Sunday, June 28, 2009

2 days in Oklahoma City

We had 2 great days in Oklahoma City. We were there to see Kirk & Susan. Kirk and I went to Santa Fe High School together and hooked up again at our 20th reunion many years ago. Since then we have kept in touch. Last May we met them in NYC. This year we stopped by to see them.

We stayed at the Twin Fountains RV Park. Very nice place. Best RV campground we have been in so far. Each site had full hookups and nice laundry & restroom.We arrived a little after noon and went downtown to see the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. It was quite sobering. They have done a very good job of helping us all remember. Another reminder of the unimaginable tragedy man can concoct against man. It made we relive 9/11 all over again except this was there version of it.
Later that night we had dinner at their place and were able to chat with Mandy and Chase. Both their kids are out of school -- very similar to Adam and Kelly. It was great to hear what they are up to.

Kirk belongs to Quail Creek Country Club and Golf Course so we played 18. It was the first time in years that I carried my bag. It was almost 100 degrees by we hit every water jug/water fountain on the course and stayed hydrated. (I still lost 5 pounds.)

Talk about a nice course! It was in excellent shape! I just loved it. It may be my favorite course ever. The beautiful homes lining the fairways were not monstrosities like some expensive courses I have played. They were all different and very well manicured and looked like they were lived in by regular people.... It was just all very impressive.Kirk reminded me that it was the first time we have ever played golf together. I played golf in high school, he played tennis. He got a tennis scholarship in college. He and Chase had an off day, but we still had a nice time. I had an on day with a 78 which was the first time in ages I have broken 80.

Later we went to the Natural History Museum in Norman Oklahoma near Oklahoma University. We also hit McAlister's Deli for some good conversation and a tall glass of ice tea. Then we went to Pearls for dinner. Mandy works there and took good care of us.
Susan is very active in the Methodist Church Volunteers in Missions (VIM) program and is getting ready to take a team to Boliva. This is her 4th trip there over the years. She has been on a lot of those to other places also. Since she recently retired from teaching Spanish at the college level, she is a big asset on work prohject/trips to South America. Plus she is very organized and involved in spreading the word to other churches that want to get involved. We are planning to join them in a VIM work project in Kansas in Sept.

It was a great 2 days seeing those guys. Great friends over the years! Yesterday we hit the road early and drove 600 miles. Today we are driving another four hours to our NOMADs work site in Pontiac IL.

More then on it from the Roadrunner Chronicles. Drop us a note when you get a chance and have a great Sunday!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Last Days in Fort Worth

The Benbrook Lake US Army COE campground is great for biking so I decided to take a ride and shoot a few pictures. The temperature hovered around 100 degrees so it was important to stay hydrated.
I biked about 10 miles, saw some great areas of the lake, and got in some good exercise.

Later in the day, we had a visit from Mark and Dortha who stopped by to say hi. We found their blog earlier in the year and have been following them ever since. They know my brother and his wife since they have kids that went to Texas A&M. Small world!

They have been fulltimers for quite a while and are also Tiffin owners so we learned a lot from them. Mark sells The Solution, so I bought some from him and am anxious to try it out.
The great thing about meeting them is that they are just nice friendly people. We wish them well on their summer/fall trip to the Dakotas, Montana, Washington and elsewhere. We sure are glad they took time to say hi before they left on their trip! Blessings to them and we wish you safe travels.

Wednesday was fun because Brad and Andy and I got to play some golf. This time we played at Iron Horse and it was a very nice course. It was a little short which was easy on the scorecard. I was pleased with my 81 even with one in the water and a shank.
Later Pam/Kelly and I had dinner at Brad and Sue's house with Jo/Andy and Katherine/Dante. It was a great evening. Sue is such a great cook and they are gracious hosts.
The hardest part of the evening was saying good bye to Kelly. It is always hard saying good bye to your kids. Especially when you have ones like Adam and Kelly.
Kelly is staying in Fort Worth and going to find a job and live there or in the Dallas area. If any of you know of a position in the Interior Design field, please let me know.

It was a wonderful time in Fort Worth. That's it for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles. Thanks for checking it out and we will catch you down the road...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cricket Wars 2

Last night we returned to the Roadrunner and got ready for bed. The pesky cricket was back! I launched into my next plan of attack: Lemon scented Hot Shot. This is serious-- the previous night I was awake more than I care to recount...listening to a chirping cricket.

My first attempt to ignore it didn't work out very well. The second time I woke up listening to him I realized I had only been asleep about 20 minutes. I was hoping for a quick end to it...but it was not to be.

I even convinced myself he was outside and that he would just wonder off maybe. But he persisted so I dragged myself out of bed, but on some shoes, grabbed the broom and went out side. It was about 11ish and I wanted to put an end to him.

I did some damage to the high grass outside near the back of the coach and returned to bed. I finally fell asleep reluctantly listening to the Cricket Serenade. The air conditioning would not even drowned it out.

I awoke a couple more times and about 3:25 I was thinking...at least I am not hearing the danged crick.... man! there he is again. This is aggravating and I am exhausted. I nodded off and that was the end of the first night.

Last night I was in no mood for a repeat performance. I found the lemon scented Hot Shot and lifted the bed mattress and squirted every corner and crevice I could find. Things were good for a couple of hours. Yikes! This guy is wearing me out!!

Pam woke up and I changed sides of the bed with her since that was the latest direction of the aggravation. While she went to the bathroom I unloaded another arsenal of lemon scented poison. Take that! and that! and that!

The good news was that I slept the rest of the night and did not hear him when I got up. Could this be it? Time will tell. But it was a great way to start out Father's Day.

Hope you had a great day and hope you have a good week. We'll be in the Fort Worth area until Thursday and then will be heading to Oklahoma City for a couple of days.

Thanks for checking in on this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Two Days to Fort Worth

We left Maynardville a little before 8:00. It was a great visit with family. It was one of the longer stays we have had with relatives but worked out well.

Almost from the start we had issues with the jack. The Passenger Side (PS) rear jack would not retract all the way. We drove five miles down the road and pulled into the Union Count High School parking lot to take another look. It was out about an inch.

We left it that way and drove West on I-40 to near Harriman TN about 35 minutes away. We were going to meet Gary and Vicki. They are at Caney Creek RV resort. Many months ago I found their blog and have been following them. Access to the park is a little tough unless you are staying there so we unhooked at the nearby Kroger/Lowe's parking lot.While there, Kelly saw where the jack was getting hung up. I wedged it slightly and it retracted all the way. Problem solved (for now)!

Our visit with Gary and Vicki was great. Gary is one of the camphosts there and Linda is working done at the boat dock. While Linda was in a meeting, Gary showed us around this great facility. It had nice concrete pads, full hookups, outdoor swimming pool overlooking the lake, and a covered meeting area with huge fire place.Gary also showed me some of the neat additions he has made with his sewer hose storage, Jake Brake and Pressure Pro Tire Monitoring System. All look very well done and quite handy.After Vicki's meeting we went to a nearby place for lunch: Bob's Burger. Food was good and and prices were reasonable. We had a lot of questions and spent a while getting to know Gary and Vicki. Nice friendly people. Very generous to spend some time with us.

Next it was off to Forrest City, AR. We drove 400+ miles and spent our first night in a Walmart parking lot. We pulled off to the side and lined up the Roadrunner about 50 yards away from a Mandalay class A. By morning there was a mix of tractor trailers and RVs-- seven of us spending the night.

Yesterday we drove all day and got to our present location: US Army Corps of Engineers campground at Benbrook Lake. The area is quiet beautiful. The lake is full and the weather is hot. Over 100 degrees yesterday. This morning it is a balmy 79.

We tried two other sites before we ended up here. The PS rear jack did not want to extend to we moved to a flat site where we don't need them. Today's agenda includes contacting Tiffin to get advice on the jack, maybe taking it in for repair, doing 2-3 hours of telework and a tee time at 1:00 with my brother.

We will see how it goes.

Thanks for stopping by and reading another edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles. Until next time, be safe and be nice to someone today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Daniel Boone Country

One of the neat things about being in this country is the National Parks. The Cumberland Gap Historic National Park is less than 35 miles from here so we spent a couple of hours there last week. We have found the National Parks always do a nice job with the Visitors Centers. They usually have a few displays and a short video or slide show to explain a little of the history and significance of the park.Daniel Boone is famous for being associated with the Cumberland Gap and 'opening up the West'. Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Jim Bowie, Kit Carson, Sam Houston--all those guys I remember as heroes of the frontier West.

Daniel Boone made his first passage through the area in 1769. A few years later in 1775 Boone and others made their way through the Wilderness Road and opened the Kentucky lands to setters.
Interesting...while this was going on, the Founding Fathers had things of their own to contend with.

In 1792, Kentucky became the 15th state. Tennessee joined the Union four years later.

The park has a lot of short hiking trails. We will have to check those out the next time we come to Maynardville. For now, we are getting ready to pack up and head west later this morning.

Until next time, be safe and thanks for checking out another edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Roadrunner Review - some ideas to share

We have been on the road for two weeks now. We are settling into our new lifestyle and learning lots. I wanted to share five items you may find useful or interesting.

Overnight bag:We packed for the trip to Virginia Beach to pick up the Allegro Bus and I saw a bag at Home Depot that looked like it would work well as an overnight bag. It has large straps and is a good size for carrying clothes, a shaving kit, some shoes and a towel. Instead of a $20 namebrand bag, I find the $1 version as useful and more vesatile. I use it daily to go to the campground showers.

Soap dish:
Our seller conveyed the shower soap dish. It has a suction grip which folds down and adheres to the shower wall. It is handy at the campground when their is no place to put the soap. I think you can get it for a few bucks at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Rain boots:
Kelly has seen us wash the car in the driveway many times over the years and thought we'd need to have these to wash the RV. We have yet to wash the RV but have been caught in two weeks of heavy rain showers. We use them all the time to walk back and forth through the wet grass from the showers to the Roadrunner. No more wets shoes. Nice.

ShamWoW chamois:
I wish we didn't need this but we have a mysterious leak in the Driver Side slide out near the window. Twice we have left the window open during the rain and have had to soak up the floor. Last night the window was closed but the water seeped in anyway. Yikes! We have to solve this one. Meanwhile, the ShamWow (from WallMart) soaks up the water better than towels.

Hub tool:
While we were at Lake Fairfax Park campground last week I met Frank who invented the Hub Tool. He said he has had three blown tires over the years and mechanics had mangled the hub cap on his Freightliner chassis each time. While repairing his trimmer, he saw a plastic wrench and got the idea to create one for his motorhome hub caps. I was fascinated with his story and told him I'd but it on my blog.

To Order: send check or money order for $1250 (includes shipping) to Frank Cason, 1917 Stone Dam Rd, Chuckey, TN 37641 or email him at cason.frank@gmail.com

That about wraps it up with another edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles. (If you get the chance, I love to hear about neat tips or items that make your life easier on the road.) Thanks for stopping by and checking us out. Until next time be safe!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Biggest Takeaway so Far - Blessings

I was talking (actually on a web video chat using ooVoo) with my brother Marty. He asked a great question: What has been your biggest take away so far?

We bought the Allegro Bus aka 'The Roadrunner' three weeks ago. Since then we seem to have peaked in the pace and amount of hectic activity. For the last couple of weeks we have been trying to get everything done we need to do without forgetting big items. Those of you that have recently moved know what I am talking about.

Having gone through that I look back and have a number of thoughts:
  • I am very grateful that I have a wife who is willing to take risks. Not crazy jump off a cliff risks, but she is not risk adverse. She is as excited about this new adventure as I am. I am grateful she is technically oriented and mechanically inclined. I probably would not have attempted this if I were alone.
  • I am grateful for the encouragement of our kids. Though they had to get used to the idea, it was not a hard sell to convince them we were going to go off into the great unknown in RV land and dive into a different life style.
  • We were especially glad to get some encouragement from key friends. Some were not convinced this was too good of an idea and a few asked some hard questions. We appreciated all the reactions. Most of all we appreciated those who 'got it' and could see we were serious as we walked down the path of preparing to launch out. It was encouraging to see the excitement of others as the plan began to get executed.
  • I am thankful to the new friends we have made in the RV community, particularly in the RV-Dreams family. Howard and Linda Payne have blessed us with a wealth of information and a structure to find out great information and answer a whole lot of questions. If you have not done so, I encourage you to check out their web site: www.rv-dreams.com
  • A good plan is important. Visiting a lot of RV dealers was very useful. We went to 32 dealerships in 10 states. We picked a date on the calendar 18 months out and it all came together about like we had hoped, though not exactly in the way we were thinking at the time.
  • A budget is powerful. I would guess finances are the single biggest question about this lifestyle. It certainly was for us. Once we put together a 'strawman' budget and massaged it a little bit -- the whole idea became more doable and a big risk was addressed.
So without getting too carried away on this post, I would say the biggest take away for me is gratefulness. This has been one of the most gratifying 'projects' I have been a part of. I am so grateful to be able to do this with Pam. So far this has not been all that hard (well, some of it has... but I'll cover that another time) because of the planning and because of God's blessing to us.

I am grateful.

That wraps up another entry into the Roadrunner Chronicles. Today I get to put in some more hours teleworking and will start that shortly. Until next time, take care and be safe.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Little Bit of Family History

A while back Pam's daddy said the next time we were in town, he wanted to show us where he was born and the area up in the mountains where he grew up.

Yesterday, we got the chance to take him up on his offer. First we had a photo op with Pam and Kelly. Shirley (her dad) has a nice place in Clinton TN where he still does some woodworking. A few of his orders (cedar and oak swing benches) were drying.
Shirley was from the hill country about an hour north of Knoxville TN in Anderson County. A lot of coal mining was done back in the 1930's and 10940's. The roads were a little tricky. Especially when we had to pass a coal truck.
A highlight of the trip was visiting the cemetery where Shirley's dad was buried. It was near Moore's Camp up on a remote mountain side. There must have been a couple hundred graves there. After a few minutes we found Ezra Carr's grave (Shirley's dad). He died in a coal mine accident nearby in 1937. His mother's grave (Mollie Seiber) was nearby.
We drove through the area of Devonia, Indian Fork and Moore's Camp where Shirley was born and raised. He joined the Army in 1946 (age 20) and spent three years in Fort Lewis Washington before returning to Tennessee. He married and moved to Dutch Valley TN near Clinton.
Pam and Joan lived in the house shown below. Back then it did not have brickwork. Shirely owned over 100 acres of farm land, most of which he cleared. They had farm animals. Pam spent most of her time outside helping her dad on the farm while Joan did a lot of the cleaning and cooking.
We packed sandwiches for lunch and had a great little trip. I took a lot of pictures and will save some for later. When returned Bonita was home (Shirley's wife) and we chatted a little bit about the day and enjoyed some Tennessee hospitality when we returned.
Our little day trip took us about 90 miles.
We took a quick group shot and said our goodbyes. It was a very unique day for us and we all enjoyed it thoroughly.
Thanks for checking in on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

A a special thanks to you all that leave a comment and /or email us. We appreciate it greatly!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Last good byes and on to Maynardville

Friday night we had some more friends come by and we said good bye for a while to Adam and Meghan. This is the closest thing I came to a group shot. We hope to see them later in the summer in August when we will be in Canada for a few weeks.Kelly's friends Jason and Erin drove up from Richmond. David and Anh live nearby and we have become good friends over the years. It was nice of them to come over and we appreciated seeing them.
After 10 days at Lake Fairfax Campground it was time to go. We took some photos of the Allegro Bus and our time at the dump station. So far the dump station chores have gone well but I have heard that is not always the case so I am trying to be careful...
The trip to Tennessee was the first time we were able to hook up the Blue Ox tow system with the Honda and it worked like a champ!
It was a 450 mile trip and Pam took her first drive in the Roadrunner. She drove a couple of hours and did great. In fact, I took a brief siesta on the couch while she motored down the road. She was feeling pretty comfortable behind the wheel and passed some slower moving rigs on the road with no problem. Kelly enjoyed the trip and acclimated well. Ed (Kelly's dog) has done well too after some initial jitters with the movement of the RV.

It was the first time for me to fill up at the truck stop and I felt like a complete rookie. It took a while to figure out how they do things and to clean the windshield but I got that done and we headed on the Maynardville.The Roadrunner is a dream to drive. It rides easy and has a great view out of the front seats. Pam took a couple of shots while in the passenger seat of the beautiful Tennessee countryside.
We arrive Saturday evening and went to Temple Baptist Church in Fountain City on Sunday morning with Joan and Mike. Later that afternoon, Pam's dad and wife stopped by to see us. We had a chance to show them the RV and have some good conversation in the backyard. It was a very nice day.We are going to be seeing where Pam's dad lived and grew up in eastern Tennessee and are looking forward to the tour.

Until next time, be safe and thanks for checking out the Roadrunner Chronicles.

Korean BBQ

Earlier in the week, Adam and Meghan met us at the Golden Honey Pot Korean BBQ restuarant. Intae and Lollie Kim were at the Open House and were also able to join us! They have been long time friends since we met in the mid 1980's while stationed in Hawaii together.
The two women in my life:
I love this picture:Pam and I started our fascination with Korea when were were station at Kunsan AB, Korean in 1979, the year we were married. We still have friends there. Now 30 years later, we are enjoying Korean food with Adam and Meghan. Who knew they would meet in 2008 in Seoul Korea, hit it off, and be together for some vegan/vegetarian food Korean style with some of our best friends?
(Meghan is visiting Adam for a few days in Washington D.C. She finished up chemo last month and is looking good. We'll know in the coming weeks what the next steps are and we will keep you posted. Thanks again for you many prayers!)

That's about it for this edition of the The Roadrunner Chronciles~~thanks for checking in and stay tuned!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Friends at the campground

Kelly's friend Mary was our first sleepover guest. She lives in Annapolis and was able to spend some time with us while her husband Cameron was away for a buddy's wedding. Kelly and Mary were roomates for a while in Chesapeake, VA where Kelly worked. She is a wonderful person and we are her self-proclaimed adoptive parents.
In the last few days we had to take care of some errands and found a reason to stop by our old neighborhood and see Roxanne and Pete. Pete bought our Tacoma pickup with the cracked windshield. Yep - the day Pam washed it and cleaned it top to bottom we noticed a small crack in the windshield. Pete got it taken care of and we dropped off the check (and had some ice cream.) We are going to miss them greatly.We also were able to spend some time with Mike and Sue. They came out for dinner which was great. I cooked some steaks and we celebrated our friendship. They were among the first couples we met in 1992 when we moved to the area.
Later that evening Chris and Judy stopped by. They lived in France for 18 years and we became good friends while at Reston Bible Church. Chris and I would meet weekly for coffee and solve most of the worlds problems (or at least encourage one another on the big ones).

We love seeing people but are not that excited about the goodbye's...

And so ends another edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles.
Until next time: Be safe (and as my friend Gil says: Do good!)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Open House - More Goodbyes

It continues be busy. On Friday we did more organizing in the RV and spent some time getting to know our neighbors in the campground a little bit. We also got ready for the Open House on Saturday afternoon.

Early Saturday morning I ran at Burke Lake one last time with my buddies Gil and Al. They are a couple of great guys and keep me inspired to run and stay with it. It was a beautiful morning and we followed up with breakfast at the Silver Diner. The Open House got going in the early afternoon.

The photos below:

-Tiffany, Kelly and Pam;

-the next one included Jeff;

-Steve and Karen (bottom left corner below) came all the way from Stafford. We met them online with RV-Dreams and saw them last fall in Harrisburg, PA at the Life on Wheels Conference. They already have an RV and are looking at a Tiffin.

-Bottom right corner: Jim, Sky and Candy with Eric.Pam has volunteered at Frying Pan Park for about ten years and made some wonderful friends. Some of them can by to say good bye and see the RV.Sherry got Pam a nifty Fairfax Park Authority/Frying Pan Park sweatshirt that she will cherish.
Our good friends and neighbors Pete and Roxanne came by and spent some time outside and also inside the coach while folks got the tour. Kelly and Adam (also included in the two photos on the right side below) It was a fun time with friends and it was good to show off the Allegro Bus. Trying to explain things helped me see how much I have to learn. We very very grateful that so many people (30+) took time out of their day to come by. It was fun to see them. The only downside was not being able to spend time with each person as much as we would have liked.

The next few days on the Roadrunner Calendar will be for us to:

  • see some more folks,
  • have a couple of more dinners with friends and
  • attending a USMC officer commissioning ceremony at the IWO JIMA Memorial in Washington DC

We will be departing on Saturday afternoon for a couple of weeks in Maynardville, TN. Meanwhile take care and be safe.