Home Away From Home

The Last Day of FMCA in Perry

What a great day. We got an early start again but this time it was to attend church on the fairgrounds. It was such a great service. The FMCA Chaplain, George Archer began the service with congregational singing with his wife playing the keyboard. They both did a grand job. Following that The Singing Auctioneer sang two beautiful songs and then Mr. Archer gave the sermon about what our purpose in life is. The scripture was from Ephesians 3. Two things he said stuck in my mind. One, “Keep me in Your Will Jesus so I won’t be in Your way” and two, “You are the glove that Jesus fits into.” What a way to end a great week.

Jerry and I had some shopping to do today so off we went to the exhibits. He bought a TPMS from TechnoRV. He had looked at other vendors but decided on buying from Eric mainly because of the support we have received on the Wi-Fi booster. When Jerry was at the Almost Heaven seminar they had thrown out a small rubber chicken and Jerry caught it. If he wore it all week he could get a free micro fiber drying towel. Well, he got some strange glances but he wore it the entire time so we went to pick that up. I bought four of the cleaning cloths and am hoping to use them tomorrow. Having the windows open with all of the pollen around means a cleaning job ahead. I wanted a couple of things from Tupperware so we headed over there to get those. While in that exhibition hall we relaxed in the massage chairs selling for about $3000.00. It would be nice if we could afford one because they were great!

While walking around Jerry saw a flag pole that he liked. He has been looking for one for a while but had not found one he liked until this one but we decided to pass on it.

We went back to the coach to get a quick lunch and then headed back to the fairgrounds. After having attended the session on the Velcro we wanted to get some of that. At $7 we thought we had a bargain.

I asked Jerry if he wanted the flag pole for his birthday gift. I’ve already gotten him a little something but was planning to get something else and this fit the bill. He said he thought that would be perfect so we went back over to the hall and bought that.

We were planning to attend the Eastern Region meeting for FMCA at 3:00 and we had plenty of time so we went back over to look at the new motor homes. We went in Entegras, American Tradition and Tiffin. While I saw floor plans that I liked maybe a little better than ours they were all diesel and unless I change my mind or win the lottery (which will be difficult having never bought a ticket) I will stick with our gas engine.

The meeting for the Eastern Region was interesting and we learned more about FMCA. They announced a rally that is going to be held in West Virginia in October the same week-end State has a home game against Notre Dame. What do you think our changes of attending the rally are? After the rally a guy from the Carolina Pelicans came over and told us about his group. Although it is basically a South Carolina group they do have some members from North Carolina. They were extremely friendly and even invited us over to a social at 5:00.

We came by to the RV and put on some warmer clothes (it’s a bit chilly in Georgia tonight – down to 39), grabbed a couple of chairs and something to drink and headed back out to the fairgrounds to the social. I think my car could drive that route automatically! What a nice group of people. We met many new friendly people, had a good meal and joined the group! It only cost $12. They will be sending us additional information. Some of the folks were leaving Perry and going to Hilton Head for the week. The next rally will be at St. James Island in Charleston, SC the first week-end in June. I asked Jerry if he wanted to go and he said it didn’t matter. Actually I think all of the sites are taken so there won’t be any room but I think it would be fun to go.

I have always heard that if you didn’t like the weather in North Carolina to just wait because it would change. Well, we found out that was true in Louisiana and guess what, it’s true in Georgia as well. Last week when we arrived it was HOT. We were trying to get set up and the air conditioner was not working and we were dying. Today was breezy and cool, cooler, and cold. I changed clothes three times dressing a little warmer each time. In fact we came back to the campground after the Carolina Pelicans social and got some coffee and then you’re right – we headed back to the fairgrounds to hear Pamela G and Jackie B., the Sweethearts of Mountain View, Arkansas.

They were absolutely fantastic singing different genres of music. At one point we even got up and danced to one of their songs. They ended with a set of gospel songs and then the last song was a tribute to the different branches of service with a finale of God Bless America. What a way to end a convention. Church in the morning and then these ladies at night.

It has been a great convention and as “first timers” we are surely hoping we’ll be able to attend more. Next year it will be in Indianapolis and then in 2018 back in Perry.

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Home Away From Home

Another Busy Day in Perry at FMCA Reunion

Another early start as Jerry had the conclusion of his driving class. I decided to go to a seminar entitled “Women and RV’s”. I’m not quite sure what I expected but it wasn’t what I got although it turned out to be very interesting. The initial question was “what are you going to do when something happens to your spouse?” Wow – I hadn’t really thought about that. We’ve just been worried about getting home in case something happened to someone at home. The presenter Fran Marynik along with her husband Ed said they didn’t want women to be scrambling and having people take advantage of them in case something life changing did occur. Their main suggestion was to have a plan. Fortunately since everyone there was a member of FMCA we have the advantage of being able to call them and they will assist with arrangements even to get a driver to take you or you and/or your coach home.

She urged everyone to know the vital statistics of their coach: Make, model and year, Chassis, Engine and the length, width and weight of your coach. Additionally you should know who to call if you should experience any trouble with any of those items along with jacks, housing, transmission, etc.

An app that was recommended was glimpse which is a locator. It can send a link of a google map to others to let them know where you are. This is especially helpful to those traveling alone. Leaving a television on at night when you’re away makes it appear that someone is home and some even put men’s shoes outside the door to indicate there is a man at home.

We have heard many times this week about the things that should be regularly checked like air pressure in the tires, oil, water in the batteries, etc. Safe places to overnight in lieu of campgrounds are hospital parking lots and church parking lots. When parking do not park so that the door is next to the curb because that hides your entrance or exit from others who may be around and presents an opportunity for something to happen.

The next seminar was about cooking for two in an RV. The feisty 82 year Tupperware saleslady had numerous recipes and ideas and soldiered on despite a number of technical difficulties. I definitely will be trying some of her suggestions and the first one will be a quiche in the microwave.

I joined Jerry in the next seminar about using Velcro in the RV. This Velcro is high temp acrylic and can be used to hang pictures, secure hoses, secure things kept on the counter tops plus many other uses. After the initial application it has to cure for 24 hours before using. I suggested to Jerry that we could possibly use it to secure the Garmin that I use as it falls off of the counter quite frequently as we travel.

After the seminar we came back to the coach for a quick lunch and then back to the fairgrounds intending to look at the new Newmars. We saw a tram so Jerry suggested we get on. Well, the trams are for the people staying on the grounds so instead of going to the new coach section we rode around the camping area. There are about 2400 units out there! Amazing!

We talked with the representatives about the possibility of having lights added to our awning and how it could be done. Not sure if we’ll be purchasing them at this point as we are probably going to buy a TPMS and that will blow the budget for the trip! We also wandered through some of their new coaches and they are nice and then on our way to the next seminar we went in a Phaeton. Wow, just wow. Lesson learned here – if you are happy with your coach don’t go looking at new ones. I really am happy with our coach and I am not interested in a diesel.

Jerry went to a seminar on tires and I went to hear Mac the Fire Guy. The top four reasons for RV fires are diesel engines, Norcold refrigerators, wiring under the dash and tires. Gas coaches are the safest. He said that if you hit the rumble strip when driving you should always check your tires on your next stop to see if any damage has been done. He talked about fire extinguishers and CO alarms. He recommended the Atwood CO alarm and said to have the tallest person in the rig put the alarms at his level. It is safer to sleep in the bedroom with the door to the main part of the coach closed.

We drug our tired bodies back to the coach for a brief rest before heading back over for a get together with Jan, Jim and their group from the Atlanta area. We met two new couples and thoroughly enjoyed visiting with them.
Before heading over to the concert we raced back to the motor home to put up the awning and the chairs as it looked like we might have a storm (we didn’t).

We finished up the night with a concert with Mark Chestnutt, Lori Morgan and Joe Diffie. Thought I don’t know much about country music I enjoyed the concert.

Back to the coach and ready for bed. Church in the morning at 8:00. Man, these 8:00 mornings are killing us!

Home Away From Home

Day Two at FMCA Reunion in Perry

Jerry had an 8:00 session this morning, actually the first part of a two day session called RV Driving Safety Program. Once he completes the session tomorrow he will be presented a certificate that he can present to our insurance agent and our insurance should go down. Good deal! Since I also wanted to attend an 8:00 session we were up and out early. They have a devotional each morning at 7::00 but we haven’t been able to make that yet.

My session was called The Intentional Traveler and the presenter was Pam Johnson. A former engineer and programmer she has written a program to consolidate planning tools and records to include maintenance records as well. She is beta testing an online version and asked for volunteers so I gave her my name and information. The only requirement to be a tester is to make at least one entry a month on the application. It was very informative although a lot of what was covered were things I was already familiar with. Relative to trips she said one of the most important things was to do research ahead of time and to make notes about each destination. One tip I got was to take each of the very many brochures that we get when we stop at a Visitor’s Center and to write down a few facts about that particular site. Then throw the brochure away because you can only keep so much in the motor home. I am certainly going to try to do this in the future and hopefully can eventually get caught up on our vast collection and try to minimize the number of papers we have.

She gave the analogy of filling about a 1/3 of a jar with sand and then finish filling it up with rocks. How many rocks can you put in? Then she suggested putting the rocks in first and then adding sand. You naturally can put more rocks in even using the same amount of sand. That is how our trips should be planned. Determined the big rocks first and then plan around them.
She recommended several apps most of which I already have but one good tip was to use the satellite view on the Allstays app. I’ve never done that but will certainly use it in the future. Although we try to abide by the 330 rule, either driving no more than 330 miles or stopping by 3:30 she suggested that the 230 rule be used. Always allow time for an oops, a campground you really don’t want to stay at, or getting lost, or any number of reasons. She also recommended getting a Big Rig Atlas. We have an atlas but will try to get the one for big rigs as it has very pertinent information for us.

My next session was Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda by Camco out of North Carolina. The speaker was very entertaining and told relevant stories as he gave a great many tips. Yes, he was selling a product but that was not the focus of his presentation. One thing he suggested that everyone have is a Volt Alert by Fluke which can be purchased at Harbor Freight. This determines the line voltage and can prevent someone being shocked by touching the motor home. Another tool he recommended was an infrared thermometer. Just by touching the tire you can test the heat in the tires and then determine if additional air is necessary.

Whenever selecting any kind of tank treatment be sure that it contains coconut oil as that lubricates. All in all it was a very informative session. An additional tip he told us was to use hornet spray to fight off bears! Hopefully that’s a tip I won’t have to use!

The last session I went to was on inside cleaning. It too was a vendor but the cleaning products she used were household products, e.g. white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol. Her company is Almost Heaven Microfiber and although she strongly recommended using her towels she also gave out a booklet with all of her cleaning tips in them. I am definitely going to try some of them very soon.

Jerry and I met and walked around some of the exhibits and then decided to return to the campground for lunch. We were back at the fairgrounds by 2:00 and he didn’t have a seminar until 3:00 so we went over to talk with the TechnoRV folks about the tire monitoring pressuring system, TPMS. We are very interested in buying one but want to make sure that we get the right one.

Jerry went to his seminar and I went to the other exhibition building and ended up buying a couple of things. In the seminar I went to yesterday the lady demonstrated some dishes that could be used in the microwave to boil eggs and cook pasta. Since we do both of those things often I decided to get those two dishes. Using those in the coach prevents the “kitchen” from heating up.

I met Jerry a little after four and we tried to find some other TPMS dealers but the vendors were closing at 4:00 so we weren’t able to see any.

Then we went to a meeting of Coaches for Christ, a national organization of Christians who are RVers. It was very uplifting to see believers together in a national meeting. The “Singing Auctioneer” sang and he is quite good. There will be a church service on Sunday morning and he will be singing then.
We came on back to the coach and I finally fixed dinner. It was nice to have a good home cooked meal.

After we cleaned up the kitchen we headed back to the fairgrounds for the opening ceremony which was impressive. A young girl whose family full times gave the invocation and then we said the Pledge of Allegiance and then sang both the Canadian National Anthem and our National Anthem. Very nice!
Next we were entertained by a comedian, Lee Marvin Adams. At our last rally (and only other one) we were “entertained” by a not very funny comedian but Mr. Adams had us all rolling with laughter.

Just before he concluded I got a phone call from Caroline and it frightened me as she generally doesn’t call me. I immediately got a text from Trent saying that Eva was trying to call me to tell me she lost her first tooth. I couldn’t return the call then but as soon as we got out and away from everyone I facetimed her and saw that precious snaggle toothed munchkin. Oh my, she’s growing up so fast.

Back to the coach and to bed. Another 8:00 morning coming up!

Home Away From Home

A Day in Perry

Since our air conditioner is not working we sort of planned our day around the technician coming to work on it. Jerry called around 10:30 and he was on his way over so we just waited for him. Surprisingly enough the coach had not gotten so terribly hot especially with the back air conditioner running. In fact I got a bit cool last night.

George, the technician came and checked out everything up on the roof and then came down and told us that our extended warranty would not cover it. I think he enjoyed the looks on our faces because he hesitated just a bit before he added that the air conditioner had a two year warranty so Dometic would cover it. Whew! The problem was though that it would take 8-10 days for a new unit to get to Perry. Since we have been in contact with Newmar so much recently Jerry called and after talking with the representative a few minutes he just gave George the phone and the two guys worked it out. They conferenced call with Dometic who is going to send a unit to Newmar but Newmar is going to go on and send one of theirs out immediately. It will still take at least four business days to get here so we will be extending our visit at least one day.

We mentioned to them the stuff that Camping World had spilled all over the side of our coach and as of yet Jerry had been unsuccessful in removing it. They suggested using WD40. Jerry tried some after they left and it worked!

We walked up to the office then to see if there would be any problem with us extending our stay. The park is so full now with many people attending the rally but also other snowbirders traveling through. They assured us that it would not be a problem and we told them we’d let them know as soon as we knew anything.

As we were walking around we met a group of FMCAer’s from Virginia and stopped and chatted with them for a while. We all had our Camping World war stories it seems.

We came back to the coach and grabbed our lunch, Cliff bars and a clementine for me. Then strangely enough we went to Camping World in Byron to get a bar for the door and a cover for the steps. A quick run to the grocery store and then we headed back to the campground to take everything in.

We had a meeting at 3:00 for the first attenders for the rally so we headed over to the fairgrounds for that. It really pertained more to the people staying on the grounds and then they covered the book. Hopefully the sessions will be an improvement.

When we came back to the campground we sat outside and read. Our neighbors came over and we visited with them for a few minutes. I realized when I went inside that cooking in the coach would be difficult so we decided to go out to eat. I sent a message to Jan and Jim and we met them at Longhorns for salads. We had another lovely visit with them discussing everything from RV’s to education.

Back to the rig and a quiet night. It’s cool in the bedroom and fortunately so I’m headed that way!

Home Away From Home

Arriving in Perry, Georgia

Jerry got up so very quietly this morning that I never even heard him close the door. He turned the heat on – yes we go from AC to heat and back to AC within a few hours. I slept until 8:00 and then slowly got going. Other than getting myself ready I really didn’t help break down at all.

We pulled the coach out into the empty lane and then I drove the car up on the ramp and then realized that we had traffic backed up both ways. Oh well. Who knew there would be that much traffic at 10:00?

We stopped at the trash receptacle and darn if the vehicle behind us didn’t stop too. I really don’t like to leave as hastily as I felt we were very rushed and didn’t have time to go through our check off list. We did stop though and check everything off and then headed on to Perry with a stop for gas along the way.

We also stopped at a Flying J for a McDonald’s quick lunch for Jerry and then arrived at Fair Harbor around 3:00. It is definitely warmer here than in North Carolina and by the time we got everything set up we were both soaking wet. Can’t believe that I couldn’t find even one pair of shorts to bring!

After getting set up we realized that the front air conditioner was not cooling. The back fortunately is working fine but the front is to say the least hot! Jerry has called a technician who will come out tomorrow. In the meantime I found all of our paperwork and we called Good Sam who we have our extended warranty with. Hopefully that will work out!

I also realized that the check for our homeowners insurance at the river had not cleared and the due date was past so I had to work on that situation. Even when traveling home business has to be taken care of.

We caught up with friends that we met at the Gathering in Bradenton, Fla last October and met them for dinner at Swanson’s Restaurant. It is a lovely restaurant right in downtown Perry and the food was delicious. It was so much fun to catch up with Jan and Jim.

Back to the rig and surprisingly so it’s pretty cool in here. I’m sure it’ll heat up tomorrow.

Home Away From Home

Are We Going?

What a week! Are we going to Perry, Ga for the FMCA rally? Maybe, maybe not. Each day was a wait and see meaning not much got accomplished towards getting things ready.

When we returned from our Louisiana trip we dropped the motor home off in Concord to get some warranty work done. We had told them that we had a trip planned and asked them to please have the work completed by March 11 (we dropped it off February 15). We knew there was a real possibility that the work wouldn’t be completed by then but we were hopeful. We had also asked them to change the oil and winterize it and that was done immediately. In fact, the technician got the keys to the coach while we were standing there and assured us that his part would be done.

Before I explain our frustration perhaps I should explain that we were returning the coach for the fifth time to have the same issue addressed. Just taking a unit to the repair shop for five times for the same issue is frustrating enough but add to that we live four hours away and two of the times we had to unpack everything in the coach and put it into our Toyota Avalon for the trip home. Yes, we looked like the Beverly Hilllbillies but the appearance not withstanding just imagine riding four hours in such “comfort”! One trip we even had to pack at home and then go up there to pic the coach up to leave for a trip. I know – there are much worse problems in the world than being unable to get your motor home!

A couple of weeks after we dropped the coach off we began to call to find out the status but unfortunately could not talk with anyone. We repeatedly left messages but the calls were not returned. Do you know how frustrating that is? Even if the answer is no just please tell me. Don’t ignore my calls.

We finally learned on Monday, March 7 that the technician had received the work order that day. After having been given the run around plus returning the coach for the fifth – yes, fifth time to fix a problem we were just disgusted so I sat down that night and wrote Newmar to let them know how the entire process had been mishandled. I will add this caveat in their defense. Motor home technicians are difficult to find.

The very next day, Tuesday, March 8 we got a phone call from Newmar and after saying that this kind of service or lack of was unacceptable they arranged a conference call with the dealer. To make a long story shorter we got a phone call on Wednesday evening around 7:00 (yes, the shop had closed earlier – apparently they were working overtime to get our coach repaired) saying our coach was ready. Yay – we were going to get to go to Perry. Oops – they had found another problem that they were unable to repair and it was a Ford issue.

The sway bar was broken. It was suggested that we take it to an authorized Ford dealer to have it repaired and voila, there is one in Kinston however the coach was not safe to drive and Kinston was two hundred miles away. The Newmar representative finally convinced them to tow the coach to an approved Ford dealer in Charlotte to have the sway bar repaired. We talked with Performance and they said it was an easy fix and they would get right on it. We might go to Perry!

Finally Friday morning Performance Ford called and said the coach was ready so we jumped up and began to frantically prepare to go to Charlotte. Jerry suddenly very wisely said, let’s just go tomorrow and spend the day getting ready. That sounded like a wonderful idea to me if the service department was opened. Jerry called and they were opened on Saturdays so our trip to Perry was on.

Since we finally knew we were going to make the trip we began to get food and clothes ready. We had spent the week working on the house getting it ready to put on the market but it was time to change directions.

Since we rarely eat out when we’re traveling I usually make up several dishes ahead of time. Today I made a meatloaf, stuffed peppers, meatballs, spaghetti sauce and sloppy joes. Yep, a lot of beef! Jerry made some sausage balls and then we began to pack a couple of weeks’ worth of clothes and food into the Avalon! Quite a feat since I do tend to over pack. Hey, you never know what you might need and since we were leaving Perry to go to a horse show I had to be prepared to both. Right?

On to Georgia!

Home Away From Home

On to Swansea, SC – or not!

Well today started off early enough! I woke up at 5:00 and realized that I would not be be able to go back to sleep so after thanking the Lord for waking me for another day and prayers for Les and Ivy I decided to get on up and get busy. I had planned to make potato salad last night to go along with the spare ribs that will be cooking as we ride along but I was really a bit tired after a hurry up and wait day so that task was not done. My thoughts this morning – what better time. Jerry was still soundly sleeping and since he will do the bulk of the driving today I let him sleep. I fixed the potato salad and also cooked some peas. I also got the ribs ready to go in the crockpot and I’ll put them in about 1:00 so when we get to the campground our dinner will be nearly ready.

Our first stop on the journey was supposed to be Swansea, SC but Jerry quickly realized that we’d be arriving there around 1:00 so I began to look for a better stop. I used the Good Sam’s route planner and the hard copy map and finally came up with Perry, Ga making it about a 500 mile day. Not what we had planned but the weather is nice (cold but not bothering us), sunny and the drive is all interstate so easy driving. I called the campground and made a reservation. Fortunately I had not made a reservation in Swansea. In fact, we only have reservations at one campground for the entire trip. Living a little dangerously for me!

The campground we are planning to stay at tonight is Fair Harbor RV Park and interestingly enough it’s the one we’re hoping to stay at for the FMCA rally in March. At this point we’re on the waiting list.

Trying to type or read or catch up on social media not to mention cross stitch is absolutely impossible on I95 in South Carolina. I can always tell when we cross the state line because the road deteriorates rapidly. Perhaps that’s why gas is so much less in South Carolina. I’m not sure who pays for the upkeep of an interstate though. As I was trying to do spell check I realized that a sentence that I had put in the third paragraph suddenly appeared in the first paragraph. Like I say, bumpy, bumpy, bumpy and the cursor jumping everywhere.
It’s been a quiet morning. We stopped in Latta just before 10:30 and gassed up and took a potty break and were on the road in less than 15 minutes. The Flying J at Latta has the easiest access and egress of any station that we have been to. It has a special lane for RV’s and fortunately one can get regular gas there. So often the RV lanes are diesel only. Jerry is listening to an audio book and I am trying to read amid the bumps. Yuk!

Kept riding along with little traffic and easy driving. Stopped at a rest stop in Walterboro, SC for lunch. We had put a turkey breast in the crock pot yesterday in preparation for sandwiches so today we had delicious turkey with lettuce and banana peppers and a little Hellman’s mayo! Great meal. We were only stopped about 25 minutes since we knew we had 2-3 hours left. Perry was a bit further than we had planned to go but it’s doable. It’s not something I want to routinely do especially on the first day of travel but it worked for us today. Now we have to decide whether to stop along the way to New Orleans or get up early and have another long day of travel. Basically it’s up to Jerry as he’s the driver!
Getting to Perry was a bit more difficult than we thought and took a little longer as we ran into road construction and a two lane road. FullSizeRenderWe arrived at Fair Harbor RV Park about 5:00 and had an easy check-in. They invited us to join them for Bingo at 7:00 but I knew Jerry would be tired after such a long drive.
We got in and set up very quickly. Jerry did not hook up the septic since we’re only here for a night and I don’t know if that made the difference in the set up time but boy it was quick. We finished unpacking and made the bed and then had a nice dinner. I had used the crockpot with a liner and wow that does that made cleanup easier.
After dinner we did walk up to the office and joined the bingo game. I didn’t do very well, in fact someone suggested I change cards but I had fun. The last game was covering the entire card and Jerry covered both of his! He won $26.50. We paid $6 to play and $35 for the night so with his winnings I guess the night only cost us $20. Pretty good! It’s a nice park and I hope we can get in for the FMCA rally.
I worked on the computer a bit trying to find a place to stay tomorrow night. Jerry wants to split the drive but halfway between Perry and New Orleans are NO parks. We may end up in Mobile – we’ll see!