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November 2021

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.

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