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, September 29, 2011

We are so impressed!

Smyrna,   DE

Welcome to two new followers Joan and Kitty.   Love to see you here!

One of our joys of being in NJ is seeing our east coast grandchildren.  Our 24 year old grandson, Justin was at out his mothers in NJ on Monday.  On Saturday we met 1/2 way between our daughters homes  to bring the girls to NJ from their home in MD.   Our usual place to meet is along the Susquehanna River in Port Deposit, MD.     The river showed the ravages from Hurricane Irene with it's muddy waters and higher than normal levels.  We saw that a lot of Port Deposit had been flooded when they had to open the gates up river at Conawingo Dam.

It was an eerie sight.

The girls got to meet the new addition to their Aunt T and Uncle Steve's family.    This is "Cane" (actual name Hurricane Irene as they traveled in the Hurricane to pick her up.)   Cane is a rescue dog, part Collie and part who knows what!

We left NJ this morning and drove the 58 miles over to Smyrna, DE for warranty and repair work on our rig.   We are so pleased with this dealership.

Even though we arrived later than expected, they were professional, polite and got right to working on the paperwork.   They had to order some  parts which they expect to arrive around noon tomorrow.  However, they got started immediately working on the items they could.

We went to WalMart and bought a portable DVD player with two screens to attach to the back of our seats to be viewed by our granddaughters when we take them on long trips.    We then drove into the nearest town to Smyrna which is Dover, DE.


There were RV's everywhere.  Camped in every parking lot and piece of vacant and not so vacant real estate.  My sister tells me they reserve a spot at stores a year in advance.  

We ate at Applebees.  In the parking lot were four RVs complete with grills, tables, chairs, etc.  One had tables set out and about 15 people sitting around.   One motor home was taking up 6 parking spots.   It must be worth it to the businesses.

Everywhere you looked:

Dover Downs in the background.   My sister (a NASCAR fan) says to expect bumper to bumper traffic tomorrow, the first race day.  Oh my!!!  She should know as she usually attends the races here.

When we got back to the dealership around 2 they had the rig set in place for the night.  They provide water and 50 amp electric.  How cool is that!   Where we bought the rig ( Scott RV) and had previous (frustrating) work done, NO SUCH THING!    Go find a motel!  

So tomorrow we will pick up granddaughter Abby who will be spending at least a week with us.   Hopefully the motor for the back stabilizers would have arrived by the time we get back.

We know we will have to return once they receive the parts they ordered due to the damage from the tire blow outs.  That's okay.  We plan on being  back in this area in a few weeks anyway.   And we are positive it will not take them 6 weeks to order the parts (like it did Scott RV) or 3 months to get around to making the repairs (like it did Scott RV).   We also bet they won't "pirate" our steps (like Scott RV).   SCOTT RV TAKE A LESSON!

We are settled in for the night feeling very secure.  And why wouldn't we?   Every time we open our door and step out we are greeted by this fellow.

Glad he's on the OTHER side of the fence.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Coincidence or power of Internet

Upper Deerfield Twp, NJ

On Friday we got a call from Camping World Customer Service asking about our recent experience with Camping World in Bridgeport, NJ.    Was this a usual follow-up that is normally performed or do they monitor the Internet?  We don't know.

Companies do searches on the Internet to see if their name pops up.   A few years ago I mentioned the name of the daycare center my granddaughter attended at the time.  The school is a national chain with a good reputation.   The comment was only about an activity my granddaugther had attended and included a picture of her.  The next day the director of her school told my daughter he recognized the picture of Charlotte on my blog and realized it was his school that was being mentioned.  He had done a "Google" search of the schools name.

So, did Camping World do a search?  We don't know or care.   We only know that Customer Service said the situation would be looked into.  (Yea, like we really expect to hear anything further).  We don't want anyone to lose their job or be disciplined.  We do want the mechanic to realize we expected he would have done the research to assure the corrent filter was available and the correct oil would be used.   Having the wrong oil would have caused us costly problems with our engine.

We can understand his "assumption" on the oil to use but when informed his assumption was incorrect, we expected the situation to have been handled in a different manner.  

Hopefully this experience will be a lesson learned.  Both for the mechanic as well as for us.   I am thinking we have learned something - when in need of an oil change, do not use Camping World again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just one more aggravation - but we can handle it!

Upper Deerfield Twp,  NJ

We welcome as new followers:    Mike Mills, Donald, Rick and Elaine, Nan and John and Michael Ultra.    So glad to see you here.  

The last time we had our 2011 Ford F350's oil changed was at the Ford Dealership at a cost of over $120.00.   I saw that Camping World does oil changes on diesel trucks for $69.99.   Hey, I say to Leonard, let's go there next time.

Today was the day.   He called the local Camping World last week and made an appointment for today.  They asked him the year, make and model of the truck.  We get there this morning at 10:45 for our 11:00 appointment.

We made ourselves comfortable in the waiting area talking to a nice couple.  A short time later the mechanic comes out and says they don't have the oil filter that fits our truck.  It will take about two hours to have one delivered.   Okay, we can deal with that.

Since it was close to 11:30 and we were hungry, the nice couple offered to drive us to a nearby McDonalds.  We gladly accepted their kind offer.  They took us there and brought us back to Camping World.

We wait and wait and wait.  About three hours later (not two) the filter arrives.   They finally get the oil changed around 4 pm.   We go to pay and fortunately Leonard notices on the work order they used the WRONG OIL!    We had been told by our dealer that the newer Ford diesels use 10W30, not 15W40 the  older trucks required.   The mechanic used 15W40.

Leonard called our dealer.  He said GET THAT OIL OUT OF YOUR TRUCK!.    The woman at the counter said she would check on it.  She called a Ford dealer who told her the same thing we said - the new Ford engine uses 10W30.   So, they had to call a Ford dealer and get the right oil.  

The mechanic was upset earlier in the day about the filter.  He told Leonard he should have made an appointment with them and not expect them to have the filter in stock that we needed.  Len's response was that he did have an appointment and they asked at the time about the truck.  This time the mechanic came out and told Leonard to take his truck to Ford next time!  Len replied in the same tone, I WILL!  Leonard also told him there is a sticker on the window stating last oil change and what type oil to use.

So, finally at 5:40 the truck was done and we left, none too happy.  AND because of the different oil filter the cost was a little over $100, not $69.99.    

Is someone playing with our heads???

And we will be taking it to a Ford dealer next time.

Monday, September 19, 2011

New tires and new attitude

Upper Deerfield Twp, NJ

We spent some time yesterday trying to buy two new tires.  No luck.  All area RV dealers and tire dealers were closed where we were staying at the job site of Dave and Betty Barnes.

But on the upside, we got to spend some time with these dear people.  For dinner Betty fired up the grill.  Chicken, corn on the cob and bison burgers with potato salad and not-so-good purchased coconut custard pie.

Betty and Dave have made a lovely home at their job site.

Even planting a variety of tomatoes.

On Saturday we had been given a name of a local tire dealer when we stopped at a truck stop close to where Betty and Dave are staying.  We also had gathered other numbers in case this one did not pan out.   Len called the dealer a few minutes after 8 this morning..   The owner said he thought he had two tires like we needed in stock and would check and call us back.  He called a few minues later and did have them.  We immediately drove the 7 miles to get those tires.  They are Coopers and hopefully much better than what we were sold in New Mexico.

Many commentors have inquired what kind of tires we had that blew.   They are Hi-Run and made in Beijing China.    I did a Google search and we are far from the only people who have had problems with these pieces of junk.   As I said on my last blog, we were having problems with the original tires that Montana installed.  All four were replaced early this year.  Two in January and these two gems in March.  We were in Tucumcari, NM and Jacks Truck Repair was the only source of trailer tires we could find.

Some comments also reminded us to check the dates on the tires.  We were aware of that and these tires were manufactured in late 2010.    They are unsafe even if brand new.  I keep a record of miles traveled when towing.  We had  5,570  miles on them when the first one exploded.   The second one was about 80 miles later.   I've read reports where they blew with only 4,000 miles.

We left Betty and Dave this morning feeling safer with our new tires.   We arrived back here safely at my daughters in South Jersey about 2:00.     I've contacted the insurance company.  We had already made arrangements to take the rig to the shop on Thursday for warranty work.    Len contacted the shop, which is over in Delaware, notifying them of this additional curve.

We have settled down somewhat.   We are taking it easy. Will spend our time here visiting friends and family and then once we get all work done, decide where we head next.

Thank you again for your hospitality and generosity, Betty and Dave!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our worse day on the road - time to park it?

Bloomsbury,  NJ

We said our goodbyes to the Camp Directors Jenn and Lee  and NOMADS Susan and Mike, and got on the road shortly before 9 am yesterday headed to Bloomsbury, NJ where we planned to boondock for the night while visiting fellow bloggers Betty and Dave.

After driving maybe 60 miles and while in heavy traffic on I95 in Connecticut we heard a loud BOOM!  At first we thought it was the tractor-trailer next to us backfiring.   But immediately realized we had a tire blow out.  The tractor-trailer slowed allowing us to pull over.   There was no shoulder on the road but for about two feet then a guard rail.   The tire had blown so fast the Pressure Pro System gave us no warning.   The blow out caused the side of our trailer over the tires to rip apart.

We needed to get out of the road.   There was a spot about 200 yards up the road where we could safely pull over.   Len slowly drove the truck while I walked on the inside of the guard rail holding the metal that came loose from the rig.

To remove the torn metal, Len started the generator and got out a grinder and cut the large piece off allowing him access to the tire.   After changing  the tire, we got back on the road.    About an hour later we pulled into a rest area and grabbed some way overpriced McDonalds burgers.

We figured we could get to our destination by 3 pm so I called Betty to let her know.   At about two ANOTHER TIRE BLEW.   Again so fast the Pressure Pro did not give a warning.  This time we were on I287 with a wide shoulder.   This was the tire directly in front of the previously blown tire.   A little more damage was done to the side of the rig.  Fortunately both tires were on the same side so all damage was contained.

There are massive holes in both tires.

We were now in a situation with no spare.   We unhooked the truck and set off to buy two tires.  I put in a search for a Sears in our GPS.  She directed us to a location about 8 miles away.  NO SEARS to be seen.  A little up the road we found a Pep Boys.   They do not carry trailer tires.   A little more up the road a Firestone Tire Store.   They keep no trailer tires in stock - can order one and will get it by Wednesday.   They search on the computer to see if other Firestone stores in the area have what we need.  NO.   They tell us about a tire store about 4 miles away.   We go there.  It is closed.

Another search on the GPS for a different Sears.   She directs us into a residential area on a dead end street. No Sears there of course.    Back to the main highway - there is a Discount Tire Store.  No trailer tires.  They call the nearest Sears for us.   NOPE!  No trailer tires there either.   They call a tire store they know about.  No answer.

In the meantime I have been talking to Betty keeping her up-to-date on our situation.   Then I get an idea!   They have a 2010 Montana.  They have a spare!   Can we come get it and get our rig off the Interstate?   Sure.  

It is a 52 mile drive each way.  We get to their location at about 5:45.  They have their spare ready for us.  Back we go.  However first we get on I78 near where they are but we head the wrong way.  Almost into Pennsylvania we get turned around.   We then drive the miles back to our rig, Len gets the spare on and we head back to Betty and Dave's.  We get there close to 8 pm.   We have now been on the road about 11 hours for what was to be a 3 to 4 hour drive.

We park the truck and rig and open the slides.   Betty was outside and said she heard loud noises when the larger slide opened.   Later we realized that Len had wrapped bungee cords around the frame and connected them to the remainder of the piece of metal he had left from his cutting.  He did this so wind would not get under it and cause further damage.   The sound was the bungee cords snapping and breaking.  No damage we hope.

Betty and Dave then took our poor souls to dinner.

The day was trying.   We are seriously considering if we should continue on the road.  We had the accident last year which separated the back end from our rig.   Our four original tires on the rig were replaced this year due to either blow outs or they were obviously wearing.  The two tires that blew yesterday were replacements we bought in New Mexico in the middle of nowhere when we had a blowout of one of the originals and it was the only tire store in the area.  

We've had two very close calls in recent weeks when the drivers decided at the last minute to head to an exit and cut in front of us to the point to avoid a collision Len had to pull into another lane both times hitting the brakes and almost hitting another car.  Only because of his driving skill did we avoid a bad accident.  Had I been driving, the story would have ended differently.    And we have both had to deal with the death of our mothers in the last year.

As much as we love this life style, we don't know if we can continue with our almost constant stress of breakdowns and near misses.   It this worth it?

Today we will look for tires but it is Sunday.   We don't hold out much hope.   We might need to stay put a day or two.   Tomorrow we contact the Insurance Company AGAIN.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Project completed (at least all we had time for)

N. Scituate,  RI

This morning we finished up all we had time for at Camp Aldersgate.   We had wanted to accomplish lots more but a late start due to Hurricane Irene and the subsequent one week without electric gave us a challenge.

George and Lynn D worked on insulating the concrete wall of the dining hall:

Leonard getting assistance from George B and Linda installing a new window.

George B and Linda M did a beautiful job in the kitchen/sitting area of the Retreat Center with new laminate and ceramic tile flooring.

Leonard and Mike installing new bathroom partitions in a bathroom which we had painted and laid ceramic tile.

Susan washing the partitions before they were hung:

From left:   George and Linda (Va), George and Lynn (TN), Leonard and me, Susan and Mike (FL)

Both Georges and Linda and Lynn pulled out this morning.  Len, Mike and I completed the partition in one restroom.  Susan, who grew up in nearby Connecticut, is off helping a friend can applesauce.

We leave tomorrow morning headed to visit Betty (of Phoenix Once Again blog)  and Dave Barnes who are workkamping in northern NJ.

Our next NOMADS project isn't until late January 2012 in Moss Point, MS where we again take on the challenge of Project Leaders.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Narragansett Bay,  RI

Today we took a ferry tour around the Narragansett Bay near Newport, RI.  We rode the 400 passenger Millennium Ferry.

Five of our group took advantage of this opportunity.  George Bauserman and Linda Mitchell from VA, George Dimock from Tennessee and Leonard and me.

We departed from Quonset Point for the advertised 93 minute cruise.  It was actually a little over two hours.   Total tour length was 30 miles.

The tour included viewing of 10 Lighthouses, 10 small islands, under two bridges, pass the Fort Adams Fortification, into Newport Harbor and past the Aircraft Carrier "USS Saratoga"

Plum Beach Lighthouse:

Dutch Island Lighthouse:

Beavertail Lighthouse:

Castle Hill Lighthouse:

The Inn at Castle Hill:

Yachts lined up at the Newport Yacht Club:

In the distance, St. Marys Church where Jacqueline Bouvier and Jack Kennedy were married in 1953:

The Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy's Step-father where the wedding reception was held.

Rose Island Lighthouse:

Barely seen, Conanicut Island Lighthouse, now a private residence.

One of several America's Cup Winners which were sailing the Bay today.  This one was built in 1938.

The tour was narrated by Arthur Strauss a well-known local historian.  The cost of the tour is $30 per person / $28 for seniors.  In addition there is another $5 discount if you purchase your ticket in advance off the Internet as we did.

A perfect day on the Bay.

Friday, September 9, 2011

AHHH. The weekend!

N. Scituate,  RI

Our second workweek at Camp Aldersgate is over.   Monday was beautiful.  The rest of the workweek was constant rain or drizzle.    The ground is saturated.   But now it is Friday and our three days off.  It is breezy and cool out but no rain. Perhaps some drying will occur.

We did get some things accomplished.

Social room floor laminated.

Two bathrooms painted.

The two bathroom floors partially tiled.  One is almost complete, the other one about 1/5 done.

Lots more to do and only four days to do it.    Hopefully no more delays such as hurricane damage, no electric or heavy rains which make changing out of windows and that outside wall  insulation difficult or impossible.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


North Scituate,  RI

WE HAVE ELECTRIC!    Came on about four hours ago.   Oh, what a10 days we've had.

It all started when we left this area and headed to the Poconos of Pa due to the approaching menace of Hurricane Irene.

Behind our fiver in PA was this small stream.

After a few hours of rain it looked like this:

Then came the hurricane.  Sunday morning this is what we found.

All around us was this but we were sitting high and dry, even with the stream only 5 feet behind the rig.

As I've reported earlier, we left the Poconos on Monday and came here to Camp Aldersgate to start our NOMADS project.

Our workweek was delayed one day and the tasks changed.   Lots of trees down and branches to pick up.   AND NO ELECTRIC.    We were thrilled about this as back in the Pocono's we were without electric.  So work had to be done without electrical power or water.

Len loved cutting up trees and removing the logs from camp roads.

This was just one of many paths to be cleared by dragging down branches out to an area where the chipper would then be able to turn it into mulch.

I assisted in the dismantling of a lean-to behind the dining hall.    What once was there, is now gone.  Next week we will be insulating the back wall of this building.

We do not work Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  Yesterday we did some grocery shopping and that was about it.

Today Len and I took a ride over to Newport and then stopped at a Chili's for a late lunch.

Did you know there are some fairly nice properties in that town?

If any of you are in the market for a stix and brix, this one is available.  If interested, it is listed with Sotheby's.  ENOUGH SAID!

One more day off and it's back to work.  We are laboring on Labor Day.

Oh, and did I mention?   WE HAVE ELECTRIC!