Thursday, January 31, 2013

Waiting in The Little RV

The storm is over.  Only some wind gusts remain.  The sun is out and it's pretty chilly (and soggy) outside.  

You may remember we are waiting for a package to arrive so we can move on.  It is due to arrive today and according to the website tracking information, it is "out for delivery".  
We have decided if it arrives by noon we will head for Charleston, SC.  If not, we'll wait until tomorrow. It will take us about 30 minutes to button up and move out.   

My organizing is all but finished.  I need to pick up some additional containers but the heavy lifting part is over.  You know how there is always a box or bin full of things left at the end of an organizing fit?  The stuff you just don't know what to do with.  I have some of that but no time to take care of them right now.  I'll finish up on Charleston.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Basking in the North Carolina Sun With The Little RV

It was 70 degrees here today and it was beyond gorgeous.  I ran some errands, Grant and I played ball for a while, I grilled steaks for dinner.  It felt like summer instead of January.  It was a one day event.

After spending the last 2 + days sorting, purging, rearranging, organizing, climbing up and down, up and down, up and down, and generally going through everything we own, I can say I'm almost finished.  ALMOST.

This morning I got up really early, took Grant out, got showered and fluffed up, loaded up the truck with my donations of household items, clothing and food and our trash.  With my detailed list in hand, I deposited my various donations in the appropriate locations.  

Then it was off to get new wiper blades for the truck, and some organizing things from Wally World.  I was back by noon with my treasures in hand.  I did manage to put some of the new items to use but others are still sitting here looking at me.  I'm not making eye contact.  It is supposed to rain all day tomorrow.  That seems like a good time to finish up.  

Have you ever organized something and then each time you go by you have to stop and admire your handy work?  Yes, I have OCD.  I admire my organized pantry whenever possible.  Perhaps I'll post a photo tomorrow?

I'm really hoping our mail and the other shipment we are expecting come tomorrow.  We are just ready to go.  Rob is getting rested up, I'm getting organized and Charleston beckonsI'll get to add a new state to our "Visited States" map.  I admitted I have OCD.  What more do you want?

Happy Birthday Bruce!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Making Lemonade in the Little RV

We're kind of stuck here for a few more days.  We needed to get some of Rob's medications refilled and we do that via mail order so I ordered them expecting then to be sent USPS as they ALWAYS are.  When I checked the order status I discovered they are being sent UPS Ground from Seattle.  Ugh, that's a whole week of waiting I had not anticipated.  Now to make lemonade or lemon bars (that was for you Dad) from the lemons. 

When we moved into the Little RV I knew I would have to rearrange and readjust our belongings a couple of times in order to use the space more efficiently.  It's time for a BIG rearrange. 

I started working on the kitchen today.  There is so little counter space to work with you kind of have to shuffle things around to rearrange.  It takes a lot of time and patience.  I think it will take another couple of hours to finish the kitchen but it's not happening tonight.  I'm beat but I really like the results so far!

After the kitchen is finished I'm going to work on the storage space under the bed.  I think there are quite a few things under there that we just don't need to keep.  There is a place in town to make donations of household items, which makes it easier.   I'd also like to find some things I know are here somewhere but seem to have vanished into a deep, black hole.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

It's Not The Little RV This Time

We've had some pretty wintery weather here in North Carolina the last few days. Yesterday we had several hours of sleet and freezing rain.   The news reports said it was icy and to stay off the roads until later this morning.  So, "later this morning" we went out to get a propane tank refilled and pick up some groceries.  We were gone a couple of hours and when we were nearly home we encountered this;
The only vehicle moving up there was the tractor.  The campground is just over the rise. The hill apparently melted just enough to be really slick. A couple of the guys from the campground had their tractors out and were trying to clear the road and/or pull the RV up the hill.    I looked at Rob and said, "at least it's not us this time".  

We put the truck in park and watchedThe poor RV owner had to unhitch the tow vehicle from the RV and move it out of the way.  

The guys on the tractors plowed the snow and ice off the road and then attached a tow rope to pull the RV up the hill.  I noticed that all the neighbors were on their front porches watching.  

About 30 minutes later they were up the hill.  

Notice the person standing down below the RV just left of center and out of the way?  That was the passenger from the RV who was afraid the RV would slip down into the ditch.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Little RV Goes For Another Ride on the Learning Curve

When we left Virginia on Saturday we planned to stay in our new campground for a day or two and then move on toward Florida.  However, Rob hasn't been feeling very well the last couple of days so we are staying put for now.  

We're in a great campground in North Carolina.  It's has large spaces, lots of grass and is not at all crowded at this time of year.  The staff are very friendly as well.  You never know what you'll find in a new area and we were surprised to find the town we are near, Mt. Airy, is the birthplace of Andy Griffith and the town that inspired The Andy Griffith show and Mayberry RFD.  

The weather has been beautiful since we got here with blue skies and daytime temperatures have been in the upper 50s and lower 60s....until today.   It has been getting cold enough at nigh to freeze the water hose and the faucet so we have been letting the water drip at night to keep it from freezing.  At a campsite we usually keep the gray tanks open so we don't have to worry about them filling but when we want to dump the black tank we close the gray valves to build up enough water to flush out the sewer hose after we dump.  

This morning at about 5:00 the sound of the dripping faucet changed and woke me up.  I discovered the kitchen sink was about 1/2 full.  The kitchen gray tank was completely full and the sink was about to overflow but I shut it off before it could flood the RV.   I started the bathroom sink dripping to keep the hose from freezing up and went back to bed but couldn't sleep.  Rob was awake too and went out to dump the tanks.  When he came back inside we had some coffee to warm up and he went back to bed.  The temperature never got above 30 degrees today.  

Early in the afternoon I went out the door to go to the office and discovered a huge ice rink under the Little RV.  
See the shiny ice patch under the RV?  It runs about 10 feet past the other side.
After some investigation I discovered water had been spraying from the water hose connection in the control panel for several hours and had run down through the frame of the RV and created a very large skating rink.  There were icicles hang from the places where water had been running outThe worst part was that some water had seeped into the basement.  I had to empty the entire basement and dry the floor and bottoms of the storage tubs and put it all back.  There doesn't seem to be any damage so I think I caught it in time. 

Here are a couple of photos I took this evening near sunset.  Grant and I were out walking and thought it was a beautiful sunset.

Can you see the moon?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Celebrating in the Little RV - A Bloggy Milestone

When I started writing this blog last August, I thought it would be mainly visited by friends and family members wondering what we were up to.  I remember the morning I discovered we had 1000 visits to our blog and how excited I was then.  This morning I discovered we have had OVER 5000 page views. 
I'm amazed and astounded.  I hope you enjoy reading about our adventures and please feel free to leave comments and suggestions for things you'd like to see and know more about. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Near Perfect Travel Day for The Little RV

Yesterday we had a plan.  We had chosen a destination and campground the day before and it was a beautiful, sunny day.  Knowing I didn't have to worry about finding a campsite made the day so much more relaxing for me. 

Heading south toward North Carolina we were about 15 miles into our trip we encountered snow on the ground but the roads were clear and dry.  The scenery was lovely and traffic was light.  I kept wondering if we were going to have snow at the campground when we arrived and just how cold it would be there but just as we crossed the state line the snow disappeared and the temperature rose by 8 - 10 degrees.  Perfect!

We arrived at our campground shortly after.  They were ultra friendly and helpful.  Our site is large and level with lots of grass because we are on the end.  I love the end (usually)!  We set up and got organized.  It was 50 degrees and so nice after all of the cold wet weather we have been in.  

Yesterday was the first day of Hockey and that is a BIG deal around here.  Rob managed to find a match on TV and he settled in to watch.  By the end of the evening we were all relaxed and cozy.  
 Grant was clearly exhausted from such a long travel day.  Sleeping in the back seat of the truck on his doggie hammock is very taxing.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Little RV Continues its History Tour

Rain, rain go away! 
It was raining when we arrived in Virginia, it rained all night the first night and quite a bit yesterday.  It was raining when we went to bed last night and when I got up this morning.  However, today's forecast calls for SNOW, 4 to 6 inches of snow.  We can't leave the campground yet because we are waiting for an important package to arrive.  It should be here tomorrow by 3 in the afternoon so Saturday is the earliest we can head further south. 

Even though it's not very pretty here due to the season and the weather we did more sightseeing yesterday.  There is so much history to see in this part of the country.  Our first stop was Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.  This beautiful stone bridge was on the way to Monticello. 

We drove to the visitor's center only to find the only way to actually see the house is to pay $18 each and ride a bus to the house which is high on a hill surrounded by trees.  The ticket includes a 45 minute walking tour of the house which is not an option for us so we spent some time enjoying the museum. 

After our Monticello stop we drive to the home of President James Monroe, fifth President of the United States, Ash Lawn–Highland, located near Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, and adjacent to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.
Ash Lawn Highland
The driveway was at least a half mile long and lined with old oak trees.  It was beautiful but in the summer it must be awesome.  

There were cows resting along the fence on the way up to the house.  I kinda love a cow face.  
Fuzzy Cow
Grant was excited because it was so quiet there and there were acres of space so we let him out to run for a bit.  Once we got him back into the truck he made it clear he had enjoyed himself.  
Sightseeing Grant
Michie Tavern was the next stop.  Located in Albemarle County, Virginia, is a Virginia Historic Landmark that was established in 1784 by Scotsman William Michie. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Finding a Campsite for The Little RV

On days when we move the Little RV to a new location we seem to have the same conversations and frustrations over and over again.  Thinking back to yesterday I had to laugh.  It generally goes something like this. 

We pack up and leave using whatever route we had decided on taking.   I start wondering about campsites within an hour or so.  Usually Rob is driving so it's up to me to find us a spot.  The problem is we don't know how long Rob will feel like driving on any given day so we can't plan out our stops. 

      Juley: "Where do you think we should stop tonight?"

Rob:  "I don't know. Where do you want to stop?"

Juley:  "How much longer do you think you'll feel like driving?"

Rob:  "A while, I'm OK."

This is where I randomly pick a town that is not too close and not too far and start looking for campgrounds that are open year around and may be near something we want to see  I have various tools that I use to find campsites but generally I search using my smart phone.  I put my head down and start searching.  I occasionally lose service and have to wait for a better signal.  After searching for a while I get frustrated and start paying attention to the surrounding area.  I realize two things, I have missed a lot of scenery and I have no idea where we are.  Then I get really stressed out.  This goes on for an hour or so until I finally find and call a campground with good reviews and has the facilities to accept an RV our size.  

I know the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results but I just can't figure out how to avoid this situation.   

Another thing that really struck me yesterday was how suddenly we migrated into thick Southern accents.  We crossed the state line into Virginia and I went into the Welcome Center to get some state information.  The lady at the desk had a very thick southern accent and the man working the desk at the campground was equally difficult to understand.  
Just a chuckle for you on a rainy Virginia Wednesday.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Fog Lifts Over the Little RV

Yesterday the fog here in Gettysburg was too think to enjoy the historic sites.  We gave up early, picked up some groceries and just hung out at home.
Today was not a beautiful day by any stretch but it was dry and the fog was goneSomeone suggested we buy a self driving tour CD from the Gettysburg War Museum.  Not being a fan of crowds (especially during flu season) we thought we'd give it a try.  It was about 2.5 hours long and quite interesting.  

I'm always a big fan of old houses and architecture. Here are some of my favorites from today.
The battlefield monuments were also very interesting.  I'll spare you the lengthy history lesson and just say the Battle of Gettysburg began on Wednesday, July 1, 1863 and ended three days later on Friday, July 3rdMarkers, monuments, cannons, etc. are scattered over the 25 square mile battlefield.  There are various markers for Confederate and Union brigades, flanks, Batteries, Corps and Divisions, and Headquarters.  They say the battlefield looks almost the same as it did during the battle but for the roads.  
Tomorrow we're off again.  We'll be driving through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Little RV Visits Gettysburg

Today we were up early.  For some reason Rob woke up around 4 am and I am such a light sleeper I was up shortly after.  We got fluffed up, checked out of the hotel and went to pick up the little RV.  We were on the road by 8:30 am.  It wasn't a very nice traveling day because is was so foggy. We passed the Newtown, Sandy Hook, Connecticut exit on the way out of Connecticut.  There were memorials from the shooting along the freeway in a couple of different places.  My heart goes out to everyone directly impacted by the senseless act of violence.
Newtown, Sandy Hook Exit in Connecticut

Connecticut / New York Boarder
New York / Pennsylvania Boarder
We landed in Gettysburg, PA. about 4:00 this afternoon.  The temperature was a balmy 53 degrees.  We both thought we might enjoy exploring the history of this area.   We plan to stay a couple of days and have a look around.  Rob was beat from a long day of driving and has gone to bed early.  I'm working on laundry and blogging and Grant is catching up on his sleep by my feet.  

This is the route we took today.  We drove about 380 miles.

I'm adding a picture I took the other day while driving through Groton, CT.  This is the US Coast Guard Academy.  It really is a beautiful place.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Little RV is Pulling Out of Connecticut Tomorrow

Today we got word that the repairs are complete and we can pick the little RV up in the morning.  The shop opens at 8am.  Apparently the connections in the line running from the toilet to the holding tank were not sealed adequately causing some leaking.  The leak was not completely contained in the well on the top of the black tank and ran down into the insulation in the belly of the RV.  That is were the smell I have been hunting for was coming from.  The damaged insulation has been replaced and the line has been fully sealed.  The repairman also replaced the wiring harnesses on two of the four tanks.  He was able to get to the black and one gray tanks to replace the wiring.  The other two tanks were impossible to access without removing the underbelly, all of the tanks and a significant portion of the surrounding components.  That would have taken considerably longer.   I hope the black tank problems are resolved.  My new motto is expect the worst so you'll be pleasantly surprised with anything better. 

This evening Rob and I had a final dinner with all the kids and grand-kids.  We went to a BBQ place that had great reviews and has won some awards.  It was a very casual place with great staff and really good food.

Anyway, we are heading out tomorrow but still don't know what our route is.  We may go directly down I95 through NYC and Washington DC or we may try to take another route and try to avoid those two big cities.  I guess we'll all find out soon enough.