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View From the Trail to Mount Colvin

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Great Birthday Celebration

Today marks one week since Harry started work at Home Depot. The first day was orientation, and the next days after that mainly entailed completing all of the computer training. So yesterday was his first actual day on the floor. It went well and he is enjoying the job so far. I told him it will only get more comfortable as he learns the department and doesn’t have to try and remember where everything is located.

44350390_10218613262629527_8865553131694456832_nOther than work, the main event this week was my birthday on Wednesday. I hadn’t asked for the day off, but just luckily I wasn’t scheduled. I had a really nice day. 44288458_10218613262349520_5481299407037005824_nFor the third year in a row, I started off the day by running my age – this year 5.2 miles to represent 52 years. Every year on this run, I reflect on how lucky and blessed I am to be healthy and in relatively good shape.

Later in the day, we took a ride over to Lakeland in our new ride. On a side note, I am so enjoying having a car again. And what a difference it’s already made in our fuel bill. We would be burning up quite a bit of our profits going back and forth to work in the truck for sure. For my birthday, I looked for a new restaurant to go try and I didn’t even have to look on google maps to see if we would be able to park the beast there. haha

44333008_10156837714544766_432292989532897280_nWe went to a restaurant called Harry’s that has a New Orleans theme. I forgot to take a picture of the outside, but I did get this one from our booth. It had a really cool atmosphere. We went for lunch around 2 in the afternoon so it wasn’t busy at the time.


 

Wow, the food was SO good.

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Our appetizer of crab cakes…

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My Chicken Jolie Blonde with Corn Maque Choux (which was like a corn succotash)


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Harry’s Cajun Seared Tuna


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I also enjoyed a Rhythm and Blues Margarita.





It was a really wonderful birthday meal. Harry’s has locations in several other Florida cities, including Tallahassee and St. Augustine. If you happen to find yourself near one, check it out!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Rig Repair Results and Back to Work

Every summer when we have gone back up to NY, we have made it a point to get the yearly maintenance done, as well as any repairs that have cropped up. This past summer on our way back from Florida, we noticed that one of the back landing jacks was wet. So we decided to have the guys at the repair place take a look at it. And in addition to that, one of the back windows came open a bit as we were traveling and when I went in to close it, we discovered that the adhesive in between the panes had given way, and the window was actually coming apart. Big thing #2 on the list!

We had purchased an extended warranty, which was going to be UP on June 21st. Our appointment at Deiderich’s was on June 14th. Talk about just squeaking under the wire! After they evaluated the situation, we found out that both back hydraulic jacks had to be replaced, and the entire window as well. When they called the warranty company, we were told that glass wasn’t covered but the jacks were. Both good and bad news at the same time.

The window and jacks had to be ordered, but since the claim had been placed while we were still in our warranty period, we were fine waiting a bit for the repairs to be done. That was right before the boys were due to arrive, so we decided to wait until the boys went home and then just drive the rig back to Coxsackie from our seasonal site in Peru, about a 2.5 hour trip.

Since that was a bit much to do in one day, we decided that I would stay at my mother’s house with the cats while Harry drove back with the rig. He had an uneventful trip (first time driving the rig by himself) and dropped it off at the repair place right around 9 am. Then he drove over to my sister’s for the rest of the day. 44098168_2215963841979120_6965330029370671104_nThe repairs were completed successfully, and then the next morning he went back over and picked the fiver up for the trip back to Peru.

I got a nice shot of him coming in with the rig, as my mother had driven me over to our site so I could be there for the backing up.

So. The numbers. Our normal maintenance type stuff and the small repairs that we needed done in June, like a replacement of the fan in the fridge – $327.70. The portion of the repair that was covered by the warranty company was $1,809.00. The window replacement that we had to pay for came out to $1651.49.

I have to say, this brought up a conversation topic between Harry and me, really for the first time. Overall I’d say we’ve had a pretty solid fifth wheel. We’ve never have had any leaks, or other major repairs, like the structural kind. And yet. When I go back and look at the amount of money that we’ve spent on repairs and maintenance over the past 7 years, not improvements, but the required stuff, it’s A LOT. It’s easily close to 10k. We still enjoy spending time in the rv, and are looking forward to some quality time over future summers in our new seasonal site, but still. If we ever did have any kind of really major problem come up, we question what kind of repair bill would tip us over the edge to saying, that’s enough.


44048584_10218582555581870_8685591661234880512_oOn a happier note, Harry is right now at his third day of work. We had the same shift yesterday so I was able to get this picture of him while we were both on our lunch break. He is really excited to be working at Home Depot. He has seriously been saying for as long as I’ve known him that his long-term goal was to retire from his job for the State of NY and work part-time at Home Depot. It took a few years after his retirement, but he’s finally achieved his goal!

Meanwhile, I am almost at the one year point! I had my interview last year on my birthday, which is coming up this week, so that’s really easy to remember. I have to say, I really love my job. I like what I’m doing and I like the people I work with. I am so lucky.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Where Do I Begin?

I think one of the hardest parts about getting back to blogging after a break is figuring out where to begin! I’ve thought about settling down to the computer and doing a post several times in recent weeks, but it just seems so overwhelming trying to figure out where to start.

So I guess I’ll just jump right in where we are and then hopefully will get some blog posts in over the next weeks about our summer – which was completely awesome, by the way.

ferrypicWhen I left off, we were just finding out about the warranty results for our rig repairs and getting ready for the boys’ summer visit. I’ll say more later about both, but just for this post, I’ll say we got the rig repaired and had a great five weeks with the boys. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to have a 4 year old and a 9 year old for five weeks in an rv, but it really went very well. I’m already looking forward to our next summer visit next year.

43762246_1566633393440575_2743485513657745408_nSo, to jump to more recent events, in mid-September we were getting ready to leave Peru to head back home to Florida.

(This picture shows our seasonal site. We really loved it. We had enough trees around us that we had hardly any direct sunshine on us at all. Even though it was the warmest July and August they had ever had in that area, we didn’t have to turn the a/c on once!)

Right at the same time we were getting ready to leave, Florence was heading for the 42276203_10218400465029720_1334895596741328896_nCarolina area. We had intended to head down our usual route to Charlotte to visit Harry’s son and daughter-in-law and then down to Jacksonville for another family visit on the way home. But given the storm, we decided to go on a more westerly route past Atlanta instead. Because of this, we actually got home almost a whole week earlier than we had expected.  We were pretty lucky. There was one day when we were going through Virginia where we were passing along the outskirts of rain from Florence, but for the most part we were able to avoid the storm with our adjusted route.

42279801_10218403311540881_4990206395371487232_oIt was really good to get home. I had called Home Depot in late August and given the HR person my return date. Wow, how easy that all was. She reactivated me Sept. 1st so she could get me back on the schedule right away (they schedule 3 weeks out), and last Thursday I went back to work. I’ve already worked several days, and I got back into the routine like  I had never been gone. I’ve even been back on the forklift. And, in other exciting news, shortly after we got back, Harry had an interview at Home Depot also. He had a little bit of a wait while they were doing a few more hires, and as I type this, he is at Home Depot for his first day. So now we are both employed which will make our  bank account very happy.

42825738_10218475907755741_3047584350859165696_oThe other most exciting news is that we have bought a car! We’ve been thinking about it for a couple years. Using the truck all the time costs a decent amount in diesel, given that it takes about $75 to $80 per fill up. On top of that, there have been at least 1 or 2 times a year that we have needed to rent a car, so that is another added expense. Last year for one of our rentals, we had a Nissan Altima, and we just loved it. So once we knew for sure that Harry had a job, we went off to do some car shopping and came home with this 2018 Nissan Altima. I am so enjoying having a car again.

So it’s been a good start to our winter season in Florida. We’ve settled back in and are enjoying being back. We won’t be doing any big projects this year around the house. We are going to take this winter off from that kind of stuff, and only do any emergency type things for the most part. Hopefully there won’t be many!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Warranty Results and Preparing for Company

I had mentioned in my last post that Harry and I were apprehensive about the warranty company covering our repair work. Over the past seven years, there have been a handful of t35629312_10217560254024970_940560578982707200_nimes we’ve had a warranty claim. Our first big claim happened on our very first trip down to Florida, right after Harry retired, when our slide topper mechanism suddenly just gave way when we put the slide out. It ended up being a nightmare claim that I won’t go back through now. Suffice to say that they ended up paying, but only after we fought for it, including going through the Better Business Bureau to file a complaint. That just left a sour taste in our mouth, and even though we have end35762291_10217560234144473_7070060504781160448_ned up getting back what we paid for it, we have already decided that we won’t be getting another one when we get our next rv. Just not worth the grief for us. Anyhow, so a few days ago we had to stop back over by Diederich’s to pick up our keys that we forgot there, and we found out that the company is going to cover the refrigerator repair and the replacement of the hydraulic jacks. That was a relief! Apparently windows and glass are not covered, so we have to pay for that part of the repair. But it could have been much worse, so we are looking on the bright side.

It has been two weeks today since we arrived here. It has been a bit hectic with everything going on, but our days have started to slow down this week, and today we actually aren’t going anywhere at all. We have taken advantage of this down day to start getting ready for our next adventure – a five week long visit with our grandsons! This will be our longest summer visit yet. In previous summers, we’ve had a shorter visit with Schaun and then we’ve gone back to Ohio to spend some time with Kenny as well. But Kenny is older now, and wants to come on the summer visit also.

35694790_10217560250344878_3930953570530099200_nOver the winter, we were trying to figure out the best way to work the sleeping arrangements – sleeping on the floor together on one twin bed mattress was not going to cut it. Harry was doing some research online and just by accident stumbled on a portable bunkbed system. We bought it over the winter but hadn’t tried putting it together yet. Today was the day!

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One bed put together…we could actually use it just as one bed if we wanted to.


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The two beds are completely secured together.


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It fits in the space just as well as I hoped it would.



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I have them covered at the moment for the four legged occupants who I’m sure will be using them over the next few days. Each bed has an attachment where the kids can put some of their things. And we also have storage space underneath the bottom bunk.


I can’t wait to see the boys’ faces when they see their sleeping area!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Maintenance on Us and the Fiver

We’ve actually been in NY for almost a week and a half, and it has been such a whirlwind!

35292347_10217512744997274_2708382505429368832_nWe are at a different campground this year, after Earlton Hill Campground (where we had stayed the past few years) cancelled our reservation on us without notifying us last summer. So we decided to try staying at Brook n Wood Campground in Elizaville.



34529058_10217440621554233_7738793200600481792_nWe have a nice large site, maybe the biggest site we’ve ever had.


Basically the only reason this wouldn’t have been our first choice in the first place is that it’s a little bit farther to my sister’s from here.


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Plus we have to go across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge which has a toll of $1.25 for EZ Pass. The only good thing about it is you only have to pay the toll going in one direction!



So, let’s see…what has been going on so far…

35479208_10217512735357033_7293501058754543616_nLast weekend was a fun family weekend since my nephew Matt was graduating from high school!

It is oh so true that they grow up so fast. It does not seem like that long ago that he was this little guy…

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In just a week, my third nephew will be graduating from his high school also. It’s sad that the kids are growing up, but exciting to see them heading off on new adventures though!

35266890_10217512741917197_8927042795491819520_nBecause we are an hour away from Albany, we tried to group our appointments as much as possible. So on Monday, we headed out bright and early to get our bloodwork done. Then after breakfast, we had our annual get together with our financial guy. And we capped our day with Harry’s annual retina checkup. Phew! By that time, we were more than ready to get home.

On Wednesday, we had our physical appointments, where we were happy to find out that we are both in good shape physically. Actually, I am probably in the best shape right now of my entire adult life. All set for another year hopefully!

35303846_10217512727396834_8388606986387718144_nThen yesterday it was our rig’s turn. I have to say that this is the day I least look forward to every summer – packing up for just one day and then going to sit at my sister’s house while the work is being done. Now that we have the house, it would be easier to just have the maintenance done in Florida while we aren’t in the rig. But we just trust the worksmanship of the people at this place so much, we can’t bring ourselves to take the fiver anywhere else.

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I’m sorry to say that our rig didn’t get quite as good a report as we did. We already knew that we had to have the fans in the fridge replaced. We also had our yearly maintenance done on the wheel bearings and u-bolts.

There are two more major repairs that will need to be done. The dual pane window on our largest rear window is coming apart at the seal. So the whole window needs to be replaced. Also our rear hydraulic jacks need to be replaced as they are leaking fluid. This will obviously be a more than few hour job! The only good thing…well, there are two good things about it happening now. The first is that we already planned to be here in NY into September so we will have plenty of time to get the repair done. The second is that we are still (for just a few more days!) under our extended warranty. So we are hoping that some of the repairs will be covered. We have had a horrible experience with this warranty company in the times when we’ve tried to use it, so we are nervous. But as far as we know, the window and jacks should be covered.  I will report more on this when we find out.

This weekend should be much more low-key. We don’t have any major plans. My sister and her husband will be out of town, so we are on “bring the kid to work” duty. haha  Other than that, we plan to relax for a change of pace!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Back in the Land of Mountains and Trees

We have arrived at our first major stop for the summer!

34556361_10217440671395479_8949013576140455936_nSince we left Charlotte, we spent a night in Virginia and two nights in Pine Grove, PA. In Pine Grove, we stayed at the same campground and had the same site that we spent almost three weeks in last summer on our trip to Hershey with Schaun. That brought back some good memories.

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We drove in and out of cloudy skies. But we never did get any rain while we were actually on the road. It did rain yesterday but I guess I picked the right day to stay put.

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This afternoon, a little over a week after we left Avon Park, we crossed over into New York for the first time since last July!


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At that point we were in familiar territory again, and it was just about an hour later that we were crossing the Hudson River.




34537619_10217440630554458_6851868886174793728_nOur home base for the next few weeks!


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This may be one of the largest sites we’ve ever had!

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Here’s the view from across the street. We are looking forward to settling in, and getting together with family.

Lots of plans for the next few weeks!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Lucky So Far

So far (I would say “knock on wood” if I were the superstitious sort, haha) we have been so lucky with the weather! When we were in Avon Park, we were in an extremely wet pattern, and while we were in the Charlotte area, storms and rain moved through every single day. 34453830_10217414618184165_6091911475830456320_nAnd yet, we have had beautiful blue skies every travel day!

I won’t complain about that one bit! And I’ve noticed we are getting into the rolling farmland views also.

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I didn’t take many pictures over the past few days, but we had a good time visiting with Andrew and Amanda. They had to work, of course, so we were basically visiting after the work day, and yesterday we hung out at their house for most of the day.

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It clouded up enough yesterday that it was pleasant to sit outside in their patio area. We brought our portable grill over as they have not bought one yet.

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Andrew cooked some shrimp on the grill.

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It was a nice relaxing few days.


This morning we had an extremely short trip, so we just took it very easy. The checkout time at the campground was noon, and I don’t think we pulled out until around 11:30. Might be a record for us!

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Today was our day going through the mountain pass by Fancy Gap, VA. This used to stress us out but we have done it enough times now that we don’t give it much thought.


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And there are some beautiful views!


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We have usually stayed at the Fort Chiswell RV Park when we travel this route, but the sites we have had there are pretty unlevel. So we decided this time to try the Wytheville KOA, which is about 4 miles further down I-81.

The sites seem narrow, but are level. We didn’t even unhook! We will be leaving pretty early tomorrow (for us anyway – by 8 am) since we have a 380 mile trip tomorrow to Pine Grove, PA.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Basement Sorting and Other Stuff

34071659_10217393777423159_5618598013862674432_nWhen we were getting ready to leave, we really didn’t take the time to organize things very carefully. Even though we didn’t get tons of rain, the skies were looking threatening most of the time. So we basically just put everything in wherever we could fit it, and decided to make it neat later. Yesterday, with a nice day on the horizon, one of the items on Harry’s list was straightening out his basement storage.


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Cleaning up the sandy floor!


All nice and neat!

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Hard to believe that when we started fulltiming, this basement was packed from top to bottom!


Just because we like to live dangerously, the other thing we planned for yesterday was visiting the local Cabela’s, which is a very short 3 miles away from the campground. We are planning on doing quite a bit of hiking this summer when we get up into the Adirondacks, so Harry wanted to get some hiking poles. He has borrowed some to use on previous hikes, and found them useful. Over the past months he did some research to figure out what he wanted. The other item on his list was some waterproof hiking boots.

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Mission accomplished!


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Ariel thought the hiking poles were a new fancy chin rest for her. haha



Later in the afternoon, we drove the short distance over to Andrew and Amanda’s new house. It is only 2.5 miles from the campground! We thanked them for moving so close to our local address. haha

Andrew made some yummy fresh guacamole and chicken tacos. I was too busy enjoying it to get any pictures. Yes, that is how good it was!

We enjoyed a nice evening chatting and catching up, before we headed home to sleep in our comfy bed. (Yes, we are getting reacquainted with the benefits of rv’ing.)