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Smile! Retirement is on the horizon!

A New Year

Today is January 2, 2014…I have been lax in writing in the blog and I am determined to fix this.  WordPress is having a “class” called Zero to Hero in 30 days.  I will be posting things that don’t necessarily follow my theme, but for the half dozen people that read this, bear with me!  Today I will tell you a little about me and my blog.

I decided to write a blog for a few reasons;  Since we bought a motorhome, I wanted a place to share our travels and pictures and the things we did.  Facebook is just not the appropriate place, as so many people can see when we are traveling.  Safety is a huge issue for both of us. I have started following several other RVers on blogs, and have gotten wonderful ideas of places to go, things to do and remodeling to be done. 

As for me, I am a career Fire Dept Paramedic getting ready to retire in 2 years.  Paul is my significant other and between us we have 4 kids and 6 grandchildren (5 are from my kids, 1 is Paul’s daughter’s first child).  Although we live in Florida, we are both from New England, Maine for me and Massachusetts for him, and visit there every summer.  An interesting fact…Paul and I met online and have been together ever since!  “Our” baby is our little copper dog called Sasha.  She is actually Paul’s constant companion and keeps him on his toes.

The next post will be all about the curtians in the White Knight.  They are finally complete!  I promise to post pictures!

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Home Improvements

I can’t believe it’s been a month since I have written here….I have been kinda busy…

I finally got the courage to fix the window treatments.  One bright and sunny Saturday, Paul and I decided to do some work around the White Knight.  He got some new blocks for the pad so I decided to work on the windows.  I started by figuring out that you can take the pieces off one at a time, so I took off the 1st layer, easy enough, then the 2nd layer.  By now the windows are starting to look much better, and the dirty, nasty, gross panels are gone!  Then things got crazy and I took the top panels off since everything else looked so good.  Well…while it looks so much cleaner and better, it revealed the fact that the shades and mini-blinds are attached to particle board that is attached to the base of the cabinets.  It doesn’t look so pretty, and neither did Paul’s face when he saw what I had done!  So…a new mini-blind and some fabric and we should be as good as new. I am just so glad to be rid of those nasty window panels, it’s starting to look more like what I hoped it would, not stuck in the 90’s!!  I actually bought a new sewing machine – thanks to cyber sales – so now I can sew the curtains, instead of using heat tape.  It will be a while before they are done, but I will have pictures!

We decided to take another trip in January, for my birthday this time.  Paul started looking for sites in the Keys…that turned into an exercise in futility!  The restrictions at some of these parks are ridiculous;  no dogs, only small dogs, no dogs of an “aggressive” breed, no motorcycles, no trailers….we finally decided that we didn’t want to go to the Key’s anyway!  Next choice was the Gulf Coast.  We found several places that would accommodate us.  We settled on one that when he called, they sounded excited about Sasha.  So…off we go to the Gulf Coast in a little over a month.

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Black water everywhere…..ewwwwww!

Port Canaveral welcome sign. Note the anchor a...

Port Canaveral welcome sign. Note the anchor and Space shuttle logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday night, while we were at Port Canaveral, something was amiss…..I was walking to the back of the motorhome and there was water on the floor.  Now, when Sasha drinks from her bowl, she gets water everywhere so I wasn’t concerned.  I became concerned when I realized that there was WATER, and lots of it, all over the floor!  The floor was wet, the rug was wet, and these are not things that Sasha would do. We opened the bathroom door and the toilet and sink were FULL!!!  Water was running everywhere.  Paul ran for the outside tank compartment and I went to get the flashlight, which in my panic, I couldn’t find!!  I used my phone for light, but Paul had already found the handle, opened it and we watched the tube fill and run and go on and on and on.  It was almost creepy at how much water and other stuff was coming out.  EWWWWWW!!!!!  It was interesting to find that the bathroom sink was part of the black water system, I thought it ran through the gray tank.  Thankfully, I had a few extra towels that had come along for the ride, so…..sopping up water, wringing the towels out in a bucket and taking it outside and dumping it was the order of business for the next hour.  I also have a fan that I keep in the motorhome for those “overheated” moments, so that got put into play.  We also ended up closing the windows and turning on the A/C.  Ahhhhhhh…cool air!

By the next morning, the floor was merely damp and Paul got under the motorhome and discovered that there was no damage to the structure.  It took 2 days to dry the carpet in the bedroom (it seeped under the bathroom wall into the bedroom).  Needless to say, we got lucky on this one.  I still have to take the carpet cleaner out and clean the carpet once more, just to be on the safe side.

Next up….more renovations!  Woo Hoo…..another try at making the White Knight “ours”.  I am going to remove the valances over the couch and over the table.  They are nasty, dirty and all different sizes.  I want miniblinds over the windows.  We discovered that to open the window we have to open the blind and anyone walking by can wave to us as we are sitting on the couch watching tv, or at the table eating.  I would like a little privacy!!!  I am also going to start painting the walls.  I will start over the table since I am taking the valance down.  I have also decided to find some contact paper or self-sticking wallpaper for the kitchen area.  I want to find something that looks like subway tiles!  I will take pictures.

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Trip to the Port part 2

I have to do all of this at once, it seems that the WiFi that the Port added to the park and campground last year…well, I can’t use the word I want and I can’t do anything with it.  IT DOESN’T WORK!!!!!!  Occasionally, and I do mean occasionally, it would flash in and I could get internet, but after a day of trying, I gave up!!

Monday we took Little Girl out and drove up the Kennedy Space Center.  If I had thought about it, I would have taken my camera, or even my phone to get pictures.  We saw the new Atlantis building, pretty impressive.  It is as expensive to go to KSC as it is to go to Disney, so we kept riding.  We rode along the river back to the campground.  It was a beautiful day to be out riding, but hot when you stopped.  That was the only issue with the trip.  It was so cool out when we left, the weather report said it was going to stay cool, so I wasn’t prepared for high 80’s with humidity!

In addition to the fact that we had lousy internet, there is no cable, only antenna.  Again, no reception!!  I wasn’t aware that the Red Sox were playing Monday night, so imagine my surprise when I turned on the news and they had won and were headed back to Fenway to finish the series!!

Tuesday was Paul’s birthday, so off we went to Denny’s for Grand Slam Breakfast…we do this every year!  After breakfast I had him stop at Winn Dixie for eggs…the one thing I forgot that I needed to make him a birthday cake.  In my little convection microwave!  Here is the result:

20131029_194641 Not too bad if I do say so myself!  It tasted great, except for the corner that burned!!!!  Paul liked it, that’s all that matters. The mold is a great silicone pan from IKEA that I use for a lot of my cakes.  It is heart shaped and really easy to use and clean.

Wednesday morning we packed up and headed home.  We really are getting the hang of this motorhome and trailer thing.  We managed to get the awning up and all the cables and hoses taken care of in record time.  In another post I will tell the story of the black water tank overflowing.  I’m not up to it right now….what a nightmare!

Off to watch the Red Sox play from my living room….tickets are a little too expensive…$950.00 for standing room only is the lowest price I heard of!

Fenway Park

Fenway Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Another chance to get it right!

Trip number 3…this one is more local than the others. We chose Port Canaveral for this one. Actually, Paul chose it because it is his birthday on Tuesday {insert singing here}.

We started out just fine. The trailer attached just fine, Little Girl fit perfectly on her new trailer, and off we went. First stop, breakfast at IHOP. Most of the restaurants that serve breakfast near us are in one area and have parking lots that connect. IHOP has 2 lots that are next to it, but none attach. We pulled into the furthest one only to realize that we couldn’t turn everything around. We ended up taking the trailer off the White Knight and turning them both around separately, only to find out that IHOP was packed and there was a 30 minute wait! Nope, on to the next one. We ended up about 10 miles from the Port and decided to eat at Ruby Tuesday’s. No problem there, a ginormous parking lot all for us!!! The best part was the 2 ladies sitting at the next table with their laptops, tablets and smartphones…all on Facebook!!! They didn’t talk to each other the whole time we were sitting at our table, just had their faces glued to the screens. Sad really.

Off to the Port…

We get there and all goes well and we find our site by accident!  Remember from the incident in VA, I seem to have trouble with RV Park maps!  Lo and behold, there is a tree, a skinny tall palm tree, between us pulling through or backing up after taking off the trailer.  So…off the trailer comes again and get the White Knight backed up into the space.  We then had to move the trailer back to the hitch because we can’t take Little Girl off unhooked – that would be one of those redneck “hold my beer and watch this” kinda moments.  Thankfully, a guy came along and helped us maneuver the trailer back to the site and we hooked it up and ~~~DONE~~~!!!

This is what we saw driving into the Port of Canaveral.  We see this view almost every time, but sometimes we come in from the west and all you see are the ships!

the view of the Cruise Ship Basin as you drive into the Port

the view of the Cruise Ship Basin as you drive into the Port

In Port while we were there:  Carnival Sensation, Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas and Disney Dream.  The Norwegian Breakaway came and visited on Tuesday.  NCL was only in Port for a few hours, but what a ship!  When they left, you could see the ship over the buildings and the trees.  I would have taken a picture, but it was late and my camera doesn’t do well in the dark!  They all had horns that sounded when they left, but Disney Dream played music…Paul got stuck on “It’s a Small World”!!  Oh, we can’t forget the Victory Casino Ship, it left at 11am and again at 7pm, but quietly!

Français : L'arrière du Carnival Sensation

Français : L’arrière du Carnival Sensation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pretty impressive aren’t they?

Disney Dream

Disney Dream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s pretty cool to stand on the rocks at the Jetty and watch these guys leave.  The best part is waving to the people on deck!  When we went on our cruise a while back, we stood on deck waving to the people in the Port! More to follow later…

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Upgrades, or so I thought.

I decided that I wanted to make a few changes in the White Knight. I should have thought this through…remember the wallpaper border debacle??? First, I ordered new seat covers, from Camping World, of course. I saw them in a catalog and they were on sale. Once I really looked at the picture, they didn’t have the same shape as our seats. And they were yellow! I did read the reviews and they all said the color was actually tan…let’s hope. Well, they came in and they were tan, and they fit! Yay me!

Second, I ordered a windshield cover. Again, from Camping World and again, on sale. The White Knight is a 2000 Chevy chassis and in doing my research I discovered that no one makes covers for a 2000 Chevy. So…I ordered one for a 2001 and hoped for the best! It came in yesterday and so out I went to put it on. I got it on, but it’s too narrow to fasten properly. Paul tried it again today and it almost ripped. It’s going back on Monday. Boo…I really wanted it too. The other thing is that the screening is supposed to be one way, see out but not in, and it isn’t. Very discouraged on this one! This week we will be cleaning it up for a short trip, fairly local, for Paul’s birthday. I’ll figure out the rest of it later!!

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Another member of the family

Well, we finally got the latest member of the family.  After the trip to New England and the near disaster on the NJ Turnpike with the bike, we knew that we needed a longer trailer for Little Girl to fit properly.  So…here he is~ complete with wheel chock on the top and a retractable wheel on the tongue.

new trailer

We have decided to take another trip at the end of the month, for a couple of days.  The sad part is that we had hoped to go to one of our local parks…but since the government is closed, so is that park.  *Biting my tongue to not make political statements regarding this situation*

As soon as the trailer has a name, I’ll post again.

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“Houston, we have a problem”

I love that line…but that’s just me!  We do have a problem though…we have discovered a leak.  Not just a little problem, a several gallon problem!

001 003 soggy foam!004 005  water stains!

When Paul was washing the White Knight, about a week or so after we got home, he felt that the outside front of the cab-over felt a little mushy.  When he peeled back the inside, after we removed the cushion, this is what we found…that and ALOT of water.  Thankfully we were able to borrow a Shop Vac (again, thanks Jim!) and get the water out, then we were able to remove the foam and clean it up.  Another call to the roof guy for advice and directions on what to do and we are good to go.  Or so we thought.  He told us to remove all the caulking from the seams on the outside and then bring it to him to reseal. We have done that, but we still need to caulk the areas again to be safe.  In the meantime, Paul found a cleaner/wax that when applied a zillion times – really only 4 – will give the White Knight an unbelievable shine that will last for several years.  I’ll believe it when I see it, but I think that half of the applying part is me!!

Speaking of washing…..009 Someone got a bath the other day…I couldn’t resist putting her picture in!  Love our Sasha dog!

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Home…finally!

Welcome to FL!! 001

Every time I leave, I love seeing this sign on the way home.  While New England is where I grew up and have a definite love for, Florida is home.  After 3 full weeks, 6 days of it on the road, it was great to see this sign!  The funny part about this sign is the one just south of it.  You really can’t see it all too well, but it says not to stop for pictures here, to stop at the Welcome Center a couple of miles south on I-95.  When I first moved to Florida, it was the second trip I made by car.  Both times,  I would see families standing at this sign taking pictures.  I imagine with traffic moving at 70+mph it became a danger that the state wanted to avoid.  Hence the second sign.  I took this out the window of the RV (at 70mph)!!!

We had a great trip, it is the longest vacation I have had since being unemployed in the late 70’s.  Coming back to work was really, really hard.

The trip back wasn’t without issues.  On the way to MA, we had to restrap the bike a couple of times, but she stayed put on the trailer.  Not so much on the way home.  We were using new straps that Paul got in MA, to make sure that she stayed put.  Well, Little Girl has a mind of her own!  We made it through MA, RI and CT with no problem, as we went through NYC, over the Cross Bronx Expy and the GW Bridge the road became uneven and very bumpy.  We got through there and onto the NJ Tpke and started along.  I happened to notice that there was a car riding beside us, and as I looked over the passenger was waving frantically and pointing to the trailer.  We knew instantly what was going on.  We pulled over and got out to check…in 70++mph traffic on the NJ Tpke…SCARY!!!  She had fallen over, but thanks to the highway bars on the front of her, she was not damaged, aside from some cosmetic issues.  We got her upright and strapped back down and proceeded onward!

There were other issues coming back.  We pushed too hard the first day, with the incident with Little Girl and then trying to make it to Fredericksburg, VA.  500+ miles in one day is just too much.  When we got to the RV park, it was late and dark and we were really tired.  The map wasn’t easy to read and we wound up lost in the woods in the park.  I called the office, thankfully there was an answer, and I tearfully told the man what happened.  He rescued us and got us safely to our site.  I felt silly the next morning when I went into the office and apologized to him.  He was really cool about it, but I still felt silly!

The next day, we were trying to get to my son’s house, about a half hour NW of Savannah.  Nope, another day that would have pushed us too hard.  We checked an app we have, RVParky, and found an RV Park attached to a Comfort Inn in St. George, SC.  We called, they had a space and so that’s where we stayed.  I have never seen an RV part attached to a hotel, but it was a cool idea.  We were able to get in, back the trailer and RV up into a space and relax for a while.  What a difference that made!

We did see my son and his family.  My “short people”, as I call them, are so cute.  I’ll talk about them more in another post.  The end result is that we made it home, returned the trailer to our neighbor and I was able to unload the fridge into the house before I wanted to collapse!

Another journey safely ended.  Whew!!

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Bridges

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The George Washington Bridge in NYC

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The Zacum Bridge in Boston

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The 295 Bridge in Richmond VA

These are only a few of the bridges that we went over on our journey.  I take pictures of them because I am terrified of most bridges.  If I am focusing on them through the camera, I don’t think about what is underneath.  We took the Inner Loop around Baltimore and I wasn’t paying attention when we suddenly came up on the Frances Scott Key Bridge.  It freaked me out, but when I finally looked out, it was dusk and the lights were really awesome.

The bridge in Boston was unusual because you get to the bridge right after you come out of the tunnel famously known as “The Big Dig”.  They needed more road, so they tunneled under buildings in the city to create more room for traffic.  It’s almost as creepy to me as the bridges~

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