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!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Health Status Update on the Little RV

Yesterday was Murphy's second birthday. We celebrated by romping around in some of the enormous fields here at the fairgrounds. He was so happy. 

And then he was so tired. 

It's Sunday and we got the motorhome back from the Forest River factory Friday late afternoon. I don't have any pictures of the repairs but I'll sprinkle in some of the pretty spring photos from the fairgrounds where we are camped.

We have an MCD power operated day and night shade in our front window. Over time the shade has started to sag. The shade edges are fraying and I find metal shaving under the brackets. 
  • One of the brackets on the old shade had broken causing the shade to sag and the edges to fray. They replaced the old shade with a brand new one.

We have tile floors except for the bedroom floor. The grout cracks and chips out. Our dealer repair shop replaced some of the grout but it has turned black and it will not come clean and one of the tiles they re-grouted actually wobbles when you step on it. We also have two broken tiles and were not given any replacement tiles.  
  • They removed all of the grout throughout the motorhome, replaced the broken and cracked tiles and re-grouted using a flexible grout. The floors look gorgeous but they are slicker than snot.

Both of our air conditioning units have issues. The front unit does not cool adequately and the back unit drips water occasionally and shuts itself off occasionally. 
  • A Dometic repair person inspected both units and said they are functioning properly. However, last night the rear until shut itself off and displayed an error message. I will contact them first thing Monday morning and arrange another visit before we leave the area. 

One of the faucets in the main bathroom does not shut off properly. 
  • The style of faucet in our unit is no longer available so they replaced both faucets with the new version.
Mom! I smell chicken!
Our living room slide has major issues. It does not close flush with the rest of the motorhome. One end always sticks out about an inch. It does not slide in or out smoothly, it has ripped interior trim right off the slide more then once, it is marring two of our floor tiles, the refrigerator actually shifts when the slide goes in and out and the refrigerator doors bind on the surrounding trim. Worst of all there is a significant leak in the slide somewhere. We have had soaked carpet, ruined items in the basement, trim damage and more as a result of this problem. 
  • Forest River called Lippert, the manufacturer of the slide mechanism, to evaluate the slide problem. They determined the problem was with the flow divider which apparently controls the hydraulic fluid flow when opening and closing the slide. They replaced the part and say all is well now. The had to make several small repairs to things caused by the slide problem. We had a drawer glide pull off on one side, that same cabinet facing was coming apart and the trim around the area was torn up pretty badly. They fixed all of that. We'll monitor the slide situation. 
  • The leak was caused by a faulty, misaligned seal between the window and the outside of the wall. They replaced the seal and gave it a good water test in a booth with water spraying from every angle and extremely high winds. It did not leak during the test.
  •  The refrigerator problem was apparently caused by the bracing at the bottom rear of the unit. It was simply not adequate for the weight of the fridge. They added additional support and put it back in its home.

Our bedroom slide tilts when extended. The top sits closer to the motorhome than the bottom. 

  • The bedroom slide is functioning as desired. The slide seals apparently had some issues because they replaced them. 
One of our stove burners will not ignite using the knob on the stove. I have to use a lighter. 
  •  They "fixed" the burner and then showed me how well it was working. It wasn't working again. They "fixed" it again and it worked when we left the factory. When I tried to fire it up yesterday it wouldn't light. That goes on the list for Monday as well.
Our screen door randomly pops open.
  •  Fixed!!
We have been unable to watch our outside television. This problem has something to do with the switch box. 
  • This is reportedly fixed and was apparently operator error. We'll give it another try. 
The driver side camera does not show a picture.
  • One of the wires was disconnected. Gotta love those bumpy roads. 
One of the bay doors pops open randomly and has opened when moving. This even happens when the door is locked. 
  • Fixed by adjusting the latch.
The panel surrounding the hot water heater needs to be properly secured. I did what I could but it still sticks out some. 
  • This has been adjusted and secured. 
My feet get wet when I'm driving in the rain. Seriously!
  • There was a hole in the wall behind the dash. The filled it with spray foam. Hopefully that will help with the water and the heat. 
There are wires hanging from behind the dash that need to be secured. 
  • Fixed 
The factory installed mud flap is scratching the paint off the rear end cap. 
  • Nothing was done about this as the body shop was booked several weeks out. Still there and still ugly. 
  • A few other things were found by Forest River and fixed. We have to change out our bulbs under the microwave at least once a month. The last time the bulb broke apart and ruined the socket. I have been trying to get a new socket from Lippert but have not had any response. Forest River actually put a brand new Convection/Microwave in for us. 
  • We have been having trouble with our inverter on and off so Forest River replaced it with a new one. Friday a similar thing happened in their lot so they are going to get us an updated model and either ship it to us to have it installed or if they can get it soon they can install it here. 
  • They worked really hard to clean up after themselves but the dust from removing the grout must have been really bad because it's everywhere even after they cleaned up. I'll be finding it for a long, long time. I'm so happy with the floors though. 
  • They also preformed a full safety inspection from end to end including the alarms, propane gas system, water system, etc. 
All in all I'm very happy with the service we have received at Forest River so far. I'll update this after we go back for the rest of the issues. 


Final thought! Do you have a cool 3/4 of a million dollars laying around? If you do you might want to consider an Entegra Cornerstore like the one in the photos above and below. 

There was an Entegra rally here last week and these beauties are all over the campground. It's a beauty and the stuff RV Dreams are made of. 
 Okay Bye!

Monday, April 17, 2017

George (The Little RV) has been delivered to his birthplace.

Yesterday we dropped the Little RV off at the Forest River factory shop here in Elkhart, Indiana. We left him backed into a space and plugged in near the gates. I had to be back there this morning at 7am to meet with the manager and technician who will be doing the work. Murphy and I went back extra early so we could enjoy a cup of coffee and snuggle in my recliner. 

I haven't written much about the problems we have had with our current RV. Mostly because we had so many awful problems with the last one it seemed like it was all I ever wrote about. Sometimes it's easier just to put it out of my mind.

Just before our 1 year warranty expired I contacted Forest River because we have some ongoing problems that were not resolved by our dealer's repair shop. Forest River agreed to honor the items through warranty when we could get to a shop. In November I called and asked to make an appointment at the factory rather then take George to a random repair shop. You have to book months in advance and our appointment was set for today, April 17th at 7am. 

It took about an hour to go through the list of problems I had sent them via email. Forgive me for just barfing the list up here on the screen for you to read. In the interest of being real I'm sharing. There will be no charges for any of these repairs. 

  • We have an MCD power operated day and night shade in our front window. Over time the shade has started to sag. The shade edges are fraying and I find metal shaving under the brackets.
  • We have tile floors except for the bedroom floor. The grout cracks and chips out. Our dealer repair shop replaced some of the grout but it has turned black and it will not come clean and one of the tiles they re-grouted actually wobbles when you step on it. We also have two broken tiles and were not given any replacement tiles.  
  • Both of our air conditioning units have issues. The front unit does not cool adequately and the back unit drips water occasionally and shuts itself off occasionally. 
  • One of the faucets in the main bathroom does not shut off properly. 
  • Our living room slide has major issues. It does not close flush with the rest of the motorhome. One end always sticks out about an inch. It does not slide in or out smoothly, it has ripped interior trim right off the slide more then once, it is marring two of our floor tiles, the refrigerator actually shifts when the slide goes in and out and the refrigerator doors bind on the surrounding trim. Worst of all there is a significant leak in the slide somewhere. We have had soaked carpet, ruined items in the basement, trim damage and more as a result of this problem. 
  • Our bedroom slide tilts when extended. The top sits closer to the motorhome than the bottom. 
  • One of our stove burners will not ignite using the knob on the stove. I have to use a lighter. 
  • Our screen door randomly pops open.
  • We have been unable to watch our outside television. This problem has something to do with the switch box. 
  • The driver side camera does not show a picture.
  • One of the bay doors pops open randomly and has opened when moving. This even happens when the door is locked. 
  • The panel surrounding the hot water heater needs to be properly secured. I did what I could but it still sticks out some. 
  • My feet get wet when I'm driving in the rain. Seriously!
  • There are wires hanging from behind the dash that need to be secured. 
  • The factory installed mud flap is scratching the paint off the rear end cap. 
They were very receptive and offered several ideas for how they might remedy the problems. One of which is to remove all of the grout from the floors and replace the broken tiles. Then they will re-grout with a flexible grout that won't break. 

All in all I'm feeling more optimistic about the quality of the repairs we will be getting here as opposed to repair shops where they just want you out of their hair ASAP.

I'll keep you posted!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Procrastinating in the Little RV

I'm procrastinating. There, I said it. I have so much to do to get ready to move into the motel while the Little RV is in the shop but my heart just isn't in it. Perhaps more coffee?

It's Friday and we are in Goshen, Indiana near the mecca of the RV industry, Elkhart, Indiana. The Forest River Factory is in Elkhart. Sunday afternoon we will deliver the Little RV to the factory entrance and move into the motel for an unknown amount of time. Our long list of repairs may take a couple of days or it may take the full week. I have to be there with the motorhome at 7am Monday morning for a walk through with the technician.

For this little family moving into a motel is not as simple as pack a suitcase and go. We have days of preparation and a ridiculous amount of stuff we have to take along. There's the dogs stuff. His bed, grooming tools, food, bowls, toys, leash, etc. Then there's our basic stuff like clothing and toiletries. Then there's the other stuff. Rob's oxygen machine which is the size of a small refrigerator, oxygen tubing, c-pap machine, medications, and scales for daily weights so his congestive heart failure doesn't get out of control. Our computers are a must as well as something to do with our idle time.

But that's not all. We have to take all of our food with us because we can't eat out due to the sodium content in most foods that are not fresh and home cooked. Salt and congestive heart failure are mortal enemies. All of that said, it's just a lot of work to get us moved and into a motel so I'm procrastinating. 

We are currently staying at the county campgrounds in Goshen. It's pretty empty given the time of year and weather. It's so cold to us. We've been in a warm climate for so long that temps in the upper 40s take a bit of getting used to.

There's a couple camped here who have a darling little dog named Henry. Henry is a Schnoodle. He's a Schnauzer and Poodle mix. Murphy and Henry have become fast friends. They could wrestle for hours.

Murphy loves the fairgrounds. There are so many great places to run off-leash.

Next time I post I'll give you the low-down on the repairs. There's a very long list and I'm hoping for the best but having experienced many RV repairs I have a healthy balance of doubt as well. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Memory Lane, a Full Map and Rolling Hills in the Little RV

We are currently in Franklin, Kentucky just a few miles from our first home together in Tennessee. Rob and I met online when he was working in Tokyo, Japan and I was living in Washington State. He came for a visit and never went back. About a year and a half later he got a job in Nashville, we got married and we bought a log cabin on 7 acres, sight unseen in Portland, Tennessee. That was in 1998. 
                This was our little log cabin on 7 acres just one mile from the Kentucky / Tennessee state line.
Town square in Franklin, Kentucky the closest town to our old house.
The only two states not filled in on our map from the lower 48 were Tennessee and Kentucky. Since we were in Alabama and heading for Indiana we had the perfect opportunity to add those stickers to the map and see our old home again.  Just get on I 65 and go north. 
                         It took four and a half years but the lower 48 are all filled in.
The park we are staying in is surrounded by very large, unused fields and Murphy is having such a wonderful time running to his hearts content, sniffing out rabbits and birds and generally being a dog. He's a happy boy. He even met a small herd of cows the other day. He barked at first then he decided he wanted to play with them. 
Tomorrow we head north again. We'll be in Indiana when we stop for the night. Only 400 miles left to go to Elkhart.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Movin' North in the Little RV

Sadly our time at the beautiful Gulf Coast beaches is over. I'm sure going to miss this place and my fabulous tan.
Yesterday we hit the road once again to make our way north to Indiana for some long awaited repairs to George, our motorhome.

After sitting in one place for two months there is a lot of work to do to get ready to go again. Not to mention all of the things I had been neglecting to do while spending a lot of time on the beach.  I spent several days preparing to move on. Last Friday was devoted to the car. I had the oil changed and the tires rotated. Then I took it to the car wash for a scrub and took advantage of their free vacuums with car wash purchase. I'm pretty sure I got at least 10 lbs. of sand out of the car. Once I got home I waxed the car and thoroughly cleaned the inside. It's so much better! 


Saturday morning I headed outside to work on other things like cleaning the rust off the the hitch used to tow the car behind the motorhome. I used our Dremel and a wire brush attachment. Ladies, if you do this put something heavy over your clothes. I'm still picking the nasty little broken wires out of my bra. Those suckers are sharp. 

Everything outside had to be cleaned and put away. This included the grill, outdoor rug, chairs, etc. I checked the oil, transmission fluid and tire pressure on the motorhome. Everything looked great except one tire was a bit low so out came the air compressor.  The holding tanks had to be dumped and flushed out too. 

Sunday was windy and I watched as a huge wind gust ripped the awning off a nearby motorhome side wall and flipped it over the top of the motorhome.  People don't leave your awning out when you leave or go to bed at night. I've seen a lot of this over the last few years. It's just so sudden and costly. I did a lot of preparation work inside on Sunday.

Monday we had a terribly stormy day. Thunder, lightening, torrential rain and lots of wind. There were lots of weather warnings and watches. These were just some of the warnings on my weather app when I got up.

Tuesday came and off we went. We had a 200 mile day planned. Longer travel days are too hard on Rob so we try to keep them to 200 miles or less. We arrived at our campground near Montgomery, Alabama around 2:00 PM.

We got a nice, long pull-through site so I didn't even have to unhook the car. This is an Army Core of Engineers campground and it's very nice. Murphy is enjoying all of the new smells and the squirrels. We spent two nights here and head to Tennessee today.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

What are you going to do with all those shells?

I seem to be making a bad habit of going for weeks at a time without blogging. When we are in one place for a long while I run out of things to write about. We are still here in Orange Beach, Alabama. We enjoyed our first month so much we decided to stay for another month.

Our days have been filled with doggie walks, and mundane household chores like cooking and cleaning. Sprinkled in here and there are trips to the beach to hunt for shells and some crafting with some of the many, many shells I have collected. 

I can't tell you the number of times people (including Rob) have asked me what I'm going to do with all those shells. 

Recently my Mom asked if I might make her something with some of my shells. We talked about what she might like and I sent her to my Pinterest "Seashells" board to browse the possibilities. I felt the thing she was most excited about was the mirrors with frames covered in seashells. 

I found a really unusual mirror at Hobby Lobby at a great price. At first I was a bit intimidated by the process so I decided to do a smaller project first. It's an anchor for my daughter. It went well so I dove into the mirror project. 

It took quite a bit of time to finish. The process is kind of like doing a jigsaw puzzle but with the puzzle the end is easier. With the shells, the beginning is easier because you just slap one on and work from there. 

Once I finished gluing the shells on I decided to give them a spray of clear, gloss for a nice shine and to bring out the colors. I had also seen one on Pinterest where they added pearls and I liked the look so I added various sizes of faux pearls in key places. I'm happy with the results. 

I'm afraid to ship these two projects because they are quite fragile so I'm going to wrap them up and store them in a safe place. When we get home I'll deliver them personally.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Little RV Digs Up More Than Shells on the Beach

Yesterday I was out of the house and on the beach at dawn. Sadly, I found only one tiny sand dollar at the first beach I visited. I moved on to the main public beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Armed with my trusty blue plastic shovel and my shell bag I walked the water's edge for a while. 

The beach was pretty quiet and I found a few little shells that will be great for a project I'm working on.



Slim pickings for sure. I headed up onto the wide beach to see if a particular spot called to me, dig for treasures here. Sure enough, after about 20 minutes of perusing the terrain, I found the spot and started to dig and dig and dig. 
Me, sitting on the edge of the giant hole I dug.


As I dug, the beach became more and more busy. I noticed people would stop and point. I guess the sight of a middle aged woman, digging a huge hole in the middle of the beach is not a normal one. 
Before the crowds arrived.

Occasionally someone would stop and ask questions or just chat for a bit. One beach goer in particular, Patty, wanted to take over my dig when I was ready to leave and even gave me a bottle of water.  
Shark's Eye shells

I found quite a few Shark's Eyes also called Moon Shells yesterday. The one above on the left is particularly large but the one on the right has beautiful banding. It's so much fun to dig these up.
I also found my first Baby's Ear yesterday.



Another pair of ladies, Pat and Judy, stopped by to chat on their way down the beach with their husbands. When they came back by the ladies stopped again. They picked through some of the sand I had dug out and found some fun shells to take home with them.
Lettered Olive

Check out the size of the Olive shell I dug up. It's huge! I found a bunch of Olive shells yesterday but only brought home those that are in good shape.
Haven't even cleaned these Olives yet.

Patty, Judy, Pat, Lisa and Janet, if you're reading this I'm glad to have met you.
Common Nutmegs
As it turns out you can dig up more than just shells on the beach. You can dig up new friends, bottles of water, souvenirs for lovely people to take home and great memories. Oh, and stiff muscles and a sunburn.