Our new campsite marker

During our trip to Busch Gardens – Williamsburg this past week, we got ourselves a site marker. We’ve wanted to get one for a while, and saw some nice samples at Busch Gardens, so we designed one during our 3 days there.

Coming to a campground near you … currently at Bar Harbor RV Park, in Abingdon, MD.

campsite marker

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Time to update the website!

We’ve done quite a bit of travel since we last posted on the website … and we’re missing a lot of new posts – pretty much all of 2014, 2015 and 2016.

So where have we been over the last 2 1/2 years?

  • Pocono Raceway
  • New Hampshire Motor Speedway
  • Vegas Motor Speedway
  • Wawaloam Campground – RI
  • Thousand Trails – Hershey, PA
  • Thousand Trails – Chestnut Lake, NJ
  • Thousand Trails – Williamsburg, VA
  • Fargo, ND
  • Sioux Falls, SD
  • Elkhart, IN
  • Busch Gardens, VA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Ocean City, NJ
  • Seaport RV Resort
  • Mystic Seaport
  • Joliet, IL
  • many more places …

Guess I have some work to do to get our missing travels, and pending posts, updated here.

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Worst Travel Day Ever … or at least to date.

So let’s recap … had a good start to the day, leaving Thousand Trails in Williamsburg VA. Got on the road by 12:30 for a 3 1/2 hour trip to Baltimore, for a 2 night stop at Bar Harbor RV Park.

We get on the road, but need to stop for fuel as we only have about 1/3 tank. Pull off an exit for fuel, but while driving by the gas station I don’t like the setup and don’t want to stop there. Ok back on the highway, 1 exit later I see a sign for Pilot. Great, we stop for fuel at Pilot – paying only $1.86/gallon WOO HOO .. that was a cheap fill up. Check the car straps, get back on the highway and the generator stops running. Ok, let’s pull off and take a look. Got genny running again, check the car straps and back on the highway we go, genny stops again 1/2 hour later. Open the windows and turn on the roof vents, but the temps inside are rising above 90 degrees. Time to stop again. Now take note I replaced the fuel filter, carb, fuel line, air filter, oil and oil filter prior to this trip with new parts. The only thing I did not replace was the fuel pump.

We pull off the highway again, stopping at RV friendly Bass Pro Shops to further diagnose – looks like the fuel pump is bad. Spent the next 2 hours trying to find the pump at truck stops, RV dealers and auto parts stores. 1st RV dealer actually had an ONAN fuel pump, but it’s the wrong one The last auto parts store we stopped at said they had an aftermarket pump (same one I see on amazon), in stock in the warehouse. I order the pump, setup my “garage” in the parking lot and wait 45 mins. Well 45 mins later, it’s the wrong pump. Has the right part number, but it’s not the pump I need. Well through some more troubleshooting (and hot-wiring), I get the pump working again. Ok let’s get going .. check the car straps and we’re back on the road again, yay!

Oh wait … wow that’s a lot of traffic – navigation is reporting 70 minutes of traffic due to an accident. I am so glad that genny is running again, as it’s hot outside. Make it though the accident traffic and then all our navigations light up with another traffic warning – all lanes on 295 north are closed due to an accident. Great, we are routed that way – ok let’s make a quick stop to stretch my legs, check the car straps and choose an alternate route. We decide to head further up 95 – bad idea, we should have just drove towards the traffic.

Our re-route takes us though Baltimore, instead of around it. We get off 95 and the bridge is out in Baltimore – more re-routing through the city now. We really don’t like the close quarter driving through a major city, but hey I get another city driving sticker for myself!

Wow, the roads through here are BUMPY, BUMPY, BUMPY and the re-routing is taking us through some bad neighborhoods. That’s ok, but the tight quarters, the cars parked sticking into the street, all the pedestrians walking around, cars not giving us space in the tight lanes — stressful. Oh, did I mention that the generator stopped again just before we exited Rt 95 and will not start again

Finally we made it to RT 40 – home stretch to the RV park. Back on a wide travel road. we find the turn off for the RV park and pull in. It’s dark, it’s 11pm – let’s get to the office, find our spot and try to unload and setup quietly. Nice!! we have a pull through spot and I will not have to take the car off the trailer and disconnect the trailer from the RV. In fact, we only have to back up (in the dark) about 40 feet to swing into our spot.

Maureen helps me backup in the dark, we pull into our spot. I jump out to make sure we are lined up ok and Maureen asks “You did unhook the left side straps from the car when you got out earlier, right?” Hell no, I did not!!! – the streets through Baltimore did a number on us. All the bouncing and jolting around, must have been enough to either loosen up a strap enough, or knock one of the hooks out of the pocket I lock them in. BTW – did you notice that we **always** check the car straps every time we stop?

Ok potential crisis averted – let’s get setup. Hot and sweaty, mind racing about what could have happened — let’s get jacks down, open the slides and get some midnight dinner. Maureen asks – “What’s that noise?” while I am opening the galley side slide – I don’t know, I don’t hear it – then POP. I forgot to take the adjustable slide lock out before opening the slide.

Reminder note to self for next time – stop, take a deep breath or two and regroup before setting up after a bad travel day.

Jacks down, slides out – dinner is warming up and I am having some DRINKS!

After 6 years and nearly 20,000 miles of RV travel in this configuration – I’m glad this was not our first trip – because if it was, it could have been our last ….

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Homeowners – Don’t Forget to Seek Out Alternate Electric Suppliers

For those of you, like us that aren’t fulltimers and still have a S&B (Sticks & Bricks house) … have YOU reviewed your electric bill and chosen an alternate energy provider? We did a few years ago, but as I learned over last summer, you have to remember when your promotional periods end – or check your rate each month.

We had a couple of months at the start of last summer when our rate nearly doubled from the previous rate of .0659! After a couple of bills with sticker shock, I then chose *another* promotional plan with the same supplier at a rate of .0749 kWh … well that plan just expired this month, so back to the CT Energy website I went. Compare Energy Suppliers | Energize Connecticut

Rates are on the climb again, our current provider offered a fixed rate of .0899 kWh for the remainder of 2014. Not that bad compared to others, even though it would represent an add’l $27/mo increase on our bill based upon our average usage.

In looking at the companies that are offering promotional rates under .0800 kWh, they are all short term promotional periods of 1 to 3 months, and then switch to a variable rate. Some promotional rates that move to variable state the variable rate will be under the utility rate that is currently .09235 … but a variable rate really gives them a chance to jump your rate.

I finally decided to change our supplier to Gulf Energy. They offer 3 fixed rate plans for CT Customers:

— 3/14 though 6/14 @.091/kWh
— 3/14 through 11/14 @.084/kWh
— 3/14 through 6/15 @.087/kWh

I decided to take the long term view and fix our rate at .087/kWh for the next 16 months. For signing up we’ll receive a $10 Gulf Gas Card and for every 5,000 kWh we use, we’ll receive another $25 Gulf Gas Card.

Our average usage – working from home, running a number of computers and TV’s is about 1800 kWh/mo. So we should see a $25 fuel card every 3 months. Over the term, that will probably equate to about $150 in fuel cards – so in essence an $8 rebate on electric every month.

I’m not really happy about escalating rates, but at least we’ll have a fixed rate, that I am pretty confident will remain competitive for the next 16 months.

If you haven’t checked your bill and your options, take an hour or so to do it. It can represent some savings in your pocket each month.

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Time for some updates

Yes I know!! It’s been a while since I’ve updated the site with our travels from this year …

I have a number of “draft” posts that have to be completed.

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Back at our favorite “campground”

#timeforacoldone … I put a new transmission in my trusty John Deere yesterday and got a LOT of the yard done since then. I just finished up the yard “near” the house. It looks so nice when it’s all greened up like this. There’s still some work to do in the Orchard and the “lower 40” – – heck, there’s always something to do in the yard if you’re bored here 

After being away for the better part of the 3 years, it’s nice to be back at “Camp Home”

 

 

Categories: Connecticut, Fulltiming, Life On The Farm, News and Updates | Leave a comment

Our Mobile Office

We run a small technology company, and we regularly get asked by our friends, family and sometimes even customers, how we’re able to stay in touch and work when we’re travelling in the RV.

This photo gives a good idea of how we’re able to accomplish that – *usually* pretty seamlessly. I always take a look at coverage areas when we travel, as it is crucial for us to be able to communicate while travelling.

The next purchase that we do need to make is a 4G capable Cell Phone booster. I’ve been looking at the Wilson Sleek 4G device to fill that void.

… yeah I am a techie geek, and proud of it 

Our Mobile Office

 

We spend this past weekend at the NASCAR Race at Pocono. We have Trackside RV parking, and our view is great. I watch most of the race from the top of the motorhome setup with:

– a 2 person chair
– headset with scanner
– digital camera
– Android phone for camera and video
– Dell XPS12 Convertible Laptop streaming the race on TV from my home office
– some snacks and a few Heineken’s

2013-06-09 15.41.07

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Off to the races again!

It’s that time of year again, and we’re headed back to Pocono Raceway for the NASCAR weekend. We also have a few days of camping on our schedule after the race, at Hickory Run State Park. It’s about 30 minutes from the track, is dog (2 Labs) friendly and has lots of hiking trails.

More to come later ….

Categories: Attractions, NASCAR, News and Updates, Pennsylvania | Leave a comment

Take that Nissan Titan V8 – VW Tiguan to the Rescue!

2013-02-10-16-30-51We got a little snow from the storm this weekend and our neighbor, the dairy farmer, came up with his huge tractor and 8 foot snow thrower to get us out. I also asked him to cut our “circular” driveway that we use that goes around our garden. It’s not really a driveway – it’s just part of the yard/lawn. But with the motorhome in the driveway and 2 cars, it get a little tight to turn around, so being able to just drive around makes it easier.

Our daughter came up for breakfast today and to borrow our roof rake. She came up in her boyfriends 4WD, Nissan Titan V8. Rather that back down our 750′ driveway, I moved the Tiguan so that she could use the “circular” part. It is a downhill drop from the driveway a little and as she was going down, she slid a little off to the side and as she was driving slowly – trying to be careful – the truck got wedged into the snow.

After a few minutes of trying to rock it out, we realized she wasn’t getting out without some help. We spent a few minutes trying to clear the tires and up under the chassis – still no luck.

I decided it was time to take out the big guns. Went up to my storage shed, pulled out a 10,000lb recovery strap, backed the Tiguan up to the Titan, hooked the strap up to the pull hook on the Titan and the hitch on the Tiguan and with no effort, pulled that truck right out.

I couldn’t catch it on video as I was driving the Tiguan, but wouldn’t let her leave without taking a few photos :-)

Categories: Connecticut, Life On The Farm | Leave a comment

A little snow from Nemo!

Nemo, the Blizzard of 2013 brought us a little snow here in the hills of Southbury, CT. By the end of the storm, we ended up with nearly 2 feet of snow. Brody and Maya had a ball playing in the snow today, me I got to spend the day clearing the driveway, parts of the deck on the house as well as the roof of the motorhome.

There was way too much snow for hand clearing, and as our driveway is uphill and the snow was relatively heavy, it wasn’t a job for a snow plow either. Luckily we have a great neighbor – Ben Platt. He runs a 180 acre dairy farm and has lots of cool machinery – including an 8 foot snowthrower that attaches to one of his big tractors. This is the way to clear snow!

The top of the motorhome had more than a foot of snow on it, and I really wanted to get it cleared off before it started the melt/freeze/melt/freeze cycle. I started clearing off the roof of the motorhome with a roof rake, but with all the obstructions (vent pipes, a/c units, vents, etc) that was not an easy task so I climbed up on top – with a healthy dose of fear and respect for a slippery roof.

2013-02-09 16.09.37

 

2013-02-09 16.09.52

Categories: Connecticut, Life On The Farm, News and Updates | Leave a comment