Sunday, March 27, 2016

5 More Things That Work for Us...

Recently I wrote about "5 Things That Work For Us'.  This is another post along those same lines.

Today I will show you our: mat, ladder, broom, bucket, cleaning/polishing spray,

1. Entry door mat -

Every home has a front door mat and ours is no different.  We go with this industrial type that I think we bought at Cosco.  It usually lasts a couple of years and does a good job of helping us keep our entry way clean.

One thing I learned a while back is that if I fold over the end of the mat and then roll it up -- both ends lay down.  I hate it when one end kind of sticks up in the air and dares me to get tripped on it...
2.  Another item we couldn't do without is the broom.

With ceramic tile floors this thing is indispensable.  Nothing fancy -- just a standard broom to sweep with.
 3.  Since we are on outside stuff -- here's something we use often.  This is my $3 tripod chair
I use to when I am wiping down the bay doors and cleaning the Roadrunner.  It comes in handy to take to the job site for break time when we are doing a Habitat project.  I usually leave it in the back of the car with another one to use as a 'just in case' chair.
 4. Bucket
When I am cleaning the Roadrunner, I have a couple of rags and a spray bottle. I always need a place to put things and I find this size bucket with a wire handle works well. I stretch the handle to go over the top side of the ladder and it sits there well.
5.  Ladder.
I love this four-way fold ladder.  I used it for cleaning the coach but also for getting up the to bottom the fixed ladder on the back of the coach.  Someone told me early on that they never use the detachable hang down ladder off the back of the coach because it would scratch the paint.

By using this ladder, I don't scratch the paint.  It fits nicely into the section of gutter I have in my 'tool storage' bay.  I put the rolled up mat on top of the ladder and slide the broom down through the center of the mat when we pack up.
You can see how nicely the ladder folds into the compartment.
The key to making the ladder work is the looking feet once you spread out the ladder one in one direction.
 The cross members on the ladder straighten out and lock into place and then the final pull separating the bottom makes it look and act like a regular ladder.
 So there are a few more tips of things we use around our 'house'.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Flea Market, Baseball and Friends

We continued with busy days and were on the go Saturday.  We left the campground about 9:00 AM and drove over to the Plant City Produce Market.  Oops.  I-75 and I-4 converge east of Tampa and we hit a massive traffic jam.

Ugh.  Saturday just outside of Tampa.  We also forgot that the annual Plant City Strawberry Festival was going on so that added to the parking lot type situation.  We endured it for a while and then found alternative roads and made it over to the Product Market at Plant City.  Oops.  This was not a flea market but a produce wholesale market.  Interesting but not what we were looking for.

Turns out Big Top Flea Market was back toward I-75.  We drove another 30 minutes and back tracked to go there.  It was a pleasant drive this time because we took secondary roads.  We saw the countryside and got to see more of Florida than if we'd gone blasting down I-4.

We were looking for a front license plate but didn't see any that peaked our interest and grabbed some lunch at Chick-Fil-A.  Next stop was Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland and the Spring Training Home of the Detroit Tigers.
It was crowded but we scored a parking spot for $5 across the street from the stadium so that was nice.

We also got great seats and enjoyed some shade.

Pregame activities included having a 92 year old WWII vet throw out the first pitch and then the U.S. Special Operations Command paratroopers from US CENTCOM at MacDill AFB jumped out of an airplane onto the field.
 That was impressive and charged the crowd up!
 We got a quick photo and enjoyed the game.
The Tigers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates and  we also got to see Marj and George again.

Next we went over to Sanlan RV Resort to see Marg and Bill.  We stayed at week at the campground a couple of months ago and were glad to be able to spend some time with them again.  In fact, it was Marg's birthday and we went out to dinner to celebrate.

After dinner we drove the 90 minutes back to our campground near Hudson and called it a day.  It was busy but a lot of fun and we got to see some of our favorite people!

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sun Coast Area

Yesterday we took a day trip from our campground near Hudson FL, went to the Valspar PGA Championship in Palm Harbor and then stopped by to check out some things in Tarpon Springs.
First our campground.
We heard about the Word of Life Campground from our friends Bob and Patty and talked to a couple about it at a booth at the Tampa RV show in January.

This winter we decided we wanted to see more of Florida in places we have never been so this also fit the bill.
It's a nice campground with full hook ups.  Concrete pads are nice also.
It has nice facilities too, but most of all -- these folks are friendly!  We are going to like our week here!

As shown on the map, Palm Harbor is only about 40 miles from here and we were able to get tickets to go see the first round of the PGA tournament there.
 It was very well organized, parking was closeby and the shuttle bus dropped us off right near the vendor tents and the 18th green.

It was fairly early on the first day of the tournament and we were able to get good seats on a number of holes.
 On the 17th green we got to see Steve Stricker (red shirt) who is one of our favorites.
Later Patrick Reed (green shirt) played the 17th.
 One of the best things about the tournament was how well military veterans were treated.  The PGA has a program called 'Birdies for Braves' which essentially means, vets get into the tournament free.  They also are provided food and beverages at the pavilion set up for the military.
 At this event, the pavilion was set up behind the 16th green.  It was awesome.  Chick-Fil-A provided sack lunches and cokes and ice cream.  It was a very nice thing to do and there were lots of vets that took advantage of it.  The local charities chip in and pay for it which is very nice.  At this tournament, Pinch-A-Penny pools and spas was a major sponsor.
There were a lot of Chick-Fil-A employees there to make it happen including a couple of the mascots.

We typically don't stay the entire day at these events, so after lunch when the afternoon groups groups teed off, we called it a day and made our way back home.

Along the way, we wanted to make a quick stop in Tarpon Springs.  We took a short drive through town and went over to the Sponge Docks.  Interesting tourist town with a small museum.

The most noteworthy thing about Tarpon Springs is the large Greek contingent there that began with 5,000 sponge divers that came from Greece.  I read that Tarpon Springs at one time had the largest group of Greek Americans in the country.
Sponge divers continue to harvest in the area and there are plenty of stores that sell natural sponges.  I remember seeing some sponges for sale in Key West but I think this area still has a large sponging industry.
It was a busy day in the Sun Coast area but we enjoyed it and learned a lot.  We saw some good golf and some extraordinary kindness dealt out to vets.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Week 2 Complete at our Habitat Build

We finished up our second and final week of work at the Lynmore Estates in Macon as part of the Care-A-Vanner build with Habitat for Humanity.

We had to finish up some areas and put on exterior 'blueboard' in high places around the house.  Blueboard was already up around the house from the foundation to 8 feet up.  We had to finish under the gables and soffit.
 One of our goals for the week was to start siding all the way around the house so volunteers over the weekend and in coming weeks could continue it to completion.  First we had to get it over to the house from the warehouse where it was stored.
 Jerry had to angle it through the doorways of the warehouse on the forklift since it was about 8 inches wider than the door.  He took a couple of runs at it but managed easily.

The cement fiber board (also know as Hardy board) went up pretty easily after we got going.
 It really looks great after it is up and painted.

Bruce can do about anything and here he is on the chop saw.

You have to get the corner pieces on correctly and Gabe and Andy are taking care of that one.
As we rounded out our week, we said good bye to Gabe and Bruce.  They are from the Columbus GA area and we've had the pleasure of working with them here before.
 Colleen and Pam and I worked on the siding on the back of the house.
 At the end of the day and a busy two week, Jim (the Business Developer and Volunteer Coordinator) stopped by.  He's one of those one of a kind guys, great at what he does and one of the most personable people you'd ever want to know.
 We've been to Macon three times now and he keeps the ball rolling and always spearheading upgrades and improvements for the RVers and the facility we get to use.  He also was responsible for lining up some donors so we could enjoy a three meals with folks at the church and at two eating establishments.  Very nice of him to do that!

Our last night there, we went with Barbara and Ross (can't believe we didn't get a picture of them!! - ugh) and some other folks to Yoder's Mennonite Restaurant out in the country (Montezuma, GA).
 It was a great meal followed by a picture with Janet, Andy and Dot.  It was the end of another memorable couple of weeks in Macon.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Roadrunner Financials - February 2016

Roadrunner Recap
In February, we visited the following locations along the Florida Gulf Coast and into Central Florida:
  • Twelve Oaks RV Campground, Sanford FL
  • Rodman Campground, Palatka FL
  • Pelican Roost RV Campground, Mayport FL
  • Macon Area Habitat Campground, Macon GA
After our time near Orlando, we moved to Rodman Campground to explore more of interior Florida. Then it was off to a great military campground in Mayport.  The Pelican Roost campground is on the waterfront of the St. John's River with a lot of commercial and naval military traffic.

Next, we moved more north to our Care-A-Vanner build in Macon GA.  That's always a fun one because we get to see old friends including Pam's Maid-of-Honor, Barbara.

Good News Areas We Are Under Budget
We did pretty well in spending for the month in areas of fuel, campgrounds, and groceries.  Most
of it had to do with the fact we camped for free at the Habitat for Humanity site in Macon GA and did very little eating out while we were there.
We had a very good month budget-wise but were not able to avoid the unexpected RV maintenance with the broken tailpipe which accounted for our overrun.

Biggest Expenses
We got new cell phones and switched from AT&T to Verizon in January.  The expected savings did not present itself.  In fact for a while, we were paying off the old bill and for the new coverage while we were gathering information to get reimbursed by our new carrier.

Large One Time Cost Item
The biggest item on the spreadsheet during the month was our $1997 bill for a broken exhaust pipe.  While leaving Rodman Campground near Palatka FL we noticed a strange sound in the engine.  Later, exhaust smoke was coming in the PS window so we had to close it.  Those two items turned out to be a tailpipe that broke at the exhaust manifold.

We were heading to a Habitat for Humanity Care-A-Vanner build in Macon GA and ended up getting the repairs done there.
Monthly Average

The basic story here is that we are on a clip for the first eight months of the Roadrunner FY (June 2015-May 2016) to spend a lot more money than we would like.  But this 'budget' I have often send is really more of a record of spending.  We seldom limit ourselves because of where the budget is.  This does give us a pretty good idea though, of where our money is going compared to what our planning goals are.

So this is a look at where our money went during the second month of the new year.

As always, if you think this spreadsheet might be useful I'd be glad to pass it along at no cost.  Just let me know.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!