Thursday, October 12, 2017

Where Are We And What Day Is It?

These are common questions between all of us as we travel. It sounds like we all have lost it but traveling every day or every other day one does loose track of days and places. So, yesterday we went to the Clinton, Oklahoma RT. 66 Museum. I have to say it was pretty cool, so much so that now I need to reread Grapes Of Wrath. That area of the country just dried up and people had to leave carrying only what they could pack in their cars or trucks. The Dust Bowl era.










It was a time capsule of sorts with music and photos throughout the museum..and..I got a tee shirt!

This morning we left Clinton, OK and headed down I 40 West. Suddenly I heard a loud bang and fluttering. I then looked out of the door window and saw our over the door awning straight out and flapping. "Pull over!!" was the scream but we were right in the middle of a construction area with cones and Roger couldn't. The next exit was a ways down and off we went. We have a remote to bring it back in but something had broke. We could hear the motor turning but the fabric wasn't going anywhere. Thankfully Bob came with his trusty extension ladder, pretty cool devise, and was up and poking at it. He was able to get it closed but it wouldn't hold. I gave the executive decision..."cut the fabric off." Sometimes I surprise myself how my priorities are about safety rather than trying to figure out how to repair it, taking maybe hours. We were on a mission! Bob cut it off then unscrewed the cover. We were set to continue!! On a weird note, as I was putting up the awnings this morning I actually felt that something was going to happen to the awning. Thankfully it was the smallest awning and we do have insurance. 


So we were rolling along when we heard the sound of flapping. Very loud flapping. I looked out the window and our awning that goes out over the door had sprung loose. We couldn't pull over right away since we were in construction so we drove to the first exit and took it.  Bob and Betty were behind us and Bob came to the rescue. What did we want to do? Cut the fabric off and take off the cover. The motor was running but the roll wasn't connecting so it was doomed to stay out. The winds across Oklahoma this morning were upwards of 16 to 20 MPH. I may not have totally brought in the awning at some point. We usually don't use it. Driving at 55 to 58 MPH plus the cross winds just caught it at the right point and dragged it out. We think about safety, getting to our destination and it's replaceable. Onward!!


We entered Texas. The flattest state and the most expanse of land ever. 



We couldn't leave without seeing the Cadillac Ranch. Roger and the "boys" walked out while Lola and I stayed in the coach and had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! We have our priorities!! We had parked CiCiBlue far from the Cattle gate entrance so Lola and I decided to move the rig closer! Yes, I did. I had to laugh because I had no idea where the brake peddle was in relationship to the gas. I know it's close but after a car brake it's even closer. I need to practice foot work!!  


Then all of a sudden the landscape changes. It's quite dramatic. From a few seconds ago seeing flat land, now we are going down into a land of scrub brush and mesas. I'm in heaven!!


Yes, we are in New Mexico!



Now I start to sing Jimmie Rodger's song "Tucumcari" from the 50's. I had the 45 record and played it over and over. My poor parents!!



And once more Sammy got us to our night RV park. Mountain Road RV Park. Full hook up and right off I 40. There's even a Pilot station close in case one needs to fuel up.


Lola being the Queen here looks rather perplexed. "Whaaat?? We are in a parking lot?"


I have been waiting for the sun to go down to see the light on our first night in New Mexico. I love seeing Lola with it bouncing off her fur. We did a quick walk. She doesn't like the feel of the scrub grass, and she looks like she's walking on eggs. She's very fussy about her feet!! Haha.


I laughed right out loud!! When I was younger I was told I had legs that "went on forever". Lola and me with our long legs!!!

Tomorrow we head for Edgewood, NM. Most of the parks were full and we wanted to stay for two nights. A friend on Facebook mentioned it was because of the Hot Air Balloon festival in Albuquerque which goes on until October 15! We are all excited because on Saturday we are going to drive and see if we can see the balloons. Bonus!!  

Have a great night. Roger's cooking up cheeseburgers and pouring a glass of wine. I had a shower, the kids ate and now it's time to just chill for the night. Thanks for joining me on our adventure!!

Warmly,
Sheila


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Where The Winds Come Sweeping Down The Plain

And they did. We came across western Oklahoma today and the wind gusts were about 11 to 14 MPH. CiCiBlue is a heavy girl so it wasn't too bad. See, Big and Beautiful is great! But, last night first. A cold front was coming across and about midnight we started to get rain. Since we have a surprise leak in our slide I was nervous. I had siliconed like crazy back up in NH so I was hoping it would hold. Then about 3:00 A.M. the lightning and stronger winds came. We were parked under a pecan tree and who knew? I'm learning so much! I guess I never asked where pecans come from but last night I found out because they fell like bombs onto the roof of our RV. Imagine being inside a trash can and have someone throwing rocks at you. Loud, and you never know where they will hit or how many at one time. Ozzie, our chocolate boy, started shaking. He sleeps between Roger and me and we woke. Sammy is the one who has panic attacks from loud noises now but he was out like a light. No mater how much we petted or hugged, Ozzie was a mess. I finally took a blanket and wrapped it around him tightly, almost like a swaddle. He finally fell asleep. (mumma knows)

This morning I checked our car and no damage. Getting ready to leave everything has to go into it's place. Roger then starts the rig and we start to bring in the slides. Since it had rained quite hard we tried to go slow so that the water on the top would run off, however, it ran off once we had the slide all the way in. So the mopping and slopping started and we didn't get to depart until 10:00 A.M. rather than our planned 9:30.






Since it was morning we decided to stay on RT. 40 and drive through Oklahoma City. It's hard not to think of the tragedy that occurred there, never to be forgotten.  We continued on and finally got out of the maze and back onto a smoother path. Sort of. Some of the roads are horrendous. 


My daughter Erin and I both love Garth Brooks. His music was so part of our lives and when I saw this sign it was a "have to" moment. Kind of cool!


A comical note, if you travel through Oklahoma, wear a diaper! The rest stops were either closed and being repaired or non existent.  We finally found a Love'd truck stop and pulled in. The other option that I thought would have been fun was to stop at one of the many casino's along the way. Roger said though it would be more expensive for us to stop there than at all the rv parks in the country! WHAAAT?? 

This photo is the original Rt. 66. We came off of I 40 and here we were driving on it to our next stop for two nights. Hargus RV Park in Clinton, Ok. There's also a train the runs along the road up by the office. (I love trains). The park is divided into sections with the drive through area being on a second level. They are long and level on gravel with trees, yes, pecan, and grass. Each site has full hook ups but the sewer is further back so you would need an extension for your hose. A trip to Walmart is in the works for tomorrow! We may also go to the Rt. 66 Museum and I so need to paint. 


On our way into the park.


And thankfully, once again, Sammy has got us to our new rv park. He's so good isn't he? He has his "outfit" (harness) removed which means we are staying and he can relax. 

Thursday we plan on driving a long day to Tucumcari, New Mexico. Oh ya, I'll be singing. Does anyone remember the song by Jimmie Rodgers? 10 more miles to Tucumcari....

It's getting chilly and the temp is going down to the 40's tonight so I'm happy the flannel sheets are on. It will be a great night for sleeping and we can actually "sleep in". 

So have a great night and I'll see you tomorrow and let you know what one does in Clinton, Ok. I'm excited!! 

Warmly,
Sheila

Thinking...Lola and The Boys...Route 66!?! 






Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday In Arkansas

When I'm walking in Memphis, with my feet 10 feet off of Beale... Yes I sing going through areas that have been a song. Just wait til I get to Tucumcari!! Now trying to get onto I 40 West from all of this mess was insane but Roger did fantastic. We did drive by St. Jude but I didn't get a photo because of speed and trees. Huge hospital.


And then there was the bridge. Roger is great and stays in the center lane for me. I did hear him say, "Are you looking?"  I did take a quick peek because I don't want to miss a thing.  And that sounds like an Aerosmith tune....


Sammy got us to our next stop for the night in Forrest City, Arkansas. Yes, I write down everyday where we stop because it all becomes a huge blur. Haha.  This was Delta Ridge RV Park. It's right off the interstate and behind a shopping mall. Easy to get to even though we drove past the entrance, but that's part of our adventure isn't it. Level gravel sites that are pull thru so we didn't have to unhook our dolly and car. Bonus! Flowers and grass areas, just a nice in and out park for travelers. The grass was different from what Lola has walked on. She kept picking up her paws and looking at them as we walked. She rushed back to our house and just wanted to hide. Such a goof!!


The expanse!!! 


When I went across country back in the 70's the silos were wood. This looks like the tin man fell! 


Then there were mountains. We entered into the Ozark area. 


Woohooo! At one point there was a sign that said "Overlook". We were climbing up towards it so I got my phone ready to take the pic. I should have because what we saw were people standing on the top of picnic tables trying to see the view. Hysterical. 


And..oh look!!!! Sammy got us to yet another place for the night!! Park Ridge Campground, Van Buren, Arkansas. Individual pull thru sites with full hook up and the bonus is that the owners drive their golf cart in front of you and escort you to your site. They drive the route how you should be drivng your vehicle. Wide turns then stay to the right so you miss the electric box and sewer top. Thankfully our side mirrors missed the tree!! All part of the adventure!!

So there you have the update. Tomorrow we go to Clinton, Oklahoma! We are staying two days so I can paint and get laundry done. The dogs have been fantastic traveling but it will be nice for them not to be jogged about for a day.

Hoping for internet tomorrow, but for now, have a great night and see you soon!

Warmly,
Sheila

And ohhhh, the paintings I have planned!!! Painting Across America!!!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

It's Official


We are heading WEST!!! 

Now the excitement has started! CiCiBlue is running great and she's happy. Passing trucks on steep inclines and powering right along. The poor girl has been sick for so long but now she's purring.

We have stayed in some nice places, even the Pilot service center for a night. You have to look at the adventure in every moment. The mountains we have gone across are small in comparison to the Colorado mountains but after so many years in Florida, a small hill seems huge. 



One of our stops was at Dixie Caverns in Salem,Va. I am somewhat claustrophobic so I was, of course,wary of going in to a cave! The staircase was "treacherous" so I stayed close to the wall and the beauty of it all was so amazing..I was so happy I did it.


We drove about 277 miles to Melton Hill Dam to meet up with our friends Betty and Bob. Our plan was to stay two nights to unwind and chit chat. Oh ya, and laundry. It's piling up! The campground is a TVA campground or Corp of Army Engineers. It's built on three tiers and we were on the first. To get there was a good incline and thankfully now with her new turbo, we did it no problems. 


We did have to unhook our dolly and remove our car both at Dixie Caverns and at Melton Hill Dam. But...I am now a pro! Ok, I almost slid out of the car yesterday in Tennessee putting it on but I got it first try!


Off we went through the mountains of Tennessee. Bob and Betty followed us because we thought we'd be so slow we would loose them. With our new turbo and exhaust I guess we were loosing them behind us as we zoomed up hills.  (Doing happy dance wildly here!!) As I'm trying to get this blog finished, Roger just came in and told me we have a leak from our hydro hot system. Not a major thing compared to what we just went through but we are loosing water. The up side to all of this is this campground has an RV repair service right here on site!! BONUS!! I just walked down, (the rest of the world, except Florida, has been created on hills), to the office to see if we could get a repair man up to see us. Depending on what needs to be done we may or no be leaving here today. (Secretly I love it here). Thankfully my desire to see beyond Tennessee is strong!! 


This was part of the 5% down hill grade that went for miles. Now being in the fishbowl of CiCiBlue it was enjoyable, even the twists and turns. Can you believe I just said that? Haha. 


The entrance to Parkers Crossing Campground. 


This was taken from our coach looking over at Bob and Betty's. The way they have the rigs set up is great. No one is right at your door. We even have a wood slab outside as a porch. The campground offers frozen De Giorno pizza that you order, they cook and then deliver right to your site.  Yes, we got a pepperoni. We were in another time zone so totally missed the kids dinnertime and ours so it was delivery for us! (Made the kids food for them)

Right now we are having some breakfast and waiting for the repair man to appear. Hopefully he can do a fix and get us on the road by 10: A.M., but we will see. All part of the adventure..and..I'm loving it!!!


When we stay two nights I get to work on commissions. This is an 8" x 6" oil on museum quality panel.There is a companion piece to follow. Our next stop will be a two night stay! Woohoo. 

So there it is..the recent update. I'm so happy! Yes, there are days I feel like "staying put" but the "what's on the other side of the mountain" kicks in and I have to go. Repairs will happen but we are living the dream.! (Sometimes that is said with clenched teeth). Hahaha!

Have a great day and I'll see you next time we have internet!!

Warmly,
Sheila







Monday, October 2, 2017

Out On The Road

So from this...

To...


This!!! We are out on the road!

So the final verdict was a new exhaust system, a new turbo, new clamps for here and there, a new made there tail pipe extension and a new gasket for our manifold. Thankfully, the old one had not let the oil leak into the cylinders. As soon as the parts came into the shop they got right to the repair. They asked us to go to a motel so we went to Motel 6 near the Hartford, Ct. airport. They accept dogs but what we found out, only two dogs per room. Oops. So since our rv insurance covers a stay away from home we got two rooms. Hopefully they understand that one! So, Lola and I took one room and Roger and the boys took the other. We had reserved adjoining rooms but we did not get that. 


Lola Lounging!! Just her and me and I had to fight for space. 


Over in Roger's room. The two dog rule is silly since we spent all our time in one room then at night Lola and I went to "our room". They have "wood" flooring which is really nice. The dog hair on a rug would have been sad. We spent 2 nights as the service center worked on CiCiBlue, then on the second day, she was fixed.


The service manager Mike took us for a test drive on the highway and we heard how quiet the coach had become. What a new exhaust system will do! We still have a low oil pressure issue but as long as CiCi is hot she runs just fine!




On our first day at the motel I took Lola out on the back grass area. It was about 8:30 A.M. I had read one review that stated the motel was on the flight path for the airport across the street but at 8:30 A.M. I had forgotten. It came in behind us and was low and right on top of us as it approached the airport. I was scared half to death but the sound but at the same time totally thrilled!! I love watching planes!! For an hour after the hairs on my arm were still at attention! From then on I was either out on the balcony or watching from our window. It was great! 


While we were in Ct. our friend Lauren stopped by with her three Labs and her husband Jeff. We have known Lauren for 10 years but have never met. I have painted all her Labs quite a few times and she has sent the kids her famous home made doggie treats..and oh..we got her famous cookies!!!! Ozzie needed to Photobomb! Silly boy!


The other exciting event was I can now put our car onto the dolly in one try! Before we always joked that I would put out grandstands for people to watch the show. At least 5 to 10 tries before it got on with equal sides. Before we left the service center I asked the manager if he would put it on the dolly and I watched the way he did. Voila'!! Now I'm a pro!

So we made it today after 277 miles from Carlisle, Pa to Salem, Va . We are at Dixie Cavern. After a two night stay we will head on to Knoxville, Tn and meet up with friends before we start heading west! It's happening. Tonight I'm thrilled and exhausted so time to feed the kids and put my feet up and rest!!

Have a great night and see you tomorrow!! Roger wants to go through the Cavern. 😱 I'll let you know!! 

Warmly,
Sheila

In Progress!! 

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Verdict

Well last evening we got the news to have CiCiBlue all wrapped up and ready to go by 8:00 A.M. this morning for her physical. We woke up about 6:45 A.M. to get the kids out for their walk, make our coffee, feed them and get stuff to bring to the waiting room. We actually walked out the door here at 7:57 A.M. We are GOOD!


We entered the waiting room, which by the way had windows, comfy chairs, a coffee machine that made hot chocolate and was large, and Lola settled. CiCiBlue was taken in to be inspected right away, no waiting. Yes, I'm really liking this place already. We have a Cummins engine and a Dynomax chassis, (Country Coach design) and we are now at a Fire engine repair shop that services Freightliner and Cummins. 

Denise is the front desk person this morning and asked if we had other paperwork for work that was done recently on our coach. I walked back through the service bays with Alex our mechanic and crawled into CiCi to find the paperwork and returned to the front. During the day we chatted, me trying to figure how we could get a discount. I even tried the "weary woman with three large dogs?" Denise said, no, sorry, but she loved that I was trying! What I did find out was Freightliner parts are already discounted and I'd be doing ok. Soon after this Alex returned to let me know that while we had our rig over at Cummins having work done, they never changed our air filter. We figured, silly us, that "please change the filters" would have covered all of them. From now on it will be something we will specifically ask for. Alex said it hadn't been changed since 2010. He showed me the old one and yup, it was disgusting. I'm surprised CiCiBlue was running at all. The next thing was on our new alternator, the old belt had been replaced rather than a new one. A new belt was in order. The last thing was tightening a clamp then we could go. 


Then Sammy asked the next question that was on our mind. What about our exhaust system? Will we make it across the country with it being like it is now? 

The service manager simply said, NO. He said we would make it to South Carolina but that's it. Our exhaust has multiple holes and would in fact be dangerous to our engine and us if we decided to travel. After hearing the sound our coach made when it was just idling, we said we would discuss it. Our decision was to cancel our plans for South Carolina and stay and have our coach fixed. 

The parts will be shipped two day air, on us, and the job will be about 11 hours. Wednesday we will go to a hotel for the night then on Thursday come back and collect our girl.(after emptying our pockets of our pennies) Actually it's not as bad as I had originally thought, and don't you get excited when you find that out, even though it's expensive.? Yes, brushes will be flying once again.


Alex brought CiCi back out to her spot and I asked him if he would put blocks under the drivers side wheels so we could put out our slides for the weekend. We are now level! Slides out, kids happy to be home, as well as Roger and I. Even though our plans have changed this weekend we will have free and good Wi-fi, we get Netflix, bingeing tonight, and on Sunday we will be able to watch the Patriot's game. Life is good! 


We get to be surrounded by cool fire trucks. I so feel like a kid!!


"Splashin"

I finished! My first watercolor "water and dogs". Really pleased how it came out, so you know there will be more!! 

Lola is looking at her watch so it must be time for their dinner . Time to go.
Have a great night and see you tomorrow.

Warmly,
Sheila