Friday, June 29, 2012

Another day at the rally!

We had thought the possibility was good that would leave the rally today since it was supposed to be another hot day and our front A/C unit is out. But we had a cool night and the motorhome was very comfortable this morning when we got up. The sky was overcast so we thought that might keep it cooler for today.

We started off with morning coffee at the main hall, then took in some more of the display coaches. I found a floor plan I liked. Too bad it is just like the one we saw at Elkhart Campground. We met the owners, who bought it a few months ago and have had a nightmare of a time keeping it on the road with all the repairs, etc. In fact, they are now in negotiations to encourage Winnebago to buy it back because it is a lemon. Oh well. . . I will keep what I have.

We also took in a couple more seminars including one on Allison Transmissions. They always do a good job and are extremely knowledgeable about their product and can answer any question you might have.

This evening we returned to the main hall and were entertained by Jimmy Fortune. He sang with the Statler Brothers for 21 years and is an extremely talented musician. He is a gifted guitarist and as a singer, has a wide range to his voice. He sang some favorites, including some hymns, and also performed many of the Statler Brothers hits which were his own original compositions. He paid tribute to veterans and to America in song and verse. He entertained us for 90 minutes and was even joined on stage by The Marlins who performed for us last night. It was a great evening of music and everyone enjoyed the performances.

Tomorrow we are going to be leaving soon after morning coffee as we want to get settled back in to the Elkhart Campground. Phaeton Place goes in first thing Monday to have her front A/C replaced. We will be glad to be "cool" again.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rally time!

We are in Pecatonica, Illinois, at a rally. This is the FMCA MWA rally. That's Family Motor Coach Association Midwest Area rally. We arrived Tuesday and we sat in the holding area about two hours until we got parked. The dates on their literature that was sent to us was incorrect, so we were actually a day early, but we got parked anyway. And to make it better, we have 50 amp service. We were only supposed to have 30.

We have about 250 rigs, so it isn't a real big rally, but these are among the friendliest people I have met in a long time. We have made lots of friends already and have especially enjoyed meeting and fussing over all their dogs. We had opening ceremonies Wednesday evening, but I'm sure not everyone was there. Along with the rest of the midwest, we are having a horrendous heat wave and it was too hot for some people to get out.

We went to coffee this morning and afterwards went to see the vendors. We are a little disappointed with the number of vendors. There were not very many and not a lot of variety with those that did come. We went to the seminar yesterday put on by Mac McCoy (Mac the fire guy). His programs are always impressive and very well done. He stresses the importance of knowing how to get out of your rig in the event of a fire and how necessary it is to practice escaping from your rig. We already have the fire extinguishers in our rig that he recommends, but we learn something from him every time we hear him speak. When we got back home, we tried our escape windows. They had never before been opened, and they stuck, we we did get them open and are confident they would work if we ever had to exit.

Last night about 9 p.m. we heard a loud pop and the front A/C immediately quit. It also started emitting a foul burnt carbon smell. I guess it's safe to assume that the unit that we have been having problems with has finally given up the ghost. It is two years old. It is shot and we could not even get the fan to run. So we turned that circuit off. We didn't have any trouble keeping cool overnight because the rear A/C is running well, but it isn't enough to keep the entire coach cooled down. With today being the hottest day so far at 97*, we haven't been keeping all that cool. The bedroom is cool, but one can only spend so much time in there. . . okay, okay, you can spent a LOT of time in there, but meal time is a struggle. We have been eating out of the refrigerator trying to eat cold stuff to keep cool. We did manage to take in a seminar today as well as look at some display coaches. Haven't seen anything I like any better than ours and I do not like the new Phaetons. Ours has much better quality materials in it.

This evening we went to the entertainment and even though it is still hot, the group, The Marlins, were absolutely terrific. They are four brothers who sing and play instruments. They are multi-talented and play several instruments. They performed a variety of songs from many genres and were extremely entertaining. They have a website, if you are interested in looking them up.

We may leave here tomorrow. The jury is still out on that one. The heat is oppressive and tomorrow is supposed to be cooler, so we might stay for another day. But there is no point in being miserable, so we may have to head back to Elkhart. The good news there is that Charger Enterprises, where we have service work done, is going to get an A/C unit and install it for us on Monday. They are closed the rest of the week, so they are going to get us up and running before they leave. Thanks, Gerald!

Till next time. . .


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Keeping busy. . .

We have been busy at the apartments taking care of things we normally take care of in the summer. We did get our one empty apartment rented before we left to go to the lake, so everything is rented now. Whoo Hoo!

I started getting some stuff sorted in the basement. We have some things we have been storing that we are going to take to Jocelyn. We will be making the trip there in MinnieMee, so that will be fun.

We also have been having service work done on our coaches. Phaeton Place has had an oil change. In addition, we did some service on the roof air conditioners. The back one was leaking water, so we took the cover off and found what looked like a mat-type filter on the fins over the coils. Only when we started to rub the mat a little, we found out it was compressed dirt. Hah! Once we would get a piece started, it would peel off in sheets. We got that all cleaned off, then used toothbrushes to finish cleaning it up. Now it works a lot better and doesn't leak water down on the bed. We opened the front A/C unit also and cleaned it, but it wasn't nearly as dirty as the back one. Next month, we take her in to have the transmission serviced.

MinnieMee has been having some work done. We took her in Monday and our mechanic put all new belts and hoses on, changed the oil, serviced the chassis and the rear end and changed the transmission fluid. The only thing the mechanic found wrong was a burned wire in the refrigerator compartment. ??? YIKES! Refrigerators are probably the #1 cause of RV fires and subsequent burning down to the frame. The refrigerator wasn't on. We knew there was a recall on it and it did work for us, but we shut it down when we went to the lake. Good thing. So Terry called and got an appointment with the refrigeration guy and he repaired the problem and did the recall on it yesterday. Now we have to have the generator serviced and she will be good as new. Unfortunately, we are not going to take her to the rally Monday as Terry wants to have a generator working in the event we have electrical problems. They normally use auxiliary electrical lines and it's not always dependable. So we are taking Phaeton Place. Since we are going to Plan B, we are going to be here all day tomorrow to get things ready to go.

The rally is at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds in Illinois. I cannot remember the name of the town. It is a strange name. We are leaving Monday morning but not arriving there till Tuesday some time.

I have been busy sewing for Aenea. Haven't got much done. That last big sewing event for me was when Jocelyn got married. I made her dress and her maid of honor's dress. That was 12 years ago. The little romper I made was easy enough, but the rick-rack was NOT. I hate rick-rack. I followed the instructions to the letter, but apparently some rick-rack has the color on both sides. Mine did not, so when I turned the dress right side out, the rick-rack color was on the inside. Grrrrrr. I had to rip it all out and re-do it. But it turned out nicely. Notice the buttons. . . they are little bunnies. Too cute. I still have the hat and the panties to make, but they will have to wait till we get back from the rally.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Miracle baby!

Three months ago on March 12, 2012, our newest grandbaby, Aenea, was born at 28 weeks. She plopped out into the hands of her mother and both were nearly instantly whisked off to the ER and the NICU. There did not ever appear to be anything wrong with baby girlie, but for some unknown reason, the spontaneous birth changed the family's life forever.

For the next 89 days, Aenea lived "in a box" as big brother Ronan put it while the NICU staff did what they do best--save these teeny, tiny little babies so their families can welcome home healthy and happy babies in days, weeks, or months to come.

Aenea weighed in at 2 pounds, 12 ounces and 14.4 inches long. As with most preemies that age, the lungs were a concern, but she had a will to live and her parents made certain she knew they were there from day one. A parent's touch is all that is allowed at that point and it isn't until they are off the ventilators that the parents can have more contact time. But Jocelyn and Tom maintained a daily vigil with their wee one. Big brother Ronan eventually decided to brave the screening and visited his sister. They posted pictures of Ronan and Whiskey the dog so Aenea could see them when she opened her eyes.

Aenea made it through, improving almost on a daily basis. The last hurdle was eating. I was not aware that feeding is a common problem with preemies. . . I supposed because they are fed through a nasal tube straight to their tummy. They have to "learn" to get hungry and "learn" what satisfies that hunger. That was her last challenge and that took some time. But finally that seemed to click and after the mandatory test time, she got her "get out of jail" free card. She now weighs over 7 pounds and is over 17 inches long.

Mom, Dad, and Ronan broke Aenea out of the "pokey" on June 9 and brought her home. She is a healthy, happy baby who now gets to live in her own home with her loving family.

Prayers have been answered!

Till next time. . .


Fun with the kids!

Brandon and Megan had a brief but good visit here at the lake. The weather did not cooperate much. In all the years we have been coming here, this was definitely the coldest we have ever experienced. But even with the boat fiasco, we were able to salvage some really good time on the lake.

Brandon and Megan rented a pontoon one day and we went out in the afternoon and did some swimming. It had a big slide on it and that was a lot of fun. I have always wanted to go down those tall slides, so I finally got my chance to do it. The only problem was the climb up the steps to the roof so I could slide down. But I managed that okay. The kids had a blast, too, but with the chill in the air, once we got out. . . we were COLD.

The kids were camping in their tent. One night we gave them a fan because it was hot and the other nights we gave them a portable heater because it was cold. LOL   The last night they were here they slept in the motorhome because they had packed their car the night before.

On Sunday, Terry and I rented a powerboat so we could take them around the lake and show them the sights. Brandon, of course, was familiar with everything, but the lake has changed a lot. . . well, the docks on the lake have changed. Most have been vastly improved over what they used to be and he enjoyed seeing that. I think Megan enjoyed seeing the lake. It was still not as hot as I like it on the water, but the sun was warm and we had plenty of sunshine, so we had a very lovely day on the water. We returned to our slip later in the afternoon and the kids took the jetski out. Fortunately Terry had worked his magic on it and it ran like a top. We chased them up the Obey River and they enjoyed themselves. Eventually Megan got back in the boat with us and Brandon took off on the ski doing what he does best. . . spinning around and throwing water everywhere. It was good to see him having fun on it again. I miss having the kids home and the fun we had when they were little.

They left early Monday morning and headed back to Florida, taking the jetski. We are hoping they get some good use out of it. They did get back home safely and had no trouble pulling the jetski that far. For that I am thankful.

Last Wednesday then, we broke camp at Dale Hollow and headed to Mississippi for the annual family reunion. We won't be able to go next year because we will be in Alaska, so we wanted to see everyone again. Fewer people seem to attend every year. We haven't missed one in a long time and we still enjoy going.

We came back to Dale Hollow yesterday thinking that the insurance company would be ready to give us a settlement on our boat. How silly of us. I don't think insurance companies plan anything to be easy for their customers. We did make some decisions about the boat and are comfortable with those. We have cleaned out our storage space and will be waiting elsewhere for word from the insurance company. My only advice to anyone out there with a boat is to be careful with whom you insure it.

Tomorrow we head back to northern Indiana. We have a couple rallies we want to attend this summer and we need to get the little motorhome ready to go.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, June 03, 2012

A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day at work. . .

What about a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY BAD day at the lake? Like THIS bad of a day?

Yesterday morning at 7:30 a.m. the phone rang. It was the marina asking if we had rented the A-69 slip and did we have a boat in there? Yeeeees? Well, the back end is under water and the entire boat is about to sink. WHAT????????

Terry's first thought was that one of our lake friends was pulling a prank, but we quickly ruled that out.  It was not a pretty site. Terry is diligent about checking everything out on the boat before we ever put it in the water and we have had service done by mechanics as well. We didn't have a clue as to what caused the problem.

My biggest regret is that Brandon and Megan are here and they planned to spend time on the lake with us. But they rented a pontoon yesterday and we went out and swam, etc. Today we are renting a power boat and will take Megan all the places we have been promising her all weekend. It has been unusually cold here this week which has made being on the lake close to miserable, but today promises to be in the 80's, so we are going to give it a go. The jetski is running, too, so that will be fun.

Back to the boat. We were instantly swarmed with deck hands and in an hour's time, they had the boat up and on the trailer. They got two pumps working on it and since we had the full canvas on it, they were able to pump faster than the canvas allowed the water in. Once they pulled it up far enough, they plugged the breathers and she floated quickly. They pulled her around to the trailer and I pulled her out. She still had a lot of water in her and pretty much flattened the tires, so we pulled the plug and started the bilge and emptied her out. Surprisingly, even with having been under water, the battery still operated the trim/tilt and the bilge. Humphf! Since oil was floating in the boat, Brandon climbed over the nose and opened the cuddy. The jumpstart was retrieved and was still dry. My swimsuit and our lifejackets were a little damp, but in good shape. We took the registration, etc., out and left everything else for the time being.

We had already called the mechanic who will check it out and he wanted the boat asap. I guess once pulled from the watery grave, they must be drained out and immediately oiled up to prevent engine damage. Keith said he would try to get her started that afternoon and if he could, that generally meant it was salvageable. But later in talking with us, he was not very optimistic. He said the electronics are never the same and we would likely not be able to trust it on the water. On a small lake where you can flag anyone down, that would not be a problem. On Dale Hollow, you could be stranded for days with no cell service and no help. Not a good option. And we don't need/want a boat that Terry has to work on every year just to keep it going.

 More pix. . .

So right now we will wait to see what the insurance company says. We had it completely insured, but we won't be able to get an adjuster here till next week.

We could use the money we spend on the boat and the storage to rent a houseboat every couple years or rent a pontoon or power boat for a day. The last few years we have felt we had to come here and run the boat just to justify keeping  it.

So today is the kids' last day here. We will take out the power boat and play on the water all day with Brandon and Megan. It will be a fun day, even though it won't be in OUR boat. But it will still be a GOOD day at the lake.

On Edit. . . we would like to put in a plug for the staff and hands at Sunset Dock. Five guys plus the manager were there on site and worked until they got the job done. They asked us to keep out of the way and let them work. At one point, I told one man. . . whatever you do, don't anyone get hurt. After all, it is JUST a boat. He turned to me and said, "Yes, but it is a really beautiful boat." And while it may look like she was sitting on the bottom, she was in about 12 feet of water and the only thing holding her up were the "well tied" ropes we had put on the night before. . . that and the well-built dock here at Sunset. The well choreographed event meant our boat was underwater a minimal time. Thanks guys!

Till next time. . .


Friday, June 01, 2012

Let the games begin!!!!!

Wednesday was a busy day for us. We arrived here Monday and brought the jetski down from storage. Then Tuesday afternoon we brought the boat down. We come here every year and run the boats. . . well not the jetski anymore. . . and we winterize them when we put them away. Last year I cleaned the boat pretty good and it looked just as nice when we got it out. Terry was worried about the battery and it showed some signs of not performing well so we made a trip to Cookeville to get a new one. It tested good, however, and he had them do a load test on it. Still tested good, so he bought some cable ends while I bought some food supplies.

Later when we got back he finished getting both the jetski and the boat ready to go. It didn't take a lot of work on either, but those are things I cannot help with. . . other than to hand him tools. The jetski did have some mildew on it, so I cleaned all that off and she is bright and shiny once again.

Tuesday evening after supper we took the boat down and launched her. Took her out for about an hour. We weren't disappointed. Ran great and when we got back, we parked in our rented slip. It sure is nice to be able to pull in and park and not have to worry about loading her up on the trailer every night.

Yesterday we finished up some chores, dumped our gray water, and took off in the boat to find our friends, Tom and Carol. They have a houseboat and we knew approximately where they were parked. We found them easily out past the state dock, about 20 miles away by water. We docked against their houseboat and enjoyed visiting for a couple hours. They then suggested we go out to eat and since the kids weren't due in for several hours, we agreed. We went up to Wisdom Dock and had a lovely supper and continued our visit. Once we left there, it was approaching 7 p.m., so when we got back to their houseboat, we got into our boat and sailed for home. It took almost a half hour to get back to Sunset Dock and Megan and Brandon were waiting for us! Woot! That was a surprise as we didn't think they would be in quite that early. Brandon was actually a little concerned because he knows we don't stay out on the lake after dark and it was getting quite dusky! But we got in, got the boat all buttoned up and came back to camp. We helped them set up their tent and as of this writing, they are still sleeping soundly.

Unfortunately it is also raining now. The only day this week it is supposed to rain, but it isn't supposed to last long, so we will still have some fun while they are here.

Till next time. . .