Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Today...

Where am I today???

Traveling from south TX to Denver

TexasPlainsTrail.com

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Apps

So what are some of your favorite apps for the iPhone?

What are the absolutely need to have free apps?

The phone I had before was at least 6 years old, so I am loving this new toy Still have to get used to the touch screen and commands.

I added iBooks and the free book about all of the things to do with this phone/computer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

iPhone

Playing with my new phone. Just traded up from an antique cell phone. This is a mini computer that happens to make phone calls.

Sprint only adds $10 a month to an existing plan for unlimited data.

I think this will be a great navigator for me while traveling in the RV. I can pullover into a parking lot or rest area and use the iPhone to find places to visit or camp - or figure out where I am.

Some random pics with the phone.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Rainy Day Project

I did not like the way the closet is set up in the coach. The rod is towards the front with shelves behind it. The hangers would rub against the shelf and not hang straight. With a full row of clothes on hangers, I could not reach the items on the shelves. Last week, I was so frustrated with this, that I took all of the clothes off the hangers and put them in plastic bags in the outside storage.

before

There is one fixed shelf about 8 inches from the bottom and also the floor of the closet that I can set boxes on. Today, I removed 2 shelves and moved the rod back about 10". Much, much better. I am so happy to have the clothes back in the closet and room in the outside storage to put other items.


Sure, I have to reach back to hang things, but the hanging clothes are out of the way and I can place boxes in front and I can slide a box of canned goods under the hanging clothes.
after

I ordered 2 closet organizers from Amazon.com, they will be here on Tuesday. They have a lot of little zippered pockets on both sides and they hang from the closet rod - a good place to keep all the little odds and ends that are now in a box and a good place to keep my sewing supplies. 




I want to get everything organized and find a place for everything before I leave this RV park. This park has a "flea market" table in the activity center. Take what you need and leave what you don't want. I have already donated some things over there, including some empty storage boxes and hope to drop off more things next week.


I have to hang around here for awhile anyway, I ordered an iPhone 4S from Sprint and they said it will be 1-2 weeks for delivery. I received an email today from AppleCare+ with the serial number, so I'm hoping the phone will be here sooner than they said.  My current phone is not working good, it is at least 5 years old, maybe older. It stutters when it rings, and when I was making all of those calls last week, a lot of people said they could not hear me, and the phone kept fading in and out.


There are other reasons for staying here a little longer. I am still waiting for some mail and refund checks from cancelling my auto and homeowners insurance and I still want to get registered and licensed in Texas.


I did my part for "Black Friday" and placed an order at Amazon.com,
these are some of the things I ordered.
There are four cup holders in my rig, now I can keep
pens, sunglasses, etc. and my phone from sliding around.

I wanted to put a soap/shampoo dispenser on my shower wall,
the walls are textured and nothing would hold on
I didn't want to drill any holes in the new shower.
This will work good, because you can put the bottles upside down.

Quake Hold! Museum Putty
I want to keep some things on the counter and shelves
and not have to pack them away every time
I go for a drive.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Amazon.com and Scotch Tape

They are giving away 3 - $5000 Amazon gift cards

Nov 25, 2011 to Dec 16, 2011

One entry per person

2 ways to enter

1. purchase specified Scotch Tape product on Amazon.com

or

2. Mail a 3 x 5 card with your
name, address, email, phone# and birthdate
to
Amazon.com Scotch Tape Holiday Sweepstakes
P. O. Box 6010
Morton Grove, IL 60053

everyone should enter

GOOD LUCK!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!


Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!
~  ~  ~
I am thankful for Family & Friends
and
for the opportunity to travel
and follow my dreams.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's not all fun and games

I still have to do normal, everyday things.


I'm just in a more relaxed environment and have nice views out my windows. 

On Sunday, I did laundry and today I washed part of the RV. I haven't washed a vehicle in many, many years. I kept thinking of the movie 'Karate Kid'. This is good exercise for my arms, I won't need to buy one of those "As seen on TV" shake weight, arm exercisers.

When I was at Walmart, I picked up a bottle of RV Clean and Wax. I just did the cab/front of the rig to get all of the bugs and tree sap off. I had to do this by hand with a rag. Tomorrow or Wednesday (it may rain Tuesday), I will use the brush that attaches to the hose to get all the road dust off the rest of the RV.

I also spent a few hours making phone calls to change my address on several accounts. Things actually went pretty smoothly with the phone calls.

I actually received  mail today, the first time in 2 weeks, it was not forwarded mail, it was from businesses I had contacted last week. I hope it doesn't take too long to get the mail that has been sitting around for the last 2 weeks. I received a confirmation in the mail today - that my business mail is being forwarded, I did not receive one in my name, for my old home address. I called the Moraine Valley Post Office in Bridgeview and they were not helpful at all, he just kept saying it would take 2 weeks. I asked why I did not get a confirmation letter and he said that it was not necessary, he would not check if the forwarding request went through.  I did the request online and have a confirmation number. When I checked online, they say to call your local post office that you are moving from......... Crossing my fingers that it is done correctly.

Also, online they would only take my business name to forward mail from the PO Box.  When I called and asked about this, she said I would have to go into a post office, anywhere, and fill out a form to get my personal mail forwarded from the PO Box.

I thought having the PO Box would make things easier, I have had it for 3 years now, since I sold my business. Several weeks ago, before I received my Texas address, I requested the mail from the house be sent to the PO Box and then when I received my Texas address, I asked for that mail to come here.
They wanted me to cancel the original request that sent the mail to the PO Box and set up a new forwarding request to have my mail sent to Texas. Doesn't make any sense to me.

I am signed up to get 90% of my statements online, there are still a few items that I have to check on to see if I can do them online. Some places change things instantly when you call. Some, like the union, said it could take 90 days???

I also went online to research changing my vehicle registration and drivers license.

This is the order for doing things.
1. Vehicle Inspection
2. Registration and License Plates
3. Drivers License
4. Update Insurance


There is an RV Store in town that will do the inspection, I have to print a picture of the motor home and the weight information off of the manufacturers website, this is required for the registration.

All of the offices for the registration and license are in town, just a few miles down the road.

I use Progressive Insurance for the RV and there is an insurance office in the RV park, they sure know how to cater to the RV group here.

I will go early next week to get this done, I want to call the RV Store and find out if I need an appointment for the inspection, I'm thinking I should be able to do it all in one day.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Piney Woods of Texas

I arrived in Texas on Nov. 17th, I'll be hanging out in Texas at least until the New Year and maybe longer. Diane & Karl will be in San Antonio at the end of December and I'll be celebrating Christmas with them.

I will be staying at this park for a couple of weeks so that I can get my mail forwarding and address changes taken care of.  The post office sent me an email saying it would take 7-10 business days to start forwarding my mail from Illinois to Texas.

I am hoping get my drivers license and vehicle registration changed to Texas while I am here.

I have a ton of phone calls to make to insurance companies, banks, credit cards, etc. to change my address. I'm hoping to get most of them changed over the phone without having to fill out and mail forms.

I'm on a corner site, and the sites on the other side are vacant. I am in the wooded section of the park, near the creek.  The only downside to my site are the acorns falling on the roof. I'm surprised at how loud a tiny little acorn can be. For those with a satellite dish, the park has RV sites without any trees.


This park is really big and I have been taking one or more walks everyday.  I walked across the road from this park and saw some miniature horses in a field.  I tried taking pics with my cell phone, but they were too far away. I'll have to go back with my camera.  Many residents of this park drive from place to place or ride golf carts. I am happy to be walking around and checking out everything.
If I want to participate, there are a lot of activities everyday in the clubhouse and/or activity center.  I can try line dancing, quilt or sewing classes, jewelry making, card games, etc. They show a movie in the clubhouse once or twice a week, and sometimes have entertainment on the weekends.

Weather.com was predicting some rain, so far it has not rained, but we may get some on Tuesday.

On Saturday I was off to Walmart for some groceries and supplies. I'll be having Thanksgiving dinner here at the park, the park provides the turkey and everyone brings the side dishes.

I will make sweet potatoes in my slow cooker and I also purchased some olives and cranberries and also some yellow squash.

Kit Kat seems to like her new home

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Discount RV Parks

I was looking for an overnight park near Shreveport, Louisiana.

There is an RV park near I-20, it was $12 more than a Passport America (50% discount) park.
I looked at the maps on Google and saw that the discount park was 20 miles north of the highway, and I would have to backtrack to the highway in the morning.

The cost savings for the discount park would be gone with 40 miles of extra driving, so I decided to stay at the park closer to the highway.

If I was going to stay for more than one night, I'm sure I would have considered the discount park.

I'm wondering if anyone does this type of cost comparison, what are your criteria for finding a place to stay for just one night? Or for longer stays?

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Anyway, I just stayed overnight in Shreveport and moved on. Shreveport has a lot of casinos, I may have been able to stay cheaper at a casino, but they don't interest me.

Tall Pines RV Park was nice, I had a nice corner site, with a swing and paved patio with a table and chairs, and it was warm enough to be outside for awhile before sunset. I would have liked to go to the gardens of the American Rose Society, but they were closed for the winter.



I traveled through the Northwest corner of Louisiana and will get to southern LA sometime in the future.

Thursday morning on my way to the RV park in Texas, I stopped in Nacogdoches, TX (don't ask me to pronounce it). They advertise that they are the oldest town in Texas.  I walked around the small downtown area for awhile and stopped at the Dragonfly Garden Center and Gift Shop.  I was tempted to buy a small plant for the RV.  I didn't because I was afraid my cat would eat it and get sick. I was hoping to find a small dragonfly to put in the RV window, but they only had ones that were large, glass and too delicate for RV living.

Walking around the town was a good diversion from driving.  They have old-fashioned brick streets in town. I stopped in several resale and antique shops.  I purchased a few small gifts for the holidays.  I prefer shopping in small towns like this instead of the large malls.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Star City, Arkansas

Nov 12 to Nov 15th

Had a good time visiting with my friends in Star City, Arkansas.

Bev and Denzill live on 160 acres, 2 miles from the highway down a gravel road.  Their home and land are in a pine forest, surrounded by timber company land. It happens to be deer hunting season, so they had a lot of visitors, with most of the guys out deer hunting twice a day.

I didn't take any pictures this week,
these pictures are from my daughter's wedding album
Kim, Denzill, Beverly (2005)

I parked the RV in their driveway and plugged into an outside outlet, this way I didn't have to empty my refrigerator. I slept in the RV with my cat to keep her company so she didn't think that I had abandoned her (she was alone in the RV all day long).

There were a lot of ladybugs around the property, must have been hundreds of them on the RV, some hitchhiked and are traveling with me now.

We enjoyed sitting around the kitchen table catching up and talking about family.  We spent some time sitting on the porch next to the pond, just watching the day go by.

On Sunday, Bev's son-in-law made some Bar-b-q ribs and chicken to celebrate Bev's birthday.

It was very relaxing and it's good to spend time with friends. We had really good, mild weather, they said it was warmer than usual for November.  It rained Tuesday night, but I had good driving weather on Wednesday.

I left Star City on Wednesday morning and will stop in Louisiana on my way to Texas.

A cell phone pic of their cute puppy, Jackson.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nov 10 and Nov 11

A few journal notes:

Did a lot of interstate driving since I left the Chicago area, working my way to Star City, Arkansas to stay with friends for a few days.

I left Effingham, IL on Thursday morning and headed to the KOA Kampground in Marion, Arkansas.

I picked this park because it is right on the Interstate and they make a home cooked breakfast. The park is good for an overnight stay and I had a good corner site without a neighbor on one side. There was a full moon and I walked around for awhile in the evening.

After a late breakfast on Friday, I headed towards Village Creek State Park in Wynne, Arkansas.  I decided to get off the Interstate after about 10 miles and traveled the side roads, it was not a long drive but I stopped in several small towns before reaching the park.  I prefer the side roads and needed a break from the interstate.  I could have made it all the way to Star City on Friday, but I drove longer than I like to on Thursday and was not in the mood for driving on Friday.

Arrived at the state park around 12:30 and stopped in the Visitors Center, this is a huge park with 2 lakes and several campgrounds. They even have an equestrian campground.  I left the park for awhile to get cell service and stopped at "Hillbilly Treasures" a small antique and collectible store.  I used the parking lot to make my phone calls - so, of course, I had to go inside and look around.

Back to the state park for a quiet evening.  I walked around the park for about an hour, it felt good to get out and walk and stretch my legs.  I walked to the boat dock area, I wanted to walk to the equestrian campground, but after looking at the map and seeing how far I had already walked, I figured it was at least another 1/2 hour walk and then another hour to get back to where I started.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Out of range

State parks are some of my favorite places to park the coach, but sometimes they are "out of range" for cell phone and internet service.


It is a strange feeling - not being able to text - not being able to instantly get online and read blogs, check emails and research my next stop.


I rely on the internet for travel information and maps. I have paper maps with me, but prefer to check out camping spots on the computer.


Do I avoid staying in places where I am out of range? Or, do I take advantage of this quiet time to do something else?


This week I arrived at a State Park and discovered that they had no cell service, I asked a park employee if they had a pay phone. I just wanted to let my daughter know why I would not be replying to any text from her. They did not have any pay phones, does anyone?


I had to drive several miles to get cell phone coverage, contact my daughter and go back to the park.


No new pics to post. I have not taken many pictures this week. I've just been relaxing and enjoying traveling.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Creatures of the Wind



I received some "Dragonfly" gifts before I left home
A necklace and also some earrings.


Thank you to my family and friends
 for the farewell lunches and dinners
and the gifts and flowers.




*    *    *    *    *
As a creature of the wind, the Dragonfly represents change. 


The dragonfly reminds us that each day is a new beginning.



Dragonflies are also creatures of the water,
symbolism relative to the subconscious or "dreaming" mind.


Dragonflies ask that we pay attention to
 our deeper thoughts and desires.

Our deeper thoughts are surfacing and we must be mindful of the outcome we wish to have.

This exercise is useful when we want to
 "visualize positive outcomes".

Live life to the fullest - a dragonfly lives a short life.

Dragonfly's magic shows us to see through life's illusions and to find our true vision.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

SOLD



Goodbye House

The closing was Tuesday afternoon. I was about 3 hours away, in my RV, anxiously awaiting the news that all had gone well and the deal was finalized.

I did not mention the pending deal on the blog, guess I was afraid I would jinx it.

I am very thankful that everything went so well.  I did not want the worry about leaving the house empty all winter.

My good friend, Terry, also happens to be my realtor. She did an excellent job at pricing it right and my attorney, Ron, ordered all of the reports and inspections and paperwork right away, as soon as we had a contract - this helped everything to go so smoothly.

Thanks to everyone that helped me
 to empty the house, get it fixed up and get it sold.

*    *    *   *   *
I won't be missing this....................


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Moving Company Review

I was very satisfied with the moving company I used to move items from my house in Illinois to my daughters house in Colorado.

Golan's Moving and Storage
Skokie, Illinois
847-673-8189
www.golansmoving.com


They were very professional and the salesperson did not pressure me to move with their company.
Golan's owns their own trucks and the workers are employees of the company, not subcontractors.

They quoted an estimate of 2500# of household goods.  I supplied the same list to all of the moving companies I spoke with.  The other moving companies quoted me an estimate using only 1500# to 2000# - so, of course, their estimates were lower. I would have ended up paying the same or more and the reviews for the other companies were very scary.  The other companies could not guarantee that they were not a broker and that they did not sell the job out to another company. Some of the other companies continued to call and harass me and wanted me to cancel my appointment with Golan's. I bluntly told them that price was not the only factor, and that they were too pushy. I ignored a lot of the calls when I saw them on my caller id.

Golan's was outstanding, in the end my bill was not higher than the estimate. There is no charge for the moving blankets, but they do charge you for the tape that they use with the blankets, I think I paid a total of $10 for the tape. I did ask for additional insurance (the standard movers insurance only reimburses you 60c per pound-a few dollars per item) and I paid an additional fee for moving a flat screen TV (all movers charge extra for TV's).

They showed up at my house on time on the appointed day, and they contacted my daughter with an arrival time and date, giving her time to make sure she would be home.

As far as we can tell, nothing was damaged in the move.  They took their time and wrapped each chair, table and cabinet very well.  My daughter and I packed all of the boxes and taped and labeled them, they added their own inventory labels.  Besides the furniture, I had a few odd shaped items that did not fit in boxes and they securely wrapped them with the moving blankets and tape.

They move nationwide and have an office in California, also.

I highly recommend this company if you need any moving services.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Relaxing........Rainy day

Camp Lakewood Campground : Effingham, IL

Although I had a lot of phone calls to make today, I did not feel stressed or rushed.

This RV park has super fast wi-fi and the stereo in the coach is a really good quality with good speakers. I have listened to a few TV programs on the computer, also.  I am glad that I decided not to mount a TV screen in here, and decided to go with a good laptop, instead.  I can listen to the news or other programs on the computer.

After the mad rush to make sure the house was empty and trying to get out of Chicago before the RV freezes, it is soooo nice to be able to take my time with things.  It would have been smarter to make this move in the spring, but actually the timing of everything has worked out.

I still have to organize the cabinets and drawers and empty a few boxes of stuff that I put in the coach.
I don't want to keep these boxes in the space behind the drivers seat, this is just a temporary thing until I figure out what I need and what I can get rid of.

Many bloggers talk of selling their houses and going full-time.

I am so glad that I made this decision.
But, it is not an easy thing to do.

Emotionally and physically, it is exhausting. (I'm not trying to discourage anyone.)
And then there is the guilt for doing what I want and not staying around to help others.

If you are planning to do this, you will probably question yourself about why you accumulated all of this "stuff" in the first place. In 1988, we moved out of our first home into the house I just left. Back then, 23 years ago, I remember saying that this house would be sold with all of the contents included, that I did not want to go through the process of moving stuff again.

I think of my Grandma Mary's house, it never seemed to be cluttered and her basement was empty except for the washer and dryer. It seemed like maybe things were simpler then.

I didn't learn my lesson, and the difference now is that I didn't just pack it all into boxes and move it into the basement of the next house.  I could have put things into storage, it would have been less stressful and easier - just pack up the boxes and drive over to the storage area.

Storage is costly and I probably won't ever use the items again.

I had to deal with it now, I didn't want to think about it anymore.

My family and friends have most of the larger items from my home, I am glad that someone could use them.

I am not living a spartan life in the coach.  I have kept some things that I like to have around me. I have some quilts that I have made or purchased. I have decorated the walls and have photos. I have enough, but not too much.

It's been raining on and off all day, I am all warm and cozy in my little house.
There is more rain in the forecast. I am waiting for some phone calls tomorrow, so I will stay here Tuesday night, also.

large site with deck, table and firepit

The rain stopped around 3pm, I went for a walk around the campground, this is a very nice place, well maintained and clean and it's probably very busy in the summer. They have a boat ramp and its looks like they rent canoes and rowboats.

Update: Ended up staying here for 4 days, didn't want to drive in the rain and it was very peaceful here, parked by the lake.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Safe & Sound

I finally made it.............

 The perfect site - on the end with a view of the lake.

My deck and yard for a few days.

My camera is dating the pics -  it's the wrong date -  I will have to look into that.


I was asked if I would miss my yard and gardens. I will have a new and different "yard" every time I move to a new location.  And I don't have to do any yard work.

I am in Central Illinois for 2 nights and maybe a 3rd if it rains like weather.com is predicting.  I don't mind walking around in the rain, but I don't want to drive in the rain if I can avoid it. Staying here a few days will give me time to organize the cabinets and drawers in the coach. I don't remember where I put everything in the mad rush to empty the house.

I traveled down I-57 today, the roads were in good shape, there was not a lot of construction and traffic was light. The day was overcast, but dry. It was windy at times so I stopped often and took my time.

*   *   *    *    *

Thanks to Peter for the comment on yesterdays blog about the mirror.

The name "Velvac" is on the mirror, I will make some calls tomorrow. Maybe they can mail a replacement to my friends house in Arkansas - then my friends can help me install it.

*    *    *    *    *
Dollar Store - Wall Stickers 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Not a good takeoff - I busted my mirror

I tried to leave on Saturday around Noon - 2 hours (and 5 days) later than I wanted to leave.

Too many last minute things to do - I felt like I was never going to get everything out of the house.
And, of course, I packed too many clothes, books and sewing projects. I arranged to have a cleaning service come in and give the house a good cleaning after I leave, but I am still very tired from all of this moving and purging and organizing.

I didn't want to throw away, give away and donate absolutely everything.  I figured I could work on the hand sewing projects during the dark winter nights. I will have to purge some things along the way.

Anyway......................

Just a few minutes from my house, I was getting onto the tollway at the unmanned toll booth on 95th Street going South (to meet up with I-57).

I was concerned about my I-pass working properly, I registered the RV with the tollway but this was the first time I was using the I-pass with the RV, I saw the sign for I-pass on the left and went through the left lane, big mistake. I should have stayed in the right lane.  My right outside mirror hit something, it folded in as it is designed to do, but the glass shattered.

I got off the tollway at the very first exit to come up and pulled into a truck repair lot.  They were very helpful, we called around for a replacement. None available and its a weekend, too. They rigged up a mirror for me, nice bright red duck tape holding it on. Now at least I can see what is on the right side and when I am backing up.

I had called my brother to help, I wasn't far from his house.  I thought we would have to drive to an auto parts store to get a mirror.  By the time he arrived they were adjusting the mirror.  I drove to a nearby Ford dealer, my brother following me.  The Ford dealer said its an "after market" mirror and not a Ford part, so I will need to contact some RV dealers.  I called one that is about 10 miles away but their parts department is closed on weekends.




I went back home, I will leave in the morning and get the mirror replaced somewhere down the road.

I made some calls and was told that the parts need to be ordered directly from Winnebago and it could take a week to get the parts.  I talked to the service department at Camping World in Little Rock, Arkansas - they can place the order on Monday, using my VIN#. I'm hoping that they will have received the part by the time I get down that way.

I am, of course, totally frustrated with myself.  I have driven the RV over 5000 miles from Florida to Illinois and from Illinois to Texas and back without doing something like this.

Bright and early Sunday morning, I will try another attempt at takeoff.

Tomorrow, I will get on the tollway at 127th and Cicero.

Drake Tax Software

Overnight stays in these states:

Overnight stays in these states:
It is the sandstorm that shape the stone statues of the Desert. It is the struggles of Life that form a person's character ~ Native American Proverb