Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spotty Internet Access

We have been having slight problems with having a consistant and reliable connection.  We are working on remedying this and hopefully will be able to post again soon

Friday, August 10, 2012

End of an Era

This excerpt is pulled from the blog and begins as follows:

Occam's Razor By andyj, on August 10th, 2012

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Just been mighty weary the last few days with new restrictions that must be followed under threat of dismissal. The Message Forums that were just toddling toward a first anniversary were really starting to develop some old school character. A spirit of true benevolent volunteerism, a pervading attitude of step up and pay it forward whenever possible and overall unselfish nature were pleasing to my mind. Took ten months of fairly intense activity on mine and Miss Kathy’s end to get it up and running before it was murdered by yet another smothering layer of bureaucracy. It was not an easy decision to pull the plug on such a promising and rewarding project. Pleas were made to just make some adjustments and continue the Forum.

Read the rest here

Iowa to Texas... Day 2

I promised awhile back that I would write about our trip from Iowa to Texas I am not writing this as a manual or how-to guide, this is just to document parts of our journey. I can not and/or will not recommend that anyone takes a 35 year old motor home and attempts a trip like this one particularly in the summer months. Whenever Toie and I travel with more than one vehicle, we make use of a pair of 22 channel handi-talkies. We have found that they are easier and safer than fumbling with a cell phone and I highly recommend them when traveling with multiple vehicles

We awoke to a beautiful morning at the Stanton, Missouri KOA. One of the things we really liked was that even though it is situated close to I-44, we couldn't hear the traffic. It hit me like a ton of bricks what we were doing that morning, taking a relatively untested vehicle on a trip that still had about a thousand miles left in it. Toie and I talked about it and i finally calmed my nerves enough to begin the second leg of our journey.

After we broke camp, we made a quick run along the frontage road back to the Flying J in Sullivan to refuel. Once back out on the road we quickly got back into a nice pace moving with traffic quite nicely. When we neared Fort Leonard Wood traffic started to pick up quite a bit and we decided that if we were going to stop, we would wait until we put a few miles between us and the military base.

If you haven't ever driven I-44 through Missouri it really is a beautifully scenic drive, I found myself enjoying the landscape and the easy drive that the highway affords. We ended up making a quick stop near Lebanon, Missouri so that Moe could stretch his legs and Toie wanted to take a break and get herself a fresh fountain soda. The issue I had on our first day with the brakes dragging seemed to have cleared up. Everything was working wonderfully, we continued towards our stop in Joplin.

We reached Joplin early in the day and again our campground of choice was close to the highway,we had decided earlier that we would stay at the KOA just off of I-44 and that decision ended up being quite serendipitous. When I exited the highway and applied the brakes I heard that heart-sickening sound of metal on metal.  I nursed the RV to the campground and then set out to find out what my options were to get us fixed up and back on the road.

I had to let the rv cool for a bit before I could crawl under it and take a look at the front brakes.  It was just as I had feared, the drivers side brake pads were worn to the metal backing on the pads. I had sold the bulk of my tools a few months before leaving Iowa and I was seriously regretting that decision at this moment.  We quickly combed the listings on Google for a mobile mechanic (I did not want to move the rv and risk damaging the front rotors) and found one that did mobile rv repair. A few phone calls back and forth and it was agreed that I would run and get the parts due to the fact that the mechanic thought he may be late arriving and since I have 20+ years automotive parts experience, I could get exactly what I wanted. 

Jeff arrived around 7pm and got right to work.  The left side had completely worn the inner pad and the outer was on its last legs.  If you are ever in the Joplin area and need any kind of repair, I highly recommend Jeff and I am providing his contact information at the end of this post.  Luck would have it that we got away with just hanging a new set of pads, but the next time the front wheels come off I will be replacing the left front caliper and may also do the rotors as well. While not very damaged, the left front rotor did end up with a little scoring on the inside surface.

Parts and labor came to LESS than $160.00 and like I said earlier, Jeff was excellent,  he fit us into his schedule last minute and was friendly and we got extremely lucky by finding him.

JR mobile RV repair.
Phone #

To be continued....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The trip. Day One

I promised awhile back that I would write about our trip from Iowa to Texas.  I am not writing this as a manual or how-to guide, this is just to document parts of our journey.  I can not and/or will not recommend that anyone takes a 35 year old motorhome and attempts a trip like this one particularly in the summer months. Whenever Toie and I travel with more than one vehicle, we make use of a pair of 22 channel handi-talkies.  We have found that they are easier and safer than fumbling with a cell phone.

Our first day was planned out and mapped months in advance. the only thing that changed was our choice of campgrounds.  We went from Ainsworth, Iowa to Stanton, Missouri, a trip of about 250 miles, in the course of about 6 hours. We fueled the car and the motorhome at Four Corners in Ainsworth at about 9am and proceeded on our way. I probably didn't start to relax until we were south of Mount Pleasant, when the rv and I finally seemed to get into our groove. The rest of our trip out of Iowa went smoothly. On trips south we always seem to stop at the Flying J just south of the Iowa-Missouri border on US61 and this time was no different. When we stopped the old beast had been running quite well, the temperature gauge showed in the good range, oil pressure was good and the charging system was working top-notch.  I did notice that there was a slight drag to the brakes when we pulled out and got back on the highway, but once underway everything seemed fine. We did not travel through St.Louis instead we chose to leave US 61 at Wentzville and travel the two lane highways to St. Clair, where we picked up I-44.  Taking this route saved us about 90 miles and avoided the heavy traffic around St. Louis.  The first road (Highway W) was somewhat of a challenge being that it was quite narrow AND heavily traveled by large truck traffic. With portion of Highway W we traveled being only about 13 miles, it had to be the worst stretch of road we traveled this whole trip.  In addition to being narrow, the road subjected myself and the rv to quite a bit of rough treatment, The posted speed limit of 55 is much to fast for certain parts of this road, a lesson I quickly learned when everything started flying around behind me.  I have to admit that other than a few issues with the road condition, the scenery was beautiful and I wouldn't hesitate to drive this section again in a much smaller vehicle. Once we crossed I-70, the two lane highways became much smoother and scenic. Washington, Missouri was quite a treat, especially driving over the bridge coming into the city.  We made a quick stop so that I could check the torque of the lugnuts and were quickly on our way once again.  Once we made it to I-44 I made a beeline to the Flying J in Sullivan so that we could scout out a place to spend the night.  We decided on th KOA in Stanton because of its easy access to I-44.  The KOA was wonderful, we were treated to a nice quiet spot  in the rear, away from most of the other campers.

To be continued.....

Friday, August 3, 2012

Food and other happenings

I have been trying to post for the last few days with no success.  Our internet access has been a little spotty again, I may have to upgrade to a directional antenna for the Wilson Cell Booster.  I have to say that I am more than impressed with its performance thus far considering the nearest sprint tower is about 30 miles away.

I mentioned in a previous post about the food being delivered to the site for the "frack" crew.  The meals we received were absolutely amazing. In addition to the bbq pork chops and chicken & sausage we were blessed with steak, meatloaf, hamburgers and crawfish ettoufle(sp).  That doesn't include the bbq sandwich that was given to me by one of the vendors.  While we only had catering in once a day there are gates that see them multiple times a day.  The amount of food contained in these meals was plentiful and quality was excellent.   I can't imagine what the guards that have catering come through more than once a day do with all that food.

I finally talked Toie into getting one of those "Magic Bullet" blenders that you see on tv.  Its great, its small size makes it a cinch to store and its power requirements are small at 250 watts so it can be easily run off of a 400 watt inverter.  While not suited for any "heavy" blending, it does exactly what they advertise.

We had a casualty yesterday when we had a dust devil collide with our easy-up that was next to the rv. Other than the easy up frame being destroyed and a small dent in the side of the rv there was no damage.  I did have to get up on the roof to disentangle a few extension cords that had wrapped themselves around the refridgerator vent.  Toie is much more upset over it than I am, my reasoning being that I would much prefer to have a 99 dollar easy up destroyed by the wind than a 500 dollar awning that would have caused some real damage had it flipped over the rv.

We have had temperatures in the triple digits over the past few days so I have been going inside at about 2pm and just listening for the bell until about 7:30 and then coming back outside to stay.  The evenings here are just wonderful, we have had a gentle breeze most evenings and it makes it so pleasant to just sit outside.

Yesterday during my shift and not long after the easy up was destroyed I had the pleasure of seeing the ugliest cow i have ever seen.  There is a pasture that is right behind the rv and  I  walked around to open the dump valve and was quite surprised to find some cattle so close to us.  I have seen them in the adjoining pastures but never behind the rv.

I'm gonna post this before I lose it again...

Have a GREAT day!!!!