Sunday, May 30, 2010

It's Almost Time

As we look forward to Tuesday and our scheduled day of departure, we continue to be busy.

The cleaning continued and I was able to follow through with the driveway craft sale.  I was excited with what I sold, but I think I was more excited about what I donated.  The story goes like this...

My very first customer of the morning was a lady that told me the story of loosing a 7 year old grandson to cancer.  She went on to tell me that she now spends her time volunteering at Cook's Children's Hospital.   She told me they have an awesome art department and needed a lot of supplies.  We continued to visit as she gathered a trunk full of things to purchase for herself and her grandchildren.  It was also during our visit, that I learned that she was the owner of a local restaurant where we have eaten many times.  Gosh, the world is small.

As she left, I told her I would think about what I could do.  And, she was off with her purchases.  About an hour later, she returned to purchase some more items for another project she thought about.  She also came back  by to bring me a cookbook that had been done as a hospital project.

By this time, Mark and I had already discussed that we would like to donate some of the left over items to the hospital.  I let her know of our decision...she was so excited.

So...yes, the craft sale was a success...I succeeded in getting the storage building cleaned out and in the process made a little money.  But, most of all, I made a new friend and...all of the left over items will be put to good use.

In addition to the items, I sent to the hospital, I was able to donate some items to both our home church and my mom's.  Only a handful of non-useable things went to the dumpster!  And...

with a trip to the half priced bookstore with several boxes...I will be finished with the cleaning of the storage building.  What a great feeling.

In the mist of all my cleaning, Mark has had a few projects of his own.  Two of them had to do with our wifi for the motor home.  We have been using a Cradle Point router with our Verizon air card for a good while.  Well, it decided it was tired of working full time.  So, we discussed our situation with the folks at the 3G Store and decided it needed to be replace.  The new one is a

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MBR 900.

While talking with the rep at 3G, I told him a little bit about our lifestyle and our computer use across the country.  I shared that we have two lap tops and that the reason for the cradle point was that we shared the air card which is only 5G.  I told him it seemed to be sufficient because when we are in an RV Park that has free wifi we use it in place of our air card.  I said, I just wish that some of the parks signals were stronger.  So....he told me about a product they sell that would help boost that signal.

After discussing all the facts, we decided that we would order the

Just A Blog 006 pep wave mini.  When it arrived, Mark got it all set up.  It's home will be here on the table by the front windshield.  I am anxious to see if it works as well in the RV Parks as it does here at our daughter's house.  We use her wifi from the house and it boosted that signal from 2 or 3 bars to a solid 5 bars.  My signal went from good to excellent. good.

The only thing is...when we get to an RV Park, Mark will have to connect the Ethernet cord from the mini surf to his computer, find the park's wifi, and sign in.  Once that is done, it will connect automatically from either computer.  Otherwise, it's little brain is constantly searching for multiple wifi signals.  This process should only take minutes.  So, no big deal.

Needless to say, we are anxious to see how this works in the parks where the signal is weak.  I will be posting about this in the days ahead and hopefully our wifi issues have been resolved.

Now...not all of our days have been filled with cleaning and projects.

We have taken time to enjoy friends and family.  We celebrated Lauren's 10th birthday last weekend.  And, this weekend, we had an early Father's Day gathering.

The kids wanted to get Mark a big pot for us to use for shrimp boils, etc. and likewise, Mark has been wanting to do a big shrimp boil for them ever since we had the one in Rockport.  So, this holiday weekend was the perfect time for both.  Mark was excited about the 36 quart stainless steel pot and the boil turned out excellent.  Thanks Bob for teaching us how to pack everything in the pot!  Sorry, no pictures, I was too busy being the assistant to the cook.

Today, we made a  trip to Waco for a birthday party for extended family.  Happy Birthday again to Tylor who turned 3.

Tomorrow, we will be a busy day with last minute cleaning, packing, and grocery shopping as we finalize plans our Tuesday morning departure with

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Caden and Kourtney.  Yogi we come!

Yes, summertime is here...let the fun begin!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I know it has been a week since I last posted, but, I find it hard to blog when we aren't out and about traveling the highways and the byways.  I never want to bore anyone with the normal routine things of life, but, that is about all that has been going on around here.  However,  in order for me to catch are just going to have to be bored!

Thank to all of you that commented and complimented Mark's work on our Pink Panther Project.  It was a fun, easy, and inexpensive project that we hope will help a little in keeping the cabinets a more even temperature.

Once that project was complete...we tackled the next thing on our telephones.  Our contract was up with AT&T and we had decided to change our cell service to Verizon.  We decided to treat ourselves with Motorola Droids.  Now, these are probably more phone and service than we need, but, we sure are having fun with them.  And, it has been an adventure learning how to use them.

Other "things to do" have included cleaning out old files from 2000 to present time.  Wow, what a paper trail.

Once I had accomplished the clean out, I loaded all the boxes in the back of my car and headed to a local business that shreds the paper for recycling.  The charge for this was $6 per box, which I thought was good and it was disposed of properly and with peace of mind.  Okay...mission accomplished and a little more of our "stuff" is out of Karen's way.

If the weather holds out, I am planning to have a driveway craft sale on Saturday and eliminate a few more items that have been stored around here.

While I have been working on my list, Mark has had an agenda of his out and rearranging the storage space in the basement of the motor home.  He is gearing up for our summer trips with the grandkids and making room for the extra things we will be needing for them.

Trip #1 starts on June 1 with Caden and Kourtney, the 2 three year olds.  We are taking them to the Yogi Bear Lone Star Park in Waller, Texas for three or four days.  When we return to Fort Worth, we have a week to regroup.

Trip #2 starts on June 14.  We will be leaving for New York.  We have planned several fun stops between Texas and New York.  Once we reach New York, we have planned a trip across to visit Canada.  Then there is the stay at Niagara Falls, Cooperstown, Newburgh, and last but not least...the Statue of Liberty!

In the meantime, we are continuing to mark things off of our "to do's" and soon the list will be complete for now.  Then, it will be time for the wheels on the bus to roll and there will be lots to blog about!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Pink Panther Project

A few months ago, we read an article about insulating the cabinets in the slide outs.  In this particular article the lady had used the foil backed insulation similar to that you would put in your car to cover the windshield.

Now, the idea of insulating the cabinets sounded good.  However, I was not excited about the foil idea.  So, we dropped the idea.

Then a couple of weeks ago we thought about it again and agreed that there is probably a lot of heat that comes in through the slide outs.  I mean after all they are just metal boxes with minimal insulation.  I still wasn't sold of the idea of the foil, so I needed to come up with a better fix!  So...

Yesterday, we went to Home Depot and purchased a sheet of 1/2 inch of Pink Panther, (Owens Corning)  foam insulation and some spray adhesive for adhering the fabric to the board.

While Mark set up his work area outside, I took

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everything out of the cabinets.

Mark took some measurements and headed out to the shop to

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cut the insulation to fit.

  Once the pieces were cut, we sprayed the insulation and the light weight carpet covering with the adhesive, and bonded the two together.  By the way, the carpet we used was what we purchased in Red Bay, and the same that they use in the cabinet floor.

Next, Mark begin to fit

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the pieces on the back walls of the cabinets.  They fit

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nice and nailing, no gluing.  And...

One piece after another...until

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each cabinet in the front two slides was finished.  This cabinet got a back piece and a side piece since it was the outside end of the slide.

Today, we had to return to Home Depot for another sheet of insulation and will tackle the back cabinets.

Now, if you are interested...this project's cost was:

$20 for 2 sheets of foam insulation

$8 for 2 cans of spray adhesive

$11 for the carpet

What a great job.  And much better that the foil idea!  Now, with the added insulation, it has to help keep out a little more heat and cold.

We figured it certainly can't hurt!

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Step Back In Time

Today we traveled  300 miles from Red Bay, Alabama to Vicksburg, Mississippi.  We checked into the

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Ameristar RV Park.  The lady that checked us in was quick to say there was a 10% discount noted on my stay, and then gave us two coupons for a free breakfast in the morning at the casino across the street.  Can't beat a deal like that.  Then, we noticed that there was a $5.00 senior lunch at Diamond Jack's, which is just down the road.  Wow, this day is getting better.

It was off to Diamond Jacks.  After lunch we stopped atop the hillside and grabbed a couple of shots of

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The Mighty Mississippi River.  We then headed out to spend a little time in the past at...

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site of the Battle over Vicksburg.

  So, come along with us and we will revisit a Civil War battle that cost us the lives of 20,o00 soldiers.  And, friends...those were all American lives!

Now, in the year of 1862, it was determined that the states of Texas, Arkansas, and most of Louisiana needed to be isolated.  This was a region that the South highly depended on for their supplies.  In order to isolate these states...the Mississippi waterway would have to be cut off and the federal government needed that control.  But, in order for them to have that control, Vicksburg and Port Hudson posed to be the major obstacles.  Vicksburg being the stronger and more important.

Because Vicksburg

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sit high on a bluff that overlooked

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a bend in the river, it was protected by artillery batteries all along the riverfront.

In October of 1862,

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Major General Ulysses S. Grant, was ordered to clear the Mississippi River of all Confederate resistance.  However,

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Gen. John C. Pemberton with roughly 50,00 widely scattered Confederate troops, was expected to keep the river open.

Pemberton  was able to hold off Grant in several attempts, but on May 16, at Champion Hill, Grant defeated Pemberton in the largest bloodiest action of the campaign.

The battle and progression by the Union Army continued and finally on July 3, 1863, just 46 days after the campaign for Vicksburg started, Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg to Grant.

Port Hudson surrendered just five days later.

It was  said by Abraham Lincoln that "Vicksburg was the key" and believed that "the war would never be brought to an end until that key was in their pocket".

And, the rest is history...but today as we drove through this National Battleground, we saw

Vicksburg, MS 2010 021  cannons, and

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battle lines that had been drawn and held or defeated and redrawn.  We saw

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trenches that were dug, and we were reminded of the

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many lives that were lost in those 46 days.  And, to be further reminded...

There are many, many

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memorials and

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statue after

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statue through out the 11 mile drive around the park.

But, most of all we were reminded today of a war that took place on American soil and how it changed and shaped our United States.

And, as far as the Mighty Mississippi changed it's course in 1876 and moved away from the city, but today it still continues to shape the history Vicksburg!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Final Red Bay Report

Yesterday started as the day before with the early morning motor home parade.  Once everyone was in their assigned service bays for the morning, the service department started assigning express bay appointments for the afternoon.  Soon, we knew that we were to appear at

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Bay #8 after lunch.  We went over our list with Nathan and soon they were busy working on the things that needed repair.

First was the

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gasket on the driver's side slide.  Nathan had that replaced and sealed in record the sealant just needed to dry and they would replace the slide awning.

We also had discovered that we could not shut off the power to our electric flush toilet.  They told us to just unplug the fuse.  Okay...can you show me the fuse?  Well, come to find out, we had no we do!

Next, item...I had a small spot were the grout was low in the tile floor.  However, I found out that that was an item that could not be taken care of in the express bay.  It has been that way all along and really doesn't  bother me, I just thought I would get them to fill it...maybe another time.

Now, on to the big item on our list and the main reason we are here.  And, that is the front a/c unit.  Last October the fan cage came apart and we came to Red Bay for service.  They replaced it with a newly designed version.

  Well, from that date forward the a/c  has sounded like a jet engine.  It has nearly driven Mark crazy and in turn Mark has nearly driven me crazy.

  While we were in Mission, we had a Coleman service tech come and check it out.  He said it could be the motor and we just needed to have the factory take care of the problem.  Then again, while we were in Rockport, Mark discussed the problem with yet another a/c tech.  He too said, I think it is the motor.

So, here we are and we are addressing this problem!

Robby, came to the rescue...he turned on the unit and calmly has the wrong fan cage in it.

Mark really wanted to argue the point with him, but Robby assured us that the only problem was the wrong fan cage and he would fix it.  So, this morning, we made our way to

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We now have two super quite normal sounding a/c units.

Now that all of the service issues were taken care of, I could be on with the remainder of my projects.

I have been fussing about how we were getting

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these little nicks in the vinyl fabric by the front door handle.  I heard that Brannon made this cool plate that goes behind the handle.  So, I sent Mark to get one and in no time at all

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he had it installed.  Problem solved!

My project that was a work in progress from Monday was an additional set of step covers for the

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outside steps.  Now,

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they all match.

I had some covers on the outside steps, but I couldn't keep them tight or straight.  These snap in place.  I think they are going to work much better.

Service issues....done!

Extra projects done!

And, it is only 12:30.  So, we decided to take a drive around the Natchez Trace and find the

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Visitor Center.  And, you guessed it...another National Park Stamp...four to be exact.

We stopped at several of the pullouts along the way.  One was

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The Pharr Mounds, which is a ancient Indian

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burial ground.

We also stopped at the

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Old Trace.  Here we walked a little ways down a trail to where

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thirteen unknown Confederate soldiers are buried.

Then it was on to the

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Tupelo National Battlefield.

We enjoyed a great relaxed afternoon out in the warm sunshine and have now marked off one more part of the Natchez Trace drive.  The only part we have left is from Tishomingo State Park to Nashville.

Maybe next time we are this way we will finish the Trace.  But for now, all business in Red Bay is taken care of and tomorrow we start our trip to Texas.

  Once we have settled in at our home base, it will be time to start making plans for our summer trips with the grandkids which is just around the corner.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Report From Camp Red Bay

When I last posted, we had switched gears and headed to Camp Red Bay in order to avoid the weather.  Our travel from the Gulf Coast to Red Bay was without a problem and with only a hint of a misty rain.

We arrived on Friday evening and were excited to find that we would be assigned to a full hook up site...and one on the pavement at that.  Life Is Good at Camp Red Bay!

When we were completely set up, I stood by the rule of "no cooking" on a travel day, so, we headed out for dinner.  And, when in Red Bay...

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Swamp John's is the place.  We enjoyed dinner...salad, catfish, and baked potato.  Yummy!

We were now settled in for the evening and the weekend.  Saturday came with overcast skies that turned into on and off rain, but Sunday came with

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more than a little rain.  In fact for most of the afternoon we listened to the

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beeping of the weather radio and watched the

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radar on the computer.

Since we couldn't go outside to play, I decided today would be a good day to cook and bake...I made

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Shrimp Chowder...and

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a "no crust" pumpkin pie.  Yummy!

Thank goodness, the really severe storms traveled either above us or below us.  By nightfall all was clear.

Monday we woke to a heavy fog.  Soon the sun was out and promised a great day with temperatures in the 80's.

Now, let's remember, here at Camp Red Bay, it's Monday morning and things are about to get busy.

First, everyone that has an assigned service bay starts pulling in slides, raising jacks, and cranking up  by 6:45 am.  They want to be in front of their assigned space when the bay doors go up at 7:00.

Then, for those of us who have just arrived, we wait for Norris to come with paperwork and let know what our wait looks like.  Sure enough, he showed up around 8:00, and after he and Mark assessed our service issues, the front a/c unit and the gasket on the slide, it was decided that we could go into an express bay.  The wait...only 3-4 days.  Again, Life Is Good at Camp Red Bay.

Now, in addition to the items on our service list, I had a list of my own.  So, I was off to see what I could schedule.  The first stop was the cabinet shop.  And, yes, they could fix me right up.  Thanks Molly for the great idea!

The cabinets over the sofa on the passenger side has 

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way too much air space.  And, I wanted two dividers and some shelves.

Danny said he could take care of the project tomorrow.

As promised, this morning, Danny showed up with tape measure in hand.  He called after a little while, and, scheduled us to show up at

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the cabinet shop at noon.

In no time at all, I had

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just what I requested in two of the three cabinets.

While, Danny was working on the cabinets, I asked TJ if he would shine the counter tops.  He did a great job buffing out the many little scratches that seem to appear from just daily use.  He told me I should use car wax on them about every six months to keep them nice and shiny!  That sounds like a perfect job for Mark.  Something else for him to wax.

Once, we were finished in the cabinet shop, it was back to site #3.  I vacuumed out the cabinets while Mark cut the mats to go on the inside.  Then they were ready to be

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I left one of the cabinets as it was for

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for the larger items.

Having these shelves installed, allowed me to do some rearranging in the cabinets

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on the other side of the motor home.

While I was busy rearranging and putting things away, Trevor came to start working on my second project...and with measurements in hand he was off, only to return a little while ago with

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step covers and

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a mat for the dash.

Thanks Trevor for a job well done...and again, Molly, great idea!

Wow...I am tired after all my projects today...I wonder what I can dream up for tomorrow?