Now in Keyport, NJ

Now in Keyport, NJ

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Furnishing the Florida House

August 8 – 25, 2018:  

We are packed and ready for the quick move to Florida from our RV parked in New Jersey.  We started out toward FL at about 10:30 am, a little later than the planned 9am leave time!  We have 1200 miles to travel from Keyport NJ to our house in North Port FL.  We planned on either 2 days or 3 days of travel depending on how much distance we could make.

Packed and ready

Chas' car to come later

We ended up making the trip in 2.5 days!  The first day we traveled to just south of the I95/295 junction in Petersburg Virginia.  That was just 360 miles for the 9 hours for travel for the day!  The traffic and construction from just before Baltimore MD and most of 295 around Washington DC was horrendous!  We are already planning to do some other route when we return in a couple of weeks.

At a rest park on the way down to FL

Dinner out first night on the road

The second day we made much better time.  We traveled all the way to Jacksonville Florida before calling it a day.  We made 570 miles in 11 hours which included time for a sit down lunch of about an hour.  That is what we had planned to do the first day.  Anyway, this leaves us just 190 miles for the third and last day.

Cute dog the next morning at the hotel

Just had to stop at South of the Border for lunch on second travel day

Dinner Jacksonville FL at the end of the second travel day

Truck and trailer ready to go at the hotel

We arrived at the house just after lunch time, around 1pm.  And as expected, we already had packages sitting in our front screened in porch.  Since we no longer own any type of home furnishings we are buying everything new and having it delivered in the next couple of weeks.  The plan is to stay on top of the deliveries and get the stuff unboxed, assembled if needed, and moved into place ASAP.  We didn’t want stuff to start to pile up. 

After moving the first boxes into the house I had to deal with the water issue.  A couple of weeks ago we had the water shut off because water was coming out of our front yard and traveling across the sidewalk.  It seems that the leach field was somehow being over saturated and then leaking out of the yard.  With some outside help we determined that the issue was the master bath toilet continuously running.  After turning on the water to the house, nothing was running except the suspect toilet.  When I had left it in May it was running sometimes and just a little bit.  Now it was running full bore!  I had the thing adjusted and all is good now.  

There are a few puzzling things about this house we have found.  The master bath toilet is one of them.  The puzzling thing about the toilet is that there seemed to be nothing wrong with it except it needed adjusting.  How does that happen?  This flush mechanism is not a standard the standard I am familiar with.  The float was not adjustable.  The adjustment was made in the height of the entire flush valve using presets.  So, was the toilet always running in the past and the owners turned it off!  Who knows!
Another thing was the ceiling fan in the sitting area of the house.  Its wall switch was wired around!  The only way to turn it on was via the chain that we needed a ladder to get to.  I opened the wall switch and found that the wires were taken off the switch and placed together via a wire nut!  Why would someone do that?!  I wired back in the switch and again, all is good!

The dining room doesn’t have any installed lights!  It has a ceiling fan but no lights.  How did anyone ever eat there?!  On top of that, some past owner put in a new ceiling fan in the kitchen with lights when there was already 2 sets of lights there.  We have nothing against more lights but it would have seemed the priority should have been putting the lights into the dining room.  We ended up switching the ceiling fans from the kitchen and dining room and adding lights to the now new old kitchen fan.  Weird!

One thing I have not got to yet is the ceiling area above the outside lanai area by the pool.  The ceiling has 2 new looking electrical covers over what looks to be fan installs.  Both have wall switches inside the house.   At least here we think we have an explanation.  We think that the original house had outside fans with lights and that over time they deteriorated with exposure to the pool and the chemicals.  Instead of replacing them they just took them off and put up cover plates.  That is a project for later though.

Another issue was the remote keypad for the garage door.  We found in the paperwork what the combination was but the remote didn’t work when we tried it.  I figured that someone had changed the code and forgot to write it down.  Well no, that wasn’t the case at all!  I went on YouTube and found out how to reprogram the remote.  But before doing the remote I thought I should just check the obvious and make sure it had a battery and that it was good.  To my surprise the battery was not only missing but the 9 volt connector had been cut off!  Now why the f@#k would somebody do that!  To make sure the remote works I temporarily connected a new 9 volt to the wires and damn, it works!

The dishwasher leaked the first time we used it!  The thing looks like it is new too.  I let it fill up to where to point where it would leak and then opened the door.  What I found was that the float switch was stuck.  It looks like the dishwasher had not been used and the switch plunger dried completely out and was just stuck.  All I had to do was flick it once and it worked.  Had no one been using the dishwasher either?!  All good now though.

Lastly were the miscellaneous light bulbs that were left all over the house.  The way the bulbs were left it looked like the owners had no idea what bulb to put where and didn’t finish the job either.  Some of the new bulbs were left near where bulbs were burnt out but were the wrong bulbs.  In other places the wrong bulbs were mixed in with other wrong bulbs and all burnt out!  We now have all new correct LED bulbs in the house.  Again, all is good!

All of this stuff is was trivial but really weird!  The house is also extremely clean!  I mean clean to the point it looks like it had not been lived in sort of clean!  For instance, the back of the 11 year old refrigerator doesn’t have any dust on it.  It looks brand new inside and out.  Not even scratches on the plastic veggie drawers or below them.  Not only did the ceiling fans not have dust on the blades there wasn’t any dust on the top of the motor 12 feet off of the floor!  We are not complaining, just seems like the previous owners didn’t use the house very much and also didn’t fix simple things like lights when they burnt out.  Strange!

Lizards are everywhere! One on our cactus in the front yard

First bird after Patty put bird seed out

Another lizard out our bedroom window

OK, now we are in the house the first afternoon and we have nothing to eat or drink in the house.  We took care of the packages that were there when we arrived and then headed out to the local Publix for food and stuff.  Since we didn’t even have salt in the house we had one of the largest grocery bills ever.  The clerk who rung up the order said we had the largest bill of the day!  She fully understood that we were just moving in.  Then there was the thing I hate most about grocery shopping, putting it all away.  It was even more tedious as we had to find places to put everything for the first time.  That will probably change as time goes on.

For the next 8 days we built 2 huge mounds in the garage, one for cardboard and the other for styrofoam.  At one point we couldn’t even move around in the garage.  We were having 3-4 deliveries a day and once we had one waiting the other to leave!

Pictures of pre-assembly process.  Bedroom set here

Delivery truck outside again!

Chas' car being delivered at 11pm!

We arrived on a Friday and Fridays are garbage and recycling pickup in our area.  So we had a whole week before we could get rid of the first batch of cardboard.  The Styrofoam had to wait another week as the town alternates between the two each week.

Most of the cardboard after breaking it down

We went from empty house to full in about 10 days.  I managed to get my 10k steps in most days, just in the house.  And a little pool time to cool off too!  It really was a great experience to furnish and decorate a house with mostly new stuff.  All of our lives before was just moving our old stuff to a new place and replacing a little at a time.  We fully knew this would happen 7 years ago when we got rid of everything we owned.  We didn’t yet know just what we would do after living full time in an RV but we knew and had planned on having to purchase everything new if and when the time came.  It was fun too especially after 7 years of not buying anything for a house.

Not all work!  Took a short tour around Boca Grande about 30 minutes away

Boca Grande

Chas has this really cool bloody mary with a slice of bacon in it at Boca Grande

Crab House dinner out in Punta Gorda 15 miles south of us

Sunset at the Crab House in Punta Gorda

First BBQ at the house.

Dinner out in Englewood on the Gulf about 30 minutes away

Gulf view from the restaurant

Chas had a couple of friends over who
live in Tampa FL but are from our area in NJ

After 15 days in the new Florida house we are 95% done moving into it.  We still have loads of detail decoration type stuff to do.  We also have to unload the big RV in October.  Mostly this will be temporary storage until we get a new smaller RV.  However, most of our clothes will be moved into the house.

Pool at night

Our bedroom Complete

Our bedroom with an added net decoration

Completed dining room with lights!

Chas hanging out in the kitchen on the new stools

Outside lanai furniture

TV room complete
Almost complete sitting area at the aquarium window.  The pub table is back ordered and will be delivered in a month

Kitchen complete

We now have the truck and 5th wheel up for sale on Facebook and on RV Trader.  It would be great if we could sell them before we get back to Florida in mid-October.  If not we will need to store the RV in a lot somewhere.  If anyone knows of someone who may want a 40 foot 6 year old 5th wheel and 2008 F450 tow vehicle please let us know!! 

2013 Sanibel and 2008 F450 For Sale Link

On Saturday the 25th we left Chas at the house and we headed back to New Jersey.  We knew we could make good time the first half of the trip.  We went 585 miles the first day!  We weren't sure we could do the remaining 615 in one day especially through the Washington DC and Baltimore areas.  

Our second day we got on the road by 8am.  We like to be off the road by dark so we didn't want to travel after about 8pm.  So we have 12 hours to travel 615 miles which should be very doable.  We decide we would determine if we go the entire distance after we get through Baltimore.  We took a slightly different route and didn't use 495 to go around DC this time.  We stayed on I395 to I295 and back on to 495 to 95 north of DC.  I would not say this was too much faster for us but it was a little better.  W also go behind a car fire on 295 where we lost about 30 minutes.  We finally arrived back in NJ after 615 miles at 8:45pm, almost 13 hours!

Finally, the Delaware Memorial Bridge leading into New Jersey

Temperature outside our RV in New NJ after getting back.  It has been hotter here in NJ than it was in FL.  The humidity is lower most of the day than FL though

Stay tuned!

New Jersey for a couple weeks before heading down to Florida

July 23 – August 8, 2018: 

This will be a short post about our first couple of weeks in New Jersey.  We will have our RV here in Keyport NJ for the next 10 weeks in our friends, Rob and Cindy’s, driveway.  On the 8th of August we are traveling down to our new house in North Port Florida to move Patty’s son Chas there.

We arrived in Keyport New Jersey about 2:30pm on the 23rd of July.  This is our 7th time staying here during the summer.  It is also the place we started out full time back in 2012.  This will be the last time we will be here in our Sanibel too.  And that is a little sad, but more on that later.  

It has been very hot the past few days here and on our way to NJ.  The temperature has been close to or at 100 with high humidity; in the 70-80 range.  We keep track of the temperatures here and at our house in FL and the temperatures and humidity have been higher here in the north the past few days!  Seems the biggest difference is the rain this time of year.  It seems to rain almost every day in Florida during the summer.

While here in NJ our friends had their annual Luau party.  It was great to be here for that!  The annual Crab Fest event in Highlands NJ was also happening while we were there so we got to attend that too.  Also, the annual Fireman's Carnival was happening in Keyport and we went one night to that.  So the 2 weeks spent in NJ has been a lot about eating fair food as well as some good seafood.   Way too much eating! 

Crab Fest in Highlands NJ

We had a little scare from our house in FL too.  We got a call from the guy who cuts our grass to say that the sidewalk in front of our house had water running across it.  This wasn’t just from the rain either, only the sidewalk in front of our house was wet!  About this time I am kicking myself for not turning off the water before we left.  

I asked our lawn guy Lance if he could look around and see if he could figure out anything.  About 30 minutes later he called back to say that the water was not coming from inside the house, that was good news.  Other than that he had no idea about where the water was coming from except that it was coming from our yard!  He suggested I call the town water utility and see if they could find anything out.

I called the North Port Water Utility’s emergency number and right away got a very nice woman who said she would relay the message to a tech.  Within the next 10 minutes the tech called and I gave him our address and what the issue was.  He said he was just a few minutes from there and he would call me after he arrived.  In another 10 minutes he called from our house.  He reaffirmed that the water was not coming from the house but it was coming from the front yard.  He said that water was running in the house though as the meter was running.  He figures that we may have a toilet running in the house and it has filled the septic tank and is now running out the leach field in the front yard and now across the sidewalk.  So I had him turn off the water to the house at the street and we will investigate when we are there in a few days.

When we were at the house before we went north I heard the master bath toilet running very slightly.  I did try to fix it before we left 6 weeks ago and had thought it was not even leaking when we left. I am guessing that the toilet flush valve must have now later failed and was running full on.  I can’t imagine the very tiny leak I heard would put that much water into the tank.  So now we really want to get to the house to take a look ourselves!

We are moving Patty’s son Chas down to our house in Florida to live there for a while.  He is going to establish his life there and somewhat start over.  When we went full time we had him move out when we sold the house.  He was 23 at the time and not very independent.  Our moving him out on his own made him independent.  He has been on his own for the past 6 years and needs (we think) to start again.  We have no idea if we are doing the right thing but we convinced him to move into our house and stay to maintain it while we are away.  And for him to save money and start off in a better direction with everything.  He wasn’t asking to do this but we just felt that he was just not getting anywhere doing what he was doing so we decided to help.  We hope this works!!

The last few days we spent loading up a small trailer we are going to tow down to Florida with Patty’s son Chas’s stuff on it.  The plan was for him to follow us in his car.  It must have been fate, the day before we are going to leave for Florida we learn that his auto insurance company dropped him.  Not only did they drop him but only a couple would even offer a quote to insure him at all and then at $9k a year!  So basically he is now uninsurable!   We are nearly finished packing him up when this happens so now we have to make room for him in the truck and we need to get his car to FL.

Trailer empty

Trailer full and ready to go

We never thought we would be in this position of having a grown kid move back in and be without a car or job but that is what we have and we sort of asked for it.  Are we crazy?!  We hope not!  The kid is a good kid and has a lot of potential and that is why we wanted to try and get him on the right track. However, for the next year and maybe longer we will not be in the house a lot.  We still have a lot of places we want to travel to and things to do.  Having someone in the house for us is better than leaving it vacant.  We shall see!

So now, a little about selling the Sanibel and the truck.  We plan to put them on the market in a few weeks.  We want to sell the 5th wheel and the truck and then purchase a large SUV and tow a smaller travel trailer.  We still want to land travel in the US and we want to do some travel outside the country not with an RV.  Our plan is to travel a month or so and then back to the house for a few weeks and then out again.   We still plan on doing the blog as we think we will have enough interesting travel as well as life transition stuff to write about.  As with everything, it’s all subject to change.

Sunset in Keyport NJ

Time to rest up for that drive to FL.

Stay tuned!

Visiting friends in Eastern Indiana and on to New Jersey

July 19 - 23, 2018: 

We are on our way for a short trip across Indiana to Centerville.  Centerville is just a few miles from the Ohio border making the trip for us just a short 100 miles.  We do have to traverse the city of Indianapolis and all of the potholes Indiana has to get there though.  Indianapolis is no real big deal but navigating the damn huge and frequent potholes is a big deal!  If one is not very, very careful you can destroy your suspension in the potholes Indiana has on its highways.  

We managed to make it through Indianapolis’s minor traffic and most of the potholes to land at the Sunshower RV resort in Centerville around 2pm.  Our friends Mark and Mary work camp here during the summer.  We met them and became friends at our winter place at Natures Resort in south Texas.  Mary was working the office when we arrive so she answered the intercom at the gate when we pulled up. How cool is that!  After getting us bussed in we met her and Mark as they arrived on a golf cart to show us our site for the next few days.  We also have friends, Robin and Gene, who live in New Castle Indiana a few miles away, also from Natures in South Texas. We planned to meet up with them also while in the Centerville/New Castle area. 

In between the rain and mostly gloomy weather while we were there we did manage to spend some time with everyone just not as much as we would have liked.  Friday night we went out to eat a very nice restaurant, the No. 9 Grill, in Cambridge City, with Robin and Gene.  After dinner we all went back to our RV and visited for a while.  It was a great time, just short!

Right after this picture the sky opened up and it really rained hard!

Across the street was this mural of Lincoln. 
His funeral train stopped here to the left.

On Saturday we took a road trip to Oxford Ohio with Mary and Mark.  Oxford is a cute little college (Miami University) town just a few miles from the Indiana/Ohio border.   We had a nice lunch at Mac & Joe's and then some Ice Cream after for dessert.  We walked the town square and then drove back.  It was nice drive seeing the countryside with friends.

Saturday night Sunshower had a DJ dance.  It was scheduled to be a bigger event but the rain and threat of lots of rain prevented their larger plans from taking shape.  So a DJ dance in the clubhouse it was.  We had a good time at the dance and we met a few nice people.

Sunday was mostly a bust for us as it rained off and on most of the day.  And then Monday we were on our way farther east toward New Jersey.  

Our original plans were to head to North Jersey for a Picnic that Patty had arranged for former work friends.  The picnic turned out to be a bust as too many people had other plans at that time. It sucked a bit for us we fronted the money for the non-refundable pavilion where it was to be held.  It is always a risk for these things during the summer months.  There are only so many weekends in the summer so people have to plan carefully and it is hard to get a place to hold events for the same reason.  Anyway, it is what it is.  I seem to say that a lot anymore! 

Patty also is having issues related to her mental health; depression and anxiety.  This has been an ongoing issue for her since she was 13 years old but it has been much more pronounced since we have been full-time RV traveling.  It’s not that she needs frequent care but she does need consistent care.  Since we have been full time traveling she has been unable to get any mental health care, let alone consistent care.  We started with health care in Indiana and they wouldn’t treat her since she wasn’t a resident!  Next we tried our winter place in South Texas. We even became residents of Texas and still were not able to find mental health care.  We are hoping that Florida is better.

Anyway, her symptoms seem to always increase as we travel.  We are now closing in on 5 months on the road this year and Patty is in need of treatment.  So we wrote off the NJ picnic all together and are arriving at our friends Cindy and Rob’s driveway a few days early.  Patty is going to check in to a mental health hospital near their house for a while to get fixed up. 

After leaving Indiana we made 2 stops along the way to New Jersey.  The first was in Belmont Ohio at the Barkcamp State Park for a 2 nighter.  Our next stop was in Burnt Cabins Pennsylvania at the Grist Mill & Campground.  This is a place we had stayed at a few years ago.   We stayed here just one night before heading the last 150 miles to Cindy and Rob's in Keyport New Jersey.

The country camp store in the state park

Our rig from the camp store

On a hike in the Ohio state park.  Weird growth on this tree

Someone found this Geocache and destroyed it along the trail!

OK, that is it for this post.  Stay tuned!

Stay Tuned!