Thursday, August 10, 2017

A new CAR!

Well, it has been another busy month for us as full timers. We had been thinking that our focus after our trip to Glacier which is coming up later this month of August, would be to pay off some credit card bills and then buy a new car. Well, just like so many other Americans, we occasionally need a little retail therapy.

Also, its that time of year when dealers are clearing out their year-end inventory. So, we went looking at cars. We looked at the Jeep Wrangler, the Jeep Cherokee and the Ford Edge. All three of them are towable four down behind the motorhome. We wanted to buy a car in the next year or so in order to have it paid off before we retire. After looking at all three cars, we decided we really liked the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, a four door Jeep. We had heard that this was the last year of this body style of the venerable Jeep Wrangler, and that early previews of the new body style were not well liked. So, with all of this in mind, and the fact that we could get $3,777 off of a Wrangler if we bought before the end of July, we decided to pull the trigger. We talked to the local Folsom Jeep dealer, and though they talked a good line about being willing to negotiate, when it came down to the brass tax, they indicated that the ‘price was what the price was’. We found a Wrangler in the basic package and color that we liked at Elk Grove Jeep. We touched base with them via instant messenger, and found out that the jeep we wanted was still in stock. So, we headed down to Elk Grove so that we would be down there when they opened, After talking to a Sales guy, we found out that the Jeep we wanted, had been stolen from the dealers lot a few days before, and that they had not updated the inventory. But, they had a couple options of other models that they could trade for at other dealerships. They showed us copies of the Window sticker and we picked one that turned out to be in Stockton. They immediately dispatched a ‘Runner’ to take another vehicle down to Stockton and pick up the car we were interested in and bring it back. While the process of getting the Jeep we liked was in process, we proceeded with getting the paperwork and financing done. Once the paperwork was done, we went and grabbed lunch at Panda Express and then headed back to the dealership. Within 15 minutes of returning to the dealership, our Jeep had arrived. We took it for a quick test drive, and we loved it! So, we told the staff it was a ‘Done Deal’ and we headed home. We love the Jeep because its color is very close to one of the colors on the Motorhome! J

The newest addition to our family Rex, is doing great. He is now 21 weeks old, and weighs in at 35 pounds. He is getting along great with Rosie and Charlie. Charlie however is having a bit of a challenge with Rex because he is a little cautious about wanting to put Rex in his place. Rosie however has no problem letting Rex know when ‘enough is enough’. So, we are continuing to work on that and encouraging Charlie to tell Rex ‘No’ when he has had enough.

In less than two weeks, we head out on our two week vacation to Glacier, which will include a brief stop in Bend where we will hook up with Karen and Mike so that we can watch the eclipse.

Safe travels everyone, we will keep you posted on how things are going!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Lots of stuff going on as we move from one month to the next

The month of June had been a very busy one. One of the great things about the sight that we have our RV at is that we have a lot of tree coverage. About a year ago, the RV park replaced part of the concrete at our sight. This year, the tree, had one of its three main branches start to die. The initial thought that it was because of damage to the roots because of the concrete work, was causing the tree to die. So, the land lord decided that the tree needed to go before it fell over on our motorhome or our neighbors home. So, we said good buy to one of the trees that we really love.

 When we pulled the motorhome out, we fired up the generator to run the Air conditioners. It died after only running a few minutes. We are thinking that the fuel filter is clogged, so we are taking the motorhome in on the 10th of July to have it looked at. We need to get the generator able to run for our trip to Glacier later this summer.

Our new boy Rex continues to grow up. As of this week, he is 16 weeks old and is smart as a whip. Though he still pushes the edge of the envelope as he grows up, and learns about new things he can do, we have to work with him to establish his limits of what is acceptable. This week, he weighed in at a robust 26 pounds! He has gained 17 pounds in the seven weeks that we have had him in our pack. Rex is getting along really well with Rosie and Charlie. Rosie and rex are getting along better than either of us thought he would. So, all in all, Rex is fitting in well.

The fourth of July was a rough one on Rosie, despite using music and a thunder shirt, she was really having a rough time. We tried giving her some Trazadone from the Veterinarian, she was still really worked up. From a scale of 1 to 10, Rosie being and absolute wreck, she was an 8 with the thunder shirt and music, and a 7 with the trazadone added on board.

One of the things that Eric is doing these days while working for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is doing support for Salesforce development. Eric attended the Salesforce developers conference in San Francisco. There was a lot of good information to be had and about 5,000 attendees. There is a Salesforce Users conference held in November also in San Francisco. That event has over 150,000 attendees. That is just too many people for Eric to feel comfortable with. The best part about going to the Salesforce Developers conference was for him to be able to hook up with his nephew Marq who is corporate lawyer that works in San Francisco.

Have safe travels everyone!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rex is growing up

We adopted Rex on the 21st of May. On that day, when we brought him home, he weighed in at 9 pounds. Now, today, not quite a month later, he has more than doubled in weight, weighing in at 19 pounds! Rex is finding that he is fitting in well and starting to figure out the pecking order. Rex loves to play, and plays with Charlie and to a lesser degree, Rosie. Charlie gets a little tired of the sharp puppy teeth on his neck and jowls though!

Rex has had his bumps along the road though. He had some sort of upper respiratory infection that he fought for about a week, but thankfully, we have one of the best VCA's in the world just a few minutes away, that is open 24 hours a day. We got him on a 10 day course of anti-biotics, and now is doing great!

We had hoped to take Rex on his first road trip this weekend, but because of Carol feeling sick her self, we were not able to hit the road. We will continue to keep you posted on how Rex is progressing as he grows up.

Safe travels all!

Eric, Carol, Rosie, Charlie and Rex

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Please welcome our newest road warrior... Rex

On May 21st, Carol picked out a new little bundle of joy to be part of our family and his name is Rex! We adopted Rex from Valley Spca who is a rescue that has been around for 25 years, but is smaller than Chako in that they only have fosters for volunteers, and four of them at that.

He and two of his siblings were found under a church in Stockton about 3 weeks earlier. They were nursing on their mom when they were found. He has a sister who is also brindle and a brother who is black on white. We wanted a male, in hopes that he would be a bit more acceptable to Rosie. Of the two boys, Rex (previously known as Avery) seemed to be a little calmer but also more confident as well as being understanding of Rosie's "Corrections". 

When we brought Rex in our pack he weighed in at 11 pounds. A week later, he had gained another pound and weighed in at 12 pounds. A week after that, this morning, he's added on two more pounds and weighs 14 pounds. Of courses Rex's first road trip was his ride home to our house from the adoption event in Stockton.

We took Rex out for a second ride this weekend just to help him get comfortable with the idea of riding on the road frequently. He's better get use to the idea, after all, we got some full timing to do going forward! :-)

Our local VCA facility is also a major medical facility for pets providing MRI's and various high-tech treatments for sick or injured animals. They have made the decision to phase out their 'General Practice' operations and open up a new satellite office. But that will take a while. Also, the veterinarian that we have enjoyed working with over the years, Dr. Wong, is now director of Medicine and no longer seeing clients. So, we are on the hunt for a new veterinarian. We had a couple options to consider, Old Towne Vet and Bradshaw VCA. We asked Old Towne how much they would charge for a Neuter, and they told us $500.00. We checked with Bradshaw VCA and they told us about $300.00. We have been to Bradshaw vet in the past with one of Chako's foster dogs Starr and were pretty happy with the help we got from them, so we are thinking we will be going forward with them, at least initially.

We'll keep you all posted with the life and times of Rex, as well as Rosie and Charlie.

Safe Travels.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

New tires for our rig

We bought our Allegro bus motorhome in September of 2010. At the time, the tires that came on the rig has a lot of life left on them. They were made in 2006. However, now 7 years later, those tires are now 11 years old. We have always kept the tires covered, so the tires have held up well over the 11 years of their lives. Discussing the life of our tires with various tire shops have agreed that the tires will hold up very well when covered and that we should not be surprised to get 10 or more years out of the tires.

So, we went to our nearby Les Schwab for tires for our 2003 Allegro bus. We paid just south of $2,900 for the 6 tires. When they installed the tires, we asked them to save a tire that we could put in the bay for a spare. We don't expect a tire problem at any point, but if we have a problem, we can call for a service truck to change our failed tire with the spare that we have.

We live full time in our rig. We weren't 100% sure that we would be able to find room in the bay without removing some stuff. Like everyone, we probably have stuff in the bays that we don't need to keep hauling around, but it is always hard to make the decision to toss stuff out.

However, with just a little moving of stuff around, having a space for the tire was easy to come up with, actually, we had a gap that we had lost sight of. So, with putting just a few items such as our Jack stands, the hydraulic jack, and a ceramic heater inside the tire, we were able to re-organize and get everything including the spare tire in the bay.

Safe travels all!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Getting ready for a power upgrade

So, we are getting ready to upgrade the power set up of our 2003 Allegro Bus from a 2000 watt modified sign wave inverter/charger to a pure sign wave inverter/charger. We will also be adding 300 watt solar with an MPPT charge controller. We've received some great insight from a friend of ours, but looking to see what others might suggest.

Quite frankly, we are not quite sure why they sold this RV with a Modified Sign Wave Inverter. The microwave has never worked right on it. I'm wondering if we should replace the current Inverter/Charger with just an inverter and then leave it up to the 'Solar' to charge the batteries, or if we should indeed do a one-for-one change out. Currently. we live full time in our rig and have it parked at an RV park in Sacramento. The rig is under trees, but the end I plan to put the panels on is pointed south and has a fairly clear exposure to the sky.

If we go with the Inverter/Charger route, is there going to be any problem with there being effectively 'Two chargers' on the battery bank.

Lastly, we currently only have about three outlets on the 'Inverter'. Should we keep the wiring the same and again only energize the three outlets, or should we make the process a little more manual where I plug the RV 50 amp plug into an interior plug, which is powered off the inverter when we unplug from Shore power. If we take that approach, how do we keep the inverter from trying to charge the batteries (Because it is getting 120 volts from it's power source) and draw from them at the same time.

I'd really welcome any and all input. Thanks!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Our second trip to see the poppies

A few years back, Eric tried to give Carol a surprise trip to see the California State Poppy preserve to see poppies in bloom. That year turned out to be not such a great year for the bloom and as a result, the surprise ended up to be kind of bust because it was such a poor water year. Also, the place where we choose to stay, in 'Lancaster' was a bit disappointing because of the unending wind.

This year however, with the weather being a much wetter winter, we thought we might have more success at seeing some poppies in bloom. Also, we thought we might change our accommodations and hopefully stay in a place that might be a little less windy. So, this year, instead of traveling straight to Lancaster, we thought we would stay in Bakersfield.
Though we have stayed in Bakersfield in the past, we thought we would try an RV park that we had never stayed at before. We stayed at the 'River run RV park' in Bakersfield. This RV Park is right next to the Kern river and was a wonderful place to stay. The park is about 10 years old, and has all of the modern immunities such as well equipped Laundry Facilities, a club house, store and swimming pool. The park is run by a husband and wife team and they are doing an amazing job with the park.

On our first full day on the trip, we made a run out to the Antelope valley, home of Lancaster and the poppy fields to check out the reserve. On our drive out there, we drove over the 'Grapevine' an arterial road from Bakersfield to Los Angeles. And for these veteran 'Grapevine' drivers, we were admittedly a little surprised as to how green the hills were leading up to the Grapevine.

Once we got to the reserve, the day was a little cold and windy, but we had a much better opportunity this time to check out the flowers. Though, the cool wind kept the flowers still somewhat retracted, there were a lot of sheltered areas that gave us an chance to check out these beautiful flowers.

Reports were that the eastern part of the park, had the best blooms, and that report was correct.

Though our first full day was full of driving from Camp to the Antelope valley, we took a little slower pace on our second day and included some time sitting and relaxing outside and enjoying the warm sunshine and cool breeze. This really is a beautiful park with a great location, especially if your sight is one to back up to the river.

On this second day, we did run into Bakersfield to check out the old part of town and to grab a bite to eat at a 'Woolworths' Luncheonette. This particular dining establishment was part of an old 'Woolworths' store back in the mid-1900's but was closed when the chain closed down. However, someone reopened the Woolworth's luncheonette as a unique dining experience. It was great, because we got to sit at the counter and enjoy a 'Burger and Fries' together. It was the first time Carol got to sit at the 'Counter' of the luncheonette.

The rest of the old Woolworths, was converted into a massive 'Antique Mall'. Even to be found in the 'Antique Mall' was some great treasures to be found. We had a great time on our trip to see the Poppy's and Bakersfield. We will definitely return here again.

Safe travels everyone!

Eric and Carol Anderson

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Flag down!

So the other day, the furnace kicked on but sounded like the blower motor fan was taking a dive. So, when we got home from work the following afternoon Eric started to take the furnace apart to see what the part number was so he could order a new fan. His wife Carol was holding the cabinet door open and Eric was taking a picture of the model number on the furnace. Carol spotted the American flag that had been sucked over a bay wall and into the blower motor. We are both so glad Carol had seen the flag. She sure saved us a lot of money and work!

Eric will not be putting up some screen material to keep similar items from being sucked into the furnace in the future.

Safe Travels

Eric and Carol Anderson

Friday, March 17, 2017

A dogs life in our motorhome

We started our Full timing adventure in 2010. We had lost our home due to the financial downturn in 2007 and 2008. The veterinary practice that Carol had worked at for 25 years as a veterinary technician, had closed it's doors because the owner had decided to hang up his stethoscope. We put our house on the market, but we couldn't drop the price fast enough to keep up with the falling value of the collapsing real-estate market. We cashed in some of our 401k to try to keep the boat afloat, but ultimately decided that we had to just walk away from our home.

We rented a home for a while, until our daughter Katie moved out on her own. We kept the Fifth wheel trailer that we had bought when we both still had jobs, and decided that the time had come to start our full timing adventure. It was something that we had known that we wanted to ultimately do, but we figured we would be closer to retirement and in a much better financial situation than we were at the time. We had taken numerous trips in our various RV's with our pets, and they always seemed to handle the traveling fairly well. So, when the decision was made to start full timing, we figured the dogs would go along with the program. Fortunately we were correct in our assumption.

Here is a little video to give you just a sense of what the lives are like for our four-footed friends!

Safe Travels!

Eric and Carol Anderson

Sunday, February 26, 2017

More motorhome updates

So, in the fall of 2016, we went to an RV show to see what was out there in the way of more up to date rigs. We love our 2003 Allegro bus, but we were trying to figure out if we should look at buying something newer while we were both still working. We came to the conclusion that our rig, while still not paid for, is worth less than we owe on it, which is typical with just about any motorized vehicle.

So, the decision came pretty easy to us that we knew what we had and we probably should just stay with what we got. None the less, there were some things that we still wanted to up-date. Since that time, we have updated the back splash around the kitchen stove area as well as in the bathroom area. We have also started to replace the bi-fold blinds with roll up blinds. Well, in the last week, Eric has finished the updating of the window treatments as well as replacing the light fixtures in the bath room areas. Check out the end results of our efforts!

So, below is how the old window treatments looked.

 This is how the new windows treatments look in the bedroom. The work is finished, but we do have to put some sort of valance up.

Also, this is how the vanity lights in the bathrooms use to look.

This is how they look now!

All in all, we are very happy with how things are turning out!