Our RV relocation experience; what you need to know

We met a lot of very nice people, particularly in connection with our flat tire the first morning, which happened to be a Saturday.
After our first night on the road we woke to this flat tire.  RV flat tireRVs nowadays don’t have spare tires, which came as a surprise to the RV service support line you’re supposed to call if you have a problem. Practically, this matters a lot, as service trucks are equipped to change tires, not repair them. As it happened in our case, we were only two miles from town, so the driver took off the tire, took it to his shop and repaired it, and brought it back in under two hours. If we’d been a hundred miles farther west in the middle of South Dakota, this would have been a very long delay.  Between the late start and having to deal with the flat tire we lost one day of our time to drive to Las Vegas.
The screw we found in the tire was identical to a couple we found loose in the RV. Just sayin’ it could have been “supplied” in the pickup lot of the factory.
When I booked this adventure, and again when we picked up the RV, I asked if roadside assistance was included, and was told that it was. So I didn’t extend our AAA coverage to include RVs. Turns out, “it’s included” means “we arrange it, but you pay for it.”
Apollo ( the rental company that purchased the RVs and for whom we were locating them) has a great business model for preventing giving you a credit. They collect $1000 as a deposit, not just a hold but an actual charge, and refund it at the end. So you have to pay for the tire repair, and there is no way they’re gonna give you any credit for that, or the loss of the extra day you bought. In fact, their logic about the latter was “Well, you got 10 days for $1 each and 2 days for $145 each. That’s $25 a day average, I can give you that…”
We picked up the RV on a Friday. Although we arrived at 11am, there were dozens of parties also picking up their RVs and we didn’t get done until about 4pm. The briefing was … brief. The water tank had never been filled or tested. You know, the one they say to sanitize and flush before use. The sewer hose was stuck in the carrier, and without fittings. The holding tank valves hadn’t been closed, so when we tested the drains, water ran out. But the A/C and heater worked, the slides didn’t get stuck, and 90% of the cabinet and drawer hardware was correctly installed and stayed shut.  Sometimes going around corners the fridge door would suddenly open and the contents would crash to the floor.
The RV was a Winnebago Outlook 27D, which uses a Ford E450 base and got about 7.5 mpg overall. Driving it varied from very smooth, on a good road with no wind and under 60mph,  to a highly stressful experience when all those conditions were reversed and you’re being passed by a semi at 80mph, in which case it feels like you’re driving a 27-foot sail.  There are a lot of roads in the midwest with 80mph speed limits. I never felt safe much above 72, so there were lots of times when those semis were charging past.  Plus if you have 3 people as we did, the third person is seat belted behind the table.  The seat is very uncomfortable for an adult as you are tossed around a lot and cannot see out the front window.
Wal-Mart is everywhere, and a great resource to RVers, because they sell EVERYTHING in one place (except, oddly, alcohol in Wyoming, for which you have to go next door), there’s always easy parking for huge vehicles, and the price is right.
Here’s our summary opinion of the RV experience: it was nice for a national park experience when you’re planning to spend a few days, and the alternatives are tenting or $350 lodge rooms.  Wow, at $14.08 a night, the senior rate in Yellowstone is unbeatable, even without any hookups. But driving it is kind of a pain, so it’s not so great for the road-trip experience, where you have to move 300 miles a day. We could also see that this mode would be stressful during summer, when RV parks fill up. Even in mid-May, it isn’t “the season” yet in Yellowstone, and places weren’t too hard to find along the way.

What we pack for six months in Europe

We are leaving in a couple of days to get on the transatlantic cruise to Amsterdam.  We have a balcony on the cruise and plan to use it a lot.  So all the packing and things to do before we leave are being done.

Our sons are moved in.  The dogs are doing well.

We are packing ( oh no).  We take one rolling suitcase and one backpack each for the six months we will be away.  That means that I take very few clothes and they all are black and can be worn together.  For color and variety I pack scarves.  I pack in packing bags; the shirts, the pants, the underwear, the jacket all can be pulled out and used as needed.  I bring 2 pairs of shoes and a pair of saddles. It is not much but it leaves some room to pick up something irresistible .

 

There are some things that we bring from home because they are difficult to get in Ireland and England.   These are the special ear plugs I use, I love my husband but I still need to sleep.  Our vitamins and medications ( luckily we take only a few meds so that is easy).  My prepared journal and my journal tools.  We take a laptop computer, our phones, an ipad and a Magic Jack phone.  It is all very lightweight.  When you are getting on trains and buses in Europe there are no porters to help.  You must lug your bags up the train stairs very quickly as they only stop for a few minutes and there are lots of other people getting on.

 

The worst part of the trip is the flight to Fort Lauder dale.  I hate flying, it is so cramped.  That is the reason we will take a cruise over and a cruise back.  If you want to follow our adventures pet and house sitting please click the “follow” button and put in your email addy.  You will then get an email only when I post ( no one wants more emails than needed).  There will be very few posts on the 14 day cruise since the internet is difficult and expensive to use in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  Bon Voyage!

We are in Las Vegas

We have been at home all this time since returning from England in August.  Our son got married in December.2016-b-wedding-parents  Then we got through Christmas; with a small tree and all of our Christmas decorations still in storage.  We have made the downstairs comfortable with furniture from our office and our bed.  The upstairs is completely empty.  We find we do not need to live in much space these days after being on the road for 6 months.  All of our clothes fit into 1/2 of our closet.  It is good to have our sweet doggie Mac back with us.home-16-mac-in-box-small

The housing market seems to be depressed here at the moment so we are taking some small trips while we decide what to do.  I find that I am restless and want to be back on the road again.

So we are spending a week in Las Vegas.  There are some interesting places to take photographs here.  This is the glass ceiling at the Bellagio Hotel that is stunning.bellagio-ceiling-flowers-5x7-net  And some glass Cherry flowers from the inside of the hotel. cherry-flowers-belliago-5x7-light-net  We also went to  an abandoned mining town near here, and got photographs of lots of rusted cars and signs.old-car-grill-5x7-filtered-netdeadend-snake-5x5-poster-net  The next day we went to the stunning Valley of Fire.  This is a state park that has lots of sandstone rocks the are standing straight up from the ground due to violent up thrusts from the time of the dinosaurs.  It is pretty dramatic.vof-beehive-person-5x7-closer-netvalley-of-fire-arch-5x7-net

And today we visited the Atomic Testing Museum. We had a Groupon (2 for $26) and you should look for such a discount, as the list price is $22 each, and I don’t think it’s worth that. Those of you who are of our age will remember those duck-and-cover drills from the 60s, and this will certainly make you realize how useless that would have been, and how crazy the whole nuclear industry was.

There is a lot to do in Las Vegas besides gambling.

Well, I thought I would up date you on some of our events.  Not as exciting as the summer in England but still interesting.

If you want to purchase any of these photographs they are available in my Etsy shop.

Reentering our previous life

It is very strange to come home to an empty house after 6 months on the road in Europe.  We did have a bed to sleep in but that is all.  We moved some of my office furniture into the the family room. home-16-family-room-small We got my dining room table back from my sister and got an outdoor table with some patio chairs that we had in storage.  I got my long art table out of the storage unit and am in the process of setting up my studio again.home-16-studio-small

I have vacuumed and mopped the floor two times.  Cleaned and waxed the teak table and even put up a painting in the dining room.home-16-teak-table-small  We bought a new TV and are slowly finding things that we need from the storage unit. This is our dear son Brian and David working together . home-16-bri-and-david-smallWe swan in the pool the other day and it was heaven.  It is coming together.

We have a large house and have decided to only live in the downstairs. We are used to living in small spaces now and are trying to only add what we need.  It is refreshing.

We have also had time with our son, his fiance, our family, our dog and our friends.home-16-mac-in-box-small  This is the best part of being home.

St. Ives; a lovely Cornwall harbor town

We took the train to St. Ives in Cornwall from Truro, it only cost about $5 each for us to go to the beach and to return to Truro.  Here is an old fashioned signal box house for those of you who are railroad fans that is still operating in the Truro train station. truro signal box small The train goes to St. Erth where we got on the St. Ives train.  This train only goes back and forth to St. Ives.Truro train smallSt. Ives is a seaside town on the western edge of Cornwall.  It is a popular summer resort.  We went on one of the few days of sunshine that we experienced in Cornwall and it was crowded.  Here is a photo of the beach.St Ives beach 5x7 smallMany people put up wind breaks and small pop up tents.  There is a lovely harbor where the local kids jump off the pier to go swimming.St Ives pier jumpers small There is a picturesque Lighthouse on the end of the pier.St Ives lighthouse small  And some local seals patrol the harbor walls hoping some of the fishing boats might lose some fish.st Ives seal head small We did get some fish and chips in a fun restaurant on the harbor front.  Here is a photo of David looking happy after eating salmon. St Ives David fish and chips small  It was a wonderful day train trip.

I have been captured by the Olympics

We are taking care of 2 lovely dogs in Truro, Cornwall.  Here is a picture of them having fun.

dog friends play small

We have been walking these babies 2 times a day in a lovely field nearby.

But we have not done any sight seeing because….I love the Olympics.  All my favorite sports come in the first week.  Swimming, volleyball and gymnastics are the big three for me.  The problem with being in England is that the swimming finals are live  here at 1-4 am because the the time difference with Rio.  Oh no…..my normal schedule runs until 1 am everyday but this is really making my clock crazy.  Luckily, next week we can see some of lovely Cornwall and I will put up some lovely photos for you.

Here is the view from our pet sitting home, so lovely.

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Oh and go USA!

England; rain and flowers

It is summer here in England but sometimes it is hard to tell.  There has been more rain than sunshine during our visit.  For someone from Southern California it is an amazing amount of water from the sky.  The wonderful part of all of this rain is the glorious flowers that bloom here.  I have been going crazy taking photographs of some of these lush blooms.  I thought I would share some of them with you.  A bouquet of English blossoms for you to enjoy. wells flower pink yellow smallflower purple smallflower white green smallpink flowers A  smallflower pink purple smallChartwell flower back smallJanet pink bells smallcambridge flowers 5x7flower pink spikes small

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