Sunday, September 30, 2012

Some Chocolate Goodness Topped With Some RV Randomness,V 18.0

Is there a town that makes you smile more than a town named Hershey, PA.? Well, some might say the Amish community of Intercourse, PA., but that makes me blush. Regardless, it was a joyful four days in the Ciudad de Chocolate'. For the first time in months, we had a campground that was close enough to walk into town and have coffee, buy groceries, etc.

Pretty much the one place where a husband is expendable. It is relatively cheap therapy.

Reese's--the reason there is no Chocolate's Anonymous--cause no one wants to quit!

I know my gutter reading audience is thinking my thoughtful, budget-conscience wife is all gowned up to perform her hubby's colonoscopy, but you are incorrect. We were actually suited up to prepare our own candy bar at the Hershey factory.

Only if "H" stood for Hershey. I could pay someone else to write this blog.

The milk chocolate fountain spilling its caloric drizzle onto my dark chocolate bar. I have thought about giving up chocolate, but I don't want to be called a quitter.

and final process of packaging where we were allowed to create our own label!

Wolah. And it appears one of the two of us is a bit more possessive of their chocolate.

and now for some RV randomness after spending 10 days in the Keystone State....

Imagine yourself asleep in a fifth wheeler. Now mix in a steady rain. What do you hear the rest of the night-- the equivalent of 12 popcorn poppers in full blown kernel production. Thus is life sleeping in a 5th wheeler on a stormy night. And yes, I have a fan on and ear plugs. Mind numbing.


 I got busted for doing 6.75 in the campground...running. old Wanderlodge in our campground with a creative name..

Anyone else frustrated with speaking to campground folks who really have not been adequately trained to take your reservation? I contacted one asking if they had a discount for campground memberships (Passport America, Good Sam's, etc). This was her response: "We will honor a 10% discount for Sam's Club". What da hey you say--Sam's Club?? I was expecting to arrive at the campground to see 8 picnic tables and 6 fire rings at my site.

Gorgeous row of Weeping Willows at our Hershey, PA. campground. Speaking of weeping, pretty much what we did taking a look at our September budget for the "RV Parks" line item. NY and PA, two places we will not be returning to. We even had four "weekly" rates mixed in and came in 50% over budget.Oh, and in October, we start out in New Jersey followed by D.C.---no rest for the weary bank account.

Our next post, a look at our budget at the 6 month anniversary of full-timing RV!

Day number 175, the journey continues east southeast tomorrow for a 100 mile ride into Clarksboro, NJ, right across the Delaware River from Philly. Craving me a cheese steak!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Random Acts, V 17.0, Pocono'ing

Another relaxing week, guess that makes it 23 consecutive in this lifestyle. Had a great time in central PA., specifically, Lewisburg, visiting one of Teri's "pretend friends". Actually, she met them all on-line 6 years ago and, with the exception of this one, she had never personally met any of them, hence "pretend". Part of this journey's goal was to visit as many as she could in person. Kristen is the 3rd we have seen of the dozen she has befriended.

Enjoy the usual hodge-podge of reporting the RV lifestyle from my perspective. A lot of randomness and useless info mixed in together, all for no purpose other than to say "we have a travel blog, too".

Signs you don't want to see when entering a campground. Almost 1 year ago to the date, the sign on the apex of the picnic table roof is where the flooding water mark was at the campground we stayed at this week in Lewisburg, PA. Eight inches of rain in a matter of a few hours!

What town looked like...YES, as full-timers living in a floating aluminum can, we must be ever vigilant of the weather.

Pennsylvania or Transylvania? Calendar confused. First, we had Christmas in July in Montello, WI, now Halloween in September in Lewisburg, PA. Yes, campgrounds exhaust every option to create theme weekends in their 3 month peak season. I still await the "Fat Man BBQ, Beer & Ice Cream Palooza".

The weather was gorgeous for the first 6 days in PA. One of my favorite parts of the journey has been grillin'. With this lifestyle, it help in 2 ways: 1) Reduces heating up the inside of the aluminum tube. 2) Picnic tables are much larger than RV counter tops. The co-pilot was right in concluding it would be well used. 

Update on the 5k training run. At our RV park this week, we were scheduled to run 2.5 miles so Teri mapped it out and I trusted her (*cough,cough*). Off we went. Well, the time it took us to run it did not match up. Got back, went and verified and sure enough, we just ran 3.1 miles, Woot, we finished the Accidental 5k! As Teri outlines on her blog, she wants to continue to focus on improving time. Good thing as I was a bit perturbed by the turtles creek-side taunting us.

 Sneak Peak #3 of the comb-over make-over.

Have we mentioned before maintenance of an RV for a full-timing rig can be a bit work intensive? I believe it was just the last post. The Eternabond seam tape is peeling back from our slider top. "Eterna", from the word eternal, ever-lasting, well, until it isn't. A bear to pull off the old, requiring a purchase of a new blow dryer (photo center), to heat up the bonding agent so it would loosen.

This was the last time I needed a blow dryer. I was a Birds' Nest for Halloween that year. Now back to regular scheduled programming.

Sightseeing is over rated. Much more fun in this adventure to pull out a few tools. A couple hours of prep work removing the old and then applying the new.

...and wolah, done, with rain, of course, in the forecast...

Weekly rant. What gives with placing mile markers every one-tenth of a mile? I researched it because I have way more time than you to waste. It costs taxpayers on average $7K to stick the extra 9 signs in per mile. Reason given--so drivers can more accurately report their location in case of need. Uhhh---1) Phase two 911 can put you within 200 feet 2) Your data plan on your cell phone can as well 3) Not to mention your GPS 4) Don't have any of those, pretend like you are performing CPR on your partner, I am sure someone will stop or 5) presuming there is no obvious landmark, like your RV and it's roaring inferno, the furthest you are from the next mile marker is 9/10 of a mile, go look for one.

Dropping temperatures are indicating probably another 7 days before color change. Real close though as a 49 degree reading on our thermometer indicated---oh yeah, that temp was INSIDE our rig. Hey, just trying to create a "real" camping feel and a snuggle environment. Or something.

We now move incrementally toward warmth, about 80 miles southeast to Hershey, PA. They are famous for something, do not recall at this time what it is, will keep you apprised in a week or so.

Well folks, as usual, thanks for stopping by and wasting 2 minutes of your time that will never be returned to you as this is a No Refund blog. Time to go style my hair.

Day 170, the journey continues.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Random Acts of RV'ing, V 16.0, Central New Yawk!

Time sure does fly, even when you feel like you are doing nothing. Any optimism of finding my grandma's homestead ended after our first day into the area. So be it, I exhausted every option I had to find it.

While we had planned at least one day of exploring by bike or foot, the weather did us in with a soaker for an entire day yesterday and continued today. It is those days which are becoming more frequent that really make me reflect on this journey. I do not read. I do not watch TV during the day. I do not walk malls. I do not arts and craft. I cannot have a dart board. I do not sit well and stare out fogged windows. I do not snuggle. I have finished the Internet. Yes, stir meets crazy on those days. Rest easy, I have concluded my next career will not be working as your Entertainment Coordinator at the old folk's home.

We errantly expected a bit more flexibility in being able to depart from inclement weather. The reality is to fit campground fees into a moderate budget, you almost have to search for a weekly rate. And I assure you, the words "refunds" and "RV park" have never met each other, especially for the reason of poor weather. Ideally, I like where the daily rate minus any membership discount equals the weekly rate, as it gives us the most option to simply walk up to the office each day and pay up giving us the most flexibility for a quick departure.

Rant off.

So, pretty much a laid-back week. If you are out of your sleep-inducing drugs, not to fret, I have a non-addicting substitute---this post.

We ventured to Central N.Y. for the sole purpose of trying to find my grandmas final residence which she lived in the year she passed away, 41 years ago, in the hamlet of Deansboro. The town is so small the US Census Bureau just leaves a clipboard on a telephone pole for everyone to sign up and swings by the next day to collect it. My twin sister had provided some fairly decent landmark info. Well, sadly, no luck. But the countryside, still stunning on this cool September day.

Well, since our one reason for being in this area fizzled, decided to get some "work" done. With as many times as I have been on our roof, I do believe I meet the minimum qualifications to be Santa Claus. The protection around the vent had begun to deteriorate (cracking, discoloring), so time for some new lap sealant. And when you are doing stories on preventative maintenance, you really have reached a new low in RV blogging.

Wolah---the final product. "Self-leveling" caulk pretty awesome concept--shoot a bead down the middle of the path and it spreads out on its own. But, at $10 a tube, it should do something special. Yes, I did have an insatiable craving for a vanilla frosted cupcake when I was done.

Pepi's Pizza, since 1960 in Oneida, New York, scrumptious! But our GPS almost caused us to lose our appetite as she announced "You have arrived, PeePee's Pizza". Girlfriend really needs her some "Hooked on Phonics".

The obligatory exercising photo always shall follow the porkulus eating snapshot. We are pretty much nearing the final week of the 5K training program, about 4 weeks ahead of schedule or so. Finished almost 2.5 miles today of uninterrupted running without a ton of effort, perhaps pounding the pavement in the 50 degree temperature and rain helped.

Are you asleep yet....if not, continue reading......

Sneak peak, #2. The final segment of this 3 part effort will be the most time and money consuming-- solving the 70's era, Quaalude-influenced furniture coverings.Target date: October 10th. This year.

Night life at the Lady Eagle discotheque.The party really gets going when Teri gets on the picnic table. Hula hoop by day, table top dancing by night. Hoping the tips are forthcoming so we can avoid that whole workkamping thing.

The Turning Broke Stone Casino. As a new member, they hand you a $10 play card. Went over to the nickel machine (higher stakes for us) and yanked on the one-armed bandit--2nd pull, hit a $67 payout. Collected the cash, surrendered gifted it to Teri as this was her birthday week (yeah, we have to celebrate 7 days around here) and called it a night. Big spenders, bigger partiers. It was dark, had to get back to the picnic table.

Sleep well my fellow readers....

Off to central Pennsylvania in the morning...praying for sun...journey continues, day 164. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Random Acts V.15, Passports R Us !

Upstate, western New York brought us a significant increase in activity, and cooler weather. From some original chicken wings to the local favorite Tim Horton's coffee to sightseeing over in Canada, what a great week! We retreated back to our snail pace the final 2 days of the week working on our interior remodel. It's gonna look sweet, thanks to Teri's imagination, the same imagination she has to use to conclude she has a great husband.

Enjoy the randomness of sights, sounds and smells of our 7 day visit to Buffalo, NY.

Ahh yes, the campground "honey wagon". When you don't have sewer hook-ups, you can pay this gentleman $10 and he will attach to your rig so you can drain your tanks. I have no idea where the name is derived from cause smelling that stench did not inspire me a bit to whip up a batch of biscuits.

When in Buffalo, eat like a buffalo.

Ahh yes, ever so gorgeous. What pristine beauty. Sweet serenity. Captivating. Inspiring. Enough about Teri, Niagara Falls, Canadian side, in the background.

Why is it I always become curious about adventurous, self-inflicted death? I blogged about it on the Golden Gate and Grand Canyon posts back in late Spring then again when we were at the base-jumping sight at Twin Falls, ID.  So, no need to research cause I am here for you--approximately 40 suicides per year, the majority on the Canadian side. Of the 4 locations, this ranks as #1, perhaps cause they didn't have the "Please Call 1-800-Drown if Feeling Depressed" sign like the other locales had posted.

In the distance, Canada's largest city--Toronto. From this vantage point as we cross the border, about 35 miles via crow flight. But, since we were not feathered, we had an 80 mile shoreline that looped over to Lake Ontario, which is mega-sized.

Hey, at $4.49 per gallon of diesel in the gouging state of New York, you too would be in search of a different tow vehicle.

Officially, the thought that creating hazards to benefit a campground's repair facility is a mere conspiracy has ended--it's a fact. "Hey Bill, how about if we put a 1 ton boulder at the turn in so we can warn folks of the 1/4 ton boulder sitting right next to it". Maddening.

My biggest thrill on our day trip to Toronto in the rental car---got to use KM/H for the first time in 37 years of driving! AWESOME driving a 110.

A mini-reveal. About 60% complete, bedroom yet to go and then living/dining furniture. Mucho sweat equity, but excellente teamwork.

"Well, sorry to tell you, yes you are". Morticians by day, comedians in Buffalo, N.Y. by night.

The colors are a changing. I believe this trek along the 43rd latitude is as far north as we are going to take this journey. Temps are already dipping into "furry flip flop" ranges with lows in the mid-40s, so time to activate the right-turn signal from this eastward bound path and point em south in about a week. We will first spend at least a couple of nights in the Utica, NY area looking for my grandparent's homestead they left almost 4 decades ago, but one I used to frequent in the Summer as a young RV'er as my dad's helper.

Day 156, the journey continues.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Random Acts of RV'ing V.14-The north shore of Ohio

A week is coming to an end in the town of Conneaut, Ohio, population of about 12,000. Another town born in the mid-1800s, that seems to be stuck there, probably should have named "Ain't-a-laut". Other than the fantabulous public beach along the south shore of Lake Erie, the municipality seemed beleaguered by today's economy---boarded up business windows, deteriorating sidewalks and very little in-town activity.

Mooney's Bakery was awesome though. When informed by the baker she did not have any fresh Bavarian creme donuts, she offered to make us up some in a "matter of minutes". Like most full-time RV'ers, "matters of minutes" are always plentiful. Worth the wait.

And humid here, my gosh. I was checking the weekend calendar of events thinking for certain the Mildew and Mold Festival had rolled into town. You know it's bad when all the bugs parading through the grass are wearing snorkels. 

That's a wrap from here. As usual, enjoy a few photos of the blight sights and sounds of the area, as we will move em on out tomorrow and head to the eastern edge of Buffalo, New York.

Labor Day weekend at the campground--NO VACANCY.

 The day after Labor Day...all gone, except our rig and the seasonals.

A Labor Day, campground flea market in Conneaut, OH. resulted in this brand new find for $2--on the 1st day of college football. HookEm!

One always gets concerned when a late 80's rig pulls up next to you. In this case, a sixty-something couple who decided to host a Karaoke party. Brought out everyone in the campground from the Knee-cap Replacement generation. "Achy-Breaky Heart" was 1st on their playlist. As midnight rolled around, I was thinking it was going to be "Achy-Breaky Heart Attack".

On the shores of Lake Erie, the tenth largest lake in the world. Our marriage, mathematical equation: Beach+Teri=Happiness. Bucket list item-check.The last time I saw a smile that big on her face was the day she met me, her kids moved out, she quit working I retired she last ate a Torchy's Taco.

Need to check the budget to see if we have enough for bond money once I steal these two.

Shirt box...conflict.

What it looks like in our rig on my night to cook. After my last disaster of meal preparation of the Mac & Cheese Hamburger Helper where I observed the flies at the campground had gotten together and were patching up the hole in our rig's screen door, I knew my cooking life would be short lived.

The journey continues as we celebrate our FIFTH MONTH ANNIrvERSARY today!