Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Little RV Has a Cozy New Home

We arrived back home in Washington on Father's Day. We got to go and surprise my Dad. It's really good to see my family again.
Murphy is loving all this space to run.

Because of our travel style we had no idea when we would arrive back in Washington so we didn't have a site locked down for the summer. Unfortunately the place we normally stay is full this year and parks with 50 amp full hook-ups are pretty slim pickings around here. We ended up staying at one of the casino campgrounds for about a week but with no sewer connection we had to move the motorhome to dump the tanks. That's a pain.
Murphy is fascinated by the neighbor's horses.

My brother and sister-in-law have a house on acreage just outside Olympia. Over the years we have joked about putting in an RV site for the Little RV. It seems the joke is on them because as I write this we are sitting on their property with full hook-ups. Posh!
The back 40.

When they purchased this property there was an older modular home here. Several years ago they built a home and had the old one removed. The old house was near the front of the property but their new house is much further back. Our site is where the old house was. It's fairly flat, open, has water and sewer in place but there was no electric for us to tap into.  That problem was solved by running a a power from the garage to a post at the back of the new site.

We also installed landscape fabric and had a full dump truck load of crushed rock delivered for a clean, fairly level surface.

Murphy loves it here. It seems there are always plenty of people including kids to visit with and there is a ton of room to run off leash. They even have a couple of dogs. Murphy really likes to play with Sadie.
We have been given free reign to landscape as much or as little as we like. We're going to need more rock and we are thinking about a cement patio and a couple of really comfortable outdoor chairs.
Full hook-ups,gravel base down, and rug out. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Montana is The Little RV's Happy Place


             Our first view of the Rocky Mountains
Yesterday we left South Dakota behind, drove through parts of Wyoming and into Montana. I love Montana and consider it my home state. My family moved to a little town called Bonner when I was ten years old. We were just a few miles from Missoula where my brother and I attended high school. My family left Montana in the early 80's but in my heart it is my home. 
Big Sky Country

Rob has grown to love Montana as well. We visit whenever we are able. Sadly the altitude here makes it very difficult for Rob to breathe without the constant use of oxygen so living here in out of the question. 
 
7th Ranch Campground

We did a long 300+ mile day again but pulled out of the South Dakota campground at about 7:15 AM so we arrived at the Montana campground and were set up by 1:30 PM.  

This campground is our kind of place. It's in the middle of nowhere, has amazing views and really friendly staff. There are no fancy amenities here. Just a beautifully maintained campground in a truly awe inspiring setting. 
After we got set up Murphy and I hiked up to the flag at the top of the hill behind the campground.  There were lots of pretty things to photograph along the way.

Murphy enjoyed his romp around the hills. 
We had a great night's sleep and this morning we were once again greeted by the beauty of this amazing place.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Slide Goes In, The Slide Goes Out, Until it Won't

We left Indiana last Friday. Our day included a drive through Chicago so we tried to arrive during lighter traffic. It wasn't awful but it could have been.

It was a 300 + mile day ending in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. We found a park on the shore of the Mississippi River. Unfortunately it had just begun to dry out from some very recent flooding and the mosquitoes were thick and vicious!  When we arrived we had to unhook the our car and leave it in the main parking lot because of the damp ground.  Once we backed into our site I went out to hook up the electric and water. After getting set up Rob yelled out the door there was no electricity so I had to call the office and have them come down to determine the problem. They had simply forgotten to turn the power on at our site. The site had a really beautiful view.

After several run-ins with blood thirsty mosquitoes while taking Murphy out we decided to get out of Dodge first thing in the morning. We left early and had another 300+ mile day stopping in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

We pulled in to a campground right off I-90 and paid for two nights. I was outside setting up and Rob was inside. I stuck my head in and Rob told me the bedroom slide would not go out. It was 92 degrees outside and had already been a very long day. 

We discovered the slide would go out if we manually pushed it but it would come in using the button. We just pushed it out so we could function until morning.
Poor Murphy has been so cooped up for two days and was just itching to go out and run off some energy so I took him out to a big field and turned him loose. 

The next morning we started working on the slide problem. We had done some research online to see what the problem might be. We took the stairs apart and checked the breakers and fuses, the hydraulic fluid and looked for anything out of place. 

Next I called Lippert, the manufacturer of our slide and leveling equipment. They felt there may be air in the system and if we cycled it a few more times it may fix itself. It got worse, there was a very loud thump and eventually it got stuck half way open.  

About that time a neighbor, Steve walked by and asked what was happening and if he could help. I told him what was happening and we brainstormed a bit. Steve offered to help if needed and continued on his way. 

Rob and I drove to the RV Sales and Service next door to see if they could fit us in only to be told they work on towables but not motorhomes. The closest place to have someone take a look was about 6 miles away. There was no way I was driving 6 miles with the slide part way out.  


When we got back Steve came back over and we decided to tear the bed apart and see if we could figure out what the problem was. The slide mechanism is under the bed. There is also a very large storage space under the bed. Steve went home to get a couple of things and I started moving all of the things stored under the bed, the bedding and the mattress.
Steve and I disassembled the bed frame to expose the slide mechanism. When the plywood base was lifted away the problem was painfully obvious.  
The long threaded shaft should have been extended through the steel frame and the nyloc nut should have been snugly threaded on to the end of the shaft so when the mechanism runs it will pull or push the slide. Somehow the nut came off causing the shaft to pull out, get hung up on the frame and bend it badly. 
You can see how badly the frame is bent in the photo above. The red line is where the frame should be and the blue line is where the frame was after the damage. 

It took some muscle, time and ingenuity but Steve was able to bend the frame back enough to get the shaft through and reattach the nut. I would never have had the physical strength to bend that frame back.

Steve, if you're reading this I can't thank you enough for helping us out with this situation. You're a good person! People like you make the RV community something special. Our slide is functioning and Forest River has agreed to repair it properly when we can get it to a dealer so all is well again.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Glass, Crowds, New Friends, and Pups with the Little RV

We are currently in Elkhart, Indiana. We moved from our casino location in Michigan last Sunday so we could have the new circuit board installed in our rear air conditioner. It's all done and functioning correctly.  I'll say it... we're happy campers. 😀

With Memorial Day weekend coming up quickly we decided to stay put through the weekend so we could order some prescriptions and provisions from Amazon.   

The area of the campground we are parked in has been almost empty all week. Murphy and I have spend several enjoyable hours visiting with our only neighbors and their dogs. 
Murphy and Coconut

Unfortunately things changed yesterday when the holiday campers arrived. Now we're neck deep in screaming kids, barking dogs and campfire smoke.  

Don't get me wrong. I love a good campfire but there comes a time when enough smoke is enough.  
Lake Michigan
Wednesday I met a friend at Lake Michigan. She was kind enough to share her secret squirrel location for beach glass. It was a two hour drive each way but very worth it.  I'm told you can see the Chicago skyline from here if it's a clear day. It was chilly and drizzly but not bad at all. 

It's been a while since I spent that much time hunched over searching the sand. I could barely walk the next day. 

I'm fascinated by the rocks found in and around this lake. Some are smooth and flat, some are a conglomeration of many types of rock. The one above is fun. 

I was able to find lots of beach glass. I filled my jar and then some so I'm happy. I also made a new friend. That's always a bonus. 

Here's some exciting news! We have a new grand-dog! Christina and her family adopted a shelter dog named Sampson. He's a Great Dane mix somewhere around 1 year old and is so sweet and gentle with our grandkids. 
Tiny and Sampson are having a moment. 💓
Murphy can't wait to get home and meet his new cousin.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Rocking and Glassing Michigan in the Little RV

Since our arrival in Manistee, Michigan a couple of days ago Murphy and I have gone to Lake Michigan twice to hunt beach glass. Murphy is beat and I'm sore. When we had our house I used to go out and weed for hours in the beginning of Spring and the backs of my thighs would get so sore. This is the same kind of sore but it's from bending over searching for beach glass. 

Temperatures at the lake have been in the upper 50s and low 60s with very little wind. It's been perfect.  When we first arrived at the beach Murphy ran up and down the shore in the water dozens of times. He was great about sticking nearby. He explored, chased birds, ran in the water and dug in the sand. 
While Murphy was expending his excess energy I was walking and digging in the rocks looking for beach glass. What I didn't expect was all of the fascinating rocks I found. 
We got our grandson Camden a rock tumbler for Christmas last year so I'm taking rocks home so we can tumble them. I'm sure he'll like that. 

We went back to the same beach yesterday and found more rocks and some beach glass. Murphy was still tired from his first trip to the beach so after a little running around he came and sat down and curled up right between my legs. We took that opportunity to take some selfies.
Here is the beach glass I have found so far. 

I hear over near Racine and Kenosha, Wisconsin on the southwest corner of Lake Michigan the glassing is much better. We're going to stop by there after we finish up in Elkhart. 

Today we spent a good part of the day cleaning the outside of the motorhome. It got so dirty when it was in the shop. Between that dirt and the dead, baked on bugs it's nasty. It'll take me a few days to get it as clean as I can. There are a lot of places I can't reach so I'll just do as much as I can.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

An Escape to Lake Michigan for the Little RV

This morning we are in Manistee, Michigan on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. 

We finally escaped Indiana but not for long. Late last week we discovered our inverter had stopped working. The inverter is what keeps our refrigerator working when we are not plugged in to shore power. Also our burner wasn't lighting consistently and our bedroom air conditioning unit was stepping up its malfunction game. 

I called Forest River and they scheduled us to go back to the factory on Tuesday (yesterday). We were also on hold because some of Rob's mail order prescriptions were sent to the RV park in Alabama. We had to wait for them to reship those medications. They finally arrived on Monday. In total we spent a month in Indiana mostly at the fairgrounds. 
Murphy was working the crowd yesterday.

We were up and moving early yesterday. When we arrived at Forest River they took the Little RV back to the shop and started working. Within a couple of hours they came back to give us an update on the repair situation. 

The burner was acting up for them and they couldn't figure out what the problem was so they decided to install a brand new oven/stove unit. That should take care of the problem! The timing was perfect because I really needed to clean my oven. 

They installed another new inverter without a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet. It's hardwired to the refrigerator so the inverter breaker on it can't blow. The inverter manufacturer as been having a problem with these inverters and are in the process of replacing them with a new model.  Hopefully that issue has been resolved. 

The air conditioning unit was inspected by the owner of the company Forest River and Dometic (the a/c manufacturer) use to service and repair the units. He found that our circuit board had gotten wet at some point and that is causing the crazy behavior we have seen. 

On our first visit to Forest River the a/c guy sealed the unit better with a silver tape. He said it wasn't sealed properly and was recycling the cold air. This can cause condensation in the unit and freeze the coils causing moisture in the unit.  This is probably how the circuit board got wet. 

We need a new board so they called all over town trying to find one but none were available. Dometic said the part is back ordered and it should be available in about a week. 

At this point we had three choices. (1)Get the repair done elsewhere knowing we'd have to wait for a circuit board to be ordered and delivered. (2) Wait around Elkhart for another week or more for the part to come in. (3) Go have a little fun somewhere and go back to Elkhart when the part comes in. We opted for 3. 

It was nearly 1 PM when we finally left town and we had more than 200 miles to drive. We had a pretty good drive with no problems and arrived in Manistee, Michigan around 6 PM.  

We are really close to Lake Michigan. Let the beach glass/rock hounding begin!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Finished at the Factory and Planning for our Next Adventure

My last post was about our visit to the Forest River factory to have some ongoing problems repaired. Our repairs are complete. As complete as they will get for now anyway. 

They called in Dometic again to check the bedroom air conditioning unit but the technician "couldn't duplicate the problem" with our air conditioner in the bedroom. So, that means we are stuck with a problematic unit until it dies. That's on Dometic though. If it had been up to Forest River I think they would have just replaced it. Hopefully they will still take care of the problem when that happens. 

The new front windshield MCD Day/Night power shade was crooked and when lowered it would fall out of the track on one side. It took some doing but they were able to get it straightened up to a point where I could live with it. 

While we were there the water pump started to act up so they replaced it with a brand new one. 

I have to say, I'm so glad we came to the factory. The service and care we received was fabulous.

Finally, I believe the stove burner that has been fixed at least six times has actually been fixed this time. They replaced a the wire that runs from the stove the burner itself. I have successfully lit the burner with the spark knob three times in a row. I am optimistic. 

We are still at the fairgrounds in Goshen, Indiana. We were planning to leave the area last Tuesday but decided to wait so we could make an Amazon order, get some medications shipped and get our mail shipped. We plan to leave on Wednesday.  

While we have been on hold here in Indiana we have had many discussions about our next destination. Rob has asked if I want to go back to Sanibel Island, Florida. Well YES, YES I DO. However it's the wrong direction. We need to head west.  

Utah came up in conversation because we really want to spend some time at Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, and Zion Parks. We plan to head to the Southwest next winter so we can do Utah in the Fall. There is so much to see and do there. We went on a two week car trip there in 2007 before we even had an RV and loved the trip.

Recently I've become interested in sea or beach glass collecting and we are just a hop, skip and jump from Lake Michigan so Rob suggested we head up and around the lake. We have been through Michigan and across the Upper Peninsula (UP) two or three times and we love it.
Hopefully we won't be too cold that far north in the month of May. 

I've got some travel planning to do!