Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Jersey Shore Time

August 22 - 30, 2014   

Ah, it’s the Labor Day weekend at the Jersey Shore for us!  Well, anyway we were at the shore one of the weekend days, Saturday.  We go to a beach called Gunnison located on the Federal Recreation Area of Sandy Hook NJ. 

Gunnison is the only clothing optional beach in the NY/NJ metro area.  Due to its closeness to the NYC metro area, we had an estimated 5k people on the Saturday.  The beach has 4 parking lots as well as a passenger ferry from NYC to feed it.  In order to get a beach front area we needed to be there by 8 am.  Well, one of our friends went ahead of us and saved enough sand for about 10 of us who arrived later by 9:30 am.  Still, 9:30 am is pretty early for sitting on the beach.  As one would imagine, there are a lot of unusual sites and characters on this beach providing much entertainment!

I walked to end of the beach, about a mile one way and took this picture
looking back at the crowd.  Manhattan is in the background.

We started off the past week with a Luau party here at Cindy and Rob’s house on Saturday the 23rd.  The weather was a little iffy all day so they had a lower than expended turnout.  However, there was still over 40 people making it great for us to see and visit with many old friends.  We didn’t turn out the lights in the RV until 2:30 am!

Luau party.

Cindy serving cotton candy.

Me having a drink with probably the oldest of our beach friends.  Duke is 86 years old!

Patty with Jack.

Chas trying a hula hoop.

We made it to the beach a couple more times during the week.  We like the weekdays as they are much less crowded and we don’t need to get there so early.  We usually show up on the beach around noon and then stay for 3-4 hours.  A little note about this beach, it is about 1 mile from the closest parking lot to the beach ocean front.  Half of this walk is on soft sand so the walk, especially on very hot days, is referred to as the death march.  I just think of this my exercise for the day.

Wednesday of last week Rob and I got together with a couple of his friends for a round of golf.  I haven't played very much for sometime, maybe once every couple of months.  Anyway, that wasn't an excuse, but I didn't play very well.  I shot a 55 of the front 9 and then recovered a bit on the back with a 52. Usually, the 52 would be my high 9 but not this time. I just couldn't get consistent driving the ball and that is usually my strong suit.  Putting saved me this time.

Rob teeing off.

This past Friday the 29th we went with Patty's son car shopping.  As from the last post, his car was totaled and now he needs to get another one.  After looking at 3 different cars he chose a 2010 VW Jetta that was loaded with all of the bells and whistles.  The only problem is that the car has a manual transmission which he doesn't know how to drive.  I drove it for him for the test run. It was real fun car to drive!

First car Chas test drove.

Second car Chas tested.  Neither of these cars would be very good for NJ winters.

This past Saturday after the beach, we picked up Chas and his car for some driving lessons.  There is a large church parking lot behind where we are staying making it perfect for stick shift practice.  Mainly, there is only one real thing to learn with a manual transmission, starting from a stop.  
Shifting after moving is easy and you learn that pretty quick.

Chas with his purchase.

It just took about an hour for Chas to be pretty comfortable starting from a stop so we went for a drive on a secondary road with lots of stoplights and stop signs.  Now he was starting off with traffic behind him giving a little more stress.  He did fine with just a couple of stalls at first.  After another half hour he was ready to take the car back to his apartment without me.  Chas can now operate a manual transmission!

Last night we went out for Karaoke at Bahr's in the Highlands again.  This time we had the whole gang there. We had Rick and Pat and Billie Jo from Maryland, and Mike and Mandy.  Of course we had Cindy and Rob as they work the karaoke there.  It was fun evening/night.  Now just need to dry out a bit.

Billie Jo, Mandy, and Patty singing at karaoke .

Billie Jo, Pat, and Rick at Bahr's.

Patty and Michael doing duet.

I have a golf outing planned for Labor Day with my retired friend Tom from work.  Next week on Thursday we head back up to Buffalo for Patty's Nephew's wedding reception.  We are not taking the RV as we are only staying for 3 nights.

That's it for this edition.

Stay Tuned!

Arrived New Jersey, Beach, Family Auto Issues

August 12 - 21, 2014   

Well, here we are in New Jersey where our full time RV life started a little over 2 years ago.  It really is hard to believe that it has been that long, time flies when you are having fun.  This is our 224th post since we began this blog when our house went up for sale in January of 2012.  It really is amassing all of the things we have done and the places we have been in just 2 years!

Our boondock site in Keyport NJ

We have been doing a little thinking about our longer term future.  We have always known that we will reevaluate our life plans when we turn 60 which will be in a little over 2 years.  Until that time, in the shorter term, we still plan to keep traveling around North America.  

Next year, 2015, we plan to tour the East Coast and winter in Florida.  Then the following year, 2016, we are planning to make a big tour of the North West which will require us to set out toward the West in mid-July.  We will leave FL in the spring of 2016 and head up to NJ, then Buffalo, and lastly IN before heading out west in July.  That will give us a good 4 months to cover the North West including some of the Canadian Rockies.  Then we plan to again winter in South Texas.

Our longer term plans are to continue to live in the RV but we may park it in the south, probably Texas.  We would like to have something up here in the North East for summers, just not sure what that will be just yet or even when where for that matter.  Our plans for then will be to basically snow bird (winter south and summer north) and do our major traveling out of the country.  We have a list of places we have come up with over the years which include the Mediterranean, Egypt, South Africa, China, South America, and Australia.  We are looking for long term travel of a month or more for each destination and probably just one destination a year.

There is the usual caveat; it all depends on our health.  My health is pretty good right now with no limitations.  Patty has some health issues with the biggest being her diabetes which, for now seems to be in modest control.  However, Patty is having some issues right now with walking distances which is of concern.  We are hoping to get this under control very soon as it can affect our plans for the future.  Anyway, that is what we have been giving some thought to over the past few weeks concerning our future plans.

Our time here in NJ has been pretty eventful so far.  Some events are good and some not so good.  Patty’s son Chas got into an accident on the Garden State Pkwy which thankfully was not his fault and he wasn’t seriously hurt.  
Chas's car is straight ahead, facing us on the shoulder. He was traveling on the other side of the grass divider.  The marks in the foreground are from the car that blew the tire and hit Chas' car.

His car however was a total wreck.  A woman with a family from NY blew a rear tire and crossed the highway divider hitting Chas causing him to spin out of control.  The woman’s car landed upside down in the middle of the highway.  For those who know the area, this was at rush hour on the Garden State Parkway; traffic was backed up for miles.  Chas called his mom and we got to him in less than half an hour.  We got lucky and were able to get near the front of the accident scene by making an illegal U-Turn. Chas has since found out that he will get only $100 less than what we paid for the car 3+ years ago so he is happy about that. 

Some very good events have been that we got back to our favorite beach here, Sandy Hook.  We also got to attend the last summer beach concert a few days ago.  We have been going to this beach for 19 years together now, so we have many friends there.

Hibiscus blooming on the path to the beach.

The beach looking north toward Manhattan, NYC.  In the center you can see the new Freedom Tower.

Nice relaxing picture from my chair on the beach.

Patty and friends John, and Dianna at the beach concert.

The Carl Gentry Band at the concert.

Looking out at the crowd with the Atlantic Ocean in the background.

Dinner for the 2 of us was a split Stuffed Grilled Cheese with pulled pork for the stuffing.  It was just OK, but I just had to have it!

Our dinner was from this Hog Heaven Truck.

We bought a season pass for $75 which is only required through this coming Labor Day.  The daily fee is $15 and we have been 3 times so far.  We feel we will go enough times to recover the cost of the season pass.

We had dinner with my daughter Jennifer and her husband Christian at the Walpack Inn in Sussex County NJ.  This is one of Jennifer’s favorite restaurants.  I like it but it's 90 miles from where we are and I prefer seaside places more.  But that is OK, I got to see my daughter!

This past Sunday we went with Cindy and Rob to the Monmouth County Race Track for the afternoon. We had some lunch at the track and a couple of beers.  We bet on a few races with just Cindy winning anything.  She won a whole $1.50!  We don't bet bet very much, maybe we spent $12 for the day.  With food, parking, entrance fees, and the betting we spent $25 for the 2 of us for a nice afternoon, not bad at all!
Entrance to Monmouth Park Horse Track.

Cool sand sculpture at the track.

Last night, the 21st we went out for dinner and Karaoke at a local favorite place called MJ’s.  As most people know, Patty is the singer, not me.  We went out with our friends Cindy and Rob at who’s house we are moochdocking.  Chas also joined us for dinner.  It was a fun evening however the Karaoke wasn’t so good.  There were a lot of kids (under 10) from a party that took up a lot of the mike time, so Patty, Cindy, and Rob only got one song in before 11 pm.  We still had a great time!

Cindy and Rob with us out to dinner at MJ'S.

Chas with us at MJ'S.

Yesterday I also went to see a dermatologist about a crusty patch on my right ear.  I have had this patch on my ear for past 2 years now.  I know it is sun damage and it has the potential for cancer.  They took a sample and will have it tested and let me know the results in about a week. No matter what, I will have to go back and have the patch dealt with in some manor.  I'm not too concerned about it.  I'm a little more concerned about not getting anymore so I really need to be more diligent about using sunscreen. Sometimes it is a real pain in the ass getting older!

Next week Cindy and Rob are having a Luau party which will be fun and we get to see a lot of old friends.  I am also hoping for a golf outing with guys from my work place.  Of course we will get back to the beach a few more times.  We are also planning to have a ribs night with Chas and his girlfriend too.

Some random pictures from last week in NJ:

Just a block from our site is this 12 mile trail called the Henry Hudson Trail.  It originates in Keyport NJ and ends in Highlands NJ.  It was an old rail line.  We walk/run and bike this trail when we are here.

Nice picture from the Henry Hudson trail.

We go here for Karaoke a lot.  It is at the entrance to Sandy Hook in the Highlands NJ.

The small house on the left of the dumpster is the place we rented for years in the Highlands for the summer.  It was almost completely under water during hurricane Sandy.  The larger house that shared the lot is now being torn down.  The owners found it to be more cost effective to tear it down and rebuild than to fix the Sandy damaged house.

Another picture of the house being torn down.  It is the end of an era here for us!  Sandy really changed this area forever!

Stay tuned!

Moving Patty’s Dad, last days in Buffalo and heading South East to New Jersey

August 07 – 11, 2014 

These are our last days of this month long stay here in Buffalo.  We are really happy we were here this time so we could help with Patty’s Dad.  It’s a little sad that we are now moving on again and we won’t be a part of the further transition that Patty’s parents are going through.  Anyway, we will be back here in just 3 weeks for a wedding picnic celebrating Patty’s nephew’s (Adam) wedding. 

Rosey has been on a blooming spree of late!

On the 7th, Thursday, Patty went to sit with her dad at the rehab place on Sheridan Drive.  The family is hoping that Tom gets moved soon to a better place and Patty wants to be there when that happens.  The place he is in now is absolutely the pits!  I am usually not too fussy about things like this but I couldn’t breathe in this place.  The smell of urine and whatever else was horrific.   The only bad thing about the other better place is that it is about 25 minutes away.  The facility is located in East Aurora NY about 20 miles south. 

I decided to wash the truck at Patty’s mom’s house while Patty was taking care of her dad.  I had not washed the truck since we were in PA over a month ago.  Yeah, I like my vehicles clean and try to keep them that way.  It was perfect weather for washing the truck, bright sun, low humidity, and temperature in the mid 70’s.  After washing the truck I was going to go to be with Patty at the rehab facility.  However, Patty came back with her sister before I got done with the truck.  It takes me a long time to fully wash a vehicle; the truck takes me 3 hours to do the outside and the inside. 

A little funny thing happen on the way to wash the truck; at least it is now funny!  When I left the inside of the rig I had my Kindle just in case we were going to be at the rehab facility for a long time.  I didn't think I would need it but took it anyway.  I also needed to get all of the stuff ready and in the truck to take to wash the truck.  There were a lot of things I needed to get so I laid the Kindle down on top of the BBQ grille and forgot about it and left it there.

On Friday I then wanted my Kindle as we were going to sit for a while at the new rehab facility in East Aurora.  I couldn't find it anywhere.  Of course I didn't look on top of the BBQ, why would it be outside and on the BBQ!  Anyway I figured I had left it at the hospital on Tuesday.  I called them and they had not seen it so now I figure it has been stolen.  On Saturday morning I ordered a new Kindle.  Then that afternoon on our way out Patty had forgot something so we went back to the rig except I pulled near the BBQ, something we had never done before.  Damn, there it was sitting right there all of the time!  I got the new one canceled and all went back to normal, well sort of.

Friday the 8th Absolut Care of Aurora Park in East Aurora NY said they had a place for Patty’s dad Tom. So we asked Tom who he wanted to ride with to the facility, either Patty’s sister Sandy’s or in our truck.  Tom decided that our truck was the most “luxurious” of the 2 so we should take him.  The only thing here was to get him up and into the truck.  He did it but it took a little effort and the use of a step stool.

Absolut Care is like night and day compared to the place on Sheridan drive in Tonawanda.  First off the place was built in the last decades instead of the past century.  Also, the people working there seemed to be younger and had better attitudes about working.  Absolut Care is just a much better place all around.

Front entrance to the East Aurora Rehab facility.

After we got Tom settled in, Shirley and us went out for a fish fry again at Mr. Dee’s.  We met up with Patty’s sister Cheryl and her husband Joe who arrived ahead of us.  After we were seated another couple of women friends of Cheryl joined us too.  We had another great evening out, too bad Tom isn't able to get out now.

All of us at Mr. Dee's for a fish fry.  Start left front and clockwise:
Mary Anne, Patty, Me, Shirley, Joe, Cheryl, Nancy

The next couple of days we basically just spent time with Patty’s dad.  Sunday the 10th our last day of this stay in Buffalo we went to Cheryl and Joe’s for dinner.  We stayed until after dark so there wasn’t any time left to start our cleanup for departure in the morning.  We had a last glass of wine and called it a night.
Patty and her Dad Tom.

Cheryl giving Dad a shave.

Leaving day after a long stay has a few more things to do than usual.  However, we are now getting pretty use to even the long stay departure routines.  On a long stay we have much more stuff left outside than usual.  We also do not put stuff back in the same way we would if we were leaving in a few days.  So this morning I have quite a few more things to do than I would for an overnight stay.  

The other thing extra is the tank draining here at this site. Since the sewer is so far away (40+ feet) I have been just leaving the tanks closed until time to drain.  Now that we are leaving I want the sewer hose to be as clean as I can get it. To accomplish this I have been lifting the sewer hose in between the dumping’s to empty the hose before I refill it. While I am lifting the hose I have the black tank filling again with clean water.  I also put a quarter cup laundry detergent into the tank with the second filling.  After I get the hose empty, I open the black tank again to drain it out.  I then repeat this operation again but without the detergent.  After the black tank I drain the 2 grey tanks in the same manner, lifting the hose each time. This whole process took me a little over an hour.  However, I was doing other things while the tanks were draining or being filled.

It took us about 2 hours to get ready to leave this time.  We were on the road by 11:15 am for the 3.5 hour 245 mile trip to our next stop for the night.  We decided to boondock at the Pennsylvania visitor’s center just over the border from NY on I-81.  This is a first for us to Boondock in a parking lot. I called ahead to make sure that the visitor’s center allowed RVs to park overnight and found that they in fact do.  I was told to just let someone know we were parked and we would be fine there.  Great!  

We arrived at the PA visitor’s center at 4 pm and found a place next to some large mobile machinery that was in transport.  Ideally we would have liked to park next to the curb as far out as we could.  The big transport was taking up 3 slots of the truck parking so we decided to move the cones protecting the transport machinery and place ourselves in the protected area with the machinery.  When I went in to let them know we were staying the night I was told that the transport machinery had been there for over a week and nobody knew what it was.  I thought that was a good sign for us to just get real close to the transports and we would be safe there.
We wanted corn for dinner so we stopped at a road side stand to get it.  We had to pull over in this parking lot a little way down the road.  This is somewhere in the western center of NY.

Corn was on the honor system.  Jut put the money in the steel box on the right.

Our site at the PA visitors center.  I moved the orange cones to include us with the large transports next to us on the left.

I went out to get fuel and when I came back we were surrounded by trucks.

We woke up the next morning and found that we were surrounded by trucks and cars associated with the movement of these 2 transports.  Seems our timing was perfect in that they were going to move these big transports this morning after they had been sitting there all week!  We fired up the generator and made our coffee and did a little web surfing while watching the goings on around the transports.  We also were able to get our showers in as well. I had put about 20 gallons of fresh water in our tank so we could get showers.  

This is more of a close up of the Boeing machery getting ready to leave.

When I went out to start our departure routine I talked to one of the guys involved with the transports. These transports are about 100 feet long and very wide and are traveling from Canada and were going to Boeing Aircraft in North Carolina. These 2 large pieces of machinery are used to move parts for the new Dreamliner aircraft in the manufacturing facility.  It has taken them 4 weeks to get from Quebec Canada to Just across the border in PA.  The guy told me that they need to go through this inspection process at each state and country border.  This morning it took about 4 hours of inspection before they could start to move.

We were on the move by 10 am on our way for the 175 mile trip to Keyport New Jersey.  It was a wet ride with lots of rain for most of the trip and especially in PA.  Once in NJ the rain let up and the temperature rose into the 80s; it was in the low 60’s when we left.  We arrived at our friend’s (Cindy and Rob) house in Keyport a little before 1 pm.  We park in their driveway which has water and a 50 amp RV hookup.  This is where we started from 2 years ago after we sold our house and purchased the rig.

Two years ago this was the first back-in we did with the 5th wheel.  It is the harder right hand side back-in which took us over 2 hours to get into the driveway our first time.  This time we were in and disconnected from the truck in just less than 15 minutes! We have come a long way since those days!

Now we can have some beach time and see my daughter Jennifer and Patty’s son Chas.  We are hoping for a dinner out with Chas and his girlfriend Lisa and with Jennifer and her husband Christian.  

That’s it for this post!

Stay tuned!

Patty’s Parents Start Next Life, 3rd week Buffalo NY and other stuff

July 29 – August 06, 2014 

Man oh man how things change so quickly!  This was the next to last week for us here in Buffalo for the summer and it has gone so very fast!  This past week has been very retrospective for me and Patty as well as just being plain emotional.  Patty’s dad Tom has been going downhill with dementia but now he is in a nursing home!  To me it just seems like yesterday I was playing golf with this guy and joking around about life.  I was today looking through some computer pictures and found some of Christmas 2010 that were taken at Patty’s parent’s house before Tom had any problems.  That was just 3.5 years ago!  Sigh!

Most days this past week our plans have been centered on Tom in the hospital.  Tom had an internal catheter surgically placed a couple of weeks ago and it has been a challenge to keep it from being infected.  Last Wednesday Tom was unable to get out of bed and his wife Shirley and daughters Sandy and Cheryl were also unable to get him up.  So they needed to call for an ambulance to get him up and taken care of at a hospital.  At the hospital it was found that he had another infection that went septic and was causing him to be very weak.

Over the past week Tom has become stronger and most days he relates to his visitors.  However, due to the dementia, he doesn't remember things like the day, year, or how old he is; he is 83 by the way.  Because he is stronger, on Tuesday the 5th the family had him moved to an assisted living facility near his house.  This facility was only to be temporary until a suitable place is found with an open bed. This may take a while!  Anyway, this place close to home turned out to be not suitable, but that was not known until after he was taken there.  The family has found a better place for him but it is a bit farther away for everyone to drive to.   It looks like he will be moved on Thursday the 7th.

Tom coming off the transport from hospital to the assisted living facility
on Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda, NY.

We did manage to do a few other things last week besides being at the hospital.  We had a very nice evening out to dinner with Patty’s sister Sandy and her husband Mike.  We went to a local restaurant near to us on Grand Island called Dick and Jenny's. Then on Monday the 4th we went to the “Taste of Clarence” which was in Clarence NY, a suburb of the Buffalo area.  

Very nice place to eat on Grand Island NY.

Dinner at Dick and Jenny's with l-r: Mike, Sandy, Patty, Me
These are showing up all over the area.  The Bill's Football team is up for sale and one of the bidders is Bon Jovi who it is rumored will take the team to Toronto CN.

This is across the street from the Clarence NY Post Office.  The town put up banners with the area fallen in the military.  One of those fallen was Patty's nephew Travis who is pictured on the banner above.

The Buffalo Blues Brothers car at the 'Taste of  Clarence".

Buffalo Blues Brothers performing.

The "Taste of Clarence" also has a car show.  I'm not a car guy but this one was interesting.  It an 1981 electric car.

On Tuesday the 5th as we were coming home from the assisted living facility we heard on the radio that the rock group Heart was playing at Artpark in Lewiston NY. Lewiston is just 10 miles north of our RV site.  We decided to go for it and attend the concert. The concert starts at 8 pm so we needed to eat and get tickets as it was now already 5 pm! I went online and was able to purchase the more expensive tickets in front of the stage, how cool!  We threw a couple of burgers on the grille and that was dinner.  We were on our way by 6:30 pm.

The Heart concert was great, much better than most concerts I have been to.  Nancy Wilson can really sing! Her sister Ann can sing as well but Nancy hits it out of the park! We got to the stage a little after 7 pm and then worked our way to the front.  We got to within 20 feet of the stage edge, it was a great center spot!  They only played for about an hour and twenty minutes but it was non stop.  They ended the show with 3 Led Zeppelin songs, the Immigrant Song, and Misty Mountain Hop.  I can’t remember the other song though. Nancy’s voice is perfect for the old Zep songs because she can still do Robert Plant’s voice as it was when he sang the songs.  If you ever get a chance to see Heart it is well worth the time.  

Arriving at the Heart concert.

Looking up at the stage lights.

Our Front of Stage tickets!

Ann and Nancy Wilson take stage.

Ann can really move around the stage!

Ok, just a spot about RV tank dumping for the RVers out there.  In a previous post I showed how far we are currently from the sewer connect, about 40 feet and slightly downhill from it.  I don’t have anything long enough to slant that much sewer hose to the sewer inlet. This means that the hose will completely fill up except for the last couple of feet to the RV connection.  So I can’t leave the grey tanks open and fill the hose up because they will fill with sediment in the month we are here.  

So what I have been doing is leaving the tanks closed and dumping when the black tank is full which is about a weeks’ time for us.  This is not really a big deal; however, getting the hose clean is some work each time I dump since the hose fills up after each tank dumps.  I really want to get a lot of clean water through the hose after dumping the black tank.  This means that I first dump the black tank and then disconnect the hose from the RV and walk it back to the sewer inlet to get everything out of the hose.  Then I fill the black tank back up with just water from the flush line and then dump that through the hose and again walk that back. Next, I do both grey tanks the same way, one at a time.  As you can imagine, this takes quite a bit of time to accomplish, about an hour.  OK, now done with the RV stuff!

We are now nearing the end of our time here in the Buffalo area for this summer.  This is the first year where we are staying for a month or more at our family destinations.  So far we did a month in Indiana and now we are just finishing up here in Buffalo.  We are headed next to Keyport New Jersey on the Atlantic Ocean.  We have found that a month is good amount of time to get really connected where we are.  It would be nice if we could remain at each location all of the time.  It is still amazing to me at how hard it is leave a place but at the same time look forward to the new place we are going.  Each place starts to feel like home.  I guess it is true what they say in this lifestyle that your home where you park it.
Patty's brother Tom and his girlfriend Kat stayed over at our RV one night last week.

Stay tuned!