Thursday, July 12, 2018

4th of July etc

After our short trip south to see friends near Charlotte NC, and to get some yearly maintenance done on the Roadrunner, we found a campground in the

spent the 4th of July camped in Newports News city RV Campground.  It was the closest campground to Virginia Beach under $40.  $36.04 in fact.  So, that was a plus.  We drove over to Kelly and Jon's place in plenty of time for the Thoroughgood neighborhood parade.

Kelly did a put some planning and decoration into the chariot the boys were going to be riding in.
The boys were ready to go and we were all decked out.
Brooks tried out his hat before he changed into his parade clothes.  The hat didn't last long so papa, the wagon-puller wore it.
The boys got loaded into the wagon at the drop off area.
Brooks stayed in the wagon for a few hundred yards, then was excited to see a pal of his riding his tricycle.  From that point on around the parade route Brooks ran ahead of his buddy on the trike.  Those little guys sure have a lot of energy.  Harrison had a more reasonable approach and enjoyed the proceedings from his seat in the wagon.

It was fun chatting with the parents of Brook's friend and taking the long walk around the big block.  It seemed as if families were gathered at every couple or three houses and they waved and talked as we walked by.  On group were sitting across the front lawn in their fold-up chairs and having a good time and had a giant jar of water set up.  They invited paraders to stop by and get a drink of water which was a nice thing to do.

About 100 folks stayed at the Thoroughgood House for the hot dogs and noon day meal/picnic.  We returned to Jon and Kelly's house.

The boys had a bug earlier in the weak but got over it fairly quickly.  Jon got up early that morning, put pork butts on the Big Green Egg and promptly went back to bed where he stayed all day long.  The time or two he emerged from the bedroom he didn't look too good.  Kelly started feeling poorly shortly after the boys went down for naps and then the bug hit her.  Pam and I were on our own when the boys woke up.  Gladly, it was no big deal, we just played with them and fixed dinner, read some books and put them to bed.

Kelly and Jon felt better on the 5th though not 100%.  They got better as the day progressed and Brad and Sue arrived a little after 4:00 PM.  Kelly lived with my brother Brad and wife Sue for a few months when she was looking for work as an Interior Designer about 10 years ago.   They were here in Virginia Beach five years ago for Jon and Kelly's wedding, and it was great to spend the evening with them.

We started with a tour of Goldmanor (Kelly's name for their house and property) and tried to convey the transformation that has happened since they got the property in October.  Brad is an architect (retired) so it was fun to talk about the house and the renovations.

We went inside and continued the conversations while dinner was being made.
We had broccoli salad, pulled pork (from Jon's two pork butts on the BGE the day before), cole slaw and finished it up with Key Lime pie.  After dinner Pam and I cleaned up the dishes while everyone went out front and enjoyed some more time together.  It was a long day for everyone so we left shortly after and drove back to our campground in Newport News.

Since Brad and Sue are also early risers, we decided to meet for breakfast in East Beach, just off North Shore drive at Sand Piper Cafe.  We had eaten there a few times before.  In fact the morning after the rehearsal dinner for Jon and Kelly, a large group of us had breakfast here.

Those selfies in the direct sunlight are tough
It was good to hear a little more of their vacation and road trip, specifically their time at the Biltmore and the Outer Banks.  Sue is due to retire any time, but she hasn't given an indication of when that might be.  She is a high school counselor and it gets real busy for her at different times of the year, especially near graduation.  She is the best at what she does, so her co-workers are dreading the day.  

They headed on down the road to the Duke/UNC area to visit those campuses.  She wanted to see Coach K, but reported back that he was not available...

Pam and I went back to the Roadrunner and things started to deteriorate.  We both started feeling puny with the bug that Kelly and Jon were plagued with.  Pam got the worst of it and was up often during the night.  On Saturday we pretty much just rested/slept and got over it.  Pam's lingered a bit but I was much better on Sunday.

I was able to keep a lunch appointment with Kris and Bill Osborne.  The are former full-time RVers that ended up in Williamsburg, VA.  They were on the road for four years and I they follow the Roadrunner Chronicles.
On Sunday,  I (Pam didn't want to take a chance and pass along the bug), sat down with them and got to know each other face-to-face.  That is one of those unique and fun things we get to do as bloggers and RVers - meet people who we've been friends with for some time.  If that makes sense.

It was a great time to get to know them better and hear about this chapter in their life in Williamsburg.  I think they love it here!  Bill is working in aviation again which is his passion.

The next morning, we got up bright and early, hoisted the jacks and were on the road a little before 6:00 AM heading toward Richmond for our 7:30 AM appointment with Cummins.  We arrived 15 minutes early and were met by the Service Manager and lead mechanic promptly at the appointed time.

We discussed the general maintenance they were going to be doing on the generator and explained the fuel issue on the generator.  We then left, got some breakfast and coffee and returned to the customer lounge.

The fuel issue was a fuel line filter (an extra added item by Tiffin).  The normal schedule of maintenance items was completed and everything was running great.  We left before noon and got back to our campground by 1:30 PM.
That gave us enough time to head over to Virginia Beach, have dinner with Jon and Kelly and the grandkids.  Jon and I went to a men's cohort meeting and Pam and I spent the night at their place.  Tuesday morning we returned to our campground and took it easy for the rest of the day.

Thats about all for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for joining us!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Repaired and on to the Best Austrian Food in Years!

We finished up our appointment at the Freightliner Custom Chassis Repair Facility in Gaffney, SC on Monday at about 5:00 PM.  We had the standard M3 maintenance list plus we added a couple more items like dash air conditioner not blowing cold air.  We also had them check why our coach usually has a hard time starting after sitting for a few days.  We recently had a weird ABS light on the dash come on when we pulled the coach forward after fueling at the last truck stop, so we asked them to look at that too.  We had a Onan 7500 generator problem but they don't trouble shoot issues, they just do the maintenance on it.

I was hoping for a bill under $1000, but that was pretty unrealistic. Labor is $100/hour and they put two guys on it for six hours.  Pam was thinking it was going to be $2000 or more.  The bill ending up being almost $1842 which I thought was pretty reasonable.

You might ask, "What else did they do?"  Just for that possibility, I included pictures of the work orders and invoice which itemizes things:
Work order
 Invoice and notes
M3 Maintenance list
Battery test results
During the afternoon as we waited for them to finish, we were still thinking we'd travel that evening.
We were thinking we'd hop in the Roadrunner and drive three hours down the highway and stay at a campground along the way.

But the more we thought about it, we decided against that plan.  We had gotten up early and we didn't relish the idea of going through Charlotte rush-hour go-home traffic after a long day.  Instead we decided to go dinner somewhere decent and get a good nights rest.

We found an Austrian Restaurant in Spartanburg which was only about 25 minutes up I-85.  Except we hit the evening traffic going that direction and had a 30 minute slowdown.  We were surprised the traffic was that congested on a Monday afternoon.

Then we found out it wasn't usually like that.  We notice there were no cars coming in the opposite direction.
And this was why.  Somehow the truck driver had gotten himself sideways across the entire two lanes of traffic.  And he was seriously into a ditch, so there was no getting that guy out for a while.
We continued on to the restaurant and were in for a big treat.  Gerhard's Cafe is in a shopping center next to a grocery store, so we didn't know what to expect.  We were greatly surprised and pleased to find it was very authentic and the food was really really good.

When we got seated we looked around and there are a lot of memorabilia from Austria.  A lot of thought went into the cafe which could easily pass for a gasthaus.  The ambiance and decor was non-commercial.  The wood floors and ceiling timbers were authentic. You could image looking outside near the barn where the cows were being milked...

The cafe is a mix of fine dining in one section, casual dining, with a small bar and then a larger bar and pub in another area.  It also has outside dining but that was not an option because of the 90 degree weather.

We enjoyed the selection on the menu and ordered Weiner schnitzel and Cordon Bleu.  Pam and I lived in Germany for three great years (and our kids were born there) and loved the food.  And I liked the beer.  I got a draft beer which was delicious.  The glass said it was from the world's oldest brewery.  I don't know about that.

As I recall, dinner in Germany was an event of sorts and not something to be rushed.  Here too, we had plenty of time to enjoy the atmosphere and chatted with the waitress.  We learned that the owner and chef, Gerhard opened the place in 1993 and went back to the home country to bring back three containers full of memorabilia and artifacts.  No wonder the place looked and felt Austrian!
When the main courses were served they looked fantastic.  Schnitzel cooked to perfection with fried potatoes done the Austrian way.
And Pam's Cordon Bleu was equally appealing and delicious.  We had the best time enjoying that food!

We took a different route back to the Roadrunner that was still parked in the Service Center campground and returned in about 30 minutes.  It was the best German food we've had in the U.S. (technically Austrian - but who can tell the difference), ever!  It was a place I'd go back to in a minute.

Another great day on the road in the Roadrunner.  Thanks for joining us today!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Gold.Dust.Every. Where.!

We pulled into Gaffney yesterday morning just before noon and had our pick of free customer campsites at the Freightliner Custom Chassis Repair Facility.
 We arrived in time for our Monday morning appointment.  We also had the chance to visit with Cindy who drove an hour to come over for the afternoon.  Cindy and I were in elementary and junior high and high school together so we go way back.  But we hadn't talked in 25 years.  It was good of her to track us down and check out the Roadrunner.

We had a memorable day in more ways than one.
She had just arrived about 3:00 PM.  We met Pam and we were getting out of the hot weather and seated in the coach.  I decided to turn the Passenger Side (PS) seat around and have it face back into the coach like we do when we have company or stay somewhere for a length of time.

Then the surprise...
I sat in the seat and pulled the lever to swing it around.  It had trouble going all the way around so I gave it a little shove.  Sometimes the seat belt or something gets tangled up.

Then I hear a pop and a loud SHSSSSSSSS,,,,,,shshshsh and gold powder smoke dust stuff started spewing all over.  It was coming from the floor on my left side and I quickly determined it was the fire extinguisher that was discharging!!!!


Don't panic came quickly to mind, but not much else.

This smoke and yellow dust was not stopping.  I put my hand down over the canister trying to find the 'OFF" button but of course there was none.  I tried covering my hand over the discharge but it still kept coming.  I jumped out of my seat and got down in the stairwell near the front door opening it but it was still filling up the coach.
Finally after what seemed to be 3 or 4 minutes (probably was closer to 30 seconds or less), I got hold of the extinguisher and removed it from its holder on the floor and tossed it outside.  By then it was mostly empty.
But our work had just started!  I tried to get the 'smoke' out side but with the door open, it just kept hovering and blowing back inside.  Pam jumped into action and shut off the air conditioner and she and Cindy opened up all the windows.
It was a mess!  We had dust everywhere!

I got a hand broom but every time I swept the gold dust (maybe the consistency of flour) it developed into a cloud and moved back into the coach.  Yuck.

I heard myself say a couple of times, "This is bizarre!! I have never heard of this happening!"  And it was a little confusing also as I am not exactly sure how it happened.  But at the moment we were getting rags and cleaning up the coach.

Little by little we made progress and I concentrated on the front while Pam and Cindy wiped down the back from the kitchen sink to the front.

I couldn't help but wonder if the discharge was toxic and maybe not too good to be inhaling.  Regardless we had a job to do and we had our heads down and were quickly getting all of the gold dust out.  Pam brought out the vacuum clean and I emptied it and cleaned the filter three times.

After our little exercise in team work and cleaning, we got 95% of it up and out of the coach! The other 5% will probably linger in nooks and crannies of the motor home for years!

That was bizarre, amazing, crazy, etc etc and another day in the life of a full-time RVer! How nuts was that! No one was hurt, we got cleaned up ok and got it taken care of pretty quickly.

One never knows what each day will bring in the life of the RVer.  And yesterday was no exception. We had a great visit from a friend from long ago and as she put it, "Some excitement that was a hoot!".

That's all for now on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for joining us.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Heading South to Gaffney

We left Virginia Beach after a great 10 week stay.  We were sad to leave behind the grandkids but we will be back in the area for the 4th of July.  This is a quick trip to Gaffney SC for some regular and new maintenance items at the Freightliner Truck Service and Training Center.
They work on RVs of all types with Freightliner chassis.  We have been here a couple of times before so we have confidence in their work.

We were up fairly early and got loaded up and hooked the tow vehicle up and got underway shortly before 7:00 AM.  We like getting up and at it early and we had a pretty long (350 mile) day ahead of us.  Traffic was a little on the busy side which was not surprising.  I think a lot of folks were getting to their 4th of July destinations.

The drive was pretty smooth and the weather was hot but it was a very pretty summer day.  We traveled West Southwest from Virginia Beach on Highway 158 over to Interstate 85 and headed south on i-85/I-40.

After about 30 minutes we turned on the front cockpit dash air conditioning.  We quickly found it was not working and just blowing regular air.  That was OK for a while but as the day got hotter, so did we.  Next we fired up the generator and put on the front a/c.  That worked pretty well until Pam noticed the generator stopped.  We turned that off and I searched the internet for "Service Fault Code 36".  I got conflicting information as to whether or not it was fuel pump problem but it seems related to lack of to the system.  I think the Roadrunner knows we are headed in for maintenance first thing Monday morning.  We're hoping Freightliner has an ace mechanic/tech from Onan on the payroll.

I drove for about 3 hours covering about 55 miles per hour before we stopped for a driver change.  Pam took over and drove a couple more hours when we stopped at the North Carolina State Line Visitor Center and made some turkey sandwiches for lunch.

The next couple of hours to our campground were a little uncomfortable though we had fans running. The temp gauge was 94 degrees outside and 85+ inside.  Not horrible conditions but cause for concern and hoping to get it fixed quickly.

We skirted Charlotte NC on the north side of town and then picked up the highway over Lake Norman and into our campground at Cross Country Campgrounds.  We were looking for a decent, level campground with good internet and open skies for our DirecTV,

We got 2 out of 3 which wasn't too bad.  We had easy access into a level asphalt site with open skies. Our DirecTV worked great.  Wifi was pretty typical and not very good.  Our Verizon Jetpack and the campground wifi both were weak.  I think the campground is in a bit of a valley.

Instead of spending a lot of time on the computer, we ran out to a new Publix grocery store that we passed coming into town.  We picked up some key lime pie (they have excellent key lime pie!) and a couple of other items.  Returning to the campground, we chilled out for a while before drive the car over to D and Jackie's place.  They recently relocated from Virginia Beach and that is why we picked this location for our overnight stop.

We had dinner and another great time with them.  They showed us around their place and got caught up.  We were on the back porch for a while but the mosquitos were there too.  It started raining hard for a little while so we moved inside for the rest of the evening.   Our visit was too short but we loved every minute of it.  They are such nice people.

Returning back to the campground, we read and watched a little TV before turning in.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Roadrunner Travel Plans June 2018 - February 2019

Thought I'd send out an update on what we think our travel plans are going to be for the next few months.  You never know, maybe we'll get a chance to say 'Hi' along the way.

This is our proposed route from June 2018 to February 2019.  We're planning on going to the NorthEast for the summer, then back to Virginia Beach for a while before we start our late fall and winter travels to FL.
*Please disregard the waypoint letters. I would change the letters to the waypoints if I knew how to do that.

June 2018
  • 1 - 29:  Sea Mist Military RV Campground, Virginia Beach, VA
  • 30:  Country Campground, Denver, NC
July 2018
  • 1 - 2:  Freightliner Service Center, Gaffney, SC
  • 3 - 5:  Newport News Campground, Newport News, VA
  • 6 - 20: Cheatham Annex, Williamsburg, VA
  • 21 - 25:  West Point Military Campground, West Point, NY
  • 26 - 28: Haven Family Campground, Wales, MA
  • 29 - 31: 4th Cliff Military Campground (near Boston, MA)
August 2018
  • 1 - 5:  4th Cliff Military Campground (near Boston, MA)
  • 6 - 9:  Ellacoya State Park, Gilford, NH
  • 10 - 18: Forest Ridge Campground, Ellsworth, ME
  • 19 - 21:  Cedar Haven Campground, Freeport, ME
  • 22 - 23:  Central Bridge Hide-A-Way, Albany, NY
  • 24 - 27:  Clute Park and City Campground, Watkins Glen, NY
  • 28 - 30:  Darien Lakes State Park, Darien Center, NY
  • 31:  TBD
September 2018
  • 1 - 30:  Sea Mist Military RV Campground, Virginia Beach, VA
October 2018
  • 1 - 31:  Sea Mist Military RV Campground, Virginia Beach, VA
November 2018
  • 1 - 18:  Sea Mist Military RV Campground, Virginia Beach, VA
  • 19 - 24:  Maynardville, TN (Joan & Mikes)
  • 25 - 28:  Red Bay, AL, Tiffin repair work/maintenance
  • 29 - 30:  Oak Grove Military Campground, Pensacola FL
December 2018
  • 1 - 2:  Pensacola NAS Military Campground, Pensacola FL
  • 3 - 6:  Clearwater, FL
  • 7-14: MacDill AFB Military Campground, Tampa FL
  • 15:  Overnight stop at Muskogee Casino, FL
  • 16 - 31:  Sigsbee NAF, Military Campground, Key West, FL
January 2019
  • 1 - 31:  Sigsbee NAF, Military Campground, Key West, FL
  • 1-5: TBD en route to Mayport NAF, Florida
  • 5-12: Gold Manor, Virginia Beach, VA
  • 6-28: FL TBD

That's the plan - we will see how close we come to that.  Campgrounds get busy and hard to reserve in the winter time in Florida, so the earlier we decide what we are going to do the better chance we have of getting a campsite.  

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  

Sunday, May 27, 2018

What is a Norwex Facebook Party?

From time to time, I post on "What Works for Us" in the form of tips, techniques, hacks or products.  This post is all about Norwex -- a line of products that work for us.

Maybe you've heard of Norwex and don't know exactly what 'it' is.   Norwex is company that strives to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals used in homes.  Their top sellers can replace MULTIPLE products...counter spray, rolls of paper towels, fabric spray, even shower cleaner!

Using only water, the EnviroCloth cleans up to 99% of bacteria! Most of the cloths are also antibacterial, and have Backlock (MicroSilver). Silver is an antimicrobial, which means it suffocates mold, mildew and bacteria. 😷.  I usually don't get into the weeds with these kind of things, but who doesn't want a clean countertop?  Or bathroom sink?  All WITHOUT the harmful chemicals.  That is what Norwex brings -- chemically safe ways to keep your home clean.

As RVers, we tend to stay away from a lot of chemicals (e.g. We know Draino is not a good way to clean out the sink traps...).  
But Norwex is for everyone, not just RVers. Since a lot of products can be replaced with just an EnviroCloth, you can save so much space!

I hosted a Facebook party a couple of months ago and thought it was time to do it again.  If you are curious, interested, repeat customers, or just supportive -- this is for you!  If you'd like to join us, just let me know and I will send you an invite!  

Just for the record, I don't sell Norwex...but Kelly does.  She's the expert and can answer all your questions.  

So what can Norwex do for you?  Here are a few before/after pictures:
 Water marks on the refrigerator

 Arm rests on RV capitans' chairs 

 Grout dirt build up on RV ceramic tile floor

Clean windows using water and the Window cloth

Cleaning fabric covered chairs

Cleaning the front of a cruddy looking woodstove

Fingerprints and smears off refrigerator and cooktop stove

Reduces amount of cleaning stuff under the sink

The Norwex main microfiber cloth is called an EnviroCloth, think of "E" for "everything"...this cloth is going to replace so many of your cleaners!👍🏻  Using only water, the envirocloth cleans up to 99% of bacteria!

Most of the cloths are also antibacterial, and have Backlock (MicroSilver). Silver is an antimicrobial, which means it suffocates mold, mildew and bacteria. 😷

This baby (the cleaning clothes) does the trick.  With just water.  What??  Yes. Wet the window, windshield, mirror, your eye glasses - etc.  and wipe it dry with the EnviroCloth/Window Cloth.

Over the years I was a little skeptical of Norwex, but I decided to check it out and glad I did.

Kelly's Norwex Web site

I will be hosting a virtual Facebook party starting Wednesday that continues throughout the week, sharing about how I use my Norwex cloths to clean— using only water! These cloths clean BETTER than our traditional go-to’s, take up LESS SPACE (a BIG plus for RV’ers!) and are really easy to use!

If you are interested, let me know I'll send you an invite? 

There is no pressure to buy anything at all- just check in throughout the week to my Facebook Group, comment, ask questions, and enter in the giveaways (free things!). 

Hope this helps and you can see why we say, "Norwex works for us".  
That's all for this week - be sure to let me know if you want to join our Facebook Party.  

As always -- thanks for joining for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Fun Times at Gold Manor - May 2018

Pam and I have been here in Virginia Beach for about three weeks now.  We are here to see daughter Kelly, son-in-law Jon and grandkids Brooks and Harrison.  We've been busy and have enjoyed every minute.  We are playing with the grandkids, doing projects around their house, seeing some friends from church.  We've generally making the most of our time here.

We also love doing projects around the house.  Some are more involved with others, but each project makes a dent in making their place (Gold Manor) an up-to-date home.  They purchased the property in November and have had some major renovations.
We've been concentrating on the smaller scale projects and helping out with the baby sitting and yard work.
This shows three projects underway:  Kelly is scraping the paint off the side door and garage door.  I power sprayed the garage door also and it is a long process.  Pam and I got an LED replacement light over the garage which she was putting up.  She finished that project quickly.  The rest will take a while.
I also power-washed the boat house and started with the back side.  It was a pretty nasty effort but it was a good start to getting the old paint off before we repair boards and put a new coat of paint on it. 
This tree/bush root was a particularly pesky one.  I had to dig and use the sawz-all to finally get it cut it off below ground.

I like mowing the lawn and it is a good way to get a workout!

Jon started laying some bricks for edging in the front yard and I continued the effort on the front walkway.

It is a fantastic piece of land with great neighbors and they are making it look great -- inside their house and outside on the grounds.  Can't believe they have only been here 6 months.  A lot of work but we they also are enjoying it.

In fact, we usually find ourselves outside in the back yard or down by the lake most days.

Last evening Jon, Pam and I took the boys out for a little excursion that lasted about 15-20 minutes.  Uncle Mike gave Jon a trolling motor that has replaced the oars so it is easier on all of us. Kelly stayed behind as we pulled away Kelly had cast off from the shore and was fishing.  Seeing that, Jon mentioned, "She gets prettier every day..." 😊 Jon managed to drop the hook a few times along the shore of the lake, but didn't snag one.  As we were pulling in,  Kelly said she caught one that got tangled up in the trees and weeds near shore as she was reeling him in.  He put up a fight until he broke free. Kelly was pretty relieved since she hadn't figured out how she was going to release him with out grabbing the slimy thing...

We've been here in VB a few weeks now.  It has not all been work work work.  Jon had a birthday 
and Kelly had a surprise birthday party for Jon.  He was truly surprised because it also dubbed as a Cinco de Mayo party that was 10 days before the real birthday.  Jon and the guys went on a short overnight camping trip and 30 or so guests were waiting went for him when we pulled into the driveway.
Everyone stayed for a few hours and we all had a good time.
 That's some of what we've been up to.  Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!