Sunday, October 31, 2010

You are not going to believe this.....BUT

We found the nicest COE here in Arkansas.  Now, it is called "Toad Suck Park"....I kid you not, that is it's name. 
 The back of our campsite overlooking the Arkansas River
 Another view of our site.  There is nice spacing between most of the campsites.  We have water and electric here and because Billy is a senior.....we have it all for $10 per night.
Here is a photo of the dam and lock.  
Another bit of interesting info for you....we decided to stop at at walmart yesterday in Searcy, AK yesterday.  I programed it into our GPS....who we affectionately call the "B---H" (you get the picture) and took the exit she called out.  Turned right, again following her direction.  Next thing we know she is telling us that we have arrived.....NOT....not a walmart in sight.  We had to find a parking lot large enough to turn around in.  I got on my iphone and found the walmart and this time programed the address.  This time the "B---H" got us going in the right direction, but again proclaimed we had arrived well before we spotted the walmart sign. is the big thing...when we turned into the entrance we were greeted with one of those height restrictive barriers like you see for parking garages.  Seems this walmart does not want truck or rv traffic.  I have to admit the place was absolutely packed...looked like "black Friday", we would not have found a place to park even if we could get in.  There were probably 4 different entrances and all had the height restrictive barriers.  Needless to say, we boogied on down the road.  Sorry, I didn't think to get photos....I guess I was a bit in shock over the whole thing. 
Any...who, we are kicked back and relaxing her at Toad Suck's Park......which by the way definitely does not SUCK!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tire Blows....but all is well

Yesterday's travel day was one scary day, but we did fine!  About two hours into our travel and BAM!  We lost the passenger side front tire on the rv.  Billy immediately pulled off to the shoulder.  Here is what we found upon inspection.
 This is a photo I took on the side of the road.  We put out our hazard triangles, put on the flashers and put on the spare.  All I can say is thank goodness we had those Big Foot Jacks installed.  They sure made lifting the fifth wheel simple.  We didn't even need to unhook from the truck.  God was indeed smiling down on us...we had a good level shoulder and the tire that blew was not roadside.
 Again, very lucky on damage as well.  Here you see the wiring that was hit.  Fortunately all it took out was some wiring to a running light....everything else looked untouched.
 This is a photo of more damage to the outside of the fifth wheel.  It is not pretty, but could have been so much worse.

Once our spare was on, I got on the internet and found a tire shop that handled Goodyear tires.  We were sure we would have to order one, but the folks at Raben Tire in the small town of Poplar, MO happen to have six of them in stock.  Within the hour, we had a new tire back on the fifth wheel.  We decided to go ahead and stop for the night....we had enough excitement for one day.  We stayed at Bullwinkle's RV park.  Once we were set up....we headed into town to get a bite to eat.  Found an Applebees, guess what DAD they had 99cent margaritas....guess they knew it was toddy time!  And boy oh boy, I sure needed that toddy!  So thankful that the day ended well....

Friday, October 29, 2010

Marion, Illinois

Here we are at the Marion Campground and RV Park in Marion, Illinois.   Not a bad place for an overnight stop.  Most of the sites are close together, but most are also pull throughs.  GoodSam got us the night for $29.00, full hook ups.  Sometime after dark another fifth wheel took the spot directly behind us.  Turned out to be an Americana.  So, this morning we introduced ourselves.  Their unit is brand new....just picked it up in Elkhart and are headed to Florida.  They are starting out just like we did.....this is their first rv and they are going full time.  I gave them my blogspot info and also turned them on to RV-Dreams.  That is one of the things I just love about this just never know who you are going to meet out here on the road!

We left the river yesterday around 11am, which is pretty good for us.  We had been sitting there a long time, so getting back into travel mode took a little time.  There is a long lane we have to back our way out of and once Bill cleared the lane, I stood there looking back.....thinking about all the good times we had this past summer.  How lonely the place looks now....quiet and still...but we are on our adventures await!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bed Project

With the wiring project behind us, we now move forward to 'beefing' up our bed frame.  We have long known that the floor in the under bed storage area was sagging.  We also know that the plywood on which the bed lies is also in need of more support.  The guys in Elkhart thought they had solved that problem by simply reinforcing the plywood top with a 2x4 screwed across the underside.  Well, it did stiffen up the plywood top, but it also added weight.  So much weight that raising the top was difficult...even with the hydraulic arms.  Here is what we found.......and what we did........
This is what we found under the storage bed floor.  
Hopefully you can see by the photo.....but all they had supporting the bed floor was about 3/4 inch of wood strip stapled into the bed frame.  The staples were even starting to pull free.  
We removed their wood, added a support from below and then nailed a 1 x 2 into it's place.  We also added supports running across the entire frame.  Then laid the floor on top and nailed everything together.
This is the completed floor.  Now we are going to use joist hangers at the foot of the bed to hold the 2x4's we are installing for added support for the plywood top.  The other end of the 2x4's could be screwed into the frame.
Here is the finished product.  The floor is now stable and the 2x4's support the plywood above.  Now I can easily lift the bed to reach the storage....where I can actually store stuff now and not worry the floor will fail. 

One more project we can check off the to do list.  We had planned on leaving here on Wednesday, but the weather has taken a turn for the worse.  A cold front came through this morning and although we survived the rain and thunderstorm, the wind has now become an issue.  They are forecasting winds which could gust up to 70 miles an hour for the rest of today and tomorrow.  Pulling a 40 foot fifth wheel through that kind of wind could be disastrous.  So, we will stay put til Thursday.  I noticed the weather in Phoenix was sunny and in the 80's today.....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What a Day!

So, I know you are asking.....just how did I spend my 53rd birthday.  No, I didn’t spend the day in my easy chair reading a good book.  Nor did I eat b-day cake, chocolates, or smell the roses.  I and my darling husband took on yet another project in our fiver.  We spent the first part of the day in demolition phase....scary stuff.....especially when you just don’t know what you might find lurking within those ‘hollow’ walls.  You see, our inverter control panel stopped responding.  The inverter was was either the panel itself or the wiring that was bad.  The wiring consist of nothing more than a standard  phone cord.....the kind you plug into the wall and then into the phone.  Bill first removed and unplugged the inverter control panel, took it down to the basement, and using a new phone cord plugged it into the inverter.  Good news....everything lit up just as it is supposed too!  Now we know.....bad wiring is the culprit.  Running a new wire seemed simple enough.  Billy used his “fish tape”....for you novices out there in handyman land, fish tape is nothing more than a roll of thin, flat tin.  He attached one end of the bad phone cord to the fish tape and began slowly pulling the other end.  With any luck the old phone cord comes through to the other side with the fish tape still attached....then you simply reverse the process.  Attach the new cord to the fish tape and pull it through.  No such luck for us.....he did manage to get the new cord through, but it was damaged in the process.  When he tried to pull the now damaged cord snapped.  We both sat there, scratching our heads, and finally decided we would have to remove the entire wood panel to expose the wiring and put in the new cord. Once we removed all the trim pieces we discovered that part of the wood panel extended back behind the refrigerator.  How stupid is easy access to a ton of wires.  Wires that feed not only our inverter, but our slides, tank monitors, lighting.....a whole host of things.  We decided we would take a box cutter and cut the panel close to the corner where it meets the frig.  SUCCESS! 
 We now had all the wiring exposed.  What a mess!  Plus a whole bunch of exposed screw points....from the stuff that was attached to the front of the wood panel.  Looked like an accident waiting to happen to us.  More bad news.....the wires all take a sharp left turn, then disappear behind the side of the frig before reappearing under the frig and out to the basement.  To make a long, long story somewhat shorter. 
This photo shows the new hole....the one with the white cord hanging out of it
Billy drilled a new hole through the floor down to the basement.  Of course, this was no easy task.  He didn’t have a long enough drill bit so he had to drill from top side and then from bottom side.....hoping the two would meet somewhere in the middle.  Meanwhile, our shower is just behind this panel we are drilling I am envisioning the drill bit rearing it’s ugly head through the floor or side wall of our shower at any moment.....did I tell you this was my birthday?  Well, all is well that end’s well!  We got the hole drilled, ran the new cord, re-bundled some wires, took care of those nasty screw points, and put everything back together.  Everything works and all that is left is replacing some trim work.  WHAT A DAY!  A long day, we didn’t eat supper till around 8pm that evening.  Since “murphy’s law” is alive and well in the Goode household, we spent the rest of the evening waiting for sparks to fly out from the panel and to be left in total darkness!  Fortunately, Murphy took a day off and we still have power!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Time to Leave.....bittersweet

The time to head west is fast approaching.  I have to admit, as much as I am ready to go, a big part of me is sad to leave.  This past week we have spent a lot of time at the house with our grandson and his mom.  We have both so enjoyed spending time we them and having them so close is going to be very hard to say good-bye.  Last night Triston and his mom and I all went to the "Boo at the Zoo" event held here at the local park.  It is geared toward kids Triston's age ( 6) and we all just had such fun.  Even standing in line 45 minutes to ride the spooky train.....wasn't too bad.  The train ride was worth it.  Along the path of the train they had set up active fairy tales for you to enjoy.  For example, the big bad wolf huffing and puffing to blow down the 3 little pigs straw and wood homes.  Just too cute!

We had originally planned to be on our way by this Monday.  We are both re-thinking that date.  We have all our 'appointments' done and out of the way, but we still need to re-pack the basement of the fiver and finish cleaning out the garage at the house.  The garage cleaning has been put off for way to long and this year and we need to be able to house two cars instead of one.  We got most of the cleaning and sorting done yesterday, just a bit more today and that job will be done.  Then we can turn our attention to the fiver.  Besides re-packing the basement, we need to do some repair work on our bed frame.  One of the hydraulic hinges came loose from the frame.  Upon closer inspection, we decided the whole bed frame needs a bit of repair and added support.  We both want to have that done before we head down the road.  So.....I'm thinking we will leave Tuesday at the earliest and hopefully Wednesday at the latest.  There is a chill in the air.....and more on the way......

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fiver Decor

I finished these projects up a little while ago, but had not had a chance to post some photos.
A photo of my current bedroom decor......the new roman shades and valances are up, as well as the addition of the green pillows.  Now all I have to do is change out the dull beige set of pillows for something a little more fitting.  I'm thinking of actually painting pillows with some tropical flowers or lizards....something fun and colorful!
 My next project was to make a slip cover for my Art-Cart.  It is a nice cart and holds almost all my art supplies, but I just didn't like having all that out into the open in the living room.  Soooooo........
 Here you see the slip cover I made....the skirt is held by velcro to the cabinet and the little topper just lays over the top.  Easy on and easy off.....and now the piece blends in with my living room decor.
Of course, I won't be stopping here.  My little decorator brain is still hard at work with more schemes and dreams....much to the dismay of my darling husband.  Gotta love me.....don't ya deary.....LOL!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Here we are at the Middlebury KOA.  Nice park....just overpriced like most KOAs, but it was convenient.  I have lived in Indiana most of my life and had never been to Shipshewana.  I enjoyed the history about the Amish and the area, but hated the crowds.  I think we spent about 3 hours there before we were both hot, tired, and overwhelmed by humanity.  Back to the fiver we went.....nap time!  Today we head back to the river.  Billy has a doctor's appointment on the 19th of October....sometime shortly after we will be heading west....we think.

 Here is a photo of our new jacks with the Plug-It-Right Stabilizers installed.  They do make a difference and we highly recommend them.  Big Foot sells Plug-It-Right.
A photo of the new heavier leaf springs being installed....we had springs rated at 3500lbs replaced with springs rated at 4000lbs.  They also re-packed the bearings....good move on our part because one of them needed to be replaced.  That is one of the things I like about RV America...the guys check out everything as they go making sure it is all in good working order.  Before we left, Ron the owner, got under the coach one last time just to make sure everything was in order and looking good.  We were also pleased with our bill....very fair for the work rendered!  They don't have a website yet, so if any of you need contact info drop me an email and I'll send it along.  RV America is located in Elkhart, Indiana.
Here is a look at the rear fiberglass repair we had done....again excellent work at a fair price.  They will also be replacing that metal panel.  I'll post a photo of the completed work next time.  Guess I'd better post and get back to those "pink activities" so we can get hitched and head down the road!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Big Foot Install

It was a very long day for us and the furballs.  We were up around 4am so that we could  drop off the fiver at was cold and dark.  Hitching up and pulling out in the dark is no fun at all, but we did it.  The guys at Big Foot told us they would be done by 5pm.  We went for breakfast and then pretty much sat in the truck....taking the occasional nap, walking the furballs, and playing on the computer.  Big Foot does have a nice customer waiting area, but we didn't want to impose the furballs on any body but us.  The photo above shows the hydraulic lift they use to lift up the nose of the fiver while they were doing the install....pretty nifty!
 This is wild....the system can completely lift us up off the ground.....way cool!
 Look at that.....those hydraulic lifts can each lift 17,000 lbs.   and we got 4 of them!  We were only supposed to get 17's in the front and 12's in the back, but apparently they needed the extra lift height in the back so they had to go to the 17s.  The really neat thing....they didn't charge us any extra for the upgrade.
 A photo of all the gizmos and wires that make this all work.  Ha!  Don't ask me....long as it goes up and down that is all I care about....he, he

 I took this photo once we were back at RV America.  RV America is doing some other work for us.  They were quick to point out that the hydraulic lines that Big Foot installed need to be re-located.  You see, if the air bag would ever fail the frame would come down and poof.....the hydraulic lines would be squished big time.  Fortunately, we were having them replace our leaf springs so they went ahead and moved the lines to a better place.  Billy did call and give the folks at Big Foot a heads up about that....they offered to pay RV America for re-locating the lines.  We told them that was not necessary, but nice to have the offer.....shows they care about the work they do.
 And last, but not least.....the happy welder!  He sure does spend a lot of time on his back!

Overall it was a great experience.  Everyone at Big Foot was helpful and very nice.  We love the if Billy will ever hand over the control box....mama might have some fun!!  Oh....another big plus.  We can't believe how 'rock solid' the fifth wheel feels on the inside....almost no bounce at all.  I jumped up and down in the bedroom while Billy jumped up and down in the living room....firm as could be.....I only wish I were so firm...LOL!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Great Weekend

In spite of the cold temps.....we had a great weekend here at the river.  Family and friends gathered around the campfire.....just can't beat that!
Here is the photo of the completed painting of the little squirrel.....Braveheart.  At least I think it is finished,  I may have to teak this or that before I send it off to auction.  

Tomorrow will be spent getting the fiver ready for travel mode.  We have been sitting in one place for quite awhile.....ya kinda spread out a bit over time....he, he!  We also have been cleaning out the basement and putting that stuff in temporary storage.  We want to make sure the 'Big Foot' folks have plenty of room to do their thing.  We head out on Tuesday......I'll be posting updates on the install and I hope photos.