Camping – LVL – August 26 – 28, 2016

We went down to LVL this weekend. Got a bit of a late start plus ran into some rain on the way down so we got there after dark. For the first time since we had this motorhome I had some trouble backing it in. The light conditions plus the rain made it very difficult to see where I was backing. But, once I got out and looked to find out exactly where I was in relationship to the concrete patio I was able to back in without any further issues. We got leveled and hooked up the electric and put out the slides and called it good. After getting that done we went over to a friends camper and spent a bit of time with them plus another couple that was also at their camper.

Saturday morning we got up and finished setting up. Had to hook up the water, the sewer and the satellite and we were done. Shortly after that I took the cooler out to dump the ice water that had melted. About the time I was done I suddenly felt a couple of sharp pains in my chest close to my left arm. That was followed very quickly by a sharp pain on my right shoulder blade. I knew immediately that I had been stung. I ran off and thought I had left them behind. I slowing went back to the camper door – watching closely for any sign of bees – and went inside. I went back to the bedroom to take off my shirt to see the damage and felt a pain in my right leg just above the knee. I knocked that bee off and STOMPED on it. Beth told be to come out to the living area and she would check for any others on me. About the time I got there I had a pain on the top of my head towards the back. I knocked that one down and smashed it with a shoe. What a way to start the day.  I went up to maintenance and told them what had happened and they said they would be right up. It was about 1/2 hour later and they showed up and found the hole in the ground. Apparently the yellow jackets didn’t like the ice water running in their home. Maintenance said they would come up after dark and burn them out. I spent most of the day in the camper. I guess I was a bit gun shy. Plus it was really hot and humid. After it was dark maintenance showed up and poured about 1/2 gallon of gasoline in and around the hole. He let it soak in and then torched it. It burned for about 5 minutes. He said to watch the next morning and let them know if we saw any.

Sunday morning, after breakfast, we put a new map on the MH. It shows all the states in which we have camped. When we finished that we closed up the camper and headed for home. We hope to fill in a few more of those empty states as soon as we retire.

Camping Map

Camping Map

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Chapter campout – Big Creek RV Park

It has been a while since I have posted. I will try to catch up but decided to post the more current stuff and work backwards so that I remember the current stuff better.

We left for a chapter campout after work on August 18. According to the GPS this was going to be about a 2 1/2 hour drive (with traffic). We got started rather late in the evening but that did help some with the traffic issue. The roads were good but we had some road construction. At one point on MO 221 we saw a bunch of red and blue lights ahead of us. There were fire trucks, ambulances, wreckers and police cars. As we approached we were waved through by a fireman. Looking off to the right we saw the car that was involved in the accident – or at least the front half. The back half was missing. We don’t know what happened to it. There was an outer road that was quite a bit lower than the road we were on and it is possible the rest of the car was down there since there were lights there also but we could not see anything. I can’t imagine what would have happened to tear a car into two pieces. It was frightening and we both said a quick prayer for the occupants. By the time we got to Big Creek it was dark but the owners live at the park so they met us and told us where the site was located. It was a pull through which helped. Several of our camping friends came over and helped by holding the lights for us. We got set up and visited for a while and then went to bed.

Friday was a day of relaxation. Several other camping families arrived and we spent time visiting. Friday evening we went with another couple into Arcadia to Thee Abbey. We had eaten here before but only for lunch. The food was quite good but shortly after we sat down they started some entertainment. It was two guys singing and although they were good they were also too loud. We were actually glad when our meal was done so we could leave. Plans were made with the rest of the group to have lunch there on Saturday.

Saturday morning we slept a bit longer than intended so we had a late breakfast. However, we did go with the rest of the group to Thee Abbey for lunch. Since we were not real hungry we ordered a cinnamon roll sundae. It was a pecan roll with two large scoops of ice cream covered with whipped cream and nuts. We could not finish all of it but made a valiant effort and took the rest back to the camper. We also bought a couple of rolls to take along home.

Cinnamon roll sundae

Cinnamon roll sundae

There were several activities at campground that we would have liked to have participated in but by the time we got back the first one was done. However, Beth did go and play candy bar bingo. She didn’t win anything though. That evening the group got together for a pot luck dinner. Quite a few people brought their left overs from lunch. After we ate we sat around a camp fire. It was great weather for a campfire – cool and not windy. It was a great time to meet two new families that camped with us for the first time and both of them joined our chapter and FCRV.

Sunday morning we got up and decided that since it was cool we would break camp and head for home instead of waiting until it go hot. It was a good drive home. We took the MH over to storage and spent the rest of the day continuing our weekend of relaxation.

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State Campout

Before I get to the state campout let me update you on my knee. As I stated earlier it was quite sore at campvention planning in Shawnee OK but nothing I couldn’t handle. Then later that week by the end of the day it was so sore I could barely walk on it. I called Beth and asked her call the doctor and make an appointment for me. The earliest she could get the appointment was on the following Tuesday. Because it was so sore she went to Walgreens and rented some crutches for me. I was concerned that something major was wrong and that I would damage it by walking on it. We left on Friday morning for the campground in Osceola MO for the state campout. It was an uneventful trip. Beth drove quite a bit of the way because my knew started to hurt again. When we got there to set up we had plenty of help. There was a lot I couldn’t do. This was our second state campout we planned. The theme for the weekend was baseball. Friday evening started out with a pitch in. Saturday morning we had a business meeting. After lunch people started bringing in their stuff for the Chinese auction and door prizes. Dinner was again a potluck. After we ate we ate we had the Chinese auction. This was followed by a trivia game (many of which were baseball questions) and that was followed by a baseball movie (Moneyball). The movie was not well attended so I don’t think we will do a movie again. Sunday morning Beth (our state chaplain) held a devotion and we headed home.

On Tuesday I went to see that doctor and he sent me for x-rays on my knee. I didn’t find out anything until the following Thursday  but I continued to use the crutches the rest of the week. On Thursday I had a call from the doctor’s office that the x-rays showed that there was nothing broke. The x-rays only showed an inflammation. I started taking ibuporfin for the inflammation, a compression wrap and keeping it elevated when I could. By this time my knee was good enough that I could begin walking on it.  On Friday, May 6, we headed to Fort Wayne for Jordan’s graduation from IV Tech. He received an Associate of Applied Science in Visual Communications. Saturday was spent with the kids (mostly outside). That evening we went to Mr. Coney. We left from there and headed back to the hotel with a stop at Coney Island to get dogs and chili to take home. Again, an uneventful drive. I did take the crutches along but did not use them while in Fort Wayne. My knee continues to improve. Still sore after I sit for a while but definitely improving. Next report will be on our first chapter campout in Springfield IL.

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Shawnee OK

Beth and I headed to Shawnee OK on April 13th. The FCRV Campvention is going to be held there in July of this year and our district is hosting it. Beth and I are stage chairmen and Beth is also helping with crafts. We went out for a planning meeting. We met another couple that were going also from St. Louis and we caravanned  to Shawnee. It was a long drive but we made it without incident. We did see an interesting sign on the way out. More about that later. We got to the expo center and got set up. We had not towed the car with us since the other couple said we could ride with them if we needed to go anywhere. The planning meetings didn’t really start until Friday so on Thursday the four of us went into Oklahoma City to see the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building museum and memorial. It was very moving. There were many videos that showed interviews with first responders, survivors and those that had lost family members (including children) in the explosion. The memorial itself is very touching. On the way back we were looking for a place to eat so we went into Shawnee and really couldn’t find many places to eat so we finally decided on KFC. Of course, after we ate we found quite a few places to eat. Thursday afternoon we were able to take a tour of the grounds. We were busy with meetings on Friday and Saturday. The meetings were useful but I don’t think I needed to be there for two days. The job I have is not that difficult and doesn’t take a great deal of planning (on my part). However, the people that need to use the stage need to get information to me about how many chairs, tables, etc. they need for their event. If I don’t get the form than they won’t get the stage set up. On Sunday we drove back with a strong gusty wind. Made it difficult. I mentioned a sign earlier. It was near St Roberts MO and is a bit off color but I couldn’t help but laugh. The sign said Uranus Fudge Factory. When we saw it on the way out Beth said we had to stop on the way back so we did. Turns out that the fudge is quite good. They have taken this name and turned it into quite a gimmick. They had tee shirts in the store also with sayings that I will leave to your imagination. It is basically a strip mall that looks like an old west town. In addition to the fudge factory it has a restaurant (saloon) and a tattoo parlor. Looks like there are a few store fronts that they are still working on. We got back home on Sunday but had Monday off also because we didn’t know if we could make it in one day. We spent most of Monday getting ready for our Missouri State Campers Association Spring Campout the following weekend. (More about that on my next post.) My knee was rather sore for some reason the whole time that we were at Shawnee. I am sure the walking didn’t help but although it was sore it was not unbearable. More about that on my next post also.

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April 1, 2 and 3, 2016

This turned out the be quite a weekend. We had planned to take the MH over to Park 370 with the boys but Friday night was supposed to be cold and windy and Saturday was not going to be much better so we decided to cancel. Instead we did our usual pizza and a movie. The was Beth’s turn to pick and she did a great job. Her selection was Temple Grandin. This is a film about a woman named Temple Grandin. She was autistic but still earned a BS, MS and PhD. She is now a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. It is a fascinating film well worth watching. You can read more about Temple Grandin here.

Saturday morning we went over and got the MH again to continue getting it ready. I cut a piece of plywood to cover a hole I had to cut under the sink to be able to get to the water filter. (Dumb design.) Beth continued loading stuff in the camper. Shortly after we ate I began to get pains in my abdomen and also in my back on the left side. I went up to lay down for a while but the pain just continued to get worse. I had a couple bouts of nausea but did not throw up. Finally, I called Beth up to get me some Tylenol. The pain was so bad at this point that I could barely read the labels. Beth took me in to the ER. By the time we got there the pain had started to subside but I knew it would come back because I was fairly certain it was a kidney stone. After about a 30 minute wait they finally got me in and of course, the first thing they wanted was urine sample. But I had just gone before we left so they were out of luck. They gave me an IV to hydrate me (mostly so they could get a urine sample) and morphine for the pain (which had started to come back) and some medication for nausea (caused by the morphine). Finally they took me down for a cat scan. I was finally able to produce a urine sample and about that time they told me the radiologist confirmed that it was a kidney stone. They sent me home with a prescription for some pain killers and instructions to push fluids.

By Sunday morning I felt much better although when I take the pain killer I do get some nausea. They also gave me a prescription for some medication to fight the nausea. We worked on the camper again on Sunday and took it back to storage around 4:30. So now it is just an evening of relaxation. Bye for now.

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Easter weekend

Maundy Thursday – Beth and I went to the Maundy Thursday communion service. It is always a very moving service with the stripping of the altar and leaving the church in silence.

I had Good Friday off as a holiday but Beth had to work. I really didn’t do much just relaxed and caught up a bit on some recorded TV shows that I watch but Beth doesn’t. We went to the Good Friday Tenebrae service. The choir sang so Beth was up in the choir loft. There was enough room so I sat up there also. This is again a very moving service. Beth sang a solo. It is embedded below. Her solo begins at about the 50 minute point.

Good Friday Tenebrae Service

On Saturday we dewinterized the camper (or as Beth likes to say summerized). We went over and picked it up and backed it into the driveway. After flushing the antifreeze out of the water system we put in a bleach solution to sanitize the water system. After that was done I put access covers back on. Won’t need to take those off until we winterize next November. Ethan and Kayden were over while we were working on the camper. They spent a great deal of their time in the cab over bunk. Beth spent quite a bit of time putting furniture oil on the cabinets. We also began bringing stuff back into the MH that we had removed last fall. Also put batteries back in all the remote controls, etc. Finally, after a long day we took the camper back to storage.

Easter Sunday – I had stated in my previous post that I really wanted to go to the sunrise service but I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed at 4:30. So I went to the 8:00 service instead. The choir sang in both the 8 and 10:45 so Beth went to both of those. After the 8:00 service we went down for an Easter breakfast in the gym. April, Ethan and Kayden came over for Easter dinner. We had BBQ ribs, corn on the cob, macaroni salad. It was very good. Brian came over a bit later and ate also. They all left shortly after dinner and we spent the rest of the day just relaxing.

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Palm Sunday weekend

Friday night pizza and a movie – Tonight I picked Run All Night starring Liam Neeson. We enjoyed the film even though it is accurately rated R for language and violence. I would not recommend it if you can’t ignore the language. There is no way to ignore the violence.

Saturday morning I did a bit more work in the basement hanging new lights and replacing the plastic under the lights. The old plastic had yellowed with age. With the new lights and new plastic diffuser panels it really brightens up the basement. I got notification that the parts to allow us to tow the Focus had come in so I called to make an appointment to take it in for installation. They must be busy because the earliest we could get in is the Monday and Tuesday after Easter. We picked up Kayden and Ethan at 12:30 and took them to McDonalds for lunch. After lunch we drove over to the Family Arena for the Shrine Circus. It was very long – but enjoyable – and it sure felt good to stand up after. The boys seemed to enjoy the circus.

Beth had to sing on Sunday so she got up early and went to church. I slept in again and got a big surprise when I woke up and looked out the window. It was snowing. Wednesday we had 85 degree temperatures and Sunday we had snow. While Beth was gone I got up and finished the lights in the basement. Beth gave me a haircut later in the day but other then that it was a day for relaxing.

Since I didn’t get up to go to church on Sunday I went to Monday night service. Next Sunday is Easter so there is no Monday night service. I might try to get up in time to go to the sunrise service. I always like the sunrise service especially since it is the reverse of the Tenebrae service that we have on Good Friday. I’m very much looking forward to the Easter Service. I believe it is my favorite church festival since to me it is the fulfillment of the Gospel.

Guess that is about it for now. Trying very hard to not fall behind.

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Not a whole lot to report

We have known for quite some time that the lease on the buildings where the company I work for has expired and that we are basically on a month to month lease. Almost 2 years ago our CEO mentioned that there would be an announcement soon. Well, that announcement came last week on Thursday. Groundbreaking will be in about 3 months with completion expected around October 31, 2017. They showed us preliminary plans for the building. It will be able to hold 800 people with expansion for another 1200 people. It will have a 2 story parking garage for 800 cars. It will have a cafeteria and gym along with other amenities. It really looks great. With that in mind, Beth and I drove over to where they will be building it to get a feel for how long it would take. We ran into more traffic on Saturday due to a St. Patrick’s day parade than I would normally have at 6:00 am and it took 25 minutes. That is about what it takes me in the morning so I think it will take a bit less time in the morning. Not sure about in the evening yet. But that is a ways off.

Now back to Friday night. We had our usual pizza and a movie. Beth picked the moving this time. It was Rush. This is a true movie about Formula One drivers James Hunt and Nicki Lauda. Unfortunately it was R rated but we still enjoyed it.

Beth has been working on getting the basement cleaned up. Like many basements it has turned into a storage locker. She has been rearranging, putting stuff where it belongs, selling some items and throwing away others. Sunday we finally were able to use the ping pong table again. It was fun. When we remove the ping pong table top we can play pool. Have not used the pool table in many years. Maybe this weekend we will play some pool. I have also been replacing some fluorescent fixtures with LED. They are much brighter and I hope last longer. We have a ways to go but thanks to Beth it is looking good.

On Tuesday the temperature was into the 80’s. When I got home it was warm in the house so I opened the windows but it didn’t cool down very quickly so I turned on the A/C. I could hear it kick on but it didn’t sound right so I looked out the window and could see that the fan was not running on the condenser unit. I took a screw driver and spun the fan and it spun up. I thought maybe it would work okay after that so I shut it off and turned it back on. The thermostat would not let it start for 5 minutes. When it kicked on it did the same thing. I called Jerry Kelly HVAC and they came out. They checked the capacitor on the fan and it was okay so I thought it meant we would need a new motor. However, there were some wires coming out of the motor that are there in the event the motor is running the wrong direction. It looked as if the insulation was bad on them. He repaired that and everything is running okay. Total cost $79. Whew. We will probably have to replace the A/C in the near future but I really want to get as much life out of it as possible. The serial number on the condenser indicates that it was built in 1983 so it is 33 years old. Probably original to the house. Guess that will do it for now.

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New car

As I mentioned on my last post, we looked at a 2015 Ford Focus. On Monday, February 29 we went to Marshall Ford and bought it. We traded in the 2006 Focus. It had been a great car but with 160,000 miles we were concerned about what might happen in not too many more miles. The new one is an 6 speed manual transmission. We will be able to tow this behind the motorhome. All we have to do is release the parking brake and put it in neutral. So many others require removing a fuse or disconnecting the battery. First nice weather we get I’ll take a picture and post it.

April spent about 8 hours in the hospital on Tuesday. She was vomiting and really felt bad. She was dehydrated and her potassium was low. Apparently she had ketoacidosis. They gave her an IV and sent her home that afternoon. I don’t think she went to work on Wednesday but did make it back to work on Thursday.

Beth and I took Friday off and drove to Fort Wayne. Austin had a birthday last week and Kelsey has a birthday in March so we went up to celebrate. We bought tickets for Disney on Ice for the whole family. Saturday for lunch we did go to Mr. Coney for lunch. Then Saturday evening we went to the show. The older three kids seemed to really like it. Katie enjoyed the evening but she was a bit too active to really watch too much of the show. But she didn’t fuss or cause problems so that was good. And I got to share my popcorn with her. After the show we said our goodbyes and drove back to the hotel.

Sunday morning we got up and after breakfast we drove to Coney Island and bought a gallon of chili and 2 dozen coney dogs to bring home. We found out last time that the coney dogs freeze and reheat quite nicely.

Monday evening I drove to eTrailer.com and ordered the items to allow us to flat tow the new Focus behind the MH. They said it would be a week or two before the parts come in so we should have it in plenty of time for camping season. The nice part about living close to eTrailer is that their pricing is good and they do FREE installation.

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Beautiful weather

Friday night, February 26, was once again pizza and a movie night. It was my night to pick so we watched In the Heart of the Sea. It is about the true story on which Herman Melville based the story of Moby Dick. I thought it was quite interesting. The special effects were amazing. I was certain they had incorporated footage of real whales only to find out that it was CG. Amazing what they can do with computers.

On Saturday we went down to a local car dealer. Not ready to trade yet but thinking about it. The Focus has over 160,000 miles and I think we would like to trade it before I retire. Looking at something that can be flat towed behind the motor home. Currently towing the Jeep but also thinking about downsizing to just two cars and this would help us to downsize. Did see a nice Focus (manual transmission) that would be a piece of cake to flat tow. Nothing to do but release parking brake and put it in neutral. We stopped at Home Depot on the way home to get some paint for baseboards and a free standing shelf for the basement. Scott came over in the afternoon and stayed for about 4 hours. Jess was working so we didn’t get to talk to her but we did make plans to meet them at a restaurant on Sunday morning for breakfast.

Sunday morning we met Scott and Jess for brunch. The place is called Ham and Egg. The food was quite good and the service was good also. After we left there I dropped Beth off at home and then went over and started the motorhome and generator. We start it every other weekend. Then when I got home I worked on the taxes and Beth worked in the basement straightening up. While I continued on the taxes Beth went to Massage Envy for to get the massage that I bought for her last year. I got the taxes done (we are getting a refund) but couldn’t file it yet because I needed a bit of information from Beth and she wasn’t home yet. After Beth got home from her massage I completed the taxes and e-filed them. Yea, getting a refund.

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