Friday, December 31, 2010


I created two versions and can’t decide which one to use so used both. I wanted something RV related but couldn’t make it festive. This was my first attempt at Adobe Photoshop CS4 and I just couldn’t use it like I wanted to so these will have to do.

Happy New year folks and may the next year bring you all happiness and safe travels.



Thursday, December 30, 2010

Working From Home

Not many people have the ability to work from home so when I get to do it I try to be as productive as possible. I try not to get distracted and I try to troubleshoot and improve my companies network so people can work faster and safer while on the road or working from home.

Today I’m trying to complete a new FTP Server but support from the company we bought the software from is almost impossible to get this week so it’s frustrating as heck. I want to be able to roll this out when we get back into the office on Monday but it’s looking like I may not be able to.

Just a rant for today, oh yeah, somebody is trying very hard to hack into this new server but they haven’t been able to… YET. Thankfully the server is pretty robust with security but like anything that presents a log in screen, it’s just a matter of time. So I have some work cut out for me.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Props To……………. Ford..

I converted this blog from general topics about HAM Radio, Politics and other topics easy to rant about on 11/9/10. Doing so has reduced my stress believe it or not so I’m going to continue to keep it as much about RV’ing and our journey/path to full timing as I can.

However every once in awhile you need to just say something because you may suddenly realize how something might have affected you over time and you didn’t even know it. In this case I’m talking about the new 2010 Ford Taurus and Ford in general.

           SAM_0069 SAM_0072_BLOG

I’ve been buying Ford’s almost exclusively since 1985 much to the angst of people I know who hold their nose up when I mention Ford. In January 2004 I traded in my then 2002 Ford Taurus SEL in on a fancy expensive newly designed Acura TL.


I didn’t even test drive the car I actually bought, something I never ever do but I was smitten and signed the dotted line (lesson learned!!). Since we were buying my wife an Acura RSX at the time we waited for both cars to get detailed and because the dealer mistakenly prepped the wrong car we didn’t get our cars until after closing time. I’ll keep this part short, both cars were horrible, her RSX had to be flat towed into the dealership 4 times and my car spent a good deal of time in the shop for repairs. Using Velcro to hold up the headliner is inexcusable, yep you read that right, Velcro!! I had to drive to the dealer with my right hand holding up the headliner, their fix, install two more Velcro strips, which fell down on the way home, ugh. The other issues were too numerous to list here.

In November of 2005 after almost 2 years of not liking either car very much we traded them in on the new Mustang, I bought the new GT (I raced mine, best ET 12.20@115) and the wife got the new Pony V6. We SHOULD have looked at RV’s but this thought never entered our minds until this year, I digress in January of this year I bought the newly designed 2010 Taurus SEL loaded with everything but NAV, Ford’s new flagship model that I thought Ford was stupid for using the Taurus name for, still do really but my first test drive sold me on the car itself. It’s dead quiet and unlike my Acura has not seen the dealership except for an oil change. I also realized in the past 25 years of buying Ford’s that’s how it has been with every single one of them. If I do the math properly this equals to about 15 of them, not too shabby me thinks. Three of them were brand new Mustang’s that I raced the heck out of at the drag strip and they took everything I dished out! 

So, thank you Ford for putting out this new Taurus even if I hate the name, it’s roomy, almost too quiet, rides smooth as glass, has more than adequate power for a daily driver and it gets good mileage to boot. This one is a long term keeper and if you’re in the market for a new car and for buying from a company that didn’t accept Government bailout money, then check out Ford. I also have to say, had my RV had a Chevy drivetrain we probably wouldn’t have bought it. We would have preferred diesel but that will be the next rig, for now powered by V10 Ford is fine by me!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

This & That – Sunday 12/26/10

Yesterday the wife and I met up with her parents and sister at a place called the “Hoffman House” in Rockford, IL. They were having a Christmas buffet and I’ll admit I wasn’t sure what to expect. I should have brought my camera, it was fantastic!!

The list of foods was enormous, there was no way you could sample everything so I didn’t even try. We had a great time, good conversation and all of us pretty much needed to be wheeled to the cars afterwords.

We decided to check in on the rig on the way home since it’s stored in the area and when we got to the lot my wife says “you have the keys right?” Disappointed smile  Ummmmmm nope…. so I’m heading out there as planned if I can ever get ahold of my brother today. I expect mouse body carnage!!!!

When we got home we warmed up the Norwegian Glogg my wife made which will instantly de-thaw anything frozen, heck you could walk the frozen tundra naked after a few mugs of this stuff, it’s awesome! We spent the night watching “Nothing But Trouble”, my wife still thinks it’s a bad movie but I still liked it. Nerd smile

My brother gave me a geek toy for my computers called a video “TruLink” that effectively turns any VGA capable TV into an extended display for your computer. Only problem, it only works with XP and Vista!! Their Windows 7 solution is only good for causing BSOD’s (Blue Screen Of Death) which renders it useless to me until they get the software sorted out. I do have one Vista machine I built years ago and it’s so stable I have had no need to upgrade it, so this product works perfectly on it of course, but its in the basement so again, does me no good.

If they can sort out their Windows 7 issue (not Microsoft’s problem) then I can use this on the RV to watch video from my computer so I’m crossing my fingers!

The Bears are getting ready to play so off I go! I’ll end up listening to most of it on the radio until I get to the RV, maybe they’ll be broadcasting it so I can watch it as I clean up mouse bodies. I won’t take pictures of them, just seems wrong to do so. Anyway, have a great day everybody!

EDIT: Caught one lousy mouse, they cleaned off almost all of the traps clean without getting caught. The one I caught was in one of the enclosed traps, just wow, what a bummer

Thursday, December 23, 2010


My wife sent me this card and I liked it so much I wanted to share it. I wish you all the best and hey, in one fell swoop my wife got me into the spirit, just in time. Click the picture to see the card.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 21, 2010



I’ve got a lot of work to do this week so I’m posting my Christmas blog early. I truly wish all of you the very best for a Merry Christmas!!

We are trying to figure out what to do this year still, truth be told I still haven’t gotten there yet spirit wise but I’m trying.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bye Bye Mice – I Think, I Hope!

Well, I bought 14 mouse traps, the enclosed kind and the old fashioned kind. Both featuring the snap shut mechanism, after going to the store and seeing what was available poisoning them just didn’t make sense, the sticky kind didn’t make sense either.

So I laced them all up with peanut butter and set them. The cabinets have mouse crap everywhere which I couldn’t see that well until I looked at the pictures when I got home (I’ll save you the same disgust by not posting them). Just WOW. We will have some cleaning to do after we get rid of them. I’m amazed at how at home they were, little buggers.

I hope peanut butter still works when frozen, it’s going to be cold out tonight! Here are two shots of the 2 kinds of traps I bought.

  SAM_1723  SAM_1724

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Picked Up The RV – Thank You Marengo Auto Body

The wife and I picked up the RV and our initial impression of the job they did was awesome. It’s kind of hard to really go over it like we would want to since it was something like 8f and we couldn’t wash the rig.  As you can tell by the picture the rig is dirty but the front looks nice! When I went to start the rig, it had been sitting out for only 3 days and the battery seemed a bit weak. I’m guessing the body shop guys going into and out of the rig for 2 months and it not being started that much weakened the new main battery.

The engine did start so I let it warm up. I primed the generator and tried to start it but it was no joy, the house batteries were simply too weak. So I took it to a gas station to fill up the tank which was about 10 miles away and while gassing up tried it again, it took a few attempts but I finally got her going. I turned on the furnace and it started warming up inside which was nice. When I went outside to check the pump I found it refused to allow anymore gas in, the gauge only showed 3/4 of a tank so I’m going to have to have that checked out.

The rig is now back in storage so I’m going to have to visit it every week to insure everything keeps functioning. The system has these two rather large battery disconnects for the engine and house systems so I turned them both to the off position. Oh last thing to note, we have MICE!! Tomorrow I'm going to bring traps up to get rid of the little buggers, any recommendations as to which kind to get?

  New windshields, freshly pained front end                         Drivers side angle

SAM_1706  SAM_1707

                     Passenger side angle                                          Driver side fender

SAM_1711  SAM_1708 

                  Passenger side fender                                     Entrance handle repainted

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                 Passenger side mirror                                            Drivers side mirror

SAM_1713  SAM_1709

Friday, December 17, 2010

The RV Is Ready!!

I received notice that the RV is done. It’s been in the shop since September, man this has gone by so fast. I’ll try and give a quick breakdown of what has transpired.

In August we discovered that our RV was damaged while in storage. Somebody sprayed the front end with rocks while gunning the throttle trying to get up the incline in front of our RV. Barrington RV denied it was even possible for this damage to occur in his lot but I had taken pictures the very day we dropped it off so I had before and after pictures, which didn’t matter to them. We filed a claim with our insurance and we had our dealer do the repairs and they did a poor job.

So, State Farm allowed me to find another body shop to get the work done a second time, which means that State Farm was going to go after the dealership (subrogation)  for the second attempt at getting the job done correctly. The second body shop has completed the original repairs and also has completed the repairs I am paying for.

So, the original work was to refinish the front end to repair the rock chip damage, re-install the windshields as they were leaking after the dealership installed new ones and to also refinish the drivers and passenger side fenders. Since State Farm was paying for the drivers side fender and the dealership refinished the passenger side (had they done it correctly, great!) I had to pay to refinish the passenger fender since they didn’t do it right, there was nothing wrong with this fender, but the dealer refinished it anyway.

I had the new body shop refinish the fender, repaint the mirrors, and repaint the entrance door handle. So it should really look nice when we pick it up tomorrow morning. Sorry if this sounds confusing, if anybody has questions let me know and I’ll try and make sense of it all. This time, I will take pictures and post them when I get home.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

RV Floor Plan

I thought I'd post the rigs floor plan, it’s pretty typical I think but we like it.

Ours is the dinette with no booth, so we can lay the table flat and that whole area is open to us. We are contemplating changing out the chairs and couch at some point. The kitchen is now wood floor while the bathroom and private toilet room are ceramic. We can’t wait to change that to wood flooring as well.

99 Endeavor Floor Plan

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crazy People – Morning Rant

This morning on the way to the train station I was going by the Bartlett train station when a completely frosted over (I couldn’t see his windshield) Nissan Altima pulls out in front of me zig zagging all over the road. So while following for almost a block at 4mph I flashed him my high beams and suddenly he turned right, went over the curb and started driving in a field.

As I passed him I could see his windows were all frosted over, INCLUDING the windshield!! What moron does this and expects to make it anywhere? I continue and see him driving up a hill before I go around a bend and lose him or maybe it was a her, who knows??

This is the second time this year this has happened, the last time was a blonde (not making a blonde joke, she just happened to be blonde) did the exact same thing on a different street, but she went the speed limit and ended up t-boning a poor guy in a Toyota who was shocked to learn she couldn’t see.

Wondering how I know she was blonde even though her windows were all frosted over? Her head was sticking out the drivers window!

Maybe the title should be stupid people, I think I insulted all the crazy people out there… How much of a problem is it to at least scrape off enough to see something? Or at least let the engine warm up enough to help out? These people find a way to propagate… think about it… time for bed. Sleepy smile

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kindle Time…. A Post From Da Wife

A few words from the better half…

I just got a new kindle a few weeks ago and I have to say, in my opinion the kindle is like the best thing since peanut butter.  Just a few months ago, I had no idea what a “kindle” was.  All I could think of was a kindling fire when I heard the word kindle.  Then one day I was looking something up on  I don’t even remember what it was, but it was some kind of documentary type thing.  They had it in book form $24.99, DVD form $17.99 and on kindle $9.99.  Excuse me???  $9.99???  What is this kindle?  So I start doing some research.  I used to be an avid reader.  Couldn’t get enough.  Then my eyes started going.  I just put the books down and that was that. 

The only reading I really do now is online news and articles.  I have computer glasses that are bifocals for reading also, but it’s too much of a strain to wear them for just reading.  I did get some cheap reading glasses and that helps a lot.  I read all the reviews on the kindle and became very interested.  I have a co-worker that has a kindle dx so I checked it out and was pleasantly surprised on how easy it was on the eyes.  Also very easy to use.  So, I told my husband I would like one for Christmas.  He ordered it, and I received it a few weeks ago.  (Early gift).  Absolutely LOVE IT!!  I got a beautiful leather cover for it and it fits in my purse.  (I got the smaller one).  I can take it wherever I want.  I even ordered a little light to attach to it.  I started making a list of books I want to order…and now I’m easy to shop for.  Kindle gift card!!  I’m good!!  Smile with tongue out

Now when we go RV'ing, I’ll have my little kindle and I don’t have to fill up the RV with books.  I didn’t realize how much I missed reading a good book!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Brothers RV Made It Through This Weekends Storm, No Leaks!

Before putting his RV in storage I did some sealing work on his back window and on the back cap up near the top. When we drove up there yesterday it was raining pretty good and the work we did looks to be holding up. So overall a pretty good weekend RV wise, the weather has gone to hell in a hand basket so I’m glad mine is indoors nice and warm.

Considering myself pretty lucky right now, well, aside from the Bears getting their rear ends handed to them by New England I feel pretty lucky… Cutler is passing fantastic, he throws the ball, and New England catches it… UGH…. Disappointed smile

Body Shop Update – Good News!

I love good news, don’t you? Smile with tongue out  I went to the body shop Saturday morning and the rig passed the water leak test, woohoo! We’ll find out for sure of course only after it has been hit by a big storm. The windshield gasket looked horrible when I got it back from the dealer, the body shop removed them and installed them properly and now that looks great too. I had my camera and was so happy I forgot to take pictures! Doh! Disappointed smile 

While walking around the rig I asked him for quotes on some smaller jobs, like refinishing the door entrance handle. The black finish is badly faded and the drivers side mirror is loose so they are going to install longer bolts and I got a quote for that and also to refinish them as they are also faded badly. From the front this rig is going to look like brand new!

I checked the house batteries and they were down to 50% charge, not too bad for sitting for almost a month and a half. Maybe they aren’t bad after all, we’ll see when I pick it up and run the generator. I think we’ll probably get it back this coming weekend or next, I’ll know more this coming week. I’m not in a hurry to pick it up, the longer it sits inside the better it is.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Bee’s Knees & A Letter From My Sister In Law

You know, life is funny, I’ve never been comfortable sharing my feelings but after reading the blog “The Bee’s Knees” you get a different perspective. Meghan died of cancer earlier this year, I recommend her blog, it’s inspiring and teaches you a few things. So, I read the whole thing which will bring you to tears so get some Kleenex. Hard to feel sorry for myself after reading her story.

I also received an email letter from my sister-in-law Lisa. Came from left field for sure, I never expected anything like what she wrote. She explained about the death of her father and how it affected her and how she was thinking about me knowing what I must be going through. It was sweet, kind and has lifted my spirit more than she will ever know. I’m going to give her a big hug next time I see her.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Body Shop Update & Christmas Blues Continued…

The wife and I are heading to the body shop tomorrow morning to see the work that’s been done and to do a final water leak test. I won’t be satisfied until we are 100% sure it no longer leaks. I’ll take some pictures while we are there and post them tomorrow.

As for the Christmas blues, part of the reason is both my Mothers death and birthday were within 8 days of each other. My sister is driving the family insane which would take pages to explain and this year it will be just my brother, his wife and their son and I celebrating and none of us are really getting into it. Matt suggested I do some volunteer work, one has to have the free time to do these things, right now I just don’t.

What always got me into the spirit was knowing how much my Mother enjoyed getting ready to have everybody over and going shopping with her, she was like a kid in a candy store when she shopped for Christmas. Almost every year for most of this past decade my wife and I took her to the Amana Colonies during their Prelude to Christmas weekend. She loved doing that so much.

It’s just not going to be the same, this will be Christmas number 2 without her, last year we muddled through it in cruise control and it just kind of went by, we were numb so didn’t really think of Christmas. This year it has really sunk in I suppose and we are trying to find a new tradition and start fresh. I think once we get past this one, next year will be easier and hopefully it will become something we all look forward to again.

My spirits are a bit better today, there is snow on the ground, so many more houses are decorated this year than there was last year so slowly but surely I feel the humbug ebbing away. The only way is to take it day by day and remember that she would want us to celebrate as she would. We are striving to do so and hopefully we get there before Christmas has come and gone.

Thanks for the kind words everybody.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Am I Alone?

Is it me or are others just not feeling the Holiday spirit this year? Sad smile  It’s almost as if this was the year people set out to make it a bad year for all. I’m going out for happy hour with the people I work with tomorrow night, maybe a night of letting loose will cheer me up…..

Monday, December 6, 2010

Body Shop Update

Just got a call from the owner of the body shop. They removed the windshields and found they were too small in the middle. So they checked with several companies and found that the correct windshields were installed and that it’s possible the company making them is making them a tad bit smaller or Holiday Rambler made the front cap openings too big by a little bit.

They’re going to have to do something to insure the windshields are snug enough to not leak now or into the future. They are sending me pictures of the work completed so far tonight or tomorrow. At this point I’m more concerned about leaks than how well they painted the front bumper.

Hopefully this Saturday it will be at a point we can do the full leak test and we’ll be one step closer to being able to pick it up. If there are pictures tomorrow I’ll post them. Step by step, slowly I turn…….

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sugar Shores in Durand, IL – 8/28/10

I’m going to post these pictures using the standard template from Live Writer so everybody can see them. If you leave a comment let me know if you like this format better. I’ll be posting more 2010 locations as well.

We have come to love going to Sugar Shores RV Resort, while they do have lots for sale everything is well taken care of and people who buy here care about their lots. The people here are friendly, the workers are friendly and the only thing bad I can say is it’s closed after October 15th, understandably so, but selfishly we wish it was open longer.

                  The main entrance                           Outdoor theater, we watched Da Bears!

  SAM_0744 SAM_0727

          Our site number 1, next to tool shed        Loki did this for 10 minutes!?!? Funny dog

  SAM_0711  SAM_0716

                     The pool area, very clean                        The main building and store

  SAM_0722 SAM_0726

              Own me, lot 6 Phase II, I wish!!                               Well cared for lots

  SAM_0772 SAM_0776

       Next time I bring the fishing pole!     

  SAM_0794 SAM_0795

              That’s right, Da Bears!!!                           Ya all come back now, ya hear?

  SAM_0798 SAM_0758

Stay tuned for more from our first year camping in a Class A RV. Laughing out loud

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Enter The Way Back Machine – Reposted Below

Post deleted and reposted below. Somehow the pictures became broken within blogger and I couldn't repair it using their tools.

Enter The Way Back Machine – June 29th, 2010

Forgive the length of this post but I wanted to show how we started. We bought our rig on June 29th 2010 (I have mistakenly stated July 1st in the past) and took it on our first trip from that day through Sunday July 4th. We had a very interesting time that weekend and even though there was issues, it was worth it! I was to learn how to fix an AC leak and deal with extreme black tank stench which broke us into RV ownership quickly. Disappointed smile 


This is just a snippet of our first trip, I figured out how to level the coach so water wouldn’t come in through the slide. I learned how to fix a leaking AC unit and I learned how to dump the tanks, back flush the black tank and program the thermostat. Oh yeah, Ronda set the pizza on fire so we had to air the coach out for that as well as for the black tank. We had to vacate the coach for a few hours both times!

We are looking forward to our first trip in 2011, I’m planning that one now. It will likely be at Sugar Shores or Geneseo in March if the weather permits.