09.20.18 Madisyn’s school’s family dance with her family

Thursday, September 20, 2018 – When I got the phone call from Madisyn asking me to go to her school’s dance with her on my birthday, this Grannie’s whole insides lit up! She’s given me permission to write this blog post and share her photos!

Her new school had a Family Dance and Madisyn probably had the most family there!  Paw Paw, Grannie, Chip, Misty, Kallie and her mom Liz.

The adults mostly sat in the chairs along the walls watching the little ones (1st grade to 5th grade) run around and dancing some.  They all had those glow stick necklaces around their necks and glowed the night away!  Not sure I liked the choice of music but the kids like it and some even danced!  The  6th – 8th Grade had a Back to School Dance the week before.  In two years that will be Madisyn going to the big kids dance!

Madisyn’s family (minus Grannie who took the photo) Kallie, Misty, Roy and Chip before the dance.  Notice the fingers over the adults heads, yes that’s my husband and son doing that!

Chip, his wife Misty and Madisyn

Madisyn and Chip

Kallie, Misty, Madisyn, Chip

Roy and I and two of our granddaughters Madisyn and Kallie!Grannie and Madisyn

Madisyn and her sissy Kallie taking care of her!

Paw Paw dancing with Madisyn!  I think she survived!

The photos above are all of Madisyn and her family.  She spent a good bit of the evening with her friends and classmates and it was fun seeing her having such a good time!  Thanks Madisyn for letting all of us join you at your family dance! Love you doodlebug!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

 

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09.18.18 Final knee doctor visit and a wonderful 64th birthday!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 – Last Wednesday Roy and I visited with Dr. Peter Blessey at Ochsner in Covington for my final post surgery visit.   He said my knee healing is going really well.  It will probably be another 6 weeks before everything inside my knee is completely healed.  My knee reminded me the other day that it is still healing.  I did too much work in our vegetable garden trying to get the row hills formed and some of the plants in the ground.  I needed the ice chest connected to the ice pad around my knee for a while that evening.  I am glad that is something we get to keep since Roy and I get crazy from time to time and way out do what we are physically capable of.  We will surely need it again in the future!

The pictures below were in the doctor’s office.  Since several people have asked me what a partial knee replacement is all about and these pictures describe it well I am sharing them here!

These below are up close photos of what’s above.  This first one is a normal knee that needs no surgery.

This one shows a knee eaten up with arthritis that is in great need of a partial knee replacement. 

This one shows from the front the knee with all the arthritis damage removed and the new partial knee put in.

So this chapter in my life is over! It’s been a breeze compared to others who have had this surgery. I am thankful to God and to Dr. Blessey that this all went so well.  I have absolutely no pain when I walk and am able to walk without limping or waddling now.

We’ve had some fun things going on in our life recently that I want to share next.  One is the completion of our vegetable garden with everything in place.  Another is being invited and going to Madisyn’s Family Dance at her new school.  The other was the wonderful restaurant in Amite we recently discovered, Boot Hill.

This last couple of weeks have become my birthday weeks and I have so enjoyed every second of it. My oldest son’s family took us to La Caretta in Amite for a wonderfully fun and delicious birthday dinner.  This was after an afternoon of having fun with them and the grandchildren and my sister Harriet and brother in law, George.  This son doesn’t like photos or names used so while I’d love to show you the adorable grandchildren painting with me and fishing by the pond, just imagine adorable children doing that! If not for that I would have written an entire blog post about that wonderful day and evening spent with our son, his wife, their children, my sister Harriett and her husband George.  This Grannie did not stop smiling the entire day!

Our youngest son Chip, his wife Misty, and daughter Kallie took us to dinner last Tuesday at the new restaurant I want to write about Boot Hill.  I think we were all delightfully surprised at how unique the place is and we all enjoyed getting to visit with each other.  Especially visiting with Kallie since her life is so busy right now with high school senior classes, college classes and working way to many hours each week at a local restaurant.  She’s adorable and we love hearing all of the updates on her busy life.  Having a teen age granddaughter certainly brings a different aspect of grandparenting to our lives and we love it!

Chip came to visit with us on his day off.  We had fun visiting and he got to see his dad flying his new drone and seeing the videos and pictures the drone sent to his ipad from way up high.  I’m hoping Roy will write soon about his new toy that isn’t a toy – far from it!

I received a phone call from Chip’s daughter Madisyn during the week inviting me to join her on my birthday day (the 14) at the family dance at her new school. One of the best phone calls of my life.  Yes I’ll be writing about the dance and she gave me permission to do so!  It was a perfect way to spend my birthday evening having fun with Roy, Chip, Misty, Kallie and Madisyn!

My sister Harriett, our oldest son’s sons family and Chip called on my birthday to wish me a Happy Birthday.  I lost count of all the birthday wishes on Facebook! For you non Facebook folks, you don’t know how wonderful it makes you feel to get all that love from friends and family.

Chip, Misty and Madisyn all came over Sunday after church with cake and ice cream and dinner got added.   I’ve never had such a long and wonderful birthday and it certainly made 64 a great age to be starting!

Thanks to all my friends and family who helped making this 64 year old feel very blessed and loved!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

 

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09.14.18 Chauvin Produce Company

Friday, September 14, 1954 – Today is my 64th birthday!  Happy Birthday to me!  Lots of wonderful birthday wishes from my Facebook friends and family, my sister and my two sons.  My birthday celebration started a couple of weeks ago when our oldest son’s family took us out to dinner at LaCaretta – DELICIOUS!!! Our youngest son Chip, Misty and Kallie took us this week to a new restaurant in Amite called Boot Hill – new found DELICIOUS!! I truly think we’ve found our new favorite restaurant in Amite!  Iplan to rite about our meal at Boot Hill since it’s a new restaurant and the word needs to get out! We are celebrating yet again this evening at Madisyn’s school’s family dance. I will share about that later.  Sunday will be birthday cake at Chip and Misty’s house.  I feel so loved!

Here’s what was originally today’s blog post before I started on the birthday kick!

No, there is no such there as Chauvin Produce Company but as much effort as this garden is taking there should be.  My honey Roy is a beast and works as hard as he can to complete every project he undertakes.

We are moving lots of our flowering plants from over by the RV patio; moving our blueberry plants AND undertaking our first real vegetable garden in years.  Last year’s pitiful effort taught us we need to learn more and do things way different.

First on the plan was to make room next to the house to move the eight blueberry bushes to.  They will be in mostly full sun.  Where they are located now they are mostly shaded.  A little sun but not enough.  The last two years our crop from eight bushes we had two berries one year and three berries the next!

This 25 foot by 8 foot degrassed space will be the home of our future blueberry garden!

The 25 foot by 8 foot area of grass was transplanted to an area we’ve been trying to get grass to grow since we moved here. Peat Moss, Cow Manure and Compost along with Fruit bush fertilizer containing ground sulphur will be mixed in with the soil for our blueberries. Lots more than what this picture shows.

My sweet ex boss and dear friend Donna and her great hubby Chuck said we can use their tiller for our blueberry patch and our vegetable garden.  Next up will be photos of several days of work on Roy’s part digging up the grass.  Yes grass that we hand planted and lovingly helped to grow and spread.  That’s the grass Roy dug up!

 

The seeds planted two weeks ago are ready to be put into the ground!  And my rock row markers!  I added some different vegetables after we started so there was more rock painting for the onions, bell pepper and brussel sprouts!

Here’s Roy carrying the roll of grass down the hill in the wheel barrow.  

The boards Roy got to frame the vegetable garden.

Next time I’ll share all the tilling, adding layer after layer of nutrients, building the vegetable garden frame, digging rows and planting the vegetables I started from seeds.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

 

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09.10.18 – Morning coffee and hummingbirds

Monday, September 10, 2018 – Every morning when Roy and I get up we get our coffee and sit together on the front porch enjoying the hummingbirds. When Roy first put one hanger and a hummingbird feeder in the front garden, it took a few days but the hummingbirds started to visit. We added a second hanger and feeder and then a third and fourth as the number of hummingbirds grew and the fighting over the feeders started.

They are fascinating to watch and to listen to.  Some times they chirp and some times they hum.  I love the humming. They come now in a swarm going from one feeder to the next.  If someone is at one they try to knock that one off.  When they get into a match up they fly upward together and then off ino the air.  They fly around our house, up into the surrounding trees and then back.  They love the rose bushes between the feeders on both sides of the porch.  They hide in the bushes and watch for a feeder to be free.

They will perch themselves on top of the hanger to keep others away from that feeder. The male has prettier colors than the females, with red around their neck and green, blue and yellow on their body.

We’ve enjoyed these morning visits with these tiny birds!  When the feeders were hanging from the trees by where Dora, Roy and I use to live in the side yard we rarely had more than one or two birds visit.  Now it’s routinely around 10!  When they leave for their migration they will surely be missed.  I’ve taken over a dozen videos of the hummingbirds at play and had a rough time narrowing it down to these two.  Hope you enjoy!

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We love how pretty our red rose bushes are and they add to the beauty of our morning coffee time!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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09.08.18 RV Driving Tips: Critical Differences About Driving a Motorhome

Saturday, September 8, 2018 – Roy and I have been renting out our motorhome for a few months now.  One thing that we are trying to convey to our renters is that driving a 39 foot Class A motorhome is so very different than driving a car, truck, big truck or smaller motorhome. Roy came across the article below written by Don Bobbit on AxelAddict.com.  It’s long but it very clearly makes the point we try to convey to our renters. We may make this required reading by all who want to rent Dora.

Another thing we believe that folks who want to rent Dora don’t understand well enough is boondocking, primitive camping or dry camping.  All of these are the same thing, and are a totally different way to travel and live in a motorhome than the normal full hookups.  I’m going to do some research to put together a post that explains it well for our renters to learn from.  More on that later.

This article is titled  RV Driving Tips: Critical Differences About Driving a Motorhome.  Here we go!

What’s so different?

I often talk to other campers when I am in a campground and one of the big jokes among campers is the following;

Owning a Motorhome is like owning a Boat, the only thing you have to know, when you buy one, is how to write the Check!

This usually comes up as some of us are watching a novice trying to park one in a campsite, or unhitch a tow car, or whatever take a little know-how.

I wrote this article to provide some facts about driving a large Motorhome, regardless if it is a Class-A, Class-B, or a Class-C version.

These rigs require handling and safety knowledge that sets then apart from a normal sized automobile.

Road View from the Drivers Seat of an RV

On The Road in a Motorhome
On The Road in a Motorhome | Source

Learn to Drive the Hard Way or the Smart way!

Over my life, I have driven a lot of different automobiles and I have even towed a few trailers with small trucks. Heck, I have, just like everyone else, rented larget moving trucks and driven them on the highways of America.

But, my formal lessons consisted of a sales guy walking over to me and saying;

Here are the Keys, so sign the form and the truck is due back in 24-hours. Have a nice day.

We had camped over the years and we had gone through the range of campers from; family tents to Pop-Up Campers to a 24-foot Tag-Along Trailer. Our camping had always been those one or two weeks a year vacations and maybe a half-dozen weekend trips to places of interest.

Looking back, we were pretty lucky because we had some close calls operating even these campers as we learned all of those towing and driving tricks the hard way.

My First Motorhome, an RV Adventure

And, eventually, I purchased my first Motorhome.

I actually traded my older SUV to a private owner in Florida for an older 36-foot motorhome.

My wife and I drove the SUV down to the guys home. We inspected each others vehicle and came to a deal that satisfied each of us.

I pulled out of the Tampa area in my first Motorhome; a 36-foot long, 1996 Pace Arrow Vision.

I was on top of the world. Literally, it felt like I was on top of the world, I had never driven anything so large and I had never driven from the vantage point of a seat that was so high above the road.

Essentially, even as careful as I was trying to be, I was a rolling accident waiting to happen.

A big Motorhome is different.

My first two RV driving Mistakes;

We all make mistakes at times, but for those of us who are on the road in a Big Rig, a small mistake can lead to dangerous situations. Here are a couple of my own driving mistakes.

RV Driving Mistake #1:

I should have known that something was different about driving a Motorhome, when I had two things go wrong on the trip back to our home then, in Lynchburg Virginia.

After about three hours of driving without incident, I finally pulled into a standard sized gas station right off of I-95 for fuel.

it was a small gas station, and not a large open truck stop, but I saw they had a sign that pointed around the building that said; RV’s this way.

So, I slowly followed the signs and as I turned in to align my rig with the fuel pump, I scraped the Service Compartment door of my rig along the protective concrete-filled pole right next to the gas pump.

I had done several thing wrong, I later learned.

1- I had not picked a large truck stop or major fuel stop that is laid out for large towed campers and motorhomes. This gas station and it’s layout was not designed for big rigs and had been an afterthought that the owner had set up so he could sell more gas to RV owners.

2- I did not take into effect the long wheelbase of my rig when I finally started to turn into the actual fueling lane next to the pump. With the longer wheelbase, I had started my turn far too soon and I paid the price.

3- I had not asked my wife to go outside and warn me if I got too close to; the pump, the roof over the pump, or other vehicles that I couldn’t see in my RV mirrors.

Anyway, the station owner came out, and after checking out his pump and concrete filled pole were OK, he smiled and said;

That happens to a lot of people, you should have pulled out further before you started to turn.

So, duly chastised, we filled the tank and finally we, very carefully, exited the tiny gas station and got back on the road. But now we had a dented Service Compartment door that would need repair.

Needless to say, my wife and I spent the next hour or so discussing the new level of stupidity that I had reached.

But as all of you married people know, this was done is jest and not meant to be insulting to my ego at all, and finally, silence fell over the inside of the motorhome as we approached Brunswick, Georgia.

Yet another Driving Mistake on my first trip

Driving Mistake #2:

As we got closer to Brunswick, we began to notice that there were more and more orange cones and warning signs appearing along the sides of the road.

We had gotten into a major highway maintenance area and the speed limits quickly dropped to 60-mph versus the standard 70-mph.

The northbound lane was still two-lanes wide, but with the reduced speed limit, the traffic was getting thicker. In anticipation of slowing down and for safety’s sake, I eased over into the right lane and just kept up with the pace of traffic.

Looking ahead, I saw that we were approaching a bridge and that the two lanes looked like they had been narrowed, so I dropped down to a little over fifty-mph as I started onto the bridge.

Suddenly, there was the sound of a very loud truck horn, playing a tune resembling DIXIE.

I checked my left-hand mirror and there was a Low-Boy tractor-trailer barreling down the left hand lane and his right ttires were straddling the solid center lane markings.

I quickly looked to the right and the right edge of my rig was directly over the right-hand white lane marking.

I had nowhere else to go. and I realized that I had only two choices, in my mind. I could go right crossing the outside white lane markers and give the trucker more room, or I could stay where I was and get hit by the insane trucker coming up on me.

It was at this moment that I made a critical mistake.

I assumed that the truck driver had some right to cross over the center marking and to a part of my lane and that he was going to hit my Motorhome.

He didn’t have that right and he wasn’t going to hit us.. He should have pulled back and used his own lane and passed me with the same caution that I thought I was using.

But, I guess that driving a very large truck on the highway gave the driver some feeling that he had priority over other vehicles and drivers.

Anyway, I pulled further over to the right and my motorhome immediately took out eight of those bright orange plastic cones before I could come back into my lane. They made a thump, thump, thump sound as I struck each one and they each, in turn, tried to fly in different directions.

At this point, the trucker had flown by me and had gone happily on down the road that he obviously thought he was the King of.

I quickly checked my mirrors and I saw that everyone behind me had backed off and were dodging the errant orange cones that I had launched into flight.

I looked at my wife and she was sitting there, petrified. You see, the passenger seat is right over the right-hand tire and she was able to watch as each cone thumped under the motorhome body and then flew away, not five feet away, in front of her.

Well, I kept driving until I had crossed the bridge and the lane widened again. But my wife, after she had regained her composure, decided that we should have yet another conversation about my stupidity.

She described, in great detail, exactly how stupid I was to; 1- buy an RV in the first place, 2-drive one on an Interstate with my limited brain function, and 3- even consider her ever traveling on a road with me again in this lifetime.

That’s when I chewed off most of my lower lip, as I repeated to myself; Do Not Respond, Do Not Respond, Do Not Respond.

RV Damage Control

So, as I chewed the end of my tongue off, I continued to drive along for a couple of dozen miles until we eventually pulled into the first rest area we came to.

Tired of the heat inside the RV, I jumped out and inspected my wounded motorhome.

The right front fender was fiberglass and it was seriously cracked, the wheel well was fiberglass and aluminum and most of the fiverglass was missing while the metal was bent badly. And, there was a battery compartment right behind the wheel and its door was hanging by one mauled hinge.

As I stood there, waiting for my wife to wind up and chew on me even more, another camper came into the area and parked right beside me.

They were an older couple and we spent the next few minutes talking about what had happened at the bridge. Finally, he turned and asked me;

You do know that your rig is probably right at 8-feet wide don’t you?

i answered that yes I did know this and then I threw in a “So What?”

He looked at his wife and then said;

:”Well, when the state does highway work, they will often narrow the lanes down to the megal minimum size and that’s 8-foot, 6-inches. A motorhome driver needs to be very careful whenever he comes into a road maintenance area, or he could do what you did, hit some of the cones, or sometimes hit some of the signs.”

I looked at my wife and then decided to not fall into the “I told You So” trap quite yet and I turned back to the other camper driver as he said to me;

Anyway, Buddy, I have a few of the basics that every Motorhome driver needs when he is on the road that you might be able to use.. I have a drill, some pop-rivets and a roll of Duct tape. let me go get them.

Well, he and I spent the next hour pop-riveting the loose parts back into place and duct taping the other so that they wouldn’t flap in the wind as I drove down the road.

I thanked the guy and as he pulled out of the rest area he told me one more thing about driving a Motorhome;

Look, Buddy, You’re obviously a newbie, so you need to be extra careful until you learn the tricks of the road for Motorhome drivers. Just stay in the right lane and keep it five to ten mph under the speed limit, and you’ll be OK.

Anyway, we got back onto the road, spent a couple of nights in campgrounds, on a now much slower and very cautious trip back home to Virginia.

I knew a few things about driving an RV that I had never considered, now.

But I also realized that I needed to learn a lot more about driving a Motorhome.

If for no other reason than the fact that I just couldn’t afford to keep learning the Hard Way!

Driving in the High Country of Arizona

Looking out the Jeep Window in Valley Verde, AZ
Looking out the Jeep Window in Valley Verde, AZ | Source

A Good RV Driving Course

I kept that motorhome for about a year and we grew to love the freedom and extra comforts that a big rig gave us as we traveled on short trips around the southeast of the US.

Actually, we loved it so much that we decided what we needed was a NEWER and BETTER Motorhome, because we were starting to travel more and more and were looking forward to even longer extended trips.

We shopped around for a while and finally we bought a new and fancier motorhome from a pretty large RV dealer in the South. And when we did, the sales company offered us a two-day driving course as part of the deal, while we were waiting for our new RV to be readied for us.

We jumped on this opportunity. This was a specialized driving class for Coach owners. And along with my wife, we learned a lot of very important things about driving an RV.

During the course, we spent over half a day in a classroom, learning the things that make a Motorhome so special when you drive one and how to drive one safely and with confidence.

The next day, we went out and spent another half a day practicing what we had learned in a brand new 40-foot Diesel Pusher with a qualified instructor making us drive under all types of conditions.

After these two days, even though we had previously owned and driven thousands of miles in two different RV Coaches, we left feeling so much safer driving our new rig on the open road.

Here are some of the things we learned in the classroom and on the road as part of these fantastic driving classes. We share these with you in the hopes that they will aid you in your travels also.

Parking and Turning Tips for the RV driver.

SIZE RULES

Remember the unofficial Rule of the Road for RV’ers:

I learned the rule of the road for boating when I owned a HouseBoat and kept it on a lake in Virginia, for years.

Basically the rule is that SIZE RULES!.

What this means is that the larger boat is harder to maneuver in the water than a small boat, so it has the right-of-way in almost every confrontational situation.

I was happy to hear this same rule explained by the teacher of this RV Driving class as well as by most of my fellow RVers.

When it comes to a situation where you must react or the smaller vehicle must react, you should stop and allow the other vehicle to get out of the way.

When they Yell and blow the horn at you, just stay calm and be polite. And when insulted just shrug and smile while continuing to wait for them to get out of the way.

DO NOT take chances with your RV trying to back up or pull off of the road for the convenience of other smaller and thus more maneuverable vehicles!

Even the most dim-witted angry driver of a car will eventually catch on and move out of your way.

Campsite in Verde Valley, Arizona

Verde Valley Campsite
Verde Valley Campsite | Source

DID YOU KNOW – RoadTips:

The following are some of the TIPS that we learned in our Driving Course as well as from other Motorhome drivers.

They are logical and common sense things that will halp any camper be a safer and better RV drive.

Canada Standards;

If traveling in Canada, make a note that 12-feet is equal to 3.66 meters, and post it on your dash as a quick reference when approaching an overpass or pulling into a fueling station.

Motorhomes deserve Respect

The driver/owner of a Motorhome should always keep in mind that their Coach is longer, wider and taller than an automobile, and deserves the extra respect and thought when you are turning, stopping, accelerating, and parking the RV.

And the Tail moves!

Low Overpass;

You should always know the overhead clearance of your Motorhome. They are typically over ten or even eleven feet tall at the highest point of the tallest thing mounted on the roof.

And, many of the very big motorhomes will be right at the 13-foot, 6-inches limit. So, even though you will have higher and well-marked clearances on major highways, when you pull off and onto the side roads of the country, you could easily come up on an overpass that your rig will not clear.

Take care and don’t chance getting your AC units and other things ripped off of your roof and your rig wedged under an old country overpass in a small town.

One trick is when you are on the road remember that a tractor/trailer rig is nearly always at or near the US maximum allowed height of 13-feet and 6-inches, and if you watch and stay behind them on the back roads, it should help you stay out of trouble with overpasses and fuel stops.

Tail Swing or Off-Tracking

The number-1 accident with Motorhomes is actually caused by Tail Swing, and one should keep in mind that the average Motorhome has up to 2-1/2 feet of Tail-Swing when it is in a turn.

When stopping at fuel dispensers, keep your rig at least 3-1/2 feet away from the pump to allow for Tail-Swing when you pull away from the fuel dispenser.

What to do at an Intersection

That big white painted bar at a stop sign.

Surely you have noticed the big white painted bar across the road at every stop sign/ stop light in the country.

This bar is always designed to be set back enough to allow other turning vehicles to clear the vehicle that is sitting at the sign/painted bar, when they make a turn.

So always stop your rig at the white bar and do not go past it for a better view.

Turning through an Intersection

There are a couple of pretty common situations that a Motorhome driver will run into at an intersection. Be aware and handle them properly.

intersection Situation One:

When you are pulling up to a STOP sign/light and are in the left lane of 2 lanes, and are planning on turning left, you should pull up as close to the left line on the road as possible to allow for the tail end of your rig to swing out and to the right when you turn left.

Always take the turn very slowly and watch closely when actually turning. If there happens to be a car that is too close to you on your right, by taking the turn slowly they will see your tail start to swing and get out of your way, themselves. And remember the Rule of the Road mentioned above.

Situation Two: When pulling up to a STOP in a single lane, and turning left, pull up as close to the left line on the road as possible to avoid your tail hitting any signs, fire hydrants or other things on the side of the road at the corner.

When to Turn the wheel:

If you are driving a Diesel Pusher or any big rig Motorhome, you must remember that you are probably sitting directly over the front wheel, unlike when you are driving an automobile and the front wheels are in front of your feet.

So regardless of whether you are turning left or right at an intersection, pull straight forward until your Butt is at the point where you need to turn, THEN turn the wheel.

Everyone is used to their car, where they are sitting behind the front wheels, and turning the front end before “their Butt” gets to the turn location. You need to turn your big Pusher as mentioned here if you want to make the turn without taking out stop signs and other paraphernalia standing at the intersection..

When you are on the road in your RV, follow these Tips

Driving Gap:

When on the road, try to keep at a 4 to 6 second gap between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you maintain this gap, you will have adequate time to stop your Motorhome under normal road situations.

This time gap is equivalent to 400-500 feet and is considered a safe stopping distance.

Driving Speed:

Try to keep your speed down on Interstate Highways, and drive at a 63 to 65 MPH speed range and take the time to enjoy the trip and the scenery.

If you drive at this speed, you will lose only 15 minutes in a 200 mile drive, and you could pick up as much as 2 to 2-1/2 MPG with a gasoline engine.

And….Those people that keep passing you doing the 70-mph speed limit or faster, will pull in front of you, but they will be long gone very quickly at the speeds they are driving.

Steady your Steering:

If you are driving down the highway, and it seems that you are constantly turning the steering wheel left and right, try lifting your head and looking further down the road.

You will find that you will be moving the steering wheel much less, and you will still maintain your position in your lane.

Looking Ahead:

You should try to get into the habit of looking 10 to 12 seconds down the road, so that you will have more time to react to situations that arise, that might require you to slow down, change lanes, etcetera.

When you see a situation that far ahead of you, you will have the time to safely change lanes and/or slow down long before it is necessary.

Make REST STOPS regularly.

Even though you are driving a pretty self-contained Motorhome, with bathroom, food, entertainment and all of those luxuries that you love, you need to stop and get out of the RV regularly.

Plan on and pull off of the road, at Rest Areas if possible, every hour an a half to two hours.

It will help you keep fresh and alert, if you just get out and walk around your Motorhome checking it over and then walking up to the restroom area and back to your RV.

Use TRUCK STOPS

If you are traveling along the Interstate highways of the US or even the major state highways, you will find that there are Truck Stops interspersed all along the major roads of America.

I recommend that you use these whenever possible for re-fueling as well as for taking a short break while on the road.

Truck Stops will not only sell Diesel fuel, but they will also have at least a few gasoline pumps. These pumps will always be designed to accomodate the big Motorhomes and towed Campers and you will be able to get into and out of them so easy, as opposed to regular gas stations.

They will also have large enough parking areas that you can pull back into a site and catch a few hours of sleep when you get tired on your journey.

And, of course, regardless of the hour, you will be able to pick up something to eat. It may not be gourmet food, but it will invariably be served hot, and the facilities will be clean.

Updated on December 14, 2017
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Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life and shares his experiences with valuable tips.

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Some Things I Learned About Dementia

09.06.18 SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING?

I came across these on a friend’s Facebook post recently. These are too good not to share!  Enjoy!!

A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.
A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.
A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.
A “jiffy” is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.
A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
A snail can sleep for three years.
Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.
All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill.
Almonds are a member of the peach family.
An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.
Babies are born without kneecaps. They don’t appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.
Butterflies taste with their feet
Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10.
“Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt”.
February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.
In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.
If the population of China walked past you, in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.
If you are an average American, in your whole life, you will spend an average of 6 months waiting at red lights.
It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.
Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.
No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.
Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite .
Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
“Stewardesses” is the longest word typed with only the left hand and “lollipop” with your right.
The average person’s left hand does 56% of the typing.
The cruise liner, QE2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.
The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.
The sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter of the alphabet.
The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.
The words ‘racecar,’ ‘kayak’ and ‘level’ are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes).
There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
There are more chickens than people in the world.
There are only four words in the English language which end in “dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous .
There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: “abstemious” and “facetious.”
There’s no Betty Rubble in the Flintstones Chewables Vitamins.
Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.
Winston Churchill was born in a ladies’ room during a dance.
Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks; otherwise it will digest itself.
There, now you know everything!

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09.04.18 Gas Versus Diesel Motorhomes, by Levi and Natalie Henley

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 – Before we started looking at motorhomes back in 2012 the first decision was what type.  Once we decided we wanted the big Class A we then had to decide whether to purchase a diesel or a gas powered motorhome.  I wanted a less expensive gas motorhome and Roy wanted a more expensive diesel motorhome.

Well Roy won me over because of four things, the engine would last longer, the engine is located in the back of a diesel pusher and is located in the front in a gasoline making it less noisy in the front while driving a diesel, it would have more power so we could go into more mountainous regions and they are built so much stronger that we could carry a lot more of our life “stuff” with us than in a lighter weight gas motorhome.

One cool things is how to tell a diesel motorhome from a gasoline motorhome just by looking at it.  Here’s the trick.  Diesel front doors are always at the front of the passenger side in front of the front tire so you walk into the motorhome in front of the passenger seat.  See Dora’s front door in front of the front tire.

Gasolinemotorhome’s front doors are somewhere behind the passenger seat and behind the front tires.  Here’s photos that show that:

Related image

Okay, well that’s Rosalyn’s lesson on spotting a diesel vs. gasoline motorhome!  Now your life is so much better, right??!!  We have seen, not often at all, a door not being where it should be according to that rule of thumb.   Here’s a really good article that gives some information about what is different different other than where the door is located!  Having owned a diesel the last five years I absolutely would never want to own anything other than a diesel!  That’s just our opinion.  Once I got over paying more, I loved it!  For new folks thinking about buying a motorhome the following article compares the two really well.

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When it comes time to buy a motorhome, there are many choices one has to make. Most of those choices involve floor plans and desired appliances. One big choice seems to stump a lot of people: whether to choose a gas or diesel motorhome. The answer isn’t an easy one. One option is not clearly better than the other as both have their merits. In the following paragraphs, I’m going to compare the two in hopes that it may assist with your decision.

Price

One of the main factors that most RV buyers have on their minds is price. For most buyers, there is a maximum that they are able to spend and motorhomes are not cheap. Of course, there are deals to be had out there, but if you want a good quality motorhome, you are probably going to have to pay for it.

Price is the first major difference between diesel and gas motorhomes. A gas motorhome is generally cheaper. Keep in mind that there are many low end gas motorhomes on the market that you may not necessarily want to live full time in. The higher quality gas motorhomes are built just as well as their diesel counterparts.

Deciding to go with a gas motorhome isn’t just about saving money though. It may also be about amenities. If you are paying less for the engine, you may be able to afford those creature comforts that you can’t live without such as a washer and dryer, another slide, etc.

Gas definitely beats out diesel for price, but like everything in life, there is some give and take as you will see in the next category.

Fuel Milage

There isn’t much of a difference when it comes to what fuel mileage you will get. Most motorhomes, gas or diesel, get between 7 to 10 mpg. The difference lies in consistency. A diesel engine will most likely keep a rather consistent mileage while driving in different conditions such as going up hill. This is due to diesel engines having better low end torque. The reason for this is explained in this article.

On the flip side however, diesel fuel is slightly more expensive than gasoline. However, depending on where and how you are driving, it is possible to come out even in the end.

Maintenance

Both a diesel and a gas engine will require maintenance. Typically, a gas engine is cheaper to service than a diesel engine. Many people are comfortable doing many of their own maintenance tasks on gas engines, as well. As with everything, there is a tradeoff to be had here, as well. Though a gas engine is cheaper to maintain, a diesel engine may require less maintenance.

This may sound like a win for diesel engines, but keep in mind that many people are not comfortable with doing the maintenance required on a diesel engine so they opt to pay for a diesel mechanic to do it.

Comfort

A typical gas motorhome houses the engine in the front of the coach. This means that a lot of the engine noise can be heard while driving down the road. I drive a gas motorhome myself and can attest to this. Most diesel engines have the engine located in the rear of the coach which makes for a much quieter ride. Another feature that many diesel motorhomes have is an air ride suspension which can make for a very smooth ride.

Storage space is important when full time RVing. Typically, a diesel pusher is going to have more storage space than a gas. This is due to the design of the chassis.

Longevity

It’s no secret that diesel engines are intended to go for hundreds of thousands of miles. They have heavier parts intended to handle the higher torque. It is a common assertion that diesel engines tend to last much longer than gas. Though the above statements are true and diesel engines will last longer than you intend on having the coach, most likely, a gas engine will last quite some time with proper maintenance too.

It is possible to get 200,000 miles or more out of a gas engine with proper maintenance and care. For the average RVer, that might take fifteen to twenty years to reach. So diesels may have the better reputation for longevity, but that doesn’t mean gas engines won’t last. You may have to replace more parts on a gas engine to get to 200K than a diesel engine, however.

Resale Value

Diesel motorhomes tend to have a much better resale value than gas motorhomes. The reason for this can be seen in the categories above. Typically, a diesel motorhome will have a better reputation for longevity. They are known for their comforts such as quieter drives and more storage space. Those reasons make diesel motorhomes more sought after in the pre-owned market. Considering there is only so much supply of used diesel motorhomes to meet the demand, they tend to hold their value a little more than gas motorhomes.

Conclusion

Who wins in the end, gas or diesel motorhomes? As with many things in the RV world, this boils down to YOUR preference and what YOU think is important. If you are concerned with a quiet ride, want consistent gas mileage with a higher fuel cost, and plan to sell it in a few years then you may lean towards the comfort of a diesel pusher.

If on the other hand you feel that you don’t mind the sound of the engine and your budget doesn’t allow you to spend an extra $50,000 or more for your motorhome then you may be looking for a gas motorhome.

I personally fell into the second category and my motorhome has a Ford V10 gas engine in it. It is a small 26 foot coach and was purchased used. My wife and I have not experienced any problems in the last four years of ownership. My advice to anyone looking for a motorhome is look for not only what you can afford but also what you can live with.

If you are still on the fence about whether to spend the extra money for a diesel pusher, this site has a great pro and con list of diesel engines.

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09.01.18 Brain Healthy Foods, Reposted from 09.01.15

blueberriesSeptember 1, 2018 – I wrote this three years ago, seems like yesterday.  My blood sugar and A1C are significantly better than they were back then.  My blood pressure (without medicine) is now under control.  Not sure about recent cholesterol since I stopped taking medicine for that.  I have an appointment with Dr.Valdes to go get current blood testing and check all of my medicines to determine what I should still be taking.

Our eight blueberry bushes are being moved into the full sunlight in a week or so where hopefully they will make blueberries in abundance for me to gobble up on since this is one of the best brain foods around.  They are fairly expensive in the grocery but they are so helpful!

 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015 – Several months ago the focus of my shrinking brain journey turned to eating brain healthy foods as a way of pumping up what’s left of my brain!!!  I really don’t know if it’s working but I have lost 20 pounds and know that just overall healthier eating is good for my whole body, not just my brain.

I also have Type 2 diabetes and have had difficulties controlling my blood sugar.  Since eating most of the items below and cutting out most of the junk I previously ate, my blood sugar levels have also come down some.  If you’re concerned mostly about sugars look each food item up and learn about that aspect.

I’ve been asked several times what is considered brain healthy food. Sometimes I forget some of it, so I thought if I put it all down here you’ll know it and I will have one place to go to remember it!!  This information comes from various sources.

Every source I’ve checked lists blueberries, spinach and nuts as the three highest foods to improve brain health.  I can’t say in what order all the rest melonsare ranked in brain healthiness so pick what you love and eat those!!

The list below tells the name of the food, the recommended daily amount if it is known and what I actually eat.  I consider this a list of foods I previously would have felt were splurge foods.  Since I’ve cut “almost all” unhealthy foods out of my diet I have the money to eat the “splurge” foods and really enjoy them!

I offer this list as someone who is absolutely not an expert in great brain food.  If you’re 60 or older and have noticed some cognitive decline, give it a try.  If you’re young and want to eat foods now that may help you later in life, give it a try!  If you’re a caregiver for someone with dementia, absolutely give it a try.

Eliminating as much sugar and bad fats are key!  If something below contains that, eat in moderation if you must eat them.  Also, WATER, WATER AND MORE WATER are a must. As much as you can, as often as you can and then drink some more!

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Blueberries – 1 cup a day in any form, fresh frozen or freeze dried – These are the very best for your brain and I avocadoeat them everyday.  Always keep frozen ones available for when the fresh run out.  Adding frozen blueberries to hot oatmeal is delicious!!!  Haven’t tried freeze dried but I’ve had blueberries covered in yogurt which are delicious.

Strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, huckleberries – Not as high as blueberries but delicious and worth adding to the diet.  I eat all of them whenever I can get them.  I try to keep on hand frozen strawberries, pineapples, blackberries and mangoes.

yogurtYogurt – a cup a day – I buy low fat Dannon vanilla yogurt because of the low fat, it tastes good and it’s fairly cheap.  I buy two large containers each week and that gives me a cup a day to add to smoothies or fruit bowls.  I’ve learned that smoothies are best for if you don’t have time to sit down and eat a bowl of fruit but the bowl of fruit is the better of both choices for you.  I daily make either a smoothie or a bowl of three types of fresh fruit, granola, flax seed and chia seeds mixed together.  You don’t taste the flax or chia seeds but they are very good for you.  You can buy small pouches of them for under $1 each that last for a couple of weeks.

Salmon, albacore tuna, sardines – 4-ounce serving, two to three times a week. – I love tuna in just about anything!  The others won’t make my grocery list!!

Mangos, bananas, kiwi, grapefruit, pineapples, cantaloupe, watermelon – at least two servings a day.  I eat all of these as much as I want!

Green and black olives – a few a day – I eat a can of black olives whenever I want to about once or twice a week.

Nuts and Seeds – an ounce a day of walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and unhydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini. – Walnuts and Pecans are the best, I eat at least 10 a day of nuts2walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, shelled or in the shell peanuts, and sunflower seeds.  I sprinkle flax seed and chia seeds on anything I’m eating in a bowl.  See my note about this in Yogurt. Also sunflower seeds (peeled) make a delicious addition to any salad!!

Avocado – 1/2 of an avocado to one daily. – I make avocado and sliced cucumber sandwiches , put them in salads and eat them with some italian dressing, and guacamole!!!  If you do not like mayonnaise use the avocado instead of mayonnaise on any sandwich!! This is a new addition to this information:  Avocados can be frozen by cutting them in half, taking out the pit, putting them in a freezer ziplock back and removing all the air (I use a straw).  When they come out of the freezer and thaw they are perfect!

Red wine – one glass a day – I don’t drink this every day but sometimes.

Celery, carrots and peppers – I buy a bag of fresh carrots and whole celery every week and much whenever I feel the need for something crunchy.

Broccoli and Cauliflower – 1 cup a day –  Raw is best – I love it that way and cooked (I only buy fresh, not frozen)

Whole grains –  Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice – I choose kaleoatmeal and whole grain breads.ark Leafy Vegetables –

Kale (a super food), collard or turnip greens, spinach – a handful a day – I stick with kale and spinach.  Kale or Spinach in a fruit smoothie is my preferred method of eating it.  You do not taste the kale in the smoothie but you’re getting the benefits!!  Kale can also be baked in the oven – toss in some olive oil, salt and pepper it, layer on a pan and back until crisp.  Spinach I love in salads also.

Beans – 1/2 cup of any beans will do.  I prefer red beans but then there is the sausage and fat that goes into the flavor so I skip beans mostly1

Pomegranate juice – Because pomegranate juice has added sugar (to counteract its natural tartness), you don’t want to go overboard,so approximately 2 ounces a day, diluted with spring water.   – This hasn’t been on my list but I’m going to give it a try!

Freshly brewed tea – Two to three cups a day of freshly brewed tea — hot or iced – Must be fresh brewed, not powdered.  Don’t add all the sugar and cream, a day of lemon juice adds an interesting twist!

Dark Chocolate – One-half ounce to 1 ounce a day

Crabs (also shrimp, lobster, crawfish to a lesser degree) – Eat as much as you want, I do!!! Crabmeat salad and boiled crabs, shrimp and crawfish. Fairly certain that only boiled seafood should be eaten for any type of diet!!

Tomatoes – one a day, don’t really know.  I buy enough to eat one a day whole if I want to.  Feels more like a treat that way!!shrimp crawfish crabs crabs

Curry contains Turmeric.  Haven’t tried it yet.

Eggs specifically, the yolks – one a day or more at once.  We eat egg salad sandwiches, scrambled eggs, sliced eggs on sandwiches, omelets, etc. but  not very often.

Pumpkin seeds – a handful a day – gonna add that one soon!

Add high, but safe, levels of B6, B12 and folic acid through vitamins.

I’m sure this isn’t every food that is brain healthy.  If anyone has additional items that should be on this list, let me know and I’ll add them.

I’ve enjoyed getting to splurge on these treats knowing they are helping, not hurting, me!

psalm 91 15

 

 

 

08.29.18 Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, by Clayton Jennings

Psalms 139: 13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
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Our culture loves to define people by their shortcomings and flaws.

If you struggle in school, you’re stupid.

If you’re not as good looking as the people on magazines, you’re ugly.

If you’re not bone skinny, you’re fat.

If you’re not wealthy, you’re broke.

If you’re not perfect, you’re a mistake.

I hate that I have to raise my daughter in a society that cares more about people’s appearance and status than their heart.

I hate that I’ve been guilty of perpetuating the very standard by which my own daughter will one day be measured by as people judge her worth.

I’m thankful that God is not like us.

The way I see my daughter is the way God sees you.

I could never see her as anything less than beautiful. I could never stop loving her no matter what she does. God sees you that way.

You were fearfully and wonderfully made and God loves you even when others don’t.

You might be struggling with your shortcomings, your inabilities, and your appearance.

I hope you start to see yourself how God sees you and I hope you learn to die to the opinions of shallow people in a cheap society.

You were made in God’s image. Nothing can change that. Walk in your worth.

By Clayton Jennings

Every verse in Psalm 139 is such a testimony to the love and intimately personal knowledge and care of our Lord for us.  I couldn’t leave just a verse or two out there so here is the whole chapter.

Psalm 139 New International Version (NIV)

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.