My Boyfriend’s CRAZY!

Nuts. Psychotic. Looney. Out of his mind. Cuckoo. Bonkers. 

He’s also very brave. Hardworking. Courageous. Adventurous. Daring. 

The proof is in the pudding.  

    
   
Thank goodness he’s done with that part of his life for the rest of the year! I get to enjoy him safely on the ground for a couple of weeks!

We are taking off tomorrow, heading to Cincinnati, well, our home won’t make it all the way to Ohio but we will! Our friends put in a 50AMP outlet for us, and are letting us use their water and septic tank! How awesome are they??! Thanks Brandi and Tommy!

Haven’t decided if we are stopping once or twice along the way yet. It’s right around 1,000 miles. I have some campgrounds in mind thanks to the Good Sam trip planner. I love that thing. 

We are going to go fill the propane tanks and get some food for the road (almost totally out of groceries now!) then get the bike back in the garage and strap everything down to hopefully get an early start tomorrow!

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Our 1st Mobile RV Tech Experience…

This is a follow-up post to Finally, Some Customer SERVICE! from last week.

You know how when your “check engine” light comes on, and you finally get a chance to take it in to have it looked at, but on the way to the shop, the light goes out? Continue reading

I Like Big Buns and I Cannot Lie….

Hamburger buns that is.

Homemade hamburger buns.

Big homemade hamburger buns.

I’m still trying to get away from buying bread at the store. If I can make it at home then I know what’s in it, it’s cheaper, and it tastes better. So I just did a Google search and found this recipe on So Very Blessed.

Here’s what I did:

Put all these ingredients in the bread machine in the order you are supposed to. 

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 3tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1tbs sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2tsp yeast

Set your machine for the “dough cycle”. After about 2hrs, whenever it’s finished, take the dough ball out and divide it into 6 – LARGE – (or 8 if you want smaller buns) equal parts. Shape into a bun. (Make a round ball and kind of pat it down a little.) Put these on a greased baking sheet, cover with a towel and let them sit for almost an hour.  They will puff up a little.


After the hour, brush them with an egg wash (1 egg white with 2tbs water) and sprinkle with sesame seeds. You don’t HAVE to do this, but I like it. You could do minced onion on top if you wanted, I think it’d be delicious, but I would wait to do the egg wash and onion until just a few minutes before they are finished because the onion will burn if you leave it in too long, then you have ruined buns! 

Stick these puppies in a 400 degree oven (or a 375 degree convection microwave oven) for about 12 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t get too dark. 


I suggest letting them cool completely before slicing. We had chicken salad on these last night for dinner and tonight I’m grilling burgers for them. (delicious 1/2 turkey, 1/2 hot Italian sausage burgers… yum!)

For lunch yesterday, during the terrible Bengals game, we had those bagels I made the other day with some leftover chili I thawed out for lunch. (perfect for the rainy day we had here in Texas) Allen thought they were delicious, and he claims to not be a bagel fan! (He had two!) I’ll have to make them again soon!

Daily bread (and homemade bagels)!

BREAD

So I have still been searching for a recipe that makes really good sandwich bread. Even though Allen likes most of them, some more than others, I haven’t really found one fit for a pb&j… (And I love pb&j sammies!) But I stumbled across one 2 days ago. I can’t believe one simple step made such a world of difference!

a text from my boo yesterday at lunchtime

Here’s the recipe I used from food.com:

  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 2tsp yeast
  • 3tbs sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1tsp salt
  • 3 cups white flour (not bread flour)

The trick is to put the hot water, yeast and sugar in the bread pan and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The yeast will foam a little. Then you add the remaining ingredients, set the machine to basic cycle with rapid crust. So. Delicious.

  

BAGELS

Also, I tried my hand at homemade bagels yesterday! I made them my version of Everything Bagels… I found the recipe on King Arthur Flour’s site (here). I cut the recipe in half since Allen isn’t a huge fan of bagels… Here’s my version and it made 4 normal size bagels.

  • 1/2 tbs yeast
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbs brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water

Put all that in the bread machine and set it for bagel dough. Once it’s finished, cut the dough into 4 equal parts and shape into smooth, round balls. (Or try your best at smooth and round) Then place them on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, lightly greased, cover with plastic wrap and let them sit for about a half hour.

  During the half hour, mix together in a large, wide pan:

  • 64oz. water
  • 2tbs brown sugar
  • 1tbs sugar

Bring all that to a boil then reduce it to a simmer. Preheat the oven to 425 (or convection oven to 400). Then poke a hole through the center of the doughball and twirl around your pointer finger until the hole is about 2″ in diameter. (Mine look perfect, right?)

Put the bagels into the water bath. Cook, simmering, for 2 minutes on one side then flip them over and cook for another minute.

IMG_3705-0

Take them out and place them back on the parchment lined baking tray. Sprinkle with seasoning if desired… (It’ll stick better if you brush the tops of the bagels with an egg wash first – 1 egg white mixed with 2 tbs water)

My “everything” seasoning mix…

  Bake them in the oven for 15 minutes, flip them over, bake 10 minutes more. Then if you still want them a little darker in color, flip them back over, right side up for about 5 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

I couldn’t wait to try one this morning for breakfast. I flip flopped back and forth between topping it with avocado and crushed red pepper, or making a bacon, egg & cheese sandwich with it. I decided on the avocado, thinking maybe chicken salad would be delicious on it for dinner, then thought I should also do half with traditional cream cheese also.

 Yum! They are chewy and crunchy (after toasting) and they have that bagel flavor. The only thing I might change is my “everything” seasoning. I think it’s a little too salty. I want to hurry and eat these so I can make another batch!

Finally, some customer SERVICE!

So in my last post, I described some issues we were having with the camper. (See here…) Most of this stuff will happen no matter what kind or brand of camper you have. These things move down the road at high rates of speed, they get bumped around, all of your appliances get jiggled and everything gets bounced around on the highway. I realize all this. But, when things are of better quality and craftsmanship, they last a whole lot longer.

So when we made the long term investment to purchase our 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385TH, it was after extensive research on our part. We had a 2010 Wildwood by Forest River and so we had an idea of what we wanted and didn’t want, what we liked and disliked, and we had a feel for the quality, or lack there of, that goes into the camper making process. We were shopping for our house. Our first house we would buy together, so it was a big deal.IMG_5108

We looked at numerous different brands (no more Forest Rivers!) and went to multiple RV shows and dealers in different parts of the country. After we found the Momentum we did some research on Grand Design. It turned out that the company was just started in 2013 although the owners had been planning for years. They had worked for Jayco I believe and left there to start their own line, with a focus on QUALITY. This was huge for us. A smaller company, not making a billion different campers, they’ll be able to focus on us a little more. Every time we went to a show or visited a dealership, we would try our best to find something we didn’t like about the Momentum. We were trying to be objective. Although we were in love in 2014, I’m really glad they changed some things in the 2015 version. Namely the wood is darker now and there is no carpet on the steps to the bedroom. And after hearing some things, I’m glad they went to the triple axle, although we were kind of excited about the double at first.

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 7.41.02 AM

This is a screenshot I took from Grand Design’s website… 

Needless to say, because we now own a Momentum, we were hard pressed to find anything we didn’t like about it.

The last time we walked into a dealership (Palm Beach RV), we met Tony and said, “Show us the best fifth wheel toy hauler you have. We live in it full time with a puppy and travel all over the country for work.”

Guess where he led us… It was meant to be! (If he would’ve taken us to a Forest River model, I would’ve left on the spot-haha!)

So we’ve had our home on wheels for a little over 8 months now and she’s been good to us. This last trip though, kind of threw a lot of things out of whack. I’ll recap:

  • The low point drain is busted. Allen was able to fix it by removing the valve and replacing it with a metal elbow and some more pex, and a plug, all with a bunch of hose clamps. I love how handy he can be sometimes. IMG_3682
  • The bedroom slide is all out of whack. I’m pretty sure the motors are going out, in turn causing the thing to get off track, but I’m no expert on electric slides.
  • The black tank in the half bath won’t drain. I think maybe the wire is broken. You pull the handle and nothing happens. So, grossly, all that is just festering back there…
  • The tank valves don’t seal all the way. So when we get to a campground and take the cap off to hook up the hose, we get a good amount of nastiness that spills out. Not fun.
  • The furnace has started making this awful noise when turned on. It happened in Oklahoma City and when we got here to the Dallas area. It’s really loud and it has a peculiar smell, almost like chlorine but not quite…
  • The stove burner jiggled itself loose. I discovered that when we got here on Monday, but it really could’ve happened anytime as I didn’t cook this trip. We found a little tiny screw and a metal o-ring type thing but it won’t stay in place. So I’m down to 2 burners for now. IMG_3679
  • The driver’s side tail light is LED. It’s been a little shotty since we got the camper, but it’s all the way out now. Sometimes it’ll have about 2 of 7 lights lit, sometimes more, but it’s all the way out now.
  • The kitchen island is squeaky. It sounds like an old house. It squeaks when Charlie walks by! I think from reading things online that maybe some floor boards came loose and need to be glued again, but I’m not sure. This isn’t major, just a bit annoying.
  • The antenna on the roof is broken. I think it’s the gear head… Remember when we stayed in Sparta at our friend’s place. The ones that have the wolf that Charlie was playing with? (Of course you do!) Well, we forgot to put the antenna down when we left, so when we stopped at a rest stop we found half a tree tangled in the antenna! Oops!
  • I would also like to get the latches on the propane doors replaced with locks. They come open when we drive and we constantly have to pull over to close them. It must be from the wind and/or the vibration of the road.

When it rains, it pours….

I’d been trying to get a hold of someone who could help us sort all this out and what to do about it at Grand Design since Monday. After lots of help from Facebook (there is a Grand Design RV Owners page that Allen and I joined) I finally found some answers yesterday.

I spoke with Ray at Grand Design. We got off to a pretty rough start, I won’t go into details, but he finally gave me phone numbers to a couple mobile RV techs near us. I called and luckily Jeff from Lone Star RV is going to be able to get things done for us in time to go to Ohio for Christmas to visit family! When I called Ray back to let him know, he led with a big apology, so we are all good now. He also said he spoke to “Jerry” in the interim and Jerry had no recollection of speaking with me on Monday. Shocker! Here’s an example from a post I wrote back in August starring the infamous Jerry:

Anyway, while I was on the phone with Amanda at Grand Design I had her switch me over to Jerry in warranty (yes, I’m on a first name basis with these people). I spoke with Jerry multiple times when we were in Louisiana trying to take care of the radio/tv situation. Grand Design had the bright idea to put some Furrion products, and some Haier products in here. (To save money I presume..)  But they don’t communicate well with one another.  The radio in the living room is also a DVD player and that wasn’t working so Jerry sent us a new HDMI cord.  It worked then, but in hindsight I don’t think the cord was the issue.  We still have the same problem with having sound and no picture when we play a DVD but now we just unplug the TV then plug it back in.  It’s the cheap Haier TV.  In the garage (toy hauler) there is a car stereo that also plays DVDs.  But it constantly sounds like it is skipping around a CD in there or trying to spit one out.  Jerry also sent us a new radio that we swapped out.  That worked for a while.  I noticed Monday that it started making noise again.  So he is supposedly sending us ANOTHER radio to swap out and says if we have more issues we will have to take it in to have it looked at.  I’m trying to avoid that because we live in here full time and I’d rather not live at a dealership for days. Also, the closest Grand Design dealer is in Sacramento. And Allen will not be commuting to from Sacramento to San Francisco to work! Anyway, last time, Jerry took forever to send anything out, I mean he said he sent it then a week later I called to see where it was and he still hadn’t sent it. So fingers crossed he actually put it in the mail yesterday!

So for now we wait, and pray that the black tank doesn’t start to smell terrible in these beautifully warm temperatures we are having! I’m glad we are finally getting things resolved and I’m hoping that this turns a new page in our relationship with Grand Design. A lot of people I’ve seen online just rave about how great their customer service is… Maybe we just got the short straw with Jerry. Hopefully things will be better from here on out.

In the meantime I’m getting my tan on at the video store/pizza place/RV office/tanning salon, striving for some color before the holidays. North Dakota made me super pale! And I’m working on crazy Charlie. It seems like she’s been de-socialized in the month we spent in isolation at the North Pole! She did however make friends with a random loose pit bull that came running up to us last night on our walk. I was a little nervous, trying to play it cool, talking in a happy baby puppy voice, but Charlie seemed fine. Now if she would only befriend our neighbor’s boxer “Gator”, I would be a very happy puppy parent indeed!

We also got all of the Christmas shopping that we can do online done yesterday. And ordered our Christmas cards – super excited to get those and mail them out!

Hope everyone else is having a great week! Mine should be better now that I know help is in the works!

If it moves, it shakes….

And if it shakes it loosens… Such is life in our home on wheels…

  
Since we left North Dakota on Saturday we’ve discovered: 

  • The low-point drain is busted. Broken. Stuck open. 
  • Our bedroom slide is in need of service. It won’t close all the way. 
  • Our gray and black tanks don’t close all the way, so when Allen (not me) removes the cap to hook the sewer hose up, all kinds of nastiness spills out. Every time. 
  • The tank for the half bath in the garage won’t open to drain. It’s full. The handle pulls out. Nothing happens. 

When we got to Abe’s RV Park last night, we parked and attempted to plug the busted water valve with no luck. So then we went out with Karen and Bob for some food, drinks, relaxing and catching up. Love them! Then today we got the truck tires balanced and rotated first thing this morning. I called 3 different McClain’s RV Superstores to try and get the camper in for lots of service but none could do anything until at least January.  I called Grand Design and spoke with “Jerry” yet again. He was not even remotely helpful. 

We also want to have some other little things fixed while it’s still under our 1 year manufacturer warranty. But taking it to Grand Design is out of the question as “Jerry” told me today they aren’t scheduling any more service appointments and are backed up into February. Nice.  

 Allen was able to get the low point drain off and replace it with and elbow and more pex and a plug held together with lots of hose clamps. (All found at Lowe’s for a few bucks) So we at least have water. I did the manual override for the bedroom slide and got it in. 

Now we’re on our way to Dallas and nothing is really fixed, just patched for now. No clue what we are going to do or when we can do it. I love traveling. I love living in a camper. I love the spontaneity of Allen’s job.  But when it comes to this kind of crap, it’s frustrating to say the least! But, we have each other, and Charlie, so we will deal with whatever is thrown at us and try and make the most of it!

P.S. I love Abe’s RV Park. It’s one of my favorite places, mostly because Karen & Bob are so nice and so helpful. I was a little sad to leave… On a good note: it’s in the 60s and feels like SUMMERTIME to us! I can’t wait to open the back and have a porch again! 

 

On The Road Again

This is where I belong… On the road again.   

Charlie is SO over the snow!

  We pulled out of Hillsboro a few minutes ago, headed south on I-29, the direction we SHOULD be going for sure! It was actually hovering around 32 this morning and not too windy, so it almost felt like spring!  

 We are going to have to get our bedroom slide checked out soon. We are pretty sure the motor must be bad on it. Since we left San Francisco it’s been really slow coming in and out. We have to usually try it a few times with Allen pushing on the outside to help it. But this time it’s still out about a 1/2″ too far. Good enough to drive as long as we don’t hit a downpour. But, good thing it’s still under warranty with Grand Design!

 Anyhow, we are headed for Council Bluffs, Iowa tonight. There’s a Horseshoe Casino with an RV park, and a bar with live music, so it should be fun! Tomorrow we are stopping in Oklahoma City at Abe’s RV Park to see our friends Karen and Bob – yay! Apparently a tower had some ice damage there so I’m hoping we can stay a few days… But either way, after that it’s on to the Dallas area to take down the tower at Fair Park that Allen worked on back in June.  

Allen’s view from the tower

  

My view from the ground

 
I think Allen won the photo contest…