Sunday, July 28, 2013

Home, safe and sound

Saw this cool totem carved in a trunk of a tree yesterday at Little Bennet while walking with Sharyn and a few of the dogs. Couldn't really tell what it was as it was a bit far away so that's where my Nikon D5000 camera came in handy. I took a picture, just transferred it to my Mac and blew it up. Yep, it's a bear all right. Sharyn and I were debating whether it was an elephant at first. Either way, it's pretty cool.

After our walk, I set about preparing the camper for the short ride home. It took me the hour I expected to get it hooked back up the truck (making sure nothing fell off this time and everything was stowed). Went to the 'dump' station which is a nice way of putting 'the sewer' and performed my first dump successfully. I was dreading it but it was easy and clean.

Turning the rig toward home with Sharyn driving the Pilot and halting traffic on my street so I could come up over the slight berm in the front year. All was 100% successful. Pulled around to my 'back 40' which is the acre out behind my house which is finally seeing some good use and got the sucker leveled in about 20 minutes Today is clean up day where I'll do the floor. Already stripped the beds and washed linens. I'll vacuum seal them in bags today, ready for the next trip which will be soon and to someplace with sand.

I'm now way more confident that I can handle the truck and trailer alone if I want/need to. It's 50 feet all told which is a pretty big rig but the Toyota doesn't even notice the trailer is back there. Loving my pick 'em up truck. It will come in handy soon also as I just had my pool filled in! Yes! I am proud to say that my inground pool is no longer and I couldn't be happier to not own a pool. In its place will be a beautiful Victorian garden, complete with 3 tiered fountain like my Bubbie and Zadie (grandma and grandpa) used to have in St. Joe, Mo. I know that Mom is approving of this excellent move.

Ok, enough chatter - here's my travel trailer articles on so far:

Good Gifts For RV Owners
This is another of my RV articles you might like. This is the first of the series of my camping articles so some of my ineptness might show. I've gotten smarter!

Shadow Cruiser S260BHS Review From An Owner
This is a review of my new Shadow Cruiser. 2 months after I picked it up and about 3 weeks worth of camping in it, I love this RV! The perfect entry level travel trailer for me.

RVing - How To Set Up An Outdoor Living Area
I just bought a 2013 Shadow Cruiser travel trailer in May so I'm brand new to RVing, but one thing I have quickly figured out is how to set up an outdoor liv...

Top 15 Travel Bars For Those On The Go
We like to have all the conveniences of home when we're off camping in the RV so that's where this portable travel bar comes in. Martinis anyone?

Travel Bar Accessories
And, here's some good travel bar accessories.

And, here's a few things I found useful on this last trip:

Friday, July 26, 2013

And, BOOM - down she went!

Sharyn came up yesterday while I was camping, and, the first thing we did was grab Wilbur and Killian and head off on a trail that circles the park. It's probably only 3/4 of a mile long all told so should have been a fairly innocuous hike until...

Little Lori and Killian, of course, have to take the lead. The trail went through some pretty heavily forest area - it was, after all, a nature trail. About 1/2 of the way through, I walked right through a spider web. Now, those of you who know me well know that I'm scared silly of spiders. It doesn't matter if they're 1/4" or 3" - I hate them all. Please don't leave me comments about how good spiders are for nature, they eat flies, etc. I'd take 10 flies for every spider. Anyway, they just plain old scare me.

So, after doing my 'get the spider off me dance', thrashing around like a mad woman, clearing the web from my head, shaking my head upside down just in case Charlotte was still on me, I was back in the lead. You'd think I'd learn.

So, I'm chatting over my shoulder at Sharyn, having a pretty good time actually. Until, I turned forward and, I'm not lying here, about 2 inches ahead and eye level was a very large spider. A big, black, hairy spider. I was eye to eye, eye, eye, eye, eye, eye, eye, eye with the sucker. I remember thinking 'no way am I going through there' so I took an unusual tactic and actually threw myself backward and out of harms way - NOT. I'm bruised and battered today, having landed on a my tailbone, elbows, and head. But, at least the spider was not on me! So, dear Sharyn's reaction? I looked behind me and up (remember I'm lying flat on my back) and she's doubled over in laughter. THAT'S the kind of friend I have. Ok, I suppose it was pretty funny but, dang, that hurt!

Got myself up and brushed off - no help from the still laughing 'friend' - As I collected my camera (which, thankfully, was not broken), and Killian's leash, I remember thinking 'something's missing.' And, yep, it was. My glasses went flying off my face when I took my voluntary dive, and I didn't miss them until I was trying to peer straight ahead and noticed general fuzziness in my vision. SHOOT! So, Sharyn and I backtracked and finally found them lying smack dab in the middle of the path. Whew. I was about to be very very mad at myself and that darned spider.

After this debacle, Sharyn and I hit the RV and made dinner over a wood fire. We shared a steak and put a couple of chicken breasts on the BBQ, had a nice glass of wine, and had a great evening.

So, I'm still liking the travel trailer but, next time I take a hike, I'm going to take along one of these spider web clearers....Can you blame me?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back at camp for a glorious night

Well, after that first night, Killian woke up lame the next morning. Couldn't walk, couldn't sit, couldn't lie down. After a panicked call to our great vet who always seems to fit us in, he was diagnosed with either a slipped disc or a pulled muscle and put on 2 pain killers. So, off I headed back home where I knew he'd be more comfortable and manageable.

Thankfully, the very next day, Killian was back up, if not exactly at 'em. I had offered the camper to friend Reed and her husband Joe and their 2 adorable kids for the night so we stayed home again, only to return yesterday afternoon. And what a nice afternoon it was! I brought Wilbur (pictured to the right), Killian and Rita back up with me, ditching Gizmo and Matee with Sharyn back at the house. Took a nice walk over a rambling trail right next to the camper. Sharyn came up later afternoon and we cooked dinner inside the camper for the first time. Quite nice.

Last night, turned off the air, opened all the windows and, this morning? It's cold in here! Tempted to start up the heat but that just seem wrong during the end of July. About to get dressed and head over to the house where a gym date awaits and then general running around today. Looking forward to another peaceful night tonight though before I pack up and tow 'er home tomorrow.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Off for 5 days

Well, John's off to England for work for 5 days so I've taken the opportunity to hone my own camping skills - not so much.

John and I came to a park which is very close to my house - I didn't want to go very far as I'll be alone most of the time, with various visitors wandering through. I have Killian, Matee, Rita and Gizmo with me so 'alone' is a relative term. Sadly, Killian appears to be ill this morning so it'll be off to the vet as soon as day breaks. Not sure what happened to him. I'm wondering if something bit him while he was in the woods. I had him on a long lead but he got loose and ran around a bit before I even noticed he was off lead! He doesn't go anywhere but, rules are rules and the dogs must be contained which is why you see those 3 little girls in the picture above in 'jail.' The dog crate works great for them. Anyway, off to the vet we will go.

So, yesterday was my 2nd try at backing in and, although I did ok the first time, I pulled the trailer back out of the spot to do it again. Just for practice. Should have left well enough alone as, no matter how hard I tried (read: an hour...), I just could not get that sucker in the spot again. John had to do it. Sucks. I definitely need more practice.

We set up camp which included unrolling the rug, putting up the chairs and a little table and making dinner which was hotdogs and baked beans - just right for a camp out night. Sat around and played with some bubbles before retiring to bed early. John had to get up at 3:30am to go pack for London - he usually packs the day of a trip which drives me nuts. I prefer to be packed 3 days in advance.

So, I'll be blogging here for a few days or maybe not, depending on poor Killian. Might have to go home if he's not well as it will be too difficult to get him in and out of the camper on the metal steps. We shall see. Wish us luck.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Latest article about camping

I spent yesterday cleaning the Shadow Cruiser, from top to bottom, well, the inside at least. It took me a little over 2 hours to clean, organize, and do a few minor adaptations to the trailer to make it better for the next trip. Included in this was scrubbing the floor (on my hands and knees!), putting down non-skid shelving paper which still needs to be tacked in place, washing all the bedding and storing it in those vacuum sealed bags so it will be fresh for next time. I also bought some more towels as 4 bath towels is just not enough for travels with 2 adults. And, I caught on to getting different colored towels so each person who is along for the ride can easily identify their towel.

I'm working right now on maximizing the storage space, of which there appears to be plenty. I've read up on the RV forums though and now know not to tote things along that we don't need. To that end, I'm going to take the camper out on my own in a few weeks and live in it and see what else is necessary. I'm going to go to a local park just about 7 miles away from my house while John galavants off to England for work - lucky stiff! But, I think I'll have a pretty nice time also as I'll have all the dogs with me on this trial run.

Here's an article I wrote about Good Gifts For RV Owners that might be helpful for those of you who own or have a friend who owns an RV. Additionally, here's a few items I've found helpful that are not in the article yet:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Last Leg in the Shadow Cruise - Headed Home to MD

Well, dear readers, here's our last leg of our maiden voyage in the Shadow Cruiser - from heading out in the new 2013 trailer last Sunday in Tucson, AZ to Boyds, MD homebase today. John and I both are sorry to see the trip end yet we're missing the dogs something fierce so it's all good. The trip has been a wonderful insight into the world of life on the road. We've learned a lot about traveling around with a home on the back of the truck, had a whole lot of fun and laughs, sat in some beautiful spots at night with an evening cocktail or a campfire, and met some wonderful, helpful folks - like the ones who tried to direct us to the correct campsite after the check-in girl misled us. I had to circle the Wytheville, VA KOA three times to the amusement of more than one person, including me.

The RV park was nice enough and even nicer when we finally landed in the correct spot which was level and large. We had neighbors but not nearly as many as the first spot we tried to get into (too small). The RV park had an outdoor movie last night which we wandered past and then right back up to our own party in the Shadow Cruiser.

I couldn't have hoped for a better traveling partner than John. He is truly my one true love, and I love him for all I'm worth.

So, as I close down this blog for a bit, we start planning our next trip which we think will be to Erie, PA to the shores of Lake Erie sometime later in the summer. It's a short 350 miles from Boyds. We now know that our limit for driving is about 589 miles - that's actually a bit too long but quite doable with two drivers doing 2 hour stints.

So, stay tuned. More travels with John and Lori will be coming. I might even recount our trip to the Dominican Republic last January. We were there for 10 glorious days at a resort right on the beach. Couldn't get any prettier than that.

Here's a Squidoo article I wrote about the Shadow Cruiser:

My review of the 2013 Shadow Cruiser S260BHS Travel Trailer

And, why I'm at it, if you've just wandered across my blog by random, here's a link to my other blog where I documented Travels with 95 year old Mom, Gertie. Although my Mom died in 2012, she and my darling dad were right here beside us as we traveled these roads. They were never far from our minds.

And, finally, you can see more of my articles, mostly about caring for the elderly, on my Squidoo profile.

So, I'll sign off for a bit. You can add your email up there on the right to be notified when I write more on this travel blog. Thanks for dropping in.

John and Lori

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sum total of losses and physical injuries during our 7 days on the road

As my (former-) friend, Bobbi, put it: "It wouldn't be a Lori and John road trip without losing, forgetting or breaking something." Now, neither John nor I thought this was particularly amusing (ok, we did but let's not tell Bobbi that) and, the really sad thing is, she's 100% right and we both agreed. So, here's a short (?) list of things that have happened on this maiden voyage of the Shadow Cruiser (btw, the name 'Shadow Cruiser' seems much more ominous than it is. As another aside, John thinks we should call the camper "Ann".....). Now, back to my tale: Ok, here comes the list:

1. The first night we were out, John was turning the leveling supports and the trailer bit him and put a rather large (2.5") slash in his hand. So, I decided that he couldn't be trusted, shoved him out of the way and suffered a rather large (1.5") gash in my own hand - that picture to the right is the gash healing. I hope it doesn't scar.... So, this trailer, just like the boat, bites!

2. Day 2, John was stepping over the hitch that was still connected to the monster truck and shoved his toe 1.5" (his words, not mine) into the toe housing groove - meaning, he jammed his toe.

3. Day 4, I was driving and didn't have time to move out of the right lane to allow a small truck to come in. All was fine until he accelerated to bulldog it up a hill and threw a boulder at the windshield - ok, it wasn't a boulder, more of a pebble really. Well, the windshield took a hit and, um, let's just say that the truck right now won't pass Maryland inspection....See that nice starburst in the middle of the picture below? Yep, that's a hunk taken out of the windshield.....niiiiiice.....

4. Day 5, we lost a bumper cap off the port side somewhere along the way. For those sane enough to not own a camper and have no idea of what I type, the sewage hose fits into the bumper and there are 2 plastic caps which, ostensibly, keep the hose in place while one is on the road. This is the perfect storage spot for a hose which is used to empty the 'black water' ('black' being a relative term depending on what one ate the day before....). Driving up from Memphis, Tennessee, somewhere along the road, we lost the port bumper cap (the starboard bumper cap is God knows where) on the road. As I type this, John and I are laughing - we realized that someone outside Knoxville, TN honked at us and, I believe, I gave them the finger as I was way within my lane....In retrospect, there went the sewer hose....and a nice person trying to notify us of the same....

5. Day 6, John suffered a few bumps and bruises this day. We were hitching the Shadow Cruiser up this morning, having unhitched and taken the truck out yesterday for that delicious Memphis barbeque. It was dark out and it was our first time putting it all back together. Well, one of us (no names needed), tried to put the safety chain on without raising the hitch enough and bent a sort of crucial security pin. Um, well, too bad on that one. It was o'dark 30 and I couldn't see. Anyway, John was holding the pin and I tried again to lift the bar which I did, to my credit do, crushing his finger at the same time. As my Mom, Gertie, would say "These things happen."

Now, once we got to Wytheville, VA, we put the camper together and sat down to have our happy hour when John went to go inside for more happy hour. He was hotdogging up the steps and caught his toe on the corner, suffering massive blood loss and almost needed stitches (well, in his little world, it hurt that bad....). See following photo:

So, dear readers, you can see that travels with John and Lori, while sort of mundane, are also interesting. We now know where every emergency room is between Arizona and Maryland and can be tested in all sorts of first aid, including tourniquets.

More tomorrow as we head home to Maryland. Please wish us luck! Actually, pray for us...