Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cleaning the batteries

When we were in Virginia last year about this time of year (probably more into November), Dwayne cleaned off the house batteries, making sure all the connections were in good shape.
After a year of travel, they had gotten pretty dirty... we don't actually know whether they have air openings in the top - we think they are fully sealed, but decided they needed cleaning anyway...

You may be able to see that there was some corrosion on the front battery in the top tray. We found that the connections weren't as tight as we would like for them to be, and the nuts on the connectors were such that it made it very hard to tighten them.

Dwayne was able to get new bolts and nuts so he was able to tighten the connectors more effectively. He also has secured the batteries with wood pieces to keep them from sliding around on the trays - we think that may have contributed to at least one of the connection being loosened as it was being stretched since the batteries had migrated to the forward part of the tray.
The next time we are at Jimmy's, we want to work on the mechanism on the bottom slide out tray - it is pretty difficult to get it to roll in and out. The batteries are VERY heavy - between the two of us we can *barely* lift just one of them, there are 6 of them, and two per tray.

We also may have the folks at National Indoor RV evaluate the efficacy of our house batteries - other RVers have indicated that we should be able to run our refrigerator on our batteries for much longer than the few hours that we experience when boondocking. More things to figure out about the bus!!!

Friday, October 28, 2016

We've moved south

We need to go to Polk County, Texas, to vote, so we moved today from the DFW area to a Thousand Trails campground near Lake Conroe.
Before leaving Lewisville, I got this picture out the window of the bus - they have strategically placed large rocks (to prevent driving in areas where they don't want driving) - and the sunrise was coloring it nice and orange. Lake Lewisville is just beyond the trees.

We are now at the Thousand Trails campground near Lake Conroe (close to Houston). This campground is pretty well packed so we are in a pull-through with another rig right next to us ("off" sides right next to each other). Since we don't have slides, it isn't as difficult for us as for some other rigs that need to figure out how to get their slides open with another rig and its slides right next.

Unfortunately the site is not very level, so the front end of Miss Doozie is WAY up in the air!
We currently plan to be here about a week (and we might move to a different site on Sunday as we've been told that everyone will clear out on Sunday or Monday). We'll then return to the Lewisville (DFW) area to have Miss Doozie go into the shop for some maintenance.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Visiting cousins (of the Texas Variety!)

Today we drove to Van Alstyne, Texas, to visit some cousins on Dwayne's mom's side of the family.

Cousin Weldon (Dwayne's grandfather's nephew) is identifying folks in a Williams Family Reunion photo, Dwayne's sister Sherry is happy to have help in identifying folks in pictures, Marilyn (Dwayne's grandfather's grand-niece) hosted us with a delicious lunch and also helped with identifying folks in pictures!
Dwayne was labeling pictures as Weldon was doing identifications.

Weldon and Sherry

Dwayne, Weldon, Sherry, Marilyn

Marilyn, Dwayne, Weldon, Sherry, Katrina
We had such a nice visit!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Visiting the cardiologist

It is harder to have pictures to share when we spend much of a day visiting doctors... but yesterday I snapped a picture of the one of the displays of Dwayne's heart function during his EKG.
It was pretty fascinating to watch all the views of his heart that the technician took.
He had previously been diagnosed with a "leaky valve", and the Echocardiogram reconfirmed that on our visit, but it has not worsened and his doctor thought he was doing well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Walking the magnet

In a campground, a lot of people have dogs and they walk them around the campground.
Some people have cats that they take out for walks.

Not my husband... he takes his magnet out for walks....
There' a magnet at the end of that rope. He was checking the potholes in the campground...

... to see if there were any nails.

The nail that damaged the tire last week was a roofing nail.

He wondered, since this is the third nail we've had in a tire of the Jeep since we've been staying at this campground if it was possible that they are coming from an area of the campground, like the potholes... there are a LOT of potholes in this campground...

There's my sweetie! Walking his magnet!!!! (and there is a sailboat on the lake just behind him - so peaceful!)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Work-camping opportunity - Beet Harvest

Earlier this year we had considered doing work-camping with Amazon during peak season (now), but eventually decided to withdraw our application (

Since I know that there are some readers of this blog who are from an agricultural background, I thought I would share this blog post from a fellow RVer (we don't know them personally) that I found interesting:

I think this is a position for more physically fit / younger / more able-bodied / non-Patti-and-Dwayne-individuals, but it does sound interesting! Especially the temperature dependence of the harvest (requiring them to stop harvest if the temperatures were over 55F) was interesting to me!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Things that make you go "huh?"

I may have mentioned at some time in the past that when we were traveling we would often eat at Sam's Club for lunch - more so when we had Miss Daisy as it was easier to fuel her at Sam's (she was smaller and took gasoline).

And we really would pay for and eat lunch - not just graze through the free samples in the store!

There was always something that made me go "huh?" with their menu items. Saturday when we went to get the new tire for the Jeep (Jeep tire saga), I took a picture...

In case you cannot read with the print being out of focus, here are the items that I find "interesting":
  • Item 1: All-Beef Hot Dog - $1.30 for just the hot dog, $1.50 for the hot dog with drink. For 20 cents more you get a large drink.
  • Item 3: Pizza slice - $1.98 for pizza slice (you actually get two pieces of pizza) or $2.49 for pizza slice with a drink -- 51 cents more for a large drink.
  • Item 7: Pretzel - 99 cents for pretzel alone, $1.78 for pretzel with a drink -- 79 cents more for a large drink.
Why does the cost of adding on large drink cost different amounts depending on what you combine it with????

And... It is only after I got to studying the picture that I noticed a picture of a drink on the "Item 2" panel - I don't know whether that is saying the price of a large drink by itself is $1.78 or not - the picture is too out of focus for me to read it, but I kind of think that is the price of a drink by itself.

I will mention that at one time, I tried asking the Sam's employee who was working at the counter why it was the case... and I don't think I did a good enough job explaining what I perceived to be an inconsistency... so, if you don't understand this post, then, well, I just am no good at explaining things that make me go "huh?"!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

At least we didn't have tire/wheel problems like Gene....

We met a couple when we were at Chestnut Lakes (New Jersey) that we have kept up with on Facebook. Friday night, Gene posted about their experience driving to Niagara Falls from Connecticut. (Note: DW=Dear Wife, TT=Thousand Trails).

I copied in Gene's posts from the Thousand Trails site on Facebook, and copied his pictures from there too:
Honey is that our wheel?
We wish we had a camera focused on us when the DW and I looked at each other saying "That's weird, what the **** is that ... that looks like one of our tires ... oh ***T, it is!"
This was one of those Oh S*** moments. We were going through the far right EZPASS lane at 5 MPH. While braking, we see a tire rolling by us that looks an awful lot like one of the tires from our car trailer!
The tire rolled in front of the RV, then hit the barrier, rolled through the toll booth and came to rest against the barrier.
"Oh crap, that's one of our tires!" First quick glance at the backup camera showed the spare was still mounted ... not good. We rolled through the toll, pulled into the breakdown lane and sure enough, the drivers side rear tire sheared off at the hub - all 5 lug nuts still in place.
This was about 400 miles into our trip tonight. We were pulling through the toll on I-90 NY heading towards Niagara Falls.
Just to let you all know ... Axles and wheel bearings were done last summer, pre-trip checks include tire pressure checks, checking for wheel play, as well as pulling axle caps to make sure they are greased well and adding grease to the zerks as needed.

I also perform visual inspections, check car straps and most times will temp test all 10 tires and 8 hubs when stopped or filling with fuel. As it turns out tonight, I did not temp check any tires or hubs as we were again travelling in *heavy* rains. Guess I need to not be such a baby when it's raining hard and make sure I temp test whenever I stop - pouring rain or not!
We had actually - just 48 hours prior - returned from a 900 mile round trip from home to TT Williamsburg and back. The trailer pulled fine on that trip. I did temperature test all wheels and hubs at stops on the way down and back, and there were NO sings of impending problems. During my pre-trip checks today, everything looked fine as well. Tire pressures good, no loose lugs, and no play in any of the trailer wheels.
My guess is that somewhere along the run tonight the wheel bearings gave out and when I applied the brakes to slow to 5MPH through the toll booth, the hub just had enough and let go.
It wasn't funny and I am so glad we are safe ... but it was kinda' funny like a movie - seeing a wheel roll right in front of you. There's nothing we can do about it but take a deep breath, be happy we were at low speed and laugh about it.
I called Coach Net to get us a tow, but as it turns out - because we were on the NY State Thruway, Coach-Net could not send a tow truck. We had to call the State Police who sent a Highway Licensed tow truck to get us off the highway. Once off the highway, we could call Coach-Net back to have them pickup the trailer. As it turns out, the State Highway tow driver recommended that I just strap up the axle on that side and get off the highway. We were actually looking at our exit when this happened.
This was a great idea, and saved us out of pocket money. Yes, this tow operator did get a $20 tip for his suggestion and honesty. We safely traveled the 15 miles to our destination with 3 wheels on the car trailer. The DW following behind me in the car.
Tomorrow I'll call around and see if I can find a shop to perform repairs. We're staying at the KOA Niagara Falls/Grand Island - and they close for the season on Tuesday. I'm here for work through the weekend, so hopefully we'll be back on the road before they close for the season.
I'm just so glad we were not at speed when this happened....
— following day update
The failure I think we had last night was an electrical short. We have electric brakes on our trailer and what immediately stood out to me when I first looked at the assembly – on the side of the highway – was that the plastic jacket was completely missing on the wires that are attached to whats left of the brake assembly.
It was raining all day today, and my immediate focus this morning was to find a shop that could handle the repair, but I did get a couple of photos before I dropped it off. This one shows it pretty clearly. What’s left of the brake assembly is tied up with the yellow strap, and if you look closely, you can see that the wiring is completely exposed.
My experience tells me that this amount (length) of missing jacket did not happen between the time the wheel came off and when we pulled over. I believe that something during the drive caused a break or short in the wiring and the brake on this wheel was dragging and overheated. As I approached the toll booth and applied enough additional pressure to slow from 65 to 50 to 45 to 25 to 15 to 5 … the assembly just had enough and let go.

Their blog site:

Friday, October 21, 2016


Thankfully NOT on the bus...

3rd tire puncture on the Jeep in 2016 - we experienced nail in a tire (the same tire) twice in April/May here in the DFW area. Now a screw in the sidewall - not repairable, so we need to get the tire replaced. ARGH!
Spare tire on the driver side rear

Saga of the Jeep tires:
September, 2014: Bought Jeep.
January, 2015: Had a slow leak in Tucson - took to a repair place and they tried to patch, but it had lost air by the time we drove to our next campground (towing the Jeep). CoachNet sent a flatbed wrecker and we got two new tires at Discount Tire in Buckeye, AZ. The "better" of the two (that didn't have the nail in it) was placed on a wheel for the spare. The "new" tires were put onto the back wheels as recommended by the tire place.
April/May, 2016: One of rear tires got a nail in it, twice, and was repaired while we were in Lewisville driving on the heavily-under-construction interstate (I-35E).
June, 2016: Jimmy noticed that the front tires were pretty worn so we decided to put 2 new tires on the Jeep. We bought from Sam's Club as they had a good price for the same tires we had gotten in Arizona. We got them installed by Sam's Club and that included free lifetime rotation and damage repair (for those two tires). They were again put onto the rear wheels as recommended by the tire installer. Reference: "Virginia tires"
September, 2016: We noticed in Canada that the front tires were very worn (the ones purchased in Arizona) - they were supposed to be 60K mile tires and they had gone about 35K driving + towing, but we decided to get the replacement pair of tires at Sam's Club again so we would have the same service plan on all tires. Discount Tire's furthest east location was in Ohio and we decided we didn't want to try to deal with warranty replacement on the tires (figuring that we had either not rotated them frequently enough or towing or something that would have voided the warranty) - and Sam's Club would not take up the warranty replacement (they are a discount installer, not a dealer for the tire manufacturer). Reference: "New York tires"
Jimmy suggested that the fact that we tow the Jeep may put more wear on the front tires than is normal for driving a vehicle - that it scuffs a lot when we turn and it is following the motorhome. We decided that we would try to rotate the tires a bit more frequently than may be recommended and try to get the newer tires onto the front sooner rather than later.
When I called Sam's Club to see if they would do an alignment (they didn't), I asked about the tire rotation. The service person I talked with asked me if the tires had been on 6K miles - the odometer on the Jeep would definitely not show 6K miles, and the driving+towing would not yet be 6K. We were trying to keep closer track of the miles on the tires, and whether they were on the front or the back.
October 19, 2016 (Wednesday): One of the front tires (Virginia tires) started losing air. The automotive shop put air in when he did the alignment and suggested we keep an eye on it. It was low again by Thursday evening and we aired it up.
Today, October 21 (Friday): The tire was low again Friday morning. Dwayne took the Jeep back to the automotive shop to get the tie rod end replaced (it was discovered as being bent when they did the alignment). He then took it to Sam's Club to have them check the tire.

The Tire Service department at Sam's found that there was a screw in the side wall of the tire (not repairable) so they need to order a new tire (this particular tire we need for replacement was not in stock). We are thankful to have a full-size spare (not a donut - see January, 2015!) which we can use until they get the replacement tire in. They also rotated the tires so the New York tires are on the front and one of the Virginia tires and the spare are on the back. The new tire will be in either tomorrow (Saturday) or next week. I guess the new ("Texas") tire will end up on the back.

Because we had twice had the tires get to a very worn state before noticing that they needed attention, I had set up a spreadsheet so I could track the mileage on each pair of tires, driving + towing; I need to keep track of both the Jeep mileage and the bus mileage. For simplicity, I am counting every mile that the bus drives as a "towing" mile, even though there are some times when we drive the vehicles separately; I am choosing to ignore that as, percentage-wise, it is small. Now I'll have 3 different tire ages ("Virginia", "New York", and "Texas"). Separately, Dwayne is doing measurements on the tread depth so we keep a better eye on that. I think this is getting more complicated that I am capable of handling!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Concert with Keith and Kristyn Getty

I had posted back in July that we got tickets for the Keith and Kristyn Getty concert at DBU:

Last night was the night of the concert, and we thoroughly enjoyed it! They did quite a few of the hymns from their new album, "Facing a Task Unfinished" - including old hymns and new ones which they have written. It is so wonderful to hear hymns and be able to worship God with such beautiful, meaningful words. Facing a Task Unfinished music video
Most of the time Keith was behind the piano (and not easily visible from where I was sitting) but at this point he was out from behind the piano and he and Kristyn were facing each other.

Here you can see more of the whole stage at "Patti and Bo Pilgrim Chapel" on the campus of Dallas Baptist University. There was one point where the instrumentalists all played music from all different parts of the world and that was quite neat. There was a choir of students from DBU who sang with the Gettys. Evidently they frequently/always incorporate a local choir as our friend Dawn participated when they were in Savannah. The lady on the far right side played the violin/fiddle and also did some Irish dancing!

Another shot of Keith and Kristyn. The guy standing just behind Kristyn played all sorts of stringed instruments and he was married to the fiddle/violin/dancing lady!
We were so blessed to hear this music and participate in this event!

The event was brought to DBU by the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture.
I had heard of Denison Forum before, but am embarrassed to say that I thought it had something to do with the town of Denison, TX (it does not) and had not looked into it more than that. I have signed up to get their daily cultural commentary.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Where did the duration of a week come from?

We are attending a series of lectures by the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), offered at our church in the evenings... the series actually started with Dr Jason Lisle teaching during the service this morning.... he brought up an interesting concept:

In general, time periods are determined by natural phenomena - a day is the amount of time for the earth to rotate once, a year is the amount of time for the earth to orbit the sun, a month is the amount of time for the moon to orbit the earth.

Where did the duration of a week come from?

From the account of creation in the Bible!

Genesis 2:2-3
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
or Exodus 20:11
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Errands, errands, and more errands

We got to attend a "community group" social (aka Sunday school class get-together) on Friday night - it was great to get to see friends and hear what is going on with folks!

Today we did errands - picked up prescriptions, picked up our mail and a package that had been forwarded to us from our mail forwarding service in Livingston, and did some grocery shopping (using up some Kroger coupons that would expire tomorrow!).

We're so excited to get to worship in person with our church family tomorrow! And a new friend that we've met here at the campground will be going with us!!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Checked in at Lewisville Lake Park

We're back!

We are checked in at Lewisville Lake Park - the campground where we've been staying when we're in the DFW area. We have a nice site this time - right near the end of the sites.
We left our Thousand Trails campground a little early so we could get the inspection done on Miss Doozie today. We got that accomplished, and then arrived at the Lake Park Campground a little earlier than the check in time, and our site was not yet available, so we parked by the ball fields for a little while until the site was open.

We were assigned site 77, which is way down at the end near the lake - the blue between the trees to the right is Lake Lewisville.

Right now the site next to us is empty, so we can easily see the lake out our "off" side past the 5th wheel that is in the "overflow" spot beyond.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Turner Falls in Davis, Oklahoma

Dwayne had expressed an interest in visiting Turner Falls near Ardmore, and since today was predicted to be a nice day, we decided to drive up there.
Heading north from the campground - this is looking toward the bridge that would cross Lake Texoma.

After we got onto I-35, there was a sign for a "Scenic Turnout".... uhm... scenic? This was looking west....

And this was looking east... I guess if windmills and communication towers are considered scenic?

We made our way onwards and arrived at Turner Falls.

Turner Falls is a 77' waterfall on the Honey Creek.

It was really quite beautiful.

Many of the areas were marked for swimming (like this pool right in front of the falls) - I'm sure on summer days, you would not get a picture with no people in it!

Looking downstream below the falls.

A picture from the other bank. That round white thing under the falls/cave is a sign saying not to climb on the rock.

My honey getting some pictures.


Right near the top, there was a plant that appeared to have a red bloom sticking straight off the rocks.

It was rather warm by this point in the day - we wished we had our swim gear!

We hiked up past a "castle" that had been built by a rancher in the area.

Then we drove further into the park. We saw the RV sites ($25/night + the daily entry fee for each person). This was Honey Creek above the falls.

Another view of Honey Creek.

My honey getting a picture of Honey Creek!

This is close to the top of the falls.

Just beyond Dwayne, you might see a couple of very small people - they are in the pool at the base of the falls.

A final picture from the overlook at the curio shop / zipline outside the park on route 77. Dwayne remembers getting cherry cider at the curio shop many many years ago (55 or so).

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thousand Trails Lake Texoma

We are enjoying our stay at Thousand Trails Lake Texoma.
We have quite a nice campsite - none of the sites are on the lake, but we have a large "side" yard and nice shade in both morning and afternoon.

We walked to the lake this morning - it was probably a bit over a mile.

As is the case around most of the Thousand Trails campgrounds we've stayed in, the roads could use some attention - this one was fine for walking on. We aren't sure that it really belongs to Thousand Trails, though something mentioned a dock that they owned being down this way.

The lake was quite peaceful.

There was a boat ramp here too.

Within the campground area, there are various animals carved from stumps - this is a squirrel that is near where we are parked.

Dwayne cooked burgers tonight!

Yum!!!! (He had the maple syrup on the table for seasoning; I don't think he was using the bug spray for seasoning, but... who knows?)