2018 Travel Journey begins Trip #1 (Part 1)

SEASON 2018:  Trip #1 (Part 1)

We finally were able to get the “ORAH” Chalet out of storage and out for its first outing for the 2018 season.  AND  . . . without any major issues!!!  WHOO HOO!!!  At least none that ruined our trip!!!

As we get to travel the country, I will try to post as many pictures of the campgrounds that we stay at and give a review for them as well.  On this trip, there were several campgrounds that we would definitely return to and one that we will NEVER go to again!

I hope you enjoy this journey as we travel this beautiful country.

THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

Thursday and Friday were spent in Amarillo (our home) gathering all the stuff from the apartment that we had not been able to take to the RV.  We also got the truck and RV inspected.  Then we took the RV to our local RV park, Fort Amarillo RV Park, . . . our favorite “staging” park . . . where we gave it a much-needed bath and got her all loaded up.  We love having this nice RV park fairly close to us but it sure stinks that we have to pay for 2 nights just to load and unload the RV when we leave or return from a trip.  Since we don’t have anywhere at the apartment to park the RV to do that chore, we just don’t have any other option.  It just another cost that we factor into our trips.

A little bit about Fort Amarillo RV Park:

Per the Website:  At Fort Amarillo RV Park & Resort, you’ll enjoy an authentic western setting, complete with a stream-fed fishing pond, illuminated walking paths and sunsets so breathtaking, even the most eloquent cowboy poets don’t do them justice. Huge pull thru sites, free WiFi & be sure to shop at Lizzie Mae’s Mercantile.  10% discount to members of Good Sam, AAA, AARP, KOA, FMCA, TACO and the Military.  Daily Rate: $42 | Weekly Rate: $210  If you need more than 2 weeks, please call for price and availability.

My Review:  The staff is very friendly and helpful.  It is a really clean park, there are trees on most sites, full hookups, large level gravel sites, most are pull thru (I believe the back in ones are mostly for live-ins), laundry, really clean bathrooms/showers (hotel quality), there are two spaces that can be rented for parties, one of them is for guests with tables for cards, there are movies/books, a small kitchen (I believe it’s free to use but rentable for parties), a lit courtyard with BBQ, basketball court, tennis court, playground, indoor pool, game room, a small fish pond with nice grassy area and BEST of ALL there is an AWESOME gift shop called Lizzie Maes!!  It is soooo cool!!

All of the sites have a concrete patio with a table and a fence that blocks the other site.  They are gravel but they are level.  AND, the roads around the park are gravel and well kept as well.  Even tho the sites are close together, the fence blocks the utilities from your campsite so you are not staring at the sewer or hoses while you are enjoying your patio.

It is near I-40 making it an easy on/off stop but far enough away that it’s not noisy.  Because of the wind in Amarillo, the trees and fence around the park help to serve as a slight wind block.  You are close to a lot of eating places and shopping.  If you are into walking, you could walk but it would be easier to drive because most everything is South of the I-40 (the park is on the Northside of I-40) CONS:  No firepits or grills (but many bring/use their portable grills), all gravel roads inside and at the sites but they are level.

 

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On Saturday morning we got all hooked up and headed out of town only to have a tiny issue just as we got on the highway . . . the rubber stripping around the front Cap was flapping in the wind!!!  I guess the power washer from the RV wash pushed it out of the track.  We pulled off the road and hubby stuck it back into place.  Hopefully, this would be our only issue this trip.  Well . . . actually, we did have one issue that hubby would try to fix when we get or our first major stop . . . the water to the ice maker wasn’t coming on because the cut off valve must be broken.  No matter which way you turn it, there was no water to the icemaker.  He used to fix valves like that on coffee makers in his previous life . . . so he felt confident that it would be an easy fix . . . if he can get is big hands in that tiny space to fix it.

Sportmans RV Park & Horse Motel
Lamar, Colorado

Our first overnight stop was in Lamar, Co at Sportsman’s RV Park and Horse Hotel.  Normally when we go to Castle Rock, CO to see hubby’s sister, we go thru Raton Pass.  This time we decided to take another route to AVOID the Pass!  Not sure we wanted to take that pass for our first outing after having so many other truck issues.  We thought that staying on flat ground was the better option this time out and chose to take Highway 287 thru Boise City, OK up to Lamar, Colorado.

As soon as we hit Oklahoma on Highway 287, the roads were REALLY ROUGH!!  The expansion joints were rough and the tire lanes were really rough.  I actually drove with my passenger tires on the shoulder and my drivers’ side tires in the middle of the lane . . . it was still rough!!!  No potholes . . . just washboard type roads.  In any case, they SUCKED!!!

We thought it was going to shake everything out of the cabinets of the trailer and shake all the bolts loose.  The only disaster we encountered was a 12 pack of cokes that fell out of the case inside the truck.  The case was open and they all fell between the seat and door.   I had to open the window so hubby could use his long arms to reach them instead of opening the door and having them all roll out and ‘spew’ everywhere.   The only thing that happened inside the trailer was that the bedroom closet door opened and two small items fell out . . . nothing major!  WHEW!!  Oh . . . later, we found out that a cabinet shelf where we had more 12 packs of Coke had broken.  No worries on that one tho . . . we only put our cases of drinks in that one.  They can be stacked.  Once we hit the Colorado border, the roads were like “butter” . . . either that or they just seemed like “butter” after the Oklahoma roads.   So . . . for reference, try to stay off Highway 287 from just North of Stratford, Texas to the Colorado border!!  Seriously, when you hit Colorado, the roads were AWESOME . . . 2 lane but wide lanes with wide shoulders.  THANKFULLY it was only about 50 miles of bad roads.

Instead of driving all the way to Cherry Creek in Aurora, CO in one day, which was about a 7 hr drive from Amarillo, we decided to break the trip up and spend a night in Lamar, Co.  That way IF the roads were really slow or we ran into trouble, we’d have plenty of time to adjust and adapt.  It’s nice to get somewhere and not be really tired from driving all day and just sit back and relax . . . which we both needed desperately.  In fact, we have decided to drive about 200-300 miles per day OR to be parked somewhere by around 3pm.  . . . whichever comes first.  That way we have time to set up and relax. . . or adapt our plans if needed.

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Highway 287 – Lamar, CO to I-70  Nice 2 lane, nonbusy, flat road

The weather was AWESOME in Lamar, Co.  . . . nice and cool!!  They apparently they had some major wind, rain and hail come thru here the night before.  We went from the 99-degree weather at home to the 60’s here!! AWESOME!!!  We had the windows open with no A/C running . . . GLORIOUS weather!!  There was a little bit of wind but nothing like we are used to.  They say that Chicago is the “Windy City”!!  I beg to differ!!!

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One of the first things we had to do was to cancel a Retirement Gift for my husband from our daughter.  She knows that he has always wanted a Porche 911, 6 speed, Convertible. This was her 3rd attempt to get him a Retirement Gift.  The first attempt was an Alaska fishing trip with her husband, Jon Nite, who was going there to write songs with someone.  But it fell through.  Her second attempt was a trip to St. John.  However, the Hurricanes had other plans.  Her third attempt was to rent a Porche 911 Convertible for him to drive for a day.   She knows that he has always wanted a Porche 911 and thought it would make a great gift for him.   However, once we realized the dates she rented it for, where the dealership was in relation to where we were camped, the logistics just were not workable, we had to cancel it.  The dealership was about 87 miles from where we were going to be and that day was going to be a “moving day” or us.  Had we gone to get it, the entire day would have been driving back and forth to the dealership.  Which would be over the allotted 100 miles per day limit and we’d have to pay $1/mile after that for the gas  . . . waste of money to not fully be able to enjoy it.   Some may say “Third time is the charm” . . . not in this case . . . for now.  Maybe next time we go to the Denver area he can get it.  When he first heard he was getting this gift, he was all ready to take it up Pikes Peak . . . which, after seeing a video of that road, he would be going without me!!!!  There is NO WAY I’d go up that in a ‘race car’!!!  Apparently, it wouldn’t have happened anyway because later in the trip we found out that they have actually closed Pikes Peak to most traffic.  You have to park and ride a passenger van up to the Summit now.  The only ones that can drive up Pikes Peak are anyone with kids who need a car seat and the elderly who need assistance.  Their vans cannot accommodate those persons.

UPDATE on Pikes Peak as of July 10, 018:  

Shuttle no longer required for all drivers on Pikes Peak Highway

In the next episode,  we will continue on Highway 287 and pick up I-70 to Cherry Creek where we stayed for 4-5 days.  We have family in that area who we visited and even celebrated with a Niece who had just graduated from college.

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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FINALLY – Trip #1 (2017): Part 1

NOVEMBER 7, 2017

50 amp power cord

If you’ve been following this series of blog posts, you’ll remember that in It’s Getting Closer – Part 2 we left off with us being at RV General Store picking up our 5th Wheel after being in the shop for some repairs to the electrical system.  In short, it turned out that it was as simple fix . . . a new power cord and a new converter, that the old power cord fried, was all it needed.  This is the second one that has been replace because of a bad power cord.  The power cord had a burnt out the ground and it was unable to charge the batteries correctly.  So when we thought we were ‘plugged in’, we were not.  Thankfully, it wasn’t something worse!!  Just frustrating that it has kept us from being able to use our brand new 2016 Vilano 325RL for 5 months. . . until now!!!  We are FINALLY getting to take a real trip in our new baby!!

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In one of our trips back and forth from Amarillo, TX to Oklahoma City, OK to RV General Store, we decided to explore a State Park we kept seeing . . . Foss Lake State Park.  It is half way between Amarillo & Oklahoma City and we thought it might be a place we could stay to give the RV a good trial run.  Plus, we’d be close enough to RV General Store if we had any issues.   We LOVED it this State Park!!  There are several nice pull thru spots right on the lake and there are trees on most of them.  The only disappointment is there are no sewer connections at the sites but they do have a dump station.  Being new to this RVing thing, we’ll soon find out that is pretty much the case at most State Parks.

We picked up the RV and headed to Foss Lake State Park.  Once we got to the campground, we picked out our spot, #9, and then went up to the station to pay for our stay.  Our original plan was to stay 4 days.  However, with our one day delay at dealership, we could only stay 3 days.  The site we picked was booked on that fourth day.  We were okay with it because we really wanted to get back to Amarillo to pick up some more things before heading out to our next destination.  Each “trip” we’ve made, we have brought a few things.  We can’t really call them trips because they were full of issues and we ended up back at the dealership . . . so this was a REAL TRIP.   This trip to Foss Lake State Park was also to help us see what else we might need to load into or purchase for the RV since it was our first time to actually use the RV for any length of time over 1.5 days . . . that has been the time frame when all HELL would break loose!!

When we purchased our 2016 Vilano 324RL in May, we had planned on having to deal with HOT weather on our first trip(s).  This trip was so different . . . it was COLD! and WINDY!  Our first day there was spent inside the RV enjoying our beautiful views of the lake and just relaxing while we enjoyed finally getting to spend time in our new RV.  At first we just listened to music because we couldn’t figure out how to find TV Channels.  I had found them before at Fort Amarillo RV Park but for some reason I couldn’t figure it out here.  It was the second day before I finally figured out what to do.  OH . . . and we finally got to open up the nice bottle of Champagne that our realtor gave us when he sold our home to make this journey possible.

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I should be hanging out by the cozy fire, instead it’s via an electric heater.

Since this was our first trip to actually spend more than 1.5 days in the RV, we wanted to use this time to test out as many of the features and systems as we could.  Since it was so cold, the first thing we tried was the fireplace.  Guess what?  Yep, it didn’t work.  So we had to break out the small space heater that I threw in . . . just in case.  However, everything else seemed to work just fine.  It seems kind of silly to point out things like the TV, shower, the toilet, the stove, microwave/convection combo, refrigerator, furnace, water pump, black/grey tanks switches and the Maxx vents all worked.  Because the power cord fried two converters, we were surprised that nothing else got fried.  That we knew of at the time.  More about that later.  However, during this trip, those items didn’t hinder us from enjoying it.

Speaking of cold and heat . . . we were very impressed how ‘cozy’ we were in this Rig.  When we had a trailer before . . .  years and years and years ago, it was not insulated.  Knowing this is a recreational vehicle and not a home, we didn’t expect it to be so insulated. . . even tho it is advertised as being insulated for “full time living”.  It also helps that we have double pane windows as well as having the night shades to block even more cold air out.  So we were pleasantly surprised how comfortable we were in this colder weather.  We shall see how it holds up in the heat later on in the summer.

 

 

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Our second and third days were much better.  We got to walk around and explore the area.  It was kind of weird . . . when we first got there, we had two neighbors.  One left the second day and the other left on the third day.  So at one time, we were the only one in the campground.  In fact, the rangers (I think that’s what they were) drove by and when I stopped them to ask about a fishing license, one said “Did you run everyone off?”  LOL!!  I guess we did.

We never did get a fishing license because Walmart told us that Oklahoma no longer sold one day licenses.  Then when I talked to the ranger, he said they did.  By that time, it was too late to get one because we were leaving the next day.  However, next Spring, we will be back and will be doing some fishing.

 

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This was just the beginning of our “first trip” . . .

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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It’s Getting Closer; Part 2

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I know . . . it’s been a little over a month since my last . . . update.  I bet you thought I was going to say something else huh?

Well, a lot has happened in a month and it’s all . . . mostly . . . good news!  I hope you enjoy our journey on this “real” first maiden trip as I divide it into parts for easier reading at your leisure.  Enjoy!

 

Continuing from the previous post of our RVing saga,  we were in Dallas getting the truck fitted with a new computer system and cruise control and our stay in Carrollton, Tx was longer than we wanted it to be but pretty much how I expected it to be.  Instead of just a couple of days, we were there for about a week.  As I explained in my last post, we got a GREAT deal on a room at a Homewood Suites nearby the dealership.  And that they gave us a loaner to use while we were there.

The  Homewood Suites, as I mentioned in my previous post of our RVing saga, was an AWESOME place to stay.  It had a full kitchen, a separate bedroom w/TV, large bathroom and large closet.  The other amenities included an AWESOME hot breakfast every morning and a SUPER AWESOME Evening Social Mon thru Thurs. nights.  Each night was a themed . . . Cheese/Fruit, Octoberfest, build your own PHO and Nacho night that included a soup, salad, beer and wine . . . for FREE!!!  Oh . . . how could I forget . . . bottomless coffee, tea and lemon water at the front. As well as, all the freshly baked cookies you could eat!!!  Unfortunately, I ate way too many of them . . . they were soooo yummy!!!

The day after we got to Dallas, we met with some friends for lunch.  It was so great to get caught up since we haven’t seen each other in several years.  Then we pretty much hung around the hotel the rest of the week.  Why?  Well . . . to save money and we hate driving in this town!!  But we love Zoos and it’s been years since we’ve been to the Dallas Zoo . . . so we ventured out one day to check it out.  It was a beautiful day and it was cool enough that the animals were out and about.  We have NEVER been to a Zoo where the animals were so active.  We also grabbed lunch there too and got to see the lion family while we ate.  It was a great day!  Until we headed back to the hotel . . .

Dallas . . .didn’t disappoint, traffic wise!!!!  On the way back to the hotel, we had to get off the highway because my nerves were fraying due to the crazy traffic . . . not to mention the wreck that happened right behind us before getting off.

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I saw this on a car in Dallas and thought it was funny!! If you need this bumper sticker, you probably shouldn’t be driving!! Just sayin’ !!

We decided to take the slower back roads back to the hotel!!!!!  Just as we got onto the frontage road . . . which was also crazy busy . . .  we had to squeeze over . . .  not move over . . . SQUUEEEZZEEE over . . . to let an ambulance get by us.

Geeze Louise!!!

Once we got out of that traffic, I used the GPS to weave in/out of the side streets to get us back to the hotel.  Of course the GPS is telling me to get back towards the highway . . . NO WAY!!!

 

On Saturday, we picked up the truck and, even though the RV General Store service center wouldn’t have anyone we were dealing with working over the weekend, we headed to Oklahoma.  We wanted to be there when the doors opened on Monday . . . can you tell we’re excited to get our RV back and actually use it?  LOL!  We are so confident that we’ll be able to use the RV that we have the truck loaded with boxes that have items to be loaded into the RV to use on this first trip.

We found a hotel a little closer to the dealership in Norman, OK.  The Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center  which was beautiful but the rooms were not as nice as the Homewood Suites . . . it only had a microwave and mini refrigerator.  Having said that . . . the breakfast was better.  Not only did you have a buffet of items to choose from, they had ‘cook to order’ omelets!!  Their “Evening Reception” wasn’t any where near as good as the  Homewood Suites.  They only had cheese, fruit, hummus, chips and dip every night.  Nor did they have the bottomless coffee, tea and lemon water . . . and, the most sad part was . . . no cookies!!  However, it was pretty much a full bar service for 2 hrs . . . for FREE!!  Who doesn’t love FREE cocktails?

Our trip from Dallas to Oklahoma wasn’t without incident!!  We were about 15 miles from Norman and traffic came to a stand still!!  It took us about an hour to go that last 15 miles!!!  We never saw what happened but the traffic never got above 60 mph but mostly we were able to go about 50 mpg or less!! What is with us and wrecks???  It’s kind of scary . . . knowing that we’re going to be doing a lot of traveling once we get our RV back.  We just try not to think about . . . but it’s always in the back of both of our minds.

Unfortunately, when we arrived at RV General Store, the lady we’d been dealing with was out sick and nobody knew what was going on.  Apparently, she didn’t inform anyone that we were coming and the reception lady in the service center couldn’t believe that we didn’t have an appointment!!

We decided to get a hotel for another night.  Here we are supposed to be saving money by having an RV to travel and stay in, yet we are paying for hotels!!  NO BUENO!!!

We found an inexpensive hotel near by called the Candlewood Suites (no website to link to) in Moore, OK.   Even tho this one didn’t have all the ‘swanky’ amenities as the other two hotels we stayed at, this was a great place for a lot less money.  It is mainly ‘rented’ out to people who live there and this room was the last one they had for us.  That was all we needed.  It had some GREAT amenities for an inexpensive hotel thought.  For example . . . the guest laundry facilities are FREE!!!  Did you read that?  FREE!!!  AND they were nice ones too. We looked to do laundry at one of the other places we stayed at but it was like $2 per load.  We decided to wait until we got home.  That is, until we found this place. If you live there, you get weekly maid service, there is a really nice fitness center, however, no pool.  They have a convenience store that is open 24/7 and there is a nice propane BBQ grill under a gazebo with a table for guests to use.  The guy at the front desk was super friendly and helpful.

We hope that is our last hotel that we will have to stay in.  Because tomorrow we pick up the RV . . . hopefully, for the last time.

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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It’s Getting Closer

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When will the issues with this truck ever end??  It has been a crazy ride but I think we are getting closer to actually being able to take a trip before winter sets in.

During this time we’ve had the truck in the shop a couple of times for basically the same thing . . . a new transmission.  Well, we had a lot more work done on it but this woman has no idea what was done . . . just that everything should be . . . “should” being the operative word . . . should be brand new.  However, after a trip to take the RV back to Oklahoma City for the needed repairs, we had to put the truck back in the shop.  Why?  Well, initially, we were taking it in to get a ‘blinker light’ replaced.  As I was leaving the apartment complex the truck made a terrible ‘clunk’ sound.  Then I noticed that I was in 4th gear and when I’d try to put it into Drive, it dropped back to 4th gear.  I pulled over and hubby, who was following me, saw me and pulled over to see what was wrong.   I told him what happened and he said “Just go ahead and take it in to the mechanic and we’ll have him fix the bulb and see what else is going on.”  Almost 2 weeks later and a new ‘solenoid’ installed, we get the truck back.  Thankfully, it was covered by the warranty on the new transmission we had put it.

At the writing of this post, we are in Dallas getting the cruise control put in the truck.  This is something that we’ve been waiting to do since we purchased it in May 2017!!  On our way home from purchasing it, we realized that the cruise control didn’t work and we’ve been in contact with the dealer ever since to get it fixed.  However, with all the time the truck and RV have been at their respective shops we haven’t been able to make it back to Dallas to get it done.

We got to Dallas on Sunday and dropped the truck off at the shop on Monday.  They were able to get a loaner vehicle for us to use.  It was funny because they didn’t realize that we were going to stay here while they worked on the truck.  At first, they weren’t going to give us a loaner because they’d have to take their ‘inventory’ offline . . . they deal with mostly online sales  . . . which is how we found the truck we bought from them.  Then when they found out we were staying in Dallas, they found an SUV for us to use.

The auto dealer did their own diagnosis on the truck, tried one fix that didn’t work and ended up putting a new computer system in the truck yesterday.  Now they are waiting on a company to come program it.  Again, we are waiting.

When we made hotel arrangements before coming here, we were unsure of how long it would take them but assumed that we would be here until Thursday and then head to OKC to get the RV.  Well, it’s Friday and we are still here. Which means we’ve extended our hotel stay.   Even tho we are paying for a hotel for a week, we are saving lots of money on food.  This hotel not only has a great breakfast in the morning but they have a themed ‘Social Hour’ in the evening.  We have had Oktoberfest night, make your own Pho night, Nacho night and Cheese & Fruit night.  Each night has a make your own salad, freshly baked cookies, beer, wine, lemonade, tea and coffee.  So far, not including the cost of the room, we have only spend $50!!  That includes going the the Dallas Zoo, lunch at the Zoo and a small trip to Walmart for some drinks and snacks for the room.

Speaking of the Zoo . . . we had a great afternoon there.  When we travel, we try to go see the local Zoo because we both love animals!!  Yet when we go, we never really get to see many animals being very active.  Mainly because we go in the summer time when we would take our vacations and it was just too hot and the animals were hot and just laid around.  This time they were ALL active!!  It was awesome!!

The drive to the Zoo wasn’t bad . . . remember, we are in Dallas!!!!  The drive back to the hotel was AWFUL!!!  We were on the highway and it was 5 o’clock traffic . . . well, it was actually only about 4:15pm!!!!  At one point, we had to come to a pretty quick stop and we heard screeching of tires and then a crash behind us!!!  I never saw the wreck but I saw a truck & car pull off the road beside us.  I quickly got off the highway and took the back roads back to the hotel!!  We will continue to stay off the highways while here in Dallas . . . they are just too dangerous!!!  On the plus side . . . when we came into Dallas, all the construction that was going on in this area when we were here in May was completed.  Thank GOODNESS!!!!

Our next hurdle is to get the Vilano back.  After we get done here, we have made reservations in Norman, Ok, which is near the RV Dealership, to stay a couple of nights while we go check out the repairs on the Vilano.  If all goes well, the repairs will be completed and acceptable and we can head to Foss State Park, between Clinton & Elk City, OK, to spend our first week in the Vilano.  Hopefully we will be able to check out all the other features of the RV that we haven’t been able to try.  This will also give us a chance to take inventory and access what else we might need to load into the RV from home, or what we may need to purchase, before our next trip.  If everything works, we’ll head back to Amarillo for a night to get those additional items and then head to New Mexico for a couple of weeks where we hope to spend Thanksgiving with our family.

I’m hoping that my next post will be from Foss State Park next week.  Until then . . .

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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UPDATE: on Truck & RV situation

blogupdateHubby retired 2 months ago and we’ve been busy dealing with trying to get our 2016 Taxes done, setting up all of the insurance, social security, pensions and medicare plans for hubby and I since he retired.  I can’t believe that was 2 months ago next week!!  Time is flying by so fast and we still haven’t been able to take a trip!!

Looking on the bright side . . . which I tried to do as much as possible . . .  since we haven’t been able to leave on a trip, we are able to watch our 2 grand sons play football.  The 10 yr old is playing tackle football and is doing really well . . . to our surprise!!  He is a very ‘sensitive’ boy but he’s showing his ‘tough side’ in football and he’s loving it.  The 6 yr old is playing flag football.  At this age it’s pretty much just watching them run around the field trying to grab a flag.  And the baby, who is 3, gets to watch his big brothers waiting for his turn to get on the field.

 

The RAM has been in the shop for about a month due to all kinds of complications.  I am not a mechanical kind of person.  So I will give you the short version . . . drive shaft and transmission are brand new.  (I think that’s what hubby told me).  I just know that he kept telling me “When he gets done with it, we’ll have a brand new truck”.  That is all that matters to me.  That and the fact that now we are safe to pull the 5th Wheel!!!  Especially since she got some new shoes too.  Yep . . . we took off the really cool tires and opted for more safe and a more highway friendly tires.

(Top picture – mud tires; Bottom Picture – more highway friendly tires)

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Now that the truck is out of the shop, we could FINALLY get the 5th wheel inspected and tagged!!  But doing so wasn’t without problems. Why would anything we do concerning this truck and RV be easy???  When we went to the storage unit to just check on the RV . . . you know, since it’s been so long since we’ve seen her . . . guess what we find?  The batteries were completely dead!!  AND, that was with the battery disconnect off (or is it on?)!!  In any case, we were told that when you use that switch, the batteries will not discharge . . . WRONG!!  Thanks to the Vilano Facebook group I’m in, I found out that the hydraulic lifts can still drain the battery even with you use the disconnect switch.  So you should disconnect the ground (black) terminal on the batteries when it’s in storage.  WHY OH WHY did the dealership not tell us this????  I purposely asked them several time “So?  When you use this battery disconnect switch, you will not be using any power . . . correct?”  I got the same answer every time “That is correct.”  Oh well . . .

One of the men on the Vilano Facebook group showed me the battery jumper/charger that he uses and we decided to get one too.  Even tho we already bought one with our first fiasco in Oklahoma City (see story here).  But that one needs power to plug it in.  This new one we purchased doesn’t need power.  You just charge it up and then it’s ready when you need it.  If you don’t use it within 30 days, they say you need to recharge it.  The STANLEY is what the man said he uses and we purchased the SCHUMACHER.  Which worked PERFECTLY I might add.  It got the batteries charged up enough to raise the legs so we could take it to get it inspected.

 

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Once we got it inspected, we took it back to storage and then took the paperwork to the ANNEX to get the tags where we got a ‘not so good’ surprise.  We thought we were just getting the tags for the 5th Wheel.  What we forgot . . . since we bought this RV at the end of May . . . is that we hadn’t paid the tax on the 5th Wheel yet!!!!  When you are expecting to hear “That’ll be $xx.xx ” but instead you hear “That’ll be $x,xxx.xx”, it’s quit a shock!!!  As hubby said “Well . . . there went the Tax refund!!”  FYI . . . I had just filed our 2016 Tax return a few days before this!!!!!

There are two more hurdles we need to cross over before we can actually take a trip . . . 1) Get the electrical issues on the 5th wheel fixed and all the ‘parts’ installed that were missing when we picked her up months ago and 2) get the cruise control put into the truck at the dealer we purchased it from.  The #1 issue should be easy peasy . . .we hope!!!  Probably just a bad power cord.  Keep fingers crossed that’s all it is and they don’t have to keep it for some major electrical wiring issue.  However, the #2 issue is already a problem.  Yep . . . we can’t have anything go smoothly now can we?

Hubby had been in contact with the RAM dealer in Dallas were we purchased the truck and they said they’d make good on it and replace the computer and get the cruise put in vs us doing it here and they reimbursing us for it.  However, that meant that we had to take the truck to Dallas.  Which is fine but we’ve been waiting on the parts for the RV to come in so we can make the trip to OKC, drop off the 5th Wheel, then go on to Dallas to get the truck fixed and then back to OKC to pick up the 5th Wheel.  We’ve just been so busy, we haven’t had the time to leave.  Now that we do, guess what?  Yep . . . more problems . . . the guy hubby has been talking to no longer works there.  THANKFULLY, one of the mechanics remembered hubby and the salesman conversations.  So we are waiting to hear if they are still going to honor the deal the original salesman made with us.  Just when we thought we were seeing light at the end of the tunnel . . . we see a train coming instead!!!!

Monday morning we are headed to OKC to get the 5th Wheel items handled.  It’s up in the air as to what will happen with the truck and whether we head to Dallas or not.  But we are getting closer to taking our first trip.  It may not be where we originally planned it to be, but we will take one before the end of the year . . . WE HOPE!!!!

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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Compromising is Hard Work

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Well, we’ve survived the first 2 weeks of hubby’s retirement years and I have to say that it’s not exactly what I expected.  What did I expect?  I honestly can’t answer that question because I have actually kind of dreaded this time of our lives.  Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that he is able to retire . . . he deserves it after over 50 yrs of working . . . but it’s such a change to our daily lives that I just was afraid of what was going to happen after he stopped working.  What are we going to do all day?  Sit around and watch TV all day?  It’s been so long since we have done anything together, that I just don’t know what we’ll do.

So?  What did we do our first 2 weeks of his retirement?

Hubby spent most of his time working on getting all his Social Security & Medicare filed and finding out how the COBRA option would work for me.  I am not close to 65 which means I need a separate insurance plan for me.  We’ve decided that the plans we were finding on the MarketPlace (OBAMA CARE), were way more than what we wanted to pay for nowhere near the coverage that we have now with the insurance he had with his company, I wouldn’t be able to keep my doctors, they were ALL HMO’s and I’d have to buy separate plans for Dental & Vison.  For less than $100 more than MarketPlace I can stay on his insurance plan thru COBRA and have a PPO plan , the same coverage we had while he was working and have Dental & Vision for 36 months (3 yrs).  We felt it was a No Brainer for me to go on his COBRA for 2017.  Then after we can research it some more, have one full year of his retirement income under our belt, we can check out the MarketPlace again for 2018.  With his income will be so much lower in 2017, I should be able to get a bigger subsidy for 2018 making the MarketPlace insurance less than COBRA.

We are still dealing with getting the truck running properly and buying new tires for it.  Yep . . . we replaced the brand new monster mud tires for more economical road worthy tires.  BOY!! What a difference in gas mileage so far!!!!  We were getting about 9 mpg in town.  Since putting on the new tires, it looks like we should get about 12 mpg in town!!  We are anxious to see what we get pulling the trailer now.  On our last trip we got between 6-8 mpg!!!  That was going to make for some expensive traveling!!!

After we got the new tires, we notice that they were noisier than the monster mud tires we replaced them with!!!  SERIOUSLY?? Can’t we catch a break on anything?  However, after driving on them for a few minutes the sound leveled out . . . WHEW!!  BUT . . . we now have developed a very noisy and annoying surging sound.  So we took it back to where we bought the tires . . . thinking they are just out of round.  NOPE!!!  Apparently, we have several more issues . . . both front and back drive shafts are bad and fuel booster (which was just replaced) was leaking.  So it’s back in the shop again!!

There was just so much to do to get hubby retired that we decided to hold off on doing anything about the 5th Wheels electrical for now until after he retired.  But now that we’re having these issues with the truck, we don’t feel comfortable pulling it back to the RV Dealership in Oklahoma until it’s road worthy again.  We did find out that the parts have finally been shipped to the RV Dealership in Oklahoma.  So they should be there when we get a chance to pull the 5th Wheel back there.

Before we can take a trip to Oklahoma, we are heading to Nashville, Tn to visit our daughter and her family.  Originally we were to take the 5th Wheel there . . . but for obvious reasons, we can’t do that.  So we are using our airline award miles to fly there instead.  When we get back from there, we will prepare for our trip to take the 5th Wheel to Oklahoma and drop it off at the RV Dealership.  Then we will continue on to Dallas, to have a cruise control put into the truck at the dealership we purchased it from.  That will probably take a couple of days and then we’ll head back to Oklahoma to pick up the repaired 5th Wheel.  Our plans are to stay there for 3-4 days to make sure we don’t have any more issues before we, hopefully, head up to Colorado for a while on our very first REAL trip.

Another item we had to deal with this week . . . we got new passports.  Our daughter and her husband bid on and won a trip to St John.  However, they can’t go and decided to give the trip to us for hubby’s retirement gift.  HOW COOL IS THAT!!!???!!!  Granted we don’t need a passport to go but if we do any excursions off that island, we’ll need one to get back.  So we bit the bullet and got new ones.  Now if we want to take the RV to Canada, we are set with passports!!

While hubby has been on the phone handling all the above issues and both of us driving back and forth to the auto repair shops, I have been trying to get our taxes done and getting our apartment set up and decorated.  There are still boxes that are unpacked.  PLUS, we have been shopping for some furniture for the apartment.  We are sleeping on air mattresses right now . . . mine is great but hubby’s has developed a leak.  So he wants a real mattress.   We’re also looking to add a wall unit in the living room for the TV and a small electrical fireplace.  Since we are staying here, I have some decorations in boxes that I have no were to use them.  So a set of bookcases will be perfect.

Things brings me to the COMPROMISING part of this blog post.  We have been married for 40 years and for about 25 of those years, I have done all the shopping by myself. . . . Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas, Weddings, for household items, furniture and even most of our vehicles.  Even when we built our last home, I shopped for EVERYTHING from the cabinet pulls to the furniture.  I hauled samples to/from the stores to show them to him so I could get his input.  But I did the shopping. . .  ALONE!!  There have been very few times where he has come with me.  Mostly because he worked 24/7/365 and partly because he really hates to shop, hates crowds and absolutely HATES lines.  I have to back up a bit . . . he will do some grocery shopping but hates to do any other shopping unless he has to.  He grocery shops for ‘specialty’ items that he wants to use for a special he wants to make.  Yes . . . he does most of the cooking.  When we talked about him retiring, I was really excited for him to be able to accompanying me to do all the shopping.  I didn’t realize that I was going to have to do some compromising for that to happen.

So why am I having to compromise for him to come shopping with me?  Anyone who knows me, knows that I shop all day long.  I will go to a handful of stores while I’m gone.  While in those few stores, I walk every single isle to pre-shop.  Then I will go back, make some selections and then change my mind about 15 times before I finally decide on what I am going to purchase.  That will/does drive hubby absolutely NUTS!!!  He is a walk in, grab the item(s) he wants and be out of the store in 5 minutes!!!!  I can’t do that!!

I warned him the other day that this is the way I shop and that he was going to have to get used to it.  Then we went shopping last night and when we got home I realized something.  Why am I making him change his ways without me changing my ways?  That isn’t fair!  So I expressed my feelings to him by saying that I realize that I can not expect him to go spend an entire day shopping with me to find one item . . . wall unit for the living room.  We can just take more time finding what we want vs doing a marathon shopping spree.  He just laughed at me.  But I think he was glad to hear that I was willing to compromise the way that I have done things for the last 25-30 years and maybe he’ll be willing to compromise too.   Actually, he did last night.  He went to a few more stores than we planned on.  Because he did, I think we found the book shelves that we both like.  SCORE!!!

This will be a work in progress as we both figure out how to live together and compromise on things that we never even thought about in our old “working world” lives.  But that’s part of the journey, right?

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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It’s Official!!!!

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The day has finally arrived!!  He is officially retired!!!  Now the fun begins!!

What a year it’s been for us . . . especially the last few months!!  A year and a half ago we made some life changing decisions  . . . Ted would retire in 2017, we’d sell the house I designed and had built to buy an RV to live in and travel the US to see places we didn’t have time to do while we were working.

Yesterday the final steps to that plan came to fruition . . . Ted spent his last day as a salesman with US Foods after almost 23 yrs with the company.  This day also ended his 50 yr career of working for somebody!!  Can you imagine?  Working for 50 yrs?  I can’t!!  I gave up working for someone about 17 yrs ago . . . and I’m only 58 yrs old.  He told me last night that he started working when I was 8 yrs old!!!  LOL!!!

Now we start a new chapter of our lives . . . learning how to spend 24/7/365 together.   Even though he worked from home and we’d be in the same home together, we weren’t available to each other 24/7 as we will be now.  So that’ll take some getting used to . . . probably more on his part than mine.  But then again, I will have to adjust my world too.  I will still continue my Avon and SendOutCard businesses which means that I will have to shut myself in my office for a while.  Then he can have the living room to watch TV.  I guess we’ll be switching rolls now.  I will work while he sits around and watches TV.  LOL!!!

Another thing we are going to have to learn how to do is to live on a budget again!!  That is going to be really hard for me!!  For quite a few years now, because of him being an awesome provider, I have not had to ‘count pennies’.  But now I will.  Especially when it comes to the grandkids.  For example:  When our son & daughter-in-law took an Anniversary trip, we kept the 3 kids.  We also took those kids to the movies!  OMG!  About $80 later we got to see the movie!!!  How do young families, with incomes much lower than ours, afford to take their kids to do anything??  No wonder the theaters are empty!!!  This will be our biggest adjustment to make in our lives.

One thing we’ve both decided that we are going to do is WALK and go to the workout room here at the apartment.  I can stand to lose a bit of weight and he needs to just get active.  He’s been sitting behind a desk or the wheel of a car for 22 yrs.  Time to get that old body moving again.

Unfortunately, our RVing travels have been put on hold for a while yet.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that we’ve had some issues with the RV and truck we purchased.  Because of that, the RV is in storage right now until all the parts get shipped to the dealer in Oklahoma City were we purchased it.  In the meantime, we do have a trip planned but we’ll have to go by air instead of by land.  Thank goodness for SW Reward points . . . FREE air and FREE rental car.  Once we get back, we’ll hook up the RV and take it to OKC, drop it off, head to Dallas to get the truck fixed, drive back to OKC to, hopefully, pick up the repaired RV and then camp there for a week to make sure it all got fixed correctly.  If all goes well, we’ll head out from there on our very first trip to an undetermined destination for an undetermined amount of time!

This is an exciting and scary time for us but one we have been looking forward to for a really long time.  The fact that he will no longer have to go to work really hasn’t sunk in to either of us yet.  It will be interesting to see how things unfold.

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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