Life in Kansas City – Evening Airshow

I had planned 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. However, Karen and I went out to test her “new eyes” and had some fun. So more on that first.

For the past two years first responders (fire, EMS and police) were invited with their families to an earlier airshow performance at one of our local county airports. Karen had been spending time indoors healing after eye surgery during which cataracts were removed AND she now has corrected vision with her new lens implants. No more eye glasses! Seemed like a good idea to go watch some airplanes as well as spend some time with coworkers and their families after hours.

A special treat was a late evening performance by Team Aeroshell. They fly the North American T-6 Texan trainer which was first built in 1935. These planes were equipped with fascinating lighting systems which added to the thrilling acrobatics taking place in the late evening sky. The planes took off as the sun was going down.

I used our Canon T3 digital DSLR camera to film much of the show. I’ve got zero experience shooting video, nor the proper lens or even a tripod. I gave it a shot anyway.

I found that WordPress allows you to insert YouTube video even if using a free account. This was my first attempt at video editing. As I prefer to use standard Microsoft products, which are bundled in Windows 10, I edited with Movie Maker.

Team Aeroshell finished the show by parking directly in front of the crowd. They spun their planes around in a circle with smoke on. Was a wonderful way to chase bugs off as the smoke covered the crowd. I don’t have a photo of this as there was no point in trying to take one.

 

After the show, I had to take Karen to Sonic for ice cream. A coworker mentioned during the show that he had feed his child ice cream for diner. Saying Karen loves ice cream is a total understatement of fact.

 


Video by the Gadget Guru about diesel exhaust fluid (D.F.F.)

Trip to Springfield Missouri

Work took me to Springfield Missouri for a few days. Figure I’d pass-on a little information about Springfield which is the third largest city in Missouri.

 

springfield-mo

Springfield Missouri – Big Town with a Small Town Atmosphere

 

I’d been traveling to Springfield for most of my life, having family that settled that area in the 1800’s. On this trip I met up with my niece Brooklyn who is a local resident. We had a hamburger at one of the popular joints and later she drove me through town pointing out some of the hangouts she prefers. She noted the town is home to six colleges or universities. I’d not spent much time in the downtown area in the past. It’s chucked full of interesting businesses and things to see. Brooklyn drove so I was able to watch the scenery. I thought back to when she was born and later when her folks moved to southern Missouri. She is all growed up was another thought I had. Time with her was the best part of the trip. By the way, for my English major daughter, I assume it’s okay to use Missouri slang when writing about this part of the state.

Located just 45 minutes north of Branson Missouri, Springfield is near the end of the Ozark Prairie with hills to the south. To me, Springfield is a fine example of small town attitude with the amenities of a larger city. You will find very few high-rise buildings as the town’s laid out flat with straight major roads. I read through their 2016 visitors guide and found 16 stops I’d still like to make. Even after years of visiting the area.

Missouri is not just the Show Me State. We are also the Cave State. And there are fine examples of this around Springfield. The area has major civil war battlefields, minor league baseball, a tiger sanctuary, is the home of Bass Pro and more. If you’re not from Missouri or a neighboring state you may not know about Springfield. I’d think a trip from Kansas City or St. Louis to Jefferson City, on to Springfield and then to Branson (or in similar order) would give one a good taste of the state. That is if your wanting to visit larger towns and tourist areas.

For us outdoor types it might also be important to note that beginning in 1937 with a special sales tax, Missouri has spent a lot of money on outdoor spaces through the Missouri Conservation Department.

 

For this trip I left a rural area north of Kansas City eventually traveling south on state highway 13 towards Springfield which was a three-hour drive.  In the Warrensburg area I came across several roundabouts which semi-trucks had no problem negotiating.  Once I got further south, near Truman Lake, there were plenty of RV campsite signs. I saw many rigs on highway 13 which led me to believe it is a popular highway for RVs.  You can also take highway 65 south from I-70. I’ve not been that way in a long time so can’t comment on the drive. At I-70 and highway 13 there are a couple RV parks as well.  Or for a quick run, Interstate 44 runs to Springfield from St. Louis. Stop and see the sites before you head to nearby Branson.

I didn’t take many photos, well at least of the landscape. I spent a lot of time at two Springfield RV dealerships and plan to report back on that soon.

I’ve passed one place on the trip up and down highway 13 several times and have been told I’d missed out. Well this time I stopped at Osceola Cheese. They have been around since the 1940s and have 275 varieties of cheese for sale. There are free samples for those who know little about cheese, which would be me.  They have two acres of parking to include RV spots. I saw a large class A with a toad stop with no problem. For those familiar to the area, I’d like to stop near Bartle Scout Reservation at Iconium near Osceola to relive a memory of my Boy Scout days and have a Peach Nehi float! Guess that will have to wait for the next trip. I also want to check for any civil war sites in or around Osceola. There was a famous confederate raid on Lawrence Kansas which was sparked by an earlier union raid of Osceola.


Thanks for reading. I’m trying to report back on various stops in Missouri for those who would normally “fly-over” the state. Let me know if you have any questions about “Missour-uh.”

 

PS – For those that have not fallen to sleep while reading the above:

During my last post I mentioned we were replacing our kitchen appliances in the sticks and bricks home. We bought the refrigerator from Home Depot after looking at a model in the store and then ordering it online from Home Depot. The delivery went perfect. A computer called my phone the day before and reminded me the deliver was the next day. The delivery driver called 30 minutes prior to arrival. I was gone out of town at the time. Karen was at home and said the guys that delivered the refrigerator were awesome. They hauled off the packing material, hooked up the water line and carted off the old refrigerator. The delivery and installation was free with the purchase. We paid an added charge of $15 to have the old unit removed.

 

 

new flash  News Flash – New DRV Aire coming fall 2017. Click here for the News Release

Life in Kansas City – Sold a Truck and Kitchen Remodeling

One of the benefits of long-term planning is the ability to spread-out time consuming tasks over several years. Another benefit, as it relates to saving for our future in an RV, is cutting expenses now and reaping the savings over a longer period.

Among my list of tasks to complete in 2016 was to sell off a vehicle or two. Karen and I had talked about downsizing to one family car which is still something we might do. However, she started a part-time job at the Crescent Inn Bed and Breakfast and is making use of the spare car. She is excited to be working again. Her tasks at the Inn include checking customers in, housekeeping, serving breakfast and customer service. I told her the new job would look better on a workamping resume then anything I had to offer on mine! So for now we are keeping the second car.

I’m happy to report another monthly expense is gone! We sold our old 2002 truck and the money raised is going right into our RV/truck fund to join the money collected with the sale of our boat earlier this year.  Next spring, the motorcycle is going to share the same fate.

IMG_2857 (1024x607) (800x474).jpg

Old Truck is Sold and Money is in Savings

Over about three years, or maybe five – I forget, we have been remodeling the kitchen. Early in the year we installed ceramic tile floors to go with the tile backsplash. I’d been trying to talk Karen into replacing the appliances. They are dented and in various stages of disrepair such as broken buttons and cracked plastic. The refrigerator finally gave out so now we are using a smaller spare unit located in the basement. I consider it our new exercise plan which requires we run up and down the stairs for food.

Next Thursday the new fridge is to be delivered free of charge as part of the purchase. So not having a truck was a non-issue the first time we needed one.  I’m surprised in learning from a knowledgeable appliance salesman the anticipated life of a “modern” refrigerator is only 15 years and a dishwasher is eight years.

I’ll spare you the details but we decided on going to Maytag appliances which are middle of the road in terms of expense, construction and amenities.  Maytag uses smudge resistant stainless steel which was a must have per Karen. I had looked into Whirlpool, who also build the Maytag and their upper end KitchenAid brand. I was shocked to discover Whirlpool are now builder grade level appliances, best suited for apartments or moderate priced spec homes.  Here in 2016 I notice a lot of fifth wheels in the $60 to $80,000  MSRP price point use Whirlpool for residential style refrigerators. Trailers about $10,000 more expensive is where I’m seeing better brand names are used such as LG and Samsung.

We ordered the refrigerator and microwave now as both were on sale with free delivery into our home and only a $15 fee to haul off the old fridge. After giving consideration to buying from three local stores or two online appliance sites, we went with Home Depot. What I discovered could be a big change in the way these larger stores do business, given the competition from internet sales. We looked over the appliances we were interested in at the store and then went online to buy them from Home Depot as they were not stocked in the store.  Part of good marketing is to make it easy to buy something. I was impressed with the ease of doing business with Home Depot. They even had a phone number to call after hours with questions. Installation was scheduled only four days after the purchase and they sent us a tracking number to follow the shipment. The sale price was the same or less than advertised at discount websites such as AJ Madison who don’t haul off old appliances.


I should also add we decided on a French door refrigerator with the freezer in a bottom drawer. According to a salesman who we trusted, more of the units built and sold are French door rather than the side by side unit we are replacing. The salesman said 90% of what they sell are French door versions which make better use of inside space and don’t cause you to bend down to get in the least accessed portion of the fridge which is not the freezer section. In other words, the freezer is on the bottom because you access it less than the cold food storage area. Karen and I are trying to pay attention to what the future owner of our home might want. We did not go with a convection microwave but are getting a convection stove which again were more than half of what are selling at Home Depot. I’m thinking the standard electric stove/oven is a thing of the past. We plan to replace our current stove and 14-year-old broken knobbed dishwasher once they go on sale at a discount and we have saved up the cash to pay for them.

On the RV front I’ve been reading up on what are the best truck colors for ease of maintenance. I’ve also been giving some thought to if we can justify full body paint on the trailer and if so what would be the best colors for heating and cooling concerns. More on that later.

Bought an Inflatable Kayak

Karen and I decided to brave the Labor Day crowds at the local state park to try out our new inflatable kayak. Having a portable hobby will be nice while we travel as it will provide yet another way to explore. Paddling should also be a great way to exercise.

I spent loads of time researching inflatable boats and accessories such as life vests and water proof bags. Here is a link to my notes if you’re interested.

The boat dealer suggested we inflate the kayak overnight to check for any problems before we took it to the lake.  Of course, photos were in order even if it’s at dry dock (our basement).

Although the Sea Eagles FastTrack 385 is rated for class two whitewater, we plan to stick with open lakes while we learn to paddle. Fortunately, there are two lakes within 30 minutes of our home. I found a nice map with descriptions of places to kayak at Paddle.net.

Sea Eagle FastTrack

We left the camera in the car so we did not get any photos while on the lake. The boat performed like a champ! Took 20 minutes to set it up and then another 45 minutes when others at the dock wanted to look the boat over before we could got it in the water. We were amazed at how fast we could go with two people paddling.  We were also able to quietly move up to a few birds who were busy fishing which was awesome.

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments. We are totally new to kayaking and would appreciate any suggestions you can offer.

RV Batteries – An Update

I had forgotten to report what RV batteries we might go with once we get our rig. I had mentioned this within an earlier blog post. Shawn at ktmissouri.blogspot.com, recommended we start off with two batteries which is what we will do.

Here is a link to my notes on batteries if you’re interest.

 

Thoughts about Transition to Fulltime RV Living

So what are your thoughts regarding methods of transitioning from a sticks and bricks house to life on the road in an RV?

House to RV.png

I’ve been contemplating what would be the best way for Karen and me to transition to the road. In 2014 I discovered a group of people who wrote blogs. They were a class who attended an RV Dreams Rally together.  A year or so later I found the Class of 2017 on a forum. Combined I learned so much by reading about their preparations.

Sitting back thinking a few years ahead led me to wondering about our own transition. So far, our “perfect world” would be to buy our trailer and truck a year early. Then use accumulated vacation time for several long trips during my last year at work.  We are thinking about buying the truck before the trailer. By then I’d have a firm opinion on a short list of trailers we would consider buying. My thought process on this includes trading a car for a truck and being able to get used to the large truck before we buy the trailer. We should be able to pay cash for the truck by then. We would have to finance part of the trailer purchase until the house sells. Fortunately, our home mortgage will soon be paid off.

We have decided against getting a lessor rig to use during vacations over the next three years and then trading it in. We just don’t have the time right now to make use of the trailer.

I’m thinking October of 2019 would be my last month on the job but wonder if waiting to sell the house the following spring might be a better idea? Others are telling me spring home sales are best. Then again we could get lucky and sell quickly even in the fall. Having a four seasons trailer to move to would make that possible.  We have decided against downsize to an apartment before the RV. We want to enjoy our current home and property while we have it.

Karen and I also talked about what our first year on the road might look like. I work for a county government and might have a better chance than others at landing a summer job at our county park. They pay for all hours worked and provide the camping spot. This would keep us closer to our home town and family the first year after our initial few months of travel or wintering down south.

(update 10/23/16) I sold a small business in 2014 but still do the office work which requires on average 10 hours a week. I sold it to a key employee who tells me I should keep the job while on the road. An interesting twist is we would most likely not have to workamp at all if we did this.  So now I’m thinking about how to fit this into the plan, what I would do for very minimal work space, connectivity and more.

Life in Kansas City – Tearing Down Sheds and Re-Finishing Decks

Not much going on here in our sticks and bricks world. Finally got two of our storage sheds that were in disrepair torn down. I also cleaned the deck stairs with a mixture of water, soap and bleach.  The formula is one part bleach and three parts water. I add a squirt or two of dish soap so the mixture sticks to the wood and scrub any molded areas with a brush. I finished the stairs with a good quality stain. I used a roller and brush to apply the finish, having had little luck with sprayers. 

CWF by Flood Deck Stain
Fourteen years ago I built a house down the street from our current home and the painter finished the wood with a product made by Flood.  The cedar front of the home looks new to this day. I’ve found Flood’s CWF wood stain to be an excellent product. The deck finish material is similar to a thin past when applied so it sticks like soap to the wood. This gives the wood time to absorb the finish. I highly recommend the product.

 

 

Finally making some progress on my 2016 list of things to do!  I’ll have to put some grass seed down this fall. The lawn died under the trash dumpster used to haul off the old sheds and a lot of junk from the house and property.

On the RV front, I’ve been studying up on batteries and refining my rating system for trailers to make it less subjective. More on both topics in a future post.

I’d appreciate your opinion about what RV batteries to start off with. Karen and I don’t want to limit where we are able to stay in our future fifth wheel which we expect will include a week or two boondocking at times. A generator is most likely in our future. I’m leaning towards six-volt AGM golf cart type batteries. However, if the trailer comes with a 12-volt battery we may just add another to start off with.

Ordered a Dumpster and Sold the Boat

IMG_2667 (1024x667) (800x521)

Parked beside a shed for more than 13 years has been our aluminum fishing boat. The last time the motor had been ran was eight years ago.  If I’d known it would be so easy to sell I would have done it years ago.  After spending a day cleaning it up I posted the boat on Craig’s List and had five emails by the next morning. Sold it to the first person who showed up with cash. The interior of the boat needed refurbishing, new tires and some work on the trailer. Priced it less than what I would have paid for it if I had planned to fix it up.

Dumpster (800x450)
A friend who is a home builder ordered us a dumpster at his discounted rate. We were also able to order a size larger at no extra cost.  Karen and I are going to walk through the house selecting items to dispose of that would not fit in our normal weekly trash container.  We agreed to select items together using the following rules for disposal: If we have not used it in four years, can’t give it away, can’t sell it or we are not going to use it in the next three years, then it goes in the dumpster. We also have two old sheds that are coming down so those are going in the dumpster.

If you are feeling like you stalled out with your downsizing efforts – order a dumpster and pitch some big items. It really is liberating.  I’m sure we will order another just after retirement. For now, the extra space in the house will be more usable while we still live here.

One of the sheds has already been torn down. The floor was built using treated lumber. We are planning to turn the floor into a deck which is attached to a remaining shed and in the shade of our woods.  Going to be a great new gardening area. (Update, we decided to pitch the rest of the shed floor rather than buying more lumber to finish a deck we would never use.)

Yet another advantage of starting so early in planning for retirement to an RV.