Because We Can - Fulltime RV'ing

Journal Archive 11/21 - 11/30 2006

Scroll down to read the latest post

Nov 21

This was going to be a house day. In other words, a day to get as much done around this place as we possible can because we are going to leave in a couple of days for another six months, at which time we have to return for another stint of grandchild watching duty. There seems to be no end to the amount of work we have to do around the house during the few days we are here. Score one for the people who just sell their house and full time versus those like us who hang on to the house to make sure full timing is really the life we want to live. Linda also has a couple of shopping trips planned, so it will be a very full day.

I had to laugh about breakfast. Here we were with fresh red raspberries only 20 feet from the back door and she was putting frozen blackberries on our shredded wheat every morning. Does that make her a creature of habit or what, smile. I had one morning job that I had been trying to get accomplished for the past two days, so this morning it was do it or else. The job was to remove everything from the front closet, open the attic access and put the cover on the whole house fan. How do you say old timers disease, lol, because after taking everything out of the closet, bringing in the ladder, the light and the duct tape, I opened the cover only to discover that the fan was already covered. That is a gotcha if there ever was one, lol. But what is really bad is that neither Linda nor I can recall if it was that we never took the cover off when we were back in August, or if we took it off, then covered it back up before we left. What's that saying about 'Getting old is pigeon poop", well I think it may be true. Guess we'll just look at the good side, the job is done, smile.

The deed is done

There was one part of that job that brought a genuine smile to my face. Not a smile of chagrin, but rather a smile of joy. It was the ladder I used to climb up into the attic. An old raggedy, paint splattered wooden ladder that has been repaired over and over again, till almost a third of it is not original. That ladder is the stairway to the past. There is green paint on it that was was the color of the living room in the tiny house I lived in some 50 years ago. There is the mind picture of my mom trying to hang wallpaper and having it come loose and cover her. The memories of a little boy, that is where climbing that ladder leads. A ladder that by all rights should have been thrown away years ago, and but for a sentimental romantic who treasures the past, it would have been. When I am gone it will be cast aside, but for now it still has several uses.

A little bit of the past

I have to take a moment for a personal aside. It is Tuesday evening as I type this and my 'old timers disease' of this morning is a thing of the past. As I sit here typing away, I am listing to "The Unit", which Linda is watching on TV, but at the same time I have the earphones on and am also listening to a collection of some of my favorite mp3's playing on the computer. If this isn't multi-processing of information, I have no idea what is, lol. For what is worth, I was listening to the Barry McGuire sing "Eve of Destruction" as I have been typing, which is just as pertinent today as when it was original popular nearly 40 years ago. And "White Rabbit" by Grace Slick just came on, what taste in music I have, smile. For what it is worth my all time favorite and erstwhile personal theme song is the Stone Poneys' (Linda Ronstadt) original version of: "Beat of a Different Drum"

In the afternoon after our turkey wraps, way to go Linda, it was time to do some real work. Outside work, as in tackling that blasted palm tree that drove me to near exhaustion yesterday. No dumb tree was going to get the best of me, smile. While Linda went of shopping, I got out the ladder and the saw, then trimmed that bugger up shorter than the hair on a Marine recruit after his first buzz cut. It is one thing to talk about it, it is another thing to actually do it. Those fronds can be described in two ways, they are like giant needles or they are as sharp as razors. Either is accurate, and the blood pouring out of my right wrist added vivid testimony to that fact. Take a look at the wicked barbs on the edges of the fronds in this photo and you'll understand what I mean.

Sharp little buggers

By the time Linda returned from fer shopping trip I had not only gotten the tree trimmed, I had the trimmings stacked and the stems of most of the fronds cut up and in the green waste can. That is one of those Dad things, since our daughter will putting all my trimmings into the green waste cans starting next week. I figure she would pick up one of those wickedly sharp fronds and decide Dad could do this the next time he comes home. Instead of this being a 'Good Bob', it is more properly a 'Good Dad', of course when you've got such a great daughter, it's easy to be a 'Good Dad'.

One job done

That, however, wasn't the last of the chopping and cutting. Even though I was working hard, it didn't seem like I was breathing very hard. Part of the reason behind all this work was the exercise it gave me, plus I was looking for a cardio-vascular workout. Just to see what was happening I put my heart rate monitor on. The results were what I suspected, my heart rate was only slightly elevated. By speeding up how fast I was working it moved up into the 'good for you zone', which did three things. It gave my heart a good workout, a lot more work than planned got done and boy, am I gonna sleep good tonight, smile.

A good workout

Linda cooked a skillet of Sloppy Joe's for dinner, but the killer was the Edamame Beans. We boiled half a package, then shelled and shelled. What is really neat about this is that the first time we bought them Linda wasn't to sure about them, now she's the ace sheller, lol. Was I tired tonight, sure, but it was because it had been such a great day and what could be better than that.

Nov 22

Our next to the last day before we go back home to the coach and this morning I slept in again. What is this world coming to when I have to repeatedly sleep in after a hard days work? Oh well, life goes on even if I did miss my special before sunrise private time. We have a really full plate on the menu for today, work outside, go to a play and finish packing for our trip back home. Sounds like I may be sleeping in again tomorrow morning, lol.

For the second day in a row I had to laugh about breakfast. Yesterday it was over Linda's use of frozen blackberries on our shredded wheat rather than the red raspberries just out the back door. Well today I outsmarted myself. She was in the kitchen puttering around, packing things for our trip back, while I worked on the journal. I could tell she had not started breakfast yet, so I got a dish and went outside to pick fresh berries for our cereal. Not a good move, as while I was outside, she started to scramble some eggs for breakfast. It turned out just fine as we had the raspberries on the side, which made for a A-1 breakfast and as you can see from the picture, those raspberries were, well, as pretty as a picture.

Red raspberries

After breakfast it was all downhill. Got the daily journal written, the journal archives page updated for the new period and the RSS feed ready to be uploaded, then went out under the cherry tree to see if I could get a connection. It took a little longer than usual, but soon everything was on the Internet. That, however, was just the start to the day. Now came the real work. Macbeth may had his problems with that damned spot, well I have my problems with ivy, smile. That same ivy I cut, chopped and ground up when we were here for a week this summer. It had taken over one side of the house which definitely needed to be tamed. I cut and hauled untold amounts of vine which was added to my ever growing pile. Yet, even after working for a half hour it still didn't look like I had done anything, though my body was certainly telling me otherwise. Why is it that these types of jobs always take far longer than we anticipate, smile.

You go and it grows

In the midst of all the cutting, whacking and trimming I discovered a little gem. It had obviously struggled mightily against the ever encroaching tangle of ivy, but it had succeeded in its quest for life and growth. Here is a picture of it, do you know, or can you guess what it is?

Struggling to survive

It's horseradish. Many years ago Linda's brother had given her a few pieces of root during one of her visits. At that time our garden had been in the area along the side of the house. Over the years we would dig the roots in the fall and enjoy home grown horseradish the next year. In the rush to get on to our life on the road, we had forgot about that plant. Totally neglected, it had still managed to survive. We, of course have our own struggle to survive and as I worked another day trying to tame the green monster, Linda did quite well with her part. The difference in the appearance of the family room was startling to say the least. Organization had come and with it a new look.

Linda's job done

We had one other activity planned for the day, which was to be our special treat for this trip. For years we had season tickets to a local professional theater, whose plays we had greatly enjoyed. Each year, for the Holiday Season, they would write and perform a brand new play that was in tune with the times. Linda had gotten seats to the matin�e performance for today, so off we went. As always, it was great, especially the fact Buck Busfield, the playwrite, had incorporated a number of songs from the 60's into it. It was not a musical, far from it, but the snippets of song just added the seasoning that was needed to make it perfect. Of course it was not one of those sappy plays that you usually see at the community theaters at this time of the year, but then again, life is an adventure to be lived, to experience new and different things.

A good play

One really odd thing about the days experience was a startling coincidence. As I had worked, trimming the ivy, I had a song rattling around in my head that was written by Richie Valens. Now what are odds that when lights come up on the play, one of the the first things we hear is: Oh Donna, Oh Donna, Oh Donna, Oh Donna, I had a girl, Donna was her name, Since she left me, I've never been the same. Now what are the odds that those would be the exact same words that were rattling around in my brain. Just another of those coincidences of life, but are they really coincidences? Could it be something else, could there be a thread of life coursing through the ethos.

You could tell it is definitely getting time to head back home, for more reasons than one, lol, not including the fact Linda was scrounging for something to fix for dinner. We ended up with a low fat quesadilla topped with smashed avocado while watching Jericho. I had planned to do some things to get ready for our return trip, but my mind just wasn't into it, so I just did a lot of nothing. Every once in a while the brain and the body needs a rest. It was time for mine. It brought reality to the phrase, 'out like a whimper', if there is such a phrase, lol.

Nov 23

Thanksgiving Day was definitely different this year. It was two separate days. One half was work and the other half fun, feast and family. The work day started early as I found myself up before dawn, thinking of the things that needed to been done before we could return home to the coach. First off was the daily journal, which was done in short order. I did have a small problem getting it uploaded. My normally reliable cherry tree connection did not function with its usual aplomb. In fact, it was about as far out of plumb as could be. Not only was the wifi signal lousy, the sprinklers were on and I had to run the gauntlet so to speak in order to reach the cherry tree. Turning my back on the adage, he who hesitates is lost, I simply walked away from the computer for a while and found that upon my return it was connected and working great. Before long the website was updated and all was well. Just think how easy it will be tomorrow night when we'll be back at the coach and have our Internet connection again.

I didn't repeat my raspberry fiasco again today, mostly because I had picked all the berries I could find yesterday, smile. Besides I have to admit that I like the frozen blackberries better that the fresh red raspberries. For a lover of fresh fruit that is a telling admission, but those raspberries just seem to have a washed out flavor for some reason or other. Breakfast over, it was time to do some real work. First off was cleaning the filter for the fish pond. I had trouble finding the filter in the bottom of the pond and ended up having to go in the house and run water over my arm, the pond water was so cold. Thinking about it, I decided I just needed to bite the bullet so to speak, and fish around, no mater how much it hurt until I found that filter. It was funny, because this time when I reached in the pond, my hand landed right on the filter. See, where there is a will, there is a way, lol.

I followed that up with finishing the trimming of the ivy. The pile grew higher and higher to the point that it demanded a photo.

A lot of work

Next it was time to dig the horseradish. First I had to cut all the ivy back, then dig the roots. We hadn't dug them last year, as I mentioned yesterday, so we are not sure what we have. I used the old "bite into the root, dirt and all" technique to confirm that it at least tastes like horseradish. We will take them back up to Oregon and see what we have. Stay tuned for an update in a week or so.

Horseradish in the wild

The housework or perhaps to state it a little better, the work around the house, done, we got cleaned up and headed over to our daughter's house for the traditional Thanksgiving Day meal of turkey, dressing and cranberries. Our daughter is famous in some circles and infamous in others for her organizing skills. It had to come from Linda's genes as I have virtually no skills in that arena. Maybe that's why we get along to well, I come up with the idea and she figures out how to make it happen. You know how it is, she wouldn't know where to go without me and I'd get lost getting there without her, lol. As we walked in the door we could see our son had already been organized by his sister.

Ex Marine

The former Marine was hard at work, though he did have a huge smile on his face. It was as if the knife flashed, the peels flew and almost before we knew, the potatoes were mashed. I looked up from taking that picture and there was our youngest daughter taking a picture of me taking a picture. The old, you see me, I see you trick, so I took her picture too.

Fun times

I think that is what has always made Thanksgiving so special, it is full of wonderful memories, whether those of childhood, spending time with family or those special moments that are yours alone. It was three Thanksgivings ago that Linda and I went off by ourselves for our first Thanksgiving away from the kids that we started thinking about living the life we now live. There are so many things to be thankful for that maybe everyday should be a day to give thanks for something in our life.

The kids of all ages gathered round the table to make gingerbread houses and as you can see, there was some serious building going on. Edifices to rival the greatest of architectural marvels of the modern world were soon on display.

Gingerbread houses

Talk about intense, it doesn't get any more intense than these three trying to decorate their house just right.

The quest for perfection

As you can tell, this was really serious business.

Put it right here

The end result of all this was perfection.

Put it right here

Of course the adults had to have some visiting time and since our son-in-law's parents and brother were there, there was lots of catching up to do.

Even Linda drives it

One of our family traditions that we do on this day is to pose for the photo that we send with our annual Christmas letter. Unfortunately Linda had her eyes closed as usual, so we will probably have to use some editing tools to make her look like she's awake. What's that dear? You say that there are some other things wrong with this photo besides the fact that your eyes are closed. Heck, it looks like a perfectly normal family scene to me, lol.

Everybody smile

Thanksgiving isn't complete without our son-in-law opening his birthday gifts. We, but even more so, our daughter, has really been blessed to have him in our lives. Thanksgiving, a special time to give special thanks for all the special things,

Why do they use such small print?

To know the link with the past. To experience the connection of being human. The joy of life. The spirit of individuality. The adventure goes on and on. What an awesome day this has been.

Nov 24

Excited, anxious, ready to hit the road, naw, not us. Well maybe just a little bit. It was 4:05 when Linda rolled over and asked me if I was ready to get up. Turns out I had been laying there wide awake for quite some time. The only problem was I was most decidedly not laying there quietly. According to Linda, I was sort of flopping and thrashing around. It was cold in the bed, so apparently I couldn't wait to get started on the way back down to Arizona and warmer weather weather, even if it was to head north first. Anyway, my reply to Linda was a mumble, I wasn't ready quite yet. It was however, only 10 minutes later that the shower was running, the day was started and I wasn't the only one out of bed. Me thinks we were both eager to be heading back home, lol.

No day should ever start without breakfast, at least ours never do, smile, and Linda sure had something different on the menu for today. I believe it is sometimes termed, 'a new twist on an old theme'. The old was shredded wheat, the new was raisins. Yes, raisins, and did that ever make a great combination. For some inexplicable reason, the raisins supplied just the right amount of sweet tartness and soft chewy texture to emulate the best of the fusion style, though sometimes it is more aptly referred to as confusion style cooking. Breakfast over, it was time to load the Explorer, a job which was done in short order. Linda had gone all out to see that we had everything we needed when we went back. Everything to sell on Ebay that is. Linda plans to have some fun and earn a little fun money by with her Ebay'ing, so about three fourths of the boxes we loaded were packed with excess treasures, so to speak.

It was just after 6 o'clock when we pulled out of the driveway and headed north to Oregon. According to the GPS it was just slightly under 500 miles till we would be back at Winchester Bay. Since this was the biggest shopping day of the season and many stores were running super door buster sales at 6 AM, we were not alone on the highway. Some of the store parking lots we drove past were another story. It was a mob scene at some. But of all the stores we passed, we found several that had cars and trucks jammed in every available space. Whatever is was those Ford and Chevrolet stores had on sale, they sure were packed, lol. We also wondered how our oldest granddaughter was doing out there battling the hordes with her dad. When I was young, it was father-daughter banquets, now it's father-daughter, mob scene, shopping, lol.

Holidays are also the days when it is dangerous to be out there on the roads. We were careful, but not everyone had our good luck.

Not a fun sight

Fortunately no was was hurt in what appears to be a horrific accident. Actually it is a semi trailer load of hay bales that had caught on fire. You can see the truck parked down the road and the driver helplessly watching his trailer burn. Later in the day, just south of Weed we passed another accident, Again, the occupants were lucky, but this time there were some minor injuries. It sure gives you pause and also makes you wonder if that was one of those crazies that passed you driving over 80 miles an hour, like more than a few did during the day.

A scary sight

Jumping back to our early morning travels, Linda was having fun with the camera, after all, there's not a lot to do that early in the morning with about nine more hours on the road still ahead. With the sun coming up behind us, she tried to get an interesting photo through the mirror on her side. According to her it was a picture of the sunrise, according to me it was a self portrait. Maybe we were both right, though I think the little sign at the bottom that says, 'objects in mirror are closer than they appear' wasn't referring to the sun, lol.

The perfect photo

When we had driven south a few weeks ago Linda had taken those "Mt Shasta blocked view photos" we had posted in the daily journal, but today she was out to make amends. The appearance of the mountain was totally different since we were approaching from the south, but today there were no clouds shrouding the summit and she had not posed a young, handsome, male model in such a way as to block the mountain. Maybe she is teachable, lol. For mile upon untold mile we were treated to the sight of the brilliant white of the new snow contrasting with the blue of the sky and the green of the trees covering the mountains. Of course, when it came time to take a picture, she couldn't take one of just the mountain, oh no, not her, she had to get the road sign also.

Mt Shasta

As we neared the California-Oregon border we were struck by the similarity with what we had seen when we had come south, only in reverse. That day we had driven in rain all the way through Oregon, then as we approached California saw the first glimmer of sunshine. Today had proved to be just the opposite. We had been in sunshine for the entire drive through California, but as we neared the Oregon border, guess what we could see in the distance. Like they say, "Oregon is green for a reason". Isn't one of the other Oregon sayings something like, "If it's raining your probably in Oregon", guess we know what is in our future, lol.

Rain ahead

Of course when you're in the mountains it isn't always rain.

Just the right amount

We did make one stop, in a place called Sunny Valley, Oregon. We figure the sun must have come out from behind the clouds once back in the 1800's otherwise this little valley would have been misnamed. Then, on the other hand, promoters were always trying to lure the unsuspecting immigrants to their little corner of the world by making outrageous claims about the land. Maybe naming this place Sunny Valley was just another of those outrageous claims, smile. The name of the town was not the reason we stopped however, it was because the Applegate Trail Center was there. From our travels this past summer we had learned there were two major segments of the Oregon Trail, the northern route and the southern route. The southern route was called the Applegate Trail and it had quite an interesting history, in fact the Applegate Trail Center also has a quite intriguing story about how it came into being. It is a very well done museum and we were glad we stopped. For a link that has information on the museum, go here. The story of how the Trail center came into existence has its own page, plus there are links at the bottom of the page with more fascinating information on the trail itself. Here is the link. One of the greatest things we have discovered about just wandering down the road is that you never know what really interesting things you will literally stumble across. This was one of those little treasures.

A neat place

Finally we made that last turn and the coach appeared in front of us. That is the brief way of stating it. How about, the Explorer rounded the corner and started climbing that last hill, the rain lashed out as strong gusts caused the trees to wildly thrash about overhead. At long last the Lighthouse came into view and off to the side, looking lonely as the rain beat down on it, was the coach. We were home. With all the systems off, it was rather chilly inside, as we transferred our 'stuff' from the Explorer to the coach.

It could be worse, I think

We started the generator, turned on the front furnace, and proceeded to transfer boxes, and transfer boxes, and transfer boxes. That woman is definitely planning to do some selling on Ebay, lol. Before too many hours had passed all was well and we were once again settled into our home. Life was good.

Nov 25

It's the sweetest thing we know of,
just spending time with you
it's the little things that make a house a home.
Like a furnance softly running
and breakfast on the stove.
And the light in the window that makes me warm.

Hey, it's good to be back home again
Sometimes this old coach
feels like a long lost friend
Yes, 'n, hey it's good to be back home again

Not quite the way it was written, but the way it has meaning for this day. Linda was one happy girl as she had her computer back again.

Back home again

There was also something else that was familiar and that was the view of the ocean.

a comforting sight

When the sun came out, it was time for Linda to do her thing. Her thing being get her hands into the dirt. She had left the tomato plant, the hanging flower pot and the long planter containing the marigold's and ageratums outside when we were gone. As could be predicted, they did not fare well. The tomato was history, so she simply left it where it was and the flowers were also gone, but for different reasons. The hanging pot had drowned while the marigolds had been crushed. Looking around, we could only find one branch which had broken off the pine tree next to the coach and of course you can guess where it landed. Yep, directly on the planter with the marigolds in it. Some things were just not meant to be.

The gardener at work

Our plan for the day was to drive over to Harrisburg and see if we could get a spot at the Monaco Service Center while we waited for our appointment on Monday morning. Linda had the best take on this, why not drive over to the service center, the worst we could do was not get a spot, in which case we would spend the night at a nearby campground, but either way we have hookups. What ever happened to the tough, hardy Appalachian hill girl I married, lol. On the other hand, I sure had to agree with her reasoning, besides, moving inland was taking us one step closer to the day we could head south towards warm weather. Our route would take us through Reedsport and up to Florence, then over to Eugene and finally north to Harrisburg. Of course we didn't get very far before we ran into our first obstacle.

Bridge out ahead

Eventually a fishing boat went through and ever so very, very, very slowly the bridge swung around, slowing even further when it was almost closed. Who, us in a hurry? Well we did want to drive the 100 miles before dark, lol. One items on our 'to be fixed' list that made for a less than scintillating experience during the drive over was the lack of an exhaust brake. It was one of those things that you don't realize how much you use it until you don't have it. I certainly drove differently than usual, leaving many extra car lengths between the coach and any traffic in front of us. We made the trip with no problems, but will I ever be glad when it gets fixed. I know Linda will be also, as she was hanging onto the handle beside her seat for much of the trip, smile. The ever changing terrain and landscape that we were passing through was enough to ocassionaly distract her and loosen her grip somewhat. There were more bridges.

more bridges

And mountains that had been clear cut of all their vegetation.

All gone

But eventually we arrived in Harrisburg, of course not until after some course alterations due to the entrance ramp we wanted to use to get on I-5 being closed. Linda was really fast on that one and had us on a beeline to where we wanted to go with no more lost time. We didn't arrive at the service center until almost dusk. The security guard who checked us in was on his first day (night) of duty and a little unsure of all the nuaunces of his job, but it didn't matter as they had 40 sites and only about 10 of them were occupied, so as soon as he got himself organized, we were parked, set up and warming up. The joy of 50 amp hookups, lol.

Gray skys at night, an RVers delight

The clouds made for an interesting sunset as we walked around the lot. We looked up once to see a vee of geese flying overhead. To say that we were pleased to finally be here is an understatement. We will get our warranty items fixed, stop at the Junction City Camping World to get a catalytic heater installed, then at the Cummins service center in Coburg to get the oil changed and the other preventative maintenance items taken care of. May your Thanksgiving Holiday have been as rewarding as ours.

Nov 26

Being in Oregon at this time of the year makes me wonder what it must really have been like to live here back in the mid to late 1800's when all the early settlers were pouring into this area. If at that time, it was like it is now, it must have been a pretty miserable existence. But then again, one of the most difficult things to do is to actually put yourself into someone elses shoes. So many things would be different from what we are used to that it would take us out of what is often called our comfort zone. The reason I allude to this is because we were really yanked out of our comfort zone this morning, and at a church of all places, lol. Talk about something different, talk about new experiences, we had them in spades.

There are people who don't go to church, people who do go to church and then there are people who REALLY go to church. Anyone who has read our daily journal for a while knows one among the many things we have enjoyed while traveling on our adventure has been attending church in many of the towns we have found ourselves. And even then, we always try to find alternative, praise or just plain rock music oriented services. Well, today we found a place where the people REALLY, REALLYgo to church. This was one of those happenstances I can say I was glad I experienced, but once was enough, thank you. Think for a second about going into a strange town and finding a grocery store, a laundromat or the post office. They are not all the same and we have made some wonderful finds in each of those categories during our travels, and in general we have found most churches to have similarities. But today we had an entirely, outside the box, experience. Our comfort level started decreasing as we walked up to the front doors. One, you couldn't hear yourself think because of the din coming from inside and second, we were the only people I could see who didn't have a bible in their hands.

Life Bible Church

Then again, with a name like Life Bible Church, I guess bibles would be second nature to people who go there. The service was being held in the converted gymnasium of a former grade school and as we walked in, everyone was on their feet clapping and singing. On the raised area at the front were a trio of singers, three guitarists, a drummer, a sax player, a keyboardist who also doubled as the music director, plus there was also a song leader whom we were to later learn was an assistant pastor. Everybody in the place was wound tighter than a drum and the place was one giant cauldron of noise and motion. Our first thought was, what have we got ourselves into. Our second thought was to flee. Our third thought was, this is definitely going to be something we have never experienced before, so why not just stay and see what happens. (It will also be something we will probably never experience again either, lol)

As I watched the two female singers up on the stage, I kept looking for the pogo sticks they must have been standing on, for they never stopped bouncing up and down. Mesmerized by the scene, I couldn't help but wonder if maybe they were test units for the Energizer battery company. All we wanted to do was blend in with the crowd, but that was a hopeless task. If we had tried to keep up with them we would have been homogenized in no time, lol. Now, the service had supposedly started at 11 AM, we had gotten there a little early to find they were already going strong, so we figured about more 15 minutes of song and then the rest of the service would start. It wasn't that we couldn't handle this stand up and sing thing, it was that we just weren't into the waving and jumping part. It simply turned out that we didn't understand these folks and so we were just a tad off in our time estimate. They sang three songs, but the last one wasn't over until 45 minutes, yes, 45 minutes had passed. And for every one of those 45 minutes we had been standing. Each of those three songs were sung for 15 minutes. We will be humming and singing those words for the next year, they were so beat into our craniums. Of couse I won't hear a word I sing for the next year either, as it will take that long for my hearing to recover.

The songs over, the prayers, offerings and announcements took up the next 15 minutes, so here we were, one hour into the service and we hadn't even heard a peep out of the preacher yet.

Stolen from Life Bible Church website

Finally the stage was cleared, the lights dimmed and up to the pulpit strode the senior pastor, they have two senior pastors by the way, who was to preach the sermon. I started to type the 'mornings' sermon, but since it was already afternoon that was the wrong word, lol. In hindsight we should have expected that the sermon might run a little longer than what we were used to when we noticed the pastor was carrying not ony a very tattered and well worn bible (remember, it was Life Bible Church), but he was also dragging along a note book binder that was at least six inches thick. During our trip we had seen ministers arrive on stage with Harley Davidson motorcycles and NASCA racecars, but this was the first time we had seen a minister arrive on stage with half of the Library of Congress.

I can recall an old term used to describe long winded political speeches and sermons, it was, "stem winders', meaning it was going to last so long you would have to wind your watch before it was finished. Now adays I believe we would call them battery replacers and that's what it was. Now I've sat through my share of sermons over the years, some I half paid attention to, others kept my rapt attention, or had me rolling with laughter, and even shedding a tear of sorrow. Others where uplifting or boring, some I sat on the edge of my seat or simply fell asleep. The sermon this morning, I have to say, was different, for it was the first sermon I had ever heard where I experienced all of those things I just mentioned, from rolling with laughter to having Linda jab her elbow in my ribs to keep me from snoring. For exactly 60 minutes, Pastor Brad, held sway over the congregation, delivering what was by far the longest sermon I have ever had the opportunity to experience in my life. While it may have been these people's thing, it simply wasn't ours. Doesn't make it right or wrong, just makes it different. The sermon was followed by 10 minutes of prayer and thus, 2 hours and 15 minutes after we had first walked into the scene of pandamonium they called a worship service, it was finally over.

That is over, as in the service was over, but not over in the sense that our unique experience in the Willamete Valley of Oregon on a late November Sunday was over. Not quite yet, because looking up we could see the pastor purposefully striding towards us, a huge smile on his face. He introduced himself and thanked us for coming, which was something that had never happened to us before. As we walked back to the Explorer, we noticed very few people exiting the church, who knows, maybe these people take the word Sunday very seriously around here, meaning since there is hardly any sun, they make a day of it. While it is not something we would seek to do again, we were glad we had been able to add it to our life experiences. That these people on this Sunday morning were happy goes without saying. Thank goodness we live in a wonderful country where each of us has the opportunity to live life our own way.

We drove back to the coach as it continued to rain, just as it has most of the time we have been back to Oregon. It did stop for a few brief moments in the late afternoon and even the sun managed to peek through the clouds. Rain, clouds, sun, that adds up to something beautiful. Beautiful as in a beautiful rainbow.


It wasn't our coach in the picture, though I sure wouldn't mind having it, lol. There certainly are a large number of high end coaches here, so we took a walk to see what we could see. Linda did make one really interesting observation, we saw 20 coaches parked in the lot, of which only two were Holiday Ramblers, the majority being Monaco's and Beavers, with a few Safari's thrown in. I commented on how few Holiday Ramblers there were here for service. Her rejoinder was quick, to the point and brimming with the logic she displays that I come to love. "Maybe they just build Holiday Ramblers better", she replied. What's not to love about a woman who thinks like that.

It does say Monaco

While the sign did say Monaco, I think there might have been just a little more to the story than her answer implied. On the other hand, I'd like to believe her statement was true. The remainder of the day was just a day in the life. Bean soup while reading George and Hitchitch for dinner. Finally getting caught up with the daily journal posts in the early evening. Then Desperate Housewives followed by chocolate tapioca pudding and finally lights out. We were eager for Monday morning to arrive as it meant they would be starting to work on the coach. Today, a day with new experiences and our lives well lived.

Nov 27

Some days are easy, some days are hard, some days are dreaded and some days are welcomed. Today was "W" day for us. That was "W" as in welcome, for this was the day the coach would be under going the doctors care. It goes without saying, we were up early and ready long before the appointed hour, or I should say, half hour. The rumble of diesel engines began shortly after 7 AM and continued on and on. Rigs rolled out, men with clipboards circled coaches and we waited, and we waited, and we waited. Being new at almost everything as far as this life is concerned we watched with ever growing anticipation as the number of coaches continued to decrease, while at the same time our nervousness increased.

Questions swirled through our minds, primarily, were we supposed to go over to the office or did they come out to us? We looked at the clock, it was now 8:30, nobody was here and that was the time of our appointment. Maybe we were supposed to go over and register or something. Deciding that they would have said something if that was the case, we sat tight. About 20 till, the knock on the door sounded and we met our service writer and contact, Don. For the next hour plus we went over our list, inside and out, talking about and explaining our concerns and problems. Don had the same clipboard all the service writers seemed to carry and on it was the printout of our items, two to a page. Together we walked around the coach, throughly covering and discussing each as Don carefully made notes on the details of each until all were duly noted and marked. For example, each of the cracked tiles in the kitchen were identified with a piece of bright red tape, as was the cracked ceiling light panel. One last thing we discussed was how long it might take to complete all the work on the list. The great unknown was the slide problem, and he said he would figure at least until Friday, not the three or so days we had thought it might be, but at least not weeks either.

When Don left, he said it would be about 20 to 30 minutes before our service technician would come out to pick up the coach and that we should have the coach ready to roll when he arrived. That was easy and so I unplugged the electric cord, pulled in the slides, retracted the jacks and stowed the MotoSat, at which point I pronounced it ready. It was here that the difference between man think and woman think reared its head, for I was immediately informed by the other half of the family that no, it wasn't ready to roll. Hadn't I noticed that one side of the bedspread was hanging down a few inches lower than the other, what about the the way my hats were so carelessly stacked on the arm of the couch and horror of horrors, there was some dust on the window ledge beside the table. One thing I have learned in all these decades of marriage is not to say something stupid like, "it doesn't matter if it's clean or not, they'll probably get it dirty fixing it anyway." That, I know, is a sure recipe for disaster and definitely something to avoid at all costs.

Guess you could sum it up by saying I was real dufuss when it came time to get the coach ready, as somehow I had been under the mistaken impression the electric, slides and Motosat were what was important. Was I ever a dope or what. Needless to say, that by the time our service technician, whose name was also Don, arrived, the coach looked like it had recently rolled off the assembly line and had undergone its final inspection, being pronounced white glove clean, lol. Even with the furnace off it had stayed warm in the coach as we worked, mostly due I think, to all the hot air mumbling coming out of Linda's mouth that I couldn't understand and furthermore, was informed I probably didn't want to hear any way, because I sure wouldn't like what she was saying.

As the coach pulled away, Linda best summed up our situation when she said, "What do we do now, we're homeless?" Of course, they have this great big lounge area to wait in, but that wasn't in our plans this morning. Instead we were off to the city, Junction City that is, as Harrisburg is too small to count as a city. Since we were going to have a "Wave 6" catalytic heater installed, why not go down and check out the Camping World. We got to shop to our hearts content and I got to talk to what had to be one of the poorest examples of a service writer I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with. I now know where the people, finally find a job whose resumé companies like Monaco take the briefest glance at and throw into the trash can. I decided his nickname had to be NIC, which would stand for Not a Clue, though he would most likely have spelled it NIK, since he probably also would not have had a clue how to spell, either. I decided the best course of action would be to return later in the week when someone else might be there.

We had passed a Safeway on the road into town, so it was our next stop. Turn that woman loose with her Safeway Rewards Card and the cart fills up fast. She did make one outstanding purchase as they had their 3 lb bags of unsalted peanuts on special, two bags for the price of one, which was a heck of a deal. She surprised me by only getting two bags insteaded of four, then I found out they only had three bags. At least it confirmed that I do understand her a little bit, lol. Back at the Monaco Service Center we joined a number of other people in the customer lounge, where I worked on writing Sunday's daily journal, while she sat in on a cookware demonstration.

Definitely pampered chef's

It wasn't to bad, the cookware demonstration that was, as she only found one item she could buy. I loved her comment, "Asking myself whether we actually need it and if we have a place for it really makes it hard to buy things." What's not to love about someone who thinks that way, lol. When taking the above photo I had noticed something different out the window behind the ladies.


Those little white marks in the photo were not dust particles on the lens, it was snowing. I was aware that precipitation was the norm for this area of Oregon, but I thought it was in liquid, not solid form. It sure looked pretty coming down, but as it didn't stick, it was a fleeting experience. When the cookware demonstration was over, Linda walked out into the shop to see how the work on the coach was coming along. She returned with the news that our coach wasn't out there. That is one of the neat things about this facility, they have an open shop policy, where the owners can go into the work area to watch and talk to the technicians as they do the work. Neither of us is into looking over their shoulders, so to speak, preferring to let them do their job, after all, they know a lot more about what they are doing than we do.

We did get to talk to Don the service technician, at the end of the day, as he was looking to buy a new computer monitor and Linda's was one of the brands he was considering. He confirmed our first impression from this morning, our home is in good hands. When we got back to the coach, I immediately noticed one item they had repaired, the entry door. There was no way it was going to blow shut now. Score one big one for the Monaco Team, nothing like a great first impression. We had to laugh at one other item on the list that was fixed, the pilot light in the switch for the water pump. They replaced the light on the kitchen control panel, but now the one on the panel in the hall wasn't working. Hope this doesn't turn out to be one of those cat chasing it's tail kind of problems, but somehow I know they will get it fixed. I have to say, the level of professionalism we have witnessed so far at the service center has been really outstanding

It had never really warmed up during the day, but the heat pumps soon had the coach nice and warm. Walking back to the bedroom, I also noticed Linda had already turned on the electric blanket, guess you could say she knows what is important. Since we hadn't been sure how late they would be working on the coach, Linda had planned leftovers for supper. Think what you will, but our salmon patties, scalloped dried corn, acorn squash and tossed salad sure hit the spot. It was during dinner that we noticed the heat pumps starting to cycle on and off, indicating it was getting too cold to use them, so we turned them off. Linda spent the evening on the couch watching TV, while I did some aimless surfing on the net. It wasn't a night for accomplishing anything, rather a night to simply relax after being so keyed up this morning.

It was while I was surfing that I first noticed cold air occasionally blowing on me. I checked the gap in the slide and stuffed a towel in it, but about 15 minutes later I noticed it again. Thinking maybe there was another air leak I hadn't known about, I got out the propane lighter and held it up to see I could detect the source of the breeze. Still no luck, but it seemed to once again stop. About an hour later, it was time for my nightly hot chocolate, so I heated the water kettle. Or I should say, I tried to heat the water. No matter what I did, I couldn't get the stove to light. It was them that I noticed the furnace fan kick on, but only cold air coming out of the register. Suddenly all manner of light bulbs and flash bulbs were going off in my brain. Maybe the propane was off. With flashlight in hand I went outside to discover, indeed, that was the case.

Now I had hot chocolate, we had warm air and the mystery of the cold breeze was solved. One of the things that we are getting fixed is an air duct that seems to be incorrectly hooked up. That was the source of the cold air I could feel, since it was behind my chair and directed up at me. Who would have guessed, certainly not me if it hadn't been for wanting a cup of hot chocolate. Dessert was fresh, warm, directly from the oven, chocolate zucchini cake, meaning Linda had not spent all her time on the couch, smile. What better way to end the day.

Nov 28

So quiet and peaceful
Tranquil and blissful
There's a kind of magic in the air
What a truly magnificent view
A breathtaking scene
With the dreams of the world
In the palm of your hand

The above is from the song, "A Winter's Tale" by Queen; I think the photo below brings those words alive, what with the snow, coaches and the sky.

What a beautiful world

As the photo shows, we had a visitor during the night making this the first morning we have ever awoken to find snow on the coach. We just trust that this is not the harbinger of what is to come over the next few weeks. It sure was a lot worse outside than it was in the coach. The electric blanket was so comfy, it was hard to get up. Eventually Linda gave in and stuck a foot out and soon the rest of her followed. Being the dutiful wife (we'll see if that one gets past the editor [Linda]{let him think I am the dutiful wife--@#$%@}, lol), she turned on both furnaces to heat up the coach up so I could arise to warmth and comfort.

Breakfast was once again shredded wheat and raisins, try it, you might actually like it, we did, lol. Each morning we try to have the coach 'travel ready' when Don arrives. This morning we had a small problem that will serve as an excellent reminder in the future. It was something I was aware of, but I just didn't think it would be a problem. "It" was the snow on the slide toppers, which was no problem on the bedroom slide, but sure was on the roadside front slide. Long story short, don't think I can do that do you, the coach went into the shop area with the slide still out a couple of inches. The next time there is any appreciable accumulation of snow on the coach, I will be up on top removing some from the slide toppers before we retract them. I'd read about this, I just hadn't encountered it in person before.

As the coach drove off to the shop, I headed over to the lounge area to work on the daily journal. As I was documenting the previous days events for the world to see, Linda and three other ladies were busily engaged in heating the lounge to a more comfortable level, what with all the hot air they were putting out. Almost everyone here lives in their RV, and the stories they tell are all similar. The one universal refrain that we hear over and over is in essence, "We're so glad we decided to do it, we've hit a few bumps in the road, but we wouldn't trade this life for anything." When we sit and talk to a lady who has been doing it for 17 years and she is just as excited telling us about their life as we are telling someone else, it tells us it can only get better.

Gab fest

One of the bad things about being here is that it gives me a little more time to write as anyone who waded all the way through the mini-novels I have written the past two days can attest. As always it was Linda to the rescue with her suggestion that perhaps I could find a little time to work on some of those campground reviews I keep saying I'm going to finish, but never do. Since my preference is to write and not review, we shall see how it all plays out. It is amazing how quickly time passes by when you are enjoying yourself, even if it is sitting in the lounge of a service center. The bond of commonality runs strong. One other thing that runs strong is the sense of satisfaction that fills the air. Almost everyone here has a great attitude and the person who doesn't, seems to carry his bad attitude with him, even out in the parking area. I'd worked with difficult people several times in the past and I always figured they lived a pretty miserable life, a life they made miserable. The more we are out the truer it is, life is simply what you make it. No one can ever upset you, only you can. Some people obviously take it to an art form, lol.

The service area is a very large building, which, as I've said before, the customers are free to go into any time it is open. It is impossible to take a picture which shows you the enormity of the building, but here is our little corner of this world. There are row upon row of coaches and our coach is near the center of the row in this photo.

RV hospital

Space 22 will be it's daytime home as long as we are here, while at night it goes out to space 16. It used to be we lived in a world of street numbers or room numbers, now our life revolves around space numbers. It is certainly different in more ways than one.

Hospital room

We had had our usual turkey wraps for lunch, then drove down to Coburg to take the Monaco plant tour. I joked with the tour guide that this was really a dangerous thing for us to do because we took the tour last September and ended up buying our new coach a short while later and I was hoping the same bug didn't bite me today. Let me tell you, I sure was glad my resistance was high, because if we didn't have an 11 month old coach, I would certainly have bought one after the tour. One thing that has really turned around is our perception of the size of the coaches. Last year we were blown away with how big all these high end coaches were. Big as in long and wide. Today it was a completely different story. Sure they are big, but when you are going down the road they seem the same size. Now it was increased carrying capacity, upgraded engine brakes, larger fuel tanks that caught my eye. What is in the future, we don't know, but somewhere down the road there is a new coach and I just want to be ready when that that day arrives. Linda, the ever practical one, wanted to take the tour to take the tour. She can't understand why I would be looking for a new coach already. Why is it women expect men to understand them, but don't expect it to work the other way around. Besides, I was just looking dear, not buying, lol.

Where much of our money goes, lol

The tour lasted almost an hour and was great. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and besides enjoying her job, obviously took great pride in the quality of the workers, products and company she worked with and for. What an unbelievable contrast with the poor excuse for a tour guide we experienced at the Indiana Monaco plant last spring. There was one other highlight of our tour, which had four people on it, besides our tour guide. As we walked past the final finish area, the tour guide turned to one of the other two members of our little group and said, "that's your coach." Turned out the gentleman was picking up his brand new Dynasty at the factory and this was it. I don't know who was more excited, him or us, lol. To know the link with the past. To experience the connection of being human. The joy of life. The spirit of individuality. The adventure goes on and on.

He's the gentleman in the photo below, which makes for a great picture. In a few years I can just see the same picture being taken, except then it will be someone else sitting in the chair reading the product brochure while I will be the one pacing back and forth like an expectant father, lol.

Waiting expectantly

Driving back to the service center, we wondered what had been completed today. Curiosity got the better of us, so we walked out to the coach. We instantly knew what Don was working on, for there were wires, cables and electronic devices everywhere. The bowed shelf was going to be no more. Just as our tour guide exuded pride in her job and company, so does Don, stopping to talk to us on his way out each night, giving us that little extra touch that says, "I care." As we returned to the lounge, Linda commented that she figured it would take at least another hour to put it all back together. How wrong she was. About 20 minutes later Don let us know the coach was back on site 16, all set up. Linda was flabbergasted to say the least, even more so when she turned on the TV and everything worked even better than it had before.

Neurosurgeon at work

The evening was one of relaxation, starting with another meal of leftovers, bean soup and something new, grilled cheese sandwiches and tossed salad, while reading George. Creatures of habit we most definitely are. Later we watched NCIS, but didn't get much of an 'Abby fix', though she did provide the most vital piece to the puzzle and the look on the wife's face when the truth came out was a good job of acting. Tired after a day that shouldn't have worn us out, we went to bed early with the aroma of warm milk laced with Torani chocolate syrup still in the air. A great end to a great day.

Nov 29

Day 3 at 'Camp Monaco' brought a definite change in the weather, because gone was the snow of yesterday morning, and in its place was nothing. Nothing but a chilling cold. It seems Old Mister North Wind had decided his time had come, so in he flew. I believe this is what is referred to as a good day to stay indoors, so you can probably guess what she who tells me what to do has planned for today. But before our outdoors journey could begin, she had to look her best, and since the hairdresser comes today to the Service Center, guess who had the early appointment. Sometime later she returned with her locks shortened and a tale to tell.

It may be true that the early bird gets the worm, but that is not all there is to the story. Stop for a minute and think of the details. How early did the bird have to get up? Did he, or she as the case may be, fly into a tree it couldn't see in the darkness just getting to where the worm might be? What about the landing spot, maybe it was dry short grass, maybe it was wet and wiry weeds. Also, there is nothing reported in the story about the vicious fight the worm might have put up, twisting, wiggling and thrashing about in a desperate attempt to escape from the birds beak. My point is, that simply stating Linda and some other ladies got their hair cut does not tell the story, it only gives the result.

Having learned at a very, very, young age that I would inherit my propensity for either a full head of hair or a lack of same from from my material grandfather, I knew what was in store for me later in life, because my grandfather certainly never had to worry whether or not his hair was combed, he didn't have any. I have always laughed at the men who comb their ever dwindling number of strands from one side of their head to the other trying to give the appearance of a full head of hair. I thank my lucky stars for never having gotten caught up in thinking what is on the outside of a person is important. Talk about stars, I've wandered so far from where I started with this days writings that I'm not sure where I was going in the first place, lol. What's that old joke about bald men always having to wear a hat so all their thoughts don't escape, guess I'd better put my hat back on.

Maybe someday Linda will come to accept the unknowns around getting a haircut on the road, but for now it is always an adventure. She does go prepared with her photos to show what she wants it end up looking like, or maybe I should say, what is should in some manner resemble and forever punctual for appointments, it was 10 minutes before her appointment when she left the lounge to walk over to the laundry room where the sheep would be sheared. I mean, the haircuts would take place. She had no sooner walked out the door than I received a call from the hairdresser and told her Linda was walking over right now. While the haircut turned out great, it was still an adventure on the road of life, because after the haircut, the early bird found out that the air was not all that was cold this morning. There are water heaters and then there is hot water, but not always are the two synchronized, which resulted in a cool water hair wash. Having listened to all the yelling and screeching when I've tried to wash her hair with water at less than the ideal temperature, I can only guess that her hair dresser's vocabulary was expanded a great deal with the addition of a number of Appalachian hill country sayings, most of which, hopefully, she didn't understand,lol. [Editors note: I only told her it was invigerating]

Whether it was all the screeching or the yarns Linda spun after emerging from the 'salon', the lady whose appointment followed Linda's, opted out of a cold water wash and went into town for a perm. Turned out Linda had managed to use up all the cold water, so all the people who came after her got a warm water wash, which meant the lady wouldn't have needed to have canceled her appointment. On the other hand, she has been a full timer for 17 years and has learned a thing or two over the years.

Just before Linda left to go to here appointment, I was given a job for the next have hour or so. It wasn't for Linda, but rather for another couple who were in the lounge, though Linda took full advantage of it. I must say that of all the experiences I have had in my life, this was a first, as never before had I been asked to parrot sit. It was for a couple sitting nearby whom we had laughed and joked with about just having come off grandchildren sitting duty, so maybe they concluded I was well trained in the sitting arts. They needed to run a errand, but could not take their pet parrot with them and consequently asked me if I would watch it while they were gone. No training, no nothing, just a thanks and they were gone. What was really funny was as long as they had been in the lounge, the parrot never uttered a peep. People had repeatedly been coming up to it and talking, but all it did was try to turn its back to them. However, as soon as 'mom and dad' started to leave, it was a different story. The parrot turned in the direction they were going and started to make little noises, then a little louder noises. My brain was going into over drive thinking what do I do with a parrot that starts crying when its owners leave. Hey, what would you do? Fortunately it never got any louder but my plan, if it did, was to do just as we had done when watching the grandkids, let it cry itself out, all the time hoping no one had heard them ask me to parrot sit, lol.

Where did you hear that word?

As you can see, Linda was really enjoying this, and we learned, this couple had owned the parrot for over 20 years, and very appearent that it had bonded quite strongly to them. Regrettably, all good things must eventually come to an end and consequently, Linda returned from the hairstylists to inform me we needed to get started on our trip into town. She, of course had everything planned out, down to maps and GPS way points. The first stop would be at the Les Schwab tire store in Junction City to pick up a set of cable chains for the coach. Unfortunately, with the weather being what it is, there is the possibility of snow travel in our future. We still don't know what route we will be taking south, but whichever way we go, it will be over the mountains in the winter, hence the chains. One of the advantages of being here is learning from the experiences of other people, and it was in that way that Linda had found out about these chains. We don't plan to travel when the weather is bad, but should we get caught in a storm, we will, at least, be somewhat prepared. They were only $50 and that is pretty cheap insurance.

We will be prepared, she stated

Our next destination was the thrift store in Eugene which we had stopped at several months ago, Sara's Treasures, the one with all the cats. While Linda claimed to be going there to look for some more bargains to sell on Ebay, I think it was actually to get a 'cat fix'. I'll just let the picture below speak for itself.


I guess I'll let her off the hook about the reason she wanted to go to this shop, as eventually she did find a couple of things to buy. The rest our thrift store stops proved to be a total bust, which was not necessarily good, because what she would have bought could have earned a little income. We are coming to the conclusion that small town thrift stores are much better places to buy what we are looking for than big city stores. This of course fits right in with what roads we like to travel and where we like to stay. As Linda always says, things happen for a reason.

We really enjoyed the drive back to Harrisburg because of the spectacular scenery, especially the well defined snow line on the mountains to the east.

Snow line

We didn't feel like doing much this evening, both of us feeling tired and worn out. Linda did fix a big pot of Chili for dinner, which was accompanied by the leftover cornbread from the weekend, which was followed by a little TV time, surfing the net and then it was lights out. As I lay there, I thought of the saying about how rest comes easily to the weary traveler, but then caught myself, after all, we really didn't travel today. Whatever the reason, I wouldn't have traded my place in the world tonight for where I was a year ago. Then we were still working and the exhaustion that night was the same as every night. Will we ever get used to the sheer wonder of our new life? I think not. May life be a never ending adventure.

Nov 30

Just another day at the service center, except we are getting better at the business of sleeping in until last moment and then rushing to be ready for Don to pick up the coach at 7:30. Understandably, humans respond to a given stimuli in differing ways and for some inexplicable reason I get a rush out of the sight of the navy clad service techs walking to the rows of coaches in the early morning light, then hearing the sound of all those diesel engines coming to life. In a way it reminds me of those old movies where the Formula One race car drivers run across the track, jumping into their race cars and taking off. All in all, it adds another dimension to the words "Gentlemen, start your engines".

One by one the coaches pulled out of their assigned night time spaces to travel to their assigned daytime spaces. A sight that reminded me of the march of the Emperor Penguins across the ice of Antarctica. While all this was taking place, there was also another stream flowing across the lot. The stream of people, moving towards a central point, a small white plastic shopping bag securely grasped in one hand. Like ants the well bundled bodies emerge from their coaches and head towards the same spot on the lot, the big blue bin. Well, while it was a bin, it is more correctly called the campground dumpster. This migration starts around 7 o'clock and by 7:45 the blue box is looking a bit bedraggled, a fringe of white protruding around it's upper edge, reminding one of a bearded old man, as it is now stuffed to overflowing, its job for the day, done.

We walked through the doors, past the parts room, and into the lounge. Usually we are among the first to arrive, but more soon follow. There is coffee for the sleepy eyed, conversation to get the day started, and always, the big smile and a cheerful 'Good Morning' from the receptionist, another day at the service center had begun. The ladies gather around the large craft table, while the men tend to stand around in little circles. It is fascinating to talk to someone at this time, as diverted eye contact is the norm. Someone is always looking around to catch a glimpse of their service writer, and when eye contact is made, they are off in a flash to find out the latest information on the status of their repairs. Sometimes it is a hushed conversation as papers are passed to the customer and the estimate of repairs for non warranty work is discussed. It is so interesting watching these little scenarios play out, you can almost sit in on the conversation simply by watching the body language and facial expressions involved. For example, the shrug of the shoulders and look of resignation that says it isn't covered, but it's got to be repaired, or the wide smile that says it was covered by the extended care insurance. Life, played out before us, not by actors on a stage, but by real people.

All the while, it is completely different at the far end of the room, near the craft table. Coffee cups in hand, the conversation between the ladies reaches a fever pitch and suddenly there is a new dimension added, it is craft time. How they can do it beyond the keen of mortal man, but without ever ceasing the stories of grandchildren and travels, the packets of craft materials are dispersed and the trinket of the day starts to take shape. Maybe this talent is carried forward from all those times, many years ago, when the ladies juggled the work around the house, the raising of children and the family social life, but however it comes about, it is just as fascinating to watch as the interplay on the male side of the room. once again, life, played out before us, not by actors on a stage, but by real people.

The craft session over, Linda comes back to check on how I am doing on the daily journal. The progress has been slow because the distractions are many, but she reads what I have written, and chuckles as she reads. I know I have done well.

Writers block

As I write, Linda walks over to the table where the jigsaw puzzles are kept and selects a new one to try. This is what you would call a group effort, as there is always a puzzle or two just laying out, ready to ensnare the next unwary person to walk by. It is neat, watching people stand over the table, looking and looking, then finally reaching down, picking up a piece, putting it into place, before walking away with a slight smile of triumph on their face. Others will sit down and happily work away, perhaps putting many pieces in place, or sometimes, only sorting and grouping pieces. Time and again, life, played out before us, not by actors on a stage, but by real people.


Among the people Linda has really enjoyed talking to has the lady from across the street in site 12. She and her husband are the ones who have been full timing for 17 years and consequently she has been a fountain of knowledge and help. Linda was so proud that she was able to pass on one of our tricks, that the lady had never heard of, collecting the shower water as it warms up, then using it to flush the toilet when more water is need. Seventeen years and still as excited as we are, and I loved her comments about how everything doesn't go just the way you want, otherwise they wouldn't be here now, but living this way is just so much fun. Is that the right attitude or what.

Is life good, or what

As the day progressed, the ebb and flow of life washed over the lounge area, sometimes seemingly full of people, at other times becoming nearly vacant. We have decided that many people go out to eat their meals rather than cooking in their coach, as it is a late arriving morning crowd, but noon it is really cleared out, then fills back up in the late afternoon as people await the placing of their coach on its site between 3:30 and 4:00.

A relaxing place

In the afternoon we drove down to Junction City to take a tour of the Country Coach plant. As impressed as we had been with the tour and tour guide at the Monaco plant in Coburg, this was most definitely a cut above. Me thinks the manufacturers have invested a good bit of money into making these tours a real sales tool. Think Country Coach, think high end, think quality. Those things are reinforced over and over again throughout the tour. I must say, it was one impressive bit of salesmanship. The waiting area for the service center doubled as the waiting area for the tours and is also is where the Country Coach wearables can be found. As we toured the plant and looked at the coats, jackets, hats, etc, we couldn't help but think of our friend Larry and his Country Coach back in North Carolina from our experience this spring at Mountain Stream RV Park.

Expensive, but supposedly worth it

We returned to the Monaco service center just as Don was bringing our coach out from the shop. This may have looked like perfect coincidence, but we would prefer to call it perfect timing on our part. Every evening it is fun to walk through the coach and try to determine what was done during the day. As you can see from the photo, our cabinet doors are in the process of being replaced.

Missing something

Last night we were missing the door under the stove top, tonight the one under the sink is also gone. At this rate, in a week we will be down to just the frame of the coach, lol. Seriously, Don has done a great job of keeping us informed of his work and the what is on order. Right now we are awaiting a left side camera, floor tile and cabinet doors, among other things.

We decided that after a day like today, where we worked hard at something but just couldn't figure out what it was, we would have our fourth do nothing night in a row. We did shell some peanuts, something Linda very much enjoys the results of, but doesn't care for the doing. Not because it is hard to shell peanuts, but rather because it is too easy. Easy as in 'it's too easy to make a mess on the floor'. Bet you can guess which one of us gets the finger pointed towards as the biggest debris contributor. Who, me? Dinner was kielbasi, onions and sweet potatoes. The night ended with a warm mug of milk and chocolate and a slice of the chocolate zucchini bread. Shortly after which another enjoyable day receded into dreamland.

Go To Top of Page