January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Movin' On

Georgetown,  TX

AT LAST  - we are in an area that our Sprint Mobile Hot Spot really works and quite fast at that.  I have so missed blogging and catching up with fellow bloggers.

Speaking of bloggers  - welcome to The Old Geezer, our newest follower.  I will be sure to check in on his blog too!

As many of us have found, RV manufacturers do not install the best hardware.   Our kitchen sink spigot was starting to leak.   Last week Leonard decided it was time to change it out.   We shopped for a new days before finally finding one that was suitable.   One problem is that our hardware in the fiver is the newer copper color.   Not many selections out there.   We also have to be aware of the size.   We found one we liked at Lowes.   

If all else fails, read directions.

It has been installed and looks and operates quite well.

We left Louisiana this morning.   Usually in that part of Louisiana we stay at the Texas Pelican because it is CHEAP and close of Len's family.   It is nothing more than a stone parking lot.  It does have a laundry on site and the workers are friendly.    It advertises it has a pond.  Now tell me, who would have anything to do with this pond.   Not only is it covered with green scum but....

We left Vinton, La. at 8:10 this morning and arrived at East View RV Ranch in Georgetown Texas around 2:15 this afternoon.   I chose this park because of the good reviews on   http://www.rvparkreviews.com/.      I would prefer some grass and a picnic table.   But the sites are roomy and the place is clean.    Here is the view from our rig.  Not bad.

Tomorrow we will catch up with Granddaughter Tiffany, her hubby Cody and son Alec.   They live about 30 minutes from here.  We will only be in the area until Sunday morning.   The weather here today was mild but that is expected to change.  Still and all, we are glad to be back on the road!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Here is the proof!

Vinton, LA

We hope each of our family, friends and blogger buddies had a great Christmas.   We had Christmas Eve dinner at our friends Diana and Toto's over in Sulphur.  Then we were invited to share dinner on Christmas with Len's sister Sissy and her husband David and their family right across the Sabine in Orange, TX.  We thank these dear friends and family for inviting us to join them during this special time.

As I have written many times in the last several months we have been dealing with a Montana dealer in NJ where we purchased our rig.  Initially it was the length of time it took for them to order parts to repair our home (five weeks).  When they finally completed the repairs and we picked it up, we saw they had replaced our steps.   As the damage was to the back end of the fiver, there was no reason to change the steps.

When Leonard asked why, they said it was done accidentally.   The mechanic was to change the steps to another rig and changed ours instead.   This makes no sense.  First - why would a mechanic think he needed to remove perfectly good steps.  Second - if they put these steps on our rig, what did he put on the other?    Three dealers have since told us it is very common for repair people to steal steps from a rig in the shop and put them on a rig about to go out.    We feel this is what happened or they damaged our steps when moving the rig.

The dealer, SCOTT MOTORCOACH in Lakewood, NJ  told us we could bring the rig back to them and they would put the correct steps back on, without charge!   That comment steamed me - why do they even think they would have the right to charge us for their mistake.    This meant a 198 mile around trip and possibly leaving the rig there again.    We were committed to a NOMADS project the next week and had to get on the road to NC.  We had no time to take it back.    

So, off we went.  A few weeks later after trying to live with the situation, we purchased a platform at a cost to us of $85.00.    It helps but is not as safe as having the correct steps.    Len called SCOTT MOTORCOACH about a  month ago.  He suggested they order the correct steps and send them to us.  He would install them.  They said they would look into it.  

Having not heard from them, he called them last week.  They said they researched it and the steps they installed are correct.  They will not supply us with new steps.   Remember, back when we picked up the rig following the repairs back in late August, they admitted making a mistake.   Seems all that has changed now.

We went to a nearby dealer over in Texas last week. They recently lost their Montana franchise but had one new Montana on the lot.  (As we were there, it was hooked up and left the lot)   Here is Len standing by the steps.

The bottom step was 8 inches from the ground.   Here is what we are living with:

Depending on how we are parked, the steps have been as close as 16 inches from the ground and as far as 20 inches.   In addition, they are flimsy and very shaky.

Since Keystone Customer Service refuses to get involved in issues between the dealer and the customer and Scott Motorcoach will not make good, we will buy the steps ourselves and install it.    However, I want people to know about our dealings with Scott Motorcoach and Keystone.   Buyer beware!

Okay - time to get off this computer and head out to church. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Still having a slow connection

Vinton,  LA

I am going to attempt to write a post and upload some pictures.  If I stop midway it is because I picked up the computer and threw it out the door.

As I said in my last post, we drove over to Houston to visit Len's daughter D'Juana, her husband Joe and the grandkids - Alexandra (age 17), Jared (14) and Lindsey (11).    We got there Friday afternoon and stayed until Saturday afternoon.  On Friday night Alex attended her Senior Class Christmas Dance.

The rest of us went to dinner at a great seafood restaurant on Galveston Bay.   I wish I took note of the name or even the town we were in!

Since it was in the 60's on Saturday and no wind, we decided to all go to the Houston Zoo.  I took lots of pictures but really don't have patience to post many  However, here is proof we were there.

Oops - sorry - no proof.   Can not upload ANY pictures.  Keep losing connectin.   Well, anyway we did go to Houston Zoo and had a fine ole time.

Saturday night - attended Leonards' family annual Christmas party at his nieces.

Sunday - following church had lunch with friend Diana.  Her hubby Toto begged off because the Saints were playing.  (He should have gone!)  Even the Saints lose.   After lunch we went with Diana to visit her parents who live in a nearby nursing home.  They both glad to see us.  Growing up, Len thought of them as another aunt and uncle.

Monday - nothing to write home about. 

Tuesday - being bored I suggested we drive over to Kinder, LA to Coushatta Casino.  This is quite a place.  (Again, I took pictures, but can not post)  We had agreed to live large and each put $10  in the slots.  But first, the lunch buffet.  We picked the right day.   The buffet is usually $12. each.   But on Tuesday if you have some type of senior (the old people kind of senior, not the High School type), the cost is $5.50.    I saw this and wondered how to get my hands on one of those cards.  But we were already in line.  What do you know!  They never asked for a card and charged us $11.00 for the two of us and that included the beverage.    We thought we were winners for sure.

Then off to the slots.   I picked a promising looking machine.   I quickly more than doubled my money.  I cashed out at $21.75.  Len, playing the same machine, quickly lost his funds.    Did he allow me to stay ahead???   NO HE DID NOT.  He FORCED me to put the whole $21.75 back in and we walked out with NOTHING.   NOTHING I said, NOTHING!   Our $20. was gone but that lunch was still a winner.

Wednesday -  we need a new faucet in the kitchen.  The cheapy one Keystone installed was corroded and starting to leak.  We went to Lowes, Home Depot and Steins.   Did not make a decision. 

Thursday -   We made a decision.  Back to Lowes.   New faucet installed.  Well, almost.  We need to go back tomorrow and get some type of wrench to completely tighten it.   At least I THINK we need that wrench.  I do know Len keeps buying tools lately.  Keeps saying he needs them for NOMADS projects.  I think it is just a man thing.

To all my blogging buddies and readers - wishing each of you the Blessing of the Season and the very best in 2011.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Inside a Castle

Houston, TX

We are here visiting family for a day.   I can get ONLINE!!  YIPPEE!!    Rick stated he would love to see picutres of inside Len's cousins Dwayne' castle in Sulphur LA.   So - let's give it a try.

But first - welcome to Bob and Vicky.   I will be checking out their blog shortly.

Stairs in Banquet Hall going to upper level
Looking at smaller dining room from residence kitchen
Small dining room
Family room - the Blond is Lisa, Mistress of the House.
Formal dining room
Entry to a bathroom
Guest Bedroom
Game room
Exercise room
View of Brides dressing room
Another view of Brides Dressing Room

Yup, this is quite a house.   Dwayne did a lot of the work himself.   He has always been a hard worker, I am told.   He started right after high school building storage sheds in his backyard and grew his business from there.

And - I uploaded those pictures in no time at all.   Got a good connection here.   WHEW!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tough getting online here

Vinton, LA

I have not been able to blog or even catch up with my blogging friends.   Our Internet connection is really SLOOOOWWWWWW.   It was all I could do yesterday to sign Leonard up for Social Security and continue his unemployment claim!  (2 very important connections of course).

While I am on today I want to welcome   "Our Fiver Adventures" to our blog.   Glad to see you here.

Since my last entry we flew back to Alabama from Baltimore, picked up our fiver and drove down to Louisiana.  We had planned to stay at Sam Houston Jones State Park but when we got there on Saturday there were no sites available that could accommodate us.   We were also disappointed to learn they no longer accept the Golden Age Pass for 50% off fees except for Louisiana residents.  Leonard being a FORMER resident is not good enough. 

So here we are back at the Texas Pelican in Vinton until December 30.

Meanwhile - this is what we've been up to.   While up in NJ we attended our home church.   We took both girls with us Sunday morning.  That night they had a Christmas Hymn sing and we only took Charlotte, leaving Abby with her Aunt T.    Pastor Tom would ask people to raise their hands for the Christmas hymn we would sing.  After a few carols, Charlotte raised her hand.    She want to sing Old McDonald had a farm.  Sure enough, our organist knew the tune.   Charlotte joined Tom up front to sing.

On Monday we drove back to Maryland and stayed until Thursday.

Daughter Amy with her baby Abby

Amy and Charlotte
Back in Louisiana on Sunday we went to Leonard's Breaux family reunion.  It was held at his cousin Dwayne's home.   His home is a castle.  In addition to living there, he has a banquet hall they rent out for weddings and other events.  Check it out by Googling "Castle Sulphur Louisiana"  The name is Chateau de Bon Reve. 

There were about 160 at the reunion.  Len is one of 10.  His mother was the oldest of 9.  As Len's mother passed away just a few months ago, there is just one sister surviving.   However, Len has more cousins and 2nd cousins than I can count!   Some of them he has not seen since a child.  

Horse and Buggy rides around the approximately 140 acre property
Fireplace in Banquet Room

I took many pictures of their residence that I wanted to publish but it is taking much too long to upload each picture.  I give up.   I was told there are 31 rooms in the castle, including 7 bathrooms, a brides dressing room, an exercise room, a huge game room, their personal formal dining room seating about 24 people, an industrial kitchen and their personal kitchen, three very large bedrooms, an office, the living room, a sitting room, and another dining room adjacent to their kitchen.    It is a beautiful home and quite the area showplace.

Tomorrow we will drive over to Houston (about 140 miles) to visit Len's daughter D'Juana and her family.  We return on Saturday as Len's family is having their annual Christmas Party at his niece's house.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A quiet moment

White Hall, MD

We flew into Baltimore on Friday and drove up to Amy and Scott's house arriving around 10 pm.   Hi and off to bed!

On Saturday we took Charlotte and Abby up to Shrewsbury, PA to Breakfast with Santa at the local firehall.    Shrewsbury PA is about 14 miles from White Hall, MD.   Then we drove to Terri and Steves in Upper Deerfield Twp, NJ. 

On Sunday we took the girls to our home church.   I would like to post some pictures at this point but my Internet connection is really slow and I just do not have the patience to wait today.   After church we visited at my Mothers then went to our friend Richies.  His daughter needs some type on Internet system as where she lives there is no cable, etc.    We tried out our Sprint Mobile Hot Spot and had good reception.

In the afternoon we took Abby with us to visit our friends Peggy and Bill.   In the evening we took Charlotte to our church for their Christmas Hymn sing.   

Yesterday we came back to White Hall after doing some errands in NJ.    Today we took the girls to their daycare and we are just vegetating until we pick them up at 4.   We fly back to Alabama on Thursday.

This weekend we were contacted by the Volunteer Coordinator of NOMADS.    We have been recommended to train as Project Leaders.    This was quite a surprise as NOMADS policy is people are only recruited to be leaders after they have worked many projects.   We were nominated by the leaders of our second project.    (Hey - this was the project BEFORE Len fell through the ceiling - might they be having 2nd thoughts????).

We are honored to be asked to be Leaders.   There is training at the annual meeting but that is not until next September in Iowa.    However, there can also be training during the winter in AZ, FL and TX at area meetings.   As we will be in AZ during the winter, this might be feasible.

When I am better able to post pics, I will tell some funny stories about Charlotte in church!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Got it back!

Cullman, AL

Got truck back this morning.   AND no deductible.  The other two times the engine oil cooler coil split we had to pay $100.  Maybe FORD took pity on us?   NA!

We will move fiver to Len's sons tomorrow.  We fly to Baltimore Friday and head to daughter Amy and her husband Scott's house in northern Maryland.  On Saturday we take Charlotte and Abby to Breakfast with Santa and then head to NJ to visit over weekend with other daughter, Terri and husband Steve.

We will attend our home church on Sunday and then visit with my mother and catch up with a few friends in the area.

We stay in NJ until Monday and then go back to Maryland.   We fly back from Baltimore to Birmingham on Thursday and head to Louisiana on Friday where we will stay until after Christmas.

Sure looking forward to seeing our granddaughters in just three days.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Food, Family and Ford

Cullman, AL

Food:     On Thanksgiving we had dinner at Len's son's house.  Lennie made the traditional Cajun dirty rice, cornbread dressing and pecan pie.  He and wife Tammy also served turkey, a great macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, Mississippi mud pie and a green salad.  I contributed cole slaw and green beans.  Len made banana pudding.

Family:  This is Leonard Jr. with wife Tammy and daughters Morgan and Maddie.   The young man is Morgan's boyfriend Joshua.

Ford:    As we are waiting for repairs on our truck at the local Ford dealer, they gave us a loaner.  On the previous post I referred to it as a Fairlane.  OOPS - What do I know!  She is a Crown Victoria.   They call it their Blue Beauty.

And another F - Flu -   My computer caught a "virus" two days ago.  I could do close to nothing on it.  I asked the campground owners here to direct me to a computer repair person.   I took it in for repair yesterday and he removed the many viruses.   We are now good to go.

So in the last week we have had a Failure on our truck and back in the shop it is.  Then a Failure on the computer.    Lastly yesterday I knelt on the sofa to open our blinds.  I felt my left knee twist.   It is swollen and sore.  I am having some difficulty navigating steps.   Otherwise I am Feeling Fine.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bridges of Blount County

Cullman, AL

We had a great day on Monday touring.   On Tuesday we decided to take it easy and just head out to do some grocery shopping.  We had noticed on Sunday that the truck was emiting white smoke when we first took off.  It did not happen on Monday so did not think much more about it.  But - on Tuesday there it was again and then we smelled a familiar odor.  It was the same odor we smelled last Thanksgiving Sunday while traveling back to NJ from Alabama and we broke down in Virginia.  

Fortunately we were only one mile from the Ford dealer.  Yup - looks like the same old problem.   In September 2009 the engine oil cooler split.   The dealer in NJ replaced it.  Then two months later over last Thanksgiving the new one split.   This time Ford replaced the entire engine, radiator, hoses, heater core.   We thought that would be the end of it!  Nope - here we are one year later and faced with same issue.

Being Thanksgiving week the Ford dealer, who rents cars, had none available.   We called Enterprise, same story.   So the dealer provided us with a loaner.   An 97 Ford Fairlane.  She ain't pretty but the price is right and she runs.   We will know by Monday when we might get our truck back.

In the meantime, we have things to see and places to go.    Granddaughter Madison stayed with us Tuesday night.  Yesterday we toured.    Nearby Blount County has three covered bridges.   First we found the site of Swann Bridge.  However, after seeing a sign for it and driving a dirt road we found ourselves at a blockade with no bridge in sight.  There was another sign - Bridge Out, no trespassing.   This bridge is (was?) the longest in Alabama at 324 feet.   We never got to see it.

We then drove about 15 miles to Easley Bridge.   This bridge is 95 feet long and sits 18 feet above a creek.  The bridge was blocked from walking on it.  There was a posting at the entrance of the bridge that the bridges of the county are all in disrepair.   It states the county committee has control of funds for renovations but will not release the money.   It is sad to see the condition of these old relics.

Only a few miles away was the Horton Mill Bridge.   This bridge is 220 long and is the highest covered bridge over a waterway in the nation.  This bridge is also in disrepair and you can not walk on it.  It does have a picnic area and walking trails around it.

We then decided we were hungry and stopped for lunch at Captain D's, a fast food seafood place in these parts.   Disappointed, we were. 

The town of Cullman is home of St. Bernard Abbey, Prep School, Monastery and the Ave Maria Grotto.   A Monk Brother Joseph Zoelti was born in Bavaria in 1878.  He came to the Abbey in 1892.  Due to an accident, he became hunchback.  That did not stop him from working on miniatures throughout the grounds over many years.    He built the first one in 1934 and the last one in 1958.  He died in 1961.   He used various materials in his work, a lot of it donated.    Broken glass, old jewelry, cold cream jars, seashells, small statutes - whatever people would send him.

Here are a few samples of his work:

We had a delightful day with Maddie.   Later in the week we will seek out other interesting places to see.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Checking out the area

Cullman, AL

We have spent some time visiting with Leonard's son Lennie and family.   This is the house they are now renting but plan on buying.
Most of the leaves are off the trees except for these beautiful maples.  The campground is loaded with them.
On Sunday we, as is our usual practice, found the local Methodist church and attended services.  This church and its second sanctuary, classrooms, offices and community hall take up an entire town block in Cullman.  That large building in the background is part of the complex.

On Monday we did a bit of touring.   Our first stop was at the old Houston Jail in Houston, AL.  It was built in 1868 is the 2nd oldest log jail in the nation.

The hand-hewn logs were filled with nails to prevent prisoners from sawing their way to freedom.  There are two small rooms in the jail.  After it was no longer a jail and until the 1960's it was used as a private residence.  Note the hole in the back wall.   While a jail, this was the "bathroom facility"   EEWWWW!!!

Next we drove to the town of Natural Bridge to see the longest natural span east of the Mississippi.   The sandstone arch spans 148 feet long and 60 feet high.  It was formed by an underwater river over 200 million years ago.

A little west of Cullman is 270 foot long Clarkson Covered Bridge.  There is a lovely picnic grove at the bridge site.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

And on to Alabama

Cullman,  AL

We finished our project in Georgia on Thursday.   During Leonard's last few days he completed the wiring project with the help of NOMAD Ernie.   This is a picture of Len back up in the attic.  You can barely make him out in the middle center left, but there he is, that dark shadow.

Our group worked really hard the first two weeks.  We were wondering what to do those last few days.  Leonard took care of that by falling through the ceiling.  NOMADS couple Ernie and Donna Rainey took charge of the fix.   Ernie worked on the repairs, Donna did the mudding and then applied a coat of spray
"popcorn" ceiling paint.   This first picture is of the repair.  It looks discolored because it is still wet.  Next is  Donna following her spraying the ceiling.

My job the last few days was power washing the area around the pool.  

On Wednesday in came the police!   Officers from Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama were at the camp with their K-9 partners.   We were surprised to see three sheriff cars from Cullman, AL where Len's son lives and where we are now.  Cullman is about a 5 hour drive from Vienna.  We were told there were 60 dogs.  The officers hid explosives and drugs in various buildings and then worked with the dogs to re-certify them.   A police line up.

Following our last day of work, we went to dinner at Yoders, an Amish cafeteria in nearby Montezuma.    Seated at the far left is Stacy, the camp director surrounded by her children and husband Matt.
We got back on the road Friday around 8:30 am.   We arrived in Cullman, AL about 12:45 central time.   After getting settled at Cullman Campground, our home for the next two weeks, we drove over to sons house and visited a short time with Lennie, Tammy, Morgan and Maddie.  

It was an early night for us with a good nights sleep.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And through the ceiling

Vienna,  GA

Our work week started well enough.   On Monday morning  Len finished up the ramp he build two weeks ago by water sealing the bottom supports and then starting an electrical project at the camp directors house.

I spent the morning power washing the pool area and picking up more fallen branches.   Then in the afternoon Len asked for my assistance at the camp directors house.  He and I went up into the attic to drill a hole.  I did not enjoy walking the beams, afraid of slipping and falling through the sheetrocked ceiling.

After drilling the holes, I waited outside for him.  He was preparing to thread wires through outside PVC pipes and I would assist in pulling the lines.   Our goal was to make an electrical hookup for an RV.   As I was waiting outside,  I heard a loud crash inside the house.  I knew immediately what it was. Yup, he is the one who slipped off a beam and came through the ceiling.

He came through the section on the left, but the hole was about half of what has been cut out.   The rest has been removed during repairs.  It is a wonder he did not get caught up in wires.  Fortunately when he went through he caught himself and hung on the beam, then dropped to the floor and rolled.  The room in which he fell is the family room.  It used to be the garage.  Immediately under where he fell is the steps.

Had he fallen hard on these steps it would have been much worse.   The ambulance was called.  They arrived within minutes and checked him out.  We decided not to have the ambulance take him to the ER but I would drive him.   Nothing broken - just lots and lots of scrapes and bruises.  He has a large scrape on his right arm, another on his chest.   His right leg is swollen, scraped and bruised from mid calf almost to the knee.   It could have been much worse.

Today Leonard and I took it easy.  We changed out a few light bulbs in various buildings then hung 8 new blinds in the recently painted conference room.  In the morning he was okay.  But by 2 he was really feeling the effects of trying to do too much.  We stopped work around 2:30 and took it easy.

Tonight the Board of Trustees of the campground had their monthly dinner meeting in the dining hall and we were invited.  

We now have only a day and a half of work left.   Most goals are accomplished.   I will finish up the power washing of the pool area tomorrow.  Len will get back to the electrical project but as instructor.  He will oversee the project by giving directions to someone else.   He is in no condition to climb ladders nor do we really trust him up in that attic again!