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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How do they do it!!!

First - yesterday we were really happy to see our granddaughters Charlotte and Abby. It had been almost 4 months. They stayed with us last night as we returned them to their parents down in Maryland this afternoon.

That being said. How do people do it? We read about families with small children living in travel trailers, motorhomes and fifthwheels. Sometimes these families have several children of varying ages and sizes. Along with children come all the stuff they require.
So, again. How do they do it?

The pictures below tell the story.

Here are Len and our grandson Justin who was visiting for the evening. Look at the decor! Clothes draped everywhere. A pack and play which is a makeshift bed for Abby. Oh yes, and the toys, the toys. Abby appears interested in something just out of reach. I don't know why as there sure was lots of stuff within reach.

Here is our "dining room". It was converted to a clothes storage area. And a stand for Charlotte's piano. On occasion we would even use it for it's intended purpose.

I still ask "how do they do it?".
Nevertheless, we enjoy these beautiful girls and gladly step over all the clutter for the privilege of being their Grandmom and Pop Pop.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sitting and waiting and waiting and waiting

We took the fiver to the dealer/shop Monday morning. They will keep it for a few days to access the damage and order the parts. Len will call them this afternoon if we don't hear from them first. We really want to bring it back here for us to live in until the parts arrive.

We hope to get it tomorrow. If we have to wait until Friday or Saturday we are in for a long commute. Lakewood is near the shore in central NJ. This being Memorial Day weekend the traffic will be horrendous in that area.

Len is at the chiropractor. The constant lifting of his mother is taking its toll. He is trusting that a few manipulations will give him some relief from the pain.

We hope to see the granddaughters this weekend. They live down in Maryland about two hours away. We had hoped last weekend but Charlotte had THREE birthday parties to attend. This is their last week in daycare. Her birthday is in July so she will not have schoolmates to invite to a party. Little sister Abby turns 1 on June10.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A long drive then back "home"

A huge hello to Ali and to John who have joined us here on theeastsheadwest. Welcome to you both!

Wow! It was only one week ago today that we left Louisiana heading to South Dakota to get our drivers licenses, making complete our quest to domicile in SD. We really put on the miles in that week. Southeast Louisiana to SD, back to East Texas and on up to Southern NJ.

After our "mishap" only 5 hours on the road last week, we headed to SD with just our truck. I just unloaded a few pictures of that trip and realize I loaded the first one when I meant for it to be shown last. Know what? I am feeling just too dang lazy and tired to to it again. So here goes...

AFTER picking up the temporarily fixed rig in Texas on Wednesday we headed north. This is a picture I took crossing over the bridge from Arkansas into Memphia TN. Sure looks like a pyramid to me. Then I got to thinking - Memphis is a city in Egypt, home of the pyramids right? Can anyone fill me in on this pyramid in the city of Memphis, TN in the good old USA? I suppose I could google it. Again, right now - just too lazy and tiredFulltime RVers often use the expression they live as they do because they want to see what lies around the next bend. Well, no insult to those who live in Nebraska but this is what is to be seen around the next bend and the one after that and the one after that...........

From the left side of the car.
From the right side of the car.

The view from in front of the car.This was an interesting field somewhere along the Interstate between Mitchell and Sioux Falls, SD. What the heck?

I had heard about the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. It was in Mitchell that we got our drivers licenses. So, we followed the many signs to the Corn Palace. It is open free to the public to walk through. Sure glad it was FREE. If we had paid, I would have been steamed. I was told by a friend that it is not worth seeing. I tend to agree. The outside is decorated in corn and various grains, a different display each year. The original corn palace dates back to the 1880's as a way to attract visitors.
The outside was interesting, the inside nothing but a basketball court, small stage and lots of vendors hawking their goods. If you are in Mitchell, take a look. I can't see going out of your way for a visit. Hey, but that's me, you might enjoy it.

So, we were told our rig would be ready to roll with it being sealed up for travel either late Wednesday or early Thursday. We got back to the dealer in Hooks, TX about noon on Wednesday. It was ready and waiting. We were thrilled! Maybe our luck is changing?????
We were on the road by 3. We stopped at a rest area in Arkansas that night and then made it to a WalMart outside Roanoke VA Thursday night. We pulled into "home" Friday around noon.
We are so glad to be here. We are parked in our daughters and son-in-laws side yard. What a nice time of year. The house and property is surrounded on all sides by a nursery. The display is gorgeous.
We take the rig to Lakewood NJ on Monday where they will keep it for a few days to order parts and give estimate. We will stay in the house during those days. Then we will pick her up and live in it until it goes back for repair.
We expect to be in this area around two months. Len has a temp job and we want to spend lots of time with our Maryland granddaughters when at all possible. Life is good!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In Nevada. Nevada, MO that is!

Well here we are. I finally have time to catch up on a few blogs and drop in few lines myself.

First a huge thank you for all the words of encouragement. I also welcome new friends to this blog. Margie Anne, Sam and Donna and Happytrails. I am so pleased to see you here.

Now for the lastest. We got our SD drivers licenses this morning and started heading back to Hooks, TX where the rig was to be fixed. Len talked to the RV dealership where we left the rig. There have been some changes in staff there and now the manager says they can not get to our problem for 3 to 4 MONTHS! We can not be homeless for that long.

Earl from the RV repair department tells us they can seal the unit so it is livable until new parts arrive and repairs done. However, we still do not want to stay in this area for those months. Len asked if the repairs will hold if we drive to NJ and take our fiver to the dealer where it was purchased.

Our plan had been to leave for NJ after completing our business in SD anyway. Len has a temporary job waiting there for about 6 to 8 weeks. We both are missing our granddaughters in Maryland too.

I talked to our insurance adjustor and he is agreeable we can have work done at Scott Motorcoach in Lakewood NJ. Len called Scott and made arrangments for the technician in Texas to FAX Lakewood what needs to be ordered.

We have less than 400 miles to drive tomorrow to get to Hooks Tx. However, we don't expect the rig to be ready until Thursday. We will pick it up and head north. Should be at my daughters up there sometime Saturday.

So if you are driving I30, I40, I81, I70 or I95 between Texas and Delaware/NJ border over the weekend and see a 2009 Montana Fifthwheel being held together by chewing gum, duct tape, staples and a prayer towed by a 2006 F250 blue and gray super duty, give us a shout out!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Sometimes the hits just keep coming. We left Louisiana today headed to South Dakota to get our drivers license. We were in Northeast Texas in the town of Mt. Pleasant. We needed diesel. We pulled into a station and upon pulling into the lane, found the diesel hoses were bagged. No diesel. Len is a careful driver. However, this time he misjudged the distance. Upon pulling out of the narrow lane, he caught the right rear of our rig on the barrier.

Survey our damage. Needless to say our rig is unlivable.

You can actually see our living room from this slit. The whole back end of the rig is pulled away from the side. We are so glad it was not raining.

This happened about 1 pm on Saturday. We called our insurance agent in SD. She was not in the office but a co-worker contacted her and she called me. Gina was quite helpful even though she was about to leave on vacation to Florida.
What we did - we drove (slowly) about 50 miles to the nearest Montana dealer in Hooks, Texas. We got there at 3 right before closing. The manager reports it will take about two weeks to get the part and another week to fix our rig. He said he can seal it up and we can live in it until the part comes in. We left our rig at the dealer for the time being.
Our plan. We are now in Ada, OK headed to SD. We will drive up there in our truck, get our licenses probably on Tuesday and then return to Texas. We will have the dealer seal the rig which we will live in until the part comes in. Then we will have to move into a motel until the rig is fixed.
Sometimes we really have to wonder if we are meant to fulltime RV. Len is really sick about this and blames himself. Hey - it was an accident!
I can only imagine what our insurance company will do when faced with this claim. We signed on with them only 6 weeks ago.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Packing up day

This morning we are packing up to move. We will head to NJ tomorrow morning by way of South Dakota. South Dakota to get our drivers licenses. New Jersey for Len to work for about 7 weeks.

Mom is sleeping now. She slept well last night. Sister Sissy and BIL David stayed with her. We will be here today as we have been most days this week. Often she is confused about who is who. All day Monday she called Leonard by his brothers Jerry's name.

One day at a time is all we can do.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hodges Garden State Park

On our day off, Saturday, Len suggested we take a ride into west central Louisiana past Leesville to Hodges Garden State Park. He had been there many years ago. I am so glad he suggested this ride.

Hodges Garden is like no state park I've ever been to. It is centered around a man-made lake. There are cabins and areas for tent camping only. Fishing is allowed on the lake. The cost for day use is $5.00, $4.00 for persons over 62. Louisiana also honors the Golden Age Pass but only for the pass holder. I got in free! The cost for Len was $5.00. To be sure in January, when he turns 62, he will be getting the Golden Age Pass.

For those who don't know about the Pass, it costs just $10. and is a lifetime benefit. It gets you, and usually whoever is in the car with you, into any National Park for free. Some states also honor the pass, Louisiana being one of them. There is also discount camping in National Parks and 50% off in some state parks. Again, Louisiana state parks give the 50% off on camping fees. It is the best $10. we've ever spent.

Getting back to our trip to Hodges Garden. These are pictures of the "Old Fashioned Garden" We couldn't help thinking of our friend Tom back in NJ who is a talented gardener. He would have so much enjoyed this trip.

Along a walkway.

The "Bog Garden"
A view of the lake.

Looking down at a formal garden with the lake in the background.

Some of the many ponds.

I just had to take a picture of the entrance to the ladies room. This is a state park???? In my experience most of them have what barely passes as an "outhouse".

There was also a lovely gift shop. Being the day before Mothers Day, we were glad to find a lovely wind chime for Len's mom.
After exploring the gardens, we drove the perimeter of the lake. There were several hiking and horse trails and lots of picnic areas each with a beautiful view of the lake or garden. This park is a true gem. And a real jewel of a day for us.

Friday, May 7, 2010

New computer/old computer

After buying a new laptop I had trouble getting my data from the old puter into the new one. Len's brother Jerry suggested someone here in Vinton, LA who might be able to help. He did!

He completely rebuilt the old computer. It is good as new. He also transferred data from old computer to the new laptop. He charged only $110.00. OUCH, I had just bought the new one last week at a cost of $650.00. IF ONLY I KNEW!!!

We will be leaving Louisiana next Saturday. We first go to South Dakota for our drivers licenses. Then we head to NJ. Len has a temp job lined up starting May 24. This will help our finances and carry us through for the rest of the year as once the job is through he is able to collect unemployment for a while. He turns 62 in January.

We are financially secure but don't want to draw down in investments any more than we have to. Especially looking at the market the last few days. Our plan when we came to Louisiana was for him to work for a few months. We thought there would be a job here for Len but that didn't happen.

We expect to be in NJ about 6 to 10 weeks. Then we will head back here to again help out. We really need this break.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Our weekend off

First we welcome Ira and Vicky. Glad to see you here!

Having last Saturday free from our care responsibilities of Len's mother, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and go for a nice drive.

This is the Calcasieu River as it runs through Lake Charles, La. We drove along the shores in part of the city that is home to several river front homes the like of which we would never be able to afford.

The dock of one home.

The home.
From there we left Lake Charles driving the Creole Trail. We have driven this approximately 100 trail not long after Hurricane Rita whipped through. At that time all we saw was destruction. We were amazed at the changes this time. Where before we saw houses off their foundation and lots of blue tarp roofs, this time we saw very little evidence of a hurricane's force and many new homes. However, most new homes were built on ground that was raised several feet or on tall stilts which would allow the water surges to flow under the building. Still - this area gets hit with severe storms every several years. But the people continue to rebuild.
I have been coming to Louisiana almost 23 years. Until this ride I had never seen an alligator in the wild. This trip more than made up for it.
There are several driving and walking trails off the Creole Trail. Pintail Drive is a driving trail in the Cameron Wildlife Refuge between Lake Charles and the town of Creole. As we drove this trail, we wish we had counted the number of gators we saw. They were abundant in every direction.

To cross over the Calcasieu ship channel, a ferry has to be crossed. The channel runs from the Gulf of Mexico to Calcasieu Lake.

This is the small car ferry that is crossed. We have crossed this ferry before but this is the first time there was a charge. It is $.25 for walk on passengers and $1.00 for vehicles. We were the first car lined up to board. When the attendant came to collect our toll, she asked if we were over 65. Since I am, we did not have to pay the toll. Age does have some benefits

Heading back toward the town of Sulphur, you drive through the Sabine National Wildlife Preserve. We stopped to walk the 1.5 mile trail that takes you out into the marsh. We again saw some gators and also these turtles sunning themselves on the bank.

This walkway leads to a platform overlooking the area.

Most of the walk is on a concrete walk. However, one section requires an elevated boardwalk. As we crossed via the boardwalk, Len noticed the snake seen here in the lower portion of the picture. He believes it is a young cottonmouth. Sure glad we were on that boardwalk.

This drive and day was desperately needed as we prepared for another week of caregiving.