Tuesday, December 24, 2013


We hope all our readers have a wonderful holiday season.
We have not been posting lately for several reasons. The main one is we are stranded in Tyler, Texas. I mentioned in the previous blog that we were rear-ended in Mississippi. The trailer is sitting at the repair shop waiting for all the parts to show up. When we had a wreck the hitch was bent, so that is the first thing they are going to fix. Hopefully we will able to pull the rig to a campground and stay in it until the rest of the parts show up. As of now we are in an extended stay room in Tyler while we wait. I was not willing to pull the trailer any further with the hitch bent. I thought I had pressed my luck as far as I was willing to. The estimate on the repairs was $12,600.00. They tell me that once all the parts are in it will take them 3 weeks to do all the repairs, meanwhile, we are homeless. We were suppose to be at Escapees North Ranch Park to work the first of February, but that looks like it's not going to happen. We hope that all the parts arrive by the first of the year and they can get right on it. 
That's it for now
Duane and Louise 

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

More trouble

We have fallen behind again. Our last blog ended with us heading to Escapees Plantation park in Alabama. We arrived there without any difficulty.  We visited with friends Chris and Jim Machett, I played pool and Louise played dominoes. As always we had a good time there. We had decided to stay the weekend and head on to Texas Monday. We should have left on the Thursday before.We were not on the road long before we ran into rain. I hate driving in the rain. We got to Seminary, MS, stopped at a light, WHAM!!! hit from behind. I have no idea how anyone could  miss seeing a trailer the size of ours sitting still, but she did. Her car was a total mess. They took the girl that was driving the car to the hospital. I was told later that she was treated and release that night. We were not injured at all. I can't say the same for the trailer. 

 We have a goose neck adapter on the kingpin. The force of the hit bent the kingpin plate.

One of the hinges that broke out. There are several broke.

 The bar with all the springs and the plate they attach to are bent in

The stabilizer jack is really bent up
This is a pic of the underside. You are looking at the bottom of the under belly tool boxes all caved in with broken welds.
I took the trailer to the repair center in Tyler, TX on Monday. I will call them tomorrow to see if they can give me a clue as to how long it is going to take to fix it. They were going to put it on a frame machine today to check to see if the frame is bent. We are hoping they can get it fixed in a couple of weeks, we shall see.

I took the truck in on Tuesday to get the heater fixed. The drivers side had no heat. I was told that an electrical part was bad. They said that the dash has to come out to get to it, a ten hour job and $1100.00. I have an extended warranty so a call was place to them. They told the dealer to wait to work on it till they could send a man out to look at it. He showed up today and tried to say because the truck is F450 that it was commercial and they don't cover commercial. Now 2 years ago when I bought the truck the fact that it was a F450 didn't stop them from selling me the extended coverage. They called me and ask what I pulled with the truck. He said you have a ball in the bed. I said yes to pull my rv with. The tripod stabilizer was in the bed of the truck and he wanted to know what I used that for. After 10 minutes of questions they agreed to pay for the repairs. We should get it back late tomorrow. We were suppose to go to son Duane's house in Van Alstyne, TX on Monday the 2nd but that had to be put off a bit. 

We sure hope that the trailer is fixed soon, we miss our home. We are able to stay at the homes of our kids for a while but don't want to outstay our welcome.
We also hope that our trouble is over for a while, I'm getting a little tired of this...lol 

Pics from Thanksgiving with the kids coming up next
Duane and Louise

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Exploding tires.... Visit with good friends

Well I thought we were done with our rv problems. I guess I was wrong. We got ready to leave Friday morning. When we disconnected from shore power, the 12 volts lights went out....battery dead on the trailer. Oh well, we are going right by a Wal Mart, they sell batteries. We pulled out and headed for the Wal mart. Battery bought and installed, everything working fine.  Off we go. We got about 20 miles from Bushnell, BAM!!!! middle tire on the right side of the trailer blow up. I called road service, they said they would have someone there in one hour. The hour passed, I get a call from the man coming to change the tire that he is stuck in traffic do to an accident. Another passed before he arrived. He got the tire changed in 15 minutes. When the tire blow it wiped out the fender skirt but no other damage. By this time it afternoon so we headed back to Bushnell to get a tire and stay the weekend. 

Got the new tire installed and ready to roll. Monday morning we took off for Fort Walton Beach. Lo and behold we got within 2 miles of where the tire blew...BAM!!!! the front tire on the right side blew. Called road service, the same guy shows up. He said "this is a bad stretch of road for you isn't it". This time the blowing tire bent up the bottom of the slide. I took channel locks and bent everything back. Not pretty but it worked. The tire changer man told me where I could get a new tire close by. We decided to replace all the tires. The tires we had on were all the same age and mileage. I figured after 2 of them exploded the rest couldn't be far behind. New tires on, we headed up the road to get some lunch. After we ate and returned to the truck, the tire alarm was going off.  One of the new tires was down to 58 lbs from the 80 lbs. that was put in at the tire shop. We were only 5 miles from the place where we bought them so back we went. They found that the valve stem would not seal against the Pressure monitor so they replaced the valve stem. Problem solved. With all new tires on we decided to head on down the road. We were able to find a Passport America park about half way to Fort Walton and pulled in for the night. No more problems!!!!!

Tuesday we arrived at a rv park we had called the night before and were told they had plenty of room. They were full. Ok, we headed on down the road to the Elks Club. They have 4 sites, 2 open ones. After getting hooked and paid up for the night, I gave our friends Sheryl and Jeff a call. They were the reason for us to at Fort Walton. We found out that we were two doors down from there campground. We were glad the first park was full. We met up with our friends at the beach. We first met the Brights in New Mexico and again in Arizona. They are Harley riders and really nice people. When we first met, Jeff encouraged me buy my first bike.  We meet the best people in our travels.

Jeff and Duane solving the problems of the world.

Sheryl looking for shells on the beach

As the sun went down we headed to McGuire's for dinner. We enjoyed some really good hamburgers and fries and even better company.  Thank you Jeff and Sheryl for a wonderful afternoon and evening and a big thanks for buying our meal.

Wednesday morning we headed for Summerdale, Al. and the Escapees Plantation rv park. We only had about 90 miles to travel and everything went great.
Til next time
Duane and Louise

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bushnell, Florida

After our stay on Jekyll Island in Georgia, it was off to Florida for a doctor stop to renew our meds. The day after we got here, I went out to go to the store in the truck, dead battery !! I put the charger on, got it going and headed to the Advanced Auto store to have the batteries checked. Ended up replacing both batteries.

When we got here I contacted a rv service man that does a lot of work in the Sumter Oaks RV Park we are staying in. We have been having a lot of trouble with the main slide. We have had it two other repair places look at it with different ideas on what needed done to it. Vern Penner, the rv tech on wheels, found two teeth broken on the main drive. I also had found some separation  in the flooring of 2 of the slides. Vern came up with a way to keep the floor from separating any more and ordered a new gear for the drive. I wish I had taken pictures of the before, but didn't think of it until the job was done. The manufacture had put end caps on the bottom of the slides that did not wrap around under the slide. What was happening was the water, during a rain, would run down the side of the slide and under it onto the plywood flooring causing it to separate. We put aluminum angle iron on the edges and sealed it. Now the water will run off before it gets to the wood. We installed the new gear on the drive and aligned the slide. It now runs in and out like it is suppose to. We hope that this fix will be the end of our trouble with this slide....we shall see.

Next problem..... We have been having a problem our 12 volt system that runs all the lights in the house. I thought it was the converter/charger but was going to wait to fix it till we got to Texas. Guess what.... it quit working last evening. I called all over this area and along our path of travel for a replacement, no go. Called Tampa Campers World, they could have one in late today. I guess we stay here a couple more days as we don't travel on the weekends unless we have to. So.... the bank account is whole lot smaller then it was.

Now for the good things we have been doing. We have a lot of friends staying here. Louise has been playing cards almost every day and I have been playing pool almost every night. Three mornings a week we ride the bike to Leesburg to play pickleball. Last Sunday, we rode the bike with friends, Paul and Sharon, to Sleepy Hollow Bar and Grill for a $6.00 rib dinner. We have really enjoyed our stay here, except for all the repairs we had to do. As they say" such is life".

We hope to be in Kilgore, TX by Thursday next week.

Oh, the doctor visit went well, all is good.

Till next time
Duane and Louise

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Our time on Jekyll Island is about gone.  We are leaving in a couple of days so this will be our last blog for a while.  The pic below is of a little hermit crab without a shell.  This one is pretty small;  as they get bigger, they get bigger shells.

Island sunset, a beautiful and vibrant orange.

Our last trip around this area was to Okefenokee Swamp.  One fine autumn day Brock and Leola and we hopped on the bikes for the 60 mile ride.  A beautiful one coming and going.

Everywhere we've been on the east coast we've seen historical markers, but they are pretty much unreadable because they have no place to pull off to read them.  This one was at the intersection of two busy roads.  We were stopped at a light when I took this.

The Okefenokee is a National Parks site so the first thing we did at the visitors' center was to stamp our Passports.  Then we browsed around the informative and very interactive displays soaking up information.  After we watched the wonderful and awe-inspiring short film, we listened to this amazing robotic story teller.

The building also houses the gift center and a small short order eatery.  We enjoyed our sandwiches and drinks, then took a boat ride into the Swamp.  We were the only ones on the ride.  Our guide was a local guy and very informative about the area.  He was an expert gator spotter. 

There were quite a few gators out sunning.

The Okefenokee is a wonderful place to canoe and kayak.  There are miles of waterways and several places to (permit) camp for extended stays.

Fall colors were on display.  The waterways ran through large areas of lily pads and bladder wort.  The latter looks like root masses in the water.

These wonderful flowers were blooming everywhere.  These are blooming on a  floating mat of grasses.  As the roots gather more soil and support more plants.  As the plants die and decay, they form peat hummocks that gradually replace the open water.

Pulpit plants.  These and the bladder wort are carnivorous.

Wonderful reflections.  The water in the swamp is 98% pure from the surface down about 6 inches.  All the plants on and in the water act as filters.  A swamp is a place of standing water.  If no rain falls, the swamp dries up.  

Another fall bloomer.  The berries on this shrub are poisonous.  The native people used them as a purgative (in small quantities).

The other way to visit the swamp is by wheels along the nature drive.  We failed to pick up a guide so we just made one stop.

Closeup beauty

The original boardwalk was destroyed in a wildfire.  This new one is made from recycled plastic.

We walked to the end where there is a three story observation deck.  We observed that we saw no wildlife.  Too soon for migratory birds I guess.  We did observe several bodies of water.

Yes we old people climbed this without stopping.  We just kept telling ourselves that on the way back it was all downhill.

Brock and Leola are newlyweds.  They just celebrated their 8th anniversary.  Congrats! 

We did see this white heron flying around.

Time for a pose with the bikes.

This completed the things we wanted to do in this area.  We had a great time and the weather (and government) cooperated.

Tune in later for more adventures.

Louise and Duane

Monday, October 28, 2013

Scrimpin' with friends and turtle viewing

After we discovered friends Ken and Bonnie from PA were visiting the RV park, we had to walk over for a visit.  In the course of our conversation we mentioned shrimping.  They were eager to learn something new, so we took them out one sunny but chilly day.  As Ken got the hang of the net and the tide receded more, there were more shrimp in the net.  He had a ball and we each ended up with a quart bag of shrimp! 

Bonnie, who doesn't like fish, gamely pinched off heads and threw them to the shore birds.  Duane taught Ken to split shells and devien.

Ken hitting his stride, Bonnie glad she doesn't have to do it!

Another day last week we visited the Sea turtle center with friends and neighbors Brock and Leola.

The building housing the gift shop and displays was the former power plant for the millionaire's getaway "cottages" on the island.

Display in the gift shop.

This guy would fit inside the skull of the one above.

The center was full of informative interactive displays.  After viewing the displays we went next door to the rehab center.  These turtles will not be released because  their injuries make them vulnerable to predators.  The one on the right is missing part of a front flipper.  The one on the bottom has paralyzed back flippers.  Others will recover and be returned to the sea. 

The Sea Turtle Center was a fun way to spend an afternoon.  We recommend it to anyone visiting Jekyll Island.

Next up, Okefenokee Swamp.

Louise and Duane

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cumberland Island and Ft. Frederica

Now, here's something I never saw before!  Duane and I had swapped helmets with Brock and Leola. When they traded their Goldwing for a Spyder, their communications system went with the bike.  We offered to let them test our system as part of their quest for a new system.

In case you didn't remember, Duane's helmet is black.  This is a front view of the new Spyder, which has two wheels in the front and one in back.

To help break in the new bike, we rode with  them one day to a little restaurant to join our shrimping friends for a $10 shrimp buffet.  But weren't you catching shrimp to eat?  you ask.  Yes, but these shrimp are already cooked!  There were 14 at our table, and they were too busy stuffing face to pose.   I can't blame them--the shrimp was delicious.

On our way home we detoured for a visit to the local HD store.

One day when we didn't have anything planned we rode bicycles along a very small part of the miles of paved hike/bike path.  We rode to the pier then looped along the wildlife viewing trail.

There wasn't a whole lot of wildlife in view, but I managed to spot this horseshoe crab in the tidewater flat at low tide.

Just as I got back on my bike, I saw something trotting down the path ahead of me.  Guess what it is.

One of the many resident raccoon.

Our rv park is very shady with an abundance of Georgia pines and live oak trees.  I looked outside one night for the moon and found this gem.

For the first long ride for the Spyder, we rode 60 miles to St. Mary's to inquire about taking the ferry to Cumberland Island National Seashore.  We cruised the visitors center, reading about the island first.  It is a national parks site so visiting it would be free, but the ferry ride is $18 each so we decided against a visit. (We wouldn't have minded the price if the money went to the parks service, but the ferry is run by a private contractor.) From what we read in the visitors center, the island is uninhabited but was once the home of the Carnegies.  There are a few ruins to explore, but most activities are limited to walking the hike/bike path or shoreline, viewing wildlife, and fishing.  We can do all of these things on Jekyll Island, including visiting ruins.  We finished our education in the visitors center, took a couple of pix, and headed home.

Cumberland Island is in the horizon.

Since the National Parks Service was back in business, we were also able to visit Ft. Frederica on St. Simon's Island.  We started with the St. Simon's Sweet Shop for ice cream for lunch.  Literally!  Then it was on the bikes for a ride to the north end of the island.

Fort Frederica and the town of Frederica were established as a military outpost on the Colonial Georgia frontier. From 1736 to 1749 the fort and its regimental garrison were the hub of the British military operations on Georgia's frontier.  The town was peopled by "worthy poor" people--prominent  English citizens who needed a new start.  The first settlers consisted of 44 men who were mostly skilled workers and 72 women and children.

The fort was built first with attendant storehouses, then the town was laid out in 84 lots, most 60x90 ft.  Each family received a lot for building and 50 country (outside the town) acres for crops.  Over time the settlers replaced their palmetto huts with houses built of wood, tabby, and brick in the Georgian style.  Orange trees shaded the main road,  75'-wide Broad Street, which ran from the fort to the town gate.  The town was surrounded by a 10 ft. palisade and a 10 ft deep moat.  The dirt dug from the moat was thrown as earthworks between the palisade and the moat.  The town was also guarded by bastions on the corners. 

Archaeologists have uncovered most of the bases of the houses along Broad St.  There were info boards for each one.  This was particularly interesting.  

Part of the fort.

You all know what this is.

This is thought to be the forge in the blacksmith shop which was within the fort walls.

This shows how the houses would have been divided on the ground floor.  The circle on the left is an oven.  This was working space mostly. Since the lots were small, living space could be added by going up--a lot of houses had second and third floors.

Soldiers' quarters. Other soldiers built palmetto huts outside the walls.

Taking a break on one of the many nice benches placed around the town site.

View of the town area.  Try to imagine it with houses instead of trees.

Time and sediments have filled in a lot of the moat.


This road led from the town gate to Ft. St. Simon's, 6 miles south.  The British fought the Spaniards there and not far from the town gate. 

After touring the town site, we visited the visitors center to stamp our National Parks Passports.  We view the exhibits and the short film then headed for home.We really enjoy our visits to National Sites and and very glad they are all open again.

Join us later for more adventures!

Louise and Duane