. We have 2 of them. They fit into the back seat windows of the Explorer and I can get a lot of fresh air while we are parked somewhere. They also prevent somebody from sticking their hands inside the car to try and pet me. Of course, my Mom and Dad NEVER leave me alone in the car on a warm day. They always make sure I won't get too hot and they park in the shade if they can also. I have my water bowl filled before they leave so I can get lots of drinks while they are gone.

Going on picnics has always been a favorite thing to do. That means I get to get out of the car and have some fun with Mom and Dad. I can always find interesting things to do on a picnic. Like chase a squirrel! I'm always on the look out for squirrels. Mom always packs a dog treat for me too. When I see Dad bring the picnic cooler in from the outside storage in the RV, I know just what we're going to be doing. They can't get anything by me, that's for sure.
Here I am just prancing along on one of our outings. Since I was born in 1997 I have been to 41 states, including Alaska. I've also gone to Canada and been to British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Yukon provinces. I guess you could say I'm a well-traveled Schnauzer. I just love to go to new places and see new things. I haven't been to the Grand Canyon yet, though. I've added it to my "bucket list" of places to see before I die. Speaking of which....

I seem to have developed severe heart disease. Yeah, that really sucks! Last Wednesday night my Mom and Dad came home from the store and I was excited to see them and I totally passed out cold or had a seizure in front of them. The doctor's think it was more of a fainting from lack of oxygen to my heart and brain, but it could have been a seizure. I just fell over sideways right there on the darn old rug. How embarrassing. Mom and Dad took me to the emergency veterinarian in Lacey (town by Tumwater) since my own vet office was closed for the night. Dr. Patterson at the ER did an exam and then said I had a major heart murmur going on. They did an x-ray and I was so stressed out about that I had another fainting/seizure with the doctor there. My x-rays showed an enlarged heart and liver. They also did an EKG...who knew they could do that on a dog? They began an I.V. plus Lasix for all the fluid I was carrying. They kept me there overnight and I had ANOTHER fainting spell. They had me in an oxygen cage all night long. Boy, I was sure racking up the bills for my Mom and Dad.
The next morning Mom and Dad had to come and pick me up and then take me to my regular vet, Dr. Mitchell, in Olympia. He is really nice, too. He did some more follow-up blood work and continued with the I.V. My heart isn't working like it should. It is only operating at about 75 or 80% of it's capability. Dr. Mitchell wanted to keep me overnight at his office this time. I was wondering if I'd ever get to go back home again.
Friday morning Mom and Dad came back to see Dr. Mitchell. I'm not out of the woods yet he said. I am getting to go home today, though. I have to take 3 new medications for my heart disease now. (I can see more bills racking up for Mom and Dad) Twice a day I have to have a dose of Enalapril, Lasix, and Digoxin. That is in addition to the Tacrolimus eye drops I have twice a day, prescribed by my opthamologist, Dr. Cooley.
I haven't had any energy for a while and I haven't wanted to take walks much. Mom and Dad didn't force me to and now they know that I can only do a little bit of walking without feeling out of breath. They are going to fix up this stroller we got from Zoey and make it into a doggy-stroller. This way when we are out touring in the RV, I can still go out with them and be pushed around instead of having to walk and maybe faint again. Isn't that just the coolest thing? If this doesn't work out very well, they can buy me a real doggy-stroller from the pet store.

I'm glad I get to be a fulltime RV dog. No matter how much more time I have left on this earth, I get to travel and see things that a lot of dogs just don't get to see. I am a very lucky girl. I don't guess my Mom will let me chase those squirrels anymore though. Darn it!
Bye for now...from "Annie"

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fun With the "Grands" at Sand In The City....

Our hometown of Tumwater, Washington sits next door to the city of Olympia, which is our state's capitol. There is a great spirit of community in this area and you can find all sorts of interesting festivals and events throughout the year. Each summer, Olympia hosts "Sand In The City". We decided to get our 2 granddaughters last Saturday morning and head down to the port plaza to have some fun.

The day dawned gloomy and cloudy (typical WA weather), but by the time we got down to the marina area the sun was shining. Here is a view of the marina area in Budd Inlet facing toward our capitol building. Olympia lies at the southern end of the Puget Sound and many folks have boats here.
Here are our "grands", Zoey and Mackenzie on the boardwalk at the marina and port plaza.
Sand In The City is a 3-day event which is geared mainly towards families with children, but people of all ages come to enjoy the sand sculptures. We don't have a real sandy beach right at the marina area, so tons of sand is brought in for the sculpture artists to work their craft.

I guess this guy really lost his head over the whole event!

In additional to enjoying the sculptures, the girls got to participate in the kid activities sponsored by our Hand's On Children's Museum here in town. They had a couple of giant sandboxes for the kids (we avoided those), face painting, bubble making, games, jewelry making booths and a petting zoo. The library was represented, too, and was handing each child a free book to take home.

After tiring of the sand fun, we all walked to the nearby Olympia Farmer's Market. This is one of the best farmer's markets in our state. Wonderful fruit and veggies on sale, plus craft items, a bakery, fresh flowers and live music to enjoy.

Here is one of the vegetable stands from a local grower.

The girls convinced Papa that they needed a brownie treat from the bakery.

From the Farmer's Market we walked back to the car and drove over to the mall and Chuck E. Cheese. We decided to take the girls there for lunch and let them play with the games for a while. Since the weather was so glorious outdoors, Chuck E. wasn't very crowded.

We bought the girls each a pizza. Papa and Grandma stuck with the salad bar for lunch. We are still carrying a few too many pounds after eating too much (read: pigging out) at Walt Disney World.
Zoey and Mackenzie had their picture taken with Chuck E. Cheese in his little car.
After taking all the excitement we could handle there with Chuck E., we headed back to the motorhome. The girls were having a sleep-over with Grandma and Papa. The girls and I did some crafts together at the dining table...lots of coloring and cutting and pasting. Then Grandma had to collapse for a while. While I rested, the girls opened their toy box and pulled out all of the dishes, cooking toys and food to play restaurant. They love to make a huge mess when they come over, but they always clean up when they are done.
We missed the girls so much when we were gone for so long. It is great to be back in town now for a while and spend some time with them.
Until next long for now!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Campground Membership Programs....Yes? or No?

The issue of campground memberships is a hot topic on the web forums. Most of the folks posting answers to the question on buying one is a resounding NO. I'll use this blog posting to explain the ones we have and why we like them. This photo shows the campground directories we use, including the Trailer Life Directory, which is not a membership directory but one that is heavily used by RVers. First off, I have to back up to 2001 when we got the first portion of our membership programs. We had bought a new motorhome in 2001 from Poulsbo RV in Kent, Washington. Along with the purchase came a "free camping membership" through K/M, a local Washington company. We had always been turned off by the idea of membership programs and never thought we'd buy into one. To validate this "free membership" we needed to go to K/M in Fife and listen to the talk.

As usual there was a catch. The "free membership" (value: $1,995.00 so the coupon read) was only good for our home park. The home park had to be the K/M park closest to your residence. For us that was the Travel Inn in the town of Elma, which was about 25 miles from our home. Yippee, we get to travel all the way to Elma to go camping for free. So, we listened to the rest of the talk and it sounded so much better if we'd just opt for the deluxe membership. We decided to go for it and we bought the deluxe membership with Coast to Coast privileges included. This allowed us to camp at all 8 K/M parks (7 in WA and 1 in OR) for free, up to 2 weeks at a time, with no out time. It included the C-2-C Deluxe plan, which allowed us to camp at resorts within the 125-mile limit if it was a "Deluxe" park. It also included annual dues that were frozen, which is the only way to go if you ask me. The extra purchase was $2,537.00 out of our pocket. Within the next couple of months we used this membership....once. Fact is, my mom got very bad with her cancer and all of our activities came to a grinding halt as we helped her cope with this and help my Dad take care of her. Then Bruce's mom got sick a year later with terminal cancer. We were able to put our membership on hold and that included our annual dues. No money on dues was spent for 3 years while we dealt with all of our responsibilities at home.

In between our two mom's illnesses we got an offer from K/M to upgrade our membership. Hmmmm. Let's go see about this we thought. OK, cut to the included the Platinum Plus upgrade and the addition of AOR, ROD, ACN parks. We took it. Cost: $2,994.00 out of our pocket (and we still weren't camping)

Fast forward to 2005: Both of our mom's had passed away by this time. We were now able to resume camping (actually get started camping is more like it). My widowed dad was living with us and we just took him out traveling with us. He had a fantastic time and enjoyed the RV life...which he had never participated in before. We reinstated our campground memberships and paid our annual dues. We were good to go. RV's seem to be made for 2 adults, but if we didn't include dad we just weren't going to go. It was better for the 3 of us to get out together and see new places. I called us the "Three Musketeers". In 2005 we took dad to Alaska for 7 weeks and in 2006 we took him to Nova Scotia for the entire summer.

The big question for people is "Are campground memberships a good deal, and are they worth the money they cost?" The answer is really an individual one as no two people have the same circumstances. Just speaking for ourselves, we think we like it. Here is how it all breaks down for us in real numbers:

Total paid for entire membership: $5,531.00

Annual dues (frozen): $667.58 inc. K/M, C 2 C, ROD, ACN, AOR

Daily camping costs:


Coast to Coast = $10.00

Good Neighbor Parks (C 2 C system) = $15.00

Resorts of Distinction (ROD) = FREE

Adventure Outdoor Resorts (AOR) = $9.00 + $3.00 reservation fee

ACN Resorts = $10.00 + $3.00 reservation fee

When figuring the true cost of camping, you must take the camp fee and factor in the daily cost of the annual dues you are paying. For instance, with Coast to Coast we pay $10.00. Then we have to figure we pay what amounts to an additonal $1.83 per day for the annual dues cost. (That $1.83 is for ALL of our annual dues). A total then of $11.83 per day. Even if we don't stay at a membership park, you are in essence still paying the $1.83 per day no matter where you park it.

Also, you must factor in the original cost of buying into programs in the first place. You can amortize that over the length of time you own the membership, but we can't know the number of years for that yet as we aren't done with it. But for purposes of this post, let's take the number 7, since that is the number of years we've had the full membership. Purchase price of $5,531.00 amortized over 7 years equals $790.00 per year. Divide that by 365 days in a year and you get $2.16, which must be added to the cost of daily camping. Of course, every year you keep your membership that cost diminishes. If we keep our membership a total of 17 years it will then amortize to 89 cents per day. Confusing, I know.

We are currently staying in a private park in Tumwater which has no membership benefits. The cost here is $395.00 per month. Divide that by 30 days and that is $13.17. We must consider annual membership dues (because we still pay that) so add another $1.83 per day for a total cost per day here of $15.00. Still a bargain in my book.

Our camping costs for this last RV journey broke down like this:

Total days away from Tumwater = 160

Free camp spots = 10 days

Trailer Life Directory parks = 13 days (various cost from $20 to $32 per day)

Salem Village in Virginia = 45 days ($10 per day)

ROD parks = 7 days (free)

Coast to Coast parks = 16 days ($10 per day)

Good Neighbor parks = 33 days ($15 per day)

Walt Disney World = 25 days (an arm and a leg)

Winnebago factory (free) = 11 days

We wanted to visit my cousin in Salem, Virginia and there were no member parks there. We stayed for $10 a day at Salem Village. The Winnebago factory parking was free and included electric hook-up with 50 amp. Disney World is way over the top in expense, but we bite the bullet always stay there.

When we are out on the road, we always try to find a membership park to stay at first. If we can't find one, we will check out the Trailer Life Directory and look for the least expensive choice that suits our needs. We also look for casinos with free overnight parking, a truck stop like Flying J, or WalMart if it is for a one-night stopover.

There can be some restrictions on length of stay at all the member parks. At K/M we can stay for 2 weeks at a time, but can go to consecutive K/M parks without penalty. So, if we never wanted to pay rent, I guess we could go from K/M park to K/M park for quite a while. Individual programs for our other member parks have varying restrictions. The program you purchase will determine what those restrictions are.

NOTE: we were uninformed on the availability of purchasing a membership program in a secondary market. We paid full retail price. We could have saved a lot of money if we had known about a resale market for time shares and camp memberships. We didn't...paid full retail....but it's money spent long ago and nothing we can do about it now. I would suggest that anybody searching for a member program look first at a resale market deal.

We have no idea on how many years we will be fulltiming or "camping". We hope it will be for a long, long time. We do have one other type of camp membership and that is with Pismo Coast Village down in Pismo Beach, California. This is a different deal, a time share plan that only includes the one RV resort. For this resort you buy a share of corporate stock. (limit 3 shares per family) These are all purchased on a secondary, resale market now, as the number of shares was limited and they have long ago been sold out. We inherited 1 share of stock from Bruce's parents who bought it back in 1984. After we sold our house in 2008, we decided to purchase a second share of stock. Now we have 2 shares. The deal here is you are allowed 45 days a year to camp free for each share you own. So, we are allowed 90 days a year of camping for free. No annual dues at all and you never pay another cent to camp there. Of course, we laid out a chunk of cash to buy the stock. In over 25 years of business, the shares of stock have only dipped once in price on the resale market. We aren't looking to make a profit on the second share we bought. We know we will at least get our purchase price back when we sell it in the future. There is always a waiting list of new buyers since no new shares can be sold by Pismo Coast Village. It was regulated in the original corporate charter. Of course, we will make a big profit on the one share that we inherited since it sold originally to Mom and Dad long ago and we never paid a penny for it. Pismo Coast has 400 campsites and they reserve 2/3 of them for shareholders. The remaining 1/3 are rented out to the public for about $40 to $50 per night. That is how they get the funds to maintain the resort and keep camping free for shareholders. We have reservations at Pismo in January and will stay for about 5 weeks; I'll blog about our time there when we get there.

I hope this wasn't too confusing. I tried to incorporate all of my thoughts on the topic, plus give real dollars and cents figures on what it all costs us. Now, you need to decide for yourselves....YES? or NO?

Until next long for now.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cleaning the Ultra Leather Couch

I just found a comment from Margie & Roger on my blog regarding the cleaning of the ultra leather couch. What did we use?

I wasn't sure what to use. We'd used a leather cleaner we got with the motorhome originally and it didn't seem to do anything productive. The couch material isn't "real leather" by definition I guess.

Next, I posted the question on how to clean it on forums. I got tons of answers and I mulled them all over before deciding. One lady that made a lot of sense to me said to use a solution of Ivory dish liquid and water, rinse with clean water and then dry. We didn't have Ivory on hand but we did have Dawn dish washing liquid (blue kind).

I mixed up a solution of about 2 Tbsp. dish liquid with a bucket of water and set Bruce to work with a nylon brush. Then he rinsed with cold, clean water and dried with a soft towel. Looked great! Then a couple of days later we got some Armorall wipes and used them to sort of condition the "leather". I think we've found the product to use from now on. Easy, cheap and the results were great.

Sorry, Margie and Roger about the slow reply to your question, but I just saw the comment today.

NOTE: when we still had our sticks-n-bricks house I had the carpet cleaned by a local company. When they were leaving the guy gave me a booklet they had prepared with all sorts of stains listed and how to clean them. One of the most common items listed as a cleaning solution in this booklet was Dawn dishwashing liquid (the blue kind). It was even suggested as a laundry pre-wash treatment and I have used it often for that since then.

Until next long for now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to Tumwater, Our "Hometown"

We arrived back in our "hometown" of Tumwater, Washington on Sunday afternoon. The drive from Moses Lake, WA to our park here was uneventful, but beautiful. Well, beautiful once we got past the dry prairie looking lands just west of Moses Lake. When you get to the Ellensburg area, the terrain begins to get much prettier. As you continue West, you can get a great view of the Cascade Mountain range. We don't take the interstate all the way into Seattle proper. We turn off, south, on Highway 18 before getting to Seattle.

Once we got to Tumwater, we took exit #102 off Interstate 5 to get to our local park of choice. We choose to stay at the Allimor Estates Mobile Home/RV Park. Putting "estates" into the name of the park makes it sound glamorous....and it ain't! Although, when we pulled into the park we did notice some changes had been made in our absence. The owner and manager had installed about 6 new RV spaces with gravel pads. They had also upgraded all the utility hookups, but did not change any to 50 amp. (darn it!) There are two very wonderful RV campgrounds in the next door town of Olympia, but their monthly rate is $200 greater than the Allimor Park, which is $395.00 per month. No question for us then...we stay at Allimor if they have a vacancy. The management here is very nice and helpful. We're happy enough here.

Here is our motorhome parked in space #114. The Safari motorhome parked next to us is the manager's and it is for sale as he bought one of the mobile homes in the park.
The spaces here are anything but large. They are big enough, though, for us to extend our patio awning if we want to do so. Technically, our car is supposed to park in the area out of our front door but there is nobody in the space to the driver side of the RV so we park it there.
Looking down our street you can see the older RV spaces to the right. One of these is where we stayed last winter in all of the snow, snow, snow! Across the street from the RV spaces are mobile homes. Since arriving, we've met a couple of our neighbors and they are very nice. One of the bigger headaches about being here in Tumwater is that you always have to drive out to get propane refills. Last winter we called several propane companies and they do not deliver unless it is a 100 gal. tank. We try to use our electric service as much as possible, but when winter arrives we will rely on the gas heater during the night time. We can use our space heater during the daytime. We have a basement heat pump unit, but when the outside temperatures get to freezing it doesn't operate and will automatically switch to the gas heat. We were here for 5 months last winter and we got our son's and son-in-laws BBQ tanks and set those up as auxiliary. There was too much snow last year to be able to drive out of here. That was very unusual because normally we only get a couple of inches of snow once or twice a year. We're hoping for better luck this coming winter. At this time, we plan to vacate the park and head south to Yuma around Dec. 27th.
Today was a busy day for us as we had medical appointments to keep up with, which was why we needed to get back here last weekend. First of all, we both went to the dentist for cleanings and check-ups. I was fine. :) Bruce was another story. Seems he has 2 teeth needing attention. One is cracked and chipped and needs a crown, and the other one needs a root canal I think he said. Oh, fantastic! Next stop was at the oncologist for Bruce. She wanted to check him again and do a blood test to see if his white and red blood cells had improved. (I originally posted about his condition last Jan. or Feb.) The good news was that his white cell count increased in numbers significantly. The bad news was that the red cells are still an abnormal shape and size and had actually grown a little larger in the past 6 months. The doctor wasn't unduly concerned at this point, but will continue to check him at least every 6 months for the foreseeable future. What this means is that he "could" be diagnosed with a condition known as Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). This is a blood disorder that usually leads to acute leukemia. Not a good thing for anyone, and certainly not a fulltime RVer. It would curtail that adventure in short order. In the meantime, we are living the life!

We need to be here by our kids and grandkids for a few months now. We enjoy a nice relationship with all of them and even though we fulltime it....I need my grandchildren fix every now and again. In the next few months I plan to take photos of our area in Washington and blog about our life here.
Plans for 2010 are:
* We will leave here on or around 12/27/09 and head south to Yuma. We want to get some more window screens and tire guards down there for the RV.
* After Yuma, we will probably go to Orange County for a few days to visit with Aunt Phyllis.
* After O.C. we will drive north to Pismo Beach, CA and stay there for about 5 weeks.
* We will drive back to Tumwater for the month of March.
* Around April 1, 2010 we will head out for Walt Disney World again (I can't believe I'm saying that, but it is true). We will only be there for 2 weeks this time with our son and his lady friend. It will be the 'adult tour'.
* After WDW we are planning to drive west on US-50 'The Loneliest Road' all the way from Maryland to California.
* After that we have no plans formulated. We'll just wing it like fulltimers like to do.
We are notorious for changing plans mid-stream so, really, anything goes with us!
So until next long for now!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

True Confession Time

They say that confession is good for the soul. So, I have to make my confession now.......I am a foodaholic. That is no joke and I am not mocking any person involved in a 10-step program. An addiction to food can be as strong as an addiction to any substance.

I was rather a skinny child growing up and did not have a weight issue. I did have a very big appetite, though. Unfortunately, I didn't stay skinny but the big appetite hung in there as an adult. In an effort to get healthier and lose weight, I joined Weight Watcher's 5 years ago. I lost a little over 50 lbs. in 9 months. Bruce followed the program with me and he lost about 35 lbs. I've managed to keep those 50 lbs. off for the past 4 years. Since leaving Tumwater in March, I've gained about 11 lbs. So what happened?

For one thing, we lost our focus with the WW program. And for another, that wonderful, tasty, fattening food out here on the open road called to us everyday. I keep my scale with me in the motorhome and I weigh every single day and record it on my calendar. I just kept writing down those bigger numbers as we went merrily along.
We started out pretty good in March. Then places like the Waffle House began calling to me as we passed them by on the Interstate. We stopped at one (somewhere) and I was a dead duck! There was no end in sight now! We ate way too much food in Virginia when we were visiting my family, too. We know better! We left there and went to Florida and pretty much ate our way through Walt Disney World as well. We had planned on those indulgences but the others were unplanned and unwise! There is a very nice refrigerator in the motorhome (see below) and it can hold all sorts of wonderful and healthy food.....if you buy it!
I gave myself a stern lecture when we left Forest City and decided that I (we) needed to follow the lessons learned at my Weight Watcher meetings. By the way, I still attend W.W. meetings on a regular basis and will probably be there for life. It's the only way and it's the best way.
I keep all of these great cookbooks with us so there is no excuse for not knowing what to cook and what to eat. I even enjoy cooking, too.
Back when we lived in California, I was talking with my doctor about weight issues. He said, "You have to decide if you want to live to eat, or eat to live". It still took me 25 more years to get it through my head.
Eating in a healthy, moderate way makes good sense for a few reasons:
1. We may enjoy better health and avoid costly doctor visits or the further onset of serious illness.
2. We will feel more energetic and be able to enjoy the fulltime lifestyle we so desire.
3. We will eat far less food and, therefore, we will save money on groceries.
4. We won't go out to eat as often and that will save us a ton of money over a month's time.
5. If we keep those 85 combined pounds off our bodies, that is 85 pounds less weight in the RV.
For us, the fulltime lifestyle cannot revolve around food. It is as simple as that. Bruce has heart disease issues to compound the situation. Since leaving Forest City 3 days ago, I've lost 3 of those 11 lbs. We've monitored our food selections and portions according to W.W. guidelines. That must continue....full steam ahead!
I must be vigilant and not even look at bakery selections and so on in the grocery store and not think about the wonderful menus at Olive Garden, TGIFridays, Chili's and places like that. If I take a chance and succumb to the temptations, my resolve will melt faster than an ice cream cone in Death Valley during August.
Stay tuned for long for now!

Driving West Through South Dakota

We got up early Wednesday morning in Forest City. We'd planned for a long day of driving, but it was almost all going to be on the interstate. We'd stayed longer than we thought at Winnebago and we have doctor and dentist appointments next week. We figured we'd drive longer days than we usually do so we can get to Tumwater by Sunday afternoon.

We picked up I-90 in Blue Earth, Minnesota after driving through more farmland in Iowa. Lots and lots of farmland. Ate a breakfast of English Muffins and coffee at McDonald's in Blue Earth and were once again on our way.

It isn't a great distance before you enter South Dakota. The first time we drove through South Dakota was on a family vacation in 1987. We all thought is was a horrid place....dry, desolate, no scenery. Over the years we've totally changed our opinion and do not mind driving through this state. It really has a certain beauty...although barren in places.....when you can look at the blue sky above the high plains. Really nice.

At the town of Chamberlain (exit 263) there is a nice rest area/overlook. We pulled off to stretch our legs and walk Annie. From this overlook, you can get a nice view of the great Missouri River. After taking a photo or two of the river, I wandered over to the sidewalk at the west of the grass area. BEWARE OF POISONOUS SNAKES read a big sign. Hey great.....time to go now!
South Dakota not only has a lot of cattle country, it has farmland as well. Here are some large hay bales by the town of Chamberlain.
Hey, look up there ahead. Those clouds didn't look too inviting. We turned on the weather band in our dash radio to hear the broadcast. At this point we were driving past the town of Belvidere moving closer to Kadoka. The broadcast said that "heavy thunderstorm activity is moving swiftly east from Kadoka with nickle-sized hail". We had no choice but to continue and hope the storm might turn it's path. No. The rain began falling and it was very heavy. In a matter of minutes the temperture dropped about 10 degrees. After another 20 minutes it was down to 65 degrees from 90 degrees before the storm hit. We saw some lightning in the distance but not too close to us. Then that hail began to fall, and it was nickle-sized alright. The sound it made pounding on the RV spooked Annie and she came straight up front to us for protection. The hail only lasted about 5 minutes and then it was gone. The rain let up a bit and the lightning was gone, too. We looked behind us later and the sky was as black as night. Clear skies once again in front of let's drive on to Wall.

We got off the interstate at Exit 110 where you find the small town of Wall. We secured a campsite at the dumpiest little RV park, Arrow Campground. It was only for one night and we were really tired, so it was good enough. It had 50 amp service and it was 90 degrees outdoors so we were happy.
We walked 2 blocks from the little RV park to the center of Wall. Wall is famous for just being a tourist stop (trap) and it goes back to the 1930's. In 1931, pharmacist Ted Hustead and his family moved there to start their own business. He opened "Wall Drug". Business wasn't too great but they hung in there for 5 years. Then one day his wife had an idea. Cars were always driving along the highway by Wall, but they never stopped. Dorothy Wall's idea was to offer travelers free ice water to drink. That did it, and people began pulling into town to get some ice water to drink. One thing led to another, and Ted and Dorothy began serving snacks. They put signs out on the highway like the old Burma Shave signs to attract tourists attention. Soon, they had a thriving business with a cafe, gift shop, and the ice water. Today, Wall Drug is bigger than ever. It is a series of connecting buildings with lots to offer the curious traveler. You can buy cowboy hats, boots, western art, posters, knick knacks, souvenirs and food.

This is the original facade of Wall Drug. It has been placed inside the new building and is offered as a free museum now.
Up above one of the doorways they have placed these animals that had been hunted in the greater area.

Out in what they call the Backyard, Bruce decided to try a sample of the famous "free water".

The town has grown along with Wall Drug. Across the street you can find many other gift shops and some restaurants too. You can also look at and buy some Black Hills Gold jewelry.
After our walk to see Wall, we went back to that dandy little RV park and went inside with some more air conditioning. We planning to get up early again the next day and get into Montana before stopping for the night.
Until next long for now!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Work finally completed, we leave Iowa tomorrow...

Today, around 2:00 pm, all the work being done on our motorhome was completed. We get to leave Forest City tomorrow morning bright and early. It was a long 10 days here at the Winnebago factory, but it was well worth the wait. All of the work done by the service technicians was great. We have no complaints. I've already posted about the repaired slideouts. As long as we were here for necessary repair work, we decided to have some carpet modifications done in the living area of the RV.

This is the "before" photo. It shows the view from our front kitchen looking back toward the bedroom. You can see that we had carpet on all floor area excluding the kitchen. Annie decided she didn't want to move when I aimed the camera.

This is the "after" photo from about the same angle as the "before" photo. You can see that the tile floor now connects the kitchen with the bathroom tile floor.
In this "After" photo you can see the wider expanse of kitchen flooring. We had wanted (hoped for) the tile to be installed within the entire center area of the living room; from the couch to the dining table. Due to the operation of the slideouts, carpeting had to remain in those 2 areas where the slides retract into the room for traveling. There is a difference in the sub-floor level in the 2 areas. If they had installed tile in the entire area we had planned on, the slide outs would not have operated correctly when coming into the room and all sorts of trouble would have been caused. In the 2008 and 2009 model Tour, there is tile in all the floor area and they accounted for that when engineering those slideout rooms.

Removing the carpet and adding the tile was on our dime. This was an elective issue and had nothing to do with our insurance claim on the slides. Since this work was done at our expense, and we feel we spent enough, we will be happy with what we have so far. At least we have a wide path with the tile and it will work just fine. In a few years, we will have new carpeting installed in the remaining carpet areas...and we will select a darker color! In the meantime, the old carpet does not affect our enjoyment of the fulltime life or prevent us from still getting out there and having a grand old time! Hooray for fulltiming !!!!!
Heading west tomorrow morning on Interstate 90. God willing, we'll be back to Tumwater on Sunday afternoon!
Until next long for now!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again

We had a very busy day today. In order for Winnebago to do the job of tearing down and rebuilding the roof on our slide outs, we had to remove everything that was stored in the upper cabinets in the whole motorhome. Since everything was out and I had to put it all back together again, I decided it was a good time to take inventory.

As I picked up each item for the kitchen cabinets, I gave thought to how many times I'd used that item or how often it was used. I figured if I hadn't used something from our food cabinets in a year, I probably didn't need it or want it any longer. If I used something only once or twice during the past year, I figured it didn't warrant the space it was taking up. Space is at a premium as all RVer's know. (not to mention the weight of carrying useless items) I chucked out my Bisquick...didn't use it. I did likewise with my cocoa powder and 3 boxed cake mixes. If we want a cake, we'll go out and buy one already baked. I keep all food items in closed Tupperware containers, with a couple of Rubbermaid thrown in. I LOVE Tupperware. This is how the one cabinet looked after the reorganization. From the kitchen, I migrated to the bedroom where I had a really big job to do. Those upper cabinets in the bedroom were the ones most affected by the smell of the mold and they had been unusable for a few months. We had stashed the stuff from those cabinets everywhere inside and in the outdoor cabinets. I pulled everything out and put it on the bed to sort through. Again, I thought it was a good time to take inventory. If I hadn't used it or worn it in the last year, I got rid of it. I went through every drawer, cabinet and the entire closet. I have plenty of space now and everything is getting organized. Here is the huge mess I have accumulated on our bed.

These are the overhead cabinets in the bedroom that are finally usable. I like to keep our linens in these cabinets and we have plenty of room for them. Ohhhhh, these cabinets smell so clean and fresh now.

In the spirit of cleaning day, Bruce decided to clean our ultra leather couch and chair in the living area. Annie the Schnauzer, likes to rub her muzzle all along the bottom of the couch and it gets really dirty. Isn't that sweet? :( He spent about an hour doing the cleaning job.

Once the job was complete, the couch really looked as good as new.

I really have to give big kudos to Winnebago and the job they did in removing the mold/mildew from our slide outs and rebuilding them. The workmanship was fantastic and everything looks so beautiful. We are very glad that we decided to hold off on those repairs until we could get up here to Forest City. This is our second trip to Winnebago with this RV and we could not be happier with the level of customer service and the work done by the techs here.
Tomorrow they will begin the work on our tile floor in the living room. I'll take photos.
Until next long for now!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fulltime RV Life...We're No Experts

As I wrote on my "Happy Anniversary to Us" posting, we've been fulltiming now for 1 year. While we are sitting here at the Winnebago factory in Iowa, I thought I'd share some of our thoughts on why we enjoy this lifestyle and how we go about doing it. NOTE: we are not experts in this lifestyle and are stumbling along like a lot of people out there :)

Bruce and I have always loved to travel, especially by motorhome. We bought our first RV in 1988 and it was a Class C Lazy Daze. We traded that in later for a 1990 Class A. We were hooked after that. In 1993-1994 we had a short stint as fulltimers in our Pace Arrow Class A. In late 1994 we bought a sticks-n-bricks house in Washington and then vacationed by RV for a few years, being gone for a month to 6 months at a time. We got the opportunity to become fulltimers once again in 2008 after my Dad passed away. And here we are!

We were some of the lucky ones in the summer of '08 whose house actually sold in only 3 months. After a month more for escrow, we moved into our RV home on Aug. 1, 2008. We got a space in our town of Tumwater for a couple of weeks to get things better organized in the motorhome.

Here is a photo of my fulltime buddy enjoying Cops on TV. This is the life.
Here is the fulltiming "Annie the Schnauzer" doing what a fulltiming dog does best after a hot day....stretch out on the floor with the A/C running.
What Kind of Fulltimer's Are We?.............There is no set method or way to be a fulltimer. It is different for everyone according to their needs and preferences. Some F/T's select a different state for their "homebase" and establish resident status there. South Dakota, Texas, Oregon and Nevada have been popular states for many F/T's.
Some F/T's travel to different places frequently and some stay put for months at a time. Some see their kids and extended families often and some only a couple of times a year. Nothing wrong with any of that. We have kids who live in our hometown of Tumwater, Washington: a son, a daughter and son-in-law, and 2 granddaughters who are very young. Well, I want to see them for prolonged periods of time so we will return to Tumwater from time to time. We also belong to Tumwater United Methodist Church and have friends there that we care about and want to see. So, we go away for a few months and then we return for a few months. Our granddaughters are 4 and 7 years old and we want to remain being part of their lives while still pursuing our dream of a fulltime lifestyle. So, we cannot cut all connection to Tumwater and drive off into the sunset, never to return.
What Is Our Resident Status?.........We keep our resident status in Washington state. There is no state income tax and the vehicle license fees are reasonable (finally). We have our mail sent to our daughter's house and once a month she forwards it to us. Some F/T's don't want to burden their kids with that task....we don't mind! We've done a lot for our adult kids for the past 10 years and more, and our daughter is willing to do the job! We will be in the Washington census count, vote, and do jury duty as Washingtonians.
Medical insurance is another factor in keeping us residents of Washington. We have private insurance through Blue Shield. We cannot qualify for group plans from a former employer (as a retiree) since we were self employed. Bruce has 3 more years before Medicare will kick in. We pay high premiums for this insurance but Bruce has pre-existing conditions (heart attack, high cholesterol, by-pass, and some weird thing with his white blood cells) that prevent him from getting a different, cheaper policy. Believe me, we've checked into everything! We have coverage that is very good here in Washington and we feel it is in our best interest to keep it. For check-ups, we like to see our regular doctors who know our history and have been treating us for 15 years, especially Bruce with this unknown white cell problem. We are covered, out of state, for emergencies but not for routine procedures. Again, this stuff is different for each individual who is a fulltimer.
So Where Do We Stay?........When we are in Tumwater, WA we stay at the Allimor Mobile/RV Park. It isn't the most glamorous place, by far, and it only has 30 amp electric. But, it does have full hook-ups and is only 1/2 mile from each of our kids. Plus, it is within 1 mile of Costco, 3 grocery stores, our church, McDonald's, Home Depot, hair salons, dollar stores, Mexican restaurant, Chinese restaurant, pizza take-out and many more.
When we are away from our hometown, we try to utilize any of our membership parks first. If there are no parks in our system, we go to our Trailer Life directory. Sometimes, we just happen upon an independent park in some town we are passing through and get a space there. We do stay at a WalMart from time to time if the weather is OK. We also stay at truck stops occasionally. If it is hot outdoors, we want hook-ups for the A/C and will go to a park. Since getting the 40 foot Tour, we haven't gone to any State Parks or National Parks yet. (more on membership programs in another post)
What Do We Do With Our Time?.........A friend asked me that one time. She said, "What do you do when you live in an RV?" I told her we do the things we did when we lived in a sticks-n-bricks home. We go shopping, go out to eat, watch TV, read lots of books, take walks, clean house, do laundry, play games, visit local museums or places of interest, go for a picnic, or just go out for a ride in the car and have a great day. Also, we visit libraries in the towns we stay in. We go and read the magazines they have on file. We do not subscribe to any magazines, as they are heavy and would add to the cost of forwarding them to us. We always have plenty to do. We are never bored.
Is It Like A Vacation?........Well, not exactly. It is just a different lifestyle than most people enjoy, and it enables us to live in many different places according to our whims. Not to say we won't have true vacations like everyone else, though. For instance, our trip to Walt Disney World this year (see archive for June) was totally a vacation. Nobody can live in Fantasyland forever. Since leaving Orlando, we have been back to our fulltime RV life.
Is It Carefree Living?..........Of course not. We have to maintain our motorhome like a person has to maintain any home. We have a diesel engine to care for, heating system, plumbing, washer/dryer, appliances, a roof to maintain, and so on. We don't keep a storage unit either. That would just be another bill to pay and we packed everything we need into the RV. If we don't have it, we probably don't need it.
How Can You Stand to Live in Such A Small Space?........Easy! We've always been condo lovers and those can be small. In 40 years we've lived in 2 condos in California and we've also had 2 very large homes. We don't miss those large homes one bit! In the RV we don't have to mow a lawn or tend a garden either. If the grass gets too high, we can drive away. If we don't like our neighbors, we can drive away. If we don't like the weather, we can leave and find some we like.
Do We Like This Lifestyle?......WE LOVE IT !
Do We Regret This Choice?.......NO WAY !
Isn't It Expensive To Be A Fulltimer?........I will post an entry regarding our expenses soon.
Are Those Campground MembershipPrograms Worth It?.......I will post an entry regarding that issue soon.
As I wrote, a Fulltime RV life is different for everyone and this is just the way that we do it. We may change things around as the years go on if we find something that works better for us. Right now, except for stays in Tumwater, we do not want to stay anyplace more than a month or two at most. Usually a couple of weeks anywhere, and we're ready to move on. We're working on Year #2 now and enjoying the view from the motorhome windshield.
Until next long for now!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Good to Go Now...PTL

Bright and early this morning the insurance adjuster was at the Winnebago Customer Service center to look at our motorhome. We felt sure that he would agree that we had a valid claim, but you always have that little bit of nagging doubt until you know for sure.

After the inspection by the adjuster, he came out to the waiting area with Winnebago's insurance rep. It was agreed that our claim was valid and the work could now continue. Praise the Lord for that. The adjuster verified that there was no way, as owners, we could have known or foreseen the leaking problem that resulted in the mold contamination. The work being done will amount to something around $10,000 by the time they get the second slide section finished. We have a $500 deductible as our responsibility. Fine and dandy.

They will still have a few days work to do on the RV, but we are content to sit and wait since the cost to us will be minimal now.

Until next long for now.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Stumbling Block with Insurance

Well, things were going too good to be true. Today the insurance company called a halt to the work on our motorhome until an adjuster comes to look. They could have decided to do this on Monday when we contacted them. Now the RV is all torn apart and we cannot get it back to sleep in it. So, we're stuck at the Super 8 for at least 3 more nights.

Insurance will only pay for 5 nights at the motel and we will now run over that time frame. Gee....they could have saved us all this trouble by saying they wanted an adjuster to come out BEFORE the motorhome was torn apart to repair it. We understand the need for the adjuster, our complaint is how they went about getting that started. When will the adjuster get here???? We have no clue. Our agent had left the office for the day after we got word of this and we have to wait until tomorrow morning to talk with him.

Gilda Radner said, "It's Always Something" and she was so right!

I've got a giant headache now. Good thing I got the Tylenol out of the RV and brought it to the motel with us. Something told me I'd be needing it before this nightmare is over.

Check back tomorrow for the continuing saga of "the moldy motorhome".

OK, Here's the Thing....

It is Wednesday and we still sit here in Forest City, Iowa at the Winnebago factory. Last night we had to go to the local Super 8 motel to sleep, and we will be there again tonight.

The work is getting finished on the 2 slide out sections of our Tour motorhome. As we assumed, there was a lot of mold up in the top of the slide outs between the roof and the inside ceiling of the slides. Service technicians here had to rip off the roof, insulation, plywood barrier and the ceiling on the inside. Now they will rebuild it all. We are hoping (can we say praying here?) that this will all go as planned and be covered by the comprehensive clause on our insurance.

Why the insurance you may ask? Well, we were in Palm Springs when we got hit with a very, very strong windstorm. The winds were so strong we feared being blown over, so we pulled in both slide outs for the rest of the night. The next day we saw that the awnings over the slides had been damaged. We got out of Palm Springs that very day before any more wind could wreak havoc. So, this should qualify under the comprehensive coverage because the damage was done during this windstorm.

We went to our local dealer and they repaired what they saw as damage. OK...we thought...that's taken care of. Then in April, we saw that one of the tension rods wasn't working correctly on the driver side slide awning. We went to a local service repair in Virginia (Winnebago authorized dealer) and had that replaced. OK...we thought....that's taken care of.

A while after that was when we began to smell that musty, moldy odor in the overhead cupboards over our bed. It got so bad we couldn't put anything in them. By this time we were down in Homestead, Florida. We called Winnebago factory to see about an appointment to have this all checked out. We were set to go into Disney World in early June and wanted an appointment for around the 6th of July. We couldn't get one until Aug. 3.

After service techs looked into everything here it was determined that during the windstorm the rails that hold the awning system to the coach were lifted ever so slightly by the heavy wind and got bent enough that some of the screws holding it were ripped out. We couldn't see this even if we'd looked. Why the service techs at the 2 previous dealerships didn't see it or look for it, I can't say. Apparently, water seeped under the slide roof through those tiny screw holes and that caused all the damage.

So, we are waiting for everything to be completed and hopefully be out of here by the weekend. They had to completely remove the slide units and that is why we had to go to the motel.

In spite of this big problem, we feel lucky compared to some of the people getting work done here. Wow, some of them have terrible things wrong with their motorhomes. I won't complain about our motorhome anymore. Well, maybe a little bit. :)

We've gotten to know this tiny town of Forest City real well. I won't mind getting out of here as soon as possible, though. Enough is enough.

Stay tuned until next long for now!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Forest City, Iowa and Winnebago

We left Oelwein a day early and drove north to Forest City, Iowa. We are here at the Winnebago factory for some repair work on the motorhome. Our appointment is for Monday, Aug. 3. We had planned to leave early Sunday morning, but changed our mind Saturday afternoon and decided to drive up after lunch. Winnebago sent us a packet of information after we made our appointment. It included a map with directions to their location. We had come here in 2007, so we were familiar with the town already. This is the Customer Service Center and we will check in here at 7:00 am on the 3rd. There is a lounge area inside for waiting and they also let you bring your pets inside, on leash, to wait with you. There would be no place else to put them since your RV will be taken from you after check-in and you won't get it back until after 3:00 pm.

This is the parking lot at the Customer Service location. Winnebago lets you park in their lot and they provide a free 30 amp hook-up. It turned out to be a good plan to get up here on Saturday afternoon as most of these spots were already taken by other motorhomes when we got here. We were able to get into the one last spot at this lot. Behind this asphalt lot, there is a grassy lot with about 7 additional parking spaces with 30 amp. We tried this grass area when we were here in '07 and found most of the spaces to be a little more unlevel than the parking lot.

We went to the local United Methodist Church this morning and then came back and had our lunch. While we are just sitting here cooling our heels until tomorrow morning, we decided to walk into the town and take some pictures.
Forest City was settled in 1855 by Thomas Bearse. He came to set up hunting and fur trapping camps. From what I read, the area really was a huge forest back in the day when Mr. Bearse arrived. Later, the forests were cut down to allow space for the town to be built. From the 1860's to the 1900's Europeans emigrated to Iowa. Many people from Germany, Sweden, and Norway came to Northern Iowa, especially Forest City, because the topography reminded them of their native countries. Today, the town covers 4.2 square miles and has a population of around 5,000 people.

This is Clark Street, which is the main street in the town of Forest City.

Next to the County Courthouse is this memorial to the area's veterans who gave their lives in service to their country. They even have listings for Civil War Veterans who served and then those that lost their lives.

South of the downtown area is this tree lined neighborhood. It has a mixture of homes from many eras. You can see early Victorian styles as well as mid-twentieth century homes.

Here are two examples of the earlier Victorian homes we found on our walking tour of the town.

Over on 6th Street we stopped at the local Hardee's fast food to get a cold drink. It was getting warm outdoors and we still had about 1/2 mile to walk back to the Winnebago lot.
After leaving Hardee's we saw Waldorf College. It is a small Evangelical Lutheran Church institution that serves approximately 700 students a year. They offer Associate and Bachelor degrees.

We are anxious to see what the people at Winnebago can do to help with our "issues". Most of them are simple, but we have one 'biggie' that has us concerned. We discovered on this trip that there was a very strong smell of mold coming from the upper cabinets over our bed which is in the passenger side slide out. It has only gotten stronger to the point that I had to empty those cabinets and they are unusable. There was never any leaking that we detected and nothing inside the RV was ever found to be wet. We talked to a man at a campground a few days ago and he had a similar problem. He thinks the moisture has entered through the slide out locking mechanism and gotten into the exterior wall or siding. Oh, wonderful. Mold is toxic and it remains to be seen what will be done.
As I've been fond of saying for a few years now..."It's always something".
I'll blog again on what the findings will be for repairs. Until next time long for now!