Emotional Stuff

Planning for a future in an RV is not all about the finances. Money is just the means to an end. Whether one wants to retreat to an RV roaming the country or just stay put inside a home while the world swirls around them, to me it still is about the emotions of it all.

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a long, long time. Mostly because it involves putting myself out there and disclosing the person I’ve turned out to be – at least to some extent. I’ve read other’s awesome blog posts or stories about their journeys in life and have always appreciated their willingness to post about, for lack of a better word, emotions. I know they open themselves up to criticism. Maybe because others may not have caught the jest of the message or the writer failed to come up with words to explain something important to them.  For those that take the time to let their feelings out, I for one thank you. Seeing the not so good sides of a lifestyle helps paint realistic expectations for those of us getting ready to start navigating down the same road. And for sure, reading about the good times is refreshing.

The stable person in me can respond to a catastrophe such as a terrible car accident or horrible things that happened to a person or family. I can take charge and know 100% what needs to be accomplished. There will be little emotion in those decisions as they are based on experience and training.

The not so stable person inside of me I tend to regard as the emotional person. I am unable to have a 15-minute conversation with anyone about the crucifixion of Christ without crying. Especially if I give much thought to the Trinity wherein God is three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit just as water takes three forms (a liquid, solid and vapor). Each is the same in different forms. What gets me emotional is when I think of God doing what he did for people like me. Being nailed to a cross and having the ability to make the pain go away but not saving himself. Or as the Father, watching his Son in agony to the point his Son asks why he has forsaken him. I don’t deserve it and cannot imagine the love God has for sinful people like myself.  If you have not watched the movie The Shack, do so.

I’ve given much thought over the years as to what has made me the man I am today and how these features in myself will play out in the future. Coming up with a format for this post has been next to impossible. I found myself wanting a template to follow and even refreshed my understanding of  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, referred to as personality theories. Fundamentally I know we all are very similar. That is how it’s possible to guess how each of us might respond to life’s issues or more specifically, why it’s possible to understand where a person is at mentally or as part of a society.

I tend to think, in terms of Maslow’s theory, that we bounce between lows and highs in his triangle of needs. At times we feel we have everything under control. And then other times we fear for or safety which is a primitive need per Maslow. At the top of his list as we develop as a person is self-actualization. This level of need refers to what a person’s full potential is and the realization of that potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. I’ve read that in his later years Maslow explored a further dimension of needs he titled self-transcendence. As I understand it, this next step is when we find our “actualization” by giving to some higher goal outside oneself, in altruism and spirituality. Personally, I’ve got a better way to describe the ultimate realization of being all you can be.  My father used to say all we can hope for is being content with where we are at in life. My uncle told me anything can change in ten years. I witnessed the greatest person I had ever seen. He was not a famous movie star nor ruler of man. He was my grandfather. I watched him in his hospital bed sometime before his death, he was holding his son’s hands as they flanked each side of his bed.  He gave them comfort only a father could do. My uncle and dad were strong men, well advanced in their understanding of life but still needed a father’s hand. I personally had to leave the room, standing in a stairwell to keep the tears to myself.

I am a complainer by nature. I was that way as a child and am as an adult. I’m not proud of it. I sometimes complain when there is not something to complain about, that’s how bad I am.  I don’t want to become the elderly person that lives near us, alone in a house. This person is a complainer and family does not even come around anymore. I’m glad the roof of the house is relatively flat because when she lands on her broom on top of her roof she will not fall off. She can be a witch and every other word that rhymes with it. I’ve also been around her when she was a caring, giving person. But she drifted in between these good and bad emotions and now is surely lonely. That is not the person I care to become.

I’m a type A personality. If you look up the definition in Webster’s book, you will find my name listed in the description of what the word means. I’ll look it up – “related to, characteristic of, having, or being a personality that is marked by impatience, aggressiveness, and competitiveness and that has been implicated by some studies as a factor increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease – see Mark Seneker.”

I don’t want to die of a heart attack before I get a chance to see the Grand Canyon. But I now where these personality traits come from. And if I know that then I also know how I can change for the better. This trait comes from at times having to take care of myself as a child and at times not trusting anyone for my safekeeping other than myself. The only way, I assumed, to make sure things worked out was to do it myself and therefore to depend only on myself.  I know that’s not reality because we all need each other.  I know that’s not reality because there are so many good people in life that care about others. I know that is not possible because every time I look at my wife and her caring personality, that wraps herself around another’s needs while at the same time doing her best to take care of herself. She humbles me, and I trust her. For my own Maslow step in life, I need to be around more people like her.

As a youngish police officer there was an RV park in one of my patrol districts. There were older trailers parked there, which I now know can be referred to as long-term campers.  And there were newer RV’s that stopped for the night. The place was run down, and I never could understand why anyone from out of town would stop there. Now I know that’s all they were doing; just stopping for the night to rest and today would just post a comment on rvparkreviews.com warning others what to expect. As a cop, I viewed everyone in the park as a potential problem. Although now that I think about it, I met a lot of good people when responding to calls there. Some had financial problems, and some were just parked to work construction in the area.  Some had children they sent off to school while they worked nearby minimum wage jobs.  Others were drunks and received all the wrath I had to offer if they did not behave. Boy does life change in full circles. Now I’m looking to move my wife and I into RV parks at times. Little did I known there were people in that RV park in my patrol district that were just stopping by on their way to a wonderful location where no camera can take a picture of its wonderfulness. I guess I’m growing and reaching another step. Karen and I live in Missouri. As part of a future RV family we have met people from New England and New York, from Kansas and California, from Texas and Michigan.  All are wonderful people and I never once wished the visit would end.  I for one need those kinds of people around me. Maybe it’s because of their ages and having completed similar life challenges and that is what binds us. I care not to overthink it, I’ll just assume we are likeminded people with common goals.

Another personality trait of Mark is I get frustrated with others. To the point it causes stress and brings on a pain in my right chest. I’ve had many discussions with counselors about this. Two preachers, a phycologist and only my closest friends of which there are not many. I’ll describe when I get frustrated as briefly as possible. Co-workers who are not doing the best they can drive me nuts. Children and adults who are not taking responsibility for what they have done or have not done, drive me nuts. People drifting through life, seemingly unaware of nor caring about those around them, drive me nuts. Preachers said pay attention to those that are not doing any of the above and ignore those that are. Counselors say come up with coping mechanisms.  Some friends would not say anything, thinking it would harm our relationship. But close friends say shut-up and find something to be happy about because there is a lot of good people I’ll meet in life.  Fact is, I’m positive at one time or another I have not done my job the best I could, or I’ve not taken responsibility for my actions or I ignored those around me.  I hope others have not judged me the same that I have judged them.

I had first intended to lump this post into categories which have nothing to do with finances but are another part of RVing. Such as relationships, standards of comfort, ability to compromise, physical limitations and it’s time for a change. No need. Those out there new to the lifestyle, planning for their trip or have been there done that, all understand. Just like those that were police officers understand the emotions of the job and we don’t have to talk about it much with one another. Other’s may not understand our humor or coarseness.  I hope one preacher got it right. That once I leave the job I’ll find out 80% of people are good and not anything like the 20% I lock up.  He also says that will be the hardest part of it all, that is becoming part of the good society. I’ll admit, I use the struggles of the job as a crutch to blame the pain on.  And the guys and gals I work around really are the best this country has to offer. I’ve been to their funerals, retirements and picked them up off the side of the road after they were injured.  They do their jobs everyday which at times might include just showing up. I’m pretty sure I’ve not violated any department policy about posting on public media about the job with these comments.

Fact is, there is much to my life outside of work and my past experiences in general. I’m failing to recognize the good in life. To sum it up, Mark needs a change and my family, especially my wife, deserve a changed Mark. I think I’m getting a handle on myself, or at least trying to. Planning for a future in an RV, the travel, the down time, being with family and you sure is making the waiting more tolerable. I don’t know if I can ever become the man my grandfather was. But if I intend to I best get started.

I’ll close this emotional me with this.  There are many times in life when a change is in order. It helps us grow as people. It renews our inner selves. It pushes us up a step in Maslow’s chart. It makes the pain go away. And, for sure, there will come another day when change will be in life’s order. I tell myself I’m getting ready to release the new me.  I’ve earned it and so have others around me.

I read this through for typing errors. It’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to.  Even if it’s about my emotions. 

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Boondocking at Apple Butter Days

For more than 10 years I have traveled to Mt. Vernon Missouri to spend time in the Adamson log cabin during a three-day festival known as Apple Butter Makin Days. Here is a link to last year’s trip.

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2017 Adamson Cabin Crew

The 1854 log cabin was moved to a lovely location to be restored over a period of 20 or so years with my father and uncle leading the effort.  For the past several years my sister Mary and I continued the tradition of putting on a living history demonstration at the cabin which is secluded on a hillside away from the thousands of people attending the Apple Butter festival.

This year a special person showed up. We don’t consider any member of the Adamson family to be a guest at the cabin as it was their home. Steve Adamson flew with his wife and son’s family from California to Missouri. He is the great-grandson of the man and wife who originally built the cabin. So many stories he had to tell. So much amazing family history. I could have talked to that man for several more hours, but we had visitors (tourist) to show around. Steve’s own father had lived in the cabin as a child. You must seize the moment when someone who lived the history is willing to pass the experience along. I’ll never give another tour of the cabin without thinking of what Steve had to say about it.

Much goes into opening the cabin up after it sits during a year of solitude waiting for the festival. Mary and my uncle’s daughter – cousin Kathy setup and cleanup the cabin as they live in the area. I make the 180 mile track down to southern Missouri for the event. Thank you to both for making it so easy on me. Especially this year as they had to rid the place of two snakes that slithered inside the cabin hunting mice I’m told.

For years we had slept and cooked in the cabin for the three day event. But this year I borrowed a Class C motorhome. Thank you Lisa and Brent!  This was the first time I had any experience with RV boondocking even for a short period.  The Winnebago Navion 24J is built upon the Mercedes-Benz sprinter chassis with a diesel engine. It drove like a van with 50% better fuel mileage and stability than the Forest River Sunseeker we rented a couple years ago which had the Ford gas engine and chassis.

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Learned a lot from the boondocking experience in terms of what to expect from a unit setup the way the Winnebago was. The experience helped form a few questions about solar setups when the next weekend Karen and I met with our RV friends Russ and Kay of the Destination Unknown Blog as they were making their way from New Hampshire to Colorado.  We got to know the couple through blogging and arranged last year to meet at a local RV park. This time they were boondocking at a local winery as part of a program they belong to known as Harvest Host. Sorry, forgot to get any photos with them this year!

It sure seems like we are part of the community – less having our own trailer. Ingrid definitely got it right in her latest blog post over on the Live Laugh RV Blog when she wrote The Best Thing About Rving.  To quote her the best thing is “the community of like-minded people and the forging of new friendships that makes this Rving lifestyle so special and so much fun.” Karen missed this year’s trip to Mt. Vernon. Too bad as our RV friends Dean and Cheri drove in from Oklahoma to the cabin for a visit. Their blog is Travels with Bentley. Third time we/me were able to meet the couple in as many years.  Amazing folks – all of them.

For the past couple years, I’ve been driving around Mt. Vernon looking for spots to park up to 40’ fifth wheel.  This time next year we hope to boondock in Mt. Vernon Missouri in our own home! Or we can make us of an RV park down the highway I got to know while dumping the motorhomes water tanks and topping off the propane.

Bees and BBQ

I had trouble figuring out how to start this blog post. It’s about family and a hobby. I sat around thinking, “how the heck should I start this.” Finally decided just to jump in. No reason to make a literary work of everything. I hope you find it a little more interesting than a couple future posts I’ve been contemplating which are taking a social security benefit at age 62 and my system for evaluating fifth wheels.

We traveled to our daughter Catherine’s home for BBQ. Her husband John is one of those (us) people who researches the heck out of everything. He purchased a very heavy Green Egg grill to smoke meat. Catherine has been a vegetarian forever. We did our part in trying to eat all the meat and keep it out of her fridge. Of particular interest was a wire hanging out of John’s BBQ smoker. It’s attached to a meter that sends signals to his phone telling him important data such as temperature. It even has an alarm to wake him up at night to let him know he is about to ruin our meal by sleeping when he should be adding charcoal to the grill. Speaking (writing) of charcoal John says Missouri is the leader in production of the best chunk wood charcoal that being manufactured by Rockwood.

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John’s Big Green Egg smoker with wire for temperature monitoring

Regarding BBQ, Karen has been perfecting her recipe for BBQ wings and pulled pork using her Instant Pot. It’s wonderful!

Switching topics now to honeybees, not that honey is a great ingredient for BBQ sauce. The start of fall weather marks the time we extract honey from our beehives. This year was special as my sister Mary and friend Russ were visiting and gave a helping hand.  They really seemed to enjoy the process while I thought I was glad they liked it because it’s one of the more labor-intensive parts of the process. Briefly the process is; nectar is gathered by the bees and in this case stored within separate boxes known as supers which are above their living quarters known as brood boxes. After the bees reduce the moisture content of the nectar, which has been mixed with enzymes they produce, it becomes honey. The bees secrete wax which they cap over the honey.  Each of these boxes contain nine or ten frames on which there is comb the bees stored and caped the honey on. We remove frames and cut off the wax with a hot knife. We place the frames containing now exposed honey in an extractor. The extractor spins thereby using centrifugal force, throwing the honey to the sides of the extractor. Then we open a gate at the bottom of the extractor. The honey gushes out into a series of filters on top of buckets. Later, the honey is bottled from the buckets and enjoyed by all.

Here are photos for those more inclined to learn that way:

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Run – There are Bees!

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Frames in super (honey) boxes

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Mark gorged with honey holding frame to place in extractor

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Frames are placed in extractor which has a handle to spin the contents

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Open gate at bottom of extractor and honey strains through filters – And dog wonders if he will get some!

Regarding bees:  They seem to be one of natures several varmints folks can be afraid of. A number of people have come out to our beehives to get over that fear. Personally, 70,000 bees in a managed beehive or even a large swarm don’t even get my heart beat up. Now, throw in a snake and I’m running for cover.

For those afraid of bees there is not much I can write to get you over that. But… here are a few points to keep in mind when you run into them. Foraging honey bees have no interest in stinging you. Stinging occurs when they get swatted by you trying to brush them away such as when they get stuck in your hair.  Certain times of year, when nectar flow from flowers is low, they also tend to be more protective of their hives so stay away. Bees flying well above your head from a hive are no issue. Our bees tend to gain altitude about 20 feet from the hive at which time they are overhead. When I mow the grass in front of their hives I drive the mower slow. That way the bees have a chance to maneuver around me as they want to avoid contact.  When bees swarm, in that big black cloud so many are worried about, they are at their most docile state. Before leaving the hive to swarm they gorge on honey which has a side benefit of them not wanting to sting anyone..

In some southern states Africanized bees have made homes. They are a different creature and tend to be more protective of their hives. Wish I could tell you more about Africanized bees but I have no experience with them. I can tell you this, when a bee stings they sometimes put out a pheromone that smells like a banana. Beekeepers use smoke to mask the pheromone. If you do get stung and smell bananas the bees have marked you as a threat. On another note, it takes about 20 seconds for a bee to inject all of their venom into you. More precisely, they sting and their stinger, attached to the venom sack, is left behind which kills the bee. Don’t grab the “stinger” with your fingers because by doing so you are squeezing venom into your -whatever got stung place. Use something with an edge similar to a credit card to brush the stinger off.  If you are in Kansas City within the next two years I’d be happy to let you play with my bees to get over that fear!

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Final Product

Debbie and Steve of the Down the Road Blog are heading to Kansas City tomorrow on their path through Missouri. According to their blog she is afraid of bees. This jar of honey is for you guys!

Life in Kansas City – A Laundry List of Ideas

It’s been nearly a month since I’ve posted anything on the blog. It has been busy at work and I’ve been spending most of my RV research time looking into electronics and evaluating the 2018 trailer models. I’ll most likely write about that later.  I keep a list of ideas that may be worthy of a blog post as the ideas come up. Thought I’d take a quick moment to write about a few and hope at least one area is of interest to others:

  • Missouri celebrates 100 years of state parks: On April 9, 1917, a state park fund was created to buy land in Missouri. Parks are funded by a one-tenth-cent sales tax passed by voters in August 1984, with monies generated split evenly between state parks and soil and water conservation efforts. The tax has since been reapproved by voters three times. I found a wonderful PBS video that highlights a century of Missouri State Parks for those interesting. Click Here for Video.
  • Spectrum RV of Australia is entering the US fifth wheel market. They claim to have a European look and build trailers to withstand the rough Australian roads. Their USA website is not complete. Here is what I believe to be a link to their Australian site. These trailers have an interesting interior. I played around converting Australian currency rates to US dollars and believe the MSRP’s on three fifth wheel models are somewhere around 100K (US)  and below when sold in Australia. According to Spectrum they have imported American RV’s and modified them. They claim “Australian roads demand better suspensions.” They reinforce the chassis, the outriggers are doubled in strength to support the walls. They dismantle the nose and strengthen the pin box area and add steel reinforcing to prevent cracking and breakage.
  • Still researching trucks. A favorite YouTube Channel is Big Truck Big RV. I’ve been reading early information suggesting the 2018 Ram dually one ton will have a tow capacity of 30,000 pounds and is rated higher in torque than even the all-new 2017 Ford F350. Not for sure yet, but on some of the truck forums there is talk Ram will have a complete new design for their heavy-duty truck in 2020 – but who really knows for sure! We are hoping to find a slightly used and more affordable 2016/2017 Ford Lariat or Ram Laramie. I’m not sure it is legal to cut and past an interesting poll found in the Keystone Montana fifth wheel owners forum so I’ll just mention a few results comparing 3500/350 one-ton dually trucks. 846 people responded to the poll. Of the total, 70 pull with a Chevy/GMC, 75 with a Ford and 177 with a Ram truck. The remaining pull with a variety of trucks. Check out the link above for more.
  • I had been wondering if checking out live web cams would be a good way to find interesting places to tour. Earthcam.com is an excellent place to spy on a few areas. Here is an interesting one at Seaside Height, New Jersey that includes audio. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Michigan is where we have thought about workcamping. I’m thinking the Old Faithful Geyser is most interesting.
  • After reading a few blogs where folks were traveling with a theme in mind, such as following the Louis and Clark Expedition, I found another that might be worth a trip. Route 66 in Missouri starts in St. Louis and runs down I-44. My grandfather recalled when the road where I-44 is now located was dirt. Then the feds decommissioned it. Missouri is the first State to recognize it as a historical landmark and put up signs on the route with Springfield Missouri being the first to install the signs.  RV dealerships are banding together to provide RV repair service along Route 66.

Well – that’s a long list of a few research projects I’ve been into over the past few months. On the family side, I spent some time learning how to throw a Frisbee. There is way more to it than what I recalled there being. I received a quick lesson from my son-in-law John. He carried out a backpack full of different colored Frisbees with each disc serving a specific purpose such as long, medium and short-range shots. Some curve in a particular direction when thrown. I’m just wanting a disc that goes in the basket when thrown! John tells me this is a sport one can get a lot of exercise out of. His instruction included several grips and throwing positions. After looking at the photos I got to wondering if he just wanted me to look like a clown when I did it.

All jokes aside, I’m thinking with all the Frisbee golf parks popping up in the country, this might be an excellent hobby for a mobile lifestyle. Three discs may be all one needs. That does not take up much RV storage space.

John’s a good guy and it’s darn nice to have him in the family. I know his own father is proud of him as well. John is somewhat of a jokester however. Karen and I gave his parents a trail camera to guard their home one Christmas. John got ahold of the camera’s disc and added a few scenes his folks might have found alarming when they returned home from a trip. I had nothing to do with it other than maybe egging him along.

How would you like to come back to those images on your trail camera!

 

 

 

Family Time in Another Wonderful Missouri Park

I has been a while since my last post. We got busy living life. Our family just completed a four-day campout which was wonderful. More on that later in this post.

Over the past few weeks we finally finished replacing appliances in our kitchen with installation of the new stove. It has a convection oven which is a first for us. Seems silly but Karen and I watched through the glass window as a pan of biscuits cooked evenly in half the time of our previous standard electric stove. She is looking forward to learning to cook in a convection microwave once we get our rig. I know from experience and having talked to contractors who restore homes for sale that fixing up a kitchen and bathrooms adds value to the home at the time of resale. We decided to remodel the kitchen a couple years before we sell the house so we could enjoy it. The appliances should still look good as new by the time we sell, perhaps as early as the spring of 2019. A friend’s family is in the real estate business and says around here they are having trouble getting enough listings to sell. Everything is selling quickly. Hope the market holds out for a while!

Wallace State Park – North of Kansas City Missouri

A couple weeks ago while looking for a day trip to take, we decided to head up the highway about 30 minutes from home to check out a potential RV parking spot for times we return “home” for a longer visit. Friends of ours who have been on the road fulltime for six years split their visits between a local county lake and a state park which we decided to tour. We continue to drive out to all the local RV spots in search of the perfect place to park for a few weeks or a couple of months. This is the 100th year of a special Missouri tax for conservation. We have wonderful state parks because of it. Wallace State Park could be a place we split our time when back home near Kansas City.

Our family got together at Pomme De Terre Lake/State Park in southern Missouri over the holiday. Much of the shoreline camping is flooded from recent heavy rains. So was the first choice for tenting camping. Fortunately, several family members live a short distance away and were able to recon a replacement spot (thanks Matt and Mary). We ended up near the dam at Damsite Campground. All I can say about the camp spot was thank you Mother Nature for flooding the lake. Turns out we had a point on the lake to ourselves in a little-known camp area. The spots were designed for shorter RVs so the tent campers don’t know about it. With the flooding, a circle drive became our beachhead from which we launched our kayaks or fished. Some just sat in chairs watching the skyline and enjoying the weather and I suspect wondering when someone would tip a boat. Karen, myself, sister, nieces and nephews gave our Sea Eagle Fast Track a workout. (Click to enlarge photos)

The girls came up with a menu for each day. Food was brought or purchased from a very reasonably priced, and nearby, store. As the family had booked all the spots that were not underwater in this area, we had one spot just for eating and meeting. Each arm of the family had a spot to themselves. Two family members had RVs while the rest of use enjoyed deluxe tent camping. There was not a dull moment. Games during the day, movies off the side of a RV at night or just sitting around the campfire listening to guitar music to name just a few of the events. A very special event was being witness to a nephew’s baptism in the lake by a minister.

Karen spent a day secretly dropping items around the camp area which were later to be found as an item in the scavenger hunt. But most of the items were provided by nature. I wanted her to put collection of a poisonous snake on the list but was overruled. My nephews would have found them, this I know for sure.

The entire family shared the feeling of reliving our yesteryears when family campouts were setup with our grandparents and parents. There are no words that can describe what the trip meant to each as it’s somewhat spiritual and individual. We all could agree, without talking much about it, that our parents were looking down from heaven. I’d like to think they had a part in pushing the bad thunderstorms around us that came up one night. Seems like we were inside about a mile stretch of a relatively calmer area.

Karen and I took 156 photos. That was not enough to capture the event and all the family. I mined out a few to show the family in this blog and would be happy to email the others. Love you guys. Thank you to the entire family for bringing their special personality and love to the mix. By the way, “look at the size of this snake” turned out to be a wonderful phrase to use in order to get someone to face the camera for a photo. Here are a few of the photos: (Click to enlarge photos)

 


Don’t want to forget to write about it. I spent considerable time researching battery operated lighting for the tent camping event. I highly recommend the Steamlight Siege 44931 LED lantern. I bought the one that operates on D size batteries because it’s the same battery size as my air mattress pump so I have extra batteries if needed. Works great for hanging inside a tent and lasts forever on one set of batteries. Here is a link to the model I bought through Amazon. (I don’t get a kick-back from Amazon, it’s just a good place to point people to the actual model.) The low setting will light a tent and is advertised to last 295 hours on one set of batteries. Glad I left the gas lantern at home because on the bright setting the Steamlight easily replaced it.

During my next post, I’d like to discuss a few changes in the RV industry, specifically for Forest River, that has a potential of causing an effect on the timeliness of RV repairs and certainly response to recall notices. I have also found a couple articles on RV size selection and depreciation schedules I’d like to share.

Truck Research and Snow in KC

Just when you think winter might have shown its face for the last time it snows in Kansas City.  Fortunately, it was beautiful to look at and gone later in the afternoon as the temperature went up.  I’m hoping our plumb trees bear fruit because they have already bloomed and there are a couple freezing nights ahead of us. The boys find a place to hang out when it’s bad outside.

Ringo found a pile of sheets to sleep on because Huck already took up a position on the dog bed.  We also have two cats.

Sylvester appears in the above photo in a typical position after he eats. Sylvester prefers moderate weather and often stays inside when its bad outside. We don’t plan to travel with all these animals in the future. The dogs are getting older so we will have to see who is with us in a couple years.  Sylvester came home with Karen from the veterinarian’s office as an adoption (two years ago). She is looking for a new home for Sylvester which I hope goes well. The dogs love to travel but the cats are used to roaming the acreage outside which is not going to work in an RV.

I spent time inside as well. Finally gathered up all the canning jars, pressure cooker and such to post on Craigslist.  I’m trying to sell off items in larger groups. Next might be the motorcycle, helmets and bike pack. The end of my vegetable growing hobby reminded me of my Uncle Don at about my own age. As I recall, we were standing in his backyard near the base of the stairs leading from his deck and noticed his garden plot was not planted. Don said he stopped planting because it was too much work.  I am like him in a lot of ways. His garden included a watering system therefore so did mine.  Life is a heck of a lot shorter when you think about others who have passed and what they were up to at your own age. No doubt Uncle Don figured out everything he wanted to know about gardening so he moved on to something else. That’s a family trait.

I’ve been hacking away at truck research, adding a new section on the blog to keep my notes. You can find the truck page here.  I stayed up late one night building trucks online to get the base prices. I know what our budget is and am working on finding out the price points each of these monsters come in at. That way it might narrow the search to a model or two from each truck manufacturer that is in line with our budget. These diesel suckers are expensive. I can remember when $10,000 would buy a new Cadillac.

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The starting prices shown include necessary options such as fifth wheel hitch preparation, on-the-fly electronic 4×4, minimum of cloth interior and running boards. The prices include rebates or incentives as of today at the manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP).

It’s interesting to note additional options sometimes come in a package when selected. Such as Chevy/GMC requires you get a spray in bed liner if you select the fifth wheel hitch preparation.  I also found the base price between all the trucks are within about $500 to $720 of one another. Not much of a price difference to be concerned about.

I’m in the process of learning about what options influence the trucks weight capabilities. Hopefully learning what others mean by a “properly equipped truck can handle” a specific fifth wheel weight.  And along the lines of weight. There are a ton of places to consider such as gross cargo weight and rear axle weight where the front of the camper rides over the truck.  There are assumptions that might factor in such as what is the average cargo weight stored in the front of a fifth wheel. And people are posting in forums you can’t always trust the fifth wheel manufactures posted weights. Some are suggesting pin weight is 10 to 20% (update, a couple readers said their pin weight loaded is 19 and 21%) of the total fifth wheel weight. But then again cargo loaded in the rear of the fifth wheel will offset some of the weight in the front when it pushes down on the rear of the camper, like a teeter totter.  So much to learn. I may be sick in the head but I’m enjoying the research.  Those guys over on the truck forums really are proud of their trucks!  Someday I hope to know enough to ask intelligent questions. Give it a try. Go online and build a truck. Watch how the weight capacity changes when you select gear ratio, 4×4 and engine.

Once I get the spreadsheet done I may post a link to it so folks can look it over.  I’m off to start learning about all the optional equipment so I can build one of each truck online and get closer to the actual MSRP with the options we are interested in. What’s cool about building the truck online are the links to similar equipped trucks for sale in the area.

 

new flash  Here is an informative blog post by Hebard’s Travels titled How to Travel with Cats in an RV

Life in Kansas City – Spending Time at Home

We spent Christmas and New Years at home in Kansas City. Last year we donated our tree to charity. Karen kept her collectable ornaments that includes many hanging Santa Claus figures. She still has not decided to give them up before we hit the road. 

Although Karen did decorate a small tree!  It’s a stick with a broken bulb hanging from it. I lost the photo somewhere.

We got a big dose of Christmas spirit by visiting the Hall of Waters in Excelsior Springs. The facility was built in 1937 as a place to bottle and distribute the healing, medicinal mineral waters of Excelsior Springs. It now serves as our City Hall.  Per their website, the city was founded in 1880 on a site where 20 springs were discovered. There are four distinct varieties of water that gives Excelsior Springs the distinction of having the world’s greatest group of mineral waters. The springs include two of the world’s six known iron-manganese springs. We sure are going to miss our wonderful water once we hit the road!

Lined along the walls of the building during the Christmas season are decorated trees. Local businesses and organizations decorate their tree with various themes.

 

 

Karen and I both hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I’ve had a fun time reading about where each of the bloggers I follow spent their holidays. And thank you to my sister Lisa for hosting the family over at her house! That was very special.

Next week I should be posting about the basic fifth wheel floor plans Karen and I have been able to narrow down to during our search.  Our local RV show is next week! It’s like a holiday for me.