Mount Rushmore and Adam’s Birthday

We got lucky enough to have time to stop at Mount Rushmore on the way from San Francisco to North Dakota.   
 It seems like so far, every time we see a national landmark it’s in inclement weather! When we saw the Grand Canyon it was snowing all blizzard-like, and it was chilly drizzly for Mount Rushmore. But it was still very neat. I’m pretty sure we were the first visitors that morning, we woke up early so we could have time to see it and then get on the road. I sprinkled some of my brother’s ashes there.   

It smelled SO good here to me after all those months in the city!

 

Today would’ve been his 32nd birthday. 

I also spread some ashes at the Salt Flats in Utah.  
 And in wide open Wyoming.  
I think he would like that. Happy Birthday Adam. I miss you so much. 

On more recent things, Charlie and I have been taking walks through Hillsboro. I’m so proud of her for being well-behaved in public! Usually we just take walks in the campground and she occasionally goes to the pet store to get her nails done, but we rarely walk through actual neighborhoods with sidewalks and what not. I felt like a mom taking her baby to a restaurant for the first time. I was so scared she was going to act like a wild banshee! But she acted like a lady and had some manners so I’m very proud! 

Little Charlie all tuckered out

 
Last night’s dinner was DIY shake n bake chicken with roasted carrots and potatoes. Yum!

Here’s the shake n bake concoction I used:

  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs, 
  • 1/2 cup panko, 
  • 1/2 tbs salt, 
  • 1/2 tbs onion powder, 
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika, 
  • 1 tsp sugar, 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, 
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne, 
  • 1/4 tsp basil, 
  • 1/4 tsp oregano, 
  • 1/4 tsp parsley, 
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil. 

Just shake. Then bake! This makes enough to coat more than 4 chicken breasts cut into  smaller pieces. (I did 375 in my convection oven for about 35 minutes for two breasts and they came out juicy and delicious!)

We are South Dakotans!

We “live” in South Dakota now and our brand new state is SUPER CRAZY windy and cold today!

38 degrees with a real feel of 29!

So we decided to just chill out and hibernate in the camper until tomorrow. Then we’ll hit the road again and head up to North Dakota. (Wrong time of the year to be headed north but that’s where the money is!)

We got to Camp America Campground in Salem, SD on Monday afternoon. There was one other guy with a little R-Pod camper and a puppy, and a lady camping in a tent (crazy in my opinion because it’s cold!) but they both left the next morning and we’ve had the park all to ourselves since.

Tuesday morning we drove to My Dakota Address in Madison (about 40 minutes away). Teri was really nice and helped us get all our paperwork in order. We filled out change of address forms for the post office and I did a voter registration card. She made copies of our campground receipt for each of us and gave us copies of the residency affidavit then sent us over to the DMV around the corner to get our new driver’s licenses!

The only thing we could register was the motorcycle because we didn’t have the titles for the truck and camper. Teri is getting those from the bank and then she will register them and get our plates for us.

Allen was bummed because South Dakota doesn’t let you personalize camper plates. Our Ohio plates were BIGRIGN… But we are getting those for the truck instead. At least they were available! I think he would’ve cried actual tears if they weren’t!

He’s such a brat sometimes…

After all the address stuff we had lunch at the Country Cafe in town then went and got the fuel filter changed on the truck. On the way home we stopped and got some beer and Jager to celebrate our new domicile! The gas station sells beer (18pks of 16oz. cans!) and liquor, also ammo and hunting licenses, it has a casino and a fried chicken restaurant inside that seemed to be really busy. South Dakota is awesome. So when we got home we let Charlie run around off her leash and enjoy the grass and fall leaves – she needed that after being in a parking lot for 4 months then the truck for 4 days!

  
We called Hunter at American Adventure Insurance and switched all of our policies over.

That part took way longer than it should’ve considering I gave him all the info about 3 months ago, then even called last week to make sure everything was good to go and still valid.

We called all of our credit cards and loans and what not and updated our address with them and Allen updated his address with work.

Changing our domicile took lots of planning and research (see this blog post), but we got it done!

I still have lots of stuff to write about from our trip (we stopped at Mount Rushmore!) and I want to review all of the campgrounds we’ve stayed at along the way. So that’ll be coming soon! Cheers from a blustery South Dakota! (We turned our tank heaters on for the first time!)

And the Quake HOLD! held perfectly… That stuff is amazing!

Blowing this joint!!!

Goodbye California! Well, we still have 7 days and a wake up! (As my brother would say…) We are getting Charlie out of the parking lot and heading for greener pastures! 4fa5624ca9922c60b5fa80bbf9dc0cc2

The tentative plan a few days ago included leaving here, driving to South Dakota to change our domicile, get a new mailing address, register vehicles, etc. then head on to Dallas for the next job.

But, plans changed as they usually do and the next job is in North Dakota now! So our little stop in South Dakota isn’t really out of the way at all!Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 2.34.05 PM

I’m excited, I’ve never been to the Dakotas and I’ve never been that far north period. I’m hoping for Allen’s sake if nothing else that we don’t get snow while we are there, but it’ll be an adventure nonetheless.

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We have Texas and California now. Allen says we should have New Mexico and Arizona but I say we only count the states that all three of us (Allen, Charlie and I) stay in THIS camper.. And since what I say goes (most of the time-sshhh!) they are not on the map yet!

I love traveling and I get a little hard to deal with (I think) when we sit somewhere for longer than a month or two. I just get antsy and want to get on with it already. And I can’t wait to add to our map!

The tower they are going to be working on was the tallest structure in the world when it was built in 1963. It’s now the 4th tallest structure in the world (after some buildings in Tokyo), THE tallest in the Western Hemisphere and the tallest radio mast in the world. Pretty cool…

 The KVLY-TV mast is in Blanchard, ND (almost exactly halfway between Fargo and Grand Forks). Blanchard has a population of 26. Yep. Small town. And I thought Convent, Louisiana was tiny! (Population 711, right on the Mississippi River)

 The closest RV park is in Hillsboro and that’s a little bigger, population 1,603 in the 2010 census. It’s 1 square mile. There is a family restaurant, a Burger King, a Subway, gas station, grocery store, bakery, and a florist and I think there MAY be 1-3 bars but I can’t really decide if they are still open. From what I gather online, the RV park is also the town laundry mat and a fried chicken place. It should be interesting!

 I’m pretty sure I can walk everywhere in less than 15 minutes (if I don’t let Charlie stop and smell ALL of the roses!)

I know this isnt Charlie and these aren’t roses but I couldn’t resist the adorableness!

I’m super excited to be getting out of the city and out into the country. I get to where I need open spaces after being in a city for too long. I’m excited Charlie will have some grass! And Allen will be glad to get back to real tower work (not just painting and piddling).

Today is full of typical San Francisco fogginess so I’m making my hillbilly chili for dinner and trying out this new recipe for Chili Bread that I found… I’ll let you know if it comes out delicious!

I also made these pillow covers for our friend Brandi back in Kentucky and mailed them to her this week… Her boyfriend went and installed a 50AMP outlet for us so we can stay in their yard during the holidays. Talk about some awesome friends!

 And I made these for us… I’m loving the teal and brown combo…

  
If you would like to see one of many tutorials on the web, this one by me, you can check out this link or this one!

For now I will leave you with some cuteness… Charlie and her parking lot pals… Cheers!

Cisco the friendly husky pup.

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Cisco gets bored and tears things up… For instance, his bed.

Duke and Daisy being lazy

My Favorite Camper-Sized Things

I have to start off by saying that Charlie is THE BEST camper-sized puppy I could ever wish for! IMG_2807

Now, moving onto camper-sized THINGS

Living full-time in a camper takes some adjusting to but overall I love it. Before I moved in with Allen for good I went through all my clothes and got rid of half of them. Then I went through again and got rid of another half. I still probably have too much, and I TRY to live by the rule that when I get something new, I need to get rid of something, but that doesn’t always work out perfectly!

The biggest challenge for me is staying tidy. Just ask Allen! He sometimes starts twitching (slight exaggeration) coming in the door from work if I have crafty stuff on “his side” of the bench, and let’s not forget walking into the bathroom if I’ve forgotten to put my makeup and hair stuff away… (Let’s just say my tidiness is a work in progress!)

You know that saying: benjamin-franklin-quotes_10351-0Well… This is more like it:

quote-the-trouble-with-a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place-is-that-there-s-always-more-robert-brault-296235

True that!!!

But in a camper, you need to be organized and live by this rule or things can get out of hand rather quickly!

So here’s a list of some of my favorite things that work well for me in our camper. Some I have, some I just really want!

  • I have a set of nesting mixing bowls and measuring cups just like these, but I got mine from Aldi (it’s a discount grocery in Cincinnati) and I only paid around $15. This set is $30. The only thing I wish is that my green bowl had the same little pour spout-that’s kinda nifty! Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 2.46.38 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 2.46.26 PM
  • These Magma nesting pots and pans look SO nice! A dream come true! They all stack neatly inside of each other and there are two removable handles so they don’t get in the way! I am in love with them. I’m REALLY hoping my wonderful mother gets us these for Christmas! I saw them first on Shore Looks Nice.

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 2.44.00 PM

Considering my drawer for pots and pans (and my coffee pot) looks like this currently, I can only imagine how amazing these would be!  

  • When we had the other camper, I would do dishes and set them on a dish towel on the stove, leaning against the wall to dry. But with our new camper, the sink is on the island, which means there is no wall to lean plates and things against to dry. So one of the first things I bought was this drying rack. It folds up and fits under the sink when I’m not using it. Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 2.42.41 PM
  • I’m also in DESPARATE need of a spice rack! I cook dinner almost everyday. 6 days a week, if not 7 sometimes. And I use a LOT of spices. Right now I have them all stacked/falling off of a lazy susan on a shelf in the pantry. I bought this spice rack from Kohl’s when we were in Waynesville, but when I got it home I realized how cheaply it was made so I returned it.Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.17.45 PMNow I’m thinking maybe this will work out better. I can stack things on top of it, and even though it’s not as fancy looking as the one above, I can use my existing spices! Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 2.51.08 PM
  • I absolutely love our washer/dryer combo, but sometimes I don’t have the patience to wait for things to dry all the way, OR they just don’t. This mostly happens with jeans and heavy sweatshirts. So I picked up this drying rack and it gets a lot of use! Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.25.19 PM
  • And, even though it’s not storage related, I think it’s fair to mention that I’ve found some really decent dishes at Big Lots.  I usually look in the picnic section for plastic plates and bowls. And I try to find thicker, better quality ones that will last a while. We had some black ceramic dinner plates and bowls that Allen loved, but it was just too much of a hassle to have to stack paper plates in between them every time we would travel so they wouldn’t break that I finally gave them away. He’s still a little sad about it! But it wasn’t practical (sorry babe!)
  • I don’t have this shoe holder but I want to make one. My friend recently sent me some fabric and I think some of it might work out really well for a shoe holder! I’m sure it wouldn’t be TOO hard to DIY!

  • I know they probably sell the “pop-a-bag” things that hold your plastic grocery bags, but you can just as easily make one yourself. I made mine out of an empty Clorox Wipes container. I just stuffed the bags inside and tore off the little plastic prong-y things. Super easy! I used to have them in a tissue box and that worked too! Here’s the pop-a-plate and pop-a-tissue. (I don’t have or want either one of these, I think they are kind of a waste of money, and now I don’t have anywhere to put them.)Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.39.16 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.40.03 PMThese are both at Camping World
  • Some kitchen appliances that I can’t really function without: 
    Immersion Blender (I actually found this at Goodwill for $3!!!)

    Immersion Blender (I actually found this at Goodwill for $3!!!)


 

 

If you have any ideas that I missed or some favorite camper-sized things of your own, please share!


Tour of Our Home on Wheels (part 4- the bedroom and bathrooms)

Our bedroom now is an actual room… A place to relax…Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 8.22.26 AM

Our bedroom in our previous camper was a bed.

This was it. You couldn't walk at the foot of the bed. And this was pretty much the extent of our closet/dresser space.

This was it. You couldn’t walk at the foot of the bed. And this was pretty much the extent of our closet/dresser space.

Just to give you a visual, because I know I keep comparing the two campers, but we do just have so much more room now, here’s the floorpan for the 26′ Wildwood we had and the floorplan for the 43′ Momentum we have now.

Taken from FunTown RV

Taken from FunTown RV


IMG_2535

Taken from Grand Design.

I’m pretty sure the bedroom is Allen’s favorite room. It might be Charlie’s favorite too.image

We have a king size bed and we finally found some sheets we love! (100% cotton=amazing) The mattress is super comfy, but we still have our short queen size memory foam pad on top (we are waiting for our Walmart Savings Catcher money to add up to get one that actually fits!) Hahaha

The bedroom is the only room with carpet, unless you count the strip in front of and under the couch. Charlie has a bed on either side of our bed and one in the closet, but she still sleeps with us of course!

The closet has shelves across the back and shelves and a bar for hangers on the left. It DID have the same thing on the right but we put a washer/dryer combo in. My mom got it for us for a housewarming gift – thanks mom! The washer/dryer is SO nice! I LOVE not having to lug everything down to the laundry room in whatever campground we are in. And the money we save is crazy; when we aren’t paying electric!

Thank you Camping World for the image.

Thank you Camping World for the image.

We have a dresser with 4 drawers and a TV above that. The bed lifts up for more storage. It came with a built in safe and an ottoman that pulls out from the foot of the bed and opens for even more storage. The ottoman is also Charlie’s step stool and she will sit and whine if it isn’t pulled out for her. We have 4 windows in the bedroom (3 that open). And our bed is in the third slide. I definitely wanted a bed that was sideways when we started looking. I guess I just wanted something different.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 8.23.36 AM

Oh, and there are LED lights in the closet too.

There are outlets on either side of the bed. Our closet doors have mirrors on them and the bedroom door is frosted. We have an A/C in the bedroom with its own thermostat. It gets warm in the bedroom, I think because the ceiling is lower, there’s carpet, and the exterior of the nose is painted black. So that A/C works the hardest.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there are speakers connected through the surround sound that play in the bedroom also. The thermostat control is in the bedroom along with this little panel that tells us what we are running on (50amp, 30amp, generator). And when we are running on the generator it will tell us how many amps we are using at any given time.

The main bathroom is next to the bedroom. It has a large shower with an adjustable height shower head and a seat. We have a 12 gallon hot water heater now (5 gallons previously) and Allen thinks it’s bad for the environment because it encourages him to take super long showers. We never had that luxury before! There’s a vent fan in the bathroom (no rain sensor this time), it has a vessel bowl sink that I love. The countertop almost matches the kitchen. There’s a medicine cabinet, a storage cabinet under the sink, 3 drawers, and a big linen closet that is super deep. The toilet is a foot flush and a porcelain bowl. (Fancy, fancy!)

Our bathroom will never be this clutter-free again (sorry babe), so I had to steal this photo from Grand Design.

Our bathroom will never be this clutter-free again (sorry babe), so I had to steal this photo from Grand Design.

The half bath has just a toilet and sink, but it DOES have a window!Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 8.21.56 AM

DIYs & MODs

  • I used Command picture hanging strips to hang two things in the bedroom to the left of the dresser. I want to hang more things but I’m still deciding exactly what I want.IMG_1608
  • We put up Command hooks in both bathrooms for hand towels and one in the half bathroom to hang the broom. Here’s a post about hanging things with Command products. IMG_1641
  • We also had to install the toilet paper holders ourselves. Allen did that, and I tell him all the time they are a bit crooked. (They aren’t.)

    In the main bathroom.


    In the half bathroom.

    On a side note, I love these blinds. Charlie can’t stick her little head through and bend them like she used to!

Previously: 

DIY Puppy Halloween Costume!

I love dressing up for Halloween, I love putting clothes on Charlie, and I love making things. All that adds up to…..

A Puppy Hot Dog Halloween Costume!!! 

 Last year all three of us dressed up like “Redneck and Proud”/hillbillies/white trash/Earl and Joy from My Name is Earl type characters… 

View this post on Instagram

#redneck and #proud #halloween

A post shared by Rachel Gillen (@rachelegillen) on

 I’ve been planning Charlie’s costume for a few months now. I still don’t know what Allen and I are going to be… But at least Charlie’s all set!  

   
I took my inspiration from these pictures…  

  

 

I think I want to add a piece of yellow yarn to Charlie’s costume… But we’ll see. 

I started off by buying some yellowish/bun colored fabric and some hot dog/smoked sausage colored fabric. I already had the white jersey fabric. It has some kind of a floral pattern to it, but you can’t really tell when only a little shows. And I got a bag of stuffing for the buns. I also used scissors, needle and thread, Velcro and a sewing machine. 

After I had all my supplies, I started planning how I would do it. I started by cutting 2 ovals from a paper bag, one a little larger than the other, so the buns would poof out like buns do. I measured Charlie of course first and decided how long and tall they needed to be. For the larger oval I cut 2 pieces of the yellow and the smaller I cut 2 yellow and 2 white, for the inside of the bun.  I also cut a piece for the hot dog. I made that one almost as long as the buns then made it so it would wrap around her middle and stay there. You can see the shape in the pictures better than I can explain. 

    
    
    
 
I hemmed the red piece then double checked my measurements on my model. She hates that part. Then when I knew I had it right, I added sticky Velcro to each end. I wound up pleating the back end of the hot dog piece when I was all finished so it would fit better. Charlie has a large chest and a tiny waist. (I wish I was built like that!)

I sewed the smaller white and yellow pieces together first, then I pinned the bun pieces together like a sandwich. Yellow on each side with white in the middle. Or, right sides together, but with this fabric it didn’t matter. I started by lining up the sides and top and bottom in the middle. Then going from there, trying to evenly space the pleats.  

   
Then I sewed around the edge, removing pins as I went. Now, I probably should’ve left an opening a few inches long at the bottom so I could turn it right side out then stuff it. But, I didn’t. Total accident. But it worked out nonetheless. I had to cut a hole in the bun, I cut it on the inside, on the smaller oval so that it would be covered up by the hot dog.  

   
The. I stuffed it. Not too full, I didn’t want it to be too heavy for my little pumpkin and hurt her back. Haha but enough so it was reasonably poofy. 

I then crudely stitched that hole closed by hand then even more crudely sewed the bun to the red part. (After much measuring and trying it on Charlie and disturbing her precious nap time).  

 After I had that all finished, I tried it on her. That’s when I decided to pleat the back of the hot dog piece.  

 By this time she was super sick of me, but I managed to get one more measurement from the front of the hot dog, around her neck so that when she stood on her hind legs (we call this “sitting pretty” and she does it for treats only, never for free!) it wouldn’t fall down around her ankles and trip her. I cut a piece of the white fabric to that length, sewed a tube then attached it to either side of the hot dog.  

 
FINISHED! 

Charlie is a weiner! I mean a hot dog!  She’s actually part weiner dog. 

 
That reminded me of Pedro’s. It’s a campground/amusement park/rest stop on I-95 right on the border of North and Siuth Carolina. We stayed there once (after much pleading on my part why I NEEDED to see the wonder that is Pedro’s, simply because it is advertised on billboards on the side of the highway for hundreds of miles!). I love the billboards.  

    
 

Yesterday was a Sad Day… 

Yesterday my mom laid the plaque for my brother’s tree. I wish I could’ve been there.

  
We ordered it from International Bronze when I first got out here to San Francisco. It took almost 2 months. Joe, the designer I spoke with, was really nice and helpful and I recommend them to anyone looking for a plaque.

It’s in Mt. Healthy Park in my hometown. Adam always loved the park and especially the pool. We spent many, many days there when we were younger. They used to have a putt-putt golf course that cost 15 cents, or you could pick up 5 pieces of trash and play for free -that was what we always did! Adam passed his test to swim in the deep end with ease, me, not so much. But one day when the pool was crowded he pretended like he hadn’t taken his test yet, there were a bunch of kids that were going to take theirs at once. (You just had to swim back and forth across the 10-foot part.) But when we all started swimming, Adam helped me and it was too crowded that the lifeguards didn’t see. So from then on I was allowed to jump off the diving board. And that’s all I did was jump, towards the side, holding my nose. No diving for me! Then I would doggy paddle to the ladder and get back out. Thank you Adam. I love you.

So yesterday was pretty sad.

To top it off, it was National Dog Day. (I’ll explain why this was sad…) I made Charlie a new doggy bed. I was Pinteresting, yet again, and found an idea for an envelope dog bed, or a snuggly dog bed, or like a sleeping bag dog bed. I knew I had to make it for her because she is constantly wanting under the covers.

I woke up 5 minutes before Allen’s alarm went off this morning to Charlie whining in my face. I lifted up the blanket so she could crawl under. Still, whining. I laid my hand on her. No more whining. What a baby! 🙂

So I made this bed and I’m pretty sure it instantly became her favorite. (She has 3 – One that came with her from her old family, one I made last week and now this one… Allen says Charlie’s camper footprint is getting too large.)

  

So when we went to bed, I put it in the closet in the bedroom, for some reason she likes it in there, and both sides of the bed now have other dog beds. So she went in the closet and that’s where she slept, all by herself, almost all night. Without me. I had to sleep alone. Well, not alone, I mean Allen was there, but he’s not the same as my puppy. (Sorry honey, I love you!) So after Allen fell asleep, which he always tends to do a lot faster than me, I was awake and sad because Charlie wasn’t next to me and thinking about my brother, and I think I was awake half the night. Not being able to fall asleep is the worst.

 But, today is a new day, and I get to try out my new Bug-A-Salt rifle! Unfortunately it is not a semi-automatic… I have to pump it and turn the safety off every time. But hopefully I get rid of all these flies that hang around in my front dirt yard!  Good ole San Francisco


By the way, I made Beef Stew for dinner last night if you want the recipe… Yum!

And here are the instructions for the doggy bed on SuzySitcom. One thing I did realize, then I had to redo it, is the instructions say to put the pocket piece and the larger piece right side together. But this is wrong, you need to put the pocket piece and the larger piece both right side facing down… You’ll see!

The City By The Bay

While Allen enjoys his view “from the office“…  

Panoramic view from atop Sutro Tower

  

Allen on top of Sutro

  

a zoomed in view

 
Charlie and I work on our tan back at the campground…  

Charlie getting in the way of my reading

  

This was a better spot but it didnt last long

  

Just keeping an eye on things

 
Here are some other jobs Allen’s worked on since I started this blog:

A Few Random Friday Thoughts… 

My neighbor Carmen recently got us (and by that I mean me, because really, Allen will never touch the thing…) a bread machine! I love it! I’ve been wanting to get one since we were in Florida this last time. Our neighbors Lyne and Terry had one and it smelled so good. They bring down their own flour every year from Canada because they don’t like the way American bread tastes. Anyway, I’ve been comparing models, and Carmen said she really wanted to get us something for sort of a housewarming gift, so, I’m the proud new owner of an Oster 2LB. Expressbake Breadmaker.

my very first loaf… i was excited and couldnt wait to try it.

I started with the traditional white bread in a 1.5LB loaf and it came out delicious. Then I moved on to the flavors… I’ve mostly used the recipes that came with the breadmaker but I’ve also ventured into Google territory for some yummy ideas.

I made a super scrumptious cheddar/garlic/herb type loaf that we ate one day then the next day sliced and drizzled with EVOO and stuck on the grill for a few minutes – SO good! We had the bread with a bacon-wrapped pork loin…yum!

Cheesy, garlicky, herby goodness… Please excuse the bites off the top, i couldnt help myself…

I tried Honey Wheat because that’s the kind of bread we like on a daily basis, but the recipe was a 2LB loaf, which is just too big for sandwiches. And I had not mastered the art of slicing by then. The next day we took off for Tahoe so it was moldy by the time we got back.

 The latest was a 1LB Italian garlic and herb loaf which came out perfect! It’s the perfect size for sandwiches. (Allen’s taken two to work already.) And I let it cool longer this time before slicing. I also didn’t use my fancy bread knife and bamboo bread slicer that I bought.

 I just used a non-serrated knife I got from the Dollar Tree a LONG time ago, and it worked great… Surprising, but true… So we have decided that the 1LB loaves are the way to go… My goal is to never buy grocery store bread again.

On another note, I felt my very first earthquake ever!!! I went to school (this super expensive one) out here in San Francisco for 4yrs and never felt one (I think I was on a barstool for most of them…) and then last year we were out here for about 5 months and I didn’t feel one then either. This one was crazy! I was laying in bed with Charlie, probably blogging or Pinteresting, and it felt like someone hit the camper. It actually felt like Allen backed up and hitched up to the camper, but I knew he was at work. So I thought A) someone was trying to steal our house with me and the dog inside! or B) one of these tourists driving a rental RV must’ve clipped our nose… Charlie and I both ran outside but nobody was out. All was quiet. I texted Allen and he then informed me it was an earthquake, that they felt it by the tower too. Yikes! But it was a smaller one, nobody was hurt, so that was good.

Begin Rant:

I’ve also been on the phone trying to order parts for the camper from Grand Design. We have a 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385TH. We just bought it at the end of March. It’s still brand new.  You’d think it would be fairly easy to get simple parts for it. Almost two weeks after sending the first “inquiry form” to Grand Design, we finally have parts on the way! (I honestly thought they would have excellent customer service being that they are still a new and fairly small company…)

While I was back at my mom’s house for my brother’s funeral and Allen and Charlie drove from Texas to San Francisco alone, a yellow pole at a tiny gas station jumped up and grabbed onto the ladder on the side of the camper, yanked it a little and busted the red light that’s back there.  So we need a light, and the bottom brackets that hold the ladder onto the camper.

We wound up having to get the part numbers from Grand Design then call a dealer to order them because Grand Design is not set up to sell directly to actual people.  I find this silly.  Luckily, Shelly at Lazydays RV in Florida was super nice and helped us out.  I probably should’ve called Palm Beach RV since that’s where we bought the camper, but oh well.

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!

End Rant. 

Before we left for Tahoe, Allen’s buddy was flying home for the weekend and gave us a 10LB bag of potatoes. (He lives alone. Why he would buy a 10LB bag of potatoes eludes me. I’ll have to talk to him about that.) Anyhow, I’ve been looking at this bag all week. Then I decided that instead of letting them go bad, maybe I could freeze them. So I Googled… Then I made some frozen hashbrowns (you just dice them, drop them in boiling water for about 2min, drain and cool them, bag them and freeze them) and some frozen fries (same as above but you also fry them in oil for about 3min after blanching and drying, then cool, bag and freeze). Easy peasy. I still have over 5LBs of potatoes left but at least I got rid of some of them!

skinny fries

potato wedges (I sprinkled them with season salt when I took them out of the oil.

Last night I made 3-ways for dinner. Technically, 4-ways.  If you don’t know what that is, it’s because it’s a Cincinnati thing… We are weird like that. It doesn’t matter where we move to, where our domicile is, Allen will always love 3-ways and goetta. (I on the other hand despise goetta… The taste, texture, cooking it, yuck!)

Every time we go back to Cincy we have to pick up a couple packs of chili mix…

I like 5-ways. Allen likes 4-ways. Everyone likes a good 3-way. 😉

The night before last, I came up with a new concoction that was pretty tasty… Rum and Kool-Aid! My brother loved Kool-Aid so I named this “Ode to Adam”

I promise, Charlie didn’t drink with us!

Oh! And I almost forgot, I started growing my own green onions a couple weeks back. It is super easy. You just stick them in a glass of water after you use most of the green parts, change the water every couple days, and they grow on their own. Love it. This is my second round. After a while they get weaker and can’t stand up on their own, so you do have to start fresh after a couple of uses.

Thursday

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Monday

They grow fast!
And just for fun, here are a couple shots of Charlie hanging out with her buddy Samantha in the old parking lot that is our “yard” here at Candlestick RV Park

  

Stateline, NV/South Lake Tahoe, CA trip!

I’ve never seen views like we saw here. It was literally breathtaking! I’ve never been to a mountain town before and I was impressed. Everywhere you look you just see amazing natural beauty.  
We checked into Harvey’s Casino Resort on Friday afternoon and then hit the casino. We played some video poker and took a free craps lesson. There was a camera crew making a commercial at the video poker bar and then also at the craps lesson so I guess we will be in two commercials we will probably never see!

The craps teacher

The hotel was right on the corner, at the line between California and Nevada. So we technically lived in Nevada for two nights.

After that we headed outside to daylight (very shocking to our casino adjusted eyeballs!). We got some drinks and food at Mc P’s Taphouse Grill. Then walked around a bit to check out the area.   image1-3
We went to a comedy show after dinner. It was pretty good. I’ve seen funnier. It’s the second comedy show we’ve been to together. The first was somewhere in Florida a couple of years ago.

After the show we stopped at this sports bar in the casino. The bartender was from Cincinnati (like us!) so we chatted with him for a bit and had some beers and late night pizza. He suggested we go to Emerald Bay to scatter some of my brother’s ashes. It turned out to be a great tip!

the bartender’s map for us

an actual map

 

Saturday morning we had breakfast at Artemis Lakefront Cafe (crappy, slow service but delicious food-especially Allen’s biscuits and gravy!).  image1-2

 Then we headed over to check out Emerald Bay. It was about a 25 minute drive from the hotel but traffic wasn’t too terrible. Once you get close to the bay, the road gets super steep and winding and I get super nervous and nauseous.

 We finally found a place to pull over and get out. Completely breathtaking! We scattered my brother’s ashes, most of which blew back on us -oops- and took some pictures then headed back down.

  
We hit the pool for some recovery drinks and suntanning then got dressed and went looking for dinner.

Here we are looking all fancy

We checked Friday’s Station on he top floor of Harrah’s (across the street from us). The least expensive steak on the menu was a 6oz filet for $70! What?!?! So then we walked back over to our hotel and checked the menu at the top floor restaurant of Harvey’s, 19 Kitchen and Bar. Same thing, just a wider selection.

We checked a couple other places but weren’t impressed so we headed to Stateline Brewery up the street. It’s a brewery, in a basement, and the average entree is around $25 so it’s more our style for sure! Allen tried the Acclimator IPA which was pretty delish! We ordered the artichoke dip. It was a big loaf of Sourdough bread with half the loaf hollowed out and filled with dip, then the top was brushed with super yummy garlic butter. Yum! So the artichoke dip was the entirety of our dinner! We had a couple more beers and called it a night.

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Looking up the mountain, at the ski lift… No way could I have handled that! Allen said it’s about 9000ft elevation at the top… Yikes!

This morning we had a couple of breakfast burritos from a cafe up the street, spent our last $20 in chips, cashed in our tickets and checked out.

The obligatory huge chair vacation photo

On the way home I saw my first California grass fire (there was one in the campground in Oklahoma City but this was a lot bigger).

 Overall, our Tahoe trip was really fun, and the best part was sharing the experience with my love. Now I’m just happy to be back home with Charlie! We missed her! And, a special thank you to Carmen for puppy-sitting!