Saturday, August 27, 2011

Brookings to Port Huron

It has been a week now since we left the good folks in Brookings, SD.  We have traveled a good piece and are in Port Huron, MI.
From Brookings we went south to Sioux Falls.  We have our mail forwarding service (Alternative Resources) there.  Since we are residents of South Dakota, we went to the Court House and tried to pay our yearly RV and automobile taxes.  But they are not due until November and we were too early, so we will do it online.  We also stopped our RV insurance place (Dougherty and Associates) which is next door to Alternative Resources in Sioux Falls.

The best thing about Sioux Falls was seeing Steve and Therressa.  They are friends from Pam's early Air Force days in the late 1970's.  It was great to see them again and we had a very good time going out to dinner, seeing the sights in Sioux Falls and hanging out on their back porch.  

From Sioux Falls, we continued  50 miles south to Council Bluffs, IA.  It is about 10 miles from our friends Gary and Rebecca who live in Papillion, NE.  We have know them since we were all stationed in Kunsan AB, Korea in 1980.   It was our first time seeing them and their girls since then.  We had another great time and short visit with promises to get together more often.

From there, we drove a long way (550 miles to a Walmart parking lot in Benton Harbor, MI.  We have stayed at Walmart 4 or 5 times and this was fine.  We must have found a good place because there were 7 or 8 tractor trailers in the parking lot with us.  (I was going to say 18 wheelers but some had more than that.  Have you seen how many axles some of these semi's have in Michigan?)

Then we made the last 240 miles to Port Huron where we are settled in for the next 10 days or so.  We are here to see Meghan's parents Marg and Bill.  And hopefully we will be able to see Rod and Lisa again as well as new friends George and Sharon whom we met in March in Tucson and live here in Port Huron.  

For the next few days though, we will be taking the Honda and going up to Tobermory, Canada for a few days with Marg and Bill at their cottage.  The weather looks good here and we are looking forward to it.  

Meanwhile, we are concerned for those on the east coast and the effects of Irene.  I hope everyone is safe!

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles today!  Until next time...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Two weeks in Brookings comes to an end

We finished up our two weeks at the Habitat for Humanity Care-A-Vanner build in Brookings, SD.  We began each day gathering at the sign-in table for morning coffee, devotions, and getting our daily instructions.
We really like the folks on this build. Four years ago when we thought the RV lifestyle we thought about having good times with good people like these.

In addition to working all day, we frequently got together in the evening for a 'Mix and Munch'.  And we went out to eat together a couple of times.
The work here has been great.  We all felt like we contributed and we were all surprised at how fast the house went up.
After we got the walls up and the rafters on, most of our time the last week was spent on the roof and doing the siding.  Pam spent a lot of time on the chop saw.
Two weeks went fast but at the same time it seems like a long time ago from this:
To this:
This build has been one of the best we have participated in.  The local Habitat guys on site (Steve and Dave) were great.  They kept us moving in the right direction and were good teachers and patient with us.
A big plus on this job was the scaffolding.  It was a lot of work putting it up but it really helped.  The temporary fall protection around the facia was another great idea.

Last night we had one last dinner together and went the annual McCrory Garden Party a block away from the restaurant.  The Gardens have many beautiful plants and flowers and a place for plant research.
McCrory Gardens is said to be 65 acres of the most beautiful land in South Dakota.  It serves as an outdoor laboratory for students at South Dakota.  

Today, we move on about 50 miles down the road to Sioux Falls for a few days.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Roadrunner Financials - July 2011

Roadrunner Recap
  • Camp Murray ANG Campground, Tacoma WA
  • Pacific Beach Navy Resort and Conference Center, WA
  • Nehalem State Park OR
  • Cedars RV Resort, Ferndale WA
  • Fairchild AFB Famcamp, Spokane WA
  • North American RV Park, Coram MT
  • Minot AFB Famcamp MT
  • Grand Forks AFB ND

Here's an interactive map that shows where we traveled.  You can click on the letters and it will tell you the location.

During July, we put a lot of miles on the Roadrunner again.  Since we were in the Northwest, we wanted to see Seattle and Vancouver.  We did that by taking day trips.

We also took a long day trip to Anacortes Port for a ferry to Victoria BC which was great.

Then we went down the Oregon Coast and stayed at a Navy campground.  Turns out we should have only stayed there a few days so we could go farther south.  Instead we explored the area with time at Tillamook Cheese factory and some quaint towns along the coast.

We also stayed at an Oregon State Park that was a tight fit but adequate.

Our travels also took us along the northern states in the NW and we crossed the border a few times to say 'we have been in Alberta and Saskatchewan'.  We also stayed at Minot AFB Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota.

Good News Areas We Are Under Budget
We were a little under on our campground fees for the month, probably because we spent 10 days at a Navy Campground along the southern coast of Washington.
We also were a little under budget in our grocery costs.

Biggest Expenses
Like the previous month of June, we spent a lot on fuel.  Both diesel and gas.  
TV and Internet are budgeted wrongly as we are always over budget in this area.

Food (as in eating out) was little high for just the two of us, but then we were under in the grocery area so that was not a big deal.

Large One Time Cost Items
Nothing really stands out in this area this month.

Monthly Average

We were a modest $15 over budget this month and we were fine with that.

Thanks for taking a look with us on the budget and finances.  One reason I am doing this is to track our expenses and secondly - I hope it is helpful to some of you out there who might be asking "how much does it really cost to full-time as an RVer".

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Habitat Homeowner - Jeremy

We love Habitat for Humanity Care-A-Vanner builds for a lot of reasons:
  • We get to see different parts of the country
  • We meet great people
  • We make new friends
  • We like the work and learning about building
And ~
  • We meet new homeowners and see how thankful and grateful they are
On Tuesday, Jeremy and his wife Michele showed up at the job site as we were gathering for our morning meeting and devotions.
Jeremy and Michele are Habitat homeowners who live in the neighborhood.  He wanted to stop by and share one of his poems with us.  He says he always associates his poems with Scripture.  He gave me his permission to share this one with you:

Building Homes Changes Life
by Jeremy Klingbile

Looking at your future
How can your needs be met?
So high and so many,
And a deep endless debt.

You're looking for a house,
The greatest need of all.
A place you can call home,
Not too big or too small.

You have found your new home,
But it's no where around.
Who would have ever guessed
It would start from the ground?

They come from all places,
Together they are a team.
When they build you your home,
They also build a dream.

Some are complete strangers,
Some family and friends too.
Each one is so special
With all they do for you.

You give thanks to them all
For playing their own part.
Their names will forever
Be engrained in your heart.

It is a program with life
Filled with caring and love.
It builds hope for others
While praising Him above.

We started off our day with some new inspiration.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Hope you are having a good August!  Until next time...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Habitat - Brookings SD

We are enjoying the build with Habitat Care-A-Vanners here in Brookings, SD.  We arrived on Sunday, our RVset up at the Larson Mfg Co parking lot and met the other team members at our first meeting.
Our team members are Betty and Jim, Brenda and Jay (our team leaders) and Jon and Greta.

The build site is about four miles away.  The foundation and first floor decking was already in place.
This is the first time we have seen Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs).  These are the wall pieces.
They go up quickly and have an R-19 insulation factor.  Steven and Jon got the corner in place and braced it.
Then Jim measured out the rooms for the framing to begin.

We have a daily morning meeting with devotions and instructions.  Other volunteers have been providing lunch.  Lee arrived on Tuesday with big spread we thoroughly enjoyed.
Things have moved along quickly and yesterday (Wed) we finished putting up the rafters.

The weather has been good and the work has been fun for our first week here in Brookings.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Time in North Dakota

After Glacier NP, we drove east and are in Grand Forks, ND.  It took us a few days to get here.  After leaving Coram, MT (near Glacier NP), we drove on Highway 2 east for an overnight stay in Glasgow, MT  at the Cottonwood Inn and Suites/RV Park.
It was a pretty interesting idea and we wonder why more motels don't have an RV park out back.  It was off the busy highway in a quiet place and had full hookups plus use of the pool and facilities.

From Glasgow, we continued east to Minot AFB FamCamp in Minot, ND.  The campground was full but it had decent overflow camping near by.  We parked out of the way and on pavement in a level area.
The base has a policy of a no cost boon-docking area, plus they will come around to your trailer/RV and pump it out and/or give you water if you need it.  All free.  Zippo.  It was a pretty good deal and we were 100 yards from the BX and commissary.  For a three day stay it was perfect.

We heard about Minot and all the flooding in June.  It was raining when we drove through town on the way to the base.  We had to be re-routed from a bridge that was flooding.
A couple of days later, we visited the areas in town that were flooded out and underwater.
It was heart breaking and sobering.  The hard work of rebuilding has begun but the smell was strong and no one was back in these homes yet.

Another day we drove north across the Canada border into Saskatchewan
and over to Manitoba before we crossed the border again and returned to Minot.

From Minot we drove east to Grand Forks, ND and are staying at the Air Force Base FamCamp.
It is in an old mobile home park area of the base with lots of grass and open area.  The optimum area for the warm, 85 degree weather is under the trees.  After being in this spot three days,
we were able to move to this location.  A little shade and fire ring were nice.  Probably the best thing about the sites here are the price:  $6 for full hook ups if you are a senior and $12 for the rest of us.  Hard to beat.

While at the previous spot, I spent three days washing and waxing the Roadrunner.
It was a big job, but we were happy with the results.

A highlight while here was a visit from NOMADS friends Don and Lillian.
We met in Galveston two years ago on a NOMADS project and then met up again in Mississippi in January.

After a lot of miles the last few weeks, it was good to stay in one place for a while.  This past week I have been able to put in some hours doing my online work which comes up at the end of every month.  We have also done a lot of reading and some walking the last few days.  I had a good run one day and took out my bike for a trip around the base.  But we are looking forward to traveling south tomorrow and arriving at Brookings, SD for a Habitat Build.

So that is what we have been up to the last week or so.  Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  And thanks for your comments.  We look forward to them.