Tank Replacement and Settling In

 

Ready to go to RV Source 01052016

Ready to roll to the shop

We spent Tuesday of last week preparing to take our home to RV Source for installation of our new bath gray tank.  RV Source is an RV dealer located conveniently about 10.5 miles north on Hwy 6.  Dave unloaded our basement storage area and put those items in a locked storage shed here at the park.  We certainly appreciate being allowed to do this.  Dave did get in a much-deserved bike ride in the morning.

Although I set my alarm for 6:15 the following morning, I either didn’t set it properly or turned it off without realizing it, because I slept a while past that time.  Yikes!  This meant we got a late start, and ended up arriving at the dealer a bit after 10 AM.  Oh well. 

After getting the process started, we headed back down Hwy 6 to the IHOP for brunch.  Our past experiences with various IHOP locations have been favorable; however, this time and the previous one at a location in South Carolina have caused us to say we will not be returning to IHOP in the future. 

Electric campfire at RV Source 01062016

A “portable campfire” on display in the dealer showroom which is really just a fan with lights and two pieces of cloth to simulate flames.  I didn’t detect any heat from it, so I’m not really sure what the point of this is.  Ambiance?

We did kill some waiting time by looking through new 5th wheels of different brands, with the same end result as always.  We like ours, thank you.  One model caught my eye with regard to its floorplan and being really “nice” inside.  You know what, though?  When I opened a cabinet door in the bedroom . . . well, the door sort of “shimmied” or wobbled, and I thought, “Ours don’t do that.  They’re solid.  No shake and not flimsy like this one.”  So, there ya go.  Our cabinet doors are solid wood and sturdy.  I’ll keep my home.  It’s well made and we “know where it’s been,” being the original owners.  Don’t think I’d want to go through that breaking-in process again.

Long day short, we left RV Source a bit after 4:30 in a miserable drizzle and brought our home back here to Aggieland RV Park.  RV Source had two of their guys meet us here to back in our rig for us.  Cheers for that.

I did a bit of shopping while at the dealer and came home with more LED lights (they had the type we like), replacement furnace register vents, etc.  Some gals get a kick shopping for shoes.  Me?  I get mine shopping at an RV store!

I was slammed with work Wednesday, so Thursday and Friday I played catch-up.  That’s not a bad thing, actually.  Having had a productive two days and things being slower, I spent some parts of Saturday and Sunday finally unpacking glassware and other items that had been stowed for travel since April.  I also took the opportunity to purge some unused/outdated items and to reorganize some of the kitchen cabinets to fit with our new lifestyle/work schedules.

The weather had been rainy and/or windy since Wednesday, but finally improved enough for Dave to return our stored items from the shed to our basement Sunday morning.

We did not use the shower/lavatory until Friday night, allowing ample time for the adhesives to cure.  Blissful showers were had by both of us Friday and Saturday nights and then . . . I went to dump tanks yesterday (Sunday), discovering we had a leak with the new tank and the valve handle was not operating properly. 

Absolutely could not believe it.  I was verging on being physically ill at the prospect of having to take the rig back to the shop, not to mention being unable to use our shower again, imagining all sorts of things that had gone wrong with the tank installation and dreading the ordeal I might have to go through with the dealer to have things made right.

This morning I called the dealer and spoke with the service manager.  He promptly offered to have a tech come out and take a look.  This afternoon, the tech who did the installation arrived and within an hour had the problem resolved.  I mean he was done and was rolling away from our site within an hour.  Turns out a gasket had failed.  He replaced it, we did a leak test and bingo!  Not a drop of water to be seen and the valve handle was working just fine.

What a relief.  Seriously.  Big relief.  If you own an RV and have experienced repair work done by a dealer, you know what I mean.

Dave did unload about half of the basement this morning (remember he just put everything back in yesterday) for the techs to have access if needed, so that will need to be reversed.  We bought new tire covers last Spring which we have not used (never were in one place long enough last year) and those need to go on the tires. 

Perhaps now we can actually have our two days off each week and be truly off with no major errands to run and can get back into a groove of just living a simple and comfortable life.  I’ll take a boring, simple and comfortable life at this point, thanks.

Well, it’s a bit after 10 PM and . . . about time for my shower!  Whoohoo! 

Thanks for stopping by!

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2015 – Done and Dusted

This past year was one of changes and traveling, some good times and some challenges.  It was a very unsettled year for us; seems like we just couldn’t find the “spot” for us, sort of like Goldilocks looking for the right bed.  Some of our decisions were better than others.  We logged a lot of miles; well, for us, at any rate.  We faced some challenges and had some good times along the way.   

Georgia Rest Area 06282015

I took a multitude of these types of shots at various rest stops during 2015.  Wish I had the patience to go back and tally up the miles we traveled during the year.

Darlington SC 07012015

We started the year doing security work in Darlington, SC.  This was a tough gig.  Night shift did not agree with Dave; he was getting 1-2 hours of sleep every 24-36 hours.  Cycling was dangerous with him being run off the roads, chased by extremely aggressive stray/wild dogs and coming off the bike (crashes) three times.  We had no way to properly empty our tanks and experienced our first ant infestation in 5 years of full-timing (and numerous years of camping before that). The tree over us was unkempt; a storm brought down large branches which barely missed our rig.  We were also experiencing frequent fluctuations in power to our rig, with our “big black box” shutting us down due to low voltage.  This was definitely not a good thing.

Vicksburg MS Visitor Center 03172015

We received an offer to manage a park in Texas, so in March we headed that way.  We took our time and did a bit of sightseeing.  Here we are in Vicksburg, MS.  We stayed at Ameristar RV Park and would recommend it.

KOA Mt Pleasant TX 05022015

While the job itself would have been okay, the circumstances were not.  We resigned our management position but stayed on as workampers for a while.  If we had remained as managers, more than likely we would still be there attempting to run the place by ourselves with extremely limited resources.  Not a good scenario.  We learned a lot from this experience, though.

We stayed at numerous RV parks in 2015 in our trekking around the eastern third of the country.  I haven’t included photos from all of them, just some of the memorable and well-liked ones.

Shady Pines RV Park Texarkana TX 06082015

We really like Shady Pines RV Park in Texarkana, TX.  This was our second stay here, this one in June.

Camping World Anniston AL 06242015

Another second stay at Camping World in Anniston, AL during June.  Skies were threatening and we were treated to an extraordinary light show courtesy of Momma Nature, but it never rained.  I like this photo.

Prairie Creek COE Beaver Lake AR 06132015

We gave a try at being gate attendants at a COE park in Arkansas in June.  A brief try.  The site looks nice, but had many issues, including an uphill sewer connection and a dirt hill right next to our rig which became a mud river during rains.  A quiet park?  Hardly.  A young girl was killed on the lake the day before we arrived.  Weekends were nonstop traffic, to the point of parking being full in all areas.  Law enforcement screaming through the gate with lights flashing at all hours.  People coming up to our rig (when we weren’t on duty) with questions, etc.  It was also a 6-day work week and turns out one had to go the bank and post office on one’s day off.  This was not a good decision and not as described.

Country Boys RV Park Madison GA 06272015

A repeat visit to Country Boys RV Park in Madison, GA in June.  Certainly adequate for 1-2 nights.

We agreed to return to South Carolina and the security gig as the relief team for 3 months.  While we had questioned our decision to leave there earlier in the year, the return visit served as affirmation of that decision. 

Office area 08262015

While in SC the second time, we removed our dining table and chairs (which we rarely used) and turned the area into a workspace/office for me. 

We were there from July 1st until October 1st, at which point we were headed back to Texas.  Changes in our health insurance predicated this move.  I was still working part-time as a virtual assistant, and we were hopeful Dave could pick up some work once we arrived in Bryan, Texas.

Barnyard RV Park Lexington SC 10012015

We planned a 2-night stay at the Barnyard RV Park in Lexington, SC following our security gig.  We thought this would allow us to resume normal sleep patters and chill a bit before hitting the road to Texas.  The stay stretched into 5 nights due to massive rainfall and areal flooding.  We were grateful the park did not flood.  It wasn’t very relaxing, however, as we were in emergency preparedness mode the entire time.  Management was totally accommodating and helpful as we (and a couple of other neighbors) kept extending our stay day-by-day due to weather.

Montgomery South RV Park 10122015

Landed for a week at Montgomery South RV Park, we sort of began catching up on some R&R.  Dave really enjoyed the cycling here; however, the park was infested with loose dogs and, just because of that, we would not return.  Otherwise, it was a fine park in the process of expansion during our stay.

Ever closer to Texas, we stayed a few nights in Beaumont at Gulf Coast RV Resort.  Looks like I didn’t get photos . . . hmmm.  Dave enjoyed the cycling and I enjoyed really relaxing, catching up laundry, etc.  Our friend Rachelle, whom we had not seen since 2010 prior to our embarking on this lifestyle, came to spend a day with us.  So good to see her again, and we really appreciated her making the trip.

Traders Village Houston TX 10182015

From Beaumont, our next stop was Traders Village on the northwest side of Houston.  It was okay, but nothing spectacular.  I couldn’t believe Highway 290 was still under construction.  No, wait, I can believe that, actually.  It was pretty darn warm when we arrived and shortly after landing . . . it was a really warm day . . and . . we had no power to the rig.  Turns out a mobile tech working on the RV next door was terrific and got us powered up again.  Remember that low voltage issue in SC?  He suspected that’s what fried the . . . um . . . I forget what it was but it had to do with the gen set.  Since we don’t have an onboard gen, he just bypassed it and disabled that.  He showed it to us and, yes, it was fried.  Another affirmation that leaving SC was a good decision.

The next day, we headed to Bryan, Texas and what we anticipated as our home for the long term.  I had checked reviews, talked at length with the manager and made a month’s reservation at Primrose Lane RV Park in Bryan.  We didn’t have much selection, as it was football season in Aggieland and nary an RV space to be had.

Primrose Lane Bryan TX 10192015

Primrose Lane long-term site.  Mud pit. Bad “neighborhood.”  Worst place we have ever stayed.  Our front landing gear were sinking.  We asked for more gravel, correction, gravel on the site but it never materialized and we realized after a while that it just wouldn’t.  Standing water all the time around our rig.  Electric shore connection so low to the ground we had to unplug so it wouldn’t short out.  Residents letting dogs run loose and dog “deposits” all over the grounds, including sidewalks.  Ugh.

Good news is that during our time there, Dave secured a seasonal position at Walmart.   I still had my virtual assistant client and had landed a medical editor job.

We had been looking at other RV parks and ended up being third on the waiting list for Aggieland RV Park.  With our November rent almost due at Primrose and not wanting to be there any longer, the owner/manager at Aggieland found a spot for us.  We moved here the early afternoon of November 17, following horrendous storms which got us out of bed around 3:30 that morning.

Aggieland RV Park Site 43 12132015

Concrete streets!  Concrete site!  No mud!  Tidy neighbors!  Decent laundry facilities!  Great owner/manager!  Yay us!

Aggieland RV Park 11182015

The site on our door side is only for short-term and is not used often.  We have an open grassy area on the other side.  Lovely.

We experienced a split (and leaking) gray holding tank in November and it’s been a saga getting the correct tank ordered, etc.; however, we have an appointment next week for installation at an RV dealer less than 10 miles down the road.  I sure will be glad to have my own shower again, but am grateful for the facilities here during this time.

My medical transcription skills are still excellent after all these years away from the profession; however, I found medical editing to be very stressful with a good deal of “extras” one has to do for which one is not paid.  I dreaded each work day, which was totally opposite to my experience with traditional MT work; I used to love my work as an MT; however, the profession has deteriorated and really is not a profession where skills are paramount these days.  The MT company owner called after I resigned wondering why I did, stating “You’re such an MT!”  Perhaps that’s part of it . . . I’m a purist.  Today’s environment just is not a good fit at this time. 

Long and short . . . I picked up a second virtual assistant client which also may be a long-term relationship.  I resigned the ME gig and, upon doing so, felt a great sense of relief.  I now have two clients and really enjoy the work and my interactions with them.  The resulting pay is much better, and I am utilizing my brain and skills.  Yay me!  Minimal stress, maximum rewards.  I’m good with that.

Dave’s seasonal job is turning into a permanent position.  He’s working hard, but it’s certainly not as rigorous as pipefitting on ships or in the mines of Minnesota.  He enjoys his interactions with coworkers and most of the time even the job itself.  Yay him!

Dave works 2-11 PM Thursday through Monday.  I go to work when he leaves a bit after 1 PM.  We both take Tuesday and Wednesday off to run errands and do whatever.  This schedule seems to be a nice fit for us.  We’re both sleeping very well here, and that’s a good thing.

I know Walmart gets a bad rep, but so far Dave and others are treated decently at this store.  He worked overtime around Thanksgiving, but management had a huge dinner spread for the team.  There was a gift discount card during that time, freebie holiday decorations, more food and treats for them at work (and to bring home), etc.  There are other “small” things that have been positive so far, too, such as opening up a check-out lane for Dave when he was purchasing some items on his dinner break.

Dave was a pipefitter with the Royal Navy in Scotland.  He remarked once that he’s gone from working on nuclear submarines, where the lives of sailors literally were in his hands and relied upon his skills.  Now he’s working at Walmart.  But you know what?  At this point in our lives it’s not about our jobs or building careers.  It’s just about having work which pays what few bills we have, putting food on the table and living a comfortable life. 

It’s about our life together, not about our jobs.

We had a delightful impromptu visit this week from two dear long-time friends who live about 60 miles away near Bellville.  Had not seen them since 2010, so it really did my heart good to get some hugs and spend time with them.  Talking on the phone is great, but it’s just not the same as being together.  We hope to get out their way before long, as I used to do occasionally when I lived in Brenham.

Yes, 2015 had its challenges.  Just to end the year with a bang, my bridge failed the other night, so I’ll need to find a dentist after we see how insurance is going to shake out in the coming weeks.  Oh yeah, it’s been a whiz-bang year, alright.

Radar Bryan TX 10242015

This was an all too often recurring theme in 2015.  We believe we experienced more days in rain/severe weather than not.

We made some decisions which seemed questionable at the time, but we learned from those experiences.  We traveled, saw some sights and had some good times.  The end result is that we have landed well back here in Texas with jobs and a comfortable, pleasant environment for our RV home.  (Yeah, well, check with me in July/August when it’s 2275 F outside!  At least the pool is nearby and electricity is included in our rate here.) 

I am grateful for those experiences and for all the miles we traveled in safety and comfort with no breakdowns or accidents and, even in severe weather, we were never in immediate danger.  We try to be careful and alert, but we have also been very fortunate and watched over, I’m sure. 

If all continues favorably with work, our plans are to remain here for the foreseeable future.  We’ll see what 2016 brings, but I’d be good with just “being” right here.

Hope your holiday season has been safe and joyous.  Happy New Year!

Thanks for stopping by!