Old Diary

Homecoming in the Rain

Believe it or not I’ve never been to a homecoming parade before yesterday.  And Saturday was my day to make up for that.  Peg and I drove back to the Springfield area to take in the homecoming parade of one of our friends daughters.  It’s a small town and it was cool (low 50’s) and it was raining…. but a good time was had by all.

Eariler in the day we did some grocery shopping for the next few days.  While we were out we were planning on having breakfast at one of the restos in town that got good reviews on Trip Advisor — only to find that it had changed hands, so we went THERE instead.

2014100309504203After the parade our friends wanted to take US out for dinner so we tried out a place none of them had been to, called Angus Bailey’s in Carlinvile.  The food was ok but the conversation was terrific.  It’s always good to spend time with friends.  Laughter is better than food and sharing stories about what good friends have been up to over the last year is always great fun.  Delbert has been crewing on the replicas of the Nina and the Pinta (you know — Columbus’ ships, 1492 and all that).  And he’s been taking on projects through an internet finding service that matches people with skills and people with small projects to be done.  HELPX.net  Anyway… it’s always fun to spend good times with good people.   Tomorrow Debbie and Delbert will visit us in the Ambassador, and I’m sure we’ll carry on where we left off.

We had a lot of rain overnight.  But not nearly as much as areas near us.  Near Girard and Virden (IL) they supposedly had as much as 7″ of  rain in 3 days… for Illinois that’s a LOT of rain.  60 miles away where we were there have been about 2.5″ over the last 48 hours.

For a quiet day, that’s about it.  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.


Old Diary

An Easy 300


Leaving Wisconsin we are now in the land of the Flatlanders!

Leaving Bong at about 10:00 gave us plenty of time to make our destination, Coon Creek Recreation Area, before the 5:00 checkin time.  Our friends from Springfield warned us about bad weather but other than a just enough drizzle to put our wipers on the slowest intermittent  speed and cruise on down the road.

2014100215042402The Coach and our Toad looked fine today.  I’m still a little embarrassed that THIS is our home. 🙂  I’m so happy with this coach.  We get so many compliments on how she looks and pretty much ever where we go people are interested in her.  But my joy is less about other people liking her, and more about the way she handles on the highway!  Everytime I take her out I am amazed at how much easier she handles on the highway than our old Winnebago Journey.  She’s so much more stable in the wind, especially!  And with headwinds all day today, that meant a lot!


This is NOT where the silverleaf will live, but for today it was a good place to evaluate the data. I am beginning to get ideas about where I want the final location to be.

The Silverleaf worked fine.  The mileage on the coach from mile one (10 years ago) has been 7.8 .  Since buying her we have been doing better on every single fill, and today when I had a long enough drive for the mileage number to mean anything I was glad zoo that we are pulling down pretty close to 8.8 even with the headwind.  Not bad for a coach her size, pulling a toad.

20141002172831042014100217290905This is our site at Coon Creek.  Site Number 40.  It’s not a full hookup site — we have 50 amp. power and that’s all.  But that’s all we need.

We Got in late enough that after dinner we didn’t do much exploring; heck we didn’t do any exploring.  We see that there is construction going on in the campgrounds — some areas are closed — probably for the season as their season here ends October 12 — a few days after we leave.   It would be nice to check out the whole campground together; but tomorrow we have plans to meet up with our Springfield friends, and Saturday they’ll be visiting us at the campground.  So, any serious exploration will wait till Sunday.

I managed to get us a Southerly view — but that doesn’t mean we get a clear view to satellites — there are trees in the viewing window.  Oh well, we get a bunch of air stations.  Good enough for a week.

Getting ready to leave, and setting up upon arrival are getting easier.   That’s good.  After not going through that routine for 10 months it’s taking a little time to get back to the point that we each have our own jobs and each knows what to do.  The little walkie-talkies we bought a few months ago have been very helpful.  Easier to rely upon WORDS than hand signals that aren’t always distinct enough, or the meanings of which get forgotten from one setup to another.

I had a couple projects while we are here; nothing much but on the way down today I thought about a simple basement reorganization that would make a lot of sense for our departure routine.  So, once again long standing ideas may get delayed to work on something that seems more pressing.

By moving things around in the basement I’ll be able to open one of the two interlocking side bays, and not have to open the first door to get into the second door.  When the slides are retracted it’s not a big deal.  But when the slides are extended then you’re crawling around on your knees to get into those doors.  Little thoughtful changes like that make a difference in daily life. Storing things so that the ones most used are easiest to reach– not hardest (as they are now because I didn’t think about how I used the traffic side of the coach — the bay that is closest to the water/dump bay).  If we get a dry day I’ll get on this for sure.

The did have serious rain before our arrival.  Everything is wet and muddy; and the air is heavy with water.  There’s only one day of rain in the forecast but weather changes… so we’ll see what happens.  I’d like to get some more little organizing chores completed here.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Old Diary


this was supposed to publish on Thursday but I screwed up…24664816_SAIs that a word?  Graduality?  Well, it is now!  It’s a good way to describe how we’ve been feeling since Friday.  We are gradually getting back into our own bodies with our own energy and feeling like our own selves.  We simply don’t recover the way we used to.  Ahhh… I guess the days of our youth are long past (even though I don’t always like to behave as if they were).


I have never been one to function well without  rest.  I’ve done crazy things to get a little sleep.  One time in the truck I read my dispatch papers wrong and stayed home with my load 24 hours longer than I should have and was so pressed for time that I calculated it out and I had time to stop for exactly 11 minutes if I was to make my delivery schedule.  So I stopped, set my alarm for 10 minutes and fell asleep in seconds, got a little rest, and felt better afterwards, if not fully rested.  But our bodies do neeSleep_Benefitsd time to recover from the strains of being awake!

I came across this graphic about inspiration being for amateurs “the rest of us just show up and got to work.  Ya know, there’s some  merit to that but I’ve never met a tired person who is very creative, or very productive for that matter.  When I was still working I saved image processing for the first thing in the morning.  I knew that when I was fresh I could see what wanted doing to individual images and accomplish the retouching or Photoshopping  in a fraction of the time than if I put that off till the end of the day and did the work when I was tired.  Now that I’m retired {again 🙂 }  I still do something of the sort.  Peg has learned that I need a couple hours in the morning to write: letters, blogs, emails, journals — I’m always writing something, and it’s become the way I get my day started.  I may not write about earth shattering things; I write for my own satisfaction.  But it gets my brain going and I seem never to lack something to put down on paper (or to busy my fingers typing).

Inspiration is for amateurs

I don’t buy being able to be creative while you’re tired.

Now that we’ve been stationary for a few days life is returning to normal — gradually.  Projects become apparent.  When we were still on the Forest I’d sit down at the end of the day and I couldn’t even think of what I might want to do in the Coach to make it more homey.  There were things that needed doing but I couldn’t think of them.  Now that we getting back into our own stride our thinking is clear enough that the projects are appearing, the travel plans come together & meals get planned instead of simply woofing down calories.

Yesterday I finished up the passenger windshield curtain.  It’s not a huge thing, but to us it looks infinitely better than it did before.  Today, I’ll get the driver’s side done.  With a little luck we’ll find a place to have the curtains dry-cleaned and some of the dirty spots will come out and we’ll be happy to be done with curtains for a while.

2014082707073102I’m not in a hurry to do anything different to our window valances — but I did think about the fact that any chair we have for the dinette is going to have problems with the height of our rear lounge slide valance.  Let me clarify.  The original chairs we had were taller than the ones we have now.  But there’s only so low you can go with a chair-back and still have it be comfortable.  We have smallish windows on all three slides of our roadside lounge extend-a-room slide.  They all have window valances.  And the one at the rear of the slide is next to one of the dinette chairs — too low on the wall for the chair top to fit smoothly under the valance.  Thusly…. raising that valance just a tad would make that chair a lot more comfortable to sit in.

Remember that storage tub that I said had liquid in it?

I found the problem.  Never underestimate the process of going up and down.  As you may remember we crossed 4 mountain passes.  That means going up on an incline, going down on an incline and passing through a lot of vertical transition.  We had a spray bottle of Windex in the basement that was only loosely closed & we had a 1 gallon bottle of Windex with a weak lid.  The spray bottle over flowed.  The 1 gallon bottle built up so much pressure that the lid broke – separating the flat top from the cylindrical threads and… yup… allowing outward flowage of the  cleaning fluid.  Ta Da!  Mystery solved!  (Don’t ask me why we are carrying around a 1 gallon bottle of Windex…  we must be genetically related to the Pappa in that movie My Great Big Greek Wedding who liked Windex for every purpose under the sun.)

What I didn’t get around to doing was organizing the basement.  ARGH!  I really want to make some space down there.  If I’m serious about that, it’s not only a project requiring better organization, it will also require discarding un-used treasures that we are hauling around for no good reason.  Some of them I won’t ever throw away:  they are there for emergencies.  To wit:  a collapsible shovel and a 5 ton and a 10 ton hydraulic jack.  Some of them we carry around for crafting purposes — these may not be so lucky and may find themselves in the discard pile.  There is one tub that we have dragged around for 2 1/2 years into which we have never delved and the hidden can’t-do-without-these-treasures contained therein we have clearly done without.   Whether I get to it today, or during our stay here at Blackhawk, or maybe wait until we arrive at Bong Recreation Area in September — I suspect that fewer items will travel South with us this fall.

Balance and Utility

I need to get the coach correctly weighed.  On some occasion we want to get a real four corner weight.  I know we are loaded a little bit cockeyed.  We have made that a little worse by adding the solar — the new batteries at additional weight on the curbside rear.

coach getting weighed

coach getting weighed

We also have two storage bays that aren’t being well utilized.  There’s one bay underneath the driver’s cockpit that is empty.  There’s another small bay at the curbside rear that is nearly empty but into which we don’t want to put much weight — I need to find some light items that could be stored there.

The idea of getting the coach close to evenly loaded right to left on each axle and within the allowable weights front and back is more than something ‘good to do.’  Loading is a safety factor and not to be overlooked.  When we don’t move very often and not far when we do move it’s not such a critical issue, but that 2000 miles brought back the trucker in me and it’s something I want to find an opportunity to address.

That might mean attending a RV convention or rally — something I’m dreading.  TOO MANY PEOPLE.  But we might just have to do it.  If we manage to think about where we need to be at the right time of the month.  Sometimes there are just too many things to think about in this ‘rough’ life of RV’ing. 🙂

Seeing as I started off today’s blog talking about sleep, I thought I’d throw in this last graphic just for fun.  I’m not an avowed Democrat or Republican, nor am I a flaming liberal or a died in the wool conservative.  My politics tend to take a variety of factors into consideration but I have to admit that I laughed at this one and present it not as a political statement but as a matter of electioneering humor.


Old Diary

Topside, Bottomside all Around the House

Yesterday was a whiz bang productive day!  Momma is much happier and when momma is happy the whole world is happier.  (Nah… I shouldn’t tease my wife like that — she’s ever so easy to live with, but sometimes I just can’t help myself! The devil made me do it.)

First and most importantly we got out our bucket and brush and cleaned the awning!   That’s a sloppy job — washing things over your head always is — specially when you’re using a long handled broom as a mop. But the job is done now — for a while.

If you aren’t an RV’er you won’t realize that we have four awnings on Journey.  Because those awnings sometimes drive down the road at 60 MPH they are subject to having rain water driven into the rolled up awnings from the leading edge, where it can sit — and sometimes mildew.   (I don’t drive faster than that when we are towing because the CR-V doesn’t want to be towed faster than 60 — so I usually cruise at 55.  Not a bad speed for a retiree.)

2013070207044001We haven’t had the awning out much this summer yet — high winds aren’t friendly winds.  But the one time we did have it out I realized the awning needed a little love.  So yesterday morning we gave them all a little love and the big one a LOT of love.  She looks a lot better now.  This early this morning shot gives you an idea.  Maybe later in the day I’ll take one when there aren’t shadows on the coach, but it was nice getting out in the low 60 degree sun to capture this shot!

I had the entire basement empty — several times — and I moved a bunch of things around.  And around.  And around. Figuring out the most efficient way of storing things, and trashing some of them in the process seems to have no better formula than trying them all out and seeing how much space you have after each attempt.  All that packing and unpacking took the better part of a beautiful day to accomplish.  But…  When I was finished we had less stuff and more room.

I’m sure everything will not continue to live where it is right now.  I will keep looking for better solutions for the next few months or more. That’s just who I am.  For example, I woke in the middle of the night to realize that my drill bits were now living in a place that will require several other containers to be removed before I can get at them.  But seeing how often I use some items will be a big clue in deciding how accessible they need to be.

On a Not So Positive Note

computer woesVerizon is still not done troubleshooting my broadband issue. They started a trouble ticket — for all that means to a customer — and they are supposed to have engineers “looking at it.” It’s going on three days now.

I get some slow, sporadic service using my iPhone as a hotspot. It’s not great and isn’t the right way to fix the problem. But I’ll write this morning’s post using what I have.

We moved here on Wednesday, I had good service Wed through Saturday morning and since then bupkiss!  I upgraded my MiFi device — I had the upgrade coming anyway — but the new device gets less of a signal than my old MiFi, or my iPhone — chances are good that this MiFi is going back to the store!


13070121110146 13070121120252
We are both plowing ahead in our reading. Peg has moved on to another in the Jan Karon series, and I have moved on to another by Lawrence Sanders.

I saw that I have several more Sanders books down there in the bottom of my nightstand — a location also coming to be known as our “Library.”  I might try to get through some/most of them before I turn to our good friend William Shakespeare..

Old Diary

Spice Shelf Mods

inviting-journeyI cannot say I have been dissatisfied with the storage in Journey , but I have found that for the kind of food items we store I needed some different storage than Winnebago provided for me. To this end, my son in law also fabricated me three additional shelves for the sliding panty.  You can see these in place here:
Revised Pantry
My reason for the changing here relates to our use of herbs and spices.  The original Winnebago pantry has several shelves each with a front retaining panel the same height — about 3″  That means that what ever you store on those shelves needs to be lifted or tilted UP at least that 3″ in order get them out of the shelf.
My spice bottles are much smaller than that — most are only 2″ high to begin with. That means I would need about 6″ of shelf height in order to store 2″ high containers.
My solution was shelves with shorter front retaining panels
Larger items will go in the storage along the roof line above the sofa or dinette.  That is where we were storing the spices/herbs last summer and it will be much easier to swap locations between larger and smaller items.

RV Living

Storage Modifications

inviting-journeyWe bought Journey in part because she would give us enough storage for my photo boxes.  The gear is not all that heavy, but it needs protection — making it much more cumbersome and larger than if we could just chuck it all into a rucksack.

We settled on Journey in part because of her sofa and the below seating storage she offered (as compared with a Class B or Class C).  None of the other class RV’s seemed to solve our storage needs.

I’ll talk about this more in time but for now let me say it’s still a project under evaluation.  It’s kind of hard wrapping my head around where to put things — specially when we aren’t in her full time.