Monday, July 27, 2015

RV Products that we have bought

We recently had a friend ask what products we had purchased for our Trek that we would recommend - since I put together the list for him, I thought I would put it here on the blog so I could easily provide to others if they ask. My links have the "smile amazon" link because I donate to Lanai Animal

Solar light:
Oxygenics shower head:
cut off valve for shower:
drawer slides:
Garmin mount:
RV Garmin:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Finding friends

In days gone by, I think folks tended to stay in the same communities where they grew up, and thus stayed connected with friends through many years or even throughout their lives. Some folks, like my brother, have managed to do that in today's world. He has shared with me the sorrow of losing a friend with whom he has been friends since at least his teenaged years - and his pastor saying to him that it is really rare and a treasure to still have close friends that you have been with for so long. It is neat to go back home and see folks that knew me all through growing up - even though I've moved far away, they are still a touchstone to my childhood.

With the internet, to some extent we can keep up with friends even though they are far away. I've had fun over the past few days sharing pictures from the school I went to from 2nd-7th grade. Particularly the kids that were in 2nd-3rd grade with me have had special memories of a school that their parents had a hand in organizing, an unconventional school that had its classrooms in the rooms of a plantation house on the James River. I hear teachers today talking about parents who are not very involved in supporting their kids learning; we knew our parents were very concerned about our learning - they made great sacrifices to ensure that we had the best that they could provide. I am thankful for that!

A few friends from that school are on Facebook, so I get to see information about what is going on in their lives now - I get to see pictures of their children and even grandchildren in some cases.

I also am still connected with friends from even further back on Facebook -- my babysitter from before I was in school - Marilyn - is on Facebook, and I've recently seen that she is making a trip to Nicaragua with her church. I can remember that Marilyn would bring her curlers over when she sat for us - and she would let me roll up her hair, and take it down, and roll it up, and take it down. I am sure that I was not gentle or kind, but she always was! I am so excited that she is getting to go to Nicaragua, and I look forward to hearing about her trip through pictures that I see of her and others as they go!

Clearing out our house has enabled me to come across a lot of pictures and newspaper articles and notes that remind me of folks from my past - like the pictures from Chickahominy. They remind me of friends that I haven't thought of in years. It is hard to track down females because most of them change their name when they marry, and even on places like Facebook, women don't always include their maiden names (hey, ladies - think about it - help out those friends who knew you "when"! You can put a maiden name in by going to "General Account Settings" and putting in an "Alternate Name" - I have "Pat Talley" indicated, so people who knew me in school could search by that name and Patti Cartwright's profile will show up).

It is interesting that I have been able to find two friends by tracking down information about their parents - in both cases, an obituary gave me a lead to the friend's married name and city which has helped me to find the friend. Last night I got to talk to my "best friend" from 5th grade - we had such a great conversation and catching up! I think she was amazed that my sleuthing had found her - never underestimate the power of a determined 5th grade best friend!!!

Becky - I'm so glad I found you again, and I hope we get to meet up again at some point!

Friday, July 24, 2015

On the subject of pain

Guest post by Dwayne:
This past week my sweet wife went into the hospital for day surgery.  Prior to the surgery, the area that would be the focus of the procedure was treated with a local anesthesia that would lessen the pain.  Before the surgery was performed, the anesthesiologist administered an appropriate anesthesia so that she would enter a deep sleep during the procedure.  After the surgery, her doctor told me that the surgery was successful and that she was being admitted to a recovery room.  The doctor told me a prescription for pain medication would be given which she was to take once home.  Shortly after, I was told I could go into the recovery room to be with her.  The effect of the surgery along with the wearing off of the anesthesia medication resulted in her experiencing pain.  The attending nurse asked her to describe the level of pain on a scale of 1 to 10.  She told the nurse it was at least a 5.  The nurse left and then returned with a medication.  It was obvious that she was in pain and it took a while for the medication to lessen her pain. 

This got me to thinking about pain whether physical or heart felt that we all experiencing from time to time.  I too had been experiencing physical pain for the past several days possibly resulting from the sciatic nerve.  While reading the Bible and later contemplating my morning devotional  based on Matthew 6:25 and 13:22, and “My Utmost For His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, I was reminded that our God knows all about what we experience and the needs that we all have.

Earlier as I arose from bed and the restless sleep I had experienced due to pain, my natural inclination was to ask God to remove the pain or at least lessen it.  After my devotional reading, I begin to think that I should really ask God to use my pain for His glory.   After all our God, incarnate in Jesus Christ, bore pain in His body on the cross of crucifixion so that we could be saved by grace through faith from the consequences of our sin.  That same sin separates a person from God until that person makes the choice to exercise faith and thus begin his or her relationship with God.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”  Matthew 6:25


Additional memories from Chickahominy Academy

I posted the pictures that I put on this blog onto Facebook too, sparking a lot of memories from folks who were at Chickahominy at the same time... who are also on Facebook.

While talking with Jimmy, I found a video of the plantation house on youtube:

Further searching of files found a picture and text from The Tidewater Review, dated Thursday, April 23, 1970:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


It is amazing what you find when you clear everything out of your house... and we haven't really even started on the closets or attic yet!

Came across a brochure from Chickahominy Academy - with a picture of my second grade class in our classroom that was in one of the outbuildings at River's Edge Plantation.
The blond in the front of the far right row is I! (Does using "I" sound as wrong to you as it does to me?" I recognize Bobby Sisk, Clay Cavedo, and Dawn Atkins behind me. In the next row over, Bet Doar is at the front, not sure about the next girl, Phil (maybe Huffman?), not sure, Jon Black; next row Janice Adams, can't tell the person behind her, Lisa Glenn, Jeff Copeland, and I think it may be the teacher in the far back; the row next to the stairs - Gayla Wright, Dave Black, Donna Black.

 If I remember correctly, we had 3 different teachers that year. One of them allowed us to go upstairs to play if we finished our school work. I think our jumping around up there caused the house to nearly come down - I remember there being braces put up in our classroom to hold the second floor up.

The last teacher we had (who stayed for the majority of the year, I think) was Miss Ferguson. She was the daughter of the principal. I think he lived in the main house which also contained the classrooms for 3rd-7th grade. (1st grade was in the same building as us, but was on the other side of the garage, if I remember correctly.) Miss Ferguson had a terrier dog and she would allow one of us to go over and get him to come out for play time when we had recess.
This was also in the brochure - "modern" school bus, huh? Wonder if it was a Blue Bird???

And this was supposed to help?

As we are moving a lot of STUFF around in our bricks-and-sticks house, we purchased a few moving dollies from Harbor Freight. After I loaded up one of our plastic bins with lumber pieces, Dwayne decided to use the large moving dolly to help move it from one part of the garage to the other.
Unfortunately, the bin fit right in the middle of the larger dolly

Even taking it "off" the larger dolly was a challenge! Eventually Dwayne got 'er done and used the smaller dolly instead!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Anybody need a lift?

The rig came with a motorcycle lift on it. We don't have a motorcycle, and though it could be changed up to carry something else (like a motorized wheelchair or even additional storage), we didn't see that we would need it, and it made our rig a couple of feet longer, so we elected to remove it. If there is someone who needs one, make us an offer - we're looking to sell it.
This is a picture of it installed on the back of the rig.

Another picture of it installed on the back.

These were the parts (not all of them, the motor was over to the side and not captured in the picture) after we took it off.
It is currently in Virginia, awaiting a new owner.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Last visit from Dallas County Appraisal District

A few weeks ago when Janell and I were delivering Meals on Wheels in Carrollton, we passed a vehicle with a camera sticking out the backseat left side window. When we passed it again on the way away from the client's home, I saw that the vehicle was from the Dallas County Appraisal district - I guess taking pictures for their records. I don't know whether they compare them to previous pictures looking for improvements made to the houses or what.

A week or so ago, I saw a similar (maybe the same) vehicle in front of our house in Coppell:

It is impossible to see in the picture, but there is a camera in the window just behind the driver.
I guess this will be the last time that the Dallas County Appraisal District will be looking at our house while we are still the owners!

In looking for information, I found this article:

The morning we were leaving the farm

This was our very pleasant barnyard view from our new parking location at the farm.

Kayla is keeping the grass in the barnyard at a manageable length.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

All God's creatures are beautiful - sometimes it just takes the right perspective!

I know that God has a purpose for all creatures He has made, and many of them I find quite beautiful also, but I have to admit that buzzards and vultures are not high on my list of beautiful creatures.

While we were on the farm, Dwayne and I got to the point of taking on responsibility for feeding Henry. He gets a can-full of grain morning and evening. He is in a good sized pasture, and for most of the times, we would find him near the waterer, but... one morning he wasn't there. I called Jimmy via cellphone, and he indicated that Henry would probably be found in the trees near the back of the pasture right on the Woodhaven line. Jimmy suggested that we come get the pickup truck rather than traipsing all over by foot - so we did.

After feeding Henry, while heading back to the house, we noticed a dead snag of a tree liberally festooned with Black Vultures.

Many of them had their wings out as if sunning themselves or prepared to make a dive.

That evening, I went to deliver the feed to Henry by myself; while he was nearer the waterer (and the house), I knew the feed container that I needed to dump the grain in was way down near Woodhaven, so I drove the Jeep over to get it. A rainstorm had just passed through, so the sky was quite magnificent, and the snag with the Black Vultures looked almost other worldly!

I have to admit, that is beautiful, even if it is vultures!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Funny bumper sticker

I spent much of Friday driving around - taking wheels and tires to the tire place to get new tires, then making a trip to CVS to pick up a week's worth of prescription since I hadn't brought enough for the length of the trip we ended up taking, and then a trip back to the tire place to pick up the new tires.

At some point along the way, I was stopped behind a mini van that had obvious kids car seats and kiddos in them - I had to laugh at the sticker on the back window:

Tires and Tires and Tires

It seems that tires are ever my nemesis (as Dwayne would tell me, the Albatross about my neck).

When we purchased the new-to-us rig, we knew it had 2 year old tires on the front, but the back tires were about 9 years old, so, even though they looked to be in good shape, we knew we'd need to replace them sooner rather than later.

We had decided to go ahead and drive to Texas on them, but then other concerns took us to Virginia before Texas, and when we got to Virginia, Jimmy found that one of the inner duals was flat. We didn't know whether it had been damaged by a puncture, or whether its age caught up with us, or whether the combination of the valve stems and tire minders caused an issue (probably), but we decided we had better get new tires before making the drive to Texas. On Thursday, I researched the FMCA program for Michelin tires and Friday morning started calling places around Richmond. My third phone call found a place that had newly shipped in tires of the model and size we needed.

Jimmy and Dwayne were working on the back end of the rig on Friday so it was already up in the air so they could get the fluids and filters changed and the mechanisms greased. They took off the tires and Jimmy tried loading them in the back of his pickup as he knew that I wasn't comfortable dealing with a trailer, but the rig's tires are big, and 6 of them wouldn't fit safely in the bed of the pickup, so he hooked up his utility trailer and put them in there.

I headed off to Richmond driving Jimmy's pickup (which I hadn't done before) and towing his trailer (which I hadn't done before) - Jimmy was awfully trusting that I wasn't going to destroy his property, I think!

When I was about a mile away from the tire place, I called them again and told them I was almost there and that I had the tires on a trailer behind a pickup and I couldn't back up the trailer so asked them to tell me which way to come to allow me to enter and leave without backing up. The man was very nice and told me exactly where to come.

When I pulled in, there was a line up of trucks waiting, so I waited behind them. While waiting, I got some pictures of some REALLY big tires:
(Im)Patiently waiting

You may not be able to read it, but that middle tire on the bottom had a message written on it that says "Holds Air".
I have to admit that I have my doubts about the veracity of that label....
 I got the wheels and old tires delivered, and headed back to the farm. Then out in the Jeep to CVS to pick up prescriptions... by the time I got back to the farm, it was time to return to the tire place to get the new tires.

Our rig with the wheels removed - easier to see the levelers.
It was supported by jackstands on the frame.

Here you can see the two sets of jackstands as well as the leveler.

And... the new tires installed!

We're leaving the tire minders off for now; when we get back to Texas, we will put them on and see if they cause any issue with the new tires holding air. We tested them with a smaller tire in a container of water at Jimmy's shop, and they did not seem to cause any issue; it could have been operator error (I may not have put them on tightly enough).

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Patti's driving the new rig

As I've probably mentioned, I (Patti) was the primary driver for Miss Daisy. I wasn't as comfortable when first driving the new rig, but I'm getting used to it.

Here is a picture of my first experience of driving the new rig (within the first hour or so).
I think my smile is a LITTLE less forced now!


When driving through, not planning to stop for more than a few hours, WalMarts are hard to beat - the stay is free - well, unless you consider the cost of shopping that inevitably goes along with it - but we feel kinda obligated to patronize the store if they are nice enough to allow us to stay!

Last night we spent in the parking lot of the Crossville WalMart - no other RVs were there that we saw, but several other trucks, including one on each side of us.
The one on the left was there when we arrived, the one on the right appeared during the night. We left in the morning before either of them, but the one on the left just passed us on I-40 (about 2 hours after we left WalMart).
While driving out of Virginia yesterday, we decided that we should stop at a WalMart to get some supplies for eating sandwiches in the rig, figuring that they would have a plenty big parking area. Unfortunately, the one we selected had lots of signs indicating no parking for trucks or RVs, so we decided not to give them any of our business. That allowed us to give more business to the one that supplied our nighttime parking place, which was more appropriate anyway!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The farm

I am thankful not to live on the farm where I grew up and have the responsibilities ... but I sure am happy that we can come back to visit, and not just for the work on the bus that we can get done here! There are so many sights and critters to welcome us!

Dallas (Kendra and Ricky's kitty) came over to visit us and get some tummy rubs

Zebra swallowtail butterfly on Marigolds near back door

"Snipe" (he doesn't actually have a name as he is destined for the freezer) I get to give him two bottles morning and evening when Regina milks the "girls"

Dwayne driving the FarmAll Super A - he looks like he knows what he is doing, doesn't he?

A rainbow over Soldier's Rest

Henry getting his dinner - he had a hard winter last year - but he is still a sweet boy!

The "girls" coming up for milking and (more importantly to them) feeding! The second one in line, Madeline, isn't currently being milked so she doesn't come up, but she wants to!!! (because of the grain she knows is in the milking barn)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Aaaannnnndddd - we have a new rig!

After visiting it in mid June, and Jimmy and Dwayne doing a more complete inspection in later June, Dwayne and I have taken possession of a new (to us) used Blue Bird Motorcoach Bus. It is a 2000 LXi 43' Millenium Edition Wanderlodge.

We took a short break from sorting through STUFF to drive to North Carolina and pick it up. We are now at Jimmy and Regina's farm in Virginia for a few days before heading back to deal with more STUFF!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Checkin' that list!

We feel that we have so many decisions to have to make in the preparation for the next part of this journey, that every time we actually make a decision, it is a cause to celebrate, but also sometimes brings additional decisions!

Today we had scheduled to talk to an attorney in Texas who specializes in working with Escapee members and folks who are participating in the full time lifestyle with RVs. We had prepared ahead of time with all our domicile questions and had reviewed his estate planning questionnaire in preparation for new estate (will, Medical POA, POA, etc.) documents. We had a great discussion with Shawn Loring and now have decided that we will domicile in Polk County, Texas, and that we will not create a Montana LLC for registration of our motor home. That allows us to move forward with our purchase of our new (used) motor home in North Carolina, so, if all goes according to plan, we should be heading back to Texas with our new home by early next week!

Just in case folks are contemplating a decision on setting up a Montana LLC for the registration of their motor home and want to know our decision process. We were looking into setting up a Montana LLC as it would save us from having to pay Texas state sales tax and registration fees on our motor home. It it totally ok with Montana for us to create a LLC with no real business purpose, but, for nearly every other state in the US, including Texas, the state expects there to be a business purpose associated with creation of an LLC. If Texas looked into our LLC (if they noticed that we both had Texas driver's licenses and were domiciled in Texas, but Montana licenses on our motor home), they may want an answer to the question of, "What is the business that your LLC is doing?" We could "say" that we are in the business of buying and selling motor homes, but that wouldn't be honest, and potentially Texas could determine that we were dealing fraudulently to avoid paying lawful Texas taxes. The reality is that we appreciate being able to be Texans, and we decided that the cost of Texas sales tax and yearly registration costs is worth the honor of being Texans for us!

The estate planning discussion raised additional questions for us, so while today we determined a few answers, more questions have been raised. I guess life would be boring if there were no outstanding questions, but I think I'd like to experience it for at least 30 seconds to see what it felt like.