Monday, November 23, 2009

Show Me Missouri!!!!

Today we return to Missouri--The Show-Me State. I know I have been going back and forth between there and NY, but gosh! Things just happen so fast and I have to share. So, back in time we go to Missouri! After deciding to sell everything (except a very few family momentos and pieces of furniture) and live in the RV, we needed to find out if it would work as far as campgrounds. Usually, you pick a campground and stay there for a few days and move on. Not so when you are living in the RV. You pick a city where you will be working and find an RV park close enough to work for several months to several years--whatever the duration. I began my search in Missouri around the area of High Hill, MO. This is where my parents and brother and sister-in-law live, so I wanted to be close to them and St. Louis airport has non-stop flights to New York--unlike Wichita (The Air Capital--ha!). Having checked for year round campgrounds close to NYC, I found that they were either a LOT of money per month (More than my HOUSE payment!) or were not open year round. So, we felt that staying near the St. Louis airport at least gave Jim a non-stop flight of 4 hours compared with 9-10 to Wichita. I found 3 campgrounds in the area, but they were all full! Are you serious???? Turns out that a couple of pipelines were being run through the area and many of the pipeliners live in RV's while working on the pipeline. I knew from selling real estate in Kansas that the pipeline had been layed through Kansas earlier. I didn't really realize the signifigance of the impact to the communities surrounding the pipeline during the construction phase. Now I do! After calling around and looking at the campground websites, I liked what I saw at the Kan-Do Kampground and so called Kathy, the owner. After a chat and finding that she has owned dogs that are larger than Tank!!!!--those being Saint Bernards--I felt very comfortable with her. You will see her if you look to the left of my blog here in the area for followers. You can check out her blog for all of the campground happenings! However, as I said, no room in the inn! As we spoke, Kathy, who I have come to know and find has a very active and creative mind, told me that she had a single wide mobile home on her property with 200 amp service. She decided that the mobile home was more trouble than it was worth and the electric service could be better utilized servicing 4-50 amp service campers with "luxury sites". Cool! We had not actually purchased our camper and were a ways out from needing the spot, so she would have time to get the trailer out and carve the spots out of the trees before we arrived. Good! I would have a place to park! That done we set about selling stuff, purchasing and outfitting the trailer and moving up to Missouri. My dad, who some of you know, likes to be active, so the whole "we are moving up there to Kan-Do Kampground close to you" was very interesting to him. Being my daddy, he felt that he should check out the campground to be sure it was nice for us. So, off he went to meet Kathy and Drew and look over the campground. He reported back that the campground was very nice, but no spots were available. I explained to him what Kathy had in mind with the mobile home project and all. This gave dad someplace to drive to regularly to see what progress was happening. As time was getting nearer for us to move, the mobile home was still not moved and dad was getting concerned. I was not sure if the campground would really have a full hookup site for us either, but Kathy assured me that if not, they would put us in a 50 amp pull through and have the honey dipper truck come over and empty the black water tank. Okay. If it was okay with her, it was okay with me. Just to be safe, I also contacted Pam Cartee who owns the mobile home park in High Hill, MO to see if they would allow us to stay in a space there for whatever time we might need. She was amenable to that, so I had my backup plan in place. On the first of September, it was time to roll and Kathy told me that she had a wonderful campsite for us! One of her long term campers had to leave before they expected, so the space opened up. How serendipitous! This is the campsite--which I showed you in a previous post, so won't go too much into that here--check out the other blog for more... I started to write this and realized that I don't have a picture of the sign at Kan-Do! Really now! I must do better! On my way back through in the spring I will have to take a picture of their sign! Well, I do, but it isn't very good. Here it is, though as seen from our first site. Sometimes, as I was sitting at the dining table/desk/work table/sewing table/whatever I need a flat surface for table I would feel as if I was being watched. One day as I had that feeling I looked out the window and saw this little guy! Now all of you who know me, know I LOVE squirrels! Not inside--but love to watch them run around the trees and just be squirrels. This came about when we lived in Newton, IA where Jim was working for Maytag--when they were still an American company. Newtonians (Newtonites?) prized their squirrels and depending on the part of town in which you lived, you either had gray, red or black squirrels. That was the first time I had ever seen a black squirrel and they are really CUTE! Our part of town had the red squirrels. The squirrels were very territorial and if one of the squirrels of another color came into their territory--a battle ensued and the offender was either chased out or was killed. Thus, different squirrels in different parts of town. Now, you might say who cares--they're rodents. Well, these rodents were great toys! People fed them corn, squirrel feed and all sorts of stuff! One person told me the story of being at her father's home having dinner when they heard scratching at the back patio door. Her father finally got up from dinner, opened the curtains, grabbed a cookie from the cookie jar by the door, slid back the patio door and handed the cookie to the squirrel waiting outside for his nightly treat! Our neighbor behind laughed at me one day when a squirrel was following me and scared the living daylights out of me--I was just sure he must be rabid! I finally ran onto her screened patio to get away from this "wild" creature. Our neighbor got an ear of corn from a bag on her back patio and went out and held it out to the squirrel who sat an ate the corn from her hand! These smart little creatures sure had the people of the area well trained! So, ever since that time, I have really enjoyed the antics of these little guys! Kan-Do also has a pool (it was too cold to use it when I was there--darn! cause I love to swim!) with playground and open field for football, soccer or whatever and a stocked pond. The pond was above our first campsite and many nights and mornings I would see people heading that direction with their fishing poles. Most of the adults just went up there to relax and cast and while away the evening after work, but the kids! They were so fun! I would hear a squeal and find that it wasn't a squeal of fright but a squeal of joy as they came running down the bank to their camper, fish dangling from the hook, to show daddy what they caught! What a great time they have at that pond! The pond is also an attraction for my crew! Tank as you might guess, loves the water! And he loves tracking things through the brush and into the water! Keeping him out of the water was very hard once he figured out that there was a pond up there! Also, Frank the pug, having been raised with labrador retrievers, thinks he is a lab and loves to retrieve--even in water--right with the best of the labs! I had read that pugs don't swim--really? Hah! Don't tell Frank! hehe. The campground has a well--and even the small towns in the area get their water from wells. These wells have a strong sulfur smell--especially when you first turn them on in the morning. Well, it turns out that Tank was having some problems with adjusting. Yes, I know and I carry water for them and mix it to get their systems used to it and all of that. However, with the excitement and the fact that Tank really can read anxiety in people, change in routine and water--and as it turns out--allergies which decided to go nuts making his ears itch and get nasty--let's just say that you didn't want to leave the dogs alone for hours and hours at a time or you had better have a steam cleaner! Poor Tank! I had found this product called Zymox which really works well on the dogs ears. It has 3 enzymes found in milk that "eat" all of the crud. It is great! Got that out and then started giving him Benedryl for the skin problems. I just had to take this picture of him on Benedryl! He looks like he was out all night on a bender! LOL Poor thing! But it did the job and his hair grew back and his ears cleared up and he is traveling like a pro! Everywhere you look at the campground are flowers. Kathy seems to prefer marigolds and actually collects the seeds to sow from year to year. These add a bright splash of color around the grounds and are hardy and keep the bugs at bay. This picture was borrowed from Kathy's blog because it is just so darned cute! She and her grandson did this garden and how good is it! I might mention here that as I spoke with Kathy about our insanity, she shared that it could have been stranger! She had a moment of insanity and bought a campground! LOL I'm really glad she did! During this time, I was happy to be able to spend time with my mom and dad. That is my mom, Maxine with granddaughter Sofie on the 4th of July. On the left is my dad, Clair and behind him is Sofie's dad, Daniel who is married to my niece, Julie. Got that? There will be a test at the end! Now, looking at the first picture of my dad, you think, oh what a saintly cute man! He looks so sweet! Try this picture on for size! This is the REAL dad! Sticking his tongue out at his loving daughter! (no one tell him I put this here, okay?) ;-) I was happy to be able to spend some quality time with dad and mom and help them out if I could. Let me tell you, you have to watch this guy! He says he has to go to the eye Dr. and the VA on different days. Okay. No problem. They are different directions anyway. You go and it is at least an hour to get there, time for the appointment and then an hour back, so it is significant. Of course, since you are gone so long, you stop for lunch. And then.... Dad pulls the little 3x5 index card from his pocket! On this little 3x5 card is the REST of the story! While you are out running, he has a list of items that he needs to do while he is going in that direction--which is good use of gas and miles on the vehicles, but man does it put the miles on the people! He might look as if he likes to sit in the chair and stick out his tongue at you, but No he does NOT! He can run the socks off of an army of people! Seriously! No grass will grow beneath HIS feet! I did get to see a lot of Columbia, MO and surrounding--including Menards which I only knew of because they have a NASCAR race car, but what a store! Man, talk about HEAVEN! They have some of the neatest stuff! And, I got to take some trips in towards O'Fallon and St. Peters where I grew up and went to school. I can tell you that I failed to even recognize the towns! They are like a part of St. Charles, which seems like a part of St. Louis now! When I grew up there, it was country! Open, lots of area and not many homes. If you wanted to do big shopping, you went to St. Louis or St. Ann or St. Charles. And O'Fallon was the larger town. Now, St. Peters seems a lot larger and Wentzville, where there was literally NOTHING (well, unless you count Chuck Berry's house) is a thriving metropolis with several exits! My My--don't I feel OLD!!!! Dad was always there to give me a hand when I needed it and when I needed something for the camper, he would disappear into the barn and come out with it! If dad didn't know where it was, mom surely did! I really enjoyed being able to spend time with mom and dad. It has been a while since we were able to visit for any length of time. And it was nice to have them to accompany me to the airport to pick up Jim and drop him off. At least we got out and "got the stink blown off"! (Old family saying--not offensive--at least I think it isn't! LOL) Back to the campground..Our second site was a pull through more in the open. It was getting cooler and who needs the trees as fall and winter are coming on? Besides, it gets great satellite reception up there! When we purchased the camper, it was over 100 degrees and so we were able to try out the a/c units which cooled it down quickly, much to our delight. Later, I tried out the furnaces just to be sure that they worked. They did and I was sweating up a storm. Yay! Ready for winter.....or not! Turned out that when I was in Augusta for the estate sale and to finish the house stuff, there was quite a storm in Missouri. Lots of lightning--about 12 inches of rain in a week! When I returned, the GFI had flipped to the rear of the coach. After switching it back on, I thought nothing of it. That is until I decided to turn the heat on! I tried it out and found that it did not come on now. Tom did some research on the internet and found that there is a problem that is well known with the thermostats that they use on these units. I found a place online that carries them and ordered a new one confident that this would fix the problem. When it arrived, I installed it and nothing but an error message. This error message, as it turned out, meant that it wasn't communicating with the electrical board in the a/c unit. If the a/c unit isn't working, the heat doesn't work either as they are sync'd together. Ack! I called around and found an RV place, 3R RV in St. Clair, MO (between Union and St. Clair) that does "trailer calls". Yay! When you are living in a RV with your pets and all, you don't just move the trailer into a shop for a week to have it repaired! This is your HOME! 3 R is just great! They came out and found that apparently one of those lightening strikes got a bit close to the camper and fried the circuit board in the back a/c unit--along with the a/c unit itself! Ack! It turns out that you can purchase surge protectors for the electric line. This is at the top of my list! Whatever it costs, it isn't more than an a/c unit! So, we ordered a new a/c unit, opting to include a heat pump. The heat pump is just like a house heat pump in that it will get heat from the air and pump it into the camper using electric--thus, not draining the propane tanks when the air temp is above 35-40 degrees. Seemed like a good use of funds to me! 3R received the a/c and could install it except that the unit is on the roof and it was raining everyday! We needed to leave for New York--where it had already had an early snowfall of 5"--bit it was still raining in Missouri! 3R offered to send a truck to get the camper and if it needed to stay overnight, they could hook us up to electric and water and they have a dump station at the office as well. I called my brother, Tom, to see if he had the time between his loads (He owns his own semi's and hauls steel) and found that he could. Since Tom's wife was not in favor of Tom using his truck to haul our camper to NY over the mountains, I found two places that rented out pickup trucks with 5th wheel hitches for campers. One in St. Louis would not have any free until March but one in KC had two available. We could head to KC, pick up the truck and be ready to head out the next morning when the camper was done. I really wanted Tom to drive because he is the best driver I know and I was totally comfortable that he would get us there safely! Tom decided that he didn't want me to rent the truck and that he would take his own truck. I am sure Nina was not happy. And she got a lot less happy later as it turned out... 3R installed the A/c and circuit board and found that the circuit board, but not the a/c in the FR ONT of the trailer was also fried! They installed that and started it up. Now, I knew when we started it up earlier, the fan motor in the furnace was sending up a huge screech, so was kind of ready to install bearings in the motor. Did you know that you don't just do new bearings in RV's? I do now!!!! So, we had a new motor installed. The reason for the problem was that mud dobbers had built nests in the vents of the propane appliances and the nest kept the fan from turning which burned up the fan bearings, yadda yadda. So, with mud dobbers evicted (and little screens installed over all of the vents so they can't do it again!) and new a/c, two new circuit boards, new furnace motor and thermostat, we were ready to hit the road. I ran to St. Clair and filled the Durango up with gas, headed back to 3R to pay and be on the way. I opened my wallet and no credit card! What????? I just had it! Give me a break! Think girl, think! Oh, I used it for gas! I threw some trash out while the gas was pumping--oh no!!!! I ran back down to the gas station and looked in the trash can. Yep--right on top was my American Express card! Thank goodness! People in a car next to the trash can were watching me and their mouths actually fell open when I pulled a credit card out of the trash, hopped in my Durango and took off! I gave a little wave and smile and off I went to pay the bill at 3 R. The guys there were just great and gave me a lot of tips for taking care of my camper while I was waiting for them to finish. I learned a LOT. Hope I can remember all of it! They are wonderful and I would recommend them to ANYONE! So, we hitched up to Tom's truck and off we went to New York! And that story is an adventure all by itself! Welcome to RV ownership! LOL...

1 comment:

  1. Hope everything is going well for you in the frozen tundra! When I saw the title I got excited, I thought you were coming back!! Thanks for the little rush!