Monday, April 2, 2007

April Fools! Homer says ‘Feelin’ Stupid – I know I am!’

This is out mascot, Hula Homer. Yes, I know… but this is non-negotiable with Ken. Homer has traveled with our family for many years. He no longer does the hula (except of course, if Ken gets a bit silly in his steering) but he does still talk when you press his buttons.

On our maiden voyage last week, we did not get one of the compartments closed fully. As we turned out of the campground, the compartment opened and threw several containers onto the side of the road. We were just lucky it happened when it did instead of on the interstate! But after we got ourselves back together Ken’s favorite Homer saying was perfect ---- ‘Feelin’ Stupid – I know I am!’.

Well I’d hoped that was our April Fools, 1 week early….NOT!

Ken had everything ready to go at the rig so all we had to do was hook up the jeep...

... which was sporting this new magnetic bumper sticker, a gift from Ken’s brother, Michael.

This weekend has been another great ‘adventure’ as we did one more shakedown run. This time to Ray Behrens campground at Missouri’s Mark Twain Lake. See for an article where it was named one of the top 100 campgrounds in America – and well-deserved!

We picked a site that was electricity only, overlooking the lake. It turned out to have more slope than we expected and the automatic levelers put our rear wheels off the ground. So Ken moved us a bit on the slab and then used the manual levelers to get us as close as possible. A lesson learned for the rookies on how to pick sites for motorhomes.

We were able to use the gas grill as Ken has all the attachments set up now regulating the gas flow as the proper level.

This was the first time Ditka and Sox traveled with us and Ditka decided to unhook his cable while we were cooking and had his own adventure for about 45 minutes. Since it was dark there was no tracking him down. He’s a very friendly dog and has never shown any aggressive signs so we don’t worry about that so much as he just won’t come back. But he did.

Storms were predicted for the weekend but Ken was undeterred, considering weekends far too precious to waste at home because of a few silly storms. So before the storms rolled in on Saturday, we packed up the dogs to drive around the lake and check out some of the other campgrounds. We’ve been to all of these campgrounds but find we look at them from totally different eyes when there’s a 38 foot motorhome to position somewhere.

It’s an especially pretty time of the year here with all the trees budding and very few other people around. The dogs did very well in the back of the jeep, especially with us being able to put the front half of the jeep top back so there was lots of fresh air.

Of course, they were happy to have frequent stops like this one where we got out to checkout the view from Buzzard's roost.

The trip took longer than expected since Hwy 107 was closed sending us about 30 miles out of our way. Since it was well past lunchtime, 2pm, and we were both really starving, I talked Ken in to stopping at the Rustic Oak restaurant for lunch on the way back. This is a really nice cozy restaurant we’ve stopped at before. It’s right outside the Ray Behrens campground and has totally awesome desserts. I kept my lunch to a bowl of soup so I could splurge on the apple/caramel/pecan cobbler with ice cream. As we were leaving our waitress said she was ‘really freaking’ because they just said there was a big storm in Perry headed straight for us and they had no basement to go to in the restaurant. I think she felt better by comparison when we told here we were headed back to ride it out in our RV!

I really don’t think the storms hit very bad here. We had a lot of wind and rain for a little while but that was about it. There were storm warnings and tornado watches the rest of the day, with rain off and on, giving us an excuse to stay inside and work through all the paperwork that came with the RV and to watch the Final Four.

It was too windy to put the awning out or to leave chairs, tablecloths, etc., outside. Ken did steaks on the grill for dinner but I did the potatoes and grilled vegetables inside and we ate inside. It cooled down so much that we were able to check out use of the furnace for the first time. We have noticed with this being a new coach that there is a lot of saw dust coming out of the vents at first. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a gas furnace instead of heat pump and standing over the warm vents puts me back in mind of growing up in the house on Spruce Street.

I was amazed at how little noise we hear from outside once we had the windows shut down, even on a very windy night.

I took a turn as breakfast cook Sunday morning. Ken always seems to feel better the rest of the day with a big protein-filled breakfast. Our pull-out cabinet works perfectly as a place for the electric skillet.

We’ve quickly learned to depend on the built-in coach weather radio and Based on the hourly forecast for high winds, we decided that unless Ken wanted to battle 35mph winds on the drive back to Quincy, we’d best stay in the campground until 5pm when the winds were suppose to start dying down. Despite the winds it’s really gorgeous outside so we walked the dogs through the open section of the campground identifying all the campsites that were more level that we’ll know to select next time.

This also gave us time to do some of the knick-knack work like hanging towel racks, vacuuming out the heating and air vents, and cleaning windshields.

I took the dogs for a long walk and was able to spy our rig through the woods from the other side of the inlet.

The trees all fresh with buds were literally shining in the sunlight with lots of these artistic webs. Anyone know what kind of spider is responsible for this kind of artwork?

By the time I got back from our walk Ken was ready to pull out. We stopped first to fill with fresh water. We found that we can live quite comfortably for the weekend with our holding tanks and no need for water/sewer hookup. We are expecting to have to do the same on our next outing so wanted to be sure we got the fresh water in. Amazing how long it takes to fill those tanks.

UNFORTUNATELY, the dumping was another story. It was definitely the most ‘memorable’ part of this trip. As he was shutting down from filling the freshwater, Ken started locking the compartments. I asked him why he was doing that when he only had to drive 20 feet and reopen to do the dumping. He gave me an surprised look then said something really strange had just happened. He was remembering having a dream where we had just had the exact same conversation with me but the dream was years ago before we ever considered a motorhome. He laughed about it and said I’d better hope the rest of the dream didn’t come true as it concerned ‘sh*t’ exploding all over from the dump station! We laughed about it and I said I’d just let him do the dump but then went ahead to help, with my job being to keep my foot on the hose so it stayed deep in the dump pipe. YOU GUESSED IT! An explosion! The dump pipe was clogged, backed up, and knocked the hose out of the pipe and all over me! Now I don’t know what it means that Ken had this ‘prophetic dream’ but if it happens again and has anything to do with me and poop I’ll definitely take it real serious and stay far away! Needless to say my clothes and shoes road home in a well-sealed garbage bag.

The ride back to Quincy was a real challenge to Ken’s driving skills with 40mph wind gusts. Apparently we hadn’t waited quite long enough! But, nevertheless, we made it and got home in plenty of time for me to take a very long shower and Ken to end the weekend with this shot of the full moon rising.

So that’s it for our latest excursion. Stay tuned for more ,Frerx adventures, being planned in the weeks to come!

Hugs, C


Anonymous said...

Looks like a very good time.
Thank you for sharing your adventures with me.

Love, Theresa

Gypsy Turtles said...

Hi Cindy!
Followed your post from Howard and Linda's site. Love your new blog. I'll add it to my favorites so I can follow your adventures while we're still researching and preparing :)
If you ever head back to NC, let us know. Enjoy!