Tag Archives: Lifestyle

The “Sprinter” and The “Lance”

RV living, both in Key West and on the road exploring this great country! This morning, I’m sitting in my  sun-room, looking out on a beautiful fall day. The leaves are starting to turn red, some orange and others still green. The weather here in New Hampshire has been exceptionally warm, sunny and nearly better than perfect!

Foilage at Home.JPG

Our Back Yard

What I know is that all of this is going to come to an end very soon. The first week of October will traditionally bring peak foliage. After the foliage comes grey skies, rain, frost, snow flurries and a quick end to outdoor summer activities for some. Morning walks will be a burden, that is, just thinking of staying warm, dressed with a ton of clothes.

Now comes the time that I start getting desparate for a warmer climate. My iPhone is streaming US 1, Radio Key West 104.1 and playing some Blues Classics. Oh, it is so appropriate to be thinking “The Keys are for me”! All of this would be so easy to swallow and head for paradise in a, quote, “Normal Year”. This didn’t turn into a normal year as far as weather. With hurricane Irma damage, minor in some places and severe in others. I and many snow birds are in a holding pattern. The main objective is not getting us snow birds into military campgrounds, but taking care of the active duty personnel and their families. Many others who live off base lost just about everything. These are the priorities and justly so!

 Options!

We are not leaving, in the near future. My game plan is this.

  1. Wait for some kind of word from MWR (Moral, Welfare, Recreation) in Key West as to when the campgrounds might open to us retirees.
  2. If over two months wait, then maybe a trip to the South West, possibly Arizona, New Mexico and even southern California. If this is the case, I would take the truck camper and not the 5th wheel. Why might you ask? Because I’m not sure if I could stay put in any one spot for a long period of time. The truck camper is very mobile and moving into remote spots, is a breeze.  I plan to do this, which would suit my needs. I know of some cool places to hangout and explore!
  3. There is also the issue of me getting the camp hosts position in Key West. The day they were going to announce the position is the day they evacuated the base. If I was awarded that position, that would change my travel plans. I want to be  camp-host and will do what MWR wants me to do and when ever they want me to arrive in the Keys.

It’s a Waiting Game!

You can imagine literally hundreds of retirees, military families all waiting in limbo waiting to see what will happen to their plans for wintering in Key West. There was about 55 military families that were living at the campground on a permanent basis. These are our stories, maybe small in comparison to people who lost everything, houses, sailboats that are their homes year round. So many tragedies! It is said the Conch citizens are Key West Strong! I believe they really are. The Island is quickly returning to “open for business”! A few complain about this and that, but getting Key West tourism back up is critical to the Keys economy.

Calendar Update

A good week has passed since I started this blog. I’ve been watching updates from Key West and the latest MWR update said they would have a tentative schedule for the campgrounds opening on Oct 6, 2017. (That is not the opening date) The more info one has the more correct decisions one can be made.

TC and 5th Wheel Modifications

In the meantime, I’ve been working on both the truck camper and the 5th wheel. On the TC, I added two 48 watt backup lights to the rear. I did run into a problem of blowing the pickup truck fuse every time I put into reverse. (Too much of a load) I solved that by installing a relay and taking the load to the TC batteries. The truck sends a small signal or trigger to the relay and fused power is taken from the TC batteries. Cool! On the 5th wheel, I finished fabricating a movable laptop table for the new recliners. The table is mounted to the recliner base. It swivels with the chair, but does not rock with the chair. It works perfectly! When not in use it swings out-of-the-way. I also added a small side table for pencils, coffee cup, iPhone or whatever.

That is what I did while waiting!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Home on the Range

Second day in Salt Lake City area and its was a full day of sightseeing. First, we started with a ride over to Antelope Island State Park and then downtown Salt Lake City to the Mormon Tabernacle and the LDS Convention Center.

History

Let me start with the State Park:

Artifacts reveal prehistoric people inhabited the island 6,000 years ago. John Fremont and Kit Carson made the first known Anglo exploration in 1845 and named it after observing several pronghorn antelope grazing on the rangelands.

Great Salt Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River. The lake is a remnant of pre-historic Lake Bonneville, which covered more than 20,000 square miles during the last ice Age. On average Great Salt Lake is 75 miles long by 28 miles wide. the average deepest depth is about 33 feet.

The island has several freshwater springs found primarily on the east side supporting island wildlife. Bison are the island’s most famous residents. Twelve animals were introduced to the island by Kit Carson in 1893. Today the herd is around 700 animals. Many bird species also inhabit the island. The above info came from Utah State Parks.

Causeway to Antelope Island.jpg

Causeway to Antelope Island

Our exploration of the island started fairly early to beat the heat and also to view the Bison while they were active. The causeway is several miles long and gave us insight into this island geology. The park attendant directed us toward Fielding Garr Ranch for the best view of the Bison. With one or two cars on this road it wasn’t long before we spotted our first Bison walking about 200 feet offshore. The salt crust is strong enough for his weight. I took pictures and drove on until another small group were grazing down by the water. Just before arriving at the ranch, large herds were observed. I got many photos!

Bison Herd ~ Antelope Island.JPG

Not a bad scene…just Bison in the wild!

Antelope Island Geology.JPG

Geology

 

Garr Ranch

Rock Salt ~ Antelope Island State Park

Rock Salt ~ Antelope Island

At the Fielding Garr Ranch, we were the first to arrive and the volunteer guide was very informative. He had lived in this area all his life and boy did I ask him questions. I was especially interested in Promontory, a place that the East and the West railroads meet. It was 61 miles from Hill AFB. That meant that would be 122 miles round trip. I asked him if I continued on the way out of town and circled around Salk Lake and picked up I-80W in Nevada. He told me I could do that, but earlier this spring some of the county road had been washed out. There went that idea. The best two tips he gave me was to take the “Legacy Highway” eliminating the I-15S traffic. The second and absolute best tip was how to visit the Bonneville Speed Way going South and than West on I-80W. I’ve been waiting 52 years to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats! In 1965 Craig Breedlove held the honor of being the first man to go faster than 400, 500, and 600 miles per hour. His record of 600.601 miles per hour, set on November 15, 1965. I was a teenager at the time and that was of great interest to me then.

Driving back towards the Visitor Center, a different type of terrain was encountered. Down closer to the shore, the rock formations were very different from what I’ve seen before. It was explained, later at the Visitor Center. Frankly, it was a little complicated in terminology, but interesting to view the samples. Helen and I both enjoyed our visit to Antelope Island!

Salt Lake Tabernacle

Next came a forty mile ride into Salt Lake City to visit the Mormon Tabernacle Convention Center (LDS) and the Mormon Square across the street. Non members are not allowed into the church. We were allowed into the LDS Convention Center. Wow, what a massively large convention hall! It is the largest in the world and holds 21,000 people! A tour guide took us around the four-story building ending on the roof, with a waterfall cascading down over the four stories. On the interior, massive atriums with paintings of their religious beliefs are displayed. Naturally, they gave us their religious views.

FullSizeRender 17.jpg

Picture Perfect

Across the street, we visited the largest pipe organ in the world. Everything including the grounds outside were perfect! Everyone has their own beliefs and that is what makes this country great.

That is what we saw and did!

Aug 2, 2017 116 miles traveled (locally)

Trouble uploading this morning!

Utah ~ Most Scenic!

The Road Trip

Road trips are great, even though long days on the road can be strenuous. This journey is to do the Pacific Coast highway from Crescent City California to Olympic National Park in Washington State. Part of the real adventure is getting there. This country is so diverse and beautiful, it is nearly unbelievable. Take for instance, yesterday, at the first visitor information center in Utah, we stopped and as we were walking up to the building, we both noticed the lavender in bloom. This wasn’t so abnormal, but what really caught our eyes was the bees pollinating the lavender. They were huge, about an inch and a half long. It is these little wonders that make the road trip a learning adventure.  

Giant Bees!.jpg

Inch and a half long Bee

Leaving Fruita, Colorado, a town that we visited back in 2013, left a second fine impression on this community. The Visitor Center has a large parking area even with an RV dump station and fresh water fill. (5 stars)

On The Road

Landscape dramatically changes leaving Colorado into Utah. Colors are golden wheat, brown, reds, creosol green clumps of darker greens high up on the Mesa. From flat land to high Mesas this land is different and very scenic. Some spots on the road have signs that say, “No services for 110 miles”. Speed limit is 80mph!

Speed Limit 80.jpg

Flying on I-70!………

I cruised around 65mph, a little higher than my usual 58mph. Following I-70W for part of the way, than US-6 to Provo, UT for the rest of the journey to Ogden, our stop here for a couple of days at Hill AFB, Famcamp. Let me say that once we reached Provo on I-15N, the traffic was heavy, four lanes, 70mph, for about 50 miles. All the way through Salt Lake City, it was heavy concentration!

Let me talk a little about temperature. The late afternoon has climbed to 115 degrees, but it is very true that it is very dry! Ok, this is how we deal with it. When we stop, all windows are open and four fans come on to evacuate the heat inside the camper. It literally takes three to five minutes to do that.

A restaurant takes care of dinner time and than back at the Famcamp, the community room has A/C with TV and high speed WiFi. By now it is after sunset and the temps are dropping fast. It is very comfortable to sleep with the windows open. Early morning finds us actually under the covers. That’s life in the sunbelt! Remember some people come from Phoenix, Arizona to Salt Lake area to escape the heat! That’s life in the sunbelt!

Welcome to Utah.JPG

Welcome to Utah

Alot of History in that hill.JPG

Amazing Geology in them there hills!

Amazing Rock Cut.JPG

It took alot of Din-o-mite to put this road in!

That is what we saw and did!

Aug 1st, 2017 …..330 miles traveled today

 

Nebraska Pioneers ~ The Lincoln Highway

The Platte Rivers

We are on the confluence of the North and South Platte Rivers tonight. Here they join and form the Platte River. Covered wagon pioneers of the 19 century liked to joke about Nebraska’s Platte River. This excerpt taken from National Trails System, National Park Service. Quote: “Too thick to drink, too thin to plow, too pale to paint. A mile wide and an inch deep. A stream flowing upside down”.

It goes on: “The river’s setting, too, seemed strange. Surrounding praise, frequently cleansed by wildfire, was burned bare of trees right up to the water’s edge, and a line of low sand hills, looking like a storm-sacked beach, rimmed much of the river valley.

Yet the yellow Platte, that treeless ‘Coast of Nebraska,’ was an emigrant’s lifeline—a water source that snaked 800 dusty miles between the Missouri River and the uplands of central Wyoming.

Missouri River Crossing.JPG

This painting depicts how it must of been

As I drove on I-80 West for some 307 miles today from the Missouri River to North Platte River, I can’t tell you how much history we drove by from Pony Express, to the Walker family, first settlers using this path to Oregon, to the Mormons who were also headed to Oregon, but were shunned and instead headed to Utah.

Indians on the Plains.jpg

That must of hurt! “The Walker Family”?

Even though we are to be slowing down and smelling the roses, there isn’t enough time to really study the history of this region. What I will do is when I return home and have the time is do the research. Buffalo Bill Cody was from this region. Heck, John Wayne was born in Desoto, Nebraska right down the road from here.

Nebraska is flat as flat can be. The I-80 heads west and doesn’t seem to wander from the West compass reading one degree. The speed limit is 75mph, heck again, we came across a construction zone with usual signs, “Fines Double in Construction Zone,” but the speed limit at the sign said, 75mph!

Fines Double.JPG

Fines double? What does that mean…going 100mph?

I-80 Lakeside Campground

Tonight we are at I-80 Lakeside Campground on the Platte River. We were entertained by a couple next door who were on their way to a dog show in Casper, WY. They have 15 National Champion Huskies in their toy hauler RV. Two dogs at a time came by for their evening walks. Each came over for a friendly pat around their ears. Paula, we were thinking of you as we learned a little of theses beautiful Huskies.

National Champion Huskie.JPG

National Champion

Helen's new Friend.JPG

Helen’s new Friend!

One of 15 Huskies.JPG

Amazing how they can talk to you…This morning they were houling for their walk

That is what we saw and did!

July 26, 2017 ~ 307 miles today

Iowa and I Thought Wisconsin had Corn!

Corn, Corn and more Corn

Wow, rolling hills with endless corn fields. When the big planting machines plant corn everything is measured from inches between seeds to space between rows. Now driving down the highway these rows appear like someone took a comb and perfectly separated them. We both tried to take pictures of this when moving down the highway at 60 mph, but we just can’t seem to duplicate what our eyes see.

This morning I got up and being in Iowa I was determine to have corn flakes and a muffin for breakfast. Yup, it hit the spot! We packed up the camper and drove to the new shower room in the lower campground. To our surprise the water had come up another two feet. Last night we walked down there and this morning that walkway was flooded. I took a few shots with the iPhone after showering.

If I Drank ~ Amana Villages.JPG

If I was a drinking man Amana Villages

Disappointed

Our goal today was to go to the Amana Villages to see old German settlements. Well, the villages are very neat and pretty with flowers, but nothing more than modern gift shops. The girl at the coffee shop said that their wasn’t one original settler family left in the area. We walk a little and headed West on I-80 toward the Nebraska border. Oh, on the way down to the Amana Villages, in Cedar Rapids to be exact, we both smelled a pleasant aroma. A short distance up the road we spotted General Mills Plant, yes, they were roasting “Corn Flakes”!

Geese & Flood.JPG

The Geese are on my site!

Iowa County Campgrounds Rocks

Iowa is a long state and as the day progressed the temperature climbed and so did the humidity. Thank God for the A/C in the truck. The UV index, we were toll on the radio reached 107. Come 4 o’clock it was time to find a campground for the night. I use Allstays app on my phone. Its the best app I have and very accurate. We are at Arrow Head County Park (exit 23) on I-80 near Council Bluffs, IW. Full hookups, free powerful WiFi and showers. Iowa does it best! Even their rest area have excellent WiFi. My kind of State!

That is what we saw and did

July 25, 2017 ~~ 268 miles covered

First Ride Day Ended Pembroke, Ontario, Canada

Leaving our hometown of Berlin, NH around 6:30 am was a perfect time to watch the sun shine on the neighboring Vermont hills. Our travels took us into Northern Vermont with an entry into Canada at Derby Line. By 10:30, the Montreal skyline was in our view. Also, the traffic was nearly at a stop when we reached the “Pont de Champlain” bridge. They are building a new bridge next to the existing and the chaos is nearly understandable considering the immense scope of this project. I was busy driving and I had Helen take a few photos of the bridge and Montreal.

Next direction was towards Ottawa. After these two metropolitan cities, it was pretty easy to drive on the Trans-Canadian highway, AUT 417. Around 4:30, I was getting tired and gased up the truck. I asked if there were any campgrounds around. This lady waiting in line, grabbed my arm and started to tell me of several nearby places to stay. The one that really, really grabbed my attention was CFB Petawawa. (Correct spelling). This stands for Canadian Force Base which just happened to have a, I’m told, wonderful RV campground which is open to the public. Well, the day is long and my stamina gone, we both decided to camp out at a Irving Truck Stop. After a good delicious dinner at their restaurant, we headed for McDonalds for good WiFi and the blog.

The Maze.jpg

The Construction Maze

IMG_5408.jpg

Big Project!

The Pont Champlain Bridge.jpg

The “Pont Champlain

That is what we saw and did!

Summer Get-A-Way

The Plan

We are just about a week (a day) away from departing on a tour across the great USA. The plan is to travel across the middle of America to the West Coast, follow the Pacific Coast highway from northern California to Washington State. Ever since our 2012 Alaska tour in the truck camper, this Pacific Coast road-trip was in the making. The original idea was to head south from the Alaska tour and explore the western coast, but at the time of the year the temperatures in that part of the country were very high and we took the Canadian route home. This year, we are going to do it, but we might be facing the same very hot climate! The truck camper, itself, doesn’t have A/C which might make it uncomfortable at night. I have added a few power point sockets to run D/C cooling fans. Nothing ventured nothing gained!

Getting Ready

Arriving at the end of April I’ve been more than busy getting both 5th wheel and truck camper ready for the upcoming season. I have mentioned some of the improvements on the 5th wheel in previous blogs. As for the truck camper, some improvements that I have just recently completed include: doubling the solar capacity, adding another battery, installing several USB charging stations, adding a long-range WiFi antenna with repeater. I’ve also replaced the original stop, tail and turn lights with high output LEDs. Added two 48 watt LED backup lights and added a seven pin plug connector inside the truck bed towards the driver’s side front of the bed. This will eliminate the possibility of pinching the cable (which I’ve done) going to rear toward the back number. (On the 5th wheel, this will eliminate the cable going over the tailgate.) 

 

Ready for TC Adventure.jpg

Ready for Adventure! Come along for the ride!

The Route

One could leave NH and head over to Vermont, New York and follow the southern side of the  Great Lakes, but I’ve been there before and the nightmare of traffic, tolls is not worth this the aggravation! Instead it is nearly a straight shot leaving NH and through Canada to Sault Ste Marie, Ontario and enter the US in Michigan. Stay tuned!

That what we saw and did!

Leave a like or a comment  ~ thanks!