Friday, March 28, 2014

Day One


Yesterday was my first real trip with my truck and fifth wheel trailer.  While getting ready to go, I was about to stow the electric cord and when I opened the little hatch to feed the cord inside the trailer, I noticed a couple little light-colored frogs crouched there.   As I tried to get them out, they started crawling inside, where they were safe from eviction since I had no way to get them.  They have now been relocated to the west coast of Florida, as soon as they evacuate.  They will probably stagger out as soon as they recover from motion sickness. 

My cat was riding shotgun and not at all happy about it.  I had given her a couple morsels of "Quiet Moments" calming aid, which claimed to reduce stress, tension and promote relaxation.   I also sprayed the towel in her cage and the one covering her cage with some spray that claimed to do the same thing.   HAH - not with my cat!  It did manage to lower the volume of her usual very loud howling and after a couple hours, she got tired enough to lay around and continue to whine.   I finally managed to tune her out and I managed to have a pleasant trip.

Since I took the back roads instead of I4, to which I am highly allergic, there was some nice scenery along the way.  There were some places that would have been nice to be able to stop and take a few photos, but there was no place to pull over and park.  My route took me over many of the hills of northern Florida - not at all like the flat lands of most of Florida.  There were patches of pretty purple wildflowers along the side of the road.  And lots of live oak trees with Spanish moss hanging, as well as one that had been split in half by lightning and laying dead in a field. 

I got into the park later than expected but was pleased with my choice, Fay's RV Park, a small park but one that accepted Passport America (discount!).  I'm surrounded by live oak trees and some tall pines, as you can see in the photo above.  The view out my big back window is woods, replacing the view of the Halifax River of the past few months.  I don't have any close neighbors and it seems very quiet after driving so long.  The manager was very helpful and helped guide me into the spot.  As a bonus, their wifi works well!

I'll be here for 3 full days and expect to take my bike out tomorrow for some exploring in the area.  And so ends the first leg of my cross-country trip.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Toy

I've been doing lots of research about RVing in preparation for taking off on my own. I've learned lots by reading blogs written by people who have been doing this for years. There are numerous Facebook pages about RVing as well as many forums full of information and helpful hints.

Of the many "must haves" discussed by RVing people, I noticed that quite a few of them recommended a dash camera for safety/accidents or other problems. I also saw quite a few videos of great scenery taken by these little cameras. I started researching them and found that you could get one for as little as $25, moving on up to a several hundred dollars. Since I'm just starting out, I opted for one just over $100, which I now see is selling for $140 and up.

I played with it for a few hours and the quality certainly isn't as good as a regular video camera or even my digital still camera. But, it does a decent job although the quality deteriorates a bit when driving with the light coming at the camera. Typical behavior in any camera. I do believe the resolution would be even better if someone had cleaned the windshield first. Will have to discuss that with the window cleaner.

Just for fun, I've uploaded a video and you can see it with this link

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Sinking Feeling

I just love those plastic screw on connectors for P traps that are under sinks these days.  Such a great invention compared to the old metal pipes that required wrenches.
When I moved into my 5th wheel, I noticed my bathroom sink had a little drain plug.   That’s all it did – plugged the drain.   There was no little basket to catch anything that could easily be dropped right in there.   Looking straight down the pipe, I just knew that sooner or later, it would be a problem. 

The other night, I was about to brush my teeth and the cap to the toothpaste jumped right out of my fumble fingers and right down the drain – no bouncing around at all.   Bet I couldn’t aim and get it in that good. 
My first idea was a long stick to try to drag it out – I only succeeded in sinking it into the P trap water instead of having it float down there.  OK, it was after midnight, I knew I wouldn’t sleep if I put it off until the next day.  Took everything out of the cabinet and put down some used towels (so glad I hadn’t done that load of laundry). 

I have been a failure with house plumbing and trying to get the P trap off and back on successfully without a leak.  For some reason, those plastic fittings just didn’t want to play nice.   So, I was a bit worried about this, but I knew that within the next week or so, the RV fixit guy would be showing up to do something else for me.  So, what can I lose? 
These little pipes are so much more user-friendly than house pipes – about half the size.  The connectors screwed off easily and I spilled very little water getting it out of there.  I dumped the water and toothpaste cap into a pail and then screwed on the P trap again – it went together so nicely! 

I leak tested it by filling the sink with water and letting it all drain out.  First time and it’s dry!   I feel so much better now that one of my projects was so easily accomplished, without any bad words or frustration from having to attempt to get it leak-free multiple times. 
Now, to save future problems I might have, I now have a little screened wire basket in the drain.  After all, I will need all the sanity I can muster to get through re-stringing my day/night shade!  Stay tuned for more details.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


This has been my neighborhood since New Year's Day.  I've enjoyed the sunrises, have gotten up early just to take some spectacular photos.  The evening sunsets cast a warm buttery-yellow glow onto my scenery in the evening. 

But this blog is not about my neighborhood - it's about moving on soon.  I have been living in my 5th wheel since last November when I moved out of my house to make it easier to sell.  I have been waiting for some "snowbird" (as Floridians call the seasonal tourists) to make an offer because they were tired of the cold and snow up north.  Finally, the beginning of last month, I got an offer, which was countered and accepted!  I waited for 3 weeks for the closing, hoping there wouldn't be any snags with the deal.  About a week ago, I signed my name a couple times, got the check and went directly to the bank as I was calling to cancel my homeowner's insurance.  I was finally FREE to enter the next stage of my life. 

I have lists of things to do, such as getting someone to rebed one of my windows that the old owner had just gooped caulking around.  If it wasn't high up in the section over the 5th wheel hitch, I'd probably try to do it myself, but I don't like heights and it's a decent sized window.  Unfortunately, the thing that will hold me up the longest will be my taxes - I really need to get them done here and I'm still waiting for some revised 1099 forms to come in.  Seems that one fund I have sends them out late repeatedly each year.   I just might trade that one in next year. 

I have already signed up for Passport America, which gives me a 50% discount in selected RV Parks across the states - I love a good discount!  I still need to sign up with Coach Net, which is the AAA of the RV world.  I don't expect any mechanical problems, new tires all around and lots of mechanical stuff has been done to the truck.  And I'm going to change oil and filter before I go.   But, just to be sure, it's cheap insurance!  I need to download the app for Allstays to add to my collection of apps for truck stops, dump stations, weather information and other helpful apps.  This is a comprehensive list of places to stay, phone numbers and other important information.

Last week, I found a little Honda generator from a private seller, so I picked that up.   It won't start the AC, but it should do most everything else.  If I find I need more power, I can just add another one and run them in tandem.  I even picked up a bike rack for the back of the camper. 

So, here I sit, making my final plans and waiting for that tax form.  In March, no monthly check for that house (!) and no big check for my rent here, I've already arranged to pay weekly.  I'm keeping busy by doing some volunteer work and little projects here, such as finding something that I can't remember where I put it when I moved in.  Oh, yeah, I do have one project that I have parts on order for - I need to restring one of my day/night shades - I'm sure that's gonna be LOTS of fun!  Yes, of course it was the biggest one in the camper!!