Saturday, May 31, 2008

Logansport, on to Detroit

Teri and I just pulled into Logansport. The boys were up waiting on us even though it was 11 pm here. They are in the sack now. Teri grabbed a couple pictures but I am too tired to look at them. Was a good trip. We drove 3 to 5 miles under the speed limit. We were the only ones. Seems folks don't need to save the fuel dollars like we do. On the interstate, driving mostly 62-63 mph with aircondioner on, we got almost 33 mpg. When we hit the last 75 miles, 2 lane, we slowed to 55mph, speed limit, turned air off and was getting right at 37mpg. I will be traveling 2 lane highway 24 all the way to Toledo tomorrow. I hope I don't need the air. Would like to check the mileage. Folks, take the 2 lanes and slow down if you are concerned abou the price of fuel. I am getting 50 miles more per tank. Our Vibe holds 13 gallons and we make 400 miles plus. If I could get a tank on strictly 2 lane highway I bet I can make 430-450 miles per tank. Anyway, we are here. Took about an hour longer than normal but usually I am driving 5 miles over the limit instead of 5 under. I am getting used to it. I wonder when others will slow down? I am finding that 56 mph is a good running speed for mileage. Just can't do that on interstates without causing a hazzard.
We will get up and head to church in the morning. I will say my goodbyes and cut a trail for Motown. Should make it way before dark. Think it is 300 miles to where I am going, Romeo. Everyone take care and thanks for not complaining about the slow speed today. Teri loves it.
Ride on with me to Detroit tomorrow, if you can. I will be without Teri and Sam as they will be here playing with the 3 boys.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Times To Remember

I don't know about the kids but I will not forget our fishing days. I suspect 3 of them will always remember something about our fishing times together.
Yesterday there were some pretty big ones caught. One took Marci Claire's hook and everything. We did get the floater back. I had not tied the knot tight enough.
Tyler caught the first fish which was a keeper as was his second, but we were not fishing for supper so we threw all of them back for another day. Were catching crappie.
We sure appreciate Mr. Jim for letting us bring the kids out.

Colsyn and his sister on the floating dock. She was just making sure that he got it cast out there far enough.

Our friend, Jeff, was out there helping us drag them in.

Rylan was checking out this little one that dad had pulled in as were Marci and Tyler. Colsyn was busy with his own when I took this one. He does not like to be outdone by dad.

Here, we were having a huddle to figure the next plan of attack.

As pretty as she is, Marci Claire does not mind touching the fish.

Colsyn out away from the noisy little ones. He takes this fishing very seriously.

As tthe sun was sitting Tyler was trying for just one more.
What a time we have when dad says "let's go fishing" and lets Colsyn call grandpa to go with them. We always have fun on later visits talking about who caught the biggest one on which bait.
Teri and I are heading north Saturday at noon. She will finish up her two day yard sale and off we go to visit three young grandsons in Indiana. Oh, they take fishing very seriously too. Can't wait to see them. I will travel on north of Detroit to see my aunt and uncle while Teri and Sam stay in Indiana for a few days. Will stop and see my sister on my way back to Logansport. She has 2 young sons that I enjoy playing with too. Will get some good pictures on our trip.
Sorry about being so long to post but we have not done much in between fishing trips. Our oldest daughter called today and told her mom to get on me about being so lazy. Stasha also corrected her old dad on the age she was upon graduation from college. I said she was 33 but she was 32 for another day. Sorry about missing it a day or two. Dads get unconditional forgiveness, isn't that right?
Come back by in a day or two. There will be much more to tell.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Special Days

Every day is special but some more than others. When my 4 year old grandson called and said, "grandpa, we are going fishing, would you go with us?" how could I refuse. We had planned a trip last week but it rained. The three kids and their dad came and got me. We headed to one of our good friend's ponds. It was very windy but one of the ponds is down in a vally. We parked the truck and walked through the uncut hayfield to the pond. My 3 year old granddaughter got her line ready first and had it in the water. First cast a she had a crappie. Well, this was a little much for her older brother. He quickly got his ready and about the second cast he had one.

This went on for a couple hours. I believe they caught 10 keepers. These kids are serious about their fishing. Both of the older 2 are really good casters. It won't be long until their little brother is right in there with them. Right now he is more interested in touching the fish that they catch. He is not 2 years old yet.

This one was nearly as big as Rylan but he was going to touch it none the less.

Here come three tired fishermen. 2 of us beat them back to the truck. This was great and just priceless. I will never forget our fishing days. I hope the kids won't either. Thanks, Colsyn, for calling grandpa to go fishing.

So, what are these pictures? Well they are pictures of a great time for retired folks. We can go to Walmart at midnight and not have to worry about the crowds and can get through the checkout in under 5 minutes.

Only Teri can be seen in this aisle.

And, here she is again, all alone. This is just great. One of the retired people's little pleasures.

Like I said, this day was just priceless. I have to get in all the time with the kids that I can. Teri and I will be gone again next month for an extended stay in our coach out in the northwest.
Thanks for checking in and going fishing with us. I hope all of yall get quality time with your children and grandchildren. These are very impressionable times in the little people's minds. I love helping them make memories.

How Do You Call a Dog With No Legs?

Well, we have had a couple graduations in our family. Here is our grandson, Colsyn, graduating from preschool at church. He was proud of himself, can you tell? They say that he takes after his grandpa Gregg, I just can't see it,,he,he,he.

Oops, how did this one slip in here again? We enjoy the 12 grandkids.

Here is another one. Tyler came home to spend the night with granna and grandpa after church last night. BUT, he got to whimpering for his mom, so she came and got him.

ou These are some of my favorite ladies. Do you think grandma is proud of those teeth? Teri's mom and 2 of our girls were all gathered together last week in Az.

And, here is why. Our oldest daughter, Stasha, graduated from college at the tender age of 33. We are proud of her.

A big reason she waited to graduate. Do you think the kids are proud of their mom? Three more of my buddies. Can't wait to see them when I get back to Az.

Well, you caught me doing some real work today. Got the yard mowed this morning and started cleaning up those lower control arms I got from my friend Blaine, last week in Indiana. Need them grease free before my friend Jim and I try to get those torsion bars out.

2 of a mechanic's best friends. Use brake cleaner to get the grease and old paint loosend up then hit them with the putty knife. This is good stuff. I learned about it from my GMC friends. Always get two cans though because it goes fast. Do not use it on paint because the paint will come off. Got this at the Dollar Store for 1.80 a can. I even wore my Dollar Store t-shirt in there to see if they would give me a discount. Got the shirt at the race in Talladega. Not only did I not get a discount, they did not even notice the shirt.
The PB Blaster is to loosen up the rust holding the torsion bars in. This is good for nuts rusted onto the bolts. I really like kroil but I left it in the coach. Anyway, hope to have these control arms ready to travel soon. Will rebuild them this fall while at my friend Steve's in Sierra Vista.
Oh, Sam and I had a great trip to the airport Saturday. The camera would not operate and I got no pictures. Frosted my cookies. Took the old one, Teri had the new one. Teri was a sight for sore eyes coming out of that airport. She was on time and so was I so we got home in time for the All Star race Saturday evening. Teri had done up all the wash and cooked me several meals so I was very well taken care of. She is a KEEPER.
I guess I better get back to cleaning up those control arms. I am not used to sweating so I take lots of breaks. It is 89 degrees here today. I had the electric matress heater on one night last week. I guess no Spring this year. Winter to Summer. One reason I love the motorhome. We can get out of the heat of Southeast Missouri.
Hope everyone had a great Monday. As I always say, "one of my favorite days".

It dosen't really matter, he is not coming anyway, the dog.

Thought I would save the answer for last today. Kept you guessing, didn't I?


Friday, May 16, 2008

Do You Remember When?

If you do then there is a good chance that you are older than me. I saw one of these Whizzers once. It went by our farm at a rather rapid pace. I could not get close but it was a Whizzer. I suspect I was 12 years old. When I saw how fast that kid could go on a motorized bike I knew I was about to get rid of my pedals.
There was a Sears Alstate Compact for sale at the local Otasco store. 25.00. That was a lot of money back then. My brother and I pooled our money and we were 6 dollars short. Not a problem, we sold our sister's bike for 6 bux. That started my love affair with "faster than a bike" machines.
I could get that thing up to 30 mph which was fast enough on a gravel rode. We rode the fire out of that thing. The horses could not figure out just what it was. I mean I was buzzing all over the barn lot with it. I just kept trading up. The last bike I had as a kid I swapped a horse for it. 1966 Bridgestone, 175. It was a piece of junk.
So, if you ever saw a new one of these you are creeping past middle age now. This one is on display at the local license bureau. The sign says that it is not restored but in new condition as it was when purchased. It looks brand new.
Drove the Jeep down to my cousin's farm this morning. Picked up some cotton seed for a yankee friend in Inidana. I had planned to take some photos of my old home place but decided not to. Just our machine shed still standing. Everything else is long gone. My dad sold the farm in 1980 and the house burned the next year. Was a nice farm house that dated back to pre depression years. Dad turned the churning room into an indoor bath before we moved out there. My mom, a local high school english teacher, said she was not raising her kids in a house with no bath. Thanks mom.

Here you can see why I had to wash the car again today. These clouds opened up and got me good earlier in the week. Had a fresh wash job on the car too. Oh well, can wash and dry the little Vibe in 15 minutes anyway.

Saturday can not come fast enough for Sam and me. Teri is flying into St. Louis and we will be there waiting on her. Will be good to have her back home. We really miss "the boss". House looks pretty good. I will give it a "once over" this evening. Teri is a picky house keeper. I don't want to disappoint her. I even made the bed one morning. The cover was so tore up I could not cover up again so had to do it. It will be made and wrinkle free when she comes in tomorrow evening. We must hurry home as the allstar Nascar race is tomorrow night.
Oh, is there anyone out there that would like to see a good solar writeup? It is several pages long but well worth your reading if you ever plan to run solar on your rv. I have posted it before and got about 75 requests then. Should anyone desire to see it just let me know. Be sure to put "solar" or "blog" in the title of your email to me or I won't open it. gregg_dan at .
Sam and I are taking a route through the country tomorrow on our way to pick up Teri. Hope to get some photos. We will be in the very southeastern Ozarks. I have a new GPS program that a friend sent me and I want to try it out on the way.
Thanks for dropping in. As always, I enjoy your company, especially this week since Teri is gone. Will look for you again soon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Beating Expensive Fuel Costs

Teri and I got into this motorhoming thing when gas was 1.50 a gallon. We were looking at lowend diesel pushers and high end gas class a rigs before we settled on the GMC. We bought the GMC to make sure that we would like rving in a motorhome. Figured if we picked up an older rig that we would not loose our shirts if we did not like it and decided to sell. Well, we liked it alright and we loved the old GMC coach so much that we spent a lot of money rebuilding it so it would be trustworthy to take us anywhere we wanted to go. Buying the GMC also allowed me to retire 3 or 4 years earlier than planned and not have any debt.
From the beginning I wanted to set up the coach to be as self sufficient as possible. I could see that staying in campgrounds every night was going to be expensive. While traveling there just is no use in us spending 30 bucks a night to stay 10 or 12 hours in a campground and then move on. I can see us spending a month sometime in a park if we find a nice spot for a good monthly fee. But, for the most part, we do not pay campground fees except when doing a rally.
The solar panels and setup afford us unlimited stays without hooking to ac power. The only thing we need ac for is air conditioning and hot water. If it gets warm enough for air conditioning I figure it is time to move to a cooler place. After all, that's why we have wheels. We can heat water for showers by running the generator for 10 minutes in the mornings. If the sun shines every other day we have all the dc electric that we need and use inverters for what little ac we will use. By doing this we save a lot of money. Our total outlay for the solar system was 1500.00. If I had paid more attention and done a little more reading I could have saved at least 100 dollars, maybe 200. The system is paid for already in figuring the campground fees that we have not paid.
I have learned a lot about rv ing in the last 4 years. I did a lot of reading and studying before we got into this. I had friends tell me that I could have written a book and convinced anyone that I was a motorhoming guy even before I owned one. I learned a lot from the internet. Much of my information came from the escapees forum. I also learned a lot by reading other folks' blogs.
Another key to saving money is by picking the right tow vehicle. We chose the Vibe GT after I did some reading about toads. It was one of the lightest toads made in USA when I found it listed in the Motorhome Magazine's list. The car gets from 32-38 mpg. We drive the motorhome to where we are going to live for a while and then we do all of our sightseeing and running around in the car. So, choose your tow car carefully. We also carry a 150 cc scooter on the rear bumper of the coach. That thing runs 65 mph and gets 80 mpg. I can sightsee and run a lot of errands on a gallon of gas with it.
If you have read this blog for very long you know that Teri and I do most all of our own work on the coach. You do not have to be a master mechanic to change the oil and grease the coach. Anyone can also change shocks and do their own preventive maintenance. Stopping a breakdown before it happens will save lots of money. We tend to get taken advantage of on the road. I had 3 tires balanced in Decatur, Al. for 75 bux. They got me good. That is half a tank of fuel. I learned my lesson there.
I was raised on a cotton farm. My dad was a great mechanic. He taught me how to take care of a vehicle and I am thankful for that. If you know nothing about mechanics, and do not want to learn, then expect to spend a lot of money paying folks to do what many do themselves, for free. Hey, I would love to be able to pay a shop to change my oil and grease the coach but I just can't afford it. Teri and I have learned a lot about maintining our coach and even updating the interior ourselves. We have a lot of money now tied up in a 35 year old coach. We feel very comfortable in driving the GMC anywhere, no matter how far away we may go. We keep a close check on everything and maintain the running gear as best we can. We do pay Good Sam for towing insurance but have never needed a hook yet. I do not plan to ever call for a wrecker. Don't get me wrong, a 35 year old vehicle can have surprises at any time. But, as long as we eyeball everything and keep the rig well maintained we save lots of money and time. The only breakdown I plan to have is in my driveway. There I am on my clock and I buy my own parts.
So, there you have it, the way we beat 4.00 a gallon gas. We plan to use our motorhome for many years to come. We never will purchase a larger more modern coach. We add our own modern accessories. This one suits us just fine. Perfect setup for two best friends and a dog. If you are looking at rv ing, do your homework. Decide which rv is best for you. Buy the one you want first so you don't take a bath in your own money trying to get rid of it and get something else. I know a young couple that rushed to get what they thought was the perfect rig. Spent lots of additional money on it and can not keep it running long enough to enjoy it. It is for sale for half what they paid for it 6 months ago. I feel bad for them, but they just got in too big of a hurry and did not do their homework. Got themselves a real lemon with an engine that no one wants.
Hope all of you have a great week. We had storms here in Mo. tonight. The electricity went off. After 30 minutes I fired my Kipor 1 kw generator and then 20 minutes later the electric was back on. Come back when you can. I always enjoy your visit. Sam says it is time for trailmix.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rainy Weekend

Rained most of the day Saturday and Sunday morning. We got about an inch here. Sunday the wind really blew hard, all day long. Was good to be back at church with my close friends here.
This morning, about 1030, something was waking me up. I could not quite figure out just what that noise was. Oh, the phone. My friend Jim, "you up?" Sure I said. He needed me to help him out. Had to take a pickup over to Poplar Bluff to get new tow brackets installed. First we needed to pick up his motorhome from the Chevy dealer and take it home. That went well so we headed over to Poplar Bluff. 10 miles this side I saw smoke just balling out the back of the truck he was driving, up in front of me.. I called him and he pulled over. Transmission fluid just pouring out the bottom. We went up a mile and got some tranny fluid, put a quart in, and headed back home with it. Just made it to Chevy place and smoke was all over the place. Left it there and went to eat lunch. Came back to our home and grabbed Teri's car and off we went again. Made it this time. Stopped at the truck center to see about getting the motorhome frontend lined and saw an old friend of mine. We visited and got caught up on 3 years worth. Was great. Jim got his appointment set for the frontend allignment and back home we came, 30 miles. 6 pm he called and we went to supper. His wife is gone too. So, I had two good meals today. We are taking the coach, his, over in the morning and leaving it for the allignment. Who knows, I might get another meal out of it, ha.

Jim heading up the road in his class C.

Jim's pond. He has a very nice place out in the county. He lets me park our coach at this pond on weekends for free camping. We also take our grandkids out here fishing. Jim is a great friend.

Shot this field of flowers for Teri. She loves flowers. This whole field was just full of them.
That's about it. We are sorry for those victims of the toronados over in Western Mo. this past weekend. I think the count is up to 15 or so that lost their lives.
Hope everyone had a great Monday. It is one of my favorite days.
Come on back in a day or so. We may do something interesting, you never know what Sam and I may get into.

Friday, May 9, 2008

More Great Friends

Sam and I had two great nights and days with go on our friends, Dianne and Blaine. They are great folks. This is the second time in 6 months that they have taken Sam and me into their home. The only thing that could have made our stays better would have been if Teri had been with us. She has not been with us on either trip. On both of our stays Blaine has helped me out. Last fall we put a new hitch on the GMC. This time he had 2 lower control arms for me that will eventually go on our GMC coach. You would think Blaine would hate to see me coming but he sure does not act like it. He was on the porch waving at Sam and me as we left early this morning.
What a great day for a drive. Was overcast and just a nice day. There are three of these covered bridges right around Blaine and Dianne's home. I had to get these pictures of the closest one for Teri. She loves covered bridges. There is a fall festival for the bridges in October. Maybe we can go up for it. I did not realize Indiana had so many covered bridges. As you can see they have had plenty of rain. The little creek was really swollen.

We decided to get off I-70 at Terre Haute and take the "back roads" home. Right off we found a Dollar Tree and grabbed several bags of trailmix.
Headed south and crossed the Wabash several miles downstream over into Illinois. As you can see the Wabash was full.

ou Look close and you will see the oil well. There were several in Illinois and they were all pumping. I wonder why.

If you pop this photo up you will see that we were getting very good gas mileage in the Vibe. We drove mostly 2 lane roads at 57-58 mph. Avereaged 37.8 mpg. That is the best I have gotten on such a long trip. It was fun taking our time and seeing the sites. Saved 15 miles from our trip verses going the interstates. Lots of little towns, was just fun.

I had seen an article in one of the motorhome magazines about this place. It was really wet.

Check out this wooden walkway going out throu the swamps. It was closed today because of high water. I think it would be neat to walk out into the swamps on this. We had already gotten off of highway 1 and were south on 45 here.

A national cemetary on the route. Very nice but we did not go inside.

Southern Illinois is very wet. All of the creeks are overflowing and the rivers are full. I don't see how they can handle much more rain. This was just south of the wooden walkway and north of Cairo a couple miles.

Oh yea, Missouri is coming and the sun begins to shine.

The old mighty muddy is full too.

A nice trip. Just wish Teri was with us. She is in Az. for a couple weeks.
Check out the shots below from Blaine's shop. They treat Sam like a queen every time we go. She loves the Merrells. Maybe it is the bacon.

This is what Sam thought about my work. Blaine has a very nice shop. It was warm in there and Sam fell right to sleep. My beating and banging did not bother her. Notice that she was napping in front of the door. She was not going to let me leave her in Indiana.

Here are the parts I went to Blaine's for. Got both lower control arms to have built up for spares on the motorhome. He had the clip up on his rack so it was very easy to remove the parts. We even had it upside down, making it much easier.

Thanks for riding with Sam and me on this trip. We hope to pick Teri up at the airport in a few days. We may take a side trip between now and then so hang around and come on back. Never know what we might get into.