Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Little RV Meets Hurricane Sandy - Part II

Sandy was here and we survivedWe're alive, undamaged, dry and even have power.  We were very lucky to have lost power for less than 24 hours.  there were some trees down in the neighborhood but I think that was the extent of the damage locally.

Those along coast were not nearly so fortunate.  We haven't been down that way but the pictures we are seeing on TV and the internet are truly awful. 

I don't know what I expected but it was not nearly as bad as I thought I would be.  I've been searching the internet trying to find out what the wind gust speed was where we are parked but I can't find that information.  The thing that struck me most was that I could hear a gust of wind coming from far away long before I could feel it hit the Little RV.  

I'm certainly glad we didn't stay in the RV park we had planned on because it's very near the water and they got hit hard down there and the Little RV might have been in big trouble. 

So Rob, Grant and Me and the Little RV did indeed survive Hurricane Sandy.  Wonder what other surprises the future holds?



Monday, October 29, 2012

The Little RV Meets Hurricane Sandy - Part 1

One of my first text messages this morning was from our Son-in-Law Alex, it read, "Happy Hurricane Day"!  

The storm has intensified but it's still a ways out.  We are getting some pretty good gusts here.  They shake the RV some but not awful.  Since I've never been in a hurricane, I really have no idea what to expect. The movie "Twister" comes to mind?  There were cows blowing around inside the funnel of the tornado.  Now I really don't expect that, but it does come to mind. 

Grant has been a little jumpy so we put his thunder shirt on and are giving it the ultimate test.  
So far, so good.  You can see he is flaked out and asleep on the floor here in the living room.

We're not getting a satellite signal on our Dish Tailgater now, so TV is out but we still have internet access.  We did see some local news this morning saying the highways will be closing at 1:00 pm except for emergency personnel like Alex who has to go to work this afternoon.  

I put on my red sweater this morning so they could find me in the rubble (just kidding mom) of the RV after the storm or perhaps whirling around with the cows.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Learning to Boondock in the Little RV - with Training Wheels

Last Monday when we arrived in Connecticut, we ended up parking in Rob's daughter's driveway.  We've been using their power and some water.  I'm calling this moochdocking.  I'm sure you've heard that there is a major hurricane coming to our neck of the woods.  Her name is Sandy and we're in the red zone on the weather maps.  Knowing Sandy was likely to come our way, we started figuring out how to be as self-contained as possible.  

Today we, along with Alex, our son-in-law hooked up the RV and took it to the closest rest area to dump the tanks.  I think he found the whole thing pretty interesting.  It's an experience, that's for sure.   The we brought her back and got her parked and set back up.  I'll spare you the gory details.

We have a 100 gallon fresh water tank, a 45 gallon black (body waste) tank and two 45 gallon gray water tanks.  Gray water is from the shower or washing dishes or laundry.  We also have a propane powered generator and 2-40 lb. tanks of propane to heat and cook with.  

Basically, we've been learning to boondock here in the driveway but if we need water or whatever, it's right here.  Like training wheels.  It's been interesting to say the least.  When we first plugged in we were blowing their breaker several times a day.  Once in the middle of the night the breaker blew and we have no idea why.  I know they have enjoyed all of the times I sent a text message asking them to flip the breaker back on.  Friday we finally went and purchased an extra long, extra heavy duty extension cord and plugged it in to a seldom used circuit.   Much better!  

One thing we are learning is to stop and think about what is running before we turn anything else on.  My hair dryer is death on all things electric.  As it turns out it's 1875 watts.  Way too  much for the generator.  I have purchased a wimpier hair dryer which should arrive soon.  As a general rule of thumb, we find that anything that produces heat needs to be used separately.

We know how to start and use the generator and how to reset the breakers on it if necessary.  We have filled our fresh water tank and emptied all the others, we have groceries and full propane tanks.   We're as ready as we can be.  Hope Sandy spares us.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hurricane Sandy, Really? Can the Little RV Survive a Hurricane?

If you've been following our blog you know that we have had some trials in our new lifestyle.  If not, there was the semi-truck tire in the road incident, repair failure incident, the refrigerator failure incident, the crushed truck bed incident, the Devil's Tower roof incident, and as you would expect there were other incidents that didn't make the blog.  

But a hurricane, really?  

We're in New England visiting Rob's family.  In desperate need of a haircut, my step-daughter, here little one and I went in search of new do for me.  Chatty, as beauticians tend to be, I was informed that we are expecting a hurricane next week.  It seems as time goes by they are more and more certain it will make landfall in New York. Of course things are bound to change by next week but the possibility of a hurricane with 60 to 80 mile an hour winds sounds a bit frightening.  Will the little RV blow over?  Will trees will fall on the little RV?  Are we safer where we are in the middle of the houses with the trees or should we be out in the open without wind breaks?  So many questions!!

On the up side, we are parked on an asphalt driveway.  There are large houses surrounding the little RV.  That should help with the wind and rain.  We have full propane tanks, a generator and a full tank of water.  We can heat and cook with our propane.  We're really better off than most.  Let's just hope the whole thing blows out to see.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Little RV Makes it to Connecticut

As I write this post we are moochdocking in Rob's oldest daughter's (Meghan) driveway IN CONNECTICUT.  We arrived yesterday in the late afternoon.  Their driveway was the closest place to stop for the night and big enough to accommodate our 5th wheel. However getting the Little RV backed up the 220', uphill driveway was no easy task.  Here we are all plugged in and cozy.  We've only blown their breaker twice.  We have a system.  I blow the breaker and then text Alex (our son-in-law) and he flips it back on.  It's working for me...don't know about Alex.  

Bonus!  We finally got to meet our 4th grandchild and 1st granddaughter, Amelia, who is almost 10 months old.  Isn't she a beauty?
We did go to look at a campground today but haven't moved yet. We'd love to stay put right here but I don't know how feasible that is.  

We did accomplish a few mundane tasks like getting groceries, cleaning out the basement and truck.  The truck is going to the dealer for some routine maintenance and perhaps an estimate on the crushed bed.  

We'll be here for about four weeks and then off to warmer weather.   

New York's Finger Lakes

We got up early Sunday morning and drive through central New York to see the Finger Lakes.  What are the Finger Lakes you ask.  Read on!
Satellite view of New York's Finger Lakes. In addition, Lake Ontario appears at top, Oneida Lake upper right, Cazenovia Lake directly below Oneida. 
Courtesy of Wikipedia.
It was a beautiful drive.  We had mostly sun and blue skies.  The leaves were absolutely fabulous.

This was the view behind our campground in Cuba, New York.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Catching up on "Things" in the Little RV

We're still in Cuba, New York. It was so nice to have a day without moving.  I was able to get several loads of laundry done and work on a couple of problems I've been having with the RV.  They are silly things but annoying.  Things I've been saying "I have to fix that" about for weeks.  

Thing 1;
When we stop and get set-up we have to turn the water heater on.  The switch is dark and there is no indicator of which position is on and which is off.  I always think I remember but yesterday, I got it wrong and we ran out of hot water.  Problem solved.
Now I realize how silly this seems but when your memory starts to go, these things are important. 

Thing 2 (this one is a bit more serious);
I have a large cabinet in my kitchen with a pull out shelf on the bottom.  The shelf holds our coffee equipment.  I must confess, I'm a latte' addict.  

I gave up a ton of things to move into the Little RV but I couldn't part with my espresso machine.  So here's the deal.  When we move the weight of the items on the shelf pushes on the door and it comes open.  When we park, we find stuff all over.  Spices on the couch and floor, coffee mugs on the floor.  It's not pretty.  Yesterday I had to vacuum up spices because the bottle came open.  When we were in Indiana I picked up some cabinet catches.  The first style didn't work but this one will do the trick I'm thinkin'.  Guess we'll find out when we stop tomorrow.

We did go out for a short ride today.  It rained quite a lot so we were dodging rain showers but it was a pretty drive.  There are a lot of Amish here.  We've seen several buggies on the road since we arrived yesterday.  Today we met with one on the highway.  
It's one of those things you see on TV but never in person.  I guess I don't get out much.

I've been hunting for a place to camp tomorrow night and not having much luck.  Most of the campgrounds in the area we were planning on staying are closed for the season.  I remembered that we joined Harvest Hosts.  If you've never heard of it, you can read about it at . It's a group of winerys and farms that allow self-contained RVs to overnight on their property.  We'll do a little shopping in their business to thank them for the camping spot.  There are several in the area we are planning to stop tomorrow.  There will not be any hookups so we'll have to make sure we have a full water tank.  We have a generator, 4 batteries and two full propane tanks so we should be all set.  Wish us luck!

Down Time in the Little RV

Today we are staying put.  We're both tired.  It just takes one of us longer to realize how tired we are.  We're in New York State.  I've never been here before.  I'm really enjoying the scenery and the rest areas.  Seriously the coolest rest areas I've ever seen.

The rest areas on the toll road in Ohio were nice.  They had full services like fuel and fast food and even Starbucks.  But the New York rest area we stopped had class. The one in the photo above had a rose garden and even a huge lake to look at.  Nice!

The town we are staying in is Cuba.  Ha, who'd a thought?  When we got here yesterday we set up and I had to make a grocery run.  Of course I had to drive through Cuba and see the sights.  It's a quaint little town with beautiful old building and homes.  

Not the best shot but it was all I could accomplish with my cell phone while driving.  

I'm sure we'll be out and about later today and perhaps we'll have more photos for you.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Closed for the Season! Where to Park the Little RV?

Our day started in Indiana where it was raining.  We hitched up and took the RV to the shop for some warranty work.  Thinking we'd have a whole day to kill we drove to South Bend.  We drove around the area looking at the beautiful old homes and found the College Football Hall of Fame.  Knowing my son-in-law would be insanely jealous, I messaged him this picture.  

We also drove through and around the campus of Notre Dame.  It is amazingly beautiful.   My camera photos don't do it justice.  

It seems we are out of sync with the rest of humanity.  Winter is coming and most of the RV parks are closed or about to close for the season.  We really had to scramble to find a park this evening.  We are right on the shores of Lake Erie in the far northeast corner of Ohio.  I've never seen the lake and really, it's so vast, it looks more like the ocean.

The park we're in has shut off the water for winter.  They actually close at the end of the month.  We still haven't decided whether to move on today or not.  If we don't we'll need to get more water because we're running low.  If we do move on, I'm going to find a place to camp early on so we don't end up in a pickle like yesterday. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Putting on my Big Girl Panties in the Little RV

Today I was very, very brave.  We left Effingham, Illinois early this morning and headed for Elkhart, Indiana which is about a 300 mile drive.  It seems that Rob has been more willing to let me drive lately.  I know he's tired because we've been going for several days straight.  After we'd been on the road for an hour or so, he asked me if I wanted to drive for a while.  We stopped at a rest area and switched seats.  The route we had mapped out goes through the outskirts of Chicago and I knew the traffic would be heavy there so in the back of my mind, I thought we'd switch back before Chicago.  

The first test of my courage came in the form of road construction.  They have miles of highway narrowed down to one lane flanked by cement walls.  Add two feet to the width and about 40' of length of your car or SUV and imagine driving through such narrow lanes.  SCAREY! Take deep breaths!  Relax!  

The second test, a toll booth.  In Washington State we have almost no toll roads.  Out here, there are many.  The lanes at the ticket booths are not particularly wide either but we made it through alive and dent/scratch free!

As it turned out, we didn't switch back so I put on my big girl panties and went for it.  I mean, have you seen some of the people behind the wheel of a semi? If they can do it, so can I.  I did just fine.  I was a bit nervous but it wasn't bad at all.   

Tonight we are in Elkhart.  This is the epicenter of the RV universe.  There are many RV manufacturers located right here.  We're going to have some things done to the RV to make it work better for us.  Hopefully we'll only be here for a couple of days and we can continue East.   Wish us luck!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Little RV Visits the Midwest and the Fall Colors

Last night we camped East of Kansas City, Missouri.  It was more of a stop for the night but we set up the grill and grilled some steaks and I did a couple of loads of laundry.  

This morning Rob woke up at the crack of dawn (it was actually before dawn) thanks to some fellow campers getting ready to move out.  I protested but couldn't get back to sleep so we were on the road by 8 am.  I've gotten into a routine of making some sandwiches and packing a cooler for the day's drive.  There is much less temptation to stop for fast food that way.  

Today we drive through some beautiful country.  The fall foliage is near its peak and the gold, orange and red leaves are gorgeous.  

We drove through the rest of Missouri and into Illinois.  We ended up in Effington, Illinois at an RV Park on a small lake.  

We have made arrangements to get some warranty work done at the DRV factory near Elkhart, Indiana so we'll be heading that direction tomorrow.  I think it'll take us a couple of days to get there.  The states out here are so small that it seems I can add a new one to the states visited map every day. 

Her are a couple of additional photos for good measure.  Enjoy!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Little RV Avoids a Storm

Yesterday we drove into Iowa and found a great little campground near the freeway in Ocawa, Iowa.   We had planned to continue on today but the weather forecast called for severe thunderstorms, wind, hail, and possible tornadoes.  No thanks!  We'll pass on that.  The weather map showed that we are on the far western edge of the storm front. This is the weather forecast for the Midwest. 

We decided to stay put for an extra day.  The owner of the park we are staying at suggested a scenic drive for us.  Iowa's Loess Hills National Scenic Byway was her suggestion.  So off we went to see the sights.  

It is an historic are where Lewis and Clark explored, Mormons rested while on their journey to Utah and later farms sprang up across the countryside.  There were some great old barns.  

But the best find was the church.  Ingemann Danish Lutheran Church was built in 1884 by Danish immigrants.  The church is abandoned now but still charming.  

Sadly, the stained glass was broken recently.  The glass was laying just below the window.
There were thousands of ladybugs all over the church on the inside and outside.  By the time we got back to the truck there where ladybugs all over it too.  Then we discovered they were all over us.  It was definitely creeping Rob out. 
On the way back we noticed a sign that said Decatur, Nebraska 7 Miles, so we went to Nebraska!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Little RV Visits the Missouri River

We are so happy to have our home back.  We missed our bed, our cozy couch, our espresso machine and so much more.  Grant slept like a rock too and I can tell he's as happy to be home as we are. 

This  morning I woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the Missouri river. 

We are camped at Cedar Shores in Oacoma, South Dakota.  I got dressed and took Grant outside at about 7:30.  It was 27 degrees!  I'm currently enjoying my latte' in front of the fireplace.  Looks like we're going to move out again today.  Who knows where we'll end up.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Little RV Gets Out of the Hospital Today

Yesterday afternoon we got the long awaited call.  The air conditioning unit arrived at the body shop and will be installed this morning.  We should be on our way by early afternoon.  

Since we are leaving so late in the day we are only going about 180 miles east but it's a start, right?  We've mapped out a loose travel plan, taking it easy and getting Rob as much rest as he needs we think it'll take us about 15 more days to make it to Connecticut.  However, I have learned that travel plans can be changed in an instant by unforeseen circumstances.  Guess we'll get there when we get there. 

This morning I woke up to find our $1000 hotel bill had been slipped under the door.  I suppose it's not bad for 10 nights but OUCH!  Thank goodness it's not tourist season.  Our insurance will cover up to $750 of that.  I think it's time to take a look at exactly what our coverage includes.  These experiences are very educational, I must say. 

Here's hoping my next post is more exciting!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rob and Me Visit Bear Country USA

We've been driving by a place called Bear Country USA for the past two weeks and finally visited.  It's a drive through wildlife park on the highway to Mt. Rushmore.  Basically you stay in your vehicle and drive through the separate habitats.

There were Elk, Big Horn Sheep, Wolves, Mountain Goats and lots of bears. At one point we were in a very large enclosure with 50 or 60 bears.  Enjoy the photos.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rob and Me Visit Deadwood, SD

This is the sight that greeted me when I took Grant out this morning.  Snow on the hood of the truck.  We really must get out of here soon.

Historic Deadwood, South Dakota is only around 30 miles from Rapid City and the town was celebrating Oktoberfest over the weekend so we took a drive over to see the sights. The entire town is a registered landmark.  We didn't stay long because it was simply too cold outside.  The wind brought tears to our eyes and there was no escaping it.  Some of the buildings were very old and interesting.  Here are some of Rob's photos.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Two Weeks and Counting Without the Little RV

We've been in Rapid City, SD for 14 days.  All three of us are more than ready to go.  If all goes well the RV will be ready to go on Wednesday afternoon.  The route we're planning will take us South East into Nebraska and Kansas, hopefully to warmer weather.  We're not sure if we will make it to New England in time to see the fall colors because of this long delay.  If not, perhaps we'll see them another year. 

Grant is having some, eh-hm, gastrointestinal distress. I'm not sure if it is due to stress or the Zyrtec or what but we're working on getting him better.  I think tomorrow we'll try to get out for a while.  It's supposed to be warmer and sunny.  There are a few things we'd like to see before we hit the road.  Perhaps we'll have some photos tomorrow night.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Update on the RV Repairs

We stopped by the repair shop today to pick up a couple more things we need from the RV and to see how the repairs are coming along.  

Donny, the man doing the repairs was happy to put the slides out so I could get inside.  He asked me a couple of questions about the 12V jacks we are having installed in the bedroom and left me to get what I needed.  Most importantly, a pair of long pants for Rob who generally wears shorts year round.  Mission accomplished, Donny showed me the progress on the exterior.  The scratches have all been buffed out of the side, front cap and end cap.  The radius metal along the side of the roof has been replaced and he was just getting the adhesive ready to apply the roof membrane as I was on my way out.  

Additionally, the air conditioner unit has been ordered and is expected on Monday or Tuesday.  The decals were due to arrive yesterday but still hadn't shown up this morning so they called and the company agreed to overnight a new set which will arrive on Monday (hopefully).  I'm told applying the decals is an 8 hour job.  If all goes according to plan, we'll get her back on Wednesday afternoon.  I'm so ready!

The weather is supposed to improve this weekend and there are still a few things we are interested in seeing and doing.  Rob seems to have developed a cold so we'll play it by ear. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New RV Related Apps for my Android System Phone

I'm continually amazed at the applications I find for my android based cell phone that make RV-ing easier.  Here are some of the new apps that can be found on my phone these days. 

Compass - Free

We use satellite for television and it needs a Southern exposure for best results.  I found and downloaded a free app called Compass that works beautifully. 

Allstays Camp and RV Campgrounds Plus $9.99

This app helps us find different types of campgrounds like private, State,  Federal, etc.  We also use it to find restaurants, coffee and more. 

Get Altitude - Free

Rob's breathing is sensitive to the altitude.  I found this app when he was having a particularly hard time breathing.  If your location is turned on, it pinpoints your location and tells you the altitude of your location.  

Coffee Finder - Free

Because sometimes you just need a latte'.

Sanidumps RV Dump Station Lite

I'll confess I don't have this one on my phone because Allstays gives me the same information but it is available and free.

There's an app for EVERYTHING!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What is the Crazy Place Called South Dakota?

Yesterday it was sunny and 87 degrees here in Rapid City.  
The lower left corner says, feels like 27 degrees Fahrenheit. It does! When I signed on for this adventure, I envisioned sun and balmy breezes, not arctic winds that make your eyes water. 

This morning it was cool but sunny and we went to The South Dakota Railroad Museum in Hill City.
While we didn't go into the actual museum, we walked around outside and looked at the old rail cars. Dad, these are really for you!


Grant Update -
Grant is so much better today.  He seems like himself again.  I think the Zyrtec may have been the cause of his odd behavior (this time).  You can learn more about Grant by reading this post.