Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I am Impressed!

Just a short post to say that we are very pleased so far with Camping World of Lakewood, NJ. We arrived there Monday afternoon after an uneventful trip through New York (thank goodness!), and found them very well organized, ready for us with all the paperwork we had faxed down on Saturday. The technician came out to the trailer, listened carefully to our gas problems, and told us that they would start work on it ASAP. They would also repair the 2 water leaks. He tagged it, chatted for a few minutes, and said they would call as soon as they had a diagnosis. I felt good about it, unlike other experiences dropping off our previous trailer at other places.

I couldn't believe it, but this afternoon, we received the call. The gas leak was fixed! As were the 2 water leaks. He explained that they ran a pressurized test of the gas lines, and no leaks were found. So they turned on the furnace to let it run for awhile, as we stated the propane detector didn't start going off until about a half hour of running. While waiting for that, they fixed the leaks ( insufficient caulking on the shower, and a blown gasket in the main line) and sure enough the detector started going off. The called keystone to get authorization to pull out the furnace for inspection, and after receiving that, found that after heating up, some of the parts ( I don't know which ones, sorry) were coming loose, and releasing some gas, So they tightened everything up, reinstalled the furnace, and everything is peachy keen now. They did say that the propane detector was gummed up from going off so much, so keystone is sending a replacement for it to be installed.

So, all in all, I think, at this point, it's a successful warranty repair. And it didn't take 4 months like the one on my last trailer did :-).

Since I like to have at least one picture, I'll leave you today with a picture of our favorite camping site in the Catskills, at Mongaup Pond State Park with our previous trailer. It's a wonderful park!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gas Issues...Propane, that is!

Well, I always knew that it would be too good to be true that the fiver would have no issues whatsoever...but did it have to be the one thing I'm paranoid about...propane gas?
As background, we bought the trailer at the Hershey RV show in September. Let me know if this sounds familiar to anyone, but we really had no intention of buying something right there and then. We were figuring with our budget constaints we were going to get something used to travel in until the house sells. But they gave us a great deal to start, and a fantastic trade-in for our pop-up trailer and we couldn't refuse :-). Now, feel free to give me a lashing with a wet noodle if you must, but we bought it through Camping World RV Sales. I know there's alot of issues people have with Camping World, but we were fairly satisfied with the deal we got. Now, one of the questions I asked, because we live a good 6 hours away from Harrisburg, was where we would be picking up the trailer. I was assured by the salesman that we could have it delivered to any Camping World that we would like to go to, and there is one 3 hours away in New Jersey. I figured that was doable, and I would be sure to schedule the delivery early in the day so we had plenty of time to do our PDI. I was also told not to expect it before Thanksgiving.
Fast forward to the end of October. The phone call came Friday before Halloween, the trailer was ready for pick-up! Cool. But...you knew a but was coming right?...it was delivered to Harrisburg, and we had a choice of the following Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday to take delivery. Excuse me? What about delivering to New Jersey? Oh, well, that wasn't possible as it was bought through the Rochester NY store and they weren't part of the same regional sales department, and besides, all the trailers bought at the show were being delivered to Harrisburg PA where the PDI and paperwork would be done. Oh, and the last tidbit that really puzzled me was that it wasn't at a dealership, it was at the Holiday Inn just outside Harrisburg.
I was not happy. However, we took a deep breath, and figured out how to deal with it. We had an event that we had to be home for on that Sunday, so we took Saturday off from work, and drove down Friday night, to pick it up early Saturday, and drive home again Saturday afternoon. So much for spending a weekend in it testing things out. I had planned on doing a thorough PDI, but, despite assurances that there would be water and electric there, there wasn't. They also had the unit winterized already! So we checked what we could, didn't find anything wrong, signed the papers, paid for it, and headed home. That was 3 weeks ago.
We've had it set up in the yard since then, slowly moving things in and checking stuff out. We left it winterized as it is getting chilly here. The funny thing is, everytime we ran the furnace to warm it up inside, the propane alrm was going off. We couldn't smell anything at first, and were assured that it was probably due to the "new furnace residue" burning off and it would stop. Well, it hasn't, and Thanksgiving Day as I was walking past the furnace vent outside I could smell gas. I called my brother, who's a fire chief here, and asked if he could bring his gas leak probe over and check things out for me. As soon as he walked in with it it started going off, so I know its not a faulty propane detector now. It seems to read the worst levels at the floor vents where the heat is coming out. So we immediately turned off the furnace, opened all the windows, and aired it all out thoroughly!

So, we have an appointment to take it to the NJ Camping World for warranty work tomorrow. So long as we have to take it there, today we spent the whole day going over it inch by inch checking out everything! Al de-winterized it, and we checked all the water systems, and found 2 leaks they can also take care of, one by the shower and one in the main feed line. Other than that it looks fine, so I guess it's not too bad. I'm hoping for a not-so-bad trip through NYC...I HATE going through NYC....and for a quick turnaround so I can continue packing it up :-).

Thanks for staying with this to the end, I know it was long, and I welcome all comments or tips anyone has relating to service work :-). Have a great couple of days :-).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick shout out of Happy Thanksgiving to all our family and friends. It was a pretty nice day here on Long Island, a little cold but not too bad. We had a nice breakfast of French Toast before getting the turkey ready for the oven. Al brined it this year, and I can't begin to tell you how moist it came out :-). During breakfast, though, I noticed alot of birds hovering around our dining room window. We used to have birdfeeders up, and had a wide variety of birds come in, but eventually those pesky little rodents (rats!) found the free food, and we had to take down the feeders in order to get rid of the varmints. Well, I think those darn birds were trying to tell us it was Thanksgiving, and they wanted their feeders back up :-). So Al went out and put some up, and within minutes they were full! I guess the little devils didn't go too far :-). We'll leave them up for awhile and see if we develop any more problems.

As far as progress, not too much this week, but Al did get the wireless printer installed and working off of the laptop in the trailer. I measured cabinets up, and ordered some DVD mesh containers to bring along some of our movie collection. By the way, anyone need a simply huge collection of VHS movies?? Didn't think so :-). I have no idea of what to do with them besides chuck them in the dumpster. I also did alot of paper filing, and organizing of magazine recipe clippings. It will be so nice to have time to try the many recipes I've collected. We also pretty much decided to go with the Winegard Carryout portable satellite sytem for our TV pleasure, now just need to figure out whether it will be DirectTV or DiSH. I'll take any and all comments on that, please!

I'm going to leave you with a picture of one of the beautiful tigers at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. Isn't he beautiful? Have a wonderful holiday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Busy Weekend and Harry!

We had a very busy weekend here. I think I'm working harder at home on the weekend right now than I am at work :-). Sunday was closet cleaning, sorting and paper shredding. The fun part was finding a box of old photos from very long ago! I'll have to get them scanned into the computer and saved on photo CDs. Al went to install the JT Stronarms Stabilizer system that we purchased to help make the fiver more stable, but as he sorted out the contents, there were several pieces missing :-(. He took care of that on Monday, and the missing pieces are being shipped, but unfortunately, that meant the day's project went on hold! So he spent the afternoon in the garage, sorting and moving stuff around.
It was a beautiful day out though, sunny and in the high 50's so we did take a break in the afternoon and take the pups up to Cedar Point county park for a hike in the woods. This is one of our favorite spots for walking, and we have also camped here in our pop-up at least one weekend a summer. The last 2 years we have spent Memorial Day weekend here with my sister and her family, and have enjoyed it very much. This weekend, it was all quiet as the campground is closed for the winter, but there was alot of activity on the trails....by the deer and the wild turkeys! Casey had a field day chasing after them, until he was so exhausted he just flops down on the ground. He's so funny! Of course, I didn't think to bring a camera...that's something I will need to get in the habit of doing, keeping the camera charged and ready to go.

Monday was our usual errand, chores and appointment day, and just seemed to disappear on me. I did make a big pot of onion soup for dinner on Tuesday, and found a light and healthy recipe for chicken piccatta that turned out great! The whole house is watching their weight, with the ladies going to Weight Watchers and doing great. Dr. Patel is pleased with Al's progress, he has lost weight, and now that the tendonitis is under control we are walking more again. He's removing another medication, so, fingers crossed, the heart issues are really a thing of the past!

The big treat for the weekend, though, was Monday night....we went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1! It I can't wait till the final installment, even though I have read the books :-). I sure hope there's a movie theatre showing it close by to our workamping gig in July!

Thanks to everyone who has commented, and supported us in our change of life...it means so much to us. Hugs to all until next time!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


At times, the task we have before us is overwhelming. We have our business sold, but the closing isn't until next month and we'll still be there until the end of the year. At least I have my accountant and lawyer to help me with that :-). The first of the year, though, we need to have everything set at this end by our departure date of March 26. I have to figure out what's going with me in the trailer, what's getting packed and stored until the house sells, what is sellable (either through Craigslist, ebay or yard sale) and what gets given away or tossed! I've never really moved before, just when I left my parent's house when I got married, and I didn't have much then :-). I look around at 30 years of accumulated stuff, and think, "WHAT was I thinking?" I can truly see how liberating it will be to have less "stuff".

With Al's mom and sister staying here in the house after we leave, I need to make sure everything is set so if the house sells while we're working this summer, they can just call the movers to come and get everything. I'm sure we can do it, it's just a bit daunting to think about. I sure could use any tips and hints from those who have "been there, done that"! :-)

One very difficult task was accomplished yesterday by Al. It was very hard for him to do, but he announced to his volunteer ambulance corp. members at their meeting last night of our plans, our move, and his departure from the corps. next March. This organization has been a huge part of his life for the last 30 years: he has been president for 8 years, is the senior advanced EMT-CC, and has been teaching EMT and EMT-CC classes to the entire community for the last 25 years. It wasn't an easy decision to give up this part of his life, but we do hope to continue to make a difference in people's lives by doing volunteer work on the road when we have the financial means to do so. I hope that anyone from the Sag Harbor Ambulance who may be reading this knows how much the people have meant to him, and the joy he received from his work there. And we will be back to visit! :-).

That's all for today. Thanks again for reading :-).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Slightly Off-topic :-)

Hi...I'm back!
Before I get to my off-topic, I wish to thank all those who have taken the time to look over the blog, make comments, and struggle to figure out how to "follow" us :-). My friend Kelly worked her way through it today, and I think this is what you need to do to be a follower. On the right hand column, find the Follow section. Right now there are 2 of you :-). Click on the Follow rectangle just above the "pictures". That will take you to a window that will allow you to register with Google...it's easy, just your email and a password, and then you can come back to the blog and click on the Follow button again, and then you're on the list! I believe that once you've done that, you will be notified when I've made a new post. I'll know after I do this one :-).

My off-topic discussion is the result of an email I received today. A few years ago, Al and I had the pleasure of visiting a facility called Big Cat Rescue in Tampa Florida: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/.  This is an excellent facility which rescues many different types of big cats: lions, tigers cougars, bobcats, leopards. And many exotics, like ocelots and servils. They are a non-profit organization, relying totally on donations and funds received from people visiting the facility. The cats they rescue come from private owners who think its "cool" to have an exotic pet, only to find it's not very easy or practical to have a wild animal in their house, or from "roadside zoos" keeping these cats in deplorable, inhumane conditions to entice tourists to visit and spend a few dollars.

The email I received was from Big Cat Rescue, asking for help in shutting down a particularly loathsome facility in Nevada. I quote from the AdvoCat newsletter:

"Celebrities Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green decided it would be a great photo op to play with a chained adult tiger and bottle feed a baby tiger.  They easily found that opportunity at Big Cat Encounters Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada.  As they hoped, the photos ended up on celebrity blogs worldwide, which only encourages others to seek out encounters like this. You don’t have to know much about cats to see the terror in this poor tiger cub’s face.

Karl Mitchell is the owner of this facility.  He has a notorious criminal, as well as animal abuse, record that stretches back decades to 1985. Recently featured on Animal Planet’s “Fatal Attractions,” he was seen inside his tiger cages slapping and boxing his tigers in the face.  California’s Fish and Game, after seizing animals from him in the past, have characterized him as “a dangerous person and a serious liability to any person or animal he's involved with.”

Not even 3 months ago, Mitchell was fined over $68,000 for a long list of violations of the Animal Welfare Act.  Despite cease and desist orders being issued over and over, this man blatantly continues to abuse animals.  While he appears on TV and in celebrity news worldwide, when will authorities finally stop him? 

Many years ago, Big Cat Rescue took in two of Mitchell’s abused cats.  After her rescue, Dara, the cougar, died from a fatal brain infection from the severity of Mitchell’s blows to her skull.  Shaquille, the black leopard, received beatings that crushed his eye sockets and caused permanent eye damage that he suffered from all of his life. 
We have gone undercover at other facilities that offer “pay to play” exhibits to expose the cruelty that results.  You can watch our video at: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/video/00389.htm


Please let the USDA, Nevada authorities and your legislators know that you will not tolerate any further delay in shutting Karl Mitchell, and other abusers like him, completely down.  You can easily send a letter by clicking on  

Letters to the editor of the Las Vegas Sun can be written at http://www.lasvegassun.com/contact/letters/""

This is a cause very dear to my heart, and for all cat lovers out there, big and small, I'd so appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to Write a short note to the email above and express your dismay at allowing this kind of animal abuse to be allowed. And if you're in the Tampa area, please stop at Big Cat Rescue, the tour is so very interesting and the animals are wonderful! The facility is top-notch, and the care and love is very evident in the way they are house, in special "catitats". It's great!
Thanks for listening...I promise I'll be back to preparing for the road next :-).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Ending, and the Beginning

Hello, and thanks for joining us. For those that don't know us, I'm Karen and Al is my husband, and we're going to be starting an incredible journey across the United States in March, 2011! We'll be traveling slowly, stopping to explore new areas as we travel, and doing a combination of workamping and volunteering as we go. Our home on wheels is a 2011 Keystone Cougar 327RES, towed by a 2008 Ford F450 DRW. I have a preliminary picture of it below, after we have towed it home here to Sag Harbor!
So far, our two dogs Chelsea and Casey like it very much :-).

A little bit about us: Al is 51, and I am 48. We have been married for 30 years, and have been in business for ourselves for the same amount of time, owning and operating a small, family dry cleaning plant in East Hampton. Whereas it's been a great business, after 30 years, we find ourselves ready to move on to a new phase in our lives. We've talked loose plans for a few years now, but a combination of events and circumstances this past year led to more serious discussions, planning, and "what if" scenarios, and the decision was made to make the leap. We put the business up for sale this fall, and in a divine stroke of providence, we had an offer on it. We feel the prospective owner is a good match for the area, and that my employees and my customers will be well taken care of. We couldn't be happier :-).

As for our future plans, for the long-term we want to see as much of this country as we can, for as long as we can :-).I personally hope to indulge in one of my favorite hobbies, photography.  We are staying here in Sag Harbor through the end of March, as Al finishes teaching his EMT courses. We will be getting the house refurbished and packed up in preparation for putting it on the market in the spring. Our tentative departure is set for March 26, 2011. We will be traveling south, stopping to visit family in Norfolk VA.,  and Hilton Head SC. on our way to Crystal River FL. to visit my parents. From there were are headed to the RV-Dreams rally in Sevierville TN. http://www.rv-dreams.com/rally.html. This is where we will meet and mingle with other people living and working their dreams. There are classes there for us to attend where we will learn about living on the road, maintaining our vehicles, and various safety issues. Then we are on our way to Michigan and our summer jobs at Waldenwoods Camp Resort.  

So, that's about it for now. I'll check in with musings and updates over the next few weeks until we actually get on the road. Then you may have to put up with my writings more often :-). I hope to improve both my writings and photography as I have the time to work on it more. I hope you enjoy following us, and we welcome any and all comments, ideas and tips on things to see and do!

As my favorite quote says, :Like what you do. Do what you like!" Life, indeed, is Good :-)