Thursday, December 28, 2017

Back In the Saddle - Traveling Again

The short story is we left Virginia Beach early Tuesday morning and headed down I-95.  We put in a pretty good day and camped overnight just off I-95 in Florence SC.
From there we drove to Lake City FL for another overnight stay.  Then we had a short drive over to Eglin AFB where we are presently camped at Postl Point military campground- one of our favorite places.
Tonight we are scheduled to have dinner with long time friend Karin.

The longer version goes like this.

We weren't sure if we were going to be able to leave Virginia Beach on our planned departure the day after Christmas.  Pam has been fighting the crud for about three weeks on and off.  In the middle of that she developed pink eye that moved to both eyes.

After treatment of pink eye, it cleared up and she worked through the ups and downs of flu-like stuff that ended up being a sinus infection.  Some days were better that others and we decided to go to Urgent Care to start some antibiotics. The antibiotics appear to be working and she's feeling much better.  I've had a touch of something but think I'm now over it and pretty much back to normal.

We were glad to feel well and get up early and pull out on Tuesday.  Early -- as in we got up just after 5:30 am and had breakfast and started packing up.  I had done most of it the night before so there wasn't much to do emptied the sewer hose, turned off the water hose and packed it, and unplugged the power cord.  In all it took us about 15 minutes to also get the slides in and the car hooked up.

On Monday, we had turned on the diesel Engine Pre-Heat button and the Roadrunner had no problem cranking up.  The HWH hydraulic jacks control box near the driver seat was beeping its head off indicating the jacks were up.  But the truth was, two jacks were just about an inch off the ground without any action on our part.  Not sure what that was about.  I spray the jack shafts with WD-40 periodically, especially after sitting for three months.  I did that a few days ago.  The treatments prevents the jacks from sticking when they retract.

The Driver Side bedroom slide did not go all the way in when Pam pressed the button to retract.  Pam pushed the slide out and retracted it again to make a good seal.  Checking how well the slides retract is part of our walk around checklist.

When I got in the driver seat and start to pull out of the site, I noticed one of the headlight beams was brighter than the other.  I put it in Park and went outside to investigate, finding one of the two main lights on the DS was out.  The headlight has two LED main bulbs, plus six smaller ones -- so it was not entirely dark.  A new light bulb is something else to replace next time we have a dry sunny spot to do some minor maintenance.

After that, we pulled out and made our way off base and over to the freeway and drove toward Emporia, VA and our connection to I-95 heading south.

We obviously have mixed emotions leaving our sons and daughters and grandchildren in Virginia until we return in the Spring.   It is going to get harder to leave so we are talking about the time when we might start doing Extended Time instead of Full Time RVing.  But we'll save that for another post.

We love being back on the road.  And after being at the same campground for a number of months, we wondered what we had forgotten.  Driving the Roadrunner is a breeze and it is a smooth ride.  Everything was moving along beautifully hour after hour and mile after mile.
We were headed south on I-95 the day after Christmas and true to our expectations, it got busy and slow at times.  We had one slowdown that last almost an hour.  Last time we did this it was worse.  And then the engine hesitated.  Over the next couple of hours it got progressively chuggier (is that a word?) and we had to seriously talk about getting it checked out.

We called ahead and made reservations at the Hilton Head turnoff at Lake Jasper Campground. We've stayed there and liked it.  But we were about three hours away near Florence SC.  We found a Freightliner repair shop off the highway and pulled in.  We were able to get in ASAP and we suggested it might need new fuel filters since the Roadrunner had been sitting for months.

Theoretically, they don't need to be changed until 12-15 months and we had new ones replaced last June.  I got the two spares we carry and the tech installed them and revved the engine good and hard for a few minutes.  The check engine light went out.  By now it was 2:30 and time to call it a day.

We cancelled our reservation at Lake Jasper and got a spot at Florence RV Resort.  I thought the place looked familiar but we weren't sure.  We were able to also get our propane tank filled which saved a separate stop down the road.  The lady behind the desk confirmed we had stayed there in December 2011.

Yikes!  Sometimes we don't even remember where we have been!   We had an uneventful evening and got to bed early and left the next morning again before the sun came up.

On Wednesday, we drove south to Jacksonville and then took the beltway west to I-10 until we reached Lake City and stayed at the Lake City RV Resort.  It was fine for an overnight stay.  I liked the campground because the owners are putting a lot of effort into it and are doing a good job on improvements and maintenance.  Nothing fancy but a good place for a one night stay.

Then it was back on the road on a soggy, misty, rainy day.
Again we made decent time and were able to get to Eglin AFB, Postl Point FamCamp about noon.  We got the last spot in the area and gladly took it.  Its a million dollar view even on a sketchy day.
That's a recap of the last couple of days.  More to follow.

As always, thanks for checking out this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

There's A Story in Every Square Inch - The Quilt

Here's the end result -- One terrific T-Shirt Quilt.  What a treasure!  There must be a better word for it but this masterpiece is really something!
Here's how we got it --

I have often looked at the Roadrunner and reflected on how many stories come from walls and contents of our motorhome.  I look at the door lock and remember when it wouldn't open.  I look at the smooth panel near the steps and remember when I caused a two foot crack in it as I tried to back over a small post.  I look at our new carpet and the excess pieces we had made into throw rugs to cover our cold ceramic floors in winter time.  There are hundreds of stories in this place!  And wonderful memories.

Now another series of evens that generated this story in the past few months.

~We have our own unique T-Shirt quilt made by super seamstress and friend Susan ~

Here's how the story goes.  You may remember our front of the dash center console tray table that her husband Kirk made for us that fits securely below our radio on the front dash.  This is one talented couple that does nice things for friends for fun.  They are amazing!

Here's one gift that we will forever cherish.  Susan had had a sewing hobby for years and taken many classes to make her professional quality Bernina machine doe some amazing things.  This project was  a labor of love and we really appreciate it.

Last September when we stopped by Oklahoma City to see Kirk and Susan, she showed us a number of T-Shirt quilts she had made for family members.  I had never heard of a T-Shirt quilt but this was intriguing.  I have often thought I have way too many T-Shirts and one thing leads to another.  Next thing I know, I have 'purged' my overflowing T-Shirt draws and those memories are gone too.  But Susan's idea had some possibilities.

I remember years ago when Pam made a couple of quilts for our two kids when they were little.  It took a long time and it was a lot of work.  I hated to have Susan go to all that trouble.  But she offered to make one for us and said more than once she would love to.

Some times you have to let friends be nice to you and after a little bit of convincing we decided it would be a really cool thing to have.  We thought about it for a couple of weeks and then asked if the offer was still on the table...

It was --- and we pulled out old T-shirts and decided which we could use and which needed to stay.  We can up with about 35 T-Shirts and boxed them up.  After she got them in the mail we discussed colors of backing materials and front matter borders and those kind of details.

We also measured our current bedspread and adjusted the numbers to come up with the exact dimensions we wanted.   We went back and forth on positioning of shirts and logos.  After she got a general idea of what we were thinking she cut of the shirts and laid them out.

Over the course of a few weeks, she got the one side done, then the other and then finished it off and boxed it up.

Here are some of the steps pictured below:

Here she has organized all the T-Shirts and cut them into sections.
Some color planning was required to enlarge with a back border for some sections to match the others.
 Things are getting into the same sizes.
 One shirt was used to make a couple sections a few times
 Some options of the layout
 The shirts were sewn onto the backing with border strips in place
 The front side pretty much done.
 A closer look at the small sections made from pocket logos
 Then the choice on the quilt sewing design:  free flow or square

I think I left out about 47 steps and how she adjusted, adapted and managed to pull it all together with this beauty.  Each time we talked on the phone or got a text, our anticipation grew.

And then the quilt arrived and we were stunned!  What a masterpiece!  Wow - we were totally awe struck.  And to Susan it was like, "Yeah there were a couple of things I had to figure out but really no big deal...".  That's how it is with people that really know what they are doing.

They make the hard and complicated things look easy!  Except it doesn't look easy and its not a hobby I would choose.  But Susan is great at it and she enjoyed doing it.

The quilt arrived like so many other packages.  In this day and age lots of packages arrive on the door step at Kelly and Jon's house.  Although it was in an Amazon box it wasn't a product we got off the internet.
The first thing you see out of the box is the cool notation section:
Roadrunner Chronicles
The Adventures of Randy and Pam Warner

Pieced and quilted by Susan Waite
December 2017

Can you see the small outline of the United States Susan sewed in there?  

Next, we wanted to see what we had and Brooks helped us open it and we unfolded in out on the floor.
Harrison was quick to help out also and he jumped right in the middle of it.

Later, we refolded it and brought it back to the motor home and spread it out on top of the bed.
Every square inch of this thing tells a story.
Here are a few on the corner of the bed:
- The Arches t-shirt that I got when we visited in 2011.  And we visited again in 2015.
- Right below it is a Tiffin Motorhomes T-Shirt that we picked up in 2014.  Every May they come out with a new one.  We have been to Red Bay, AL many times.  And love it each time.
- To the right of the Arches T-Shirt is one from Tobermory Village Campground which commemorates our time in Ontario Canada seeing Adam and the Bakers from 2010
- Below that is a T-Shirt Pam got from our time at the Masters in April 2013.

And so it goes -- we could go on for hours...
The larger prints are from the front or back of the T-Shirts. The smaller logos on some of the shirts come from the area over the left pocket.

Susan did a fantastic job of putting it together and used every shirt we sent here.

Thank you Susan!

That's it for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles ~

Christmas came early for us and during this Holiday Season, we hope you are enjoying it and looking forward to a nice time.

Thanks for joining us today!  We would love to hear from you our readers...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Gold Manor Update #4 - Tree Removal

Another set of pictures follow which document some of the many projects Kelly and Jon commissioned to get their house and property in shape before they moved in.

During the second week after they closed on the house, the tree removal guys showed up and did their magic.  It was something to see.  Nothing better than seeing the professionals at work.
It was amazing to see the lumberjacks throw their lines and climb up into the overhanging branches.  They were up there to identify and cut off overhanging large branches that might later cause a problem.
The tree men had to evacuate vehicles from the front yard in order to remove the corner tree a couple of feet away from the house.  The tree was a large one and they cut off some branches at the start.
Then the guy climbed up the tree to position the rope in the correct place.  Once that was done, we all cleared out the of the area while the guy in the Bobcat pulled the rope tight.  Once their was the right amount of tension (and the other guy was out of the tree) another one used his large Stihl chainsaw and but a wedge into the bottom of the tree.
In not time the tree gave way, fell forward and crashed to the ground.
Then others cut off the branches which the Bobcat carried over to to the large tree chipper.
The trees were cut up in good sized lengths which we think the tree guys were going to cart back to their business and cut up for sale.
In no time, the suspect tree at the corner of the house was gone.
Logs piled up for replacement onto the log truck.
It was quite an operation.
The next project was a tree which had blown down years ago and landed across the property and into the lake.  It was another huge effort.  They cut up the portion of the tree in the yard first.
Then they removed as much of the tree that was in the lake as they could.  The steep embankment prevented the entire tree and branches from being removed at this time.
Most of it was removed, but some of the tree remained in the water.
That little Bobcat machine was amazing.  It was able to get a lot of the tree and tree limbs out of the water and drag them up onto the little bank that was a bit steep.  Then the tree guys were able to cut up the debris so it could be picked up and carried around to the front of the house where the mulch truck and log truck were.
The Bobcat was just not big enough to pull out all of the tree out of the lake.
Unfortunately, along with the fallen trees, a few stationary shrubs got cleared out as well.  The back of the boat house was covered up a little by the wild little shrubs.  Now that they are out, the back of the boat house is open to the neighbors up the hill and across the street.  We were hoping we could use the back of the boat house for some outdoor storage but since it is exposed, we'll have to find somewhere else to put things.  Don't want to clutter things up and make the property unsightly.
The log truck was filled to capacity in no time.
I didn't get any good picture but they also took out three trees in the back yard not far from where the car is in the picture below.  After they grinded stumps, they also leveled the front and back yard as well as the driveway.

The amazing thing here was not only the removal of some trees that were too near the house and failing, but also the removal of all the underbrush.  That meant the backyard became a useful backyard for the dog and the kids.  The little Bobcat smoothed the yard out and did a pretty good job of landscaping.  Once the fence is up it will be great back there.
The tree guys came back and used a heavy duty stump grinder.  The first tree they took out was just off the right corner of the house.  And there were a couple off the opposite corner of the house near the garage.
All that was done in preparation for the fence they are putting in the back yard.  More on that later.

That it for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for joining us today.