Almost, Almost Done . . .

Well, I thought I would be done picking up gift certificates today, but it was not to be. I had two places to finished up, but one owner didn’t get back in town on time, (and in fact won’t be back until Tuesday) and the other one didn’t get the certificates printed out this afternoon. So I’ll see her tomorrow.

Leaving there, I stopped off at the local Moose Lodge to pay next year’s dues, before heading over to Wal-Mart to check out their laptop selection, but they didn’t have anything I liked.

Finally, on the way back to the fairgrounds, I stopped off at The Fountain, a really good breakfast and lunch place right on the town square. They gave us some gift certificates, and also wanted me to drop off some copies of the latest Gypsy Journal.

Getting back to the rig, our daughter Brandi called with the latest Landon story. Seems she was driving with Landon in the back seat and she sneezed. From the back she hears “Bless you, mommy”. She figures he learned it at daycare since he’s never said it before.

Later, Nick and Terry, Mike and Elaine, and Jan and I headed out to have dinner at Big Bamboo’s Dockside Grille on Grand Lake, and then to stop Nick’s sniveling, we stopped off at DQ for a frosty treat.

As seems to be usual for Nick’s rallies, we’re expecting rain for the next couple of days, just in time to start parking rigs.

Rain and mud. Oh boy!


Thought for the Day:

"The one who says it cannot be done, should not interrupt the one doing it" – Chinese Proverb

Here’s what we were doing about 3 years ago.


“Ferry cross the Mers… uh…North Atlantic…”

Originally posted on September 4, 2009

Today was our last day in Louisbourg for a while.

Tonight at 11:00 pm we catch the car ferry for the 15 hour, 325 mile trip to Argentia, Newfoundland.

However, unlike some RV’ers, we’re not taking our coach over. Jan said “No way I’m putting my home on a ferry. Those things can sink. I’ve seen it on the news.”

So we’re leaving the rig in Louisbourg and taking the truck on the ferry, and we’ll stay at B&B/motels for the 3-4 days we’re in Newfoundland.

We went out for breakfast about 10 am and ended up sitting next to another RVing couple from VA. Gene and Chris had just spent two months in Newfoundland and gave us a lot of good tips. Hopefully we’ll meet up again sometime. Nice people!

About 3 pm we left for North Sydney, Nova Scotia, where the ferry dock is.

We wanted to drive around the area, do some last minute shopping, get gas, and then eat supper before we boarded.

Although we didn’t sail until 11 pm, we had to be checked in and in line by 9:30, or we would lose our reservations. And, after taking care of all our chores, we ended up getting in line about 7:30, along with a lot of other people who were already there.



They board all the commercial stuff first and then the cars. We finally started moving onboard about 10 pm

Ferry Loading


Ferry Loading 2


After entering the ship on Deck 1, we drove up a ramp and parked on Deck 3.

Ferry Loading 3


By about 10:30 pm we were up on the passenger decks with our stuff. You have to bring everything with you that you’ll need for the trip from your vehicle because you’re not allowed to go back to it during the voyage.

We had reserved two seats in the sleeping area that reclined and had footrests. It turns out to have been a mistake because they were very uncomfortable. We would have been better off to have just stayed in the regular seating area. Those seats also reclined, but didn’t have footrests. But they were much more comfortable.

After grabbing a late night muffin snack in the cafeteria, we settled in for the night.

More road trip tomorrow…


Almost Done . . .

I pretty much wrapped up the door prize scavenger hunt today. I’ve just got a couple of callbacks tomorrow to pick up a last few certificates and then I’m done.

Jan came with me today and after I was finished up we headed over to Wal-Mart to pick up some groceries. Coming back home we saw this sign being put up at one of the restaurants that had donated gift certificates to the rally.

Pullman Bay Sign

At least I hope that’s us, and the Travelers aren’t in town.

Getting back to the rig, Jan napped while I worked on some items for Nick’s websites. Then I napped.

About 5pm Nick and Terry, and Jan and I, along with Mike and Elaine Loscher, drove over to St. Mary’s, about 10 miles away, to have dinner at Lost in the 50’s, a theme restaurant that we’ve eaten at several times before. They have a lot of Elvis memorabilia, along with a lot of old cars, and they always have something new.

But as it turned out, they have decided to start closing every day at 2pm, and they did this without telling us.

The nerve!

Deciding to come back to Celina and have dinner at our favorite China Wok Buffet, we took a quick detour by a Kroger’s so I could pick up some coffee beans we like.

After our usual great meal, we got back to the park a little before 8pm. Jan was waiting to hear from our daughter Brandi so we didn’t sit outside this evening.

Finishing up, and under the heading of Glad to Be in Ohio, tomorrow it’s gong to be 102 degrees at our former gate guarding location. Of course, that’s less than our record of 108, so I guess it qualifies as a cool spell.


And here’s what we were doing 3 years ago today.


Lighthouses and Wind Farms…

Originally posted on August 30, 2009

Today was the start of our 2 day Prince Edward Island road trip. We decided it would be easier to just leave our rig in Moncton and drive the truck over.

We left Moncton about 10 am for the 75 mile drive to Canada’s smallest province. Lengthwise, it’s about 160 miles from one end to the other.

But first we had to cross Confederation Bridge to get to the Island. The curved, 8 mile long bridge is the longest in the world crossing ice-covered water and is considered one of Canada’s top engineering achievements of the 20th century.

And it’s a very beautiful bridge, too.

Confederation Bridge

Confederation Bridge

And they’re really proud of it, too! It’s a toll bridge, but they don’t charge you to enter the island, they charge when you leave.

And it costs $42.50 to get off the island!

Once we were over that shock, we decide to head toward the west and north ends of the island.

The first town of any size we cam to was Summerside. Passing a nice looking Chinese buffet restaurant, we decided to have lunch at the Jade Garden.

This is the 2nd Canadian Chinese restaurant we eaten at, and it’s apparent that Canadian Chinese food is a little different from American Chinese.

They only seem to have Won Ton soup, no Hot and Sour, which is our favorite. And they have egg rolls, but they also have something like a small fried burrito that has egg roll ‘stuff’ in it. What the real difference is, I don’t know.

I mean, you’d think we were in a foreign country, or something.

After lunch, we continued on what was called the North Cape Coastal Drive, which winds around the coast and up to the northern tip of the island.

The first place we came to was the West Cape Wind Farm, one of several wind farms scattered around the island.

West Cape Wind Farm

West Cape Wind Farm

We were starting to get a little low on gas, and finding no gas stations along our route, we headed about 10 miles back toward the center of the island to fill up.

Rounding the West Cape area and now heading north, we traveled along the coast to more great scenery.

West Cape Cliffs

West Cape Cliffs

West Cape Cliffs1

West Cape Cliffs1

Now working our way north, we finally reached the North Cape at the tip of the island.

This lighthouse and wind farm look out over the Atlantic ocean and the red cliffs show the effects of the ocean waves.

North Cape Lighthouse

North Cape Lighthouse

North Cape Cliffs

North Cape Cliffs

North Cape Cliffs 2

North Cape Cliffs 2

North Cape Cliffs 3

North Cape Cliffs 3

By this time it was getting late so we headed back down the main road down the center of the island to the capitol of Charlottetown where we where going to spend the night.

We got a room at a Holiday Inn and then went out for supper to a place downtown called Sim’s Steakhouse & Oyster Bar.

We had a dozen raw oysters (Up here they called them ‘Fresh’, not raw), and a couple of appetizers. The food was really good. But the service was abysmal. We were there almost an hour and a half, just for appetizers.

Tomorrow, we’ll do some of the Anne of Green Gables area, and then the other side of the island.


Thought for the Day:

“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” –Burroughs

More of the Same . . .

Today was pretty much yesterday, redux, with a couple of extras.

First off, Jan and I headed out a little before noon to have lunch at La Carreta, our favorite local Mexican restaurant. They have a great Chicken Tortilla Soup that I always try to have a couple of times while we’re in Celina.

Then after lunch I dropped Jan off to have her nails done while I made the rounds of more restaurants. As it turned out I had pretty good luck, picking up 11 more gift certificates for rally door prizes.

Then after getting the truck washed, I picked up Jan at the nail salon. There are only 3 places in Celina that does pedicures, and apparently, this drives the prices up. Jan said she was very surprised to find out that her pedicure was $40, twice what she’s ever paid before. Ouch.

Getting back to the rig, Jan took a nap while over at Nick’s, he and I talked about where we wanted to go after the rally.

Finally about 5pm, Nick and Terry, Ron and Brenda Spiedel, and Jan and I, all headed out to have dinner at one of our gift certificate donors, Bella’s Italian Grille, an excellent Italian restaurant overlooking Grand Lake here in Celina.

After a delicious meal, and getting back to the fairgrounds, we all gathered around outside, joined by Mike and Elaine Loscher, and two newcomers, John and Kathy Huggins.

John and Kathy are hosts of the Living the RV Dream internet radio program and blog. They have a lot of interesting info on their website. Check it out.

Once again we stayed out until the bugs chased us in, rounding out another very nice day.


And for an extra treat, here’s what we were doing 3 years ago today.

Cajun Country…

Originally posted on August 29, 2009

Today Jan and I took a drive along the Acadian Coastal Highway.

I had forgotten that this is the area that the French were driven out of in the late 1700′s after the British took over the area after the Treaty of Utrecht. This is where the Cajuns (Acadians) now in Louisiana came from.

It was really strange to see an auto repair shop called Thibodeaux’s, and a restaurant called Boudreaux’s.

Almost like home.

Anyway, the drive took us along the Atlantic Coast. For the last park of the drive we could see Prince Edward Island out to sea. We saw a lot of quaint buildings and villages.

The weather was pretty overcast, and then later it started raining, so I didn’t fool with getting any pictures.

As we were heading home, we stopped by a place we had been told about called Hudson Oddities. As a child, the owner, Audrey Hudson, was always bringing home stuff she had found on the beach.

So much so, that her mother once told her, “For the love of god, child, could you please stop bringing garbage home from the beach”. Not really taking this to heart, she decide to make a business out of junk from the beach.

One of the beach things she collected was bits of broken glass, that over the years had been smoothed and polished by the wind, waves, and sand, rounding off the sharp edges until they looked like this.




and turns them into jewelry that looks like this.


Just beautiful.

After this stop, we headed home, arriving just as the rain started coming down harder.

Tomorrow we plan to make a 2 day trip over to Prince Edward Island, driving the truck over, and staying one night in a bed and breakfast.

Hopefully the rain will let up. We’ll see.


Thought for the Day:

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away,” -  Philip K. Dick


Doing it all over again . . .

Today was pretty much a repeat of yesterday. And since yesterday was really nice, dittos for today.

One thing that made today better was that Jan baked cookies, her Almond Crescents, to be exact. And they’re also Nick’s favorite.

Jan had planned to bake them while we were on the road coming here Sunday, but that got cancelled when she woke up with a migraine. So today was her day to make it up to Nick.

About 2pm Jan and I headed out for the afternoon. After dropping Jan off to get her hair done, I started making the rounds again, collecting gift certificates for the rally. Got a number of certificates, with some callbacks for tomorrow.

Picking up Jan from the hair place, she checked out several nail places, trying to get a pedicure, but finally ended up making an appointment for tomorrow.

Finally getting back to the rig, we goofed off a while before finally heading out to dinner with Nick and Terry. We ended up at CJ’s HighMark, a really good restaurant located by a golf course. Along with our meal we spend a good bit of time talking about where we’re going after the rally is over.

And once again after dinner, we all set outside and talked, mostly about books we’ve read and authors we liked. It would have probably gone on longer, but the bugs came out and we went in.

Another nice day.

Under the heading of “I’m glad I bought gas yesterday, and Nick wishes he had”, when I filled up the toad yesterday, unleaded was $3.65. Today when Nick filled up, it was $3.95. A 30 cent jump in one day, and this was every station in town.

Talk about “OUCH”!


Thought for the Day:

"All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy." – Scott Alexander


Hi Ho, Hi Ho . . .

it’s off to work I go.

First off, Lowell sent this photo of Landon playing at the beach. He certainly seems to be having a good time.

Landon at the Beach 5

It was really nice to be able to sleep in this morning for the first time in a long while. I actually didn’t get up until 10am. Of course, I didn’t go to bed until almost 2am.

Jan woke up on the 2nd day of a migraine, not as bad as yesterday, but she describes it as a ‘washed out’ feeling. So while she was resting up I headed out about 2pm to start soliciting gifts for door prizes for the upcoming rally.

I always start by hitting places that donated last year. I have a list of who gave what last year, so I know what to ask for at each business.

In the space of a few hours I collected 6 gift certificates with a promise of 6 more in the next several days. Only 1 place that has donated before turned me down, because they said business was so bad.

Getting back to the rig,  I worked on some computer stuff before we all headed out to Bob Evans for dinner. And as usual we probably spent more time talking than eating, and we spent plenty of time of eating.

After a great meal we all came back to the park, put our chairs out under the trees, and talked until it got dark and the bugs came out.

A very nice day, indeed.


Thought for the Day:

"A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled." — Sir Barnett Cocks


Three States and Two Time Zones . . .

We pulled out of Timber Trails Campground this morning heading for Celina, OH. But we took a detour about 8 miles down the road to stop off at Denny’s to have a last breakfast with Jan’s sister Debbie and her husband Jim.

After a good breakfast and goodbye hugs, we pulled out on I-70E for the 325 mile run to Celina. Except for a long of rough road around Indianapolis, the trip was pretty smooth. One thing is that for the last two mornings, the rig engine has been much quicker to start than the previous mornings, and neither morning did it quit running. But it still isn’t starting quite as quickly.

But on a positive note, the generator worked fine for the 2nd day in a row. So that’s was good.

We got into Celina a little before 4 pm and after getting hugs all around, we got parked and set up. Then it was time to decide the most important item of the day – where we’re going to eat supper.

But it actually turned out to be a pretty easy decision. Since Nick et. al. had checked out China Wok Buffet last night and judged it acceptable for our dining pleasure, we all headed out about 5pm to see if Nick’s evaluation was correct. And by ‘all’, I mean Nick and Terry, Ron and Brenda Spiedel, Mike and Elaine Loscher, and Jan and I. In other words, the usual suspects.

And, also as usual, they put us in a room all by ourselves. I wonder why.

Tomorrow I’ll start making the rounds collecting door prizes for the upcoming rally, most of which will be coupons and discounts from local restaurants.

Oh yeah. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Central, and Eastern.


Thought for the Day:

I child-proofed my house, but somehow they keep getting back in.


Family . . .

We pulled out of Hinton RV Park in Sikeston, MO about 9:30 this morning making a quick detour to get diesel before heading out for the 185 mile run to Vandalia, IL where we’ll spend the night at Timber Trails Campground, a very nice Passport America Park. We always stay here when we visit Jan’s sister and her family.

It was really nice to have the generator working again so we could run the AC’s on the trip. Replacing the fuel filter seems to have done the trick. Made it all worthwhile crawling around under the rig. In hindsight, next time I’ll take the access door off its hinges to make it much easier to get to the filter.

We got into the RV park a little after 1:30, and after getting set up, headed over to Jan’s sister Debbie and her family.

Her kids, Tanna, Christina, and Jason, were there, as well as Jason’s wife Laura and their two kids, Avery and Ella Jane. Tanna’s daughter Gwen had already left with her father so we’ll see her in November when we come back thru here.

As is turns out Laura has the exact same coughing crud that I do. Apparently it’s not contagious because no one else in the family has it. It was nice to have someone to commiserate with about how bad we feel. And Laura’s pregnant with their 3rd child so I can imagine how much worse it makes her feel.

And as far as feeling bad, I’m going to wrap this up since we have to be up early tomorrow. We’re meeting Debbie and her family at the Denny’s on the way out of town as we head to Celina. We got a 322 mile trip so we want to get an early start. But at least we’ll be cool.


Thought for the Day:

"The safest road to Hell is the gradual one." Screwtape (C.S. Lewis)



We pulled out of Tom Sawyer RV Park a little after 9am this morning for a short 134 mile trip north on I-55 to Sikeston, MO.

And once again we had a repeat performance of the hard-starting and stalling that has occurred the previous two mornings. And once again, when we got moving we had no more problems.

And after a smooth, uneventful trip, we pulled into the Hinton RV Park in Sikeston, MO about noon. Normally we would have stayed at the Passport America park up the road, but the reviews in RV Park Reviews said Hinton RV Park was really good, and the Passport America park was really, really bad. So here we are.

One thing I noticed coming into Sikeston was. being at the conjunction of two Interstates, (I-55 and I-57) there were a lot of truck dealerships in town, so once we got parked, I made some phone calls and found there was a local Cummins dealer and they had a generator fuel filter in stock.

So as soon as we got settled in, I headed down the road to the Cummins dealer to pick up the filter, and while I was there I also got a new engine fuel filter as well.

Getting back to the rig we decided to eat before I tackled the generator fuel filter changeout. And of course, where else to eat in Sikeston, MO, but Lambert’s Throwed Rolls.

After having our usual great meal of Fried Chicken, veggies, hot ‘throwed rolls’, and of course, the great ‘pass-arounds’, we came back to the rig. I then decided to take a nap and let the temps cool off before I tackled the generator.

Finally, about 6pm I headed outside to crawl under the rig and have at it. And as usual in these things, it took longer to get to the filter than it did to actually change it out. To make matters worse, you can’t get to the filter access door with the generator extended, but when you have the generator retracted, it’s hard to get under the rig to get the filter out.

And to make things worse, the filter is not a standard spin-on type, but a rectangular metal box with flare fittings making the fuel connections.

Generator Fuel Filter 2

And of course, they couldn’t allow enough slack to make it easier to disconnect the lines.

But finally, after about an hour, I had the filter installed and everything buttoned back up. Now for the ‘smoke test’.

Well, actually, I hope it doesn’t smoke. First I primed the generator for about a minute, per the manual, and then hit the start button. After cranking it over twice for about 5 seconds, the third time was the charm, and the generator fired up and ran smoothly. I let it run for about 20 minutes, and had no problems.

At this point I shut it down and considered it a job well done. And we’ll have AC on the road tomorrow. Jan says “YEA!”

I still think this problem, and my engine problem was caused by the Diesel Kleen cleaning out the build-up in my fuel lines. Although it could have possibly been a tank of bad fuel that we took on in Whitsett when I also added the Diesel Kleen, it seems to me that if it were bad diesel it would have continue to clog the engine filter until the rig engine no longer ran either.

So now I’ll change out the engine filter while we’re at Celina, and for a while I’ll use less Diesel Kleen when I fill up.

Tomorrow we’ll travel about 185 miles to Vernon, IL to visit Jan’s sister and her family before heading on to Celina to meet up with Nick and Terry on Sunday.


Thought for the Day:

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. — Mark Twain


Rollin’ on the River . . .

We pulled out of the Ramblin’ Fever RV Park a little after 8am this morning, after having the same problem starting the rig that we had yesterday.

Once again the engine took longer to start up than normal, and then died a couple of minutes later. And like yesterday, it started back up and ran fine the rest of the day. When it does quit I get no warning lights or check engine lights.

At this point I’m beginning to think that the culprit might be the Diesel Kleen that I added to the tank when I filled up last Monday. It’s supposed to clean out your fuel system, and my thought right now is that it has dumped some loosened-up junk in my fuel filters.

I’ll try to confirm this by replacing the generator fuel filter after we get to Celina. If that fixes the generator problem, then I’ll change out the filter on the rig. Otherwise, it’s back to square one.

We got into the Tom Sawyer RV Park on the Mississippi River in West Memphis, AR, just across the river from Memphis, TN. We’ve stayed here twice before, and always enjoy parking right on the Mississippi River.

Tom Sawyer 6

There’s a constant stream of barges and ships coming by morning, noon, and night.

Tom Sawyer Barge

I’d heard on the news recently about how parts of the Mississippi were shut down to commercial traffic due to low water levels, and our view here certainly shows it. We’ve never been able to see that part of the river bottom on the far bank before.

Tom Sawyer Low River

After settling in, we headed out about 4:30 to have dinner at the one BBQ place everyone we talked to named as the best place in Memphis – Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous.

Located in an alley, yes, an alley, in downtown Memphis, it’s been there since 1948, and turns out what Jan and I both agree are the best ribs we’ve ever eaten.

Charles Vergos Rendezvous

I’m not normally a fan of the dry rub ribs. They always seem too dry to me, but these were fantastic! They apparently put the ribs under the broiler before they serve them so there is a crispy crust on them that makes them crunchy and delicious.

They’re almost good enough to stay over another day to eat there again. But then Nick would get all whiney if we didn’t show up in Celina on Sunday.


Thought for the Day:

Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned. – Milton Friedman


Lake Whitney Thousand Trails . . .

After a nice night at the Lake Whitney Thousand Trails I was up a little early to take a look at my Onan generator problem. But, after extending the generator from the front of the rig, I confirmed what I remembered from the last time I worked on it. Everything is contained inside the housing, and there’s nothing for me to check out without climbing underneath and start taking off panels.

One thing I was trying to confirm was whether or not the generator has a separate fuel filter. Turns out it does, but unlike the oil and air filters, it’s not listed on the front of the case.

I did try the manual start out on the generator, again with no luck, so I retracted the gen slide and went inside to start up the rig diesel.

The first thing I noticed was that the engine didn’t start up immediately. Normally, the engine turns over for just a second and then starts right up. However this morning, it turned over for 4 or 5 seconds without catching. Turning the key off and then trying it again, it started right up.

OK. After checking the gauges, I put the engine in High Idle, started the levelers coming up, and went outside to unhook the shore power. And just as I was storing away the cable the engine just up and quit.


Going back inside, I once again tried to start the engine, and once again it cranked right up. So not wanted to tempt fate any longer, we hit the road.

And then then engine ran fine the rest of the day.

We got into the Ramblin Fever RV Park in Mount Pleasant, TX about 1:30pm and got set up.

After a nice nap, we headed out about 4:15pm to have dinner at Two Senoritas, a Mexican restaurant we passed on our way to the RV Park.

My Chicken Tortilla Soup was really good, and Jan said her Chile Relleno was delicious.

Tomorrow we’ve got a long travel day, 332 miles, that will end up at the Tom Sawyer RV Park on the Mississippi River in West Memphis, AR.


Thought for the Day:

If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little. – George Carlin