Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Plans are Formulating! - We Begin!

We have gotten through the early planning of how to load, what to get, etc.

Now we are beginning to plan actual trips. One item always necessary to a successful trip is the planning. It was thus with our 27 ft. flybridge sportfisher boat (A Penn Yan with tunnel drive) which slept four and had a john and shower plus cooking facilities and two drive stations....on the flybridge and inside the cabin in bad weather. Planning what to take was critical.

It is none-the-less so in a coach. We are still in the "what-do-we-need-to-buy" stage. Our recent purchases include a "Baby Q" Weber gas grill with 10# tank. We considered the direct connect to our onboard larger tank, but decided to keep that one separate from our outdoor cooking activities. Included with the grill?...Well a small folding plastic table for the grill with room enough for utensils, etc. A small burger/fish clip-together holder so they can be grilled without having the turn them and have them fall apart. A griddle for breakfast cooking which can be for inside or outside cooking.

The list is long, as we learned with the boat, and we hope to make a trial run or two. One is planned for the weekend of April 28-30 when the Dutchess retires officially and we hit the Fort Wilderness campground at Disney for three days. It is fairly close to us and yet offers the ability to try everything out.

The second one is to Jacksonville (FL) to see son Little Duke and his fiancee plus some friends there. Here, a small snag....There are VERY few, if any, reasonable campgrounds in Jacksonville. Amazing that anyplace in Florida would be bereft of camping facilities.

We have lots more plans......

1. I retire at the end of August (Still remaining a contract person to help them along for a year or two with things such as my monthly newsletter for our physicians (We work for a major hospital)). We plan three weeks in September for a Maine-down-the-Blue-Ridge tour of campgrounds and sights...we hope to time to the leaves changing, but weather plays a BIG part in that.

2. An 8-dAY stay at Manatee State Park in late December (from the day after Christmas til January 2nd, a day after my birthday) with Daughter and family and their pop-up from HOuston; plus son-in-law's parents in their coach they also just bought. Should be a good first "long" camp.....With only electric and water. We are looking at those plastic "honey wagons" with which one can empty their grey and even black water tanks into a tank, and then tow it behind your "toad" to the septic dumping station.

These should get us started. Then next year.....well, who knows. The sky is the limit. We are planning tentatively for 2008 Summer for the Alaska tour....perhaps a month or so.




Thursday, February 23, 2006


We got "Hitched"!

Well, actually we got "Toad"......the road-language for a towed vehicle. Our 1999 Suzuki Vitara 2dr, complete w/canvas top (they don't make em anymore and I ain't sellin!) is now coupled to the Damon Challenger.

Our choice was a Falcon 2 tow bar by Roadmaster. This is a fairly light unit by the standards of towbars. It had several nice features we liked, and since we have a light vehicle, it works well for us. The features we liked? It folds flat against the back of the coach and does NOT have to be removed between tows. It has a nice vinyl cover and is not unattractive. The unit for the car is a single bar with pins, and then the connectors get more complicated, however as a gauge our 1st time I disconnected and stowed the entire unit in less than five minutes.

The man from Lazy Days where we bought the coach had it right. With the massive 7.4 liter V-8 on a workhorse chassis, you canot tell the Suzuki is behind us...except of course for the little canvas top in the bottom of my backup camera picture.

Towing means a few basic changes. You do not back up with the "toad" hooked on. Just not really feasible...even if it is technically possible. You have to allow for much more length. I am now not 33 feet long, but with the tow bar and Vitara I am more like 53 feet long. That takes planning for parking anywhere you stop...except of course at rest areas which almost universally provide drive thru sites making it foolproof.....well, almost so. When you arrive at a campground you disconnect while checking in so you can back and/or maneuver the coach for set up placement.

I live in Tampa, FL...as I have mentioned before...and this area is full of both RV sales and places for such items as towbars, etc. Just proceed carefully so you get a dependable dealer. We went on referral of our mechanic and transmission folks whom we have found to be God-fearing legitimate folks. We ended up at Rentz in Clearwater. One day in and out....and, of course, about $1,600 bucks! They have it down to a science. Deliver your toad one day. Come back the next with your coach and the vehicle is ready for hook up. The learning curve is real steep and you will find yourself on-your-way in about fifteen minutes.

The Duchess, by the way, had an early comment I hope was a joke....."The car is blue, the coach is green and white." I am not mentioning it as I cannot picture the Vitara in green!



Thursday, February 02, 2006


Been neglectin the site!

We have, as a family been busy this December, January.....

Sorry, and I promise the listings and postings shall expand MUCH!


Well, April 28th, the Duchess shall retire....August sometime so shall I!!

I will continue my job at the hospital, but will be a "Contract person" and will do much of my stuff from the email and remote possibilities!

I love it as I do not need to actually "Retire", but will instead transition into partial performance for my job....and it allows me the creative part.....

The Duchess is completely happy being retired!

It will be a new thing for us, obviously....and one we have anticipated for several years. The nice thing is, we are finding we are going to be OK for financial things....given a reasonable inflation rate.

Who knows for the future in 20 years!!!!!