Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Go West, Ol Man

On Sunday left Clarksdale about 2:30 pm after doing a lot of putting away more stuff which had been hanging around.  Made it as far as Greenville, MS - about an hour south.  Jerry too tired to go on as he had been up late Sat. night listening to the blues music.  Parked in a Kroeger lot...was fine.

Tried to start generator this am to make coffee - wouldn't start.  So found an Onan Generator repair facility in Texarkana, TX so made a 2:30 pm appointment there.  Moved on about 9:30 am after topping off our tank...30 cents a gallon more in Arkansas!   Used our Walmart gift card so we got the big discount.  Nice deal. 

Thoughts along the road:  we're now in bayou country...A bayou (play /ˈb./ or /ˈbjuː/) is an American term for a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying areas, and can refer either to an extremely slow-moving stream or river (often with a poorly defined shoreline), or to a marshy lake or wetland.  (Wikipedia).  Love the names of businesses in the small towns especially - found a children's boutique named Spoiled Rotten.
Stopped in Strong, AR to get propane at AmeriGas.  Right next door was a La-z-boy store.  So I popped in there while Jerry was getting propane...(the propane pay desk was inside the furniture store - never found that before.)  Talked to them about the sag in our 10-day used La z boy chair.  They said I needed to find a Lazboy store when we park and have them fix it...apparently they forgot to put all the stuffing in the front section of the seat - the section which kind of rolls over the front of the chair.  Duh.  Not obvious, (of course) til Jerry sits on it and then gets up.  Looks perfectly normal when the chair is in upright position.  Why not - just need more issues with stuff.  Oh well, at least it will be a free repair - just more hassle!  They were all SO nice in the store as opposed to the uppity people at the Lazeboy store in Dav.
Asked for recommendation for lunch and they said the White House two streets away.  Yummy burgers but we have to start being good...last burger and fries for a while.  Sat at a table with Mike, a farmer and part-time worker at the furniture store who we met while getting propane.  He is still farming, but cattle now.  Used to be a poultry farmer.  Very interesting story...a few years ago the integrator nearby (the people who supply the poultry for the farmers to raise and then take them back for egg processing) closed.  This put 2000 employees and 246 local farmers out of business.  Egads - what an impact! 

Finally saw the sun emerge after several days of cloudy and rain off and on. 
Arrived at Wesco in Texarkana and they diagnosed carburetor trouble but didn't have the needed part.  Stopped at the Elk's in town to park overnight and found them extremely friendly and they all gave lots of suggestions where to get part.  Finally located one in Sherman, TX - about 3 hrs west of here and right on our route.  However, in the meantime, J thinks he can fiddle with it and maybe fix it without replacing it.  Anywhere from $188-$304 pricetag for a carburetor.  (We found out Onan doesn't sell kits anymore so you can fix it and put it back together...you have to buy the carb.  Why not...certainly more profitable for them.  We'll see - probably wait til Tucson to fiddle.  It did start last night while parked, so will hope maybe we can limp along.  :-)
Have a great day everyone!  

Will move onward today on US 82 - through Paris, Sherman and Lubbock.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Beeming around

Friday was to be the nicest weather day so we took the Beemer out of the garage and toured the countryside for a few hours.  Rode through lots of farmland - mostly cotton fields which have all been picked.  Found a levee holding in the Mississippi and drove along it (legal in daylight) for quite a few miles.  Sometimes you can't even see the river from the top of the levee...did the river move since the levee was built (or did they intentionally build it far away due to land ownership, land configuration???

Stopped for lunch at a very small grocery store/deli.  Wasn't sure I wanted to eat there but choices were slim to none (this or none - lol).  Went in to the back by the meat counter and ordered philly cheesesteak sandwiches.  Chatted with Kitty who made them, and found she had been there 5 years after working up north (near Tunica) at the casinos.  The store is owned by Chinese people.  (Was surprised by this as I didn't expect to find Chinese here, but in talking with a man later in the day said that they are very common in MS.  They don't speak English including the young man in the cage up front where you pay for your food.  The sandwiches were very good and filled the need and very reasonable - $3.79.

Later in the afternoon we passed by a cotton gin and Jerry turned around and went in.  His curiosity was getting him and he has always wanted to see one in action.  Found the manager of the co-op, Bill Taylor who has been doing this for 20 yrs.  Very nice man and very smart and knowledgeable.  He explained the whole process.  Cotton is picked (beginning about the end of August)and bundled in huge rectangles and covered with tarp over the top and about a foot or two over the sides and ends.  When ginning begins, the bundles are brought to the gin by a truck which resembles a dump truck, but the back end is open and they back up and under the bundle a little.  Rollers grab the bundle and move it into the truck.  When the truck gets to the gin, it backs up to a loading dock and the rollers reverse to push it onto the dock. 
Then the huge bundle moves into the gin.  It is dried and then put through the gin which combs out all the sticks, seeds and debris.  The sticks and debris is shot out to a huge pile in back, the seeds are shot with air through a tube to another building and sold for cottonseed oil processing.  The lint (the cleaned cotton fibers) are scrunched and bundled into a 500 lb (abt) rectangle and put into plastic bags for shipping to cotton manufacturers to spin and weave.  All this is automated.  He said they are late this year and should have been done by Thanksgiving, as December begins the wet season here, and wet is the enemy of ginning as it is more difficult to dry the cotton and if not dry, it sticks to the huge combing machine's tines.  Once while we were talking to him from the office area (not allowed into the gin area but could see several huge machines operating from the window in the door) a terrific loud screech occurred and he said it was a gin getting stuck due to a damp clump of cotton.  In the office area there, a lady who comes from TX each year to work for the ginning season, sits watching the finished bundles come off the machine and logs the weight of each bundle on a sheet. 

It was all very interesting.  Thanked Bill and headed for home as the sun was starting down and it was beginning to get chilly.  Glad for leftover turkey dinner fixings for supper.

Saturday we worked around the rig a little, did a bit of shopping and ate dinner at Ground Zero where we are parked.  Jerry enjoyed his ribs and I had the catfish, two of their specialties. 

Thought we had the leading slide problem solved at Pontiac RV when they did some caulking around the rear of the slide.  However, have had the water wick onto the carpet twice now on our trip when it rained.  Can't find where it is coming from....will have to pull the slide in when it is going to rain until we get somewhere to have it looked at.  Oh, and we had another flat tire- on Dusty (the truck) - our own fault, though.  After shopping we were driving around Clarksdale a bit and J took a short cut through a parking lot.  Who was to know that apparently there had been a structure there and the bolts were still embedded in the cement...you guessed it - we heard it pop when we drove over one, and it immediately went down.  Luckily we were in a good part of town and had an old gas station cover and cement which was still dry to change it in as it started to rain...    Got the job done and went 1-1/2 blocks to Firestone station to get a new tire. 

Learned from locals why we are seeing so many fire-ravaged homes.  They have an uncaught arsonist who has torched 90 some homes in the last 3 months.  So very sad as this is such a depressed area with so many boarded up buildings and rundown houses that people call home.  Sure does help you stop to thank God for the blessings we have!  Sure hope they catch the culprit! 

Planning to move on today - Greenville, then west.  Wind predicted (22 mpr)  for Monday west of Texarkana so will avoid that! 


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Wow do we have a lot to be thankful for.  Too many to list but our family, friends, health and ability to travel this beautiful country are among the best!

While at Sikeston, got some organizational things done.  Hung my bulletin board up over my desk with the calendar and family photos.  Broom holder mounted and it holds my lightweight Bissell vac and the broom.  Yea three things off the floor. Went to Sam's Club and bought a new tv for our bedroom as the one that was in it didn't work.  Got it screwed down to the top of the warddrobe.  Love those flat screens! 

Forgot to tell you about some trivia we saw the last couple of days: 1 the mailbox - it was on a trolley line so it could be pulled up to the house to unload and follow it's line back to the road.  Very clever!   2 Chester, IL - Home of Popeye...huge bronze statue of him right on the banks of the Mississippi River.  3 Perryville, MO - state champions for beef jerky.

Got away from Sikeston about noon after fresh water, dumping and fueling up.  (Found another issue with Kanga - she is missing a handle on the kitchen grey water tank empty valve.  Plyers worked this time but will get one at an RV store before we dump again.  An easy 3 hr drive today on I-55.  Went through cotton fields south of Memphis, TN then casino row north of Tunica, MS.  Noticed our truck is once again using coolant.  Can't find where it is coming from but suspect another leaking radiator.  Jerry will have to get under it to look today during daylight.  We just had two radiators put in in Blue Grass before leaving.  Our new mechanic, Jacob, did a pressure test and found no trace in the exhaust, but did find  radiator leak.  (We had just put one in last year on the road and luckily bought one from NAPA - so the warranty was good.  Got a new one from NAPA and Jacob installed it....tested it - leaked!  Bummer.  So he got another new one from NAPA and installed it.  Seemed to be OK.  We had to pay the labor fees for both installs.  He has put a claim in at NAPA for the extra labor costs of installing a faulty product and will pass it along to us.  Hope that works!  Will keep you all posted on the latest truck issue.  (Somehow think it is all related to the problems we've had all along...since we bought it...just can't seem to get to the root of the problem.)

Got set up in Clarksdale in an empty lot next to the Ground Zero Blues Club (owned in part by Morgan Freeman).  Went to Walmart to buy coolant for the truck and a couple of groceries.  Went by a "Washaroo" - car wash...lol - love the southern lingo.  Leftover Lambert's yummy food for supper.  Jerry went into the club for some blues and I read and watched TV.  He will take his earplugs on Fri. nite as too loud but great music. 

Will spend today in the rig, cooking, eating and hopefully getting more chores done.  Hope to get the braces that Jerry made for the living room tv installed.  (Since the arm of the mount isn't in it's normal close-to-the wall traveling position due to where it is mounted, he feels it should have a couple of braces to be sure the mount is secure.  Better to be safe!  Bought some mollies for mounting...hope they work.  

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  Don't eat too much...think I heard the average person will eat 5000 some calories today.  Egads.  Love & hugs. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Slow but sure

Spent a quiet day Sunday at Rick's.  Comfort food for mid-day meal - meat loaf, sweet potatoes and salad.  Sue's homemade cookies for dessert.  Rest of day did some RV organizing (very little - LOL).  Mostly R & R day. 
Monday, left about 10, Lowe's stop, fuel stop and on the road about 11...(better late than never.)  Stopped for left-overs for lunch about 12:30- so nice to have built in generator - just push a button and voila - microwave.  Stopped at Cape Girardo Sam's Club to buy new TV for Kanga's bedroom as the one left in the rig for us didn't work.  Really nice Vizio 26" - awesome pix.  Stopped about 4 PM at Sikeston, MO, Elks for 2 overnights...$20 donation with electricity!  Went in for happy hour, then to RV for supper.  Watched The Sing Out - awesome show...Finale next week.  Will spend Tuesday getting RV more organized.  Going to Lambert's (Home of the Throwed Roll) today for our big meal (probably our only meal).  Yummmmmmy.  LIG

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Birthday Blessings

Wow - we both reaped many blessings for Jerry's birthday.  He got to sleep in (smile) and our hosts fixed us an awesome brunch.  Jerry found the leak in the toilet (the ring clamp wasn't tightened enough) (smile).  Rick chauffered us all down to the St. Louis Arch and we got to go up in it.  Another item off Jerry's bucket list!

I didn't panic in the claustrophobic tram cubicle and was OK up at the top since there was no way we could fall.. (lol - for those of you who don't know me as well, I do suffer from fear of heights big time...I can't even climb our little rv ladder up to the loft over the garage without having a conniption.  (smile).  Went to the movie to see how they built the arch and that was hard for me to watch because apparently back in 1960's when it was built, OSHA didn't require them to wear safety harnesses, so they are 630 feet in the air walking on those steel beams....egads I had to look at my lap...couldn't watch that.  Jerry enjoyed it though...(he's the one who fell off our antenna tower and lived to tell about it...if you haven't heard that story, ask him about it.)  Then we went to the Lewis and Clark Westward Expansion Museum.  WOW - what an awesome place - they did a great job of telling the story.  And I took pictures of a wagon which is like the one my ancestors used in 1853 to travel from Ohio to Scott County in.  Can't imagine doing that...how brave and adventurous they were.

About 4:30 walked to Laclede's Landing - a St. Louis landmark (and historic area) through a neat "allee" (treeline walkway).

It is chock full of restaurants and pubs.  Selected Hannegan's for Jerry's celebratory birthday drink and dinner.  Was not disappointed!  This was an old warehouse (5 or 6 stories high) and the massive beams (looked to be 18 or 24 inches thick) were impressive.

Had an awesome dinner and lots of laughs.  We were early for dining, so had most of the place to ourselves.  Great ambiance and great waitress. 
Glad the wind had died down as we walked back to the car.  An awesome day.  PTL and LIG

Saturday, November 19, 2011

All is well

LIG - all repairs done in a timely manner and a friendly attitude.  They replaced two tires and one aluminum wheel at an awesome price.  Like Pontiac RV!  On the road by 11 am. Stopped in a small town at a family restaurant for lunch.  Could have taken interstate most of the way south but we had 30 plus mph winds/gusts so opted for the slower state and county highways with less truck traffic. 
Oops toilet has a slow leak despite the seal they replaced.  Stopped at an RV dealer to ask questions...they said probably the floor seal which was not replaced, so bought the parts and added that to our to-do list for today. 
Finally arrived at Rick's new home in Swansea, IL around 6:20 pm.  Longggg day.  After a tour of his lovely home, we ate a delicious dinner which he had prepared. 
Today is Jerry's birthday so will probably go out later to celebrate.
Hope everyone has a great weekend.  S & J

Friday, November 18, 2011

On the road again...tire trouble again

Well, glad we didn't trade Alfie in because of it's tire problems because we'd be disappointed.  LOL
After a marathon day/week/two weeks we got Kanga all set to go - 2 bikes in, Sue's desk built, nice new cabinet to hold our PGR gear, new chairs and curtains, etc.   We finally got on the road at 5:18 last night.  Stopped and fueled up and almost arrived at Pontiac (Ill) RV to get some tweaks done on Kanga at 8 AM on Friday am.  Yup -you guessed it -  just as we turned the corner off the highway onto their street we heard a scaping noise...hmmmm.  Can't be a tire problem because the sensor didn't go off.  Wrong.  Middle tire on left side shredded, sensor gone, and we're scraping the bare metal on the pavement.  Egads.  This is the tire from he** I guess.  It is the one which was so low that that they had to air it up before we left Pontiac when we picked Kanga up, caused us the $195 bill for fixing (valve stem problem) on the way home with her.   So grateful we were off the highway as it was very cold, windy and dark by then.  Limped into their parking area and will deal with it today along with the leaking toilet and resulting floor damage in the bathroom (which they "fixed" before we picked it up; the leak on the dining room slide (found when we had the blowing rain a week ago), and the fantastic fan in the garage which doesn't work. 
Hope to have the repairs done early afternoon so we can get to cuz Rick's home near St. Louis at a decent hour tonight.  Will spend Jerry's birthday there tomorrow and probably head further south on Sunday.  LIG

Friday, November 11, 2011


Yes, it does fit in our parking pad at Little Acres

The new chairs and curtains.

Neighbor Kurt watches Jerry load the BMW

The kitchen area

Kitchen, living room showing ugly pattern on valances, door to garage and spot where our table and chairs are going.  You can also see the loft over the garage.

Jerry hauling the uglies out of the garage.

Kurt is holding down the ramp for Jerry
We are making progress.  We have moved out all the ugly furniture and dinette.  New wall recliners finally found, delivered and in place.  Awful print valances are down and new curtains are up.  BMW installed in garage.  My desk in garage is almost done.  Hope to get on the road early next week!  Yippee.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The adventure begins...Saturday, November 5, 2011

No pix yet, friends.  On the road by 8:45 - ate at a dumpy place in nowhere called Four Corners...and arrived at Pontiac RV in time for our noon appointment.  After a fun walk through with Mike, (and a few tweaks to things), we got back on the road about 3:30 pm...oops a mile away and no tail lights.  Well, they had moved them up on the tailgate so they weren't hanging down underneath...hmmm - quick fix - dirty contacts.  OK - back on the road.  Made it to Kewanee, IL, sucking diesel fumes because we were in the middle of nowhere where they don't sell diesel.  While filling up, discovered middle tire on left side was flat....ok - no problem, we're in a safe place to change it.  Oops - no jack with us (duh) and the torque wrench doesn't fit the new lug nuts.  Someone in the station mentioned Wal-Mart a half-mile away.  OK - never used them.  Oops- they don't change tires on RVs.  OK - emergency road service.  Wait an hour.  Go into Wal-Mart and buy ready-made ham and swiss sandwiches because by now it is 7 pm and we had lunch at 11:15.  Finally on the road again at 7:45 pm after a bill of $195!  Egads - consumer ripoff!  (Did find out that it was a faulty valve stem that was the problem as Mike had aired up the tires for us before we left.  However we did see that the tire in question was full of cobwebs etc. indicating the tire had NOT been removed for wheel bearing greasing procedure which they were supposed to do and that Mike had told us had been done....)  Guess Jerry will be making a phone call up there tomorrow.   Finally home at 8:45 but it is too dark to back down the driveway for the first time...can't see limbs waiting to tear off the roof.  LOL.  Park in the cul de sac.
OK it is Sunday morning - the first day of actual daylight at 6:15 am...hope to get going early and get Kanga (a mama with a pouch for her babies) down the hill so we can make her our own.  Hope my next post is more positive and will try to get some pix today.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Toys for Tots - I mean Toys for Adults who don't want to grow up

Well, we did it.  We traded in Alfie (our 2004 Alfa) for a 2007 Raptor Toyhauler.  We have taken everything out of Alfie and have cleaned and washed and it's all ready to go into Kanga.  We get to pick her up very soon and we're so excited.  We will now be able to take our BMW and our Yamaha with us.  Jerry has made me a desk for the garage so I will have a place to do my genealogy.   

Stay tuned for photos of making it our own.