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A Mobile Odyssey

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July 2022

July finds the Crew still in Mississippi helping out at Jeff’s Farm.
This year the Fourth of July came and went without much fanfare.
Jeff had a family BBQ and because of rain the planned bonfire did not take place. 
I spent the holiday recovering from a UTI.
 
We have been here a bit longer than originally planned however it is quite rewarding.
Like many people in our country travel has been severely curtailed, and it is no secret that the Left Administration has declared war on the rest of us through energy or rather the lack of it. 
Also like many fellow countrymen our normal life has ended! 
 
The farm work continues with more mowing as the rains make the grass grow quite quickly.
The major task is tearing down a fence and removing the fence poles from the area.
They are buried about three feet and require a heavy jack to pull them out of the ground. 
The fence was part of a play yard for Jeff’s granddaughters. 
 
Some of the tub garden is sprouting and the screen grids are to keep the chickens from getting the new sprouts.
A third of the chickens are free range laying hens and have no fear of people.
 
Last Month when we returned from the COSTCO in Mobile Alabama (60 miles) we splurged for dinner at Cajun's Fabulous Fried Chicken.
They are truly fabulous and include a real “Southern” Buffett with the dinner.
The choice included Catfish, Fried Chicken with both Cajun Spicy, and regular with all the favorite southern sides such as collard greens, red beans and rice, and of course okra which we pass up! 
We discovered this place accidently 2 years ago on our way home and it truly is a great Louisiana Feast! 
 
We are literally in the heart bead of the historical south gulf coast.
From Mobile to New Orleans is less than 200 miles and right down the road is the last home of Jefferson Davis which we visited last year.  
Two of our favorite restaurants are along this drive. 
 
The best seafood in three states is at Felix’s Fish Camp which is just down from Battleship Park where the Battleship Alabama is preserved. 
There is a fine display of World War 2 Aircraft and a large submarine as well as the Battleship.
It is so massive that it will take more than one trip. 
 
Dawn and Jeff caught a few fish down at the pond. 
The Catch consisted of some Bass, Catfish, and Bream, which Jeff boils and feeds to the chickens.
His goal is to be self sufficient, last year he butchered a pig.  
 
Jeff smoked chicken for the Fourth of July and we cleaned and organized the patio.
The bonfire never came about.
We celebrated last Fourth of July at Ottawa Fishing Lake in Minneapolis Kansas (Yes Kansas!) 
We grilled “Leg of Lamb” and it was hot enough for Air Conditioning to cool down for sleeping. 
 
Our scenery here is not the same as in Ottawa but we are comfortable under the barn roof and can keep windows open even in the rain. 
We use our Air Conditioning sparingly however being shaded keeps us about 10 degrees cooler. 
 
There is plenty of room here and things are quite pleasant especially in the cooler part of the year.
Jeff has a number of Gazebos located around the farm. 
It is a very busy life running the Commercial Laundry and farming even in this limited capacity. 
His recovery is progressing and we are glad to be of help.
 
One Friday they were behind at the laundry so we went and helped out.
Most of the work was washing and pressing napkins for one of the restaurants.
I’ll bet there were about a 1,000 of them.
It was not hard work just repetitious. 
Dawn and I did some shopping on the way back. 
 
As the month draws to an end most of the jobs now consist of sorting and cleaning tools.
A room is being prepared to insulate for more storage and d soon there will be a few less chickens. 
There was one last mower repair for the cooling fan.
 
When I was finishing the mowing down by the pond there was a gaggle of geese that landed in the pond.
I wish I would have had my camera as there was a magnificent sight. 
So far this has been one our best and most fun vacations.  
We are not going to tell Jeff and Rita or they will start charging! 

 

August 2022

The month started with two of the motor home’s faucets developing a leak.
The galley sink has a repair kit, but the sink in the head had a new one installed three years ago.  
Both of these are a standard household fixture which is to say modern “JUNK!” 
The sink is one of those wand types with a single bar and the head has a “Washerles Delta” type that defies replacing the rubber seal.
After five attempts a complete new faucet was installed.      
None of the “Home Improvement” stores had any other choice, all were the same. 
 
So Dawn the Plumber replaced the internals of the sink faucet.
I would prefer to have two separate faucets but that would require complicated re-plumbing. It seems that this will be the process every three years, as that is about how long they last in the motor home. 
 
Meanwhile Dawn was able to gather some things from the garden that grew last season.
Some of the new plants are growing but will not produce until later.
I sharpened the blades for the mower and it cuts much better. 
 
Down by the pond we discovered two Crayfish holes.
They make these pockets to reproduce. The tops can be removed and one can harvest them for a southern Crawfish Étouffée!
We didn’t. 
Two big events happened during this month’s stay, general cleanup and preparing the chipper for auction. 
 
The chipper needed a simple start solenoid replacement, new battery, and cleaned electric contacts. 
The cleanup day consisted of the crew from the tree guys that rents the space at Jeff's Laundry. 
About a dozen guys showed up and cut down dead trees, and removed them.
Now there are big piles waiting for a time to burn them. 
 
The garden is starting to produce some of the things we planted. 
We had a home grown cucumber in our salad. 
Our friend, Doug, back in Florida grew some Squash also.
 
There is an interesting mushroom growing on one of the trees.
Dawn is wondering if it is safe to eat.
It is going to stay where it is! 
 
Jeff’s tenant left the Bobcat.
Jeff is using it to move two of the Gazebos.
One is going to down by the pond and will be a boon for fishing. 
The other is going to be brought closer to the house. 
 
Basically, there are two groups of chickens one group which will eventually become fried chicken.
The other group is the laying hens and even though there are eggs collected from both the pens the laying hens are free range. 
However, at night they are returned to their pen to roost. 
 
Each day Dawn lets them out and collects them again at night.   
They have almost become pets and come running whenever they see us.
I call it Dawn’s Herd. 
 
Most of what I am doing is just general cleanup and repair of equipment.
Mowing continues especially since we had rain for a solid week!
Jeff is getting stronger and soon our usefulness will be at an end. 
 
Soon it will be time to head back and this time get the boat underway in the OCEAN! 
We are going to miss our friends and the fun we have had. 
We should have all the “chores” finished in a couple weeks. 
It looks like I will have my last of the three eye shots before we leave.
We really did not miss the travel this year although there were a few friends we have made that we would have liked to visit, but in all it has been one of our best summers yet! 


Photos of the month: 
https://youtu.be/OuN72n9dHDw

June 2022

We spent a quiet Memorial Day and grilled mostly to keep the motor home cool.
Jeff has us parked in his “Barn” which is an open air shelter,
This is keeping us reasonably cool as the breeze blows through and we do not shut windows for rain. 
 
Over at the Jeff's Laundry, I replaced the Start/Run Capacitor for his “Class A” Motor Coach so Rita can have a cool break while working.
It was not a hard job but Jeff is still on the mend and restricted from bending and lifting.
 
 I was able to change the tire and run the Big John Deer Mower. 
It works just like the one that I used to mow at our boat dock up in Turkey Creek, only bigger. 
Jeff and Rita think it is work so I am not telling them its fun for me. 
 
After mowing a lot of grass (maybe 2 Acres) we started moving the Chicken enclosure, as it needs to cover new ground for fertilizer purposes.
Jeff usually moves it every three months or so.
 
In the middle of all this I had to replace my phone.
That wasted two days for setup and troubleshooting; the industry needs to do better in this regard.  
It is ridicules the amount of set up and learning curve for these devices! 
The other fun thing is they just MUST change things and it’s not for the better either.
 
One day the Tractor Mower quit, the fuel shut off solenoid shorted out. 
We had to wait about two weeks to get a part for the Tractor Mower.
The Start \ Run Solenoid shorted out and it is the shut off for the engine. 
It took only a couple of hours and it was running again. 
 
While waiting for the part to arrive we re-covered the hen house for the laying hens.
One of the chickens (Sex Link type) and Dawn became friends and she gave her an egg every day! 
 
Jeff’s Doctor told him he could drive so he started mowing. 
While doing some brush cutting it was discovered that a chicken was brooding and one day the mother hen and 12 baby checks emerged from the brush.
They have been wandering around and are not particularly shy of being around people.
 
Dawn made a video of the mom and chicks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR2nbpdqNtx_w-5KvYJiyk4zcU2-doe28TEJDUmVjnzJAYRNec444x_eFQA&v=yY31sG-vTYg&feature=youtu.be
The pond in the lower part of the farm has Bass, Catfish, and Blue Gill.
They are fairly large and Dawn keeps saying she is going to fish. 
Many are large enough to make a good meal for two! 
 
Next door are goats and they come to the fence expecting a treat just like dogs.
There is a herd of cows as well and sometimes we can hear them. 
In the evening we watch fish in the pond and listen to the goats. 
 
We had a severe thunder storm which knocked out the power.
It was a bit of a surprise when the local power company truck showed up.
The power lines run next to the farm.
About three minutes later power was back on. 
 
During the summer here in Mississippi it is similar to Florida, there seems to be a thunderstorm every other week.
The grass grows quite fast here and mowing is a three day affair. 
The end of June will be capped off by a trip to Mobile, Alabama for our monthly trip to COSTCO.
Gas is still marginally less here in Mississippi. 
The COSTCO is 60 miles away and we will go Tuesday June 28 the same day as my Retina Appointment.
 
This month of farming has been great as it has given our travels purpose as well as enjoyment.
Dawn has been rejuvenating the “Tub Garden” and there will be some great vegetables. 
Most importantly Jeff continues to recover from his surgery. 

 

 

May 2022

We were facing a summer of no Air Conditioning and being stuck in the boatyard back in May of 2018 when we decided to buy our motor home and go North!

It is now 2022 and May and we are still stuck in the boatyard, however, we do not need to buy anything... just leave!
Last month we had the boat in the water twice and the first time discovered a serious leak in a seacock, and the second time while starting the engine the alternator died.

So, the start of May finds us still in need of some work and it is best at this time to keep it safe and strapped down for yet another hurricane season! 

Last month we started on plumbing modifications to bring our 1981 boat up to 2022 Sanitary Code.
Thankfully, this will only need to be done one time because it is a royal pain in the tushie!

After the last month, looking for the reason the engine would not keep running, it appears the problem may be a missing washer. This was discovered after using clear line to see what the fuel was doing.
The top of the fuel filter was leaking.
This did not show up before because the manual pump stops when the engine stops. 

One Stinkin’ Washer--- I don't gots to show you no stinkin’ washer!
The story behind all this is simple, in 2018 in order to replace the lift pump the filter housing had to be removed, and both washers were left on top of the gland nut!
I simply forgot. 

The fuel leak stopped and blind inserts for the bolts were installed in the head.
We knocked off at 4:30 on Tuesday as it was just too hot in the boat.
It was closed from Sunday night to Tuesday afternoon at about 2; 30 PM. (May 3)

After a two day rest we returned the weekend of May 6 and only got a little preliminary work done.
Saturday morning I did the primary hook up on the engine fuel lines and Dawn and I tackled the plumbing for our new toilet.

Coast Guard Regulations required us to run four lines of thick (1/8th inch) heavy, inch and a half diameter sewer hose.
It does not like to bend sharply; actually it doesn’t like to bend much at all!
Of the four lines, two split off from the toilet discharge through a “Y” Valve and one will go to the “Holding Tank” and the other for discharge 9 or more miles out to sea (Florida Coast).
The Dark hose runs from the “Holding Tank” to the Deck Pump Out for emptying.
The last (Not visible) is a discharge hose that uses a macerator to empty the “Holding Tank” again more than 9 miles out. 

A thunderstorm started while I was finishing up and I had to work in a closed boat, hot, humid, and I was dripping by the time I finished.
The storm lasted late into the night and ended the planned engine work. 

Sunday (May 8) is now our “Independence Day”
Because after a grueling two hours of work mostly attempting to replace a Compression Fitting with a formed tube, we got the engine started.
After three months of chasing down an air leak, and discovering a missing sealing washer, the engine started and ran smoothly.
The boat will now be ready to leave in September when we return~! 

We figure two more visits will get everything prepared to leave Florida and the weekend of the 15th we spent Friday to Sunday fine tuning and sorting through most of the stuff on the boat.
There are still some minor things but in large it is ready to go.

We are saying our farewells to Steve and Sue who were installing new “Hurricane Windows”, and Doug and Prudy, before tidying up the boat and leaving, it had been a hard 3 months but this time the sailboat will be ready and willing when we return.  

As we again hit the road, two things loom in our travels, the over 100% increase in gas and the rapidly increasing prices of everything.
Sam’s Club and COSTCO stop their pumps at $100 and it takes twice to fill up our 55 Gallon motor home tank.

Our already strained budget is now cut in half.
I seldom get political in our newsletter but one would have to be brain dead to not see that something is terribly wrong in America! 

We stopped at one of our Florida favorites which is going to be one of those things eliminated in the near future.
From Hungry Howie’s we stopped at the Hillsborough County Rest area which was almost empty in the RV area. 

The only stops we made until arriving at Gulfport, Mississippi was at overnight rest areas and gas $4.17 per gallon with our Flying J Discount Card.
We Camped at Long Beach after dinner at Cajun’s Fabulous Fried Chicken, (and it is Fabulous at $11.69 buffet!) 

This trip we are going to visit Jeff at his farm because he is recovering from back surgery.
Then the SunChaser will head north at the end of the month.
Our friend Sue informed us that back in Florida it is now 94 and HUMID!
Steve and other members of the sailing club are sailing to the Dry Tortugas on a rented Dufour 47 foot sailboat.       

Jeff owns the commercial laundry we stayed at during the “Shelter in Place” time in March 2020 and he had started his “Tub Farm” then.
He also has chickens and Lots of eggs!
Currently, while he is recovering, Rita is running the laundry and keeps their Class A there, so we have the space they keep their Motor Home at his farm.
Mississippi provided a severe thunderstorm our first night.
Our main reason for stopping was to help Jeff with various chores while he recovers.

We have had some fun jobs while stopped.
Assembled a chicken feeder and small laying house that protects the eggs.
Dawn got to have an “egg hunt” as the free range chickens lay their eggs in places all around the farm house.
We’re not telling Jeff but it is loads of fun for us!

This time of year starts the rain on the Gulf Coast and we had almost steady rain since leaving Florida.
This has been a great fun way to finish off a month of disappointment with our boat.

Our book list has added one more book:

Two Years Behind the Wheel Part One

Road to Freedom

Camping in Comfort

Now for the Davits

So You Want to Live on a Sailboat

Misadventures of a Sailing Poet

April 2022

April finds the Dawn Treader back in square one! 
We had the boat in the water twice and we lost Steve’s window to get it OUT because of mostly mechanical problems. 
It would have been nice if the owners of the boatyard would have suggested going back to J&R in the first place since both yards are owned by the same people. 
It would have been about $600 less that way.
Another “I should have asked,” moment as I thought they both charged the same. 
We are paid up until May! 
 This was a bit unkind and when we first came to the boatyard it was not that way, they transferred us from Charlotte Harbor Boatyard over to J&R Boat Storage and services when we finished our bottom paint in January 2018! 
At any rate it emptied our savings, which had we got to the mooring it would have been only $45 for the last two months! 
 We have never started any “Go Fund Me,” or asked for donations but what we would appreciate is if our readers would look over our book lists and even recommend them to frien1ds as we feel that people will get value out of our publications and it will help us tremendously! 
 The book list includes “Road to Freedom,” a complete guide for anyone considering buying an RV.
It starts with selection, financing, and includes all aspects of preparing for life on the road.
 “Camping in Comfort,” Is about traditional camping with tents, and give a light hearted review for new people. 
 “Now for the Davits,” is a construction book for anyone wishing to build Davits from Composites.  
Our other books are entertaining and informative for anyone wanting to live a mobile lifestyle. 
A complete list and web-page information is at the end of the newsletter. 
 Dawn and I just had to step back and do some thinking so we booked into Kowechobe Campground (Dinner Island Ranch) for a few days. 
The campground was near our old home in Turkey Creek and Labelle Florida. 
The campground is in the middle (or maybe the edge) of nowhere and totally primitive. 
The engine parts will arrive before we get back to Englewood.
 After arriving back at the boatyard the job of dismantling the Exhaust Manifold and resetting the Throttle Cable took up nearly all day. 
During the teardown it was discovered the cooling system is also going to need to be flushed mostly because of the previous oil leak.  
To keep the motor home cool we set up the camp stove and cooked outside. 
 Returning to the boat the next week the entire cooling system was dismantled and flushed out.
When the old oil cooler leaked oil it made “gunk” which could cause the heat exchanger to clog.
 The new toilet will be properly installed and will surpass Coast Guard Regulations. 
In between all this we had our various doctor’s appointments. 
 Most of our time at the boatyard is from Friday afternoon to Sunday Evening, as during the week our motor home would be in the way to move boats.
 
 Returning the cooling system was re-assembled and preliminary planning to install the new toilet.
In the process the new Alternator and wiring was also installed. 
 We celebrated Easter Sunday at the boatyard as well. 
 Things are progressing however it is looking like the best plan is to wait out the Hurricane Season and return in September.   
Dawn especially is concerned about possible damage because of where the mooring is located. 
We  will leave the boat in storage at J&R.
Our goal is to have everything ready to launch in September when we return.
 Most of our work is minor.
While working in the head, a water leak developed where the previous owners had spliced in the line for the toilet.  
Hard to believe they used their fresh water to flush!
The original brass compression fittings were still in place with adapters for a hose.
It took some finesse and a tubing bender to get the copper line straight again and reconnect properly. 
 
The absolute fun part is getting the thick almost unbendable sewer hose in place and connected to the new “Y-Valve.”
The laws were different in1981 when the boat was built and there is precious little room to work.
A section of the floor had to be removed and an access hatch created for this purpose. 
 During this process the boat is in worse condition than a house remodel.
There is just no place to store things.
Things that are normally under the deck contain necessary tools and materials so everything is spread everywhere.
Sometimes it takes longer to find a tool than to use it!
 Our last visit for this month was to feed the new sewer hose into the area under the V-Berth where the waste holding tank is located. 
There is a small space to work with and the hole is the same size as the hose on both sites.
Naturally neither place can be reached so something must be used to guide the hose and it also must flex!
It took about 3 hours and thankfully it only must be done once!
All this is to bring the 1981 plumbing up to the 2022 Coast Guard and State standards. 
 The requirements for all sanitary systems (potty) is that any outlet to the ocean must be locked and while locked it is directed into a holding tank.
The holding tank may be emptied by an onshore pump out station much like our motor home. 
 We had been parking Sunday nights at Lemmon Bay as it is cool and picturesque.
The Sea Breeze made comfortable sleeping and a respite from work in the hot boat.
Sadly this last week end the Sheriff informed us that the park was no longer allowing any parking after 10 PM!  
 Steve and Sue extended the hospitality of their driveway so we can finish the boat.
This Christmas Steve bought a beautiful metal bird in the walkway. 

Road to Freedom

Camping in Comfort

Now for the Davits

So You Want to Live on a Sailboat

Misadventures of a Sailing Poet


March 2022

Beware of the Ides of March!
The First of March found us still in the Boatyard.
Dawn Treader was scheduled to be taken to the Traveling crane in Charlotte Harbor Boatyard and then to the dock on Wednesday the Second of March. 
 
The month of February has disappeared and most of the month was devoted to repairing the sailboat engine.
Steve and Sue Rosen have been incremental to the process of restoring Dawn Treader from the beginning. 
 
Way back in 2012 due to a very lucky chance meeting, Steve has been prominent in not just helping us but almost single handedly maintains the fleet at the Englewood Sailing Club.
This trip Steve and Sue’s help and support have made the stay in Florida productive and pleasant.
 
February has not been our usual travels.
One of our favorite campsites has yet to open for camping and the boat work has taken almost all our time and energy.   
 
For the non mechanics reading, here is what we were up against!
A diesel engine is rather simple yet it is really fussy when it comes to the fuel supply.
IF there is any AIR that creeps into the fuel line the engine speeds up and stops.
It will not start again without bleeding the air from the lines, which we did over 8 times during three days!
The culprit was an obscure fuel fitting down on the fuel tank which we missed for three days while checking everything else!
 
The problem was discovered on February 27,
Just three days before the scheduled departure.
At this time I just must mention some people that have provided invaluable help.
Melody and Michael in Arizona provided us with a place to stay while my back healed.
Steve and Sue Rosen provided technical aide and parking for the off days we were not at the boatyard.
And a big thanks to Jon “Diesel” Stridom, who nursed us through the problem since last year.
Jon also does great charter trips and can be contacted through sailthekeys@hotmail.com
During one trip he and the guests witnessed a “Green Flash,” and dolphins so anyone touring Florida, it is a great deal.  
 
Steve was going to help move the boat, however, after the second window passed and more troubles showed up it is now off tell ????
 
Last year Doug and Prudy, hosted our stay and shared much of our frustration as many delays were caused by incompetence, and COVID induced holdups. 
They were great, but sadly it was far too long and far too much frustration, as well as a huge financial drain. 
We were forced by financial and weather constraints to leave Florida last June! 
 
Keeping the boat in the storage yard was just over $4,000 of unnecessary expense. 
 
The beginning of March our sailboat is in water at last.
We had one minor problem, the prop shaft packing was leaking.
It took about an hour to free up the bolts and adjust the packing nut. 
The last of preparations were made for departure, WRONG!
 
The second bilge pump was pumping and at first we thought it was the fresh water tank.
It turned out to be the toilet was filling up and dumping water in the shower drain.’
Further investigation revealed that the valve and sea cock for the toilet discharge was leaking.
This valve would not shut off. So the boat had to be taken back out so the valve can be replaced (it is on the bottom of the boat) 
 
To save time we hired Norm's Props to do the work which was completed for just under $1,200 so it is back to check out and move the boat. 
The new toilet and plumbing will be done later?
 
The boat was returned to the dock and we were all ready to go the next morning when once again the engine gremlin struck.  
Somewhere air is still getting into the fuel lines, and while we were trying to trace it down the alternator started squealing and then smoking.
 
The new alternator was only $120 but the added boatyard charges was near$1,000
Had we left it in the storage it would only be $300 a month at this point the attempt to save has cost us an extra $1,700.
The only good part is we would not have known about the seacock until the boat sunk while we were gone! 
 
While we were working to get the boat ready I learned my long time friend, Jim from way back in High School, passed away from a stroke.
Jim was in a band that had a minor hit record and was one of the bands that appeared with the Rolling Stones back when they toured in San Bernardino in 1964! (The Year I graduated from High School)
 
We will be at a campground for the rest of the month and will stay and work on the boat until it gets unbearable. 
The first is Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management at Babcock Lake for 2 days. 


February 2022

Back in the saddle again ♫♪♪♫
Conestoga Charlie and Company (Admiral Dawn) are back in Florida.
Last year a severe cold front chased us home once again.
The lows all along the Gulf Coast and down into central Florida was 28 degrees much of the end of January. 
 
This also marks the third year of attempting to get our sailboat back into the ocean.
Last year between COVID induced incompetence and utter stupidity we were delayed for 6 ½ months with no progress and a loss of about $5,500 not to mention two charters worth $1,000 each! 
There were also major hassles at the Boatyard itself!
 
To state we are not looking forward to our time in Florida is a gross understatement.
As we journeyed south to Port Charlotte and the Dawn Treader, one quick stop at our now number 2 favorite Pizza Buffet, Hungry Howie’s.
Also one last rest stop before arriving at our friends, Steve and Sue to pick up the second ladder we bought to access our boat. (Our ladder disappeared three times!)
 
Steve and Sue invited us to stay for dinner because she discovered a new clam chowder recipe from their trip to Saint Augustine. 
It was great! 
 
The next morning we arrived at J&R Boatyard and found Dawn Treader just where we left it.
Everything was good as there were some very high winds just before we arrived.
The batteries were well maintained by the solar
Panels we installed last year.
 
The dismantling process was started.
 I had to work in short spurts as I still hurt and Dawn helped move things out of the lazerette
Because it is so deep and it is also the back engine compartment access.   
 
The oil cooler was removed and tested with no positive results, so it was replaced with the oil lines bypassed.  
 
The entire weekend was spent working on the engine and after several attempts to start all day Saturday, finally Sunday the engine started. 
After running for a considerable period of time no oil leaked into the cooling system. 
 
The next project is to replace the oil cooler and finally leave the boatyard after three years of trying. 
During this entire month we made only one trip away from the boat yard while waiting for the New Oil Cooler.
We spent a week in the Sebring area and made what will probably be the last visit to an old favorite Restaurant there.
The ravages of COVID have diminished many businesses and this was one of them. 
 
While waiting for the oil cooler to arrive we attended the Englewood Sailing Association Annual Meeting.
We have been members and supported the club since our arrival in Florida.
The ESA mission is to teach sailing to young people and recently expanded to include adult and racing classes. 
 
This will be our last weekend “Homeless,” as the boat is scheduled to be transported to the dock at Charlotte Harbor Boatyard on Wednesday March 2nd.
Friday the 25th of February we will finish all the connection start and do the final testing and clean up by Sunday night.


January 2022

With the passing of another year again we will attempt to get Dawn Treader back in her home in the ocean.
The last of 2021 was turbulent and December was spent recovering from being carless. 
It was a sad month for Dawn and I and we look forward to travel across Texas to meet with friends we have not seen for a while. 
There is no way to repay Michael and Melody for the hospitality while I recovered and, the new computers for both Dawn and myself.
 
As we left Arizona we made one last visit to our favorite Taco Shop and headed out across New Mexico.
Due to time and weather only one stop was made before Texas.
The Petro Truck Stop for dinner and a rather noisy night.
 
The rest areas in Texas are generally a cut above most other states.
Many have free Dump Stations as well as ample parking.
 
We were trying to time it for dinner at a long time favorite in Junction Texas however it was not working out so it was lunch instead.
 
Isaack’s in Junction is a bit off the 10 but very well worth the detour.
The food is still first rate and homemade.
Prices are still quite reasonable.
It was a must stop since 2004, when I had the boat in Texas and California.  
 
From there we took a leisurely path to Kemah Texas down below the Houston Ship Chanel and spent two days
Ivan gave us a tour of the harbor in his new (for him) 91 Beneteau 361.
The marina was beautiful and we had dinner at the Sun Dance Grill which was overpriced but excellent food.  
 
The next visits were in Louisiana and Mississippi at Wynne’s house and Jeff’s laundry.
We had a great breakfast at Abita Springs Café.
It was a great place for the food and sadly raining so photos. 
In Gulfport we parked at the beach for two days and did BBQ with Jeff and Rita.
 
 Last trip we did not have time to visit Beauvoir.  
Beauvoir is a historic landmark that has endured more than 165 years of history along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  
Beauvoir is one of the few original antebellum homes left on the Mississippi Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  
 
 Beauvoir was also Jefferson Davis’ last Residence in Biloxi. 
Before the Civil War he was a Senator and Franklin Pierce appointed him Secretary of War.  
An interesting side note is that 18-year-old Jefferson Davis was placed under house arrest while at West Point for his role in the 1826 Eggnog Riot, which started after cadets were caught smuggling whiskey into their barracks.
 
In April 2, 1865, Davis and the rest of the CSA government fled Richmond as the Union Army advanced. 
Union soldiers captured Davis in Georgia, on
 He was imprisoned for two years at Fort Monroe in Virginia.
1876, he returned to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, He would live there for the rest of his life.
In December 1889, Davis died in New Orleans. Some 200,000 people lined that city’s streets for the funeral.  
 
After the visit we checked out a marina and visited Samuel who lives on his boat in the marina.
Parking back at Jeff’s laundry after a great dinner at “Cajun’s Fabulous Fried Chicken” also in Gulfport MS, It lived up to its name for$10.99!
Again the rain prevented any photos. 
 
Finally leaving Gulfport during an ice front with a low of 28 degrees we headed east again.
Winter weather chased us all the way home last year as well.
Our first two stops in Florida were also 28 Degrees low so we stopped in Lake City and used our Choice Bonus points to get a room at the Quality inn!
 
This also allowed “Catch up” work on the new computer, iTunes, and iPod.
As of the 22nd the newsletter was still being composed. 
Solar Power has been in short supply in “The Sunshine State” and it has been heavy overcast for the week now!
 
We literally have been “Rest Stop Hopping” since Mississippi.
Lake Panasoffkee Campground will be our home until Thursday 27th when we will reclaim our ladder and start to work on the boat. 
There will not be any more sightseeing until the boat condition is remedied. 
Dawn is still working on editing our latest book. 


December 2021 Edition

It is the holiday season and we want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas as well as remind all what the season is about.
It is the time that Christ came to provide the greatest gift to all mankind.
 
The month is half over and I have spent the better part recovering from being stupid!
Trying to move a refrigerator for a friend I managed to severely pull a back muscle.
It has taken three weeks and it is almost healed.
We have been provided a place to park by our friends Michael and Melody in Arizona.
 
The holdup also provided Dawn with an opportunity to be with her mother before she passed on December 15, 2021.
 
Michael built Dawn a Super Laptop Computer while we were staying at their ranch.
Normally we would have been out of Arizona by this time so my back holdup served two purposes. 
I got a back brace to prevent any future problems as well as help me heal.
Dawn is currently editing another book for our E-Book collection.
This one journals our travels from June 2018 to November 2020 complete with photos. 
 
As the month progressed my laptop decided to disintegrate so it was returned to Sam’s Club for a complete refund.
Michael had another in the works so mine as well as Dawn’s was replaced.
The timing was uncanny as Dawn’s old one had the screen die two days after hers was finished.
I’m just now reinstalling all the things I had on mine!
 
The New Year is almost upon us and the newsletter may be late this month as all the computer problems and being laid out six weeks with the back problem.
 
The trip over to Dawn’s Brother’s house included getting Shredded Beef Tacos at one of our favorites in Tucson and then the dump station.
On the way back we stopped and photographed the Union Pacific Maintenance of Way Train parked on a siding near our off ramp. 
 
We almost did not get out of Marana for Christmas as it rained so hard we dug trenches getting out.
 Upon return the motor home was parked in a different spot. 
 
Our next goal is to go to Texas to visit my old sailing mentor who recently bought a Beneteau 361.
After that we will start the trek back to Florida to hopefully get our boat operational again.


November 2021

Last month was a very busy month, this month started in Bullhead City with a visit with friends Craig and Andrea who were staying at Bullhead River Park. 

They also have an RV and a Boat and spend winters south.  
Two days at the Riverside RV Park which is now the second paid park for us, $20 per night? 
 
From here it was a trip up to the Grand Canyon.
This was the first time for Dawn.
The campground there was down a fire road for BLM Disbursed Camping.
The stay was two days then a trip to the Grand Canyon Overlook in Grand Canyon National Park.
Our entry was free with our senior pass.
Before leaving, we attended the I-Max presentation.
 
Down the hill to Tucson for the next destination, and indefinite stay, while Dawn visits family and I visit with friends.
The motor home had the headlights restored at Wal-Mart in Marana so we can see better at night.
We don’t drive at night often but it was needed. 
 
From the forest and 58 degrees to the desert with 90, we camped in Park Link Campground near Red Rock and Picacho Peak, Arizona.
Farther up the road is the Biosphere, which is now used by the University of Arizona. 
The original experiment of a sealed environment failed because the water became too polluted. 
 
It was so peaceful at Park Link that we came back after going to dump the holding tanks, fill up with gas, propane, and water.
After staying three more days we went into Tucson to pick up our mail waiting at Dawn’s brother’s house, we stayed at Jim’s house another two days waiting for the other two LED light fixtures, replacements for the old florescent lights.
 
Our stay in Tucson proper included visiting Dawn’s Mother and brother, and my ex-boss as well as Richard, who is a flight instructor. 
The SunChaser got a bath at Jim’s before leaving. 
 
We parked at Melody’s overnight for the dinner party and wound up staying longer than planned due to an unfortunate accident. 
Melody has been doing home improvement but we have plenty of room to park.
She is down to only one rescue horse at present.
Bird (the horse) loves our company and Dawn is running with her. 
 
The Newsletter is going out early this month due to an accident.
We are going to stay at Michael and Melody’s ranch for probably the rest of the month.
I really pulled a back muscle bad trying to move a refrigerator and we decided to just stay put till it heals.
 
When we leave Arizona, a brief stop in Texas is planned to visit one of my sailing Mentors.
Ivan has just put the finishing touches on his 91 Beneteau 361 and we are going to stop by to admire it! 
From there, it is just a matter of a week or two before we hit the boatyard and continue to ready Dawn Treader for Splash! (Splash for non sailors is put back in the water!)
Therefore my back must be ready for work!


October 2021

October is the middle of fall and SunChaser is leaving Douglas, Wyoming to head toward Nebraska.
The last two days in Douglas were under frost warnings but the days were warm enough. We actually used the motor home’s furnace a couple of times.
The use of the auxiliary 100 Watt Solar Panel kept us in power even with the shade from the trees. 
 
Leaving Douglas, we stopped at Jackalope Square. 
Douglas is the birthplace of the Jackalope and they are everywhere but none as big as the one in the square.  
Another of our favorite breakfast stops is the Village Inn located right on the edge of the freeway.
The two rest areas on the way were an example of Solar Energy use and included dump stations.  
The next stop was historic Fort Laramie.
 
Fort Laramie was originally a private fur trading post in 1834.
The fort went through a series of transformations eventually becoming the largest and best known on the northern frontier. As the beaver trade declined, the fort had a near monopoly on buffalo hide trade with the Sioux.
 
In 1849 the U.S. Army bought the post. 
Fort Laramie was the host to many Sioux and Cheyenne treaties the two most famous was the Horse Creek Treaty of 1851 and the still controversial and contested Treaty of 1868.  
 
The Treaty of 1868 ceded the Black Hills Territory of the Dakotas as a Sioux reservation. 
Discovery of gold led to the violation of this treaty and eventually the Sioux Wars.
Two principle battles were the Rose Bud and Little Big Horn. 
 
"This war was brought upon us by the children of the Great Father who came to take our land from us without price."--Spotted Tail

The report and journal of proceedings of the commission appointed to obtain certain concessions from the Sioux Indians, December 26, 1876.
 
Fort Laramie became the Northern Plains center for the pioneers moving west on the “Oregon Trail,” to 1890 when the fort was abandoned. 
Tens of thousands of emigrants bound for Oregon, California, and the Salt Lake Valley passed through Fort Laramie. 

In 1938, Fort Laramie became part of the National Park System.
 
We stopped briefly in the little town of Fort Laramie and talked with the owner of a curio shop (Polite for junk store!)
The owner is French and lived in the next town.
She offered to sell us the store!
 
SunChaser is moving east along the old Oregon Trail and the next stop was Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
Scottsbluff was a major landmark to travelers in the North Platte Valley who were part of the great westward overland migration during the 19th century.
In 1919, Scottsbluff became a National Monument. 
The name came from the unfortunate death of a fur trader, Hiram Scott who was abandoned by his companions at the base of the formation. 
 
Before leaving, we checked the air pressure and discovered a problem with one of the tires. Fat Boy’s Tire shop discovered the inside tire had a valve problem and the thin tread. We had to replace the bad tire and when we get to Grand Island it will become the new spare.

It was lunch time when they finished with the tire so we had lunch at a place the shop guy recommended.
Las VII Americas which is a combination restaurant and tortilla factory. https://business.facebook.com/Las7Americas/?__xts__[0]=68.ARDl8gyiRYBJGR-yMKNxCb9EIhuRDvjsoohyFgR8j
 
There will be only one stop between Scottsbluff and Grand Island Nebraska where we will replace the four rear tires. 
Bayard is the home of Chimney Rock and our camp for two days.
 
Before parking in Bayard we stopped again at the Chimney Rock National Monument. This is one of the most famous landmarks for the pioneers moving west.
The three main trails converge from Nebraska, Oregon, California, and Mormon.
 
The main part of Bayard is opposite the Park and Campsites.
The Depot Museum was closed for the season and the mill and grain elevators are also located on the way to Grand Island.
The Cornfield next to the park has been harvested. 
 
We made it to Grand Island without incident but arrived too late for the tire shop.
However, the tires did not arrive for two days so we were guests of Wal-Mart across the street from the Discount Tire Store. 
 
I was a bit disappointed when I saw our spare looked new.
We paid a bit over $220 for a tire to get us here.
However, after checking, we discovered the spare was 18 years old. 
It was a year older than our motor home!
 
The tire would  have never lasted the 300+ miles from Scottsbluff without disintegrating.
Now SunChaser has not only a good new spare but all new tires.
The front tires were replaced last month at the same store.
 
From Grand Island we made a stop at Bosselman Travel Center to see the alien, then on to Aurora to wait at Streeter Park for our mail to arrive.
The Alien at Bosselman's was sent back to the corporate headquarters.
 
Streeter Park was absolutely full and only two spots were left.
After the weekend it pretty much cleared out. The park maintenance man even commented about how unusual it was for this time of year. 
 
Only two more stops in Nebraska before heading south, on to Lincoln for COSTCO and York for a Marble Museum.
On the way out I just had to get a picture of our “Conestoga Wagon” at the mall.
Also, for those who visit our web page know that I use a pen name of ‘Conestoga Charlie” to write our RV Journal.
 
At the Milford exit on the way back to York, is the world’s largest covered wagon.
In 1964 Kenneth R. Dahle bought land next to the new interstate exit in Milford and opened a campground called “Westward Ho” and later in 1978 completed the “Prairie Schooner” which is all that stands today. 
 
On the way to the RV Parking, we stopped to see the German POW Camp museum in Concordia, but it was closed.  
Later at Airport Park, we met a couple who rode a tandem bicycle from Connecticut and will wind up in Florida some time later.
At roughly 40 miles per day it will take awhile.  
 
From Concordia we headed to Arkansas City, Kansas to have our oil changed and found the original problem tire had lost its air.
Arkansas City had lined the streets with Halloween decoration.
 
We made two more stops in Oklahoma because of the tire problem and it turned out to be a bad valve stem. 
The last stay in El Reno, a Route 66 Crossroads, was at the Lucky Star Casino where Dawn won $40! 
We will head to Texas and Arizona next.

 


September 2021

The Beginning of September finds The   SunChaser at Fort Peck Montana.
This has become an annual event since buying the Motor Home in May of 2018.
Last year at this time we received the tragic call about our friends in Texas and made a sprint back to Texas.

This year marks our fourth Labor Day at the 1Flood Plain Campground and Boat Ramp in Fort Peck Montana.
For us it is our time to turn south once again.
Generally we would head back to Florida to continue work on the Sailboat, Dawn Treader.

This year there is so much uncertainty as our government literally is falling apart amid the continued attempts for total takeover.
We have traveled in the generated COVID fears now for 19 months.
At this point we are uncertain of our next destination.

During our time here we have met some new friends and had great fun with our kayaks as well as used our solar shower to a great advantage.
The total Solar Array has also grown to include a portable 100 Watt panel which brings our total to 570 Watts.

The SunChaser has been electrically independent for over a year now and with the current set up even tree shadow and cloudy weather does not prevent charging the batteries on board.
Last month we met Doug and Ron who were camped from their motorcycles and are both from Wisconsin.
Ron and his wife just bought a new travel trailer and will be traveling shortly.
Doug will be visiting Florida sometime later and wants to visit the sailboat.

 Our other new friend Scott flew in with a De Havilland Beaver.
He brought it down from Alaska and stopped off here to refuel.
He also sails, and took a trip to Fiji on a 41 foot Catamaran.
He also has relatives in Florida and promised to fly out pizza if we would sail to Saint Thomas.

We made a video of the take off on Youtube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS5ba0n7tp8&feature=youtu.be

This year also seems to be a year for some serious maintenance as we are replacing the holding tank valves and last month the refrigerator.
Still it has been far less than our sailboat.
The new valves will be installed before we leave Fort Peck.
The walk to the town is about a mile.
We collected our mail and parts for the motor home there.
The Historic Hotel has new owners and they have a dinner buffet Thursday through Sunday.

We have had dinner three times there and it was great every time.
We had some wild visitors to our campground, A mother and two young ones came to feast on the crabapples. After the main crowd left and things were quiet we got several visits.

Leaving Glasgow Montana after some shopping, Propane refill, and Lunch some strange noises emanated from the front. It turned out to be the brake pads.
We stayed in Lewistown an extra two days for replacement.
 The shop was overloaded but squeezed in the motor home. The problem was caught early and only needed the pads replaced.
Total cost was $230!

After leaving Lewistown, laundry was done at Edie’s Corner and another night. After breakfast the next morning a stop was made at Big Sky Grocery which is owned and run by an Amish Family. Dawn bought an Acorn Squash, Soup noodles, and Amish Fudge.

The next stop was the Wyoming Welcome Center in Sheridan for the night.
Boat inspection the next morning and on to Casper Wyoming where the GPS took us to the wrong part of town.

Before heading to Riverside Wyoming there will be Shopping at Walmart, Dinner at Sanford’s Grub n’ Pub, gas at Sam’s Club. The price of gas went up four cents overnight!

The SunChaser’s path is starting to turn south.
Passing through to Douglas we visited the Ayres Natural Bridge Douglas Wyoming. We also took a lunch break and photographed a herd of buffalo heading back to the freeway.

The SunChaser parked at Riverside Park for two days.
Douglas Wyoming is famous for the creation of the Jackalope.


Special Edition News

Special Edition News

SunChaser at Fort Peck Montana

We had some very interesting company visit the boat ramp here in Fort Peck while we were camped.

A De Havilland Beaver with two pilots landed at the lake behind the Dam.

Scott the owner brought it down from Alaska and was on route to Minnesota and stopped to refuel here.

We had an interesting conversation yesterday and today we texted back and forth as they flew out.

His friend’s son Joe took off and did a flyby and we also did a video of the takeoff.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS5ba0n7tp8&feature=youtu.be

He was the director of Flight ops for Seaborn Airlines in Saint Thomas and they operated 7 Twin Otters 5 were on Floats.

We found we have much in common and they sailed a catamaran in Fiji and has relatives in Florida.

We will most likely meet up in the future .

He said he would have offered to let me fly it but they had it full and it was almost at gross so some other time.

There will be more in next month’s newsletter.

Dawn and I have such interesting adventures! 


August 2021

Heading to South Dakota we are not going to visit Mount Rushmore again. We do however plan to revisit the Colonial House Restaurant in Rapid City.
When leaving on scenic Highway 285 towards North Dakota no stop at Mount Rushmore are planned. So far this trip has turned opposite of the original intention. 
We originally wanted to head to Mexico but turned north instead to “save up” as we actually save money while traveling. I should say “Most of the time.” As we had one of those “unplanned” expenses.
The motor home’s refrigerator died.
We went to Rich and Sons RV Headquarters 4395 Gold Core Road Grand Island Nebraska!
THEY WERE SUPER!
Katie Davison got us serviced and back in operation in about three hours and a $200 discount!
I know repairs on the road are difficult at best and especially if you’re a nomad like we are.
Finding service of this quality is hard to find these days!
We pulled in to their shop and within a half hour they had diagnosed the problem, laid out the options and even gave me a tour of the troubles.
It was very close to lunch time (dinner as they put it—this is farm country!) The service tech suggested we go to lunch and they would start when we returned. After lunch we were up and running with a new unit in less than two hours.
While we were there we also bought a good quality surge protector!
We are back at the Streeter Park campground watching everything cool down by morning it was almost back to normal, but we are going to have a lot of ice for a while as we kept everything in an ice chest while they installed the fridge.
The Refrigerator Door covers were installed, we had early dinner at a charming restaurant that specializes in fried chicken but has a great selection.
Tommy’s was recommended by the people that installed our new refrigerator.
We gassed up at Sam’s Club, and last minute shopping at Wal-Mart and headed to I-80
We spent the night at Brady's Rest Area Nebraska, which is one of the Gateway Stops and has a large sculpture and tourist center.
Bayard, Nebraska will be our next stop as we have our mail waiting there.
There is a lot of history as the Oregon Trail that runs through this country.
We will cross the Platt River and see Chimney Rock on our way.
Last time we stopped at the Nebraska Arch was for a history tour through Nebraska.
Bayard was our home for the next two days and the gasoline price went up four cents a gallon in those two days.
The price of gas has been steadily rising since November of 2020!
Checking ahead it was discovered that around $3.50 a gallon would be the norm in South Dakota.
So we filled up in Bayard as it was almost 40 cents a gallon less.
From Bayard we headed toward South Dakota with an eye on the temperatures.
In order to have Air Conditioning the generator must be used, and that uses gasoline.
The last stop in Nebraska was Carhenge near Alliance Nebraska.
It was listed as an “Offbeat Attraction.”
The Colonial House was a bit of a disappointment as the menu was totally different than the one online.
The waitress who had been working there for three years had no recollection of ever having the Buffalo Flat Iron Steak we got there in 2018.
I was never so tempted to just walk out and look for another place, but it was late.
Every place we stopped to refill our propane either had only the BBQ Bottles or had no personnel qualified to pump it!
There were thousands of motorcycles heading to or from Sturgis.
We stopped at a no facility truck parking area. The noise continued all night.
The next morning we bypassed Sturgis on the 85 which was scenic. 
We only made one short side trip to the Enchanted Highway off Interstate 90 in North Dakota.
Dinner was at the Hu Hot which is a Mongolian Grill and one of our northern states favorites. We first learned of them back in 2019 in Kalispell, Montana, and wish they’d move south!
We drove to the Wal-Mart in Bismarck and stayed for the night.Everything was within a few blocks of the Wal-Mart. So the next morning we filled the gas tank for $3.04 at COSTCO and replenished our vitamins.
The propane tank was filled at Tractor Supply.
While Dawn picked up some things at the Dollar Tree, I discovered Pizza Ranch in the same parking lot.
Pizza Ranch is another chain that is pretty much in the northern Midwest and again wish they had them in Florida.
They have the best fried chicken we have found. A complete salad bar, mashed potatoes and potato wedges, along with even biscuits with or without gravy. Oh Yesss and pizza, all was really good.
We will be looking for them again in our travels.
From Bismarck we went to Rugby to stay at the fairgrounds. We stayed for about 5 days.
While there we had Dinner at the Northside Lounge one evening and had desert in a classic ice cream parlor a couple days later. We walked through most of the town.
We left for Towner on a Sunday and found the park crowded.
Only one space was left, and later we discovered that it is a paving crew that is camped here.
Monday, we walked to breakfast and to the Post Office. Monday morning, we picked up a few groceries, mailed a bunch of letters to Governors and walked back to the motor home.
Friday we picked up our mail
It is now August 8th and hopefully it will stay cool now as it has been hot enough to need the air conditioner.
So far almost all the places we have stayed since we left had electric.
Both Rugby and Towner have electric hookups in the parks!
It was mentioned that we were going to make rounds to visit some friends we have made during out travels.
One of those friends is Towner itself.
We have used this week to catch up on the happenings since the last August visit.
The Postmaster’s son owns the Bearded Moose Bar and Grill and both visits have been great food and good company.
The Grocery Market has competitive prices considering being the only one for miles.
The Ranch House Restaurant is only open for Breakfast and Lunch and we got caught up on the construction of the Splash Pad construction in the park.  
Soon we will head back to Rugby for a final visit before heading west toward another favorite campground in Fort Peck, Montana.
Now that the heat wave is mostly passed there will be more touring on the way.

 

Leaving Rugby we made two stops, one in Minot to FAX documents to the IRS and lunch at anothe of the Pizza Ranch restaurant, which has great chicken.
There are always interesting things at Wal-Mart Parking lots, like the airplane on a trailer.
We spent two nights in Williston to shop and the temperature dropped to near freezing overnight.
We revisited Lonnie’s Road house for Breakfast and then left for Fort Peck.
We will be here in Fort Peck  Montana over Labor Day.
We have no idea yet what we will do after that! 


July 2021 Edition

Last Edition I mentioned visiting old friends and some of them were places as well as people.
Our first in July was a stop at Wal-Mart in Arkansas City, Kansas where we got the motor home serviced and breakfast at a new place as our old favorite was closed Monday.
Daisy Mae’s was just down the road from the Wal-Mart.
Breakfast was great, prices were very good and everyone was friendly, including the locals.
 
 From there we traveled to Ottawa State Fishing Lake, Minneapolis, Kansas where we have camped about 4 times now on our way North,
Our plans for Mexico have been put on hold for a time.
 
This year’s 4th of July was spent in a quiet campsite at Ottawa State Fishing Camp in Minneapolis, Kansas.
This is the fourth trip here and Ottawa was also the birth place of using solar cells for the motor home.
This trip used the total of 570 watts with a portable panel.
Electric generation has not been the problem.
 
Preparing to leave Ottawa Fishing Lake the kayak loading had two false starts.
The night of July 5th found them both still on the ground.
The next morning after another false start and about after an hour they were finally loaded and secured for travel.
Instructions and photos were filed for the next stop.
 
The Airport Park in Concordia was another return visit; however the visit was cut short because the inverter died!
While there, we were inundated by one humongous storm which had such violent winds that the motor home shook for almost and hour.
Reminded us of the time aboard the boat during Hurricane Irma!
The inverter was originally bought at Wal-Mart before we left and we saw one where we got the oil changed in Arkansas City, however, they did not have it at the one across the street from Airport Park so Dawn started calling around.
After calling five local Wal-mart stores one was located in Seward, Nebraska.
The manager promised to hold it, so we packed up and spent the night there.
 
We had dinner at a great Mexican restaurant, La Carreta.
It was a two Margarita night, and the next day we went to Lincoln to gas up at Sam’s Club and replenish Vitamins at COSTCO!
They had the food service open but only Pepperoni and Cheese now and no sauerkraut (one of Dawn's favorites) for the hot dogs.
 
We returned to Aurora and parked at Streeter Park for the fourth time.
There is one more stop necessary before heading north again.
Grand Island has a Harbor Freight and we must return a hitch extension that is terrible (too wobbly for our purpose). 
While we were there the front tyres were replaced at Discount Tire for almost half of what we paid way back in 2018 at “Camping World” when we first left.
 
After Aurora, it was decided to stay in Nebraska and we headed to Deshler to stay for 4 more days.
While there they had a model train meet hosted by “
Spring Creek Model Trains” at the fairgrounds.
They have a huge shop in town and heading back to Aurora for the Fair, a stop in Hebron was made to view the largest covered porch swing in the US!
Back in Aurora, we walked into town for breakfast at a favorite restaurant - Rath’s!
 
We plan to pick up mail in Bayard then turn north to South Dakota.
We will be ending the month in Nebraska.
The main issue this month is an outbreak of shingles!


June 2021

The end of May and start of June we are still in Florida and our Air Conditioning bills are piling up!

The original plan was to have the sailboat finished and out of the storage yard by the end of December 2020, however the delays and problems as well as some necessary medical procedures have held up the process.

On the 3rd of June I went for Cataract Surgery and we not only stayed for 5 days to get everything checked out but agreed to “house sit” so Doug and Prudence can attend their grand-daughter’s wedding.   

So now after 3 days I still have slightly blurred vision but things are brighter. I can’t lift anything over 5 pounds or bend over yet so the engine in the boat will have to wait.

The sailboat was put on the market however there is not much demand for “Engineless boats.” So it looks like next season we will return with a different plan.

Two things will happen, either the oil cooler is discovered to be the culprit, or I will rebuild the engine completely and then take the boat to a less expensive mooring!

June 9, I had the appointment with the Retinologist and got an all clear mostly. I got fitted for new glasses as all has changed. So now I have about 5 pair and some swim goggles that are now useless!

We planned to leave on or about the 15th But on the way home from ordering my glasses and dinner, the motor home fresh water pump stopped working.

Local shop price for a replacement was $185 online from freshwater systems was $65 so we wait a few days to get the pump. 

The Motor Home was prepared to leave Florida and my new shorter kayak as well as Dawn’s is going to be carried on the rack we prepared last year.

This is the longest that we have sat in one place and in the last 6 months it literally has been a comedy of errors.

The COVID Excuse for everything has worn quite thin, our losses have been over $5500 and there is no way we can make up the loss!

Our good friends and sailing buddy Steve and Sue Rosen took us out to a last dinner in Englewood. Besides a great time we got a chance to discuss their recent Class C Motor Home purchase and future sailboat plans.

We also had a last hurrah with Doug and Prudy at Cracker Barrel as they had a gift certificate. They love the Trout and we got the Southern Fried Chicken to save half for on the road later. Dawn is also cooking a last dinner for them as well.

The boat preparations before we leave again will get it ready for our return. However next October it will be a big problem to find a place to stay as we expect at least a month of work. 

So once again we push off for cooler regions but because we are so late in leaving it will be some time before it cools off!

Leaving Port Charlotte we made a last trip to Hungry Howie’s Pizza and Salad Bar and we have tentative plans to visit some friends on the way out.

Whether sailing or traveling in the motor home we love being back to “Tentative,” again!

There were only two overnight stops in Florida.

The Ice Cream Vending machine became our favorite.

We did not really need the Ice Cream but it was so fun to watch we bought twice and videoed the last one before leaving Madison County Rest Stop.  

One old friend is Felix’s Fish Camp Restaurant in Alabama. Our Waitress even remembered our lunch stop back in November! The Parking lot was flooded and we had torrential rain on and off all the way there. The food is still great!

Our overnight stop was the Grand Bay Alabama Welcome Center’. Interestingly there is a “No Overnight Parking” sign at the entrance to the truck parking. This sign was here last November as well however this time it was totally packed with Big Rig Trucks.  

Jeff let us park at his laundry at the beginning of the PLANdemic and we wanted to revisit on the way. They have been so busy with all the casinos opening that they have parked their Motor Coach at the laundry. Like so many businesses they have not been able to keep employees.

The visit to my friend Wynne included a marvelous dinner and a trip to COSTCO® in New Orleans. It was great to catch up on all the things in between our visit. We spent the night across the street at the Recreation Center which is also a “Park and Ride” lot.

Sadly time and weather prevented any exploring at this time.

On the way out of Mississippi we stopped at Shady Acres Village for lunch. We had their Smoked Chicken Basket and there was enough for another dinner later.

Then we stopped at Mound Rest Stop for the night. It is in Delta Louisiana and also has a RV Dump Station. 

Many of our friends own various businesses that we have visited during our travels.

Most are restaurant owners as we try to find smaller home grown types of places, like the “Yard Bird” near the Texas Welcome Center. The owner struggled through the “Plandemic” and managed to keep open. They do Louisiana Cajun style and no Deep Fat Fried foods!

Our last visit for June was to visit Linda Crone and then spent the night in Old McKinney for a celebration at the Celt Irish Pub. They had Irish folk music and better than Happy Hour, Half Price Fish an’ Chips.

Monday morning we headed North!


May 2021

It is the beginning of May and we had to make a decision concerning the sailboat.
Well Folks the engine is BROKEN and for this season we are calling it quits!
What we did was to put the boat on the market and IF it sells great, if not I will rebuild the engine.
That is what I should have done in the first place!
By the end of May we will have the boat prepared for yet another year of storage unless it gets sold.
We just can’t afford to stay in Florida much longer. We will soon head out of Florida and plan to stop and visit some friends on the way to Mexico. Hopefully we can stop in Texas and get a bunch of paperwork done for the border crossing.
More later.
The boat engine is a severe disappointment as we spent nearly 4 months and $1800 to get nowhere.
If the boat sells it will relieve us of $300 a month storage fees and IF and WHEN we see something else than perhaps maybe.
The Dawn Treader provided us with a fine home for almost 6 years before we bought the motor home!   
On the motor home front we have shored up the solar system with new connectors and braces for the wiring on the roof. Everything is continuing to work great and we intend to switch out the boat batteries for the motor home. We will see how much of an improvement AGM batteries really are in use.
I had an eye appointment Monday May 3rd to determine the Cataract situation, so we decided to go visit a friend in Georgia who raises pigs for Smithfield.
Back at the boat, the last preparations for storage for the season are complete before the Cataract Procedure as there is no heavy lifting for a few days after. I will be scheduled to have the procedure on June 3rd and we will need to remain in Florida for 5 days after for full recovery.
Yes getting old sucks!
Tuesday the 11th of May I got my eyes measured and the drops I need to use for 3 days before and 5 days after. Dawn had a doctor’s appointment on the 12th and we took a brief trip to visit friends in Georgia while we waited for the surgery. 
While traveling we received some calls for the boat and will make arrangements  for viewing when we return to Florida.
Meanwhile we are enjoying the peace and quiet of being in the country with no city noise.
Our first stop was at a friend's place in Georgia. Christopher runs a hog farm near Valdosta which was going to be one of our first stops when we bought the motor home in 2018. We had a great time and had delicious BBQ Burgers, and the weather was mild enough to keep the Air Conditioner off! 

From there, after a stop in a rest area, we headed for Lake Panasoffkee Conservation Lands and Hunting Area. 
After a wild goose chase because of faulty directions and another night in a rest area we finally made it to the real campground for 4 more days of peace and quiet. 
If it was not for the medical delay we would be in much cooler climates by now.
Heading back we used some bonus points for a free stay at the Clarion Inn in Clearwater Florida. It is within walking distance to the Clearwater COSTCO for some shopping. The break from the motor home at the Clarion was disappointing, thanks to COVID! The Clearwater Clarion "had" the best hot breakfast of the entire Choice Organization and now was about the worst! The slight extra charge would get a suite instead of just a “room” and a "great breakfast" that rivaled the Perkins around the corner!
Their COVID solution was a "Get’n’Go" bag and coffee which consisted of an over sweet honey bun, wild blueberry muffin and a peanut butter energy bar! The only plus for the stay was it was free with our Choice Bonus Points and only 26 miles straight down US 19 to get to the boat we looked at.
The jury is still out on the boat situation.
The one we looked at for a possible trade was a 1973 32' Ericson and much more rough than the 1979 I owned.
We shall see if the owner comes to look at my boat to continue negations for a trade!
While working on my Autobiography, I finished the first poem since we started working on the boat which is a 9 year writing gap!

 

 

 

 

Memories
The memories of all the yesterdays settle like a mist
Days that were long and days that were hollow
The ones that were happy are too long to list
Some come in a flash while others are too dim to follow
They can’t be bought, sold or traded
Rich as well as poor have dreams for life
The end will come for all for time abated
For in prosperity or strife
Preserve memories they are all that is left of the dream
They dance and play until morning light
All that I had has become only memories and dreams
To span the time and bring delight
© Charles H. Smith 2021

 

Check out the photos of the month here


April 2021 Edition

 The big news for the start of April is that our Onan generator stopped working and would not start again.
It was a hot night at the boatyard and the Air Conditioner was on when it happened.
It was Saturday the 27th of March so we had to wait until Wednesday the 31st to take it into Fort Myers after Dawn’s Doctors appointment. We did not know if we would need to leave it there.
 

It turned out that the Cummins shop (They make Onan) could remove the generator and we could take our motor home and bring it back when it was fixed.
Transportation is always on our minds both in the boat and motor home as we do not tow and there is no way to carry something other than a bicycle on the boat.
 
I went to my annual wellness checkup on April 1st (great day for it) and everything was just great. The Cummins Repair called while I was at the doctor so we leaded back to Fort Myers.
 The original estimate was $2,400. However, it turned out not to be as severe as originally thought.
The final bill was $1,172.51.
The cause was that the brushes in the generator part wore out and caused the generator part to freeze up.
Originally they thought the whole generator needed replacing but it turned out it was ok!
So Dawn, myself, and our motor home, are now all healthy again.
 
The Sailboat front is also going slower than we wish for it to progress. Right in the middle of replacing the Fuel Injection Pump we discovered that the Thermostat Gasket was not included in the parts order and so there is not any available for 100 miles.
 
The other issue was the Expansion Tank needed some welding and machining as some of the seal lip was corroded in the seal area.
Hopefully, all will be finished for the engine work by Friday the 23rd.
 
While were waiting for the machining and welding we took a trip to St. Petersburg and checked out Don’s Salvage. There was not anything that was needed at this time, but it’s fun to look.
There are goats and chickens running around loose now!
 
We also visited two Solar Shops and one was closed and the other only did residential.
There has been a rash of defective controllers coming from China and 3 have been returned already. The current one on the boat is maintaining the batteries but it does not function as advertised.
 
For a break we stayed 2 nights on the Sunshine Skyway Toll Road in the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier. For the price o the toll, access to the Sunshine Skyway Turnpike and Skyway Fishing Pier, (Two Axel Vehicles are $1.50.) There are 2 rest stops and both have north and south access to each fishing pier.
The fishing piers are the old highway that led to the original bridge called the Sunshine Skyway Bridge which collapsed after a freighter struck it May 9th, 1980. The freighter was pushed off course by a microburst and collided with a Coast Guard cutter and a pillar holding a bridge span.
An entire section of the bridge fell into the ocean taking a number of vehicles including a bus.
One person survived the fall.
 There are memorials to the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter and others that perished in the accident.
The new bridge was designed to repel any such accident in the future.
There are reinforced concrete barriers well out from the bridge structure now.
 
Heading back to the boat two more repairs took place, some minor delaminating on the rudder and cleaning out the Raw Water Strainer.
The rudder took 4 days.
Cleaning the strainer took 4 hours.
The strainer had to have the hoses cut off before it could be removed and cleaned!
 
One other problem cropped up involving the Expansion Tank and Exhaust Manifold.
A fitting broke while replacing the Expansion Tank and the one for the manifold had to be drilled out and tapped for the flair fitting and then the copper tubing was cut flared and fitted. 
We spent two days and over 100 miles of travel trying to find something that did not exist because the guy at the hardware store made a mistake.
 
After finding the RIGHT TOOL it took me only 2 hours to complete the repair!
We took a break and headed to Deep Creek Campground to stay for 3 days (Monday –Wednesday) and had lunch at a great little place on the Peace River called
Nav-A-Gator.
Food is great and weekends they have live entertainment. 
 
During a trip to Lemon Bay, Dawn completely re-arranged our food pantry. She bought some stacking drawers that fit the space perfectly.
This eliminated the bulky crates we have been using since 2018 when we bought the motor home.
Dawn also came up with bags to organize our clothes in the closet as well.
 
Lemon Bay is also the site of Indian Mound Park, which is a genuine Archeological Site, and the location of The Englewood Sailing Association. We have been members since we arrived in Florida. We attended a reunion of sorts at the Adult Sailing Class Graduation.
The club recently obtained some new sailboats. The compound was mostly built by our friend Steve Rosen, who also helps with our boat!
 
It is becoming HOT and we normally would not be here still.
We have had extra expenses because of other people’s mistakes and necessary use of the Air Conditioning which runs off of the generator which burns about a gallon of gas and hour. Al in All the last 3 months has been frustrating to say the least!
 
After the TAP Engine line debacle Dawn and I took a short (3 day) vacation and revisited Deep Creek Campground.
Due to a SNAFU on the web site our reservations were confirmed before the official opening of the Campground.
However, they honored our reservation and after a short overnight stay at the Sunshine Skyway Rest Area we headed back to Deep Creek.
The main reason for the break was thunderstorms preventing work on the boat anyway.
 
More Adventures, of Charlie and Dawn, at the boatyard.


Dawn and I showed up to get ready for the mechanic and do final preparations to take the boat out.
The two main things on the menu for our weekend were to add coolant to the engine,  check for leaks, and drop one anchor to clean out the locker and wash the rode as it sat on the deck for 3 years. 
 
For the first time since I asked the woman 2 boats down not to park under our bowsprit, she was not parked there.
So I obtained a traffic cone and placed it under the bow and lowered the anchor.
After removing the anchor, the rode was coiled into a big orange bucket and filled with soap.
 
The next morning that woman pulled her red car out and backed her white car out so she could put the red one right up to the traffic cone and bucket again under my bow and directly under the other anchor! (She drives the white one and leaves!)
Dawn wrote a note and placed it on the windshield indicating she should stop parking under the bow.
 So she called the sheriff!
I honestly do not know what she expected, however the entire episode totally backfired on her.
The sheriff asked her why she went to all that trouble to move there in the first place and that I was within my rights to request her to move.
 
Meanwhile the other sheriff and I discussed his sailing days on the Chesapeake. 
End result?
She was forced to move her car and I left a message with the office.
 She went away MAD!
 
Today, April 28, 2021, the mechanic and I started the engine.
After running for a short while the engine started putting oil in the water which indicates something had cracked or blown.
So....after saving for 3 years to finish this job we are calling it quits as far as the sailboat goes as we can no longer afford to do both!
 
Our options are to sell the boat for whatever we can get for it or replace the engine.
We simply cannot afford to replace the engine at this time so the sailing dream is over!
We will remain in Florida for some medical issues, then head to Mexico and visit some friends on the way! 
 
Many of you are not aware that we also write an RV Blog and post regularly on MeWe (I got banned from FaceBook as did many of our friends)
We have created 4 web pages which also have a Campground locator and Restaurant Review at no charge to travelers.
I also wrote a book for those thinking of RV travel.
Please visit our web pages and give us some feedback!  


All Our Web Sites
Dawn Treader (Our Boat)
http://ourdawntreader.com
 
Boondocking SunChaser (All about Solar RV.ing)
http://boondockingsunchaser.com/
 
Mobile Odyssey (General RV Travel) http://amobileodyssey.com
 
MeWe

https://mewe.com/group/5fac19ee02e1b733b75d2931 
Road to Freedom (RV Handbook for New Owners)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0841R6D9Q


March 2021 Edition

The Month of March finds us still working to splash the boat.

After waiting 6 weeks for a part to come from England only to find that another place in the US had one in stock!

The frustration is that it caused us an extra $600 in charges at the boatyard!

While we were waiting many little jobs around the boat were completed.

It was our hope that we would have some time to use the boat for some short trips before the hurricane season starts around May / June.

One of the little projects was to replace the Main Sheet Storage and Step which formerly was wood and literally rotted from the inside out.

The new one is again made from all composites

So there will be no more rot!

The other major project was to completely sort through everything on board our boat!

This is a hard sort and so far all duplicate tools have been “donated” to the people at the boatyard.

All other items will be sorted according to need for maintaining the boat.

One of the things about a mobile life is shedding all but necessities.

In preparation for the engine work the fuel tank was drained and cleaned and the “Racor” Fuel Filter dismantled and thoroughly cleaned.

All new fuel filters for both engine and Racor as well!

The Racor also has a water separator to prevent any engine damage.

After sorting tools and relieving the tool box of all the “mis-matched” sockets, wenches, and other useless items, the tool box is about 20 pounds lighter!

The boat is scheduled to go to a mooring for the summer while we tour in the motor home.

Our plans are to visit with some of Dawn’s friends in Mexico near the San Diego border.

Dawn wants to sew a new sail cover and we hope to have time for that as well.

We will be putting up the main sail this month.

Slowly but surely the boat is becoming livable again.

Two last minute additions is that I had my eye exam to determine cataract augury and our generator in the motor home took a dive.

Hopefully the Gen-set is a simple thing; we take it in a couple days!


February 2021 Edition

The month is half over and we are still waiting for the part to show up all the way from England, and naturally the delay is blamed on COVID!

 During the down time we have kept busy with little jobs around the boat and perfecting our solar use!
Our boat is now completely independent of the Yard Electric and can even run the power tools. Also, we have slowly replacing ours with cordless ones. The first set was a Ryobi drill and circular saw set with 2 batteries and charger for only $100, and they work very well!
 
One project has been replacing the Main Sheet Storage Box and step with one from all composites. The old one was wood and developed “creeping Rot” and collapsed when stepped on!
 
We would dearly love to replace the engine with a newer one as parts are becoming rare, however at an estimated cost of $12,000+ minimum will keep our 1981 Perkins and struggle through. The engine is mostly used to leave and return to the dock and those occasions when we must navigate the ICW with contrary winds.
 
We have been spending our weekends at the boatyard and arriving Fridays and leaving Monday Mornings. Currently there is no more spaces for boats as the yard is completely full!  
 
The newsletter is late this month as not only have we been very busy but February is a short month and with all the issues we just did not notice the dates. 
 
One big Motor Home Project was replacing the awning for the slide out. After only 17 years the old one started to disintegrate “Shameful!”
The project took 2 days to take advantage of access to the top of the slide and rubber seals.
 
Another emergency repair was replacing the stop/turn signal bulbs. In the old days 3 screws were removed and bulb replaced.
Today it is an all day project! Remove entire unit wait for parts store to order new lamps from warehouse, replace units! 
 
The engine parts finally arrived and were picked up the last day of February. This delay cost us an extra $650 in storage fees as it was a 2 month delay getting the engine repaired. What caused the problem in the first place was the change in the diesel fuel.
The “Low Sulfur” stuff dried out and destroyed all the internal seals. The Injector Pump literally digested itself.

The greenies out there seem to forget not everyone can afford to buy new things.
My friend who is a sailor and an over the road trucker told me how trucks started breaking down when the diesel fuel was changed!
 
The shop sold us a special additive to prevent the same thing from happening in the future. Just another thing that adds cost to our daily lives while returning very little benefit to anything! Just in case you are wondering why the grocery prices increased!
 
Hopefully, the rest will go smoothly and we splash and take the boat to a mooring that will be provided by our friend Steve.
Then we will spend some time preparing and shakedown before the start of the hurricane season!
 
Everything is being sorted in preparation for mooring the boat. All storage hatches have been emptied and much consolidation has taken place.
Many power tool replaced with cordless ones. These take up much less space and battery packs are interchangeable.
 
It is going to be interesting as we have not been moored before. Traveling back and forth by dinghy will be as much fun as sailing the “big Boat” because the dinghy is a 10 foot “Sailing Dinghy” as well as the ability to row or use a small outboard.
Also, we now have a small kayak for each of us.
Wal-Mart just happened to have the size we have been looking for ---super cheap!
 
We are also using an additional 100 Watt Solar Panel to provide extra power while parked at the boatyard and for cloudy days!


January 2021

January finds us between the boatyard in Placida and Doug’s house to prepare Dawn Treader for a long journey!
Solar panels have been installed and new batteries as the Dawn Treader returns to life.
 
Repairing the Fuel Injection Pump was first on the agenda.
Some of the parts must come all the way from England.
The bad news is that th cause was the changes in the diesel fuel formulation.
The pump literally digested itself because the new fuel has a lack of lubrication!
There is a special additive that prevents that that we just found out about.
 
The solar panels have been mounted and wired into the battery compartment.
3 new AGM 105 AH batteries installed, and every day the 320 Watt Solar Panels bring the batteries to float.
So far this has been enough to run the refrigerator as well as other 110 V accessories through the 2500 Watt Inverter.
 
Our goal to launch the boat this month does not look like a reality.
We decided to meet our other boat/motor home friends, Craig and Andrea, in Mystic Springs which is another of our favorite campgrounds in Florida.
 
While at Doug’s we all made a trip to Cheney Brothers Wholesale Restaurant Supply, and like COSTCO most was way too large for us but we bought some great Prime Filet Mignon.
8 in the package for $40!
 
The newsletter is a bit late because my computer committed suicide and we are writing from Mystic Springs while we meet and visit with Craig and Andrea as well as visiting Melissa while she visits her son in the Hospital in Gainesville Florida.  
He was burned badly but is recovering!
 
On a business note, we are searching for another way to E-Mail our newsletters.  
We have deleted our Facebook account because of all the new restrictions they placed on that account.
We have both opened a MeWe account

https://mewe.com/group/5fac19ee02e1b733b75d2931  
and I have created a Boat and RV Travel group as well.
https://mewe.com/group/5fac19ee02e1b733b75d2931
 
Also my Biography/Poetry book has been published and is available through Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/But-Never-Got-Laid-Confessions-ebook/dp/B08VGX254B/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=%22...But+I+Never+Got+Laid%22&qid=1612111786&s=digital-text&sr=1-1
 
If you are receiving our newsletter it would be greatly appreciated if you would respond back so we can plan our future moves.
As always if you wish to opt out just return with Unsubscribe in the subject line!
We are attempting to cut cost to cover the expensive engine repairs and to find better service.

Gesundheit News

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