Sunday, October 31, 2010

First day back on the road...

We got a late start today....we're not prone to rush and there were still several de-oozing things to be done. We finally pulled out of the driveway at 12:30 and headed south...well, initially we headed west...LOL!

Two hours down the road we stopped for a short break. Everyone needed a potty break and with Sadie riding along, it was more important than ever. She did very well all day long. Not a whimper from her except once when she needed another potty break. Her crate allows her to see out the front window but she slept most of the trip. LOL!

We stopped at the Lee Hi Truck Stop in Lexington, VA. We had stopped there before but for some reason I can't find the link to that blog. It is famous for all the pedal cars on display (and I know I took photos but can't find them either...LOL!) We had some pie and coffee to help us last through the next couple of hours till we stopped for the night.

It was almost 9:00 when we stopped at the Flying J in Ft. Chiswell, VA for the night. The parking lot, normally packed, had plenty of room. We'll head out early in the morning after getting fuel and propane. We plan to stop for breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Abingdon, VA. We'll be meeting Jenny and her husband, Don. I've followed her blog for some time as she has mine. It will be fun to meet them!

We should arrive at Maple Hill RV Campground & Cabins in Jamestown, TN by late afternoon tomorrow. It's a small park with only 22 sites but is very convenient to our land. We're both excited to get settled in, we plan to stay a month. Lots to see and do, many old friends to catch up with, service to get done on both bikes...we can't wait!

We have no idea if Verizon will work for us at the campground, if not we'll have to schlep the laptops to a wifi hotspot. McDonald's will work....LOL! We'll update as we can...worst case I'll email a post from my phone.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

PS. Be sure to check out Sadie's blog - Sadie Speaks.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ready to move out tomorrow....

General cleaning is done, laundry is almost done, tanks are empty, bikes are loaded, folding chairs and bikes are packed in the truck, paperwork that has been accumulating for a month is taken care of and filed, magazines sorted through, knick-knacks packed in drawers...tomorrow is MOVING day!

We will head out towards our property in Tennessee. No particular route, no campgrounds reserved, no definite plans made...everything is set in Jell-O (as usual). We may stop at the Escapees park outside Knoxville, TN but even that isn't a positive. We have online friends further north off I-81 that we'd like to meet maybe for a meal but until we see our routing and how far we make it the first night, even that is up in the air.

Tomorrow, once we are rolling, I will call the campground where we would like to stay. Cell service at our step-daughter's house has been abysmal at best. I had emailed with the owners but they informed me that the campground had been sold and the new owners took over on 10/18. They were going to pass along our request to them but I never heard anything more...and the email on the website is now bouncing. If we can't find a spot in Jamestown, we'll book something in Crossville area. Puts us 30 minutes out from our land but we can deal with it if we need to.

We've had a great month+ here...seeing family and friends, getting repairs done to the RV (thank you, Stu), getting all our medical/dental checkups taken care of and getting in a little riding as well. Our time here is always too short but we plan to be back in April to pick up BRAT for our Route 66 ride in May. If the property in TN isn't ready, we may leave our rig in Maryland and start the ride from there. Time will tell...

Life is good...we will continue to try to live life to the fullest, each and every day!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Friday, October 29, 2010

Faxes, Printers and Scanners....Oh My!

We have been limping along on with Stu's old Lexmark all-in-one printer. It was about three years old and the wireless never really worked as advertised. With the cost of new printers dropping steadily, we looked into getting a new all-in-one.

HP Officejet 4500 Wireless All-in-One (CN547A#B1H)One feature that is now available on the lower cost printers is an auto-document feed for faxing, scanning and copying. While we won't use the fax capability (no land-line), the copy/scan functions are what we use most frequently.

After much research I chose the HP OfficeJet 4500 Wireless All-in-One (be careful, the same model is offered in a non-wireless model). It arrived on Wednesday an in less than 30 minutes the wireless was up and running flawlessly. The only issue we had was the paper not feeding initially..I think that might have been due to the humidity level, it's working fine now.

Yesterday we easily added Stu's PC to the mix. Not a blip! Today we are happily scanning and printing. The auto-document feed says it will hold up to 25 sheets but I don't see us testing that. LOL! We have fed in several related documents and it worked great.

I use IrfanView for scanning....it's been my graphic program of choice for over 15 years (and it's still free). If I am scanning more than one item, I can assign a name and a numbering scheme. Worked like a charm.

I hope to get my old photos scanned much more easily so I can pass them along to my kids and still have them on my computer. I just have to remember to back them up to SmugMug and DVDs.

Not much else is new...Sadie started her own blog after vet appointment. You can see it on ToadilyPets or direct at Sadie Speaks. She's doing well...up from 6# to 10.2# in a little over 3 weeks.

We went to dinner with our Thursday night group, followed that with a mile walk around the mall and topped it off with a movie, "Life As We Know It". Fun movie with lots of laughs!

Not sure if I ever posted about seeing the move RED with Bruce Willis. We loved it...the movie was only about a quarter done when I told Stu we WOULD be getting the DVD when it comes out. If you like the Die Hard series or enjoyed True Lies, then I think you will love this movie.

We are currently waiting for our mail to arrive...knew it would be today or tomorrow. Well, looks like it will be tomorrow so we will hit the road for TN on Sunday.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Traveling with Pets

RVing with pets....no big deal, right? Heck, there are dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, fish, lizards, snakes and who knows what else out there traveling with their owners.

Campground restrictions vary but one rule seems to apply to all...no off-leash animals and clean up after your animals. Some have specified pet walk areas, some have actual dog runs.

What should you expect if you want to camp/travel with your dog(s)?
  • Some parks restrict dog size by weight.
  • Some parks restrict the number of dogs/pets.
  • Some parks restrict specific breeds.
  • Some parks restrict "aggressive" breeds.
  • Some parks charge a pet fee.
Most of you know we have added a puppy to our household, a little Boxer mix named Sadie. Based upon her current size and parents size, she will max out around 40#. That will help with the parks that allow dogs that size and smaller.


Boxers are sometimes considered aggressive but more often the restrictions are on breeds like the Pit Bulls, Akita, German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler. The truth of the matter is that it depends much more on the owners and training than on the dog breed. I have met small dogs that were overly aggressive. But I am sure at some time we will get turned away, we will deal with it when it happens.

We are working hard on socializing and training Sadie. She already sits and comes, now we are working on stay. She enjoys people of all sizes and ages as well as dogs and cats. We are working on getting her used to riding on the motorcycle for our Route 66 trip next May.

We are really enjoying her puppiness and look forward to her outgrowing her puppiness. LOL!

We recently started a blog for pet owners, Toadily Pets, and hope you'll take a look and submit your pets for Featured Fridays, as well as submit any pet stories you'd like to see featured in the blog!

Still rolling,
Stu and Donna

(Please pass the link for Toadily Pets on to your pet loving family and friends...thank you!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Now where did I put that...?

Living in small quarters is something you can do or not. If you love RVing, you will definitely be living in less square footage than you would in a house. That said, there are large variations in the size of RV rigs.

I have friends that full-time in under 20' trailers. I have friends that full-time in over 40' motorhomes and 5th wheels. No matter the size, you manage to fill it the space. Those that don't full-time seem to leave a little more room open for items.

We have a 41' fifth wheel but 10' of that is garage so while we have some garage storage, we live in a 31' space. One of the log home vendors at the Log and Timber Home Show remarked that a 1000 sf cabin would feel huge to us, and it would!

Living in small quarters does have its limitations...everything has to have its own place. Unfortunately sometimes you can't remember where that is...LOL! It gets worse when we go on an organizational tear...that means we move things from their old place to a new place (hopefully a better place). That also means we won't remember where we moved it to!

Some storage places are designed for that purpose. Some are more innovative spots. Some are make-shift. We use all three. We have the traditional drawers, cabinets, underbed area and closets. We use the inside of our built-in dishwasher (that we never use) for stuff that used to be on the kitchen counter. We store things behind the sofa (paper towels, tissue boxes, paper plates...all the bulky paper products we buy in bulk).

Stu loves to tease me about how much "stuff" I have...I in turn get to tease him about his "tools" (oh wait, you NEVER tease a man about TOOLS....LOL!). We do work on enforcing the one in - one out rule. That means when we buy something new (a pair of shoes, a t-shirt), an old one has to go out. We do pretty good on this one except for Stu's Harley-Davidson t-shirt collection. He's working on getting one from each of the 50 states. Hmmmm......

Right now we are also storing some collectibles for our future sticks 'n bricks home, be it a cabin, modular or even part of our pole barn. Antique looking signs, diner mugs, pint glasses, growlers, old state license plates and now McNicol china/pottery pieces. They will go into whatever storage unit we put on our property in TN.

So how's YOUR storage?

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Monday, October 25, 2010

Define adventurous.....

I often wonder how to define adventurous...so many people have told me I am adventurous and that is something I truly don't agree with.

When I think of adventurous, I think of mountain climbing - sky diving - backpacking foreign countries - white water rafting - bungee jumping - volunteering in third world countries - that kind of thing. Not traveling the USA via motorcycle or RV. 

Yes, doing things solo is more adventurous but still on a scale of 1 to 10, it's much more mundane to me. When I toured the country in 2005, the year after my husband passed, I had a lot of people asking me if I was scared. I told them no, I use common sense and if any area makes me nervous, I leave. Many said they wouldn't even cross the country in a car solo. To me that is sad...to be that fearful.

I often see posts from women thinking about RVing solo but they are afraid. Then they find out there are hundreds (maybe more) of solo women RVers ranging in age from 30-40 up into their 80's. Again, common sense, aided by the wonderfully friendly and caring RVing community.

On a lighter note, here is my adventurous tale of the day. While Stu was out running errands, I started a load of towels in the laundry and got on the computer. I heard the washer start to spin....and then it stopped. Hmmm, that's strange. I waited a few minutes and went over to take a look.

Oh-oh! The washer was so full of suds that I could only see a couple of inches of clear glass in the top. I knew that these front loading washers were prone to over-sudsing but I knew that I hadn't done anything differently than before. (My suspicion is that it was a combination over a freshly primed water softener at our step-daughters and towels with a leftover residue of soap that had built up over time.)

So I turned it off and flipped the breaker so the door would unlock (a safety setting) and waited till I heard the click. I got two other large bath towels and set them on the floor, pulling out the soapy load of heavy, wet towels. The water, suds and towels spilled everywhere. I felt like I was herding suds! Wish I had thought to take a photo but I was more interested in keeping Sadie from licking the suds off the floor.

I hand rinsed the towels, ran the washer empty, re-washed the towels without any additional soap and finally got the first load in the dryer almost 3 hours later. Now THAT is adventure.....LOL!

Hope everyone will post what their idea of adventurous, based upon their current lifestyle and experiences...and if they think that THEY are adventurous!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Wish

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back in Maryland

We spent an hour or so making our last round of the Log and Timber Home Show. We really enjoyed ourselves and learned a lot. We grabbed some lunch at a local restaurant, Two Amigos. The food was good and we enjoyed a sit down meal before hitting the road back to Maryland.

Sadie did really well the last couple of days, spending more time in her crate than ever before. She loved walking around the parking area, chasing the fall leaves though. LOL!

After a stop at Sam's Club in Annapolis, we made it back to Kent Island by late afternoon. We quickly got set up and put our feet up. Three days of walking on concrete floors really took it's toll on our feet, knees and backs.

Stu gets his last Ortho-Visc injection tomorrow. He'll run a few other errands, hopefully riding between the raindrops. I'll spend the morning doing laundry and playing with Sadie. LOL!

Wednesday night will be Stu's Killer Pizza Night...he makes pizza from scratch and all the family gathers and enjoys the feast. We're looking forward to it...both the pizza and the family!!

Thursday is our weekly dinner out with friends and Friday we load the bikes so we can head to TN on Saturday morning. Right now we plan to spend the month of November there before heading to Florida. But that all depends on the weather...if it gets too cold, we'll head south early.

One last side note....one of our readers asked how I was liking my new motorcycle. I am happy to say I am THRILLED with it! I had hoped for maybe a 50% improvement in ride comfort but it turns out that it's closer to 100%. Wow!! Bumps that would have had me wincing in pain are barely blips now. Factor in the larger gas tank and call me one HAPPY girl!

Since buying the bike I have added saddle bags and removed (and sold) the detachable sissy bar. My windshield from the Nightster transferred with a little help from Stu and the new windshield bag I got at Sturgis is perfect. I still hope to add a few more things like an engine guard with Harley halogen fog lights, a stage one performance upgrade and maybe a Mustang seat. Then again, it may sit just the way it is...LOL!

Thanks to everyone for all the recent blog comments...we've covered some important topics and hopefully will again!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

A special offer!!

After posting yesterday's blog on "Who Am I", I got a note from Amie Hoff, founder of Hoff Fitness LLC and co-founder of Life² LLC and the FitKit line of health improvement products with her sister, Beth Michaels. You can read more about them here.

"The FitKit contains all the tools you need for optimum fitness and performance, in a compact and portable case! All the benefits of a gym - at home, in the dorm or on the road."

Every kit consists of:
  • Resistance Tube with Handles
  • Flat Resistance Band
  • Stability Attachment
  • Jump Rope
  • Pedometer
  • ID Tag
  • Reflective Arm Band
In addition, you get access to The Fitness Exercise Library. The Exercise Library provides all the exercises you need to maintain your fitness whenever, wherever. With your FitKit purchase, you gain online access to the FitKit library, which provides:
  • Get Started video by co-founder and fitness professional Amie Hoff
  • Workout schedule
  • Exercises for 13 muscle groups, including special exercises wherever you are – home, office, school, on the road or golf course
  • Cardio and stretching options
  • Nutriton, fitness and safety tips to maximize performance
So what is the special offer? Enter the PROMO CODE of 2takinga5th and receive 10% off on any order. Nice...thank you, Amie!

So, I'm getting the FitKitTRAVEL and am committing to using it at least four days a week (more when not traveling). I will log my efforts once it arrives. Hoping some of my readers will join me. Needless to say, my internist will definitely appreciate my finally getting in some more exercise. LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Log and Timber Home Show

We've really enjoyed ourselves here at the Log and Timber Home Show being held at the Dulles EXPO and Conference Center in Chantilly, VA.

You can read the full write-up in our Fire Lily Base Camp Blog for today: Log and Timber Home Show

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Who am I?


Yesterday I blogged about What If preparedness and a couple of readers (thank you, Bryan and Janna) brought up the need for carrying emergency contact information. I have blogged about this before but it is always good to bring up the topic again.

Everyone is familiar with the Medic Alert type bracelets, pendants, etc but not all of us have special medical information needs. But we all should carry emergency contact information with us no matter where we are...out walking the dog, hiking in the desert, bike riding a new city.

If you're an RVer, picture this scenario....you're in a new campground and head out for a walk (with or without a dog), solo. Something happens and you end up unconscious, no wallet or ID on you. How does anyone know who you are, who to contact, etc? I'm sure from here you can see a number of ways this could happen. We often step outside our rigs without our wallets or any type of ID on us.

There are a multitude of solutions to this...from a high end of annual services where you can update your contact profile regularly to the mid-range of dog tags to the low end of a basic luggage tag where you can insert an updated card as often as you need. Here are some I found doing a Google search for emergency ID tags.
These last two are free places to use to print out your own emergency ID cards although many of us can do it ourselves with word processing software.
In addition, if you are an RVer or camper, consider carrying something that states WHERE you are camping....cell phones don't always work. Plus, if you have a pet at home (whether that home is a house/apt or an RV), that needs to be specified as well.

The key is to get/devise and USE something, anything, that is always with you...be safe, don't be sorry!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Friday, October 22, 2010

What if...

What if something were to happen to you tomorrow? Could your spouse, significant other, traveling partner:
  1. Contact the appropriate family members?
  2. Find the necessary financial/banking information?
  3. Know how to find your will?
  4. Know where to find all life insurance contracts?
  5. Have access to updating or closing out your blog(s)?
  6. Have access to social accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and favorite forums?
If you are a solo traveler, do you carry emergency contact information for someone (family or not) who has the above information? In addition whether solo or not, do you carry emergency contact information? In these days of cell phones, you can add a contact for I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) and many smart phones have apps for storing all the needed information.

We tend to be somewhat blase' even though we know we aren't immortal. Several recent deaths pointed out the needs for numbers 5 and 6. One was an RVing couple, Margie and Bruce, who's daughter had to post the unfortunate news of their death on her parent's blog. Another was a popular RVer, Tioga George, who had to announce the death of his son on the son's blog.

I've also found out about the death of one friend and the hospitalization of another because the daughter of the first had access to her mother's Facebook account. A long-time online friend was fighting cancer and her husband and daughter both had access to her account to let us know of her death.

I recently added both my husband and my son (in case of a dual accident/death) as author's to all my blogs. In addition I am testing out a password keeper, LastPass. My son recommended KeePass, he uses it personally and all his clients do as well. This gives his company access to needed passwords for maintenance of the client accounts.

I opted to try LastPass because it has an app for my Palm Pre Plus. It costs $12 for that but the one for the computer is free. Previously I had been using Firefox password function through the add-on Sxipper as well as the Xmarks (formerly FoxMarks) add-on. LastPass will replace all of those, keeping things secured in one spot.

LastPass will let me store personal information, banking and credit card information and more. You can create multiple identities for automatic form fill-in and more. I still have a lot to learn about it. But once it's set up and working, all I have to do is give my husband and my son the email login and master password.

Whatever you use, think about what YOU would have to deal with if someone close to you died or were critically injured. How would you handle the day to day details of their life....

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Comments, emails and shout boxes

I'm wondering how others use the feedback methods provided on many blogs. Most of my comments come via the Blogger comment form. This is good and bad. It's good if the writer logs in so I have an email address or if they use their real names and I have them in my address book. It's bad if I want to reply and there is no link to an email address for them.

I could comment in the comment spot on the blog but I wonder how many folks ever come back to see further comments or to check for a reply. For me I do that maybe 10% or less of the time.

I used to have a shout box on this blog but the page was getting crowded so I removed it. Thinking about adding it back...it was SOOOOO easy to reply to folks that way.

That leaves the final way to respond, in a new blog post. That's fine if 1) it's not a personal discussion and 2) it would be of interest to other bloggers. Thus not the best solution.

I have heard that folks don't know how to email me...just click my name under my photo on the right side of our blog page, then click the email link on the left side of the page.

Questions:
  1. How to you prefer to comment on a blog?
  2. If via the comment form, how do you expect your reply (if question asked) to be answered? comment reply, email, blog content, other
  3. Do you use shout boxes when you see them? Do you prefer them to using the comment form?
  4. Should I add a shout box back to the blog?
  5. Do you use a reader for this blog or do you go to the blog page? (some readers force you to the main blog page but not all)
  6. Anything else you'd like to say about commenting and getting replies from blogs/bloggers.
Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Old movie day begats some interesting trivia...

Stu is still fighting his cold and with the damp, rainy weather we mostly watched old movies. He knows I love the "disaster" films and found one I hadn't seen, Earthquake from 1974.

As the characters started appearing, one caught my interest. Marjoe Gortner, the child evangelist turned actor. I headed to IMdb to check out his page.

As I scrolled through his credits a title jumped out at me.... "When You Coming Home Red Ryder". Written by the same author as Agnes of God, Mark Medoff. Wow...

Here is where the trivia comes into play. Back in 1987 I was living in Columbus, GA and had a chance to do some community theater (at the historic Springer Theater)...something that I had wanted to do since I was a kid. I tried out twice and got roles twice. Not bad...LOL!

The first play I was in was "Pack of Lies". It was a small role, playing an inspector from Scotland Yard. For whatever reason my British accent was much more like a Scottish one, but I still got a laugh when I was supposed to. The fun part was working under a director from New York City.

The second play I had a much bigger role. The play was "When You Coming Home Red Ryder" and I played the role of Clarisse Ethridge, one of the four main characters. I learned a lot of building a character from our director, a local man. I also got to say the only "Goddamn" in the play. Remember, this was southern bible belt territory. You could say "damn" and you could say "God" but you couldn't say "Goddamn".

The play was a huge success and I had fulfilled something I'd always wanted to do. If I had a decent singing voice, which I don't, I would have done a lot more with the theater...most plays were musicals, not dramas as were the two I was in.

Not long afterwards we moved to Rochester, NY and my stint in the theater was over but never will be forgotten.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Interesting product for hikers and backwoods campers

Paracord Survival Bracelets - from their website:

Our Regular Survival Bracelets are made with up to 16' of 550# military spec paracord. They contain approximately 1.75' of paracord for every inch (wrist size) ordered. In an emergency situation, you can unravel the bracelet and deploy the paracord for use.

Whether you are hiking in the woods, stranded on an island, at the range, climbing a mountain, or running errands around town, you will always have several feet of 550 lb. test paracord with you at all times. Oh yeah, they also look incredible!
[All photos courtesy of
Tough Gear Inc./SurvivalStraps
Our Survival Bracelets come with either a tough plastic side release buckle or a marine grade stainless steel shackle for attachment purposes. It's your choice. If you are looking for a very unique, stylish, and functional piece of gear, that is great for everyday wear, this one is for you. We look forward to making you one.

Other items available include some great gift practical ideas:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Biz Cards, ID Cards, Personal Profile Cards...call them what you will.

I'm borrowing this from Margie and Roger's blog post today. Wondering who uses personal business cards to hand out to new friends, acquaintances and business contacts?

We do...Stu used to print his own (it's kind of how we met), I've sometimes printed my own but for the most part have used VistaPrint.com.  They are reasonable and the quality is excellent.

Once we started traveling together we made new cards for us. We have our photo, names/cell numbers/email addresses for each of us plus our mailing address as well as our blog link. Next time we order we will be adding our fax number that we got at MyFax.com.

We paid extra to get the back printed with an overlay watermark of our photo from the front plus the same saying you see at the top of our blog. No rules, No routes, No responsibilities, Retired. LOL!

They come in very handy even when chatting with non-RVers. It's a good way to pass out our blog address and it's an easy way to make sure a business has the correct address and phone numbers.

So here are the questions:
  • If you are a part-timer or full-timer RV'er do you carry cards with you? What do you do with the ones you receive in your travels?
     
  • If you are planning to hit the road, do you plan to make up cards?
     
  • What do you include on your cards?  Photo of you, photo of your rig, photo of your pets?  Blog address, e-mail address, cell phone number, home address?
     
  • Do you print your own cards or order them a local printer or an online printer?  Or do you purchase ready-made cards through a company like FMCA?
Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another day gone....

We're still plugging along. Stu finished all the repairs to the rig - new shackles on both sides (heavy duty with grease inserts) as well as brake pads and new rotor on the damaged side. The jack stands we picked up at Northern Tools really helped.

Last night we were to a benefit for one of Stu's firefighter friend. He has been in the hospital for weeks, fighting for his life. We initially thought he had a virus infection but turns out that it was MRSA, also known as the flesh-eating bacteria. He hopes to be discharged soon but will still have months of therapy to go through. The benefit was a huge success, raising $17k dollars for the family.

Tonight we went to Stu's youngest daughter's annual Halloween party. Last year Stu went as a biker (what a stretch...LOL!) and I went as a frog (what a surprise...LOL!). This year we "cheaped" out and wore $5 orange t-shirts with a pumpkin face on the front. We had fun, got to see family and friends as well as two of Sadie's siblings.

I follow a lot of blogs but there are many more that I don't. Several folks have reported the death of two RVers, Bruce and Margie. They were killed while walking outside their RV park in Pismo Beach. Looking back over the blog, I think I would have been a follower. Such a tragedy...my heart goes out to their family and friends.

Tomorrow we hope to get in a nice bike ride. The weather is turning cooler and tomorrow is forecast for a high of 70. Perfect riding!! We'll try to meet up with friends for brunch.

This week will be busy as we start our "de-oozing" process...getting things back in order to move the rig. Friday we drive to Chantilly, VA for the Log and Timber Home Show. We'll move between WalMart and the parking lot before returning on Monday. We'll have one last week to see family and friends before heading south to Tennessee.

One last note, I've started a website and a blog. Not sure what we will end up doing with it. We have tossed around the idea of things we could sell at rallies and pet items always seem to come up. We're not selling anything yet but wanted to get an online base setup. So feel free to stop in and visit us at ToadilyPets.com [blog link]. Nothing on the website now but will be trying to publish to the blog daily. Pass the word to anyone you think might enjoy it.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Going round in circles...

We all know about the current state of mortgages, bank closures and foreclosures. But who knew that you could have good credit, the money for a down payment and still not get financed because you want to borrow too little an amount.

Read my friend's blog: I Do Not Understand

Is this how our country is going to recovery from the current economic situation?

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Daily life moves along....

Not much of significance to report, so I'll do it bullet style:

Stu won't be getting his knee scoped. Instead he's getting three weekly injections of ORTHOVISC® instead. If it works he should have relief for 6 months or so. Turns out that the arthritis is worse than the torn meniscus.

My retinal appointment went well. Although my floaters are significantly worse than a year ago, there is no retinal damage. I will continue to get my  eyes monitored every 6 months.

Sadie is doing very well. Still waking up at night (usually betwen 1:30-3 am) and then up around 7 am. She is socializing well but shows a preference to men (when it comes to strangers). She loves other dogs of all sizes, enjoys watching kittens play (at Petco), doesn't really know any strangers. LOL!

She sits on command, is doing well with "come" and hopefully "stay" will follow. She lets us know if she needs to poop...we just have to pay attention to the signs. Peeing is still a matter of our taking her out at the right times although she has used the puppy pee pad several times.

She isn't nuts about her crate, especially at night but we hope that will slowly improve. She did well on her first motorcycle ride.

We will be attending the Log and Timber Home Show in Chantilly, VA on the 22nd-24th. We had booked this for Tampa two years ago and are finally getting to attend.

We plan to head to TN no later then November 1st. Still hope to get a little done on the land...get it surveyed at a minimum, add a storage shed at the best.

Then it's on to Florida....where? Who knows...still working that out. We have family to see in Vero Beach and Ft Lauderdale areas, friends all over the state and Stu wants to visit the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola.

Lastly, thank you everyone for all the positive comments about our blog. We are always happy to hear from our friends and readers (which are truly one and the same).

Life is still good...we are doubly blessed!!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The chicken or the egg...

A fifth wheel or a motorhome....pretty much the same thing. I went through this decision (as well as gas vs diesel if a motorhome) in my early decision days. Stu did as well, although the need for the toy hauler added another layer of decisions.

For me the final decision for a Class C motorhome was driven mostly by cost factors but it turned out to be a good one. For Stu, he was already into bigger trucks (having had previous 5th wheels) so his decision was easy as well.

As you already know, I follow a lot of blogs. Many of them don't post too often as is the case in the RV Day Dreams blog. Don and Cheryl posted today and they are getting closer to their full-time dream. But they are still pondering the 5th vs motorhome quandry. I hope you will stop by and give them your perspective!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Saturday, October 9, 2010

To blog or not to blog...why blog...or how blog...or blog commenting...

There has been much discussion lately in several of the blogs I follow regularly. I'm not sure why other than some folks just seem to have to take things too seriously at times. LOL!

They've discussed why they blog, why they should blog, what they write about, what they shouldn't write about, what others think they shouldn't blog, how long a blog should be, how often they should post, should photos be thumbnails or full-size, should they allow comments, should they moderate comments, etc, etc, etc....

My blogging attempts started at From the Lily Pad (a play on my nickname, Froggi as well as the name of my future - at that time - motorhome). I chronicled my decision process as I moved into the RVing life as well as my life in general. Sometimes I blogged silly stuff and other times more reflective items.

I had been a freelance writer, mostly non-fiction items, but after losing my husband in November 2004, I found I had lost my voice. The blog was my first attempt at getting it back. I felt no pressure to blog, I enjoyed the comments and I had fun writing...finally.

In the summer of 2008 I met Stu and by fall we were traveling together. It made sense to merge our two blogs into a new one. His previous blog was Stu's Adventures. Thus this blog was started.

Over the last two years the blog has grown in readership and I've been blessed with meeting many of the readers. Sometimes a little pressure is applied...as it was at Christmas dinner 2008 while at Sumter Oaks RV Park (Escapees) in Bushnell, FL. Just as we were sitting down to eat a gentleman walked up and chastised me for not blogging more often. It was said lightheartedly but it made me realize that there was a certain expectation from some of my readers.

So here are my thoughts about THIS blog... I won't post every day. I will try to not post too many photos and will always use thumbnails. While most of our blog is about our travels it will often be interspersed with topics about life in general. Our life involves not only traveling but motorcycling and now our little pup, Sadie. I'll try not to post too many family pics but sometimes ya just gotta! LOL! Comments are moderated not because of spammers (thank you to Blogger for fixing that issue) but because I love reading the comments while traveling...it might be a day or more before I get on the computer but always get email on my phone. I love reading the comments and if a reply is required I will email back IF the comment is associated with an email address (otherwise I will post my own comment).

I am starting to want to write more...just general ramblings so I may start posting to my Hopping through Life blog again. I made it private for a while so will open it up. I had used it for a Write For Ten project and current posts are all tied to that.

So dear readers, these are my thoughts about blogs, blogging and writing in general. I write for me and am pleased that others seem to enjoy it...I know I enjoy the writing!

Keep blogging,
Donna

Friday, October 8, 2010

Carpe Diem

Life continues to prove that it's too short and we never know what tomorrow will bring. Before my late husband, Mike, died we bought a sign:



"Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery,
Today is a Gift...That is why it's called The Present"




Death is a part of our life cycle but that never makes it any easier. I lost my spouse at age 58 as did Stu. My step-daughter, Stu's youngest, became a widow at 27. My good friend, Ara, lost his son when Lance was in his early 20's. Stu and I have both lost our parents. We understand the cycle...

Today it was reinforced even more. A fellow blogger, Tioga George, has been seeking his missing son for three weeks. Today he found out that his son is dead.

This afternoon I was updating my web site, I Ride My Own, and posted an article that once more reinforces that sometimes, tomorrow never comes. The article is aptly named, "Last Ride".

Please take time to tell those you love how much you care...every day.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing....

We are settling into our new routine, albeit Sadie's new routine. The potty training is great....as long as we take her out right after waking, eating, playing or at least every 2 hours. LOL! Nothing new there...

She is a climber and loves being on the sofa with us. She curls up in our laps or beside my computer lapdesk. Stu is working on clicker training and sit. We know she is young but being a boxer mix will require lots of patience and training.

No motorcycle ride yet...soon though. She still doesn't like her crate...wants to be with her "pack" (us). She is quite vocal...talking as well as barking and whining. We lay in bed laughing at her sounds when we all go to bed.

Okay, enough puppy chat...life is pretty quiet otherwise. Stu goes to his orthopedic surgeon on Monday and I see a retinal specialist on Tuesday. We'll report on those results because they impact when we will leave this area and head south.

After a couple of very rainy days, the weather has improved. Going to hit 70 today and sunny...actually have the front door and a few windows open. Love airing out the house/rig in fall weather.

Many of our RV friends are heading westerly for the winter, sure wish we were but this is our Florida year. Florida isn't all that bad but we prefer the west. So much beauty out there, even in the desert. Great boondocking spots where we can park for weeks without paying for hookups (using our solar setup) or sharing space with close neighbors. We will definitely head west for the winter of 2012.

Tonight we have dinner with our Thursday night dinner friends...always good food and a great conversation. A week from Friday we are attending a benefit for a fellow firefighter friend of Stu's. He got a very bad infection and has spent weeks in the hospital fighting for his life. He's on the mend but still has months of recovery ahead of him.

Stu still has to repair the shackles on our trailer as well as get the parts number to order a new brake rotor from Dexter Axles for that repair. I'm trying to get some reorganization done inside...cleaning out stuff, simplifying but finding it hard to work around the puppy. LOL! It will get done though...

We still have several friends we haven't seen as well as see more of family. Never enough time and for whatever reason, our energy levels seem to need more time to refresh themselves. Aging isn't for sissies!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life As We Know It.....

Life As We Know It - That's the name of a current movie but it also describes our life...life as we know it has changed. Sadie, our new little puppy, is home! We picked her up around 5pm last night.

She wasn't crazy about riding in her crate but she settled down about half way home. She has a way of talking to you, interspersed with barks and yips. I think she's going to be a vocal pup. LOL!

The first evening was filled with little accidents...not unexpected. She ate, drank, played and slept. She crashed for the night around 10pm and we went to bed at 11. Around 2am she woke and I took her outside (got to put a flashlight by the door). Cold, drizzly but we did what we had to do...back in bed she whined for about 20 minutes and then dropped back to sleep until after 7am. Pretty good!

We took her for her first vet appointment. She was a bit intimidated by all the sights, sounds and smells outside and then by the new folks inside. But the shivering soon stopped and she took it all in stride. Not a whimper when she had her first shot.

When we got home I took her for a walk down the street and over to the shore where the water rushing in wasn't her favorite thing. By the time we walked back she was ready to play. All in all, a good morning in puppy-land!

I promise to not deluge you with puppy pics but here are a couple from last night.


Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A terrific weekend....

Just a quick update....yesterday we went on the Red Helmet Ride. We had made plans to meet Stu's daughter, Melissa, at the Park 'n Ride down the road a bit. Just before we were to head out Stu got a call...her bike wouldn't start. So we headed over to her house. After a little troubleshooting Stu jumped the bike and got it running. We were off...

The weather was perfect and we arrived at the local Anne Arundel County Fire Department headquarters where the bikes would stage for the ride to the Walkersville Fire Department. We grabbed a bite to eat (thanks to the Alarmers), chatted with friends and got our photo snapped with others from Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

Since I didn't take many photos here is the LINK to the ones on the National Fallen Firefighter website as well as a great VIDEO of all the bikes arriving (we are at about count 2:30).

We spent the night in Hagerstown, having a nice late dinner before going to sleep early. This morning we had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before heading over to Frederick for lunch at Carraba's Italian Grill with a couple of old friends of mine as well as a grandson that I haven't seen in probably 12 years (he's now a wonderful young man). We chatted for hours before getting on the bikes and heading back home, after a quick stop at the local Harley dealer. LOL!

The skies darkened and we did hit rain but nothing overly severe. Melissa had a lot of riding firsts....longest ride, first overnight trip, first group ride, first twisties, first time over the Bay Bridge (and back through the toll booth) and maybe her first highway rain storm. LOL!

What a great weekend!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Friday, October 1, 2010

Alive and kicking....recap time!

The last two weeks have flown...we survived our Disney trip, got done with a few more doctor appointments and are preparing to bring our new puppy, Sadie, home.

So, flash back two weeks....on Sunday the 22nd I flew from Baltimore to Atlanta where I spent the night with my youngest daughter. Had a nice time with her and my three grandkids.



On Monday Stu and his granddaughter, Olivie (Livie) flew from Baltimore to Orlando and I flew from Atlanta to Orlando with my grandson, Joshua (Josh).

We met at the airport and headed out to Disney on their Magical Express bus (no luggage hassles...nice). We arrived in time to grab some lunch and then head out to Disney Marketplace. The kids really enjoyed LegoLand and got their first Disney items - sunglasses and hats.

The rest of the week took us through Magic Kingdom (twice), Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. The weather was hot and humid until lunch Friday when the rain set in (and the kids took 3 hour naps to make up for the previous busy days). We stayed at the All-Star Movies Resort (a Value Resort) and it was great. The kids had fun on the playground and really loved the "Iceberg" kiddie pool.

The kids both had a great time and we had very few meltdowns....way less than we saw in other families. They were best buddies most of the time and played really well together.

We settled on one stuffed animal souvenir as well as lanyards for pin trading. They both enjoyed finding cast members and trading pins with them. They both ended up with a nice little collection and each managed to trade for one firefighter-related pin!

We all flew out on Saturday with Stu and Livie returning to Baltimore while Josh and I returned to Atlanta. I stayed a couple of extra days so I could visit more with my daughter and her family.

My daughter is currently working for a casting company doing extras (walk-on) casting for movies and television. On Monday I went on the set with her, they were filming a mini-series for Lifetime, Marry Me. They were short extras that day so wardrobe "dressed" me and I got to spend the day walking in the background. It was interesting and I had a good time. Got to see Lucy Liu, the lead in the show.

Tuesday found me flying back to Baltimore...it definitely felt good to get home! Stu had his appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to go over the MRI on his knee. He has torn the meniscus so first line of treatment was a shot of cortisone and a knee brace to wear. He goes back on the 11th to see if he needs to get it scoped.

The rest of this week has been filled with eye doctor, hearing and dental appointments. All went well, the only surprise was my being referred to a retinal specialist to see about any treatment for my floaters (which have gotten much worse in the last year). That appointment is on the 12th.

Tomorrow we head out for the annual Red Helmet ride. This will be Stu's 4th year and my 3rd. (2008 - 2009) This year we will be riding with Stu's youngest daughter, Melissa. This will be the longest ride she's ever done. Since they have moved the times to later in the afternoon, we will be staying over and coming back on Sunday. We have plans for Sunday lunch with one of my grandsons that I haven't seen since he was maybe 8 years old. Looking forward to the weekend!!

Monday we will pick up our new family member, Sadie. Today we got toys, food, carrier, ID tag, etc for her. We are both very excited! We've had a couple of visits to check on her and her siblings. They are growing fast.

On the 15th we'll be attending a fund raiser for a firefighter friend who has been battling a very severe virus. He's been in the hospital for weeks, fighting for his life.

Needless to say, we aren't heading to TN just yet...not sure when we will head out. It depends on the results of both our doctor appointments. We'll get there eventually...just has to be before the snow starts! LOL!!

For those who are gluttons for punishment (or relatives....) all the Disney photos are HERE.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

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