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 2

NOVEMBER 11, 2017

During our trip to Foss Lake State Park, we made a list of items that we still needed to get from home or that we needed to shop for to finish stocking our RV for the remainder of our trip.  So we headed back to Amarillo for a few days to get those items before continuing on to Albuquerque to be with Karen’s family for Thanksgiving.

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Since we live in an apartment, we don’t have anywhere to park the RV to load and unload.  So we get a couple of nights at our local RV Park, Fort Amarillo RV Park to take care of those chores.  We spent these two days getting things moved from the apartment to the RV and getting the boxes unpacked.  It is really a pain because the RV Park is about 5 miles away and we have to add 2 additional nights RV Park costs to our budget to do this.  At least we have this option and, so far, we’ve not had a problem getting a space there.  However, the really nice thing about doing this is, we get to be plugged into 50 amp service and can run the AC while we are getting all hot and sweaty, we have running water, the slides can be out and I have TV or radio to keep me entertained.  I wouldn’t have those options if I were at the storage unit or at the apartment.  So I guess it’s worth paying for 2 nights.

This particular time our grandson got to come stay the night with us.  The older boys had something else planned but they all got to see the RV for the first time the next day when they picked up their little brother.  Can you believe that we’ve had this RV for over 8 mths and this is the first time anyone has been able to see it because it’s been in/out of the shop or in storage so much.   So it was nice to finally get to show it off.

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Even tho we were only here for a couple of days and most of it was loading, I decorated it for the family to see it in all it’s glory.  After they came to see it, I packed it all up so we could continue on to Albuquerque, NM the next day.

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

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Pinch me!!! Am I Dreaming?

Am I dreaming

OMG!  It’s happening . . . but don’t say it too loud, we don’t want to jinx things!!

We made it to RV General Store to pick up the RV.  After some discussion about a missing blind . . . yep, we’re still missing one . . . and a drawer handle that broke off in my hand, we hit the road.

conntek-rv-marine-cords-14436-64_1000I guess it would be good to mention here what our electrical problems were in the RV.  It was exactly what we hoped it was . . . the power cord was bad!!!  Yep, five months of not being able to use our brand new RV because the power cord didn’t have a working ground!!!  We are just glad that was all it was and not some elaborate electrical wiring issue that they would have to take months to trace.  Just very frustrating that something so simple kept us from using it.

Having said that . . . we keep saying “Things happen for a reason”.  That reason being . . . we were able to find out that the truck we purchased wasn’t safe for pulling the trailer  . . . after pulling it back and forth to Oklahoma a couple of times.  The tires were too big for the rims and it had some mechanical issues.  This is part of the reason we couldn’t get the RV fixed was because the truck was in the shop and we couldn’t pull the RV back to the dealership in Oklahoma.  Thankfully, we found all this out before we hit the road and had these issues on the road.

In short, we had the transmission replaced and some drive shafty thingies . . . don’t ask me to explain any more because I am not a mechanic and don’t understand any of it.  All I know is that it cost a lot of money, it was in the shop for about a month and it kept us from getting our RV back to the dealership to get it fixed.  Then after it was fixed we pulled the RV with it and the next time I drove it in town, it got stuck in 4th gear.  So it was back in the shop for a week.  It turned out to be a bad solenoid!!  Thankfully, the mechanic had used a company with a GREAT warranty . . . so this repair was FREE!!!  WHEW!!! I’m so DONE with RV & truck problems it’s not even funny!!!  Now we should be good to travel safely . . . Things happen for a reason . . . right?

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On one of our trips back home from Oklahoma without the RV, we decided to drive by FOSS State Park Lake to see if it was somewhere we’d like to stay to try things out instead of staying at a boring RV park in Oklahoma City.  It’s less than 10 miles off I-40, about half way between our home in Amarillo, Tx and Oklahoma City and an easy in/out situation for us first timers.  Since it’s close to the RV dealership we weren’t so far away and could take it back for repairs.  We quickly decided that YES, this is where we’d like to stay.  It has pull thru sites right by the water, some have nice shade trees and there is water & electricity.  No sewer but they have a dump station.  We even picked out which site we’d like to have so that we could call ahead to make a reservation when we were ready to stay there.  We are so excited . . . we have a destination to take our RV out for the very first time!!!!

Fast forward to November 7, 2017 . . . If you’ve been following this blog, you will know that, if nothing goes wrong, this is actually our first “real time” camping  in the Vanleigh Vilano 325RL since we bought it in May 2017.  If you are reading this blog for the first time and would like to catch up, you can read the 10 part series titled “Maiden Voyage – Not what we expected”.

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Lost a hubcap on the way here!!  Not happy!!!

Day #1 . . . Today we get to try out our RV for “reals” this time!!  We pull into FOSS State Park Lake get unhooked, get all the utilities hooked up and get settled in for the night.  And we are FREEZING!!  It’s so cold here!!  We had been expecting to test out the air conditioning on our first trip . . .  not the furnace!  Up until now, at home, we’ve been in the 60-70’s and sometimes in the 80’s but today it was between 37-44 with wind!!  Brrrrr!  At least this time, hubby isn’t having heat stroke setting up camp like he did when it was hot and humid on our “fake” trial runs.

Day #2 – Our first night and this morning it’s still windy & 33 degrees!! But I’m happy to say . . We have been pretty cozy with the little space heater as a back up.  The water lines haven’t frozen and we still have propane. This will test us on how long a tank of propane will last.

So far we have had only a couple of stumbling blocks . . A light panel wasn’t working . . . which I got fixed via a few text messages & pictures to the dealership service department;  and our fireplace isn’t working.  It worked when we originally picked it up, so we are confused as to why it’s not working now.  However, we think that the ‘fried’ converter, ‘fried’ the FP.  Thankfully, one of the things that I packed . . . just in case . . . was a small space heater.  And the furnace works. There is no TV service (but I later figured it out) here but that is ok too.  I packed some games, DVD’s and we have cell/data service on/off.  Plus, we can Bluetooth Pandora for some music. We also purchased some $5 movies when we went to the store to stock up with food. Being Semi off-grid for a few days will be a good thing . . . we NEED the relaxation time!

I spent most of the day organizing what I could.  We decided that since we were not going to be here that long, we wouldn’t put out any decorations.  We lost a day since we had to stay in Oklahoma an extra day and this spot was reserved on Friday.  We could have moved but made the decision to head home.  There were some things we needed to get at home before we continued on with our trip.  Our plans are to head to Albuquerque to be with my family for Thanksgiving.

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Enjoy this slide show of our 3 day stay here.  It was really relaxing but we needed to get home to get the truck into the shop again to get checked out.  Yep . . . more issues.  It’s ‘shuddering’ going up hills again.  So hubby isn’t comfortable taking it on another trip until he has it fixed.  So we will just take the RV home, put it into storage while they fix the truck . . . AGAIN!!!

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

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Trip to OKC

 

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After a few months of dealing with the truck being in the shop, the RV batteries not holding a charge, getting hubby retired and all the paperwork that goes with that and getting my COBRA set up, we finally got the RV out of storage to take it to Oklahoma City for the needed repairs.

On the way there we saw so many RVs traveling.  Our thinking is that everyone is headed towards warmer weathered areas.  It’s turned cold and rainy in these parts.  We even saw two Vilanos within 20 miles of each other heading the opposite direction.  One with the older LOGO like ours and a newer LOGO.  Hubby didn’t even realize that it was a Vilano.  He’d never really seen that one before and we both decided that we don’t care for it as much as we LOVE the logo we have . . . more elegant looking than the new one.  But that’s okay . . .if you like it, good for you.  We just prefer the older design . . . hence one of the main reasons we purchased a new but older 2016 model 325RL.

We had just talked to the warranty lady 2 days ago and told her we would be there today.  She told us to call/text her right before we got to town so she could make sure she had a tech available as soon as we got there.  Once we got to the dealership, guess what?  She had called in sick and NOBODY . . . I mean, NOBODY was expecting us!!!!  Needless to say, I wasn’t happy!!  I had to text her to call me ASAP that we were there and no one knew what to do with us.  What did she do?  Call me?  Nope!  She called the service department and talked to the lady I was talking to.  In short, we got it all straightened out but the news we received wasn’t what we wanted to hear.  They may not be able to get to it as quickly as we were lead to believe.  There are RV’s there that haven’t been touched that have been their for 6 wks!!  We’ll see how they work it since we’ve had an ‘open’ work order since May!!!!!  I would assume that would put us on the top of the list . . . but  time will tell.  We have decided to leave it here and we will drive back to Amarillo without it . . . AGAIN!

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It wasn’t a total wasted trip tho.  While we were there, we had one of the mechanics come out and show us again how to unhook the RV from the slider hitch.  We’ve had trouble getting it unhitched with the SuperGlide hitch.  When we did our ‘walk through’ when we picked the RV up, I think our heads were swimming and by the time we got to hooking and unhooking up, we were overwhelmed and didn’t listen as closely as we should have.  This time we only had the hitch to focus on and I think we will be able to get unhitched a lot smoother next time . . . that is . . . IF we remember how to do it by the time we get it back!!  LOL!!

I will give them until next Tuesday before I call them for an update.  We will probably decide what we will do next based on what they tell us at that time.  Because of it being so late in the year, we are expecting to have them winterize it so that we can just put it back in storage and we’ll put of traveling until next Spring.

The next issue we have to handle is getting the computer system and cruise control replaced/fixed in the truck.  We have an appointment for Oct 9th to have it done.  This will mean we will be taking a trip to Dallas . . . that’s where we bought it.  We are hoping that the RV repairs will be completed by the time we head back home after Dallas.  If it is, we’ll leave Dallas and head back to OKC.  If it’s not, then we’ll leave Dallas and head back to Amarillo.

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!!!!

It's official retirement pic

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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11 more days!!!!

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Hubby retires in 11 days!!!!  Is it exciting?  YES!! Am I scared?  YES!!  We’re gunna be broke!!!!

I’m having to learn how to become frugal again!!  It’s been years since I have had to watch what I spend.  No more are the days of going to the store and just buying what I want  . . . YES, what I WANT . . . not necessarily what I NEED.

For instance . . . I wanted bar stools for the bar we have at the apartment.  They won’t be used very much because they don’t face the TV . . . we watch TV while we eat . . . but they will be great when we have someone over for dinner and for extra seating.  BUT the ones I like are too expensive and the ones I can afford are cheaply made.  Well, today I hit a JACKPOT!!!!!  I was at the local RESTORE store and they had these really sturdy iron/wood bar stools for $8.00 each!!!!!!  Yes . . . $8.00!!  Sure they need work  . . . but did I mention they were only $8.00?  AND . . . they are heavy as hell!!!!  OMG!!!!  AND, they swivel and are the perfect height for our counter!!  So I bought them.  My plans are to sand and stain the wood that will show and cover the seat with foam & fabric.  I may have to do that to the backs too.  However, I MIGHT check into seeing how much it would cost to ‘re-cane’ them and I will stain them.  Either way . . . they were only $8.00!!!!!


Somebody had already made new wood seats for them and that is what I will definitely use the foam and fabric for.  I might even try to get creative with the backs by using screen spline and some heavy screen or wire for the backs.  We’ll see what I end up doing.  If anyone has any suggestions for me, put them in the comments below.  OR if you know someone who could ‘recane’ them for very little money, put that in the comments too.

Don’t look for these to be done any time soon.  We have a couple of trips planned and I need to work on the dreaded five letter word . . . TAXES!!! But stay tuned and I will post the before and after pictures when they are done.

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

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The Count Down Begins!!!

Time is really flying fast towards Ted’s retirement date . . . July 28, 2017!!  I am not sure if we will be ready!!  Well . . . he will be.  He’s been talking about retiring for several years now and I am so ready for him to retire.  However, I have a lot to do in the next 31 days!!!

'Unfortunately, your insurance only provides one dart this year.'To Do #1:

Since I am not near retirement age or medicare age I need to find medical insurance for me.  This is one area in our marriage that I have refused to take control of.  So now that I’m getting a crash course on health insurance.  With the new Trump administration vs the Obama Care, I am way too overwhelmed to even try to find the right plan for me.  If I find one, will it change with the new administration?  Will it cost me a fortune?  Will we not be able to travel because it’s all going to health care?  I have no idea and I can’t seem to concentrate for more than a hour and then I just give up and stop searching.  Not to mention all the ‘scams’ and ‘supplements’ out there, I’m sooooo confused!!  Since Ted has handled the insurance in our 40 yrs of marriage, I have no idea about the kinds of coverages & plans.  I just go to the Dr and say “I have XYZ insurance” and they take care of it.  Now I have to figure out what we have and what I can get that is comparable without costing us a fortune now that we’ll be on a “fixed income”.

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To Do #2:

Speaking of medical coverage . . . before we . . . or more importantly . . . before “I” lose coverage, we need to make appointments to get our eyes checked, get to a dentist . . . yuck . . . and get physicals done.  We only have 31 days left!!  Who wants to place their bets that we don’t get in to see anyone in time?

 

24d3ce436d8c3d063e99fc383c6bb495To Do #3:

During this time frame, we will be staying at our son & DIL’s house babysitting the 3 grandsons while their parents take an 8 day Anniversary trip.  It will be fun being with the boys . . . they are so cute and so much fun! BUT I won’t get anything else done . . . like Dr appointments.  However, I should get lots of exercise because I’m sure we’ll be going to the pool almost everyday.

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To Do #4:

The truck is in the shop again.  WHY?  Well, when we pulled the 5th Wheel home from Oklahoma, the truck would ‘shack & shimmy’ when I would climb a hill and accelerate. So we are having that checked out before we pull the trailer again.  Good news tho . . . the cruise control issue will be fixed by the dealership.  However, that means we have to make a trip to Dallas to get that done.  But we are excited that they are going to fix it even tho it’s a Used “NO WARRANTY” vehicle!!!

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To Do #5:

Two days ago we found out that the tags on the 5th Wheel have expired.  To get the tags, the 5th Wheel must be inspected!!  WHAT???  Apparently, in Texas an RV over 4,000 lbs must be inspected.  REALLY?  We can’t pull it right now!!!  It has no batteries!!  The batteries are still at Auto Zone because we haven’t had time to get them.  We did find out that one of the trailer batteries is bad.  I don’t know much about how batteries go bad . . . So . . . Does that mean it was bad when we got it? Or did some other issue in the trailer cause it to go bad?  I have no clue!!  The dealership will not let us get a second battery and assure us that the jacks will pull up with only one battery.   I guess we’ll see when we go get it to get the inspection done.

To Do #6 (which may not happen until after Ted retires):

Map Ama, Ok, DallasOnce we get all of the above done, we will make another trip to Oklahoma to drop the 5th Wheel off at the dealership to get repaired.  Then we will drive the truck to Dallas to get the cruise control fixed.

Hopefully, once the truck is done, the RV will be done as well and we can bring it home on the way back from Dallas.  I’m not holding my breath!!  I’m afraid it’s going to be some complicated wiring issue that may even need to be taken back to the service center at Vanleigh to get fixed correctly.

When we started this journey just over a year ago, our plans were to hit the road full-time in our 5th Wheel.  We were going to be debt & fancy FREE!!  Seeing this beautiful country on our time schedule not anyone elses.

How things can change in a year!  We sold our house and most of our belongings in preparation to travel full-time in a 5th Wheel.  While we narrowed down our 5th Wheel selections, we rented an apartment for 3 months.  But we liked this little apartment so much and LOVE the fact that it’s really inexpensive, that we’ve decided to keep it as a ‘home base’ and take long extended trips instead of only living in the 5th Wheel.

40thMy date for this to happen was July 23, 2017.  Why that date?  That is our 40th Anniversary.  I figured that we started our lives together on that day, why not start our retirement years on that date.  However, with all of these issues we’ve had with the RV and the truck, we decided that we would not be able to meet that time frame.  So we changed our first trip to take place in August.  That allows us to be here for one of our grandsons birthday who turns 10. Ted and our daughter have a date planned on August 13th to see Pink Floyd in Nashville and we can be there for our other grandson’s 4th birthday which is the 19th of August.   When we visit our daughter in Nashville, we never get to do much because Ted has to take at least a week off work. . .  2 days to drive there, a couple of days to hang out and then 2 days to drive back home.  We just spend out time visiting at their home.  Now that he will be retired we could spend a month in Tennessee and actually see some of it.

Nite-197However, since the family didn’t get to see the RV while they were here for the Milestone Anniversary & Ted’s Retirement parties, we thought it would be fun to hang in Tennessee for a week, then head to Colorado to visit Ted’s sister and then head to New Mexico to visit my family.  Then head back to Amarillo.  That way everyone could see our new “home away from home”.

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Apparently, that isn’t in the cards for us.  With all the repair issues, we are postponing that trip and flying to Tennessee for the Pink Floyd concert and our grandson’s birthday.  We’ll try to take a trip in September.  That is if the trailer is out of the shop by then.

” . . . Just Another Brick in the Wall”

 

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

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Keith Urban & Miranda Lambert Hit

Some of you may already know that our Son-in-law is a song writer in Nashville, Tn.  This is one of his #1 hits. . .  We Were Us by Keith Urban & Miranda Lambert.  He actually got to sing this song with his co-writers AND with Keith Urban!!!! OMG!!!  How cool is that???  Jon Nite is the one on the far right!  We are so proud of him!!

Here is Jon performing the song with his co-writers and Keith Urban . . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCLlHvyjRu0

This weekend we found out that another one of his songs hit the #1 spot.  This makes #10 number 1 hits for Jon Nite!!!   Darius Rucker “If I Told You” went to #1 on June 9th, 2017!!!

I remember a few #1’s ago, Jon and our daughter, Krystal, were talking about someone who had 10 #1 songs and how AMAZING that was.  Well, now this kid from Amarillo, Texas has 10 #1 songs under his belt!!  Who would have thought that this young kid who married our young daughter and drove us NUTS, walking around the house with a guitar in his hand and singing all day long, would become such a huge success??

It’s pretty cool that Jon & his co-writers can write a song that resonates with the artist so much that is seems like it’s a story about their life!! 

We wish much luck and many more #1 hits for Jon Nite!!

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

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Houston . . . we have a problem!!

 

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Kinda bummed! Our 2016 Vanleigh Vilano 325RL is ready to be picked up. BUT we found out about a recall on the winch that supports the spare tire and now want to have them fix it while it’s in the shop. How long will it take to get the parts to our dealership?

To add insult to injury . . .  our “new to us” 2011 Dodge RAM 3500 Laramie diesel dually truck is in the shop at Barney’s Auto Service and has been pretty much since we bought it. Found out that the computer system has been replaced and the wiring is all jacked up. So we were quoted a little less that $5,000 to get it all fixed.

BTW . . . We did a CARFAX report and it doesn’t show that there was any flooding of this vehicle.  However, the mechanic at Barney’s Auto Service told us that it has been in a flood because there is some rust under the hood.  They also told us that the computer in our 2011 Dodge RAM 3500 Laramie isn’t registered to the VIN number and that we will continue to have wiring issues.  To me that means that the computer was replaced for some reason . . . flood???  I would say “Yes”.

This is probably the first time, ever, that my husband didn’t take the vehicle we were planning on purchasing to a mechanic to have it check out before we buying it.

Lesson Learned!!!

We trust that Barney’s Auto Service is being truthful to us because we have had a lot of work done on our vehicles there.  They are very trust worthy.  We are just really mad that the dealership in Dallas . . . Motorcars of Dallas . . . sold us this 2011 Dodge RAM 3500 Laramie after claiming they do a 136 point check on all their vehicles!!!

After much discussion, we have opted not to have it fixed.  The mechanic at Barney’s Auto Service has been working on diesels for 30 yrs and he said he wouldn’t spend the money on it.  I guess we have a 2011 Dodge RAM 3500 Laramie without cruise control and he assures us that the wiring could or could not be a problem.  He said that when something has had water damage, you just never know what will be wrong and assures us that a fuse would blow before a fire would start.  Please keep all your eyes, toes, legs and fingers crossed that he his correct!!

We thought about hiring a lawyer to see if we had any recourse with Motorcars of Dallas but then we’d be out that money if nothing could be done.  So again . . . we are having to “suck it up buttercup” and live with our decision to purchase an older truck.  Poor hubby . .  he really didn’t want to buy a used one . . . especially this old.  But we both fell in love with it and it looks so great with our 2016 Vanleigh Vilano 325RL 5th wheel!!!

Tomorrow, Friday, we will pick up our 2011 Dodge RAM 3500 Laramie and then on Sunday we will head back to Oklahoma to pick up the 2016 Vanleigh Vilano 325RL at RV General Store.  I called them today and they have finished our “punch list” which includes taking care of the recall.  Which is AWESOME because I don’t think that Vanleigh has sent out all the notices yet.  I guess since I forwarded the article on the recall to them, they are fixing it with the assurance that Vanleigh will reimburse them.  That is how great the service is from Vanleigh!!

I am so excited to finally bring our 2016 Vanleigh Vilano 325RL home to Texas!!  Because we haven’t been able to ‘fill her up’ with all of our stuff yet.  I reserved an RV site at a local RV Park here called Fort Amarillo instead of putting her straight into the storage unit we have rented at All Storage.  Kinda funny tho . . . we’ve paid 2 months of storage and our 2016 Vanleigh Vilano 325RL has never been in it yet.  LOL!!  When we found that All Storage had an opening, we grabbed it!!!  They are far and few between!!

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

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