Home sweet home

Cathouse in the Snow

Cathouse in the Snow
What a lovely day in Paradise

Saturday, July 30, 2011

SD Summer 2011

It has been a great trip up here in NE SD.  Marvin, my hometown to be exact.  Weather has been great, highs in the 80's, some thunderboomers and rain.  We had a great Thorpe family reunion last Saturday, both my daughters Becky/Tina and Tina's boyfriend Joe were able to make it along with my grandsons, Christian, Sean, and Dylan.  All got to meet the family and we were able to see others we had not seen in a number of years.  A great day. 

This past week we did some work on the farm, cleaning, hauling iron, clean the shop etc.  Lots to be done and it is a never ending project.  But when you have a spread, you have to take care of it.  This farm/ranch has been in the family a number of years and will continue to do so.  It is great being parked up here, I enjoy the peace and quiet, just the sounds of the livestock and critters in the gulch.  I hate to leave it, but someday soon I plan to retire and spend a lot more time here.  I have set a date for the future, but that depends on what happens, economy, etc.  We shall see.  I have today and tomorrow left here, Marvin Bar both nights and will just chill out during the day.  Guess I had better get going and enjoy the day and not stay cooped up in here, so we can howl through the nite. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hot, Hot, Hotter than hell!!

The hot Gods are with us, we have had 19 days of over 100 degrees.  Yesterday got to 111 and 93 in the rig.  Poor AC has all it can do to keep up.  There is light at the end of the tunnel as the rig and I are going to SD.  It should be cooler up there.  I keep saying that you don't have to shovel 111 degrees.  I will take the heat over cold any day.  Just spent time with my latest grandson Dylan and his grandma Jan.  That little guy is growing too fast.  Short entry tonite, as I am going to relax a while.  Cat feels 9 lives still left, just like my one brain cell is still alive. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th

Been a while since I have updated this, so I will get off my butt and do so.  I have been at the fulltime RV gig for over a year now and love it.  Not doing much travel yet as I still work fulltime, but working on a date to retire etc.  Money is the big factor, but ain't that the truth for all of us.  Is the RV thing for everyone? No, it is not - some do not like the small space, lack of a yard, garage, etc.  But as I have heard before, "home is where the jacks go down" lot to be said for that and your neighbors change a lot, LOL. 
I have a decent spot and get good shade after 6 PM so can go out and burn a cigar etc.  Are there challenges?  Yes, the major one has been the weather, wind, hail, and I have had both.  One rig totaled due to wind and replaced a roof due to hail last year, which is on an earlier post.  Others have been the water system, which freezeup can be a challenge when it is cold and you have to take precautions to prevent it etc.  Water leaks with plumbing is one of the problems I have had, but we are doing good now.  But, after travel, you need to check fittings and check for leaks etc.  I had two good friends who recently lost their rig due to a fire, but they have come through and are now in a new rig.  Ed and Marilyn, glad all is working out for you.  I have learned some lessons there and will be getting at least 2 more fire extinguishers and taking other items in truck when I travel.  I have a Pressure Pro and recommend anyone who tows a trailer get one.  It is cheap insurance. 

Had a great fireworks show last nite and did no have to even leave home as the folks in the housing area provided the show.  Sounded like a war zone here.  Burned cigars and drank diet coke, yes you heard it.  Have not had a beer in 6 months, but have lost 75 pounds and plan to lose another 25 and I will make it.  There have been challenges but I feel great and nice to get all the good compliments and be able to wear smaller size clothes, 8 inches off waist and now an XL T-shirt, maybe soon a large.  Maybe I will write about it more. 

I will try to update this more, but when in front of a computer all day, I prefer to do other things and I will not be a slave to this machine which has a temperment of its own, LOL.  Kinda like me.  OK, time for a morning shake, walk, and get my Cat ass to the store and help my daughter blow fireworks tonite. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring time

Yes, I think spring is here, thunderstorm tonite with some small hail.  Just got my walk done when it started.  Yep, timed that just right.  Thank God the hail was very small, don't need anything like last fall.  Good news here in the trailer park, we thought there were going to be new owners, but guess the deal fell through at the last minute.  That is fine with me cause I like the folks that work here, Mary, Steve; just good folks and they did not want to leave.  So I am glad about that, gets to be a bit of a family here and we tend to look out for each other.  One thing I had heard was that new owners were talking about electric meters on power etc.  Anyway some of the rumors I heard.  At least for now we shall see what happens.  I plan to do a post about the Marvin Bar very soon, hopefully this weekend when weather is cold and nasty.  Old man winter still is trying to hold on, but I think he will go down in flames soon, I hope:)

Well, all I will post for now "The Alamo" with John Wayne is on and think I will finish watching that.  Tomorrow the cat will howl at the local watering hole. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cold and Snow

So, how do we deal with the cold in an RV?  If you think it is the same as in your stick and brick home, it is not.  Depends on the type of RV you have and how well it is insulated.  That is one thing I have learned is to check those type of specs when looking at RV's.  Some have R14 on the floor and roof and R10 on the walls, by the way that is what I have in my rig.  I saw one at the RV show two weeks ago that had R40 on the floor, R28 on the roof, and R10 on the walls.  By the way most have R10 on the walls, get any higher would be quite heavy.  Also where you plan to RV is also a consideration, being from SD I would like to be up there in the cooler weather in the fall (hunting season etc.)  So it is what you desire, how much can you afford etc. 

What have I done to cope?  Well, I use two space heaters in the living room/kitchen.  One is on the GFI circuit and the other is on another circuit, otherwise would blow breakers.  I also have one in the bedroom, but only use it at night and the one in the living room is shut down.  The main concern is that I only have 30 amps so have to ration where the power goes.  If you use the microwave, shut off the living room heater.  Have to develop new habits, after breakers blow right in the middle of a favorite TV show such as Hawaii 5-0, you learn real quick as it takes a few minutes for the satellite system to wake up and get back to work.  I have tried to limit the use of the furnace but sometimes you need it.  I run it more at night.  Main reason to run the furnace - there is a heat duct that goes into the basement compartment where the water lines are located and you need to keep it warm.  Believe me, propane is cheaper than dealing with the hassle of frozen lines and those types of repairs.  I also have an indoor/outdoor temp sensor located in the basement compartment and keep an eye on the temps.  I also have it to monitor the indoor temps as well.  A great little device, you can get at a hardware store etc. 

What about the water coming into the rig?  That is the biggest challenge.  Hard to use the water when it turns to ice.  Did I tell you that the only good place for ice is in your whiskey or in your cooler?:)  Same thing we say when flying airplanes and have to deal with in flight icing conditions.  The good news here is that the hydrant at the rig is covered with heat tape and I keep it plugged in at all times.  I also have a heated water hose that is good to -42.  Both of these are plugged into the shore power pole.  In addition, I keep the gray valves open and black closed (for well known reasons.)  What I have learned is to have a faucet valve open and keep movement in the lines, old trick as a kid on the farm in SD.  I leave the hot and cold open in the bathroom sink with a small trickle.  I have heard tales of sewer lines getting iced up and that has already happened to me.  Not good when you come home and the kitchen sink is 1/3 full already - gets your attention.  My sewer hose is one of those Rhino Flex type and works good.  I keep it as short as possible and check the outlet on the rig to make sure water is coming out.  The hose has stayed clear so far.  On my kitchen when I was running a water trickle there, the sewer line under the rig somewhere froze, just had to wait for temps to come up and thaw it out. When the weather gets above freezing, and it will, I dump the black tank.  I try to flush it at least every two weeks.  So far all is good:)

Last Friday and Saturday we had highs in the 70's and then the bottom fell out and "old man winter" let us know again who is in charge.  Lows last week got below 0 and wind chills to -20.  You find out how airtight your rig is when the wind is blowing at 40+ knots and snow is flying.  Furnace ran almost non-stop and used over 4 bottles propane, that is one expense you had better plan for in this type of weather, you will drink propane like a thirsty elephant.  Last Tuesday was the worst as the temp in here did not get much past 68 if we were lucky.  Water held out, so all went well.  Wednesday nite the wind died down and once again the rig got toasty warm in spite of outside air temps down to 0.  It was one heck of a storm, but other parts of the country had it way worse so cannot complain.  Where my daughter is in IN, they had over an inch of ice and the power was out.  If you do not like the weather here, wait an hour.  In SD, just wait 15 minutes. 

I know some of my friends in TX had a heck of a time.  I can see why, hydrants are not heated - they freeze up, water lines are only 6 inches below the ground.  In SD we bury them at least 6 feet - get below the frost line.  I know many had to take precautions.  And why do we all want to go to TX in the winter?  Well, it is not supposed to get that cold and snow.  Ask the folks in DFW, dealing with the elements and the super bowl being today.  Go Packers!!!  Good news, hopefully this will be short-lived and spring will be soon.  By the way, the groundhog did not see his shadow.  Yeah, tell that to the folks on the east coast! 

So, some of the tale of how we cope with the weather, temps in the 30's today, but all I have going right now is two of the space heaters and keeping quite warm:).  Looks like it will get cold later this week, so need to be ready.  Going to a Super Bowl party later and cheer on the Packers.  Wish the Dallas Cowboys were in there, but let's see what happens next season. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

RV Challenges, Blown Tire, Hail

Well it has been more than a year that I made the decision to live in my RV fulltime.  Do I regret it?  Hell no!!!  Saving some money, no association dues, neighbors change, can move if I do not like the spot, less to clean and maintain, you name it!!  Have there been challenges?  You bet, small problems such as water leaks, toilet leaks, challenges of changing weather, wind, hail, blown tires.  It can all happen.  Do the same things happen in a stick and brick home?  Yes, I have had the same issues.  Are they more in an RV?  Possible, cause when you move, you subject your rig to an earthquake that would be similiar to the Pacific Rim.  All part of it.  Have a good dealer who can assist with repairs, give advice, and be there when you need them.  I have had good luck here with Wichita RV, who have been the best.  Read the blogs of others and heed what they say and try to help them if able and you know what you are talking about.  Many things you will learn as you go. 

OK, I told you all I would write about some of the issues I have had, bout time I get off my butt and tell it. 
First on the trip home from Sturgis for the motorcycle rally, I had a blown tire on the right side of the rig.  I did not know it until someone flagged me down and told me.  I pulled into a parking lot and sure enough the tire was shredded and riding on the rim which was ruined as well.  As good fortune would have it, there was a Goodyear Tire dealer on the other end of the lot, so I walked over there and got the service guys to look at it and assess the repairs.  So I limped on over to the shop, pulled it in and they got to it.  There was damage on the wheelwell and around the fender area.  Pretty sure it happened in town at slower speeds, as it could have been a lot worse.  They were able to replace the tire and rim and get me back on the road.  I had them put a load range E tire on the rig and eventually replaced the other three with E tires and got rid of those D's.  E tires are 10 ply as opposed to 8.  Hopefully that will help as I am at gross weight with the rig.  Now for the dumbass award!!  I purchased a "Pressure Pro" system at the RV Dreams Rally in fall of 2009 at Kerrville, TX.  Now, why you ask would this be a problem?  Well, I did not have the sensors on the wheels as I should have.  Had I done that, hopefully I would have caught it sooner and could have prevented a problem.  After the repair and insurance claim, that alone was over $2000 worth of damage and with a high deductible it was a costly mistake.  Lesson learned, if you spend money on a system, use it!!  So you can bet I will in the future. 

Next thing.  On September 15, 2010 the "weather gods" were quite annoyed and we had a doozy of a storm that evening.  We had been watching the weather all day and believe me the conditions were ripe.  During our morning center get together at the work place, one of the young ladies gave the weather report and stated that the "gods were angry," and was she ever right.  Well, we had a farewell party for one of our managers that nite and we spent the first part of the evening watching the storm, seeing the hail, drinking beer, and not a thing we could do (about the storm that is.)  Good thing I was in the bar and not in the rig.  Guess what you don't see and hear will not hurt you.  Weather report said a twister was in the area of the airport but did not touch down.  The Good Lord intervened and saved us, so I say my thanks to Him.  The party went on and afterward, I went home to survey the damage, could not see anything from the ground, no holes I could see.  Some of the neighbors had hail stones go through their roofs as many others had holes in roofs of stick and brick homes.  The roof repairs guys were busy for a long time.  Some of those hail stones were larger than soft balls and the amazing thing they were so hit and miss in the area.  What a nite, none that I want to repeat anytime soon. 

I had the local RV dealer repair guy check for damage and he said I had a dent in one of the slides and that was it.  However, after talking to others I decided to have my RV dealer check it out and surprise, surprise.  I had a whole lot more damage to the roof.  Bottom line, had to have the holes/dents in roof repaired, roof reskinned, and all three slides extended out and reskinned on the roofs.  All told, over $12,000 of damage.  Thank God the insurance took care of it, but again another deductible expense.  Took over a week to repair the roof, so a friend of mine let me crash in the bedroom of his "Clubhouse" located on his property.  Thank you Greg and Beci, you were a huge help.   Also, need to mention, I had a brake lock up on one of the axles and get very hot, so on the way to repair the roof, I advised the dealer of this latest problem.  Good news, they replaced both axles for nothing.  Guess there was a defect on them.  So a lucky break there.  Same time, repaired the blown tire area, so got all the work done at one time. 

So, are there issues and problems?  You bet, but if you have a good dealer and support network it will certainly help you to cope and move on with life and not let them get you down.  The "Cathouse" is still alive and well and waiting to howl and growl again.  Now I need to tell you how we deal with the cold, but will do that later. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

The holidays this year have been great, but glad it is about over and we get back to normal, for whatever that is.  If you find out, please let me know.  Had a great Christmas, got a stuffed dog from my daughter Tina.  His name is Col Spicket II, little history there with him and my kids.  Needless to say was a nice gift and a rather emotional one there.  It is something I will cherish.  Next gift was from my daughter Becky, my son David, and grandkids Christian and Sean.  It is a photo slideshow with over 225 pictures of kids/grandkids etc.  I was really surprised to get it.  Both really nice gifts this year.  Had dinner with my daughter, her boyfriend Joe and two other friends.  A great meal of ham and all the trimmings.  Then watched the kids open their gifts which is always fun.  Off to the watering hole that nite. 

New Years eve with my daughter up at the Hangar One.  A great meal with good friends, beer and cigars, a great way to top off the evening.  Today, a quiet day, temp of 25 degrees, we had 68 on Thurs then the bottom fell out and cold it got.  Last nite coming home from bar was 15.  Space heaters have proved their worth and furnace to help out and keep the belly warm.  Nice and cozy in here today, a good day to catch up etc. 

Short entry today, hopefully more tomorrow.  Cat may howl again tonite.  My gals at the regular watering hole are missing me.