Friday, July 02, 2010

Slow Day in the 'Boro

There's really not much travel news for today. We spent much of the day with Mother with several shorter visits rather than a long time sitting. That's better for all of us I think.

I am enjoying my Verizon MiFi 2200 wireless hot spot. I can carry it and connect almost anywhere. Right now, I'm using the campground's wifi, but sometimes it slows to a crawl (probably when lots of campers are on it) and the MiFi is a great backup. I recommend it.

The big event of the day was taking cousin Clark and his wife Mary out to dinner at the Macaroni Grill. This was my first time there and I was favorably impressed.  Earlier in the day I had taken my Mary to lunch at a Murfreesboro institution, The City Cafe, just off the "square." The more somethings change, the more they stay the same. We also stopped by the Linebaugh Public Library, where I had my first job when I turned 16. Of course, they are no longer in the building I helped them move into so long ago and it is a fine building, but they are already stretching the limits of it's structure.

It is really interesting to not have to worry about someone calling me and telling me some tragic news or problem situation. Here on day 2 of retirement, I am already feeling the lifting of a heavy weight. Thanks be to God.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Camping, Neighbors, and Family

Wednesday was a travel day for us. Leaving the Fleetwood rally, we drove from DuQuoin, IL, to Smyrna, TN. We were not in a hurry so it took six hours to make a four and 1/2 hour trip. It is kind of nice to not have to be in a hurry!

Since this was the first time I've driven the coach through Nashville, I do have to say that it was a nerve-wracking drive. Changing lanes in a coach is not as easy as in a Mitsubishi Eclipse and when it is across three lanes to make a transition it is not easy at all.

Presently, we are safely ensconced at the Nashville I-24 Campground which, despite the name, is in Smyrna, TN, on the Old Nashville Highway. Thanks to cousin Clark and his lovely bride, Mary, we have a loaned car for the first couple of days until we can rent  one. I do have to get a car we can tow in the future.

Our neighbors here in the campground are a couple who were at the Fleetwood rally too. And their neighbor on the other side is a friend of theirs who was also at the rally! On the other side (out our front door) is a woman and her fiance who are essentially living at the campground in their trailer. More importantly, she has a cat for Sally to watch...and hiss and growl at.

We went to visit my Mother today (Thursday, July 1). We haven't been home to see her since last Christmas and there has been quite a change in her. She was in assisted living last December when we celebrated her 90th birthday a week early and now she is in a nursing home for long-term care. Time has taken its toll. We did get her to laugh some with us.

This evening we had a delicious pasta dish made by Mary in our RV kitchen. It's a bit different from cooking in a sticks-and-bricks home kitchen. You have to plan out your moves and what you will need and when you will need it. And Mary cooked a great meal! Other than the fact that the counter space is seriously limited, it's not a bad kitchen: three burner stove, oven, microwave with convection cooking, refrigerator with freezer, double sink, and almost no usable counter space.

This evening the neighbor invited us to join him and his wife and their friends from the next coach and we had a fun evening being RV'ers talking to RV'ers. Stories were traded, advice was given to the newbies (Mary and I) (and it was good advice too) and new friends were made. They'll head out tomorrow bound for home in FL.

Good sleeping should be in the cards tonight. We've turned the AC off and opened windows. It's
supposed to get down to the 50s! That'll be the coolest since we left home.

The good news of today was the closing of the sale of our Dutch Hollow Lake home. We hate to see the little house go but it was no longer meeting our needs. And now someone else will get to enjoy it.

The other good news of the day is that I am now retired. Wahoo!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Rally Ends

This was our last day at the Fleetwood Motorhome Association Rally. It was a slow day, but there were some interesting moments. The most interesting part of the day was a two hour panel talking about the full-time RV lifestyle.

Full-timers are people who live in their RVs. They may or may not still own a physical house planted on a piece of property (often called "sticks and bricks" houses), but they live in their RV all the time. There were a lot of full-timers at the Rally and at the panel there were a LOT of wannabes, including Forrest and Mary. Well, at least Forrest. Mary is still in the information collecting stage but she hasn't told me I'm flat-out crazy. We've got about three years to talk about it before we can decide to make it happen or not, but, frankly, I'd do it in a minute!

One interesting thing today was meeting a couple from Baraboo, the Nelsons. Well, actually they live closer to the Dells, but Baraboo is their address. We ate supper with them and enjoyed getting acquainted. They're big rally goers, particularly with the FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association), of which we are also members. Maybe we'll actually meet them again. Next summer's FMCA Rally is in Madison, WI, and, who knows, we might be able to make that gathering!

Another interesting thing was tonight's entertainment, Three men and thirty instruments, also known as Blue Odyssey. They were fun and they were good musicians.

Tomorrow, we are off to Tennessee and the Nashville I-24 Campground in Smyrna, TN. The night here has cooled off enough to open the coach windows and let fresh air in. I doubt that'll happen in TN.

Grace and peace to any and all of you who bother to read this little record. I hope you find something of interest each day!

Monday, June 28, 2010

There's learning...and there's learning!

Yesterday was a day of seminars on the esoterica of RVing: safety and fire, taking care of your holding tanks, tire monitoring systems, electrical safety. They may not sound thrilling, but when you're in an RV they are all important topics.  Mary learned just how fast an RV can burn (NO, NOT first-hand but in a seminar). I learned about the importance of sanitizing the fresh water tank, inside and out, and about the dangers of poorly wired campground electricity.

There are lots of things you need to learn in RVing, like ... where are the fuse boxes for your coach? I had a blown circuit. Nothing major, just the auxiliary power sockets (the 12-volt system) and I could not find the fuse box for it. Oh, I found a big one under the hood (such a little hood for such a big coach!) but it didn't have the circuit I needed. However, part of my rationale for coming to this rally was to learn from other owners of similar coaches. And there is another Fiesta 26 owner parked right behind me (one of the five of us who are here). So I asked if he knew where the internal fuse box was located. (Earlier, I had taken a flashlight and crawled on my back up over the hump and under the dashboard and spent a long painful time trying to find where the manufacturer had hidden it on the firewall or under the dash. That was all to no avail.) Lo and behold, he knew exactly where to find it! There is a hatch in the dashboard that, when lifted, exposes the internal fuse box. It afforded very easy access to something I was trying to make so hard (NOT the first time in my life that has happened to me). He even had a replacement fuse kit and gave me a fuse! Thank you, Hugo, of Snowflake, AZ!

I also learned that looking at the display RVs can be dangerous! Dangerous to your pocketbook, that is, and to your relationship with your spouse! I found one I really liked (I think I mentioned that previously). The salesman was working hard to close a deal and I was wavering! Fortunately, my very level-headed wife wanted to have nothing to do with it. She went and sat down and let me have my fantasy conversation and then reminded me of economic realities (sometimes I need those reminders where my toys are concerned, like lots of men, I suspect). I am so glad we represent the balance we do. That is what strengthens relationships. Thank you, Mary!

Our evening entertainment was an Elvis impersonator (not bad at all) and a Johnny Cash impersonator (his act still needs some work). The band was way too loud for my Meniere's ear but we listened for about an hour and headed home to the coach.

Last night, we has a hard rainstorm! Our coach is so cozy and dry! It rocked in the wind and the rain on the roof was loud, but it sure made for good sleeping!

Now, off to another day of learning, looking, and laughing (I needed another L for alliteration and that was the only one I could think of, but I do find myself laughing a lot these days. I think it just might have something to do with the fact that I will be officially retired in 3...that's THREE...days.)

Oh! Someone asked who Sally was. Sally is the cat who owns us. (If you've ever had a cat, you know just what I mean. People never really own a cat. Rather the cat deigns to let them take care of the cat and think they are the owners. The reality is that the cat is the one who is in control of the situation.)

Well, off for the day!