Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lunchtime Get Together - WE Did Not Eat the Bunny...

Yesterday, Wednesday, we had a fun get-together with all the employees and volunteers.  We started with the monthly Safety Meeting and finished with a pot-luck luncheon.  Food was great and the company was even better.   We had fun meeting Janie's (the park manager) mom.  She has been here for a few weeks but this was our first opportunity to meet her.

The lunch was advertised as a birthday celebration for Cameron, one of the Law Enforcement Rangers.  Just before lunch there was some trouble in the park.  He missed his birthday party while he was out chasing bad-guys.  The good news was - he caught them.  He tried to be humble but he did admit it was cool to catch 'em :)
I had my new camera and forgot to take any pictures!!!! Rats.  We'll have another meeting before we leave...

Winter Must Be Over...
Well, Spring has certainly sprung around here.  Everything is lush, Lush, LUSH.  It's amazing to see the transformation.  The only negative is that it has been really humid.  Our morning walks tend to get damp.

Well, I guess there is a second negative.  The bugs are thick.

Oh, and another one:  the snakes are on the prowl.

Nature Calls...
The other day we got a call from Rich & Pat, yeah, that Rich & Pat.  Pat had heard a rabbit scream.  She recognized the sound so she walked over to the fire pit in their adjacent site and found a 5 foot rat snake in the process of killing and devouring a bunny.  She called us to come see it.  It was disgustingly interesting.

Soon, there were about 8 people standing around watching nature at work.

I guess the attention finally got to the snake because after some time he released the partially swallowed bunny and slithered away.

I did get pictures.  I posted the least graphic I could find:

Another New Experience - Maybe...
Today we got a call from the outfit hiring for this year's sugar beet harvest.  It sounds like a lot of work but only for a few weeks.  I've heard about these before and have been intrigued.  It will be another new experience for us, if we are hired.  It comes right on the heels of or our Yellowstone stint this summer.  The timing is perfect and the money ain't too bad either.  We'll see.

Hey - How Do They Do That???
That brings up another thing I am thinking about:  a stint at Disney World.  I've thought about that many times.  We had so much fun when we visited a number of years ago. I think it would be a kick to see the operation from behind the scenes.  I need to look into how to apply.  Stay tuned.

The Clock's a Tickin'...
We have one more month here.  We find ourselves looking at all the things we want to do and friends we want to see.  Guess we'd better get with it!  We've all been there.  It is time to leave and there are so many unfinished things.  We put together a list and are working on a schedule.  We'll see how it goes.

This lifestyle is a lot of fun but sometimes we have to do some planning.  We don't want to miss anything while we're "Chasin' Our Dreams!"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Over 2000 Hits!! Yay!!!

Wow!  Check out the hit number.  Almost 2100.  That is great.  Hope everyone is enjoying reading this as much as I am writing it.  Feel free to comment if you want.  I would love to hear from you.

Beautiful Morning Walks to Work...
The day was gorgeous.  We walk back and forth from our campsite to the maintenance shop.  It's a couple miles round trip.

The mornings have been beautiful these past few days.  The temps are in the upper 50's when we leave around 7:30am but it warms up quickly.  By the time we get off around noon:30 it is nearing 80.

That's a bit warm for us right now.  Hope we do not see any 90's or more before we leave on May 1st.

Just One Of Those Days...
We all have them.  Days that are completely routine.  Not much new to report.

Got up - Walked to work - Did our normal maintenance duties - Walked home - Relaxed.

A Visit With A Great Kid and Her Great Dad...
We did get together with Alan and his daughter, Sophie.  It brightens our hearts to see this relationship.  There are people in this world who are clearly here to raise kids.  Alan and his wife, Alissa, are two of those people.  Sophie is a marvelous kid.  Lots of self confidence and LOTS OF ENERGY!!!

She is almost 7 and has become a voracious reader.  She just completed a 500 page book.  Can you believe that?  The only thing I did with books that big when I was a kid was sit on them to eat Cheerios.

Besides reading them, she comprehends them too.  You can talk with her about what she is reading and it is obvious she has a firm grasp on the material.

She adores her dad:

Our visit was the highlight of the day.

We tentatively made plans for them to come spend a night in our camper in a few weeks.  Sophie has never done anything like that.  She was excited to see it today.  We look forward to an evening around the campfire and some great S'Mores.  Hope it works out.

More About Friends Coming and Going...
I mentioned yesterday that our friend Rich and Pat left on their journey back home to New York.

Creating new friends for a short period until we or they move on is something we have to get used to.

One of the Park Rangers just transferred from this park to Tyler State Park in East Texas.  Louis is a great guy. We really enjoyed our short acquaintance and look forward to perhaps seeing him when we travel near his new area of responsibility.

Good Luck Louis!!

Whether it be raising great kids or moving around the country, we're all having a grand time "Chasin' Our Dreams!"

Catch Up...

It's been a while since I posted. Here are the highlights of the past couple weeks.

South By South West (SXSW)
South by South West (SXSW) was going on in Austin and that meant we were extremely busy. The park was packed the entire week. As soon as a campsite was vacated it refilled. We did our best to check each vacancy to clean up any litter or fire pit debris but it was a race.

It was interesting to note that the majority of visitors were not your "normal" campers. I mean, they were not here for a camping experience but rather a lodging facility while they attended the festivities.

The result is that we noticed a considerable more amount of litter and untidy sites. It appears that visitors who are here for a camping experience are more diligent in maintaining a pristine environment.

Visitors who are "moteling it" have a different attitude. We decided that we do not want to work in hotels!!

All this is not to say that the park was a mess. Far from it. In fact, we still marvel at how tidy it is overall.

Way to go visitors!!!

Interesting Person...
We met Linda when she approached asking for a map of the park. A visit ensued and we found out she was here representing the musical duo, Sleeping Naked.

Robin and I looked at each other when she told us the name. We wondered what they would do if they heard our story of the couple swept down the stream while they were "Sleeping Naked!"

When Linda is not representing the duo she works as a marketing rep for an outdoor equipment company whose name I cannot for the life of me remember. Rats.

She gets to travel a lot and try out new gear. How cool is that!

Anyway, thanks for a good visit Linda.

West Texas Outing...
We traveled to West Texas to visit Seminole Canyon State Park and Historical Site. Recently we agreed to a stint for this coming winter. We had heard good things about the park and wanted to see for ourselves.

We had a ball! The setting is completely different from what we have here. It is wide open desert country. You can see for miles and miles. Very similar to our past times in Wyoming.

We took the interpretive tour twice on Saturday. Each presenter had a different approach. It was fun to see how they worked. I will be leading tours so am very interested in how others do it.

Being the shy, introverted type of guy I am, I will have to work on being more outgoing and extroverted. (What? ... What?)

I already have some ideas on how to keep the crowd interested (aka entertained) for the duration while disseminating some useful information at the same time.

Kiddos will have to be included too, you know, short attention spans and such. That should not be too difficult. My attention has been known to wander after a bit too. If I can keep myself entertained, everyone will be fine :)

New Camera! Yay!!!
I finally got my new camera! Yay!!!

It is a Canon S100 and I love it! It is very easy to use and takes great pictures.

Spring has definitely sprung. The blue bonnets are spectacular this year. The past few years have not been so great due to the draught.

There are even a few Albino Blue Bonnets scattered here and there:

Flowers are everywhere. These were at the lower falls:

Even in nature, there are smart alecks who just have to be different (look close in the center):

We are still in the early stages of Spring. We cannot wait to see what is in store.

We Took a Walk With 25,000 of Our Closest Friends...
The 35th Annual Austin Capital 10k was this past Sunday. This is the fourth time I have participated. Robin was not able to last year. Rats. But she was there right beside me this year!

We walked with Alan and Kathy:

Alan was our workout trainer for a number of years. Now that he does not get to torture us on a weekly basis we are just great friends

Kathy is one of his clients we've seen on many occasions. She joined us last year for the race/walk.

It was a picture perfect morning for the race. It started on the Congress Street Bridge. You know, where the bats hang out:

Straight north toward the capital:

Then it meandered through the city:

And finally ended back just a couple blocks from where it started:

I did not see as many costumes as in the past, but this guy was terrific in his balloon cornucopia:

We had a lot of fun. We will be at Seminole Canyon this time next year. We may come over for the weekend to continue our streak of participation. We'll see...

So Long Rich and Pat...
Rich and Pat left today. They are ultimately headed back to New York. We had a lot of fun getting to know them. It was a bit sad to see them leave but who knows, we may see them again.

Meeting people and making new friends is both a blessing and a curse with this lifestyle. Many of the folks you really enjoy, you may never see again. We just concentrate on the gifts that they all bring to our lives as we wander about "Chasin' Our Dreams!"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

First Part of the Week...

No Post Yesterday.
It's Tuesday Afternoon. I did not post yesterday. I was wiped out. Not from work but from lack of sleep. I've been drinking a LOT of coffee with heavy cream lately. Consequently, I have not been sleeping that well. Yesterday I decided to lessen my caffeine. I had only one cup in the morning. By evening I could hardly stumble into bed. Why does everything that tastes so good have to be so bad????

Monday Recap:
We got up and did our fist walk to work. We are parked about a mile from the workshop where we all gather each morning. We have been driving every morning.  During each drive we discuss that we should be walking.  Finally ..... we got up and walked.

It turned out to be a lot of fun! We hooked up with Rich at his site. The three of us yakked the whole way to the shop. It seemed awfully early tho. Dang time change!

It was a beautiful morning. The birds were flying around and the deer were meandering through the meadows.

Here is a pic of the three of us on our walk to work:

Still haven't gotten the new camera yet...

The park has been extremely busy. That means there was a lot of cleaning to do.

It really tickles us to see the families out with the kids having so much fun. Everyone smiles and waves.

Here is a pic of all the kids playing and smiling:

Ah, never mind.  I think I'll wait for the new camera.

After we got home, following more walking and yakking, we vegged out the rest of the day. I'm not sure what Robin did. I spent some good time keeping my recliner from floating off.

I grilled some hamburger steaks for dinner. Robin sauteed some onions and mushrooms. Yummmm! I also grilled the last of our chicken breasts. They were pretty tasty too!

I was just waking up (again) when I saw someone outside our door. It was Rich and Pat bringing us some cooked pears. We had planned on having them at dinner on Sunday but we were all so busy rolling on the floor overstuffed, a la Templeton, we opted to pass on dessert. Tonight was perfect for dessert!  Thanks, Pat!!

Monday's are our least favorite TV night, so we ended the day early.

Each evening we have a moment when we look at each other and smile. Even if the day has been slow, we realize how lucky we were to have spent it "Chasin' Our Dreams!"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekend Recap...

It was a dark and stormy weekend...
It started raining Friday and continued through Saturday, finishing Sunday afternoon.  The nice thing about rain storms are the magnificent blue skies that follow.  We had that this afternoon and evening.

I had not used our weather station since we stored the motor home.  I got it out and set up.

We got over 500 inches of rain!!!

Well, not exactly.  I had set the weather station next to the motor home to wait until I mounted it on the tripod.  It must have registered some run-off from the top of the motor home.  The actual accumulation recorded was 3.38 inches.   I think that was a little inflated.  I suspect the actual number was somewhere around 2 inches total.  Still, a great rain event for this area.  I have not heard for certain but I suspect we are officially out of the "drought" category.

We have never seen it so green this early in the season.  The permanent staff at the park are mowing like crazy.  The trees are leafing beautifully.  Bluebonnets and other flowers are popping up all over.  I hope this is a harbinger of a great flower season.

Check out this picture of the park:

I can't wait to get my new camera!!

We do like weathery days.  They keep us indoors and in slow mode.  It's great for a few days.  We would not want a steady diet of them tho.  I don't know how folks in the areas that are gray and overcast for long periods manage.  We have to have sunlight frequently.  We both get a little cranky otherwise.

With that, we did not do much on Saturday.  We got up early and did our shopping for the week.  Walmart was not too crowded.  Yay!

Well, That's a Load Off...
Robin has wanted a scale for some time.  We have been strongly adhering to our new ultra-low carbohydrate eating regimen since Feb 1.  We both have lost inches but we did not know our weights.

We are both down at least 10 pounds.  I came in at 207.8.  That sounds like a lot but I have not seen that number for years.  The last number I saw was 223, and had seen it up to 235 a while back.  Needless to say, we are ecstatic!  It really motivates us with our plan.

The amazing thing is:  We are stuffing ourselves.  We eat a lot of meat.   I mean, a lot.  Hamburger, steak, pork chops, port roasts, ham-cheese & peanut butter roll ups.  Lots of eggs and cheese.  We also eat quite a bit of green stuff:  spinach, collard greens, broccoli, snap peas and lettuce.

We have eliminated potatoes, pasta, corn, bread (well, most of the time!).  No sugar.  That means deserts, pastries, sodas, candy bars etc.

I only drink water, coffee, some milk, a little wine and occasionally an adult beverage.

It is truly amazing that we are satisfied.  We do not crave the old stuff.  Those of you who know me know that I had an intimate relationship with chocolate and ice cream.  After our breakup it is as if I never knew them.

Our regimen is very close to the Paleo Diet or Adkins.  We have done some reading but are not adhering to a specific "diet."  We are just avoiding carbohydrates.  Not necessarily concentrating on "high protein", just low to no carbs.  We saw it work for others and now it is working for us.  Don't forget that we were fully vegetarian for over 15 years.  I am living proof that a vegetarian can gain significant weight.

Other Stuff...
Fellow park hosts, Rich and Pat, had loaned us "Derailed."  We could not remember if we had seen it before, but shortly after it started we realized we had.  We watched it anyway.  Good movie.  Good story and writing.

I stayed up late reading bicycle touring blogs.  I get a kick out of them.  Check out Crazyguyonabike.  There are Journals of riders touring every part of the globe.  Very entertaining.

Some of the blogs I read have links to others.  I jump to the others and I gotta' tell you.  I just don't get what a lot of people write about.  They are waaaayyyyy too eclectic or deep for my shallow brain.

That was about it for Saturday.

Today we got up a bit late.  It was 9:30 according to the DST clocks.  Sure felt like 8:30.  Sheesh.

We had coffee and relaxed until the sun broke through the clouds.  The park jumped to life.  Lots of people out walking.  Kids out riding bikes and everyone enjoying the beautiful day.  We joined them with a nice walk around the park too.

Today's Interesting Person:
At the falls I met today's interesting person:
Jay was standing off to the side of the falls with his paint easel and paints.  He is an amateur painter.  He paints for himself; does not sell anything.  He works in the computer world when he is not painting.

His dog was helping a lot.  She even had a bit of blue paint on her head.  Cute.  I cannot for the life of me remember her name.  Rats.

Their work looked pretty good.  I can appreciate the effort for painting.  That talent passed right by me.

After our walk I disassembled our grille and did a thorough cleaning.  Hope our next meal does not taste like cleaning fluid.

Dinner With Good Friends!
We went over to Rich & Pat's for dinner.
They fixed a salad with shrimp and scallops.  Very tasty.  We have a lot of fun visiting with them.  They will be leaving on the 25th.  One of the fun yet sad things in this lifestyle is that you make great friends/acquaintances and then everyone goes separate directions.  Fortunately, we all are just a phone call or email away.

Dinner over, we came home and prepared for tomorrow.  This is the beginning of spring break.  South by South West is going strong. The park is jamb packed.  We will be busy this week.

We watch people come and go, rushing to get home after a fun weekend.  We realize how blessed we are with our freedom for "Chasin' Our Dreams!"

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wet and Cold Friday...

Howdy all.  It is Friday.  Although we are volunteering here at McKinney Falls State Park, it is a lot like a job and we do look forward to Fridays!

Yesterday was quite warm and humid.  In the late afternoon we discussed the possibility of turning on the AC in order to sleep comfortably during the night.  In the early evening we felt a strong wind gust and the temps dropped drastically.  The predicted cold front had arrived.  No AC was necessary after all.

This morning we woke to the sound of rain and thunder.  Fortunately, there were no close lightning strikes like the one a few weeks ago.  It sure was cold when we went to work, tho.

We did our routine duties.  We ended a bit ahead of ourselves so we decided to take the Mule for a litter patrol on the 3 mile path around the park. We have walked this path more times than I can count, but this was the first time we traveled it in a motorized vehicle.  We had a fun ride, found some litter and froze our b....s off!

The Mule is an open air ATV.  It does have a windshield but the way it is positioned it diverts wind into the driver/passenger area.  This will be great in August when it is 100 degrees but today when it was in the low 40s, it was C-O-L-D!

After we wrapped up our work we returned to the motor home for a relaxing afternoon.

We were supposed to go to Liberty Hill this evening for a get-together with Bob & Kristine and Mike - old friends from Lone Star RV Park.  The weather was so uncomfortable we called Kristine and asked for a rain check, literally.  She sounded relieved that we were not coming so all ended well.  We'll get with them in the next few weeks.  Spring has sprung.  Things are warming up.  I'm sure we'll have ample opportunity to do it again.

That left us free for the afternoon/evening.  We did  not do much.    Robin watched TV, read and napped.

I spent quite a bit of time on the Internet researching cameras.  I finally pulled the trigger on a Canon S100.  Research supported my thoughts that it will do us a great job.

I considered buying one at a local camera dealer.  I was thinking about supporting local businesses but they wanted $40 more than I could get it for on the Internet.  I would have had to pay 8.25% sales tax too.  The one I ordered has free shipping and no sales tax.  I saved quite a bit.  Yay!

Now, I will no longer have any excuses for not having pictures.  Just you wait.  In a while you all will be saying "OK! Enough already with the pictures.  Jeez."

We grilled some chicken for dinner and watched TV.  Not a lot else to report for the day.

The weather was so bad I did not get out to meet any interesting people in the park.  One person I did meet briefly is named Chris.  He is here from New York.  His pick-up has a shell on the back and he seems to be pretty comfortable staying in it.  He is here working on a screen play.  He said it is nice and quiet in the park.  Because of very few interruptions he can concentrate on his writing a lot easier than he can in New York.  He also has a film being shown for SXSW (remember that from yesterday?  South by Southwest)

I wonder if I was getting a message when he said "I can get a lot done here because there is no one distracting me from my work....."????

Actually, he was very nice.  I am sure he would have visited more.  He did wave with all his fingers when he left today.  I understand that is pretty good for folks from up there.

Things are supposed to be purdy busy this weekend. I bet I can find someone tomorrow I can introduce to you all.  Until then, given the bad weather we will be content just daydreaming about "Chasin' Our Dreams!"

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cameras, Break-ins and Chores...

Our camera bit the dust.  Rats.

It was 12 years old.  A great camera.  It definitely did not suffer from overuse.  I never got into the habit of keeping it with us and taking all those incredible pictures.

It was a Nikon Coolpix 995.  Only 3 megapixels but in its day it was one of the main choices of professional photographers.  I never did master it's capabilities.  I mostly did "point and shoot."

Now I am in the market for a new camera.  How do you choose from all the possibilities?  I am looking at a few RV forums and reading blogs.  So far I am hearing good stuff about the Canon S100.  Do any of you have suggestions and/or preferences?

Coach Net Follow-up...
I talked to Coach Net today.  The woman I spoke with was very professional and courteous.  She apologized for the frustrating situation in Hillsboro, TX the other day.  She did not understand why the rep I talked to did not go ahead and use the LOCAL tire shop and installer.  She suggested I send copies of my receipts.  Their Quality Assurance group would review and make a decision.

We'll see.  Stay tuned.

Theft During Storage...
Not anything of ours, thank God.

It is amazing how conversations move from one topic to something completely different.

Yesterday, I encountered a couple riding fold-up mountain bikes.  I struck up a conversation about their bicycles.  They are from Alaska; down in the "Lower 48" for a couple months touring about.

They explained that they store their motorhome in different places when it is time to return home.  We have heard this a number of times from foreign visitors and others from the far North.  It is less costly to store it than to ship it overseas or drive back to Alaska.  Makes sense to me.

Unfortunately, these folks' experience with a local storage outfit was far from good.  Their motorhome was ransacked while in storage.  They lost all their electronics (TV surround sound, computers, printer, TV, etc.) as well as all their tools and maintenance stuff.  Their Honda generator was gone.  They even lost kitchen knives and other accessories.  Sheesh.

The frustrating thing is that from all appearances it was an inside job.  The investigating cops agreed.

The rental place had insisted that they leave keys for their rig.  This was unusual.  The RVers/owners argued but then complied.

There was no evidence of a break in.  According to the RVers, there was proof that someone had been eating and spending a bit of time in the unit.

The car that they tow behind the motorhome had 181 more miles on the odometer than when they left it!!!!!

The storage place has video surveillance, but the tapes are only stored for 21 days.

The police dusted for fingerprints.  They told the victims that results will take MONTHS to get back.  Seems a bit odd to take so long.

The RVers are suing the storage owner in small claims court.  Because they had surrendered keys, the insurance company does not consider it a theft.  What?????

I realize I only got the side from the owners/victims but they also said that there are public records showing that there have been other incidents of similar theft in that facility.  Things sound pretty incriminating.  I hope the truth comes out.

Chores and Home Improvements...
After a week, we can report that we are really happy we got the motorhome back.  We are so much more comfortable.

Just as with any home, there are things that need attention.  I have been working on a list of items.  It feels good to check them off as each one is completed.

One thing I have wanted to do for some time is to install our "Extend-a-Stay".  It is a control system that allows us to hook up an auxiliary propane tank in line with our permanent tank on the RV.  That means we do not need to take the motorhome to a propane place.  Nor must we hire a propane outfit to come fill us up.  We have a removable tank in our camper.  Now we can hook it up to the motorhome.  When it is empty, we switch to the permanent tank while we take the camper tank and get it filled up.

We've had fun showing our rig to people.  We have done so much remodeling and decorating that I am confident there is not another one like it.  We were looking at it the other night and realized that it is more like a small apartment than an RV.  We love it!

Austin is Busy This Month...
The park has been preparing for a busy month.  College Spring Break begins on the 12th.  Colleges in the area stagger their break periods so we will be busy for a couple weeks in a row.

Also, South by Southwest (SXSW) is here.  It is a huge music and movie festival. Somewhat like Cannes in France, or the Sundance Film Festival in Utah that Robert Redford made famous.

People come from all over the country and the world.  Hotels are very expensive.  Some people rent out their houses for thousands of dollars.  The park is convenient and inexpensive.  We will be busy.  I am looking forward to meeting some of the interesting people.

I am going to begin chronicling the interesting folks we meet.  Stay tuned!

Travels Ahead...
We have a little over 7 weeks left at McKinney Falls State Park.  The experience has been great.  We look forward to stints in other parks.  Next is Yellowstone for the summer.

We are going over to Seminole Canyon State Park the weekend of March 17 & 18.  We are anxious to see it.  We have committed to a stint for next Winter.  I'll let you know what we think after our visit.

The day is winding down.  We had a great dinner and are now enjoying a glass of wine and some of our favorite TV shows.  We are comfortable, warm, happy and ready for the next adventure that waits while we are "Chasin' Our Dreams!"

The Motor Home is Back in Texas!!!

It's been a little while since I posted. The biggest bit of news was my quick trip to Indiana to retreive our motorhome.

All I can say is "Wow!"

We did not realize how much we were missing it. The small truck camper worked fine for the seven months full-timed in it but Robin really missed her washer and dryer. I don't think they have been idle a day since I returned on Wednesday, February 29.

I flew to Southbend, Indiana on Sunday, Feb 26.

I made a connection in Minneapolis, MN. It was COLD there!! Hey, we've been in Texas for crying out loud. What the heck is that white stuff on the ground? I thought I was not going to see any more of that. I sure was glad I did not have to spend much time there!

From Minneapolis I connected to Southbend. It is way up north near the Michigan border. How many ways can you spell "Brrrrr?"

I got to Southbend at 1:00pm. Rented a car and started looking for a hotel/motel (what the heck is the difference???).

Anyway, I got a room at the Day's Inn. After checking in it occurred to me that it was a "guy's room." Not exactly a man-cave but I know Robin would not have approved. It was not tooooo bad. I was glad I did not have my black light and I did not see anything crawling on the bed, so, what the heck. Hey, I used to drive for Greyhound.  Believe me, they did not put us in 5 star places for our layovers. I think they wanted us to be able to relate to the passengers. We had to draw the line at sleeping on the benches in the lobby.

Meanwhile, back to the trip...

I got to the storage place Monday morning. The rig looked great. When I stepped in it sure felt good. I could not believe how roomy it felt! I guess living in a box that is 7 feet wide and 16 1/2 feet long makes one appreciate the space in one that is 10 feet wide (with the slide out) and 37 feet long! It really is amazing the difference.

I hooked up the batteries. I put the key in the ignition, the dash came fully alive. The heater blower blew, lights lit. Hooray!!

Turn the key - click. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, shut off. What th'... This was not supposed to happen.  Rats.

I turned the key multiple times. Nothing.

Looked at the fuse and relay box. All appeared in order.

They guy who owns the storage place (real nice guy) came over to see what was going on. We talked a bit and considered a possible bad cell in the battery. It was brand new when we stored it 7 month ago. Hopefully, it was OK.

He suggested hooking up his booster box. Things not starting after a long storage happens and he was prepared.

We hooked up the booster. Nothing. I was seeing $$$$ flash before my eyes as I visualized someone I do not know in a strange city trying to troubleshoot a complicated electrical problem. Jeez.

We switched from boost to charge. After a moment I hit the ignition again. The same click clicked and she started right up!!! Yay, with a capital YAY!

We surmized that a relay was stuck and the charge popped it open. Perhaps there was some sulfating in the battery. Who knows, all I cared about was "will it start repeatedly?"

We disconnected the charger and tried starting a few more times.  She started perfectly each time. Seems the battery was still fully charged - pretty good for 7 months.

I took it for a short drive. All was well. Yay #2!

I still had a rental car to return. I had discussed how to do this with the Hertz guy when I rented it. He told me that for $25 they would pick up the car if I left it somewhere where I felt secure leaving it.

I called and asked if rather than leave it someplace, could I come to their location and pick up someone who then could take me back to the rig. We agreed that would be the best way to do it.

$25 would be much cheaper than a taxi.

I picked up the guy and we returned to the rig. I got inside and he left. Then...  I could not find my keys!!! Panic!!!!!

I called Hertz and asked if they could call the driver and see if I left the keys in his car. They put me on hold.

I stood inside the RV and waited -- Now don't get ahead of me here...

I am inside the RV... I had to unlock the door to get in... Where oh where could those pesky keys be???

Yup - hanging outside in the door lock. Sheesh.

Hertz comes back online. The guy swears they are not in his car. "Yeah, I know. I'm a dork. Thanks for checking. Have a good day!!!"

I'm on my way!!

I headed to Muncie where I was supposed to have dinner with Robin's parents, our two girls, Michelle and Jessica, our grand daughters Shelby and Katie and our two great-grandsons.

The rig ran great! I was having a ball. Back in trucker mode after all these years.

Dinner was a lot of fun.

I opted not to go to Richard and Norma's hotel (or was it a motel) to visit. It was 8:30 and I wanted to head south. Remember, it was COLD up there. I had not winterized the rig because it was stored inside. If I could get 300 miles south there would be no chance of freezing PLUS, those horrible storms that devastated the midwest last week were headed my way.

BTW - This was a few days before they actually hit.  No one had any idea they would be so disastrous.  I passed right by Henryville, IN, the town that was pretty much wiped out.  Scary stuff.

The night was beautiful. No clouds. Cold weather. Good coffee and great highways. South I shot.

I kept thinking I would stop but was having so much fun. If you have not driven big rigs (buses - 3 1/2 years and then semi-trucks - 10 years) you really are missing something. As I said, I was back in trucker mode.

Should I stop? - Nah. Keep going.

Next thing I knew I was south of Nashville, TN and it was 3:30 in the morning. Time to stop.

Slept for four hours. Man-o-man. That Tempurpedic mattress felt great! Sure wish Robin was here so we both could have slept on it the first night. That cheap foam pad mattress in the camper does not even come close to comfortable...

Next morning I took off. The rest of the drive was a lot of fun and uneventful. Until...

I stopped in Hillsboro, TX, just north of Waco, to get gas at Wallmart. The parking lot was a bit difficult to get into.

As I was exiting a guy pulling a big trailer with a pick-up was headed in. No problem, I'll swing out of the way and give him room.

I misjudged and the right front tire went off the pavement. Again, no problem. Just gently back up and ease it back on.

The pavement was a few inches thick. The tire grabbed the edge of the pavement and ripped the tread right off!!!

The trucker lingo came right back: @#$%^&*!!

This started a whole new adventure. I called our road service (no-service??) Remember when we were stranded in Arkansas last year? Same outfit. Coach Net.

Here's how it went:
I called and explained that I lost a tire. I don't carry a spare. I needed a new tire and it needed to be mounted. They weren't optimistic. They would call around and see what they could do. Now remember, I was a few miles north of Waco.

Yeah, I know - you are asking "doesn't Walmart sell tires?" Yes, they do but nothing big enough for a motorhome. But - there was a Ford dealer next to Walmart. The motorhome is on a Ford chassis. Perhaps....

I walked over and talked to the service department. Nope. Again, nothing that big BUT - The friendly service guy gave me some LOCAL tire dealers' names and numbers who may be able to help. Cool!!

Remember, Coach Net was trying to find something...

I called the LOCAL dealer.  They had a tire and a guy to come change it out. The tire was $313 and the service call/labor was $75. They could be there literally, in a few minutes.

Coach Net finally called back. "Man, we are having real trouble finding a tire. The best we can do is in Waco and the tire alone is $450. That does not include the service call from Waco."  We're looking at $600!

Hmmmm - Here's an idea - I just got off the phone with a LOCAL tire dealer who can do it all for less than $400. How about you deal with him? I have all the phone numbers and names right here.

Sorry, he is not one of our preferred venders...

You have to be kidding me. I found a LOCAL dealer, found a tire and can arrange for immediate assistance and you, who I paid for a three year membership with, cannot help????

Here is what I am going to do, I'll get the LOCAL dealer to fix me and we will talk when I get home.

OK - Sorry we could not help.

Yeah, I'm sorry too. Bye.

Within and hour, I was back on the road. I paid for everything.

Austin appeared. It was great to be back. Robin walked into the rig and could not stop smiling. She loves the camper but this is "home."

I have not gotten with Coach Net yet. I'll keep you posted.

Well, we have moved in. The camper is again a camper. The motorhome is again a home. We do have a lot of equipment now. We certainly are prepared for "Chasin' Our Dreams!"