The RV Road Trip Fulltimer's Blog for October 2011
A cool front eased through yesterday and dropped the temperatures about 10 degrees. It was a very welcome relief from the heat. 93° is significantly cooler than 103°. Last night it even dipped into the upper 60s which was quite nice. Cynthia got up around 3AM to let Scooter out to pee and she commented on how nice it felt. I was still counting Zzzzzzzzs.
The expense summary has been updated to show September's expenses. Be sure to read the footnotes for explanations of some of the expenditures. If you ever have any questions or comments, feel free to email us or use the comment form found at the bottom of most pages. We also added some new workamper ads over on WorkampingJobs.com. If you are still looking for a winter position, there are some still left in a variety of states. There's even an office position open in the park we are in!
Life changes are slowly but surely forcing me to do things I'd rather not do just yet, like use that dang wheelchair all the time. But I know if I don't, it will be worse on me later on. With that being said, today we sold the scooter. So after all these years of riding, all the adventures Cynthia and I shared... our scootering days are over. Cynthia is flying to Dallas tomorrow to meet Robby, our son, and buy his 4x4 Jeep Cherokee. She will then drive it straight back down here to the RGV. The Jeep is towable 4 down behind the motorhome and we can install a wheelchair carrier on the hitch at the back of the Jeep. This may not be as fun as scootering but it opens up more doors for us so it is the right thing to do.
We took the Jeep to the local car wash and power washed the exterior and vacuumed out the interior. It took a lot of quarters to get all that done because the Jeep was very dirty, but we did find about $11 in change in and under the seats. We replaced the rear lift gate shocks and bought a new heater core for it. We knew this advance so it is not a big deal... other than knowing that removing the old heater core and installing the new one is an 8 hour job! It costs over $1100 for a shop to do it because it is so time consuming, requiring that the entire dash be removed from the vehicle. The part only costs $65... the rest is labor charges. We'll set aside a cool day to get that done.
Once we have given the Jeep a good hand washing and waxing, we'll take some pictures and post them online. For now, here is a photo of one that looks identical to ours.
We got the wheelchair lift mounted on the back of the Jeep and it works great. The total weight of the lift and the chair is 275 pounds and that causes the rear to sag a little. I have an appointment tomorrow morning at the local 4x4 shop to have a 3 inch lift installed on the rear to level it out. Here is a picture of it right now, before the lift has been installed. I'll post a picture tomorrow after it has been lifted in the rear.
We installed a new radio in the Jeep since the factory head unit bit the dust. Best Buy had a JVC unit on sale for $79 and it is AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA compatible. It also has a USB port on the front so we can load music onto a jump drive and just plug it in to listen to it. That is so much easier than burning CDs. We considered getting new speakers since the factory ones are 12 years old but they still sound very good, so we'll leave them in.
We finally decided on how we will set the Jeep up to be used a toad. After much research and deliberation regarding how to best set it up, we have decided on the following equipment:
- ReadyBrute Elite self locking motorhome mounted tow bar with integrated Ready Brake
- ReadyBrake Safety Cables
- ReadyBrake In-Dash Light Monitor
- ReadyStop Brake Away Kit
- Tow Bar Cover
- Blue Ox Base Plate
- Blue Ox Bulb and Socket Wiring Kit
- Blue Ox 6 Wire Coiled Cable
All of this for only *cough* $1484.75 delivered. But with a lifetime guarantee, we'll never have to buy it again. And all because I have to use that stupid wheelchair...
Scooter would go fetch a tennis ball over and over until he was too tired to run anymore. He'd trot over to the shade and plop down. CJ spent most of his time sniffing around the whole park and hiking his leg on everything. He hiked so much that after about the 4th hike, just little puffs of air would come out. CJ also did a little runnning of his own and to be fair, here is a shot of him running. The shot after that is them all tuckered out, tongues a wagging.
After a hard 45 minutes of playing at the park, it was time to head home. Of course, we had to stop by the doggie water fountain by the exit and let them get a drink.
We enjoyed the day out with the dogs and they enjoyed the Jeep ride there and back, and of course the time spent at the park. Little do they know that today is also haircut and bath day!
I snapped a pic of Cynthia while we were at the dog park the other day and it turned out really good. You can see it below. She took one of me but she says I look mean. I don't look mean, do I?
I got an email from the place I ordered the tow bar and base plate from, Towbars Unlimited. It seems the base plate I need is out of stock but should be ready to be shipped by tomorrow. And the tow bar manufacturer that "always ships the next day"... didn't. Well, thankfully I am not in a hurry to get it and for the price I got the whole package for, I am not complaining. This is what the tow bar looks like, it will look better when it is mounted on the back of the motorhome.
I was trying to think of a good way for the dogs to be able to let us know when they needed to go outside. CJ will stare at the door and if we don't respond quickly enough, he will come nudge us with his nose. Scooter will go to the door but if we don't notice him, he will look for a place to pee in the camper. That's not good. While at the Dollar Store, I saw some Christmas Jingle Bells (yes, they have Christmas decorations out already). I bought the bells, cut off the excess decorations and hung the bells by the door. It took just 3 days, but now when the dogs want to go outside, they ring the bells with their nose and we let them outside. Pretty cool!
Cynthia organized a pumpkin carving contest where the participants were to be blindfolded. Well, that sneaky wife of mine made it so only one participant would be blindfolded! It was fun to watch and we all had a really good time. Here is a video I shot of the pumpkin carving contest. At 1:04 you can hear me comment on how sharp the knives are... and dang, I sound like a hillbilly.
Sue asked in the comments section how I trained the pups to ring a bell when they wanted to go outside. They already understood the word "outside" so I would say that word then ring the bell myself. After 2 days I would just ring the bell and not say the word. They quickly realized what they were supposed to do to alert us to their desire to go do their business.
A nice weather front rolled through last night and the temperature got down to 67°. The high for today was 77°. The temperature in the morning is supposed to be in the low 50s! We just might need to turn the electric heater on before going to bed. It was nice to sit outside today with a nice breeze blowing and the warmth of the sun on your face. The dogs were all stretched out soaking up a few rays themselves.
If any of you folks out there use the Foursquare app on your Android or iPhone, feel free to add us as your friend. It is a game where you "check in" wherever you are. It allows you to keep track of the places you have been and you can earn virtual badges, mayorships, etc. You can follow this link to see our page and all the badges and whatnot we have earned. It's a simple and fun game and playing is free. Some business even offer discounts if you check in with them. Take a look...
UPDATE: We no longer use Foursquare as it morphed into something we do not enjoy.
The wheelchair claims to be able to go 25 miles on a single charge but I think it fell short of that by about 10 miles. 10 miles may not seem like much but it is quite a distance in a wheelchair. I was able to do the complete zoo circuit and about 3 miles at Bentsen State Park. By that time, it was at about 10-15% charge so we headed home.
We will be passing out candy tonight for the trick or treaters and we'll have the details and pictures of that up tomorrow. Oh yeah, not sure if y'all remember or not, but back when we went to South Padre Island, we stopped at a place called Bobz World. We didn't know what all it was so we missed the vast majority of what was there. Well, we plan to go back in November and see the whole thing... so stay tuned for that blog and picture update!
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2014 We did our massive 22 state and 15 national park road trip.
2013 We dealt with Jerry's wreck and thyroid cancer treatment.
2012 JAN, FEB, MAR, APR We stopped full-timing in April 2012.
2011 JAN, FEB, MAR, APR, MAY, JUN, JUL, AUG, SEP, OCT, NOV, DEC
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