Sunset on Grayton Beach

Sunset on Grayton Beach
Sunset on Grayton Beach

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring has Sprung....and a Radio

We still had the itch to get out the Bighorn last week and because it was the opening weekend at our favorite campground...Bo Wood at Lake Shelbyville, I made a reservation for 3 nights beginning on Thursday evening. I had a meeting at work Thursday morning and as soon as it was over I took some personal time and we hitched up the Bighorn and headed south. I was a little worried about our route with the larger rig but we made it safe and sound. We reserved site #103 on the end of a row with no one on our awning side. It's a site that is out in the open and is good for this time of year when you want the sun to warm the rig up during the day. I checked us in and we got set up on our site. I really like the auto leveling system. It makes the process of getting level so much easier. Once we got the slides out and the utilities hooked up we had some supper. Glenda had made some chili that morning for us to have over the weekend. After everything was cleaned up we took a short walk around the loop. We noticed there were only a few rigs which was nice for some privacy.


We watched some TV and enjoyed the larger space to move around in. Once we headed to bed we were out like a light. Fresh air will do that to you.

Friday

We slept well in the bed and had out little heater on in the bedroom which was just enough to keep everything toasty along with our fleece sheets and comforter. Once we got up we had our oatmeal and I made some coffee and sat our under the awning with the warm sun on my clothing. I kept my face in the shade and with the cool breeze it felt wonderful. Glenda got her shower and then I got mine. I decided to do some organizing of the basement area and as I was moving some containers around I noticed that a vent on the side panel was loose. I got my screwdriver out and took both screws out. I then thought I would take the vent off and take a look behind the panel. You see the panel is on the side of the outdoor radio. As I mentioned in my last post how disappointed I was that the radio didn't work I thought it has to be something simple. I got the owners manual out and as I was looking at the diagram and looking at the back of the casing that the radio is housed in I noticed an opening in the back. I looked at the diagram again it said this was for the antenna connection. AHHHH...the antenna. I got my flashlight and looked through the vent opening and saw what looked like a radio antenna. I reached it and took hold and pulled the end out of the vent hole. I saw that it the the opposite end so I reached back in and followed the wire toward the other end and sure enough it was not connected to anything. I pushed the end through an opening next to the back of the radio where the other electrical connections went through and then took that and connected it to through the opening in the back of the radio housing. I got the radio faceplate and put that on the front, hit the power button and the channel search and YOU GUESSED IT. Folks we have MUSIC. Happy Days.

When the technician at the dealership had installed the hardwired EMS(surge protection) they must have unplugged the antenna when they opened up the panel to get to the main line. I knew it had to be something simple but how simple was that? I am now a happy camper. I replaced the vent cover and got it tightened down better and finished my organizing. My day and for that matter my weekend was complete. We took a couple walks around the campground and went into Sullivan for some supplies and I took the opportunity to wash the truck at the car wash next to the Shopko store.



It really needed a good going over. We enjoyed a nice afternoon and evening. We thought the weekend might have some rain chances but those disappeared and the weather man said the weekend would be warm and dry. That's why I washed the truck, of course. After supper we watched some TV and we had another restful nights sleep.

Saturday

We again did our routine of oatmeal and I had my coffee and sat out under the awning WITH THE MUSIC ON. It was a great morning. We took a walk around to the older part of the campground that is electric hook up only but has the best views of the lake. Like these.




After our walk Glenda wanted to play a few games of ladders so I set up the game and I don't know how I did it but I won every game. Usually Glenda is the big winner but with the way the weekend was going for me I guess it was just my time. An indirect reference to my friends Rick and Kathy from the blog, It's about Time. Anyway, I will take a win when I can get it. We took a drive into the town of Arthur, IL where there is a community of Amish folks and a nice store where we bought some peach salsa and some cookies. Once we got back to the site we relaxed in our loungers and enjoyed the unusually warm weekend. Temperatures had gotten up to around 75-79 degrees F.  I grilled out some turkeyburgers and diced potatoes in foil packets. We got the dishes cleaned up and I went out to build a fire for our last night at the campground. It was a perfect night with little wind. Once the fire burned down we again went in for some TV. The electric heater didn't have to run as much that night.

Sunday

Well, the routine continued with oatmeal and coffee and sitting under the awning. We took short walk around part of the campground and I noticed I had definitely gotten some sun over the weekend on my arms and face. I should know better than to go out this early in the season without suntan lotion on. Anyway, we slowly began to put some things away for the trip home. We drove into Sullivan and got some diesel and a couple of sodas. We had some leftover chili for lunch and relaxed for a while in the loungers until we  were forced to dump the tanks, batten down the hatches, hitch up and right at 3pm(check out time) we got on the road. We had a nice tail wind and I actually averaged 11.4 mpg. We got back to the storage lot and found someone had parked their truck in our space. I then improvised and parked my rig at the end of the row. I left a message with the owner and talked to him today. That won't happen again. We have a few more things to finish up with the house and hope to get it on the market by the end of the month. I'll keep you posted. So I continue to work toward MY retirement, and it won't be long.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Excitement and Disappointment

The day finally arrived...we picked up our Bighorn at the dealership in Elkhart, IN. We left on Thursday evening, April 3rd to stay at our daughters house so we could be ready for the walk through the next day. We got to the dealership and I felt like they had forgotten that we had the walk through scheduled that day. Our salesman was sick so he couldn't be there, we had to wait about 10 15 minutes for a Service tech to come and give us the walk through and they didn't have our rig inside like they were supposed to. The salesman said they would bring it in 3 days prior to get it ready. Didn't look like that happened since they hadn't even installed the TV's yet. I found out they had 2 other walk through's scheduled that morning and only one tech to do them all. Finally we got going with the walk through and I did remember to get our video camera to video what the tech was showing us. Things went pretty smoothly however since we were running long on the walk through I didn't go through every item to be sure it was functioning.

That's where the disappointment comes from. I will discuss that later. The excitement comes from finally taking possession of the rig and after they did fix a couple items that were not quite perfect I got a quick lesson on hitching and unhitching a 5th wheel. The service manager pulled the rig outside with the tractor they use to move the rigs around the lot with. I pulled our truck around the back and he lined the rig up with my truck and had me begin the process of backing up to the rig. Once I got fairly close he explained the method of opening the tailgate. Lining up the hitch and the kingpin and getting the height just right and then I backed it in with a nice solid THUD. The jaw secured itself around the kingpin and we heard the distinct sound when the jaw closes and the jaw arm is in the right position to insert the safety pin. We then looped the break away cord to the jaw arm and retracted the front jacks so the weight was now on the truck. I was surprised how even the dually squatted quite a bit. But it handled it well. The service manager showed me a little trick to be sure we don't drop the rig on the truck bed. He had me retract one front jack and then as the other came up I only raised it about 1 inch. I then got in the truck and pulled forward a couple feet. If it wasn't secure and it did drop it would land on the one jack and not all the way down onto the truck bed. We practiced with me doing all the steps a couple more times and then it was time to make our way on our own to the KOA in Granger, IN where we had made reservations for the weekend. The short trip was uneventful and we got a nice pull through site with easy access.

 

Once we were set up, I noticed that there was water coming out by the basement area and immediately turned off the water at the source. I tried to get the panel off by didn't have the right tool(square head screws) so we headed back to the dealership. Once we got there we found out they didn't put our license plate on the back of the rig. That's great. So I was talking to a service tech and said someone need to come to the KOA to fix my water leak because I didn't want to bring it back. The owner of the dealership happened to be near by and said that he lived near the KOA and would come out in a couple of hours and look at the problem. We went over to our daughter's house and picked up the grandkids to they could enjoy our new home and shortly later the owner called and said he as at the front gate. He had the proper tool and we opened up the panel where the water source was and he had me turn on the water again. Water squirted into his face and it was obvious where the leak was. Fortunately it was a loose connection. Shouldn't that have been treated before when prepping the rig? We tightened up the connection and he said he would be back the next day to be sure it was functioning correctly and put the panel back in place.

Well that night Brooklyne and Ryleigh stayed overnight and Caden, Brooklyne and Ryleigh spent the night on Saturday night. We had a nice campfire Saturday night and it really felt good to have some room to move around and a nice big 42" TV so the grandkids would have something to do in the evening. We were able to pick up a few local channels and we also rented a couple of movies to watch on the Blue Ray DVD player that came with the new rig. They really enjoyed that. The furnace worked great and the fireplace heater is wonderful too. The Bighorn comes with a Tempur pedic type of mattress and I must say it is very comfortable. Even the sofa bed is comfortable. (Grandkid approved) Sunday arrived and we slowly took our time in hitching up the rig ourselves for the first time. It went well and we took off. We found out very quickly that the Interstates are not very smooth. In fact in some areas they are down right terrible. On the way home I thought every nut and bolt was going to come loose. We did make it back safely and decided we would go directly up to our county park about 10 miles north of our town. Comlara Park had just opened a couple weeks before and we stopped at the office and asked for a pull through site. They had #7 available and it had 50 amp service and a nearby water source so we took it for the week. IT was great sleeping in our new home each evening even though I had to get up an extra 30 minutes early to get ready and drive into work which is at the other end of town. It was worth it.


Coming into the park on a Sunday is great since not too many people were there during the week. We pretty much had the area to ourselves. Glenda would sleep late and go into town and get a few things from home each day that we had decided on keeping on the rig once we retire. She is a great organizer and by the end of the week it really was beginning to feel like a home. We took walks each evening and saw geese, ducks and the typical wildlife in the area. I even had a deer sighting one early morning as I exited the park. We tried most everything on the rig to see how it worked and because we have a radio with outside speakers so we can listen to music while sitting in our loungers I placed the faceplate on the radio and turned it on. I pushed all the buttons to find a station and nothing but static. It wouldn't pick up a single station. I reset the radio and nothing. That's my disappointment. Shouldn't this sort of thing be tested when prepping a rig for someone to take home? A call will be made to the dealership on Monday. Not that it will do much good since I don't plan to take it back until September unless something major goes wrong before then. Is it possible that it's just a loose wire? Where is the antenna? There isn't one on the roof - I checked. WHY? Is it too much to ask that everything works on a NEW product? OK, enough of the disappointment. Here are some photos of the scenery we had and what the park looks like.





Well this afternoon we hitched up the Bighorn, dumped the tanks and took it to our storage lot at the south end of town. Just another aspect of disappointment. Now that we have the truck and the Bighorn it is so hard to have to leave it at a storage lot. But another exciting thing is we made a reservation at our favorite COE park at Lake Shelbyville called Bo Wood. It just so happens it is the opening weekend there and we have been there on the opening weekend the last 2 years and this will be 3 in a row. Now that I have my America the Beautiful Senior Pass we get a full hook up for $12/night. Ain't life grand. Now we are just a few weeks from listing the house and hoping for a quick sale. I've talked to the owner of a local campground and he is holding a site for us once the house sells that we can move onto for the summer.(That is if there is a quick sale) I get another day off tomorrow and back to work. The countdown clock keeps ticking away and I keep working toward retirement and it won't be long.