Sunday, May 29, 2011


Sunday Afternoon.....7:30pm......

Most everything is aboard "Roadhouse"......We have bath things we'll use tonight, and a refrigerator full of stuff to load in the our two critters, cats Pearl & Jackie. Then we are ready to roll. Off to Jacksonville for 3 days with son, Paul, III (Lil Duke)....

Today we handed the keys to our Dukedom to a friend who lives just down the street. He and a few more neighbors will watch over our place til we return. Our alarm system is quite extensive and will carry the heavy load. You ain't gonna get in here without sounding lots of alarms. From glass-breakage to motion detection to every door and window, we are pretty well protected. Paranoia? Nope, just good common sense! The outside alarm and flashing strobe will alert neighbors that we have a problem.

Nuff said. Now for the coach and its protection. Duchess packs a mean punch....JUST KIDDING!!! We are OK....Trust me here!!!!!

Time for relax and rest before tomorrow's departure. I only have about 210 miles to drive tomorrow....all the way to Jax, FL and of our faves. Flamingo Lakes Resort. We'll be on-the-water once again, and enjoying the shade of tall trees.

Pics and stories to follow as we begin a 7-10 thousand mile trip!



Sunday Afternoon.....4pm

Had to take both cars to car wash.....idiot birds ate stupid blue berries and then sat in our Oak tree.....Jeep and Town Car trashed. Damn the birds.....

In the line of RV readiness.....loading everything. Bikes are strapped inside "Brutus" ready for launch. Chain saw.....doesn't everyone carry one?.....inside scooter bay of coach. Refrigerator freezer being loaded.....clothes on board....mostly!!!!

The number of things needed is astounding......Many are CRITICAL.......Meds/batteries...lots of things need these.../computers (3 laptops)...../loaded our "ready bay" wood, table covers, lights for awning, step for high location in campground, tools for grill, lighter, bug candles....etc.

We WILL be ready tomorrow morning at 10am......but we will forget something!



Saturday, May 28, 2011


Saturday Early Morning!

Thoughts on the trip.......this one will be run almost entirely with generator operating for 220 power.....A/C. We will not be in cool weather until N. Illinois on the 6th of June. When we leave there (13th), we'll be driving to S.W. for an extended is already hot there.

Our next cool will be mid-July when we motor across the Rockies and off to Estes Park for a few days in Rocky Mountain Park....there it will be cool.

1st test of the trip will be pulling Brutus up the mountains N. of Chattanooga, TN....followed immediately by 2nd test as we try out seriously our new brake assist in the Wrangler. It is supposed to hold "Brutus" back so he does not push "Roadhouse" down the mountains too fast. This is all just a test for the SW where the mountains are a LOT bigger.



Friday....(written Sat. Morning)

Picked up coach, filled fuel tank with 20 cent lower gas. New wipers (match a semi-truck) @ $93 for a pair! Finished reading Roadmaster Brake Assist manual. Install today (Sat.)....

Living room looks like Fibber McGee's Closet (if you are under 50 you'll not understand that one). Everything from a new tower-type fan to two foldable bicycles, cases of, soda. Dry foods, electronics (do you know how many chargers it takes for two phones, two cameras, three laptops, and assorted other pieces of equipment?...I do....2 power strips...all for two people).

Today the loading begins.....1st clean out storage bays and repack. Add new stuff. Load tools, wine, rolling booze-parlor (bar)...stocked well....all while doing laundry. Tomorrow will be loading for clothes, refrigerator (looking at small refer for underneath storage area to supplement smaller RV refrigerator which is only 17 ft). Then GPS, maps, sunglasses, hats (I take 8 in the coach plus at least three caps which are primarily for wearing in Brutus (Wrangler). Add in books, DVDs (we can watch in main area or on smaller bedroom TV), and writing pads, pens, my computer can see why we never have left home and found everything on board. Usually within a day or two something shows as missing. We hope for minor, easily replaced, items.

It is ALL WORTH IT the minute we hit the highway and our mandatory rendition of "On the road again!" rolls forth.



Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Wednesday.....Preparations continue

Set up local UPS postal service to accept and forward mail during our trip. Yesterday we did final adjusting on our foldable bicycles....then took a short ride. MAN...were we shaky riders. It has been years since we rode. The bikes are also smaller, 20 in wheels, and thus shorter wheel base which makes for wobbly ride. Today received my new 9mm....Springfield XD.

Tomorrow get key for friend and neighbor who is by here 3-5 times daily and will stop and check, he'll also be 1st called if alarm sounds.

Received brake assist for the Wrangler from TX.....and reading manual I downloaded for it. Next, a dry run to set it up.

Friday we bring Roadhouse here to turn the refrigerator on and begin loading clothes, tools, bikes, 3 laptops, GPS, maps, camping books, cat food (bags & cans), and hopefully everything we'll need.....we always seem to forget from 1 to 3 items we need.



Monday, May 23, 2011


Monday - 6 Days to Go!

Today "Brutus", our Wrangler got new oil, oil filter, air filter, and windshield wipers. Next is wipers for "Roadhouse", the RV....Man is she lovely in her new paint.

Foldable bicycles are assembled and now need adjustment and a few "test rides' in the neighborhood so we do not make fools of ourselves at the 1st campground!

We will bring "Roadhouse" out of storage about Thur/Fri and begin loading.....clothes, tools, equipment, food, cat stuff, maps, road atlases, GPS, computers (3, believe it or not), my hats, and lots more......

Man it is amazing....we can spend weeks preparing, loading, listing things, and EVERY trip we leave something behind.....guess that is human nature!

Excitement builds daily from this point.



Sunday, May 22, 2011


Summer Tour 2011 Is just a week away!

We are ready....well, ready in terms of need to get away!.....NOT ready in terms of packing, buying, etc. One aspect of preparation is almost done.....2 new foldable bicycles are needing only adjustment & some practice rides in the neighborhood to check out brakes and shifters (6 spd).
Roadhouse, our faithful ride for more than 35,000 miles to date has a new paint job and clearcoat to keep her ready and shining at all times.
Filled tanks with gas about a month ago, but now wish I had waited....gas price dropping and soon I will be able to buy for less than I filled the coach. LOVE THAT.... at 8 mpg the price MATTERS!!!!

I'll start posting daily from this point as we prepare to face the many, many miles of Summer.......E-X-C-I-T-E-M-E-N-T abounds!


p.s. Stand by for something new this year.....HD videos of our trip in addition to my pictures! Hope it adds a lot and allows more demonstration of the scope of view in some places.


Friday, May 06, 2011


Misc. Notes.......

A campfire....this one in the Blue Ridge last September....Duchess has our son (Lil Duke)'s favored statue of "Jaggie" (He lives in Jacksonville, and holds Jags season tickets)...We "stole" him for a tour of the was fun. We took pics of him with us everywhere, and then I produced a book for our son of the pics and stories of "Jaggie"'s travels. One may note that, even in Sept. Duchess was in full long-sleeved sweat jacket and long pants...The lovely Blue Ridge gets cold. This campground, I believe is at the Fancy Gap, Virginia KOA...a favorite of ours for its location, and friendly folks.
One of the things that has given me concern as we travel is camp fires! WHY? Well, in most states, and in many campgrounds, they do not allow you to bring in your own wood for campfires....despite having nice big fire pits, etc.

The reason given most times is, "BUGS!" You might transfer an Illinois bug to Wisconsin, etc. I believe I have finally solved this. I found some bagged, short-cut fire logs for my chimera in the back yard. They are "sterilized" of bugs by gas. I will simply not ask, and use them and point to the bag as proof, if questioned.

WHY? Cause the campgrounds charge you multiples of the price of firewood at most places.

No bugs will escape anyway...I BURN THEM! I am sure hitch-hikers do exist...on coach bodies, in bays, etc. But you cannot avoid this when going campground to campground.

We have had fires in lots of places from Maine to Washington.....Sometimes they are banned by drought...such as last Sept. in Natural Bridge, VA.....The rangers were out and enforcing NO-BURN rules. I understand this as it was so dry there driving on camp roads produced a giant dust storm. One spark and the entire grassland on which we camped would have gone up like a blazing match.

Common sense folks. I love campfires. A nice toddy, or a good wine and a campfire and you can almost hear me purrrrrrrrr!



Repaint is Underway......

"Roadhouse", our home-away-from-home for the past 5 1/2 years is aging....not badly, just normal Florida heat and sun type stuff. The graphics on her sides are cracking, and rolling up.
The coach is now out for repairs/repaint! Here is a side shot showing the graphics cleaned, and ready for removal. They will be replaced by painted-on graphics which will fade much more slowly, and not peel.
Also, when done (Here is the rear minus some swirls and the "Damon Challenger" logo) the coach will be wrapped in two coats of "Clear Coat"; the same finish "Town House", our Lincoln Town Car enjoys.
We are excited about the outcome, and found this to be less-expensive than upgrading to a newer/larger coach. Roadhouse is comfortable to us, and the idea of spending lots more $ to upgrade does not appeal to our conservative nature! We have much better things to do with our money.....

For those wondering "How do you see out the rear?".....Look at the top of the open area of the rear and you will see a small camera...complete with sound, when I need it. Most of my view of what's happening comes from the sideview mirrors, much like a semi.....regular mirror for most views, and a WIDE view which shows me what is beside me so I do not turn into someone. Rear windows on a 33 ft. coach would be useless!

I'll be posting again next week as we go thru the process of rehab on the dulled paint and decorations.