Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Shake Down Cruise...

So, going back to Missouri and Kansas...the camper was parked at our good friend's house--Orville and Marcine Gorman. They were kind enough to allow us to park it out on their acreage while we loaded and got ready to go. We sorted and drove stuff the 8 miles to the camper and loaded in. It is really surprising what will fit in those storage spaces in the camper! Wish they would make houses with that kind of storage! I also had 3 garage sales--or as I called them "If it doesn't fit in the RV, it's gotta go" sales! :) Through those sales, I got to know some really great people in Augusta that I had not met before but wish I had! Several could not believe all of that stuff actually came out of the house--well it did! I had a serious amount of, uh, stuff! Yikes! Can't believe that I had all of that! I really thought that I would have many crying sessions as I parted with my stuff, but in actuality, and unexpectedly, the more I sold, the more I wanted to sell! Crazy for a pack rat like me! :) It was quite literally kicking my patootie--all the work, heat, humidity, yada yada... I should mention here that Ashley's parents and sister came over to lend a hand as well! Her dad showed up with a truck load of tables, signs and flags and set about setting up a real sale! And we ladies loaded all of the tables down each time! Many thanks to them!!!!!! Tom and Nina came down and hooked up to the camper and off we all went to the Kan-Do Kampground in Montgomery City (I-70 Danville exit) Missouri on September 4--just before Labor Day. You know, I had been searching around the area that my parents and brother & sister-in-law live and called Kathy about availability. There are a bunch of pipeline workers in the area that were taking up most of the available spots in the area. She said that she would find a spot, or make a new one for us! How wonderful! AND, she is a big dog person--having owned Saint Bernards until last year when her last one died. Dog people can just communicate! :) She had a wonderful spot all ready for us. It was spot number 1. Cool! I was following the camper as we went and about 20 miles from the campground (or in the case of Kan-Do, the Kampground ;) ), something flies off of my camper and hits the road, sliding off onto the shoulder. I pulled up alongside the camper to see what was missing and a door had flown off. No, not the people door--a door to what I would later learn is the water heater vent. I called Tom and told him that the door flew off and I knew where it was--just past the bridge between the livestock yards and the Apple Wagon Antique Mall. You know I always notice Antique Malls! Love them! (this picture is actually as it looks in NY with our two 100 lb propane tanks attached and ready for action!) They went on with the camper and I turned around to get the door. This is an area in which the exits are about 20 miles+ apart, so it took me a while. I found the door in good shape, as it had not been run over and the screen, grabbed them and was off to catch up with the camper. Tom and Nina got to the campground where my mom and dad waited with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, slaw and chocolate cake! Yummy! :) Tom had the camper leveled and ready by the time I arrived and we all sat down to eat. Then, we started looking for all of the hookups--electric was already plugged in, needed a water hose and we found the sewer hose and attached it. Since my parents had campers as we were growing up--that got bigger and nicer when the kids left! hmmmm...--I had some great pointers from them. I had all of my breakables wrapped in my towels in the bathtub and sink and everything else was stowed for the move. It all arrived in great shape--I feel due to the excellent driving skills of my brother, who drives a semi for a living. No breakage whatsoever! We took a look at the door and aside from a black mark where it hit a tire on the way down, (see it in the picture?) it was in good shape. The grill that I picked up was the wrong one. It turned out to be the cover for a speaker. Ah well. I knew where the door had flown off, so I was willing to look again for the correct cover. Turned out that the door was held on by a plastic piece that you put through a slit in the door and then turn. It must have bounced open when we hit the bump after the bridge. I have now fixed that problem by putting a carabiner on that little piece so that even if it does flip on it's side again, it will not be able to slip through the slit in the door! We visited a camper place in Montgomery City called Cunos where we got the water hose and I was able to look at the door on another camper, so I now knew what the grill looked like for that door. We were told that some people when they have lost that grill cover have found that they can use those metal mesh screens that people use on screen doors to keep kids and pets from running through the screens and knocking holes in them. Tom needed to go to Columbia, MO the next day, so I rode along and we hit Menards. Never having visited a Menards before, this was a new experience and what a store! Have I told you that I LOVE lumber yards and tool places--Home Depot, Lowes--You know!? Yep! I do! So, I was entranced with this store! It is HUGE and right next to the Bass Pro Shop. Hmmm... We found the metal screen covers and they looked about right for the door to the camper. As I thought about our little varmits, who were already scratching at the door but had not made holes in the screen yet, I thought great! Tom cut off the tabs and fastened it to the camper door. Now the dogs can't damage the screen and are safe and secure inside! What a great serendipitous thing! See them lined up and looking out the door? Look closely! On the way home from Columbia, Tom drove along the shoulder of the highway where the door came off and I spotted the screen, jumped out and snagged it. It was a little worse for the trip across the pavement, but Tom was able to straighten it out and it works just fine now! Here is our first lot in Kan-Do Kampground in Missouri: In the first picture, Junior is hogging the shot and not letting you see the bottom level of this lovely camping spot. The bottom level has the picnic table. It is a very nice spot. Cement and everything! Wow! With the awning out, it is a wonderful place to sit in the mornings and drink coffee and just listen to the rustling of the wildlife in the woods across the road as they are stirring. The first several days there, I just wanted to take a nap and was tired all the time. I wondered if I was getting sick or something. On the third day, I woke up and felt great! Guess I just needed the rest! I found that I really loved living in the camper and enjoying the trees and wildlife around me. It is peaceful and tranquil at Kan-Do. I also got to walk the dogs several times per day for exercise! On Sept 11, James, Ashley and Jim arrived for a golf tournament. James, Jim, Tom and my nephew, Seth (married to my niece Dana) golfed together and had a great time! Ash, Nina and I put the top down on Nina's convertible and headed to wine country gardens and the winery tour. The leaves were coloring around the wineries and how pretty! Ash said that she didn't realize before how pretty Missouri was! We met up with the guys and mom and dad and went to Stone Hill Winery where we ate in the barn--yes, the barn--for James' birthday. Yummy! Good German food as well as steaks and seafood and we all had a nice time! It was great to have James and Ashley with us. Kids get so much fun as they age and I have had a wonderful time getting to know James and Ashley as adults instead of kids. I am very proud of the man that James is. Then it was back to Kansas for the estate sale. This one was in the house and I sold everything in there except about 6 pieces of furniture. There was no way I was going to get rid of the family heirlooms. It really helped that Ashley wanted my desk (which took me 3 years to find!) and Tom wanted the display case (actually a humidor) and Heather and Matt (niece and her husband) wanted another of my special pieces. This helped--knowing that those were going to good homes!
I also put the tile in the bath (that I had purchased for it when we bought the house in Dec. 2007 but never got put in until we were ready to sell it--of course!) and new faucet for the bath. It looks so good! Wow! Take a look! The before had the older faucet and carpet (no comment on carpet in bathrooms!). When I tore up the carpet, it had old tile that was dark gray! It sucked the light and life right out of the room! So, I really loved the way it turned out! Just the way I had envisioned it when I got the tile in 2007!
I changed the chandelier in the dining room and the light in the kitchen. The old chandelier wasn't bad--just not my style. It was brass with real crystals. Very heavy and a good quality piece. I sold it on Craigslist to a lady who was remodeling an older home and needed just that piece! Cool! The new chandelier is oiled bronze with nice curly q's which I also purchased in 2007 for this house! Well, better late than never, right? You'll note here that we also tore up the carpet in the dining room and living room and refinished the floors. I love the new look too! So, I left Junior in Augusta with James and headed back to Kan-Do in the Durango which was packed to the point that Tank barely had space to lay and the pugs were in the passenger seat up front on top of a lot of stuff which made them even with the window--they loved that! I left James and Ashley with quite a mess left over from the sale--but being the troopers that they are, they didn't even call me names (at least to my face!) and put our stuff in storage. Great idea! Love them! Really! Got back to Kan-Do, flopped for a couple of days and then Kathy's friend Deb (who, it turns out, is another realtor--broker actually--with her own company) bought a brand new Cyclone toy hauler (I'm jealous! She invited me in and it is GREAT!) and wanted to park it in the campground for several years, so Kathy asked if I would mind moving our camper so Deb's could go there. This gave us the opportunity to do a short move and see how I do at packing and unpacking the camper. I found that it takes about 4 hours to pack the camper up for a move--even a few hundred feet--and that the people who suggested you have a list really DO know what they are talking about! Like my cow hanging on the side of the camper. It made it a few hundred feet, but more than that and I am sure that the cow would have ended up in other pastures! Got the camper moved and this is the new site. Are the trees pretty or what? This is a pull-through spot that is graveled. Not quite the same as the cement one, but by this time, the weather had turned and was getting nippy anyway, so I wasn't spending a lot of time outside--except to walk the dogs--a lot! Oh yeah, did I mention that it was getting cooler? When I went to turn on the heat, nothing happened! We had tried it out before and everything was fine--now nothing!!!! Ack!!!! Got a little space heater to warm the nip out of the air in the mornings and set about resolving the new fun thing...but isn't that what shake down's are for? And this is a story for the next time... ;-)

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