New year = New things!

Lots have happened since our last post. Things have been hectic, to say the least!

Let me start by saying we have put over 16,000 miles on the camper in 2017!!! And I can only see things getting more go-go-go…

We left Vegas and headed back to the shop in Chandler, IN to regroup, did a small job in Springfield, IL (we stayed at Double J Campground for almost a week) then headed down to Florida.

Punta Gorda was first and we stayed at an Encore Resort called Gulf View RV Resort. It was nice, the people in the office were extremely friendly. The site was a pull-thru but pretty tight to get into. The roads were really narrow so it made it a little tough for a 43′ camper to pull in after dark, but Allen rocked it (like always). We were there for almost a week. The tower they were supposed to plumb and tension had frayed guy wires so that nixed the original plan! While we were there, Allen found a Smart car online… (I love that man!) We got a Carfax report on it and went to check it out. It’s ours!!!

It’s a 2008 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet convertible! I love it! We managed to fit the motorcycle and the car in the garage. We added some tracks to the garage floor for tie downs and got some giant ratchet straps for it. It’s 1800lbs and the bike is about 550lbs so we are under the 2500lb garage floor rating. We’ve been wanting to get a Smart car since we started looking for a new camper over 3 years ago!

When we left Punta Gorda we headed over to West Palm Beach where they were supposed to plumb and tension another tower. We stayed at John Prince Park Campground. It was a nice place although the lady in the office gave us completely wrong directions upon check-in so we wound up having to drive around the park to get into our spot from a different angle. The Walmart up the street was the WORST I’ve been to. We had a bunch of equipment from work in the bed of the truck so Allen got the privilege of staying in the truck while I shopped by myself among the craziness and last minute holiday shoppers… We would’ve taken the Smart car but we couldn’t get a temp tag from Florida so it was stuck in the garage. The wires on this tower wound up being way too large for any of the equipment they had so after the first day we headed back to the Cincinnati area for the holidays.

We stay at our best friend’s property whenever we are back in town, down in Sparta, KY. We have 50amp and water, and a septic so it’s pretty perfect.  The dogs can run around and chase chickens and they love it. Plus we get to see Brandi so that’s always a blast.  I went to my mom’s on Christmas Eve and Allen did his family thing. We had dinner at his parents’ on Christmas then cooked at my mom’s that night.

On the 26th we got Allen’s kids and headed back down to the camper with lots of leftovers! We had a constant bonfire, played some Apples to Apples, the kids rode the 4 wheeler… It was fun! Allen took the kids back home a few days later then my mom came down on the 30th. We had a massive bonfire on New Year’s Eve and already have bigger plans for next year!

We also did a lot of work during winter “vacation”… Allen and I dropped the aluminum underbelly on the camper to check everything out. It had been 2 years since we put it up. Everything still looked pretty good as far as the insulation was concerned. Allen put some foam pipe insulation on the water lines going to the kitchen, as far back as he could reach, because that part tends to freeze first. It’s because the lines touch the steel frame. It seemed to help but we did lose hot water for a couple of days when the temp was in the single digits. While we had the aluminum down we noticed a couple of the hydraulic lines didn’t look too good so we took those to a CAT dealer and had them make new ones for us. We had the steps for the patio mounted under the garage but we’ve only used them once when we first bought the camper so we left those behind. Our Edgestar washer dryer combo started throwing an E3A error code a couple of months ago and they said they’d replace it. We had to wait until we had an address for long enough so we scheduled the delivery and pick up of the old unit. The shipping companies got all messed up with the schedule so Edgestar wound up telling us to just do what we pleased with the old unit, just scratch the serial numbers off, and not worry about sending it back. Good deal!

So we are in working order on the laundry front, just hoping we get no more error codes for the rest of our lives! We have the worst luck when it comes to these units… We finally got the Smart car registered in South Dakota and have the temp tag for that. But work brought us to Shiloh, North Carolina right after the bombogenesis struck, so it’s snowed in the garage! We were staying at North River Campground. This month they have a half off daily rate special! It was a nice place with super nice owners. We were there for about a week and half. Came in after a snowstorm and left after another one!

Monday when Allen got to work, one of the guys ran the forklift into a ditch that was covered in a snowdrift. The engineer’s truck got stuck and Allen had to pull him out. Our truck got stuck in 4WD and wouldn’t come out. Then it wouldn’t move at all. The farmer that owns the land the tower is on called a tow truck and they took it to the Chevy dealer for $215. Allen got a ride to Enterprise and rented a car. The Chevy dealer called yesterday and it’s the electronic 4WD system that’s messed up. The transfer case…? They had one in stock so replaced it for approximately $900.

We are now almost to Union Springs, Alabama for a few days of work. We are planning to stay on site, hoping there’s water!

Life has been a bit of a fiasco here lately!!!

On another note, I’ve been helping Hubble Foundation with their golf tournament coming up in April. So far we have donations from Disney, Southwest Airlines, Zoo Atlanta and some other companies. Tower King II, the company Allen worked for previously, also did our first sponsorship! Hubble Foundation helps families of fallen telecommunications technicians who perish on the job. We lost BJ, Marcus and Brach in September. Allen worked with all three of them and they were good friends of ours. When we were in Springfield, IL we found out there was another accident. Once we got to the shop we found out that it was Clayton Barnhill, another guy Allen has worked with… It just touches really close to home. So I’ve been staying busy with Hubble Foundation.

Our friend Brandi started The Kentucky Chapter of The Cure Starts Now in honor of her daughter RaiLee who passed away from DIPG in November 2016. They had their first annual golf tournament in August last year and just set the date for this year’s tournament. So I’ll be working on getting donations and sponsorships for that here soon.

It feels good to be busy, I just hope our “being busy fixing things” situation chills out for a while! We still need to take the Smart car in to get checked out and get an oil change, but we did replace some lights and the windshield wipers so that’s a start!

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We are Arkansans for a while! 

We’ve been busy! We were in Indiana for a couple weeks when we left Florida, staying at Lynnville Park Campground while Allen was working at the shop in Evansville. Well, he was, I took the puppies to my mom’s in Cincinnati for a week. I got to attend the annual festival in our hometown for the first time in a few years and catch up with some friends. I also got lucky enough to be there to let some balloons go by my brother’s tree. He’d been gone for 2 years on June 18th… Continue reading

Adventures as Wichitans!

Hi all! I guess now’s a good a time as any to write a blog post and catch you all up on our extended stay in Wichita, Kansas!

I thought we were going to be out of there a couple weeks ago, but they added a little something to the job, so we got almost another two weeks out of it. The weather in Kansas, in the spring, is not super conducive to tall tower work, that’s for sure! So that added a little time to our stay.  Continue reading

About Us

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Hi! We’re Rachel & Allen and we live full time in our 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385 fifth wheel toy hauler.  We travel the country for Allen’s work, often only having a couple days notice of where we need to be next. And we love it!

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Allen, Rachel and Charlie

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A Barn Spike & A Blowout!

I’m tired of tires!

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Charlie is sick of the hassle too! 

After we left our second BLM camping oasis in the middle of Wyoming, we had a camper tire blow out in Nebraska… We didn’t feel a thing! Continue reading

How much does YOUR life weigh???

We found the gem of all highway gems EVER!! Thanks to my awesome Trucker Path App!
I-80 in Wyoming. Exit 34. On the north side of the highway there’s a huge truck parking lot. Allen had a good point that it’s probably where they put all the trucks when they close the highway because of snow… There’s a FREE scale!  Continue reading

North Dakota… 

Oh my goodness, it’s COLD here!  

 If it were summer time I think this place would be a lot more enjoyable. As it is, there’s not much to do in town. We are staying at the Hillsboro Campground in Hillsboro, North Dakota. Hillsboro is 1 square mile, right off I-29 and almost exactly halfway between Fargo and Grand Forks. There’s a grocery store, a hardware store, and a sports bar.  

 There’s also a city park where they have a pen full of mule deer. We went to see them yesterday and feed them carrots. I dressed Charlie in her reindeer outfit thinking she would blend in. But she did not care for the deer and the deer did not like her. The park is pretty. The Goose River goes through it. There’s a swimming pool also.  

   
Joyce runs the campground. She also runs the motel. And the senior assisted living center. And the Chicken Shack (at the campground, which is closed now, I’m guessing for the winter). And she runs the Hillsboro Laundry, which is also at the campground. She is one busy lady. There is wifi but it only shows up on the computer, not on our phones.  

 Joyce will be shutting the water off to most of the park for the winter, leaving only about 8 spaces with water, ours being one of those. We had to go buy the noodle insulation and the heat cord (for water pipes) to make a longer heated water hose so it doesn’t freeze. We had a 20′ one but it wasn’t long enough. The water spicket and electric is pretty far away. They are either right behind the sites or off the side. The spaces are long enough but soft-ish gravel. I wouldn’t want to park a heavy class A here for sure.  

 Charlie is just shivering non stop, poor pup. We have compromised to keeping the heat at 64 degrees. We have to pay electric for everything over 525kwh so we turn our electric space heater and the fireplace off at night and when we leave. We are also going through some propane. Luckily there’s somewhere in town to refill our tanks. (All 5 of them). Most of the time we are keeping the garage door closed. We left the bike in there and Allen’s toolbox. So it’s definitely being used as a mudroom now!  

 I even went and bought some “utility” boots for this hard winter we are about to face! Although Walmart didn’t have hardly any winter stuff out and I’ve seen a lady in flip flops and a girl in a summer dress with just a little cardigan over it. Meanwhile, we are wearing thermals and hats and gloves!  

 We are heading into Grand Forks today to watch the Bengals play. It’s the closest place I think we will find NFL Sunday Ticket. (I definitely want to have a tailgater by next football season-it would save us a ton of money just not having to go to the bar and watch!) And since we are about 40 minutes from anything we are being very responsible and designating a sober driver. I got the unlucky straw this week so Allen will get to act like a drunk toddler by himself! 

We were also responsible enough to get our flu shots the other day when we went into town to go to Walmart. #adulting ! I never thought I could miss Walmart so much! But they still didn’t have our Scott RV toilet paper so I’m stuck with Campa-Chem. At least it’s 2-ply! *sigh*

Cheers to football Sunday! Who Dey!

Utah the Beautiful! 

The Bonneville Salt Flats are the first indication you’ve gotten out of Nevada and into Utah. You crest a hill, or mountain, and all of a sudden the landscape looks way different. There’s a bunch of water reflecting the sky and it flattens out a ton. At first it made me think of Louisiana, how it’s AT sea level so you drive through areas that are swampy and wet right next to the highway. Only this isn’t swampy. It’s more like dried salty sand so it’s hard and not squishy. We stopped at the first rest stop and took some pictures.   
 The Bonneville Salt Flats are where the land speed records have been set. From what I read, it’s ten miles long and you can’t see the other end because of the curvature of the earth. It’s really something to see.  
I also read that the whole thing used to be a lake. Lake Bonneville. It was a mostly freshwater lake and it eventually got so high that it all started to drain out, ending with only what is now the Great Salt Lake. The water evaporated and left the little bits of salt behind and now every year lots of salt flows into the Great Salt Lake from the soil and what not. The lake is 12% salinity, much saltier than the ocean and fish can’t live in it. There are brine shrimp that are harvested for fish food and brine flies that are obnoxious to people. Also because of the high salinity, people float really easily.  
After the salt flats and the lake we went through or around Salt Lake City. Once we passed that we came into this huge valley with farms and ranches and a couple towns. It was the most beautiful part of the country I’ve seen yet. I kinda want to trade my Texas ranch idea for a Utah ranch!  
Shortly after that we came upon a “viewing area” and I convinced Allen to stop. We took a couple of pictures and let Charlie out. While we were there the camper and truck got full of those brine flies I mentioned earlier! It was entertainment for Charlie at least! She’s a fly catcher.   
 Have you heard that commercial, “happy cows live in California” or something like that?? Lies I tell you! Happy cows live in Wyoming! This state is just wide open, unincorporated, natural goodness. Wikipedia says it’s the least populated state in the country and the government owns almost half of the land. We kept seeing these weird looking fences along the highway. I always expect Allen to know the answer to all my wonderings, but he told me to google it after about the third time I asked what they could be for. They’re snow fences. They keep the snow from drifting onto the highway. Good to know!  
We stopped in Rock Springs, Wyoming at a KOA for the night. I reheated some gumbo and made some rice while we swatted a ton of brine flies then we hit the sack.  
  
Friday when we got on the road the truck said we had 40% oil life and 40% oil filter life left. Then yesterday the filter all of a sudden dropped to zero and we were getting messages on the dash. So once we get to South Dakota we will have to get it in the shop and checked out. We are aiming for Hermosa, South Dakota today. It’s close to Mount Rushmore so I’m
excited to see that! 

And, Allen made us bacon and eggs for breakfast AND did the dishes! I love him!

Goodbye and Good Riddance!

We wiggled (kinda literally) out of spot #117 at Candlestick RV Park at 8:33AM on Friday morning. (Thanks to Marcus and Brad for their spotting help!)   
   
It took us a half hour to get past Oakland headed east on I-80. Not too shabby… I managed to narrowly avoid a panic attack crossing the Bay Bridge. (That thing just makes me nauseous!) But Allen is a fairly good driver (just kidding, he’s a beast) so when I get too scared I just close my eyes and get all religious and know that everything will be alright! 

my shaky panoramic picture taking skills

 
We are past Sacramento now and haven’t hit much traffic. (Knock on wood…) Our plan right now is to stop at a KOA in Winnemucca, Nevada. We have a while before we need to be in North Dakota so we may as well take our time! 

Happy Friday!