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

Friday, September 28, 2012

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Ives Run COE,  Tioga, PA

No, this has nothing to do with Clint Eastwood.  (Gotta say - I do love him). 

The Good:   We arrived at our NOMADS annual meeting one day early - on Sunday.   The meeting went well.  There were 97 rigs in attendance.  It was down about 50 from last year but with the cost of fuel and most NOMADS being retired and on a fixed income, I can understand.  

For those who do know what NOMADS are,  check out www.nomadsumc.org    We are people who travel in our RV's and do volunteer work for various Methodist agencies such as camps, churches and retreat centers.   Once a year they have a meeting and conference. This year it was in Hamburg, NY right outside Buffalo. 

NOMADS are supported mostly by the membership (about 1,100 of us) with help from many of our local churches and members.   We pay dues of $40. a year that supports our administrative costs which includes one paid administrator, the web site and associated costs.  

Even though we work for free, many of the agencies we work at do not have the funds for materials.   Last years NOMADS awarded over $75,000 in grants to these agencies.   

Our biggest fund raiser is a silent auction and a live auction held during the annual meeting.   This year the auction brought in over $41,000!    These people really gave considering there were about 185 people in attendance.     

They have a tradition of challenging couples to donate $10. for each year of marriage.  We accepted the challenge, 23 years.    Another is auctioning $2.00 bills for $100.00.  We now have a crisp new $2.00 bill.    They were close of hitting the goal of $40,000 so decided to auction off four left-over T shirts with the NOMADS logo and meeting location on it.  We had bought one for each of us at a cost of $12.00 each.  We now have a third one (my size) that cost us $225.00.  I feel quite elegant now - I've never had a T shift worth that kind of money!  Funny though, it looks just like the one I paid $12.00 for.

Working with NOMADS has enriched our lives.    We have learned that God always provides if we trust Him.

We left this morning and settled into our camp site at one the our favorite parks - Ives Run on Hammond Lake here in Tioga.  Now for

The Bad:     We were here for about an hour when Len noticed water at the bottom of our steps leading down from the bedroom.   I wiped up the puddle but it continued to flow from under the step.     We emptied the basement but could not determine where the water was coming from.   He even had to disconnect our surge protector that was hard wired in.  

The Ugly:   After doing all that, we think the leak was coming from the shower.   But not really sure.  We have caulked the shower and will do more tomorrow.  We have no idea how much damage, if any, has been done.   Quite possibly this unit will be in the shop once we hit NJ in about 4 weeks.    In the meantime, we will keep a close eye on the situation.   We know that once water gets into these rigs, damage happens quickly.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

More than 1/2 way there.

Galena, Ohio

We left the Escapade yesterday morning around 7:15 to make the 7:30 appointment for the new tires for the fiver.   Lovely - we arrived, they got right on it and we were on the road before 8.   AND they paid us $300.00 for the old tires we had on the rig.  They had told us they would buy the tires as they always need decent used trailer tires.   We were surprised at how much they gave us.    BEAUTIFUL!

Last night we drove as far as Effingham, IL. where we over-nighted at Wallyworld Camp.   

This morning we took to the road heading northeast to our destination of Hamburg, NY which is in the Buffalo area.    We've enjoyed before the Air Force Museum on Wright-Patterson AF Base.   As we had plenty of time we took a detour off of I70 down to the museum where we walked around for a spell.

We planned on staying once again at a Wallyworld Camp in Columbus, OH but upon arriving found that RV'ers are not welcome to stay overnight.   So down the road we went again.

We first pulled into a rest area on I71 but didn't feel comfortable opening the slides.   I checked the GPS and found there was a Flying J about 3 miles ahead.  Flying J it is.

We've dined at Denny's.  (I think saying DINING at Denny's is pushing it).  And now we are settled in for the night.

As we only have about 325 miles to go, we will probably be really close to our destination tomorrow night allowing us to arrive first thing Monday morning.   We are looking forward to the NOMADS annual meeting.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The $2,828.00 free oil change

Escapade - Sedalia,  MO

First thing yesterday we collected on the free truck wash.   Good for us it was wide enough for our dually.   Nice to have a clean truck.

Then we found the tire store that would do the oil change.  We knew we would have to pay additional as the change was for a car and up to 5 quarts of oil.  Our diesel takes 13 quarts.   That FREE oil change ended up removing a little more than $2,828 from our pockets.

We knew we needed 6 new tires for the truck.   In addition we wanted to upgrade our rigs tires to G's.   Eleven new tires can be quite costly!  

We take the truck in today for the FREE oil change and new treads.   We leave here Friday morning so our appointment for the fiver is 7:30.   It should not take longer than an hour and we will be on the road for the long drive to Hamburg, NY, near Buffalo where we are due Monday morning.

There has not been any seminars the last two days we have an interest in.   Tomorrow and Thursday there is a series on living as a fulltimer.  These we will go to.

Last nights entertainment was George Dyer, who sings opera and showtunes.   He had quite a voice but just not our style.  Give me George Strait instead!    We left pretty early in the show.   I know - that was rude!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Escapade, we are here.

Sedalia,  MO

We arrived at the Escapade (Escapees Club Rally) late Saturday afternoon.   Lots and lots, probably more than 1,000 RV's here.    Saturday it was just getting settled and catching up with old and new friends. 

We were getting set up when Ken of   www.rvlifeisgoodtoday.blogspot.com  stopped by to introduce himself.   Thinking he kinda had to know it was us because of the NOMADS sign on the truck and Len was outside wearing his ever-present cowboy hat.     Was great meeting Ken and later in the day, Angela.

Once we got set up we called Sam and Donna of  www.samdonna-5thwheelvagabonds.blogspot.com
We had met Sam and Donna before when we "driveway" camped in their yard in May 2011.  

Later Saturday Ken and Angela and Sam and Donna came to our site for Happy Hour where we laughed, talked and enjoyed each others company.

Yesterday we joined Sam and Donna and walked the RV Market place and checked out a few RV's,  Actually I like what we already have more than any we toured.   AND we bought nothing at the marketplace.  

We attended a first-timers orientation followed by the opening ceremonies.  While there we ran into Jeanne and Allan of www.aljewebster.blogspot.com.   We first met Jeanne and Allan a few years ago while in Alabama and then saw then again earlier this year in Mississippi.

Last night we were entertained by Yakov Smirnoff.   He was not only funny but thought provoking.  This is a man who realizes what a treasure America is as he came to this country from Russia when he was 27. 

As is usual with Rally's there is an abundance of door prizes.  Several were drawn at the opening ceremony.  When I heard there was a free car wash I turned to Leonard and said "This would be great for you" or some smart such remark.   Our truck is DIRTY DIRTY DIRTY.  And being black it really shows.  Well, what do you know!  He Won!   Along with the wash he won an oil change, $10 Applebees gift certificate at the local restaurant and a free admission to a Crystal dig someplace in Alabama.

We will probably never use crystal dig admission.  We will use the Applebees certificate before we get out of Sedalia.   We are hoping the car wash takes dually's but we know most don't as they are not wide enough.   And of course the oil change is meant for a car that takes 5 quarts of oil NOT a diesel that takes 13-15  quarts and a lot more expensive oil filter. 

Looking at the seminars today where is none we have an interest in.   So, we plan on finding the car wash and hoping for the best.  Then the shop to see if we can work out a deal for a discounted oil change as it is time for one in the truck.  

I have decided when we get back to NJ to shop for a new computer.   I am using my old one where I have no issues getting WIFI.  On the Toshiba it indicates I am connected to my Verizon Mobile Hot Spot but I can bring nothing up.   It is the same case with the Fairgrounds WIFI.     Can't wait to dump this piece of junk.  I've spent way too much money on it over the last 3 years.

Time to get moving.....

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gonna toss it in the trash.

White Cloud,  KS

Where I last posted was Kaycee, WY.  We left there days ago and spent 3 days in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.   Wish I could post some pictures but I'll explained later why not.   The next 3 days were at Hall County Park in Grand Island, Nebraska.    What a great little park. 

The park in Scottsbluff was at the local Zoo.   The campground was not much more than a dirt parking lot with electric and water at $15.00 a night.  For $15.00 (but only electric) we stayed at Hall County Park on a beautful landscaped site with a cement slab for the rig, a sturdy new picnic table and grill.   I can't say enough good about this little gem of a park.

We left Grand Island this morning at 8:45 and arrived at White Cloud Casino 5 hours later.  The trip was a total of 232 miles but about 30 of them were due to our planned route had a bridge washout from flooding and we had to do a lot of back tracking.

I planned on staying at this casino because my Casino Camping book states it is FREE with FHU's.  As it turns out it is $5.00 a night.   Still a good deal.    The casino is on the IOWA tribe reservation.   Really, no complaints here.   We are just killing time until we head to the Escapade on Saturday.

Now, the reason for the title.   Three years ago I bought a Toshiba laptop.  It's always been SLLLOOOWWWW booting up.   In the three years I've had this piece of junk, I ve had it in for service at least 4 times.   Unfortunately because we travel each time it has been at a different computer "expert" who has done Lord knows what to it.

I had a Sprint aircard, it was slow to connect.  I changed to a Sprint Mobile WIFI.   Still lots of issues.  I checked around and lots of folks recommenced changing to Verizon.  I did.   I got the Verizon 4G Mobile Hotspot.   Service comes in and out.  While in WY and MT I got very little service.  I blamed in on the location.

So then I get to Scottsbluff, NE.  Still really slow.  In and out of service.  Constant disconnections.   While in Grand Island I took my Mobile WIFI to TWO different Verizon dealers.  They had absolutely NO trouble connecting to their computers.    They told me to call Verizon the next time I was online and had an issue.  I did.  I was on the line over one hour with tech.  She had me go into the computer and change some settings.  I now can not get online AT ALL!

I've connected my Mobile WIFI to my old ACER and here I am.  I am online.     My pictures are on my Toshiba.     I am hoping when I get to the Escapade the Geeks on Tour will be there.  Maybe they can help.  I need someone I can TRUST before I allow anyone to touch my computer again.   If they are not there, the Toshiba goes in the trash!  I've had it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Where was it?

Scottsbluff, Nebraska

We left Kaycee, WY yesterday morning around 9 taking I25 south pass Casper where we picked up US 26 east into Nebraska, driving a total of 243 miles.  We are camped at Riverside City Park which includes a small zoo and campground.   Probably tomorrow we will take a stroll around the zoo.

The day before we left Kaycee we saw on the map that Ft. Reno was nearby.  We decided to take a drive over to look at what we thought would be a historic site.

On the way we drove through sheep being herded down the middle of the road to another pasture.

The trick is driving slowly allowing them to scatter out of the way.   Instead of on horseback the sheep-herders were driving 4 wheelers.  Ah, modern day cowboying?

After passing a road I thought would take us to Ft. Reno we drove another 10 miles and then turned around.   Few things are marked clearly in this area.    We then took the road I suspected to be the correct one and found a sign indicating Ft. Reno lay 8 miles ahead.

The paved road turned to gravel.    Alas! we found Ft. Reno.  Here it is.

There were three small signs along the gravel road noting the location and telling the history.   Ft. Reno was the oldest post on the Bozeman Trail.   It was in operation from 1865 to 1868.   As the Fort had little effect on the Indian activity of the area, it was closed.   Obviously.

So here we are back in Nebraska.    Holymoly, there is a WalMart in this town.  So this morning was spent getting stocked up.  

We have not been to the movies in ages.  The documentary 2016 is playing at the local theater.    That's our plan for tonight.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back in WY until tomorrow

Kaycee,  WY

We left Montana on Friday morning driving 151 miles down I90 to Buffalo, WY and picked up I25 into Kaycee.   Along the way we saw there was a brush fire over the ridge.

As we have no where we need to be until the 15th when we are to arrive at the Escapees Escapade in Sedalia, MO we are just moseying along.   We decided to stay in one place over the long weekend.  WOW!  There in NOTHING around here.   The RV park is nothing to rave about for sure.  It is a parking lot with hookups.  But the Passport America cost of $15.00 is fine.  It is not worth a penny more.

On Saturday we took a ride to see "The Hole in the Wall"  It shows on a map but good luck finding it.  However, the surrounding area of where it is supposed to be was worth the drive.

We came upon this sign:

Thinking there must be an attraction ahead we drove over ten miles of rough gravel road.  Then we saw a sign indicating the Outlaw Cave was 3 miles ahead.   We took one look at the road and decided three miles of this was a NO!

Where we turned around was a steep path down to a fishing area.   Evidently these people really like to fish as they drove these RV's over 10 miles of rough terrain to get here.

What I don't get is after driving 10 miles on rough road and being in such a huge wilderness, why are they parked almost of top of each other!