Months End….

Just a little wrap up to the Month…

Van Service – on the 19th, took it into the dealers (Dodge) for a heater problem. Turns out a bad heater core so it is ordered and will likely get replaced when I get back from my Texas Trip. (Speaking of which, I leave on Monday the 31st.

Also went to the coach dealer and had my fridge thermostat replaced. At the same time was experiencing some cycle issues on the coach AC so had them check that, thought maybe a thermostat but there is a bad board, so they are gonna check on that and order.

Today, 9/28.. we are all going out (Scott, Morgan and the kids) to Myabi’s for birthday dinners. I am also packing and prepping van for the trip. Got propane and fuel this morning, have drained all tanks and need to fill the fresh water tank!

Catch you all down the road….

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VanVenture Part V Final

Wednesday the 11th, we drove a few hours over to Standish Maine to visit my long time friend Ron Peeling. We go back to 2001 and he rode many an occasion with Lyn and I and we periodically met somewhere for lunch! Ron lost his wife Beth a year before I lost Lyn.

He took me a nice local restaurant and Maggie and I actually slept inside his house. In the morning, when I woke, he had coffee ready and made Maggie and I breakfast before we left!

Leaving Ron’s, we began the trek home. Again, an impromptu lunch meeting. LD rider Ken Aman sent me a text to see my route and met at a Diner in Newburgh NY for lunch. That makes these trips even more fun! After lunch, we made it down to the PA Welcome center where we stopped for the night. The next day, we made out down to a rest area on I-81 where we stopped, maybe 5 hours to get to Kings Mountain NG where we would meet up with Mike “Grizz” Newton and his wife Cindy. We had a real nice visit, Mike took me on a tour of the area and then later he and Cindy took me out to dinner.

Sunday, we had an early departure from Mike’s Drive… Made it home about 10:00 am.. It was a great trip but always great to be home!

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VanVenture Part IV Bonus

I met a young lady online, through a good friend. She is also a van owner (identical to mine) and she was up in Bar Harbor Maine. I decided to go up and say Hello and compare our modifications. She has had hers longer and is pretty much full time in hers. She also has a dog named Tweety!

She reserved me the spot next to hers… we had a real nice visit. We checked out each others vans (trust me, I learned more than she did) and even exchanged a couple van “gift’ items. The dogs got along great too.

We went to dinner that evening, the next day worked on some travel apps together setting them up on her GPS and tablet. She cooked a nice dinner that evening and we said our goodbyes early as I was leaving early Wednesday morning.

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VanVenture Part III Memorial

This is the primary purpose of this trip, the Rolling Thunder Fallen Members Ride, to honor and remember those New Hampshire members that passed away. I went last year and it was an emotional experience that I cherished as we remembered those who passed, and last year included my beloved Lyn.

This year was no different, I felt love, compassion and brotherhood from everyone. They read the names, rang a bell each time and after members read bios of those who passed. Again, I was able to speak of Lyn. This year, her brick was in place on the Memorial walkway!

After the memorial, we gathered for a group picture and then drove to Longhorn Steak House in Concord NH for lunch. Lots of fun with my Rolling Thunder NH “Family” Thank You! (I spent the night at the Epping Park & Ride before heading for Maine!)

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VanVenture Part II NH

I arrived on Thursday the 5th of September. Visited a neighbor Kevin and then over to my other neighbor Steve’s house. Steve graciously allowed me to park in his yard for the next 3 nights! He lives 3 doors down from my old house. Thursday night, we went out to dinner after he got home from work.

On Friday, I had plans to have lunch at my old work location. They have a picnic area and I arranged to meet Debbie and some other folks there for lunch. Kelley, who used to work for me (she has since left) also joined us and picked up lunch for us. It was a nice visit, enjoyed reflecting with many of my former co-workers. I also took a drive around Nashua, brought back lots of memories..

Later that afternoon, while relaxing in the van, I received a phone call from a former co-worker (who now lives in Florida). She was up visiting friends also so 4 of us met at T-Bones for dinner. It was a pleasant surprise!

Saturday was a quiet day with friends. In the morning, went and hung out over breakfast with longtime friend Richie. We ate at the Airport Diner in Manchester, a place we used to meet once a month for breakfast. Great visit!

In the afternoon, met up with Dennis and Susan, motorcycle riders that Lyn and I used to ride with in NH. We picked up take out at Golden Rod in Manchester and had an afternoon picnic at Lake Massabesic. This was a location that Lyn and I frequented on our rides. Great memories! They have a dog also so the dogs were able to be with us.

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VanVenture Part 1 The Drive!

On Monday 9/2, Maggie and I hit the road for a 2 week VanVenture to the North Country. The primary purpose was the Rolling Thunder Memorial in NH. This is an annual event where the Chapter honors its members that have passed, so this includes Lyn. I went last year too and though emotional, was so glad that I did! This year, her memorial brick was in the walkway!

Original departure was the 3rd but since I could, I decided to leave a day early and drive to Charlotte and see my friend Mike Brown. I was hopeful to avoid the traffic and rain from the approaching hurricane. Had a nice visit with Mike and his family… Maggie was a pistol, she strolled INTO a neighbors house… and managed to grab a filet mignon from the table!

We left early the next morning heading toward PA. We stopped for the night at a Flying J truck stop at the Virginia border. I went into the store and got some snacks for the Van and later that evening, went into Denny’s and got my dinner. I received a message from a friend about my route, turned out she lives right off the freeway in Walden NY. We made plans to meet for lunch on my way by the next day (Wed the 4th)

Maggie resting for the night!

On Wednesday, we departed early, wanted to make some miles to CT and also allow some extra time for lunch with Patty. Met her at the Walden Diner in her home town and had a nice visit and lunch. Great to see her and she even gave me a small gift for the Van. We stopped that night at the Welcome Center in CT for the night.

On Thursday, we got up… fixed breakfast and then headed on in to Hudson. We had made plans to meet long time friend Steve Leblanc at Cookies Cafe for lunch. Lyn used to work here. After lunch, I continued to my old Neighborhood!

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Service Call to Gainesville

I have had a couple issues with the Roadtrek Van, one involving the solar controller (loose fire) and the other with the refrigerator (too cold). I have been able to work around these but wanted to get them fixed before my trip up North.

I drove part way on the 26th of August and stayed at the Florida Welcome center, drove in the rest of the way the morning of the 27th. On the agenda was the Solar Wire, Refrigerator and an issue with the backup camera. They fixed all but the fridge. There was a wiring issue with the thermostat, but they took time to check it all out and the thermostat was bad. They ordered a new one so I will go back when they get it in.

Next up… my 2 week trip up North!

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Last of the Practice Runs

On August 18th, Maggie and i headed out for a short 4 day camping run. The primary purpose was to set up and and boondock (no hookups) and move and do it again. During this trip, we decided to incorporate 2 Harvest Host stops. The Harvest Host program has over 800 locations in the US where for a nominal annual fee (I paid $64), you can spend the night for free. Locations include farms, wineries, distilleries, museums.

I chose 2 for this trip, both in SC. The 1st was Gypsy Wind Farms. I stayed in the woods on the farm by a duck pond. Visited their farm stand and bought some pork chops and sausage. Also got a tour of the farm and was invited to use their pool.

The 2nd stop was a Harvest Host, Chatooga Belle Farm and Distilley. Beautiful location, I camped overlooking the Orchards, sampled the whiskeys and purchased 2 bottles as gifts along with a steak for me. Had a tour of the distillery the next morning before I left. Very gracious hosts in both locations and I look forward to stay at more…

My last stop was at Hamburg State Park in GA, 1st time there and loved it. Camped right on the lake. 2 nice peaceful days here before we headed hope. All the systems worked as expected. I would schedule a service later for the solar and fridge issues.

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Buster Beagle

On August 11th, I got a call regarding an emergency rescue of a dog and the dog had to be picked up that day. I made arrangements to do that and agreed to foster for a few days until they could find a permanent foster. I could not keep him longer as I was going out of town that weekend.

It was a great success, Buster came here and after a short warmup became very relaxed and comfortable here with me and Maggie. They got along just fine, Buster was a Sr and low energy.

On Wednesday, I got a call from a potential Foster and took him there for a meet and greet. She kept him, intending to Foster and 3 days later he fit in so well that she adopted him

Congrats Buster, Happy Life my friend!

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Region J Coalition

August 14th was the Region J Hospital Coalition Quarterly Regional meeting. W me 4 times per year to share ideas and be better prepared for emergencies as the pertain to GA Hospitals. I work directly with Memorial University Medical Center, involved in the radio communications.

The meetings are typically informative and this was no different. I always return home with some new knowledge and also some new contacts through the Region.

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Maison Returns!

Maison is back in our care. Her caretakers are going on a trip to Ireland and I was asked to Babysit her during that time. She was with me again from the 31st until August 10th. She was a joy to have and in spite of size and energy differences, her and Maggie got along well.

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New Grill for Camper

I needed to find a small grill for the camper. A class B Van has limited real estate for storage so you have to really think out what you are packing in it. Primary is do you need it?
Secondary is how small can I get it!?

After some research that included a backpackers charcoal grill (which I still may try down the road) I settled on a Coleman Pack & Goal propane grill. It is reasonably small, has a case and I added a griddle in addition to the grill plate. If you add in the charcoal to the backpackers kit, they are close to the same space. I have tested it and used it on my recent trip and it worked very well.

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Foster Dog Updates

This is just a tad late, but wanted to update on the foster dog situation here at the house. If you remember, I ended up with 2 fosters after a rescue trip in May to SC, Maison and Sammi. Sammi was adopted very quickly and we still have Maison in the One Love Animal Rescue.

Maison went to a babysitter in June when I went to Michigan and again (to a different sitter) when I went to Florida in July. When I came back from Florida, she indicated she may be interested in eventually adopting Maison. She has been her foster mom since them and they are getting along great. They visited Maggie and I last week in the campground. Adoption looks like a real possibility. They are going to Ireland for 2 weeks so tomorrow, Maison comes back here for me to Babysit tomorrow!

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Shakedown Cruise I

Monday, July 22nd, Maggie and I headed down the road for a 4 day shakedown cruise of the Camper Van. One problem had already appeared as my solar shutdown. I suspect it is a loose connection and just need to confirm the screw to tighten.

We added some storage items to improve organization!

We went to Skidaway Island State Park which is close by just in case… It was not crowded at which made it so nice and peaceful.. There was plenty of shade on our site but it was still HOT and Humid!

We really had a nice time… two of the nights I was able to shut down the ac and open some windows with the vent fan and have a nice breeze. We also had visitors twice. My friend Paul came out with his dog on Tuesday for a visit and on Thursday Christen came out with Maison. It was nice to have visitors.

We also did some cooking and stuff and that was a bit of a challenge in the small space but I will get used to it. I added a few things to my list of needs such as umbrella, bag closure clips (like when you open chips) and a broom.

I uncovered one new problem, did not have hot water. This was the one system I had not checked. When we got home, I did some research and confirmed the solar screw, tightened that and solar is working. I also did not research on my hot water system and eventually determined the valves in the piping were not set correctly. As soon as I changed 3 valves, HOT WATER!

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Florida Trip (Van Pickup)

Ok, all arrangements were made for the Florida trip to get my new Van from Sunshine State RV. Tuesday, July 9th was the prep day. I went in and paid my Insurance and got a binder… met up with Maison’s babysitter and turned her over… had a friend run me up to the airport to pick up my Rental Car. Maggie and I drove down early Wednesday and basically got there when they opened at 9:00am.

They took me on an inspection tour and I was pleased so we went in the office and finished up the paperwork. Shortly after I got a tour with a Tech to go over all the features and how to operate all of the systems within the unit. Part of the deal was, they paid for 2 nights camping local so I could test everything and get any help if needed. Before Maggie and I left for the campground (about 18 miles away) they took the standard picture of the new customer with their Van! Here is that and a couple I took!

Things went well at the campground, I tested all (well almost) features and systems. These included Solar, both water systems, AC, Voltstart, both electric systems – shore power & battery and even tested the furnace! All of these systems functioned fine. The ONLY issue I had was a tire sensor malfunctioning. I went back Thursday, they adjusted and reset. That night it acted up again. I went back Friday and it started working again on the drive in. They took it in to Ram and had it tested and that sensor replaced. No issues since. We had a pleasant drive home on Saturday.

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