Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wednesday & Thursday

Wednesday: Nothing much happening. The day was cooler and overcast. Gene walked to Publix and bought a couple of things for the motorhome. Jean and Anna (Jean's daughter-in-law) ran a couple of errands. But mostly we hung out and read or chatted.

Thursday: Started out the same, but the clouds cleared away and the day warmed up. After making a trip to Walmart to stock up, we went to downtown Stuart and spent some time at a new park there.

The street the park is located on is lined with Silver Trumpet trees. They were just beginning to bloom with beautiful, yellow flowers. In a little while the whole street will be lined with yellow.

 It is a beautiful park, with lots of palm trees, and plantings, and a pond next to a banyan tree. The water in the pond is an interesting green color, but no one knew why. Perhaps mosquito control chemicals was suggested.

 Near the banyan tree there is a fountain in the pond. The water falls back in a perfect circle.

There were lots of little minnows in the pond, and a Little Blue Heron that seemed to be getting his share of them. We think he caught a small frog, too, but we couldn't be sure.

When we left Virginia last weekend, Gene discovered that he had forgotten to pack an important piece for his CPAP. We called back home and had Amanda (Jean's daughter) ship it to where we were going in Palm City. She shipped it on Monday, Two Day Air. It was promised to be here by Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday, there was no package. Today the same. Jean called UPS (Unreliable Package System) several times after we got back to the house. Finally, at about 6:30 it arrived. Now we only need to hear back from the insurance people. What a way to have a vacation.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Monday, 25 February:

First thing in the morning we topped off the diesel tank (the Hess next to the Cracker Barrel had a good price) and headed to Leisure Time. This is the RV dealer where we bought the Roadtrek, and who has done most of the work on it. They are good people, and we trust them.

My plan was to have their service people take a look at the problem. Then they could order any parts that might be needed while we visit Jean's son's family in Palm City. Then we would stop on the way home to have the work done.

Since we got there shortly after they opened, they were able to pull the van in and look at it fairly soon. So we looked at what was new in the showroom and chatted with one of their sales people (the woman who sold us the motorhome in the first place) while the head mechanic looked at the problem. Three hours later we got the diagnosis.

The step has been damaged by being struck by something. We could not remember striking anything, but the evidence is there. The step gradually got slower and slower, which Gene thought was due to the cold. Then the last couple of days in the warm Florida weather, it stopped working altogether.

It turns out they needed to order the entire step system --- from Canada. So we headed on down to Palm City while they worked out the details.

We got down to Palm City about 3:00pm. Gene called the insurance and began the claim process. But mostly we went in and talked (and ate Anna's delicious chicken and black bean chili) until late at night.

 Tuesday, Jean and Anna and I went to Blowing Rock beach on Jupiter Island. Even though the temperature was in the middle 80's, there were very few people on the beach.

The tide was too low for any blowing action, so we just walked on the beach and collected some shells. Jean and Gene then came back on the wet sand near the water. Jean took off her shoes and splashed a little in the water, which was warmer than she expected.

After we saw the beach and were driving around, Gene got a couple of calls from the insurance company and gave them the required information. We haven't heard whether they will cover the cost yet, but we hope so, since the estimate is for $2,600.

After a good lunch at Tiajuana Flats, we went back to the ranch and talked again into the small hours

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Florida 2013

Off on our first trip of 2013, the annual February trip to Florida. As usual, the plans call for visiting Jean's son, Sandy, and family in Palm City (southern Florida). Then this year, we hope to see some of the Florida Panhandle on the way home.

We got started yesterday (Saturday the 23d). This time we tried heading straight south, until we connected with I-95 in Florence, SC. That should cut off quite a few miles from the way we did it last time. Unlike last time, we didn't get lost in Greensboro. The day was overcast, but we only ran into a few light showers.

Below Florence, we pulled in to a Cracker Barrel in Santee and got permission to spend the night. They told us that all Cracker Barrels let you park overnight (not necessarily true of Walmart, especially in Florida). They even gave us a map showing all the Cracker Barrels in the country. Cool.

We did 329 miles in seven hours, including all stops.

Today, after having breakfast in Cracker Barrel, we headed out early (for us), about 9:30. Our problem for the day was Daytona. Today is the Daytona 500, which means that there will be no place to stay for the night within 100 miles of Daytona; and traffic in the area will probably be horrendous. Should we stop well short of Daytona, or try to get through it somehow? Until we could resolve that question, we got on the interstate and put the hammer down. Surprisingly, even spending much of the time at or near 70mph, we still got 19 miles to the gallon!

Jean spent much of the day texting her brother Chillie, who until recently worked NASCAR races and has all the inside information. We were making good time, and Chillie calculated that if we got to Daytona between, say 1:30 and 4:30 we could probably get through with a minimum of traffic.

As it worked out, by skipping lunch and taking a minimum of breaks, we hit Daytona a little after 2:00 and breezed right through.

Next problem. The automatic step on the Roadtrek stopped working, mostly in the "in" position. It had been very sluggish, which I put down to the cold weather. However, it is not cold here in Florida and now the step doesn't work at all. We thought about stopping at Leisure Time RV, where we bought the rig and whose people I trust, on the way home. But what if they have to order parts? We can't wait around until they come. So I decided (and Jean agreed) that we should go to Winter Garden tonight, and see them first thing in the morning. That way if they need to order parts, they will have a week to get them and we can stop on the way north and have the work done. At least that is the theory.

So we are now at another Cracker Barrel in Winter Garden, with plans to go the the RV place first thing in the morning, then hit the Florida Turnpike for Palm City as quickly thereafter as we can. Will this work? Will we ever have a working step? Or will we have to carry a stool to get into the motorhome? Stay tuned for the exciting answers to these questions.

Incidentally, today we did 417 miles in eight hours. Boy, are we tired.