Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

New Jersey Shore to Elmira NY

July 20 - 29, 2013

Saturday the 20th we were with many NJ friends at a Birthday party for Risa and one of Chas’ friends Tim.  We all met at the Memphis Pig Out restaurant in Atlantic Highlands and then after dinner we went to karaoke at Bahr's in Highlands NJ.  Then after Bahr's Patty and I stayed the night in our old rental house with friends Michele and Tom.  Patty and I were just a bit hung over the next morning but we made it back to our RV in time for a nap :)

Bahr's entrance
Monday the 22nd we rode our bikes on the Hudson trail for a 10 mile trip.  There was just one bridge washed out on this end of the trail where we needed to go around it on the road.  
Tuesday the 23rd I washed the RV for the first time since we were in Florida 2 months ago.  The RV really doesn’t get very dirty unless we pull it on wet roads which we did a lot in the past couple of months.  For me washing the RV is about a 4 hour job.

Wednesday the 24th I played some golf with Rob who’s driveway we are parked in.  It was a great weather day for golf with low humidity and moderate temperatures.  This is only the 2nd time I have played golf in the past year.  I still shot a sort of respectable score of 105.  At least for me it was respectable.

Wednesday evening my daughter Jennifer and her husband Christian came over to the RV for dinner.  This was their first time seeing the RV.  I didn’t realize that Jennifer has worked at the same company now for 23 years!  I’m not sure but I think that makes me feel old.   Not really! It does make me feel proud that my daughter has stuck with something that long.  We had a very good visit and called it a night around 10:30 as Jennifer works in the morning :(

Thursday the 25th we just did odds and ends and just chilled most of the day.

Friday the 26th Chas and Lisa came over for breakfast as it was the last visit Patty could have with hi. We also went out for dinner with friends Michele and Tom.  We went to a restaurant they recommended in Shrewsbury NJ.  It was a small Italian place called San Remo.  It turned out to be very good and we had a great time again with our friends.

Saturday the 27th was our last full day in NJ and we had a lot of things to do.  In the morning we needed to attend a viewing for one of my work friend’s, Tom, whose wife died this week. I didn’t know his wife Carol too well but we had met here a couple of times over the past 20 years.  After the viewing we headed to the beach to be with a large gathering of our beach friends.  

Way out in the distance you can see the crowd at Gunnison Beach on Sandy Hook.  Yes, we walk that far!
Then after a few hours on the beach we attended a Luau party in Atlantic Highlands at friends Mike and Dale's.  This party was also a going away party for Mike and Dale as they are moving to North Carolina in 2 weeks.  Mike and Dale have been a fixture in the beach life for a great many of us for the past 25 or so years.  This is definitely the end of an era for the Sandy Hook beach crowd.  

We saw so many people at the Luau that we would not have seen if it wasn't for the party.  Writing this makes me just a little sad as I think of all the memories of past events and trips we have taken with this group and Mike and Dale over the years that will not continue.  However, life goes on and we all have new adventures ahead of us yet.  One of which will be when we meet up with Mike and Dale next year at their new place when we are planning to travel the East coast.

Sunday the 28th we packed it in and left NJ around 11:30 am.  We said our “see you laters” and thank yous to our hosts and good friends Cindy and Rob.  So bittersweet.

All was going well until it wasn’t on the trip from NJ to Elmira NY.  At 2 pm on I 380 just 3 miles south of Scranton PA the Tire Pressure Monitor started to sound off.  This was our first real alarm from this system.  It was the first tire on the passenger side of the RV that was losing pressure quickly. 

The tires are inflated to 80 psi and were probably around 90 psi due to the heat of traveling.  The monitor started when the pressure was at 71 psi.  As I was looking around to get a quick check on traffic around me to start to pull off the road the monitor was giving readings of 71, 69, 60 so the pressure was in fact going down but not enough to cause real damage.  
By the time I was stopped and off the road the pressure was 50 psi.  We went back to check the tire and we could hear the air going out and I could feel the spot where the air was coming from.  It seems that this was a puncture and not a tire defect, I think.  I will find out more when I have Goodyear look at it.

We called our roadside emergency service company, Coach-Net to have the tire changed and the spare put on.  We felt that the service was a little slow as we were just a few miles from a population center, Scranton PA.  It took the service people 75 minutes to arrive and 30 minutes to change the tire.  We were back on the road in just under 2 hours.  I had the tools to do this and it would have taken me an hour. However, that hour is me already knowing that there wasn’t something else wrong.  Anyway, we pay for the service and we were in no hurry, so why not have them do it.

Passenger side RV tire has a pin size hole in the side wall.

The service guy getting the spare tire down.

Just a few words about the tire pressure monitoring system. The system cost us around $500 with me doing the install last year.  After reading all of the horror stories about tire blowouts and the testimonials about having a tire monitoring system I knew we needed this.  If nothing else it would be for peace of mind knowing that the tires are not in trouble while we are running down the road.  This incident was one of the scenarios that I bought the system for; a road puncture. Having this system allowed me to get off the road and stopped before the tire catastrophically destroyed itself. From the truck I don’t think we would have known the tire was leaking until either I happened to look back and see smoke or another driver came up and started pointing back.  The tire would have shredded and damaged the rig as well as over loading the other tires.  That $500 was one of the best investment we made!

We arrived at our site, Newtown Battlefield State Park, in Elmira NY around 6pm.  The site has only electric, but it is 50 amp service.  We didn’t realize that the site didn’t have water so we were not prepared with having our fresh water tank filled before got here.  There were no rangers around and the map didn’t show any water stations.  The park does have a dump station with non-potable water.  We backed the rig up to the non-potable water and put a few gallons in just get us through the night.

This is our site at the Newtown Battlefield State park in Elmira NY.  I thought this was a great picture that I took our first morning here.  The battlefield monument is to the left.

Our longtime friends Sandy and Jim came over while we were still setting up.  They waited as we finished setting up and then we had a good night of catching up.
Monday the 29th I made a call to the nearest Goodyear tire dealer to get a replacement.  The dealer didn't have one but would get one in the morning for a cost of $175 installed.  Installed means on the rim, not on the trailer.  Once I get the installed tire I will install it on the rig.  I plan to use the hydraulic levelers to install the wheel.  We will see how well that goes.  I am planning that job to take about an hour from removing the spare, installing the old wheel with the new tire, and putting the spare back under the rig.  Next Blog I’ll let you know how that goes. Braking news, I am just finishing this Blog after I finished the tire change.  It took me 40 minutes to complete the job.  It is really pretty easy.  

Patty and I took a 2 mile hike on one of the trails later Monday morning.  This State park is the site of the Newtown battle during the Revolutionary war.  It was fought between the Americans against the British and the Iroquois Indians. It’s a very peaceful park on a hill overlooking the Chemung Valley to the south.  The park is just south of the Finger Lakes.

We will be here in Elmira until the 30th Wednesday.  We then head up to the Buffalo Area and specifically North Tonawanda to Colton RV to have some warranty work done. We are having our outside steps replaced and an arm on one of the recliners replaced as well as some other adjustments. The RV dealer has an onsite area to camp while we are there so we are planning on 2 nights. Then we will stay at a commercial campground on Grand Island NY for 10 days and visit with Patty’s family.

Stay Tuned!

Poconos to our original start point in Keyport New Jersey

July 09 - 20 Saturday, 2013   

So, after our friends left the resort we mostly just relaxed and enjoyed the peace and quiet.  One day we walked the nature trail and another we walked the entire resort.  I got play a couple more water volleyball sets and Patty did a couple of Karaokes.  Then it was time to pick up and get ready to leave for NJ.

Teepee along the nature trail at Sunny Rest Resort

Eazy trail, the one we took.  About 2 miles.

Hard trail.

Friday July 12th we hitched up the RV and took off for Keyport NJ where we originally started our RV life.  Keyport is about 110 miles from our site in the Poconos so it was a very short pull.  We didn’t, however, do a real good job of making the best of the short trip.  The biggest mistake was not topping off the fuel tank before we left.  I had just under a half tank that should get me 130 miles and I only needed to get 110.  Yah, I know, doesn’t leave much room for error.  So then the error happened.  I didn’t realize that the exit for I78 and US22 were the same exit so I drove past the exit that I should have taken.  This added about 30 miles to the trip and with many stop lights to use up more fuel. 

Now I needed to get fuel in NJ with the RV connected to the truck.  I really don’t like getting fuel with the RV connected to the truck.  We found a Flying J which we have a credit card with to get some of their high priced fuel.  We got this card just for this purpose as the card gives us a $.06 per gallon discount.  This makes their expensive fuel at least tolerable. Just a note about using Flying Js and their cousin Pilot, they are truck stops so I know they can handle our rig once I pull off to get fuel.   Other cheaper gas stations have diesel but most we can’t get into or out of with the RV attached.  There is nothing worse than to pull off the highway and waste time and fuel trying to find an accessible gas station.  One of the bad things about truck stops (and it happened this time) is that they can be very slow.  Truckers use a lot of the time at the fuel stop to stretch and go to the bathroom and whatever. We waited behind a truck for ½ hour before we got to the pump.  So now the 110 mile 2 hour trip took us 4 hours.  We still arrived before a lot of the Friday  rush hour shoretraffic on the Parkway.  

Just a little about where we are here in Keyport NJ.  We have great friends (Cindy and Rob) here that agreed a few years ago that we could park in their driveway when we were in the area.  There are really not any places to park close to the shore in north/central NJ.  Last year, before we got the RV, they shared the cost with us to have 50A RV service put in their driveway for us.  For their share, they will ultimately use the service for a hot tub someday in the future.

Our site in Rob and Cindy's driveway in Keyport NJ

After arrival, Patty’s son Chas came over for a visit.  It had been 7 months since they were together. We later went to see his new apartment which is now in Keyport; he was in New Brunswick.  This apartment is so much nicer than the old one.

Saturday the 13th we went to a pig roast at our friends Dan and Diane’s house in Vernon NJ about 70 miles north and west from Keyport.  We decided to get a hotel room close so we didn’t need to drive back after we had too much fun!  The pig roast was also a birthday party for Dan.  They really do a very nice event!  Thanks to Dan and Diane for the invitation and the good time.

The pig roaster

The pig being roasted.  Nice tan there Pig!

Live music at the pig roast
Sunday the 14th started the heat wave here with 7 days above 90.  We have had 2 days at 100 this week as well! This weather has been much more oppressive that anything we had in Florida, at least up to the 2nd week in June down there.

Monday the 15th we had a service appointment with a local RV dealer to get the wheel bearings repacked and to have the fridge handles replaced under warranty.  The appointment was at 8:15 am and was about 25 miles away so we left at 7 am to get there.  We did really good and arrived at 7:50 am.  They open at 8am and there was already a small crowd waiting to check-in once they opened.  I made this appointment 3 months ago because I know it is usually very difficult to get in to a dealer for anything in the summer in the Northeast.  We wanted more stuff done under warranty but we were unable a month ago to add any work to the appointment.  We are now getting the other stuff done in upstate New York next month.  We were done and back to Keyport by noon the same day.

Our RV house waiting for service in Lakewood NJ
Monday evening we went to a Melissa Etheridge concert at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank NJ.  We had great seats 17 rows from the stage directly in the center.  She really is a great performer.  She played the drums, piano, harmonica, and a 6, 12 and 18 string guitar (2 necks).  Since she "came out" years ago her audience was made up of a lot of lesbians which we are fine with.  It's just that now we were in the minority.  It was a great show, we not disappointed.

Very hard to take pictures of her with all of the lights on her

Tuesday the 16th was a domestic chore day.  We got a months’ worth of laundry done and got food shopping out of the way for a while.  After helping get the laundry into the Laundromat I went around the corner and did the food shopping.  I was wheeling the food out to the truck when Patty called and said she was done with the laundry, great timing!  Both chores completed in less than 2 hours and again back to the rig and out of the heat by noon.

This is how we keep track of stuff we need when we go shopping.  Before we go out I take a picture with my phone and we use that as our list.  Looks like I wrote most of those due to the handwriting 
Wednesday the 17th we drove to Chas’s store (Batteries Plus) to get a new battery for our portable inverter.  We are planning to use it connected to either the truck batteries or the RV battery to watch TV when we boondock at the Albuquerque NM balloon festival in October.  This is our cheap way to just slightly boondock.   We just want the ability to watch a little TV if we want to without the generator at night.

That evening we went to the free beach concert at Sandy Hook.  The wind was coming off the ocean so it very nice to be there.  We met up some friends, John and Diana and had a great time with Country Rock music.

Patty and Diana at the beach concert

The stage with the nice sunset.
Looking back at the crowd at the beach concert

Thursday the 18th we went to the beach for the first time since last year.  We were a little apprehensive as the temperature was going to be 100 with the wind coming off of land most of the day.  This could mean we have the sand flies to deal with as well as the high temperature.  For those that don’t know about the beach we go to, it’s named Gunnison and it is located on the National Park Sandy Hook AKA Fort Hancock.  Gunnison is sanctioned by the national park service as clothing optional.  Since it is clothing optional it is located very far from the other beaches in the park.  The ocean is located about a mile from the parking lot and most of that distance is sand.  This walk is sometimes referred to as the heart attack hike and today with 100 degree air temperature and the sand temperature at 125 degrees, it certainly lived up to that! Patty even got a heat blister on her toe.

We drove through Highlands NJ the town where we were renting before we moved into the RV.  This town was under 9 feet of ocean water during the Hurricane Sandy.  Note the sign on the now abandoned house.

Thats our flag shadow in the foreground.  Picture taken from our chairs in the sand/water at Gunnison Beach on Sandy Hook NJ

We met up with old friends Paul, Warren, John, DJ, Yan, and Carl to name a few.  We had a great spot on the beach close enough to put your feet in the water. By the end of the day the wind was again coming off the water so it was very comfortable.  We finished the evening at a Karaoke bar, MJs with Cindy and Rob.

Friday the 19th I played golf with the group of friends that I worked with at New Jersey Transit.  I played with John, Tom G, Joe, Tom V, and Dan.  Again, the temperature was 100 degrees.  Funny thing was that we were just about the only people on the course on a Friday.  Seems nobody wanted to play golf when it is that hot.   We still had a great time and got caught up on each other’s lives. After the golf we retreated to a local pub and had an early dinner with a few brews!  All is good!  PS: Paul, we missed you.

From left, Dan, Tom V, and Joe with the driver

From left, Tom G and John

Today, Saturday the 20th we plan to visit with Chas and go to birthday dinner for our friend Risa. Today is supposed to be the last day of the heat wave here.  This afternoon we are to get big thunderstorms as the cold from comes in.  We have the proverbial hatches battened down. 

Stay tuned!

Back to NJ and then to the Poconos

June 28 - July 09 Tuesday, 2013  

Friday June 28 we pulled the relatively short distance of 193 miles to our friends’ Debbie and Ian’s house in Franklinville, NJ.  During the trip, we started to smell battery acid inside the truck cab.  After we arrived at Debbie and Ian's we found out that our truck batteries were just not going to make it.  The driver side battery (truck has 2 batteries) was boiling with steam coming out.  I replaced the liquid with distilled water and hoped for the best.  

The next morning the batteries were completely dead. Ian and Rob both connected their trucks batteries to mine and finally we got enough power to start our truck.  I drove the truck to do some errands for about an hour.  After getting back I turned off the truck and it restarted without a problem. 

However, the next morning the batteries were completely dead again.  With the symptoms of boiling and batteries being drained that quickly, it's probably shorted cells in the battery(s). After having the batteries get very low back in Indiana, we were going to try to get to NJ to have Patty's son replace them.  We were still 2 weeks from having that done, but we needed to replace them now.  I called our emergency roadside service from Coach-Net and they sent someone to jump start me.  I then went to Pep Boys for replacements.

We were at Debbie and Ian's to help celebrate Debbie’s son Erik’s Graduation from college.   We moochdocked in their driveway for 3 nights.  This was our first time back in NJ with friends since December.  The next few weeks we will be catching up with friends and family from NJ and this was our first stop.

Our rig in Debbie and Ian's yard.
The radio station WMMR from Philadelphia came to hand out give aways at the party

Monday July 01, we pulled again a short distance of 112 miles from Franklinville, NJ to the Sunny Rest Resort in Palmerton, PA.  We made reservations here last year when we were here with friends before we had our RV.  This is a big RV and hotel resort sitting on 190 acres.  It is also relatively expensive for a long term stay at $79 a night (we will be here for 12 days).  This stay is mainly about getting together with friends so it really doesn't matter about the cost. 

Pool area at Sunny Rest

Our site at Sunny Rest
View from the campground of the Poconos

We are here with, at last count, 31 friends including us.  It was a great time!!  Debbie and Ian do the scheduling of meals and also host the “base camp” for the meals.  Each couple is responsible for a meal over the holiday weekend. It’s just a lot of fun.  This is our second year doing this and we have found that the working together for these meals really makes the friendship stronger.  It also makes for many, many, memories.  Thanks Deb and Ian for continuing to do this even though we know it can be trying at times.

This bear met us every day at the top of the trail from the pool

The irish pub in Jim Thorpe we had a dinner in with friends on Tuesday July 2
Another restaurant we had dinner with 11 of us on Wednesday night July 3rd.

Water falls with lots of fog that was just across the street from the Riverwalck Restaurant

Sunday and Monday July 07 and 08, we said goodbye to everybody as they were going back to work.  Now it is just us here at the resort.  Monday, after everyone left we just relaxed on our own.  For dinner we finally got to eat the fresh Jersey Tomatoes we bought just after we arrived in NJ last week.  We used the tomatoes to make BLOT sandwiches; the O is for onion by the way. Just love BLOTs!  We ended the day with a mile walk and then Patty sang a song at Karaoke at the resort bar Streakers.

Tuesday the 9th I played a good 1.5 hours of water volleyball in the morning.  That was a pretty good workout.  I love playing water volleyball and now that the resort is much less crowded it’s much more fun.  Patty went to the town of Jim Thorpe to an urgent care place to have a rash on her arm looked at.  It was determined that she had contact dermatitis. We are thinking it may have come from the very crowded swimming pool here at the resort over the weekend.  The pool was very warm and had, I’m guessing, 200 people in it at any given time.  We ended the day with T-bones on the grille and then a visit to the hot tub.

Tomorrow it supposed to rain most of the day so we will most likely just chill out in the RV with a movie, book, and a nap.  

Life is good!
Stay tuned!