Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Projects

As you may know, we love to do projects around the house.  At least those around someone else's house.  We got the chance to do that over a couple of weekends when we visited Adam and Melissa in Fairfax.

Their townhouse needs some things done that make it more and more 'theirs'.  One thing they did after they moved in was pull up all the carpet and expose the beautiful wood floors.  They also had some wall paper they wanted to remove.  Pam and Adam jumped on that project.  The wallpaper wasn't your standard paper type.  It was something else that was raised, had some designs in it and was the color that made it look a little like metal.
Fearless Pam took a look and treated it like regular wall paper.  She got a plastic putty knife, a water spray bottle and away she went.  The first layer came off pretty well but the adhesive was still on the wall.  The goal here was to take it down to the bare wall and not damage the sheet rock.
After a couple of hours of elbow grease with some TLC, Adam and Pam got it all off.

They let it dry a day or so, then Pam put two coats of paint on it and it looks just like the other walls.
You can see the paint line and the difference from the painted to unpainted.
While that was going on, I was downstairs in basement/laundry room/work shop area. We talked it over and decided to put in a small L-shaped work bench in the corner.

We measured things out and decided we could come up with a surface area of 2' deep, 6' across the back and 4' down the side.  With a shelf using the same dimensions, it only took 1 sheet of plywood 3/4' thick.  We also got some 2" x 2"s for support/legs and 1" x 2" for trim.
Then we secured a 2"x 2" across the back and side 30" from the ground and we were on our way.  We got the sheet of plywood cut to the right size at Home Depot before we left the store.
We went slowly and tried to fit the shelves and posts in place before we secured them.  Then it was fairly steady going and a couple of hours later, we had a workbench!
We love doing these things and enjoyed our time with Adam and Melissa.  More projects to follow...

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles today!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Friendly Weekend and Week

We made the three hour drive again this past weekend north to Fairfax Virginia again to see son Adam and fiancee Melissa.  We packed lunches and ate along the way after getting on the road a little after 9:00 AM.
It was a bright and beautiful day and the traffic wasn't too bad along I-95.  It was busy, but then I-95 is usually always busy! We filled up in Fredericksburg about 1/2 there and stopped in to see old friends Jeff and Tiffany in Fairfax Station.

We had a nice visit with them and got to see some upgrades they had made on their finished basement / den area.  Tiffany picked some nice colors, did a lot of painting and moved some things around which turned out really well.

Next we went over to the Chantilly RV show that was last Fri/Sat/Sun.  We wandered around a little bit and didn't stay too long.  This year's event was held in one Expo Center building.  10 years ago (or more) when we first started going to these) the show was help in two Dulles Expo Center buildings
but one of them is now a WalMart.  So there were not as many displays and RVs as we have seen in the past.

After a short stop there, we went Adam and Melissa's place and started to work on some projects.

Quite a while back, I got an email from a reader in Maryland who indicated they too were looking at the RV full time lifestyle.  He (Dave) and wife Pattie were looking to hit the road in the summer time after selling their home and getting things in order.

Over the past few weeks we have continued to correspond and they indicated they were going to be at the Chantilly RV show this past weekend.  I left Adam and Pam to work on his place while I met them for lunch in Chantilly.
It was great to meet them and to hear their story and think again what it what it was like to be in the preparation mode.  It really is an exciting time with lots to do and plan for.  They couldn't be nicer folks and we have a lot in common.  Including a 2007 Tiffin Allegro Bus.  They got theirs last fall and have it in their driveway until they hit the road.

Dave just started an RV blog which can be found here:
Stop by and say 'hi' - I am sure they'd appreciate it!

We spent all day Saturday and Sunday working on Adam and Melissa's place and built a workbench and pulled down some wallpaper and painted.  And built some shelves in the closet and hung some blinds.  It was productive and we love doing that kind of stuff.

We drove back down to Virginia Beach and got started before noon.  We again stopped in Fredericksburg for gas and then went over to Burger King for lunch.  To our surprise Roger and Phylis were finishing up.  We first knew them 20+ years ago in Fairfax.  There kids and ours were about the same age.

Roger and Phylis relocated to Fredericksburg about 8 years ago.  He is now retired and she is a school teacher and doing some great things with a kids after-school program.
It was great to run into them.

We got back to the Roadrunner and all was well so we were glad about that after being gone for a few days.

Later in the week, we ran some errands and ended up in Costco around lunch time.  We went with the 'lot of food for $4.00' menu and got a slice of pizza, hot dog and a coke.  While eating there the older lady next to us made a comment and we didn't think much about it.

After we finished, I said something to her and we got to talking.  She was the sweetest lady!  Her name was Mary Lou (for Mary Louise) and she is 80 years old.  She grew up in Virginia Beach and is a life long resident.  She was there at Costco because 'it is good for her to get out and have some social contact'.  ? What?  She said her husband drops her off there and she sits in the Costco food court area and watches people and talks to some and gets some 'social contact'.

She told us about her Portuguese and Irish background and how the family ended up in Virginia Beach.  She doesn't get out much since she fell and broke her hip.  She now uses a can and forces herself to do this and meet people.

It was a highlight of my day!  Pam and talked with her for about 20 minutes and then picked up a few things.  We circled back by the food court to see if Mary Lou was still there, but she had left by the time we got back.  I think every time we are in Costco, we'll be looking to see if Mary Lou is there.

And then yesterday Pam and I went to our favorite restaurant in Virginia Beach:  Nick's Raw Bar and Grill
It is owned by a friend of Jon's boss and has been around over 30 years.  They have good food, a friendly atmosphere and good prices.  I think I've been to it 5 times already in the 6 weeks we've been here.  And I'm sure we'll be eating again there soon.  On Friday Pam and I met Jon for lunch and met one of the waitresses - Chookie "like Cookie with an 'h'".  She's probably been there 25 years and was telling us about the ceiling tile.

When a customer wants to paint one up, they can have a blank one and then when they bring it back they replace a blank white one with the painted one.  A unique local touch!
And it was nice meeting another friend - Chookie.

In fact, where would we be without our friends?  Our old friends and meeting new ones?  I love it when I meet new people and see old friends.  And the last week has been one of those!

That's all for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!~ Thanks for joining us!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Four Weeks in Virginia Beach

We've been in Virginia Beach now for about four weeks.  It's been great and we really had a wonderful holiday.  Hope you did also, where ever you may be.

The last few weeks have been quite fun actually.  Especially the Christmas time.  It was cool but not freezing cold and we had the great situation where we could all get together.  Adam and Melissa drove down and stayed at Kelly and Jon's for a few days.  It was nice.  Just hanging out and watching some holiday movies together.

Then - last week, we did some work on some projects over at K&J's house and had dinner together a few times.  On New Years' we watched the Rose Bowl Parade and enjoyed getting together with some of their friends.

There have been some projects that we have been chipping away at like toy boxes and remaking closets and doing some baseboard and molding.  Back here at the Roadrunner, we've cleaned out the whole inside with scrubbing the floors, vacuuming and shaking out all the rugs.  I even got the courage to unclog the bathroom sink and took the U-trap out and cleaned out all the gunk.

On top of the Roadrunner I swept off some pine needles and cones and check to see if any water is collecting in the toppers over the slides.  Nope - looks good.  The insulated hose with the heated wrap is working fine and I am into 'tank management' now preparing for 16 degree weather the next couple of nights.

By that I mean, I have filled up the clear water tank to about 85% and I have only emptied the grey and black tanks to at least 50%.  Today we went to the laundromat and washed a big wool flocati rug from the baby's room and also washed our big bed spread.

I guess the one of the things I have liked most about the last few weeks is the chance for a little one on one with some young men.  Nothing like an hour or so to chew the fat and hear what is going on in the lives of different 20 and 30 year olds.  Fun stuff.  One thing I like to ask is what they have been reading lately or what apps they have on their smart phones and also how the job is going in general.  Every one is unique and has a different story.  I love hearing them all and glad I have the chance to do some of that.

Also in the last few weeks I have been doing a lot of reading and just finished Grisham's 'Sycamore Row' which I enjoyed.  And I have a few other books going.

Looks like it may snow a little on and of the next couple of days.  We are planning on spending the weekend up Fairfax and it may be also be cold up there.  After wondering for a while if my blood was ever going to thicken up, I think it is.   We are dressing in layers and getting used to it.

A little over five weeks and we are due to be grandparents.  That has been a real joy already -- just watching Kelly and Jon getting ready for it.  She's doing fine and they both seem like they are not too overwhelmed with the idea (although they confess they do have those wide-eyed "Do you realize there is going to be a baby in this house in a few weeks?" - kind of moments.)

We are all getting pretty excited and yet are in no hurry -- and also want to take in this preparation time too.

That's about it for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles - thanks for checking in!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Cold Weather Considerations

It hasn't gotten very cold here in Virginia Beach yet and we are OK with that.  But a few people near us have wrapped their water hoses and it looks like they are ready for freezing weather.  There is a pretty good likely hood of that so we went to Home Depot and bought some things to be prepared.
First thing we got was the 30" Frost King pipe warmer heat cable.  Then we got a 25' hose to go with the 6' water hose we already had.

And we got the five sections of 6' foam
Then I read the directions on the Frost King pipe warmer.  Something about "...not for hoses...".  Hmm.  Next I went next door and ask the fellow camper about that and he said, "Yeah, no big deal there, we looked it up and found out we just needed to wrap the hose in aluminum foil and its working fine".

OK - before we did that I wanted to check out the wrap sensor to see if was going to warm up as advertised.  Pam read the thing to do was to plug it in and put the sensor between a small bag of ice.  We did that and it heated right up after about 15 minutes.  Not hot, but warm.

Next step was to wrap the entire hose with tin foil.
Then we laid the sensor cord/wrap up against the hose and secured it with electrical tape every 6-10 inches.
And stuffed it all into the foam wraps and tape it up with duct tape.

Then I connected it to the water faucet
and the other end with the sensor to the regular coiled water hose in the wet bay.
I know there is a lot going on here but the 3 main things to note are: 1) The hose on the reel connected to the tin foiled hose 2) the heat sensor is plugged into an extension cord that I have threaded through the bays to an inverter outlet on the other side of the coach and 3) I also have addition drop lights in the wet bay turned on 24/7.

Once I close the bay door, the hoses are protected.
The rest of the hose has the foam wrap.
That's what the finished product looks like.  We've had it on there about a week now and so far no issues.  It only dipped below freezing one time since there.

We feel like this gives us another cold weather option and we wanted to see if it was feasible.

What other solutions have you seen to prevent hoses from freezing?  Or what do you do?
I'd be interested.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles and hope you are warm and enjoying things as we approach the new year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas to You!

During this time of the year it is easy for me to be reflective and think about all that has happened in our lives.  Its been a great year and 2015 looks even better!

We are in Virginia Beach for the next few months awaiting the birth of our first grandchild.

A lot has happened since this time last year, when we were in Seal Beach, CA.  From there in January have basically moved east, with stops to see family in Albuquerque, Fort Worth and Maynardville TN.
We also spent time in Pennsylvania, the DC Area, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Macon GA.  We also had stops in Red Bay AL to get some work done on the Roadrunner and had a short two weeks in Florida.

This gives a general idea of the route we took across the southern states.  We saw some spectacular sites along the way that were majestic, breath-taking and intense.

We took a lot of pictures but this one is among my favorites
The majesty of the Grand Canyon...

And getting together with my brothers and their wives

And through all the miles from the West Coast to the East, we are very aware of how fortunate to be doing this.  To be 'on the Road' so to speak.  Doing this allows us to connect and visit and see so many more people than we would otherwise.

That is one of the biggest gifts of all -- to be able to engage and have more of a relationship with family and friends and new friends.  So we are grateful and we wish you a

Merry Christmas 
Happy Holidays 
and a 
Prosperous New Year!

Thanks for joining us today and throughout 2014 on the Roadrunner Chronicles!!