Sunday, October 26, 2008

We're in FLORIDA!!!!

HOORAY!! Yesterday morning we pulled in to John Palmer's Solar City way back in the woods at Lake City, FL. about 11:00am. It was misting and raining off and on all the way from Thomasville, GA. Now to rejuvenate our batteries and solar system. This may take a few days but John is an excellent Solar installer and troubleshooter, so he will have us operating efficiently without shore power REAL SOON.....we hope!
CAMPFIRES are a nightly occasion at John Palmers Solar place. Lots of old and new friends and "conversation" take place at the "nightly fire"!!!
Our beautiful campsite at The Solar Guy's place near Lake City, FLORIDA
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Last Monday in Little Rock, the Amana repairman arrived about noon and installed the new compressor that had been delivered and waiting on him! It was quite a job and took him a good 3 hours. He was a very competent repairman and has been doing it for 26 years! He did a good job and we were extremely grateful to have a FRIG again!!!

Tuesday the frig was still cooling in good shape, so we hooked up and pulled to the Goodyear tire shop and backed up to their work door. They were quite impressed when we just hit the BIGFOOT jacks and raised all 6 wheels off the ground so they could get to work. Neat, they were impressed. That sure solves how to jack this big rig up!!!

The OLD wheels and tires.(above)
And the NEW Wheels and Tires.(above) Actually I think the OLD wheels are "sportier" looking than the new ones............But thats the way it goes!!!!

When they took off the bad tire that I had changed when we had the tread separation, I noticed the back side was covered with BRAKE FLUID. Hummm, I had checked and didn't see where the hydraulic brake line was damaged, but upon closer inspection, it was evident that it had caused a crack in the line and we were losing fluid. UGH, now another problem to get repaired before we can leave. :-( About time for our luck to change!!! We had become quite friendly with the tire shop manager, so we ask him if he knew a place that could repair our broken brake line. "AH,HA", he said "I know a guy that does that kind of work a lot and his shop is just ONE block away, let me call him and see if I can get you in". WOW, maybe our luck is changing??? He came back and said "Yes, he will do it, pull on down there". After a couple hours and a new section of brake line all formed, shaped and installed, we were on our way back to the campground. Now to get all set to hit the road in the morning!!! Whew!!! Thank God for happy hours!!!!

While we were at the Tire Shop, the manager made us such a good deal on 4 new drive tires on our BIG TRUCK that we couldn't pass it up. SO, with 6 new TIRES and 6 new WHEELS on the Teton and 4 new DRIVE TIRES on the truck, we were set to GO!!!

It was a GREAT week!!!! God Bless.

Thanks for stopping by and remember, tell your kids you love them, they may not be around forever.


This Blog published every Sunday.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Still grounded in Little Rock........

Although we planned on leaving Little Rock on Wednesday, that didn't happen. Monday morning when we got up, we had 2 problems. One: a damaged tire and two: no refrigerator

Neither of which are simple matters!!!

We started calling the necessary parties. The Amana Co. and Goodyear tire Co. Soon we had a repairman scheduled to come out and look at the frig and Goodyear sending a claim form. We took the damaged tire to a Goodyear dealership so it could be FedEx'ed to their home office for inspection...

The G614 "G" rated tire had completely thrown it's tread. The tread was wrapped around the axle and wedged between the tire behind it. It had gotten very HOT and that was causing the smoke. A car right behind us saw it happen and he immediately flagged us over. That's where we got REAL lucky!! Had we gone much further, the tire would have BLOWN. If you click on the above picture of the tire, you will see it was wearing through the steel belts. Had it blown, I'm sure the damage caused would have been much worse.

The flopping tread tore the insulation above it off. It looks terrible, but really it's not that bad. It didn't bend anything or damage the fender or side panel on the fiberglass at all. Very LUCKY!!

In nearly 14 years of full-timing and 1000's of miles, this is our FIRST tire problem of any nature!!! Someone has been looking out for us !!! However, I've always worried about my tires and watched them closely. Twice before I have had Goodyear replace the NEW tires that came on our Tetons because they weren't adequate for the load. This Teton we special ordered and requested and paid extra for the upgraded "G's" instead of the "E's" that it came with. Most all the Manufacturers put just barely enough of a rated tire to get by. Then when you put anything in the rig, it's overweight. I should have gone even further and ordered it with the 17.5 wheels and the "H" rated tires. Isn't HINDSIGHT great? It's not enough to be just a little below the weight limits of your tires, we need to be considerably BELOW those weight limits......I weigh my rig every chance I get and weigh every axle and every wheel separately. It is EXTREMELY important!!!! It's interesting for me to note that this tire was loaded the heaviest of all the Coach's tires..... The tires have just over 15,000 miles on them. I carry 110 lbs of air in each tire and monitor them constantly.

I was one of the FIRST to obtain and use thePressurePro tire monitoring system, so I could watch the air pressure and be forewarned of a leak as I was driving down the road. I liked the system so well I began getting it for friends that also wanted it and soon became one of the top RV dealers for PressurePro. That was nearly 5 years ago.

Because I want more of a safety margin, we have decided to get rid of all the remaining G614's and go with the G114's. They are a 17.5" tire, while the ones we have now are 16". This requires we purchase 6 new 17.5" wheels and obtain 6 of the new G114's. They are "H" rated and designed specifically for commercial "low-boy" trailers hauling such things as back hoe's, caterpillars, etc. It will be an expensive undertaking, but necessary, in our opinion....

We are in the process of doing this now, The new wheels were ordered form HTW wheel mfg company near South Bend, IN. They arrived by UPS Friday and the 6 new tires came in Thursday. We took the new wheels over to the Dealer and they are mounting the new G114 tires on them. Now, to take the rig over to the dealer and have them all installed.....
I'm VERY happy to say that Goodyear, as usual, has cooperated with us 100% on this deal. In fact, they agreed to give us FULL PRICE credit for our G614's toward the purchase of the NEW G114's and pay for our damages. I have ALWAYS found them very cooperative. I wouldn't consider any other brand tire on my Coaches........

Our good friends Mark & Dale Bruss have also done this and Mark has documented it well with all his research on his website: Tires: New Sized Tires
They had much more damage to the side and fender well of their Coach.........

WAIT,,,we can't move!! One Amana repairman came out last Tuesday, found the frig had a bad circuit board,,,,,,,none in stock. Had to order it. Fortunately, it came UPS overnight delivery and we got it Wednesday. Another repairman came out the same day to install it. BOY, this is going smooth,,,,,,,,WRONG!!!!!

The 2ND repairman knew a lot more about what he was doing. He said " wait a minute, let me check the compressor, that's what usually causes this circuit board to go out". YEP,,,,,sure enough, compressor was SHOT!!!!! Had to order it !!!:-( New compressor came Friday morning, but no repairman was available to install it until MONDAY............So here we sit, afraid to move or go anywhere waiting for the repairman.........refer sitting out in the middle of the floor. Didn't realize how tough it is to be without a frig!!!! Boy, we take these modern conveniences for granted!!

Here is the first repairman that came out. He's ordering the circuit board and Pat's on the phone, as she has been for the last week continually!!!!

But, in spite of all these problems, we have a LOT to be thankful for!! We still wouldn't trade places with anyone in the whole WORLD!!!!! Here we sit in this beautiful Corps of Engineers park just 15 miles from our dear friends Louis and Janette Hughes. The park sits right on the shores of the Arkansas river and we have a SUPERB view right out our back picture window. Since we have " Golden Age" cards, the site costs $9.50 instead of the usual $19.00 per night. Not a bad life at all.

Monday we hope to get the Compressor installed and get the refer cooling again. Tuesday the tires can be installed on the Teton and Wednesday we can continue our journey to Tallahassee.

But,,,,who knows???? We'll see!!!

Meanwhile I have 6 lightly used beautiful Aluminum 16", 8 bolt, heavy duty wheels FOR SALE.

This is an actual picture of one of the wheels from our Teton. So if YOU, or anybody YOU know wants to upgrade your wheels to these beautiful polished aluminum wheels that will NEVER rust, now is your chance. Asking $65.00 each.......that's about 1/2 price or less. They are manufactured by HTW, the same ones that make the NEW 17.5's I just bought. I like the 16" wheels better than the 17.5's, I think they are more attractive......

SPECIAL REQUEST: Our friends, Bob & Molly Pinner, have a young niece who has Leukemia and is going through some of the same treatments Scott had to endure. Her name is Kristy and her Mom is Kathryn (Molly's sister). Kristy will be undergoing a Bone Marrow Transplant on Thursday, Oct. 23. We are asking that all of our Blog readers and friends everywhere pray for Kristy, especially on Thursday, that the BMT will be successful and that she will be on the road to recovery. Kristy has 4 beautiful children and they need their Mommy. God Bless you Kristy and keep up the good fight!! Kathryn we're praying for you, too.

See ya all next week and I'll bring you up to date on our progress. Hopefully, we'll be in FLORIDA!!! Thanks for stopping by and we LOVE your comments!!!
God Bless

This Blog is published every Sunday morning..

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Just as things are going along smooth,,,,,,BANG!!!! You have a BAD day!! That was us yesterday.
As the HDT Rally in Hutchinson came to a close, everyone was departing and heading their own desired directions. Us included. Yesterday (Saturday) morning we headed on our way towards Little Rock. Things were going along fine when a car pulled up along side us and motioned us to pull over. What in the WORLD??, was our reaction. A young fellow came running back to us saying that SMOKE was coming from one of our tires!! That causes your heart rate to increase somewhat!!! What had happened???? We jumped out and started checking, sure enough the left front tire on our Teton had thrown a tread and was caught between it and the frame and also the next tire back. The tire still had full air pressure in it. That explains why the PressurePro tire monitoring system didn't alarm. Smoke has a tendency to travel to the center and out the back. It's nearly always impossible to see!! I was watching and didn't see a thing!!!
If this young fellow had not stopped us, the tire would have soon BLOWN OUT !!!!! The damage would probably be a LOT worse than it was........It tore the insulation off from above the tire and that's about all the damage I could see. We'll check closer later.

So we were quite LUCKY!!!! Now, what to do next?? We were on a rather busy 2 lane highway south of Stillwater, OK. It did have a good shoulder. I pulled over as far as I could, put out my emergency reflectors, got out my tools, my bottle Jack, took the spare down from it's mount and changed the wheels. Pat was watching and keeping the traffic from running over me as I was laying on the edge of the traffic side. Cars, trucks, etc were whizzing by at 50-60 + mph. Not a fun situation. I could have called our Road Service, but it would have taken hours(it was Saturday) and I wanted to try it myself first and then use road service as plan "b".
My plan WORKED!!!! After about an hour of Blood, Sweat and yes, Tears, we were on our way.
Tired, Dirty, and both of our backs hurting, but we were on our way......out of the road.....Thank GOD.

We made the rest of our trip for the day, a little late, but ready to hang it up for the night...WHEW!!!!!! Tomorrow we'll go on into Little Rock,,,about 140 miles. There we will decide what to do about the tire. We are thinking about doing what our good friends Mark and Dale Bruss did and go to new 17.5" wheels with the new Goodyear G114's. It's a JOB and EXPENSE, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do!! Right?

OK, we'll handle that come MONDAY morning!!!!!

Well, when we got up this morning,,,our REFRIGERATOR had QUIT!!!!!!! It's an AMANA and has quit before and we had to put in a Start Capacitor while we were at Custer. At Custer we have another Frig to put all our stuff in,,,,,,,ugh,,,here we DON"T!!!! It's not an RV refrigerator, so an RV place can't help. It takes a Household repairman..........WOW,,,2 bad days in a row!!!!

It's a TERRIBLE job getting the Amana out so they can work on it and the repairman WILL NOT do WE must!!!! We've done it once, so we'll do it again!!! Meanwhile, all we have is a little cooler, an insulated bag and a very small frig in the Truck.......So lots of good frozen meat, etc. is gone......................Tossed out!!

What next,,,,,,,,,,We have to keep smiling and work through this,,,,,and we WILL. Like my son Scott used to say, "It's Just a Bump in the Road". We've been full timing for over 13 years and this is ABSOLUTELY the FIRST tire problem we have had..........not even as much as a FLAT before! So we were due,,,,,,,,,,,,,,right?

Just like we used to do at work when the roof fell in, we'll take these problem situations ONE by ONE and handle them..... We'll come back smiling, smarter, minus a few bucks, but stronger than ever.

Thanks for stopping by and we'll see you next week with a progress report........

Shucks,,,,,IT's still a GREAT WEEK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hang in there.


This Blog is Published every Sunday morning......

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Greetings from Kansas State Fairgrounds!!!!

This is the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. It's a BIG place and we have lots of BIG rigs arriving.

Both sides are filling up with beautiful rigs of all sizes and shape. Last count was 34 and more are arriving.

Our's is parked right in the middle where there is LOTS of action!! We're talking "PressurePro" to lots of new and old customers...

Then along about 4:00 pm it's "pre-Rally social hour",,,,,,,,,,,,every night a few more friends showed up. Soon the crowd was HUGE!!! Pot Luck and snacks galore........What a GREAT life!!

Saturday evening at 5pm was the official opening and welcome. We set up our PressurePro display table and soon thereafter everyone was welcomed to the 5TH National Heavy Duty Truck Rally. After that, as you can see from the above picture the snack counter was quite popular!!! Lots of GREAT conversation with old and new friends and at 7pm a live band took over. Many soon returned to their home on wheels, while others danced the night away........
A very pleasant evening and the 2008 HDT rally is off to a SUPER start!!! Our PressurePro seminar is Tuesday morning and there are many others scheduled throughout the week. This is gonna be FUN!!!!!:-)

Now a little bit on the Sad and Serious side.............

As many of you know this is a picture of my youngest son Scott. It was just ONE year ago yesterday on 10-4-07, while we were at this same Rally, that Scott called us and informed us that he had been diagnosed with LEUKEMIA....................
After a long and hard fought battle that included many, many heavy doses of Chemo and dozens upon dozens of other medications and transfusions, including a bone marrow transplant from his older brother Mikel, it was 8 months later on June 5TH that he lost the battle. He was 47 years old and such a good kid. My buddy, my pal. A guy I confided in a lot and a guy that was always very kind to Pat and I. I sure miss him, as I know we all do, but I'm so thankful that God let me enjoy him for 47 years and that I got to spend the last month of his life at his side.....

Scott loved to RV, but he was always so busy with work and all that he didn't get to do it as much as he would have liked to. But now he's gone to that GREAT campground in the sky and he is Rv'n right here with us, that's what the "empty" campsite right next to us is, it's reserved and dedicated to Scott. Scott, lets go for a walk!!

The following is a poem that Ann, Scott's wife found and we all think it describes what Scott would want. I'd like to share it with you:

"I'm Free"
Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard him call
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
I found that place at the close of the day.
If my passing has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss.
Ah yes, these things, I too, will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow.
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, I savored much.
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me
God wanted me now, He set me free.
Author Unknown
God Bless you all, thanks for stopping by. Please stop in next week, or sooner and leave a comment or a note in the "shoutbox".
It was a GREAT WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This Blog is published every Sunday morning