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Puddlejumper

Ready To Roll

Earlier this month I took a weeks vacation. Since our county is on lockdown because of covid19 we really couldn’t go anywhere. We worked on the flower beds and got them ready for planting. I did some things around the house that I didn’t have a chance to do.

During the week we had an appointment with the dealer to de-winterize and install roof vent covers. We had to cancel because of hitch issues that couldn’t be resolved easily. I had the brilliant idea of doing it myself! Of course I had no clue what I was doing. A few YouTube videos later and a call to the dealer to find out where the hot water heater was and I was ready, or so I thought. I proceeded to run faucets, one at a time until pink stuff stopped coming out. Ran outside and did the low point drain. Hot water next. I took the dinette apart, opened up the middle compartment to find the hot water heater, but no bypass. There was supposed to be a 3rd tube and valve. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Another call to the dealer, texted a picture and wait. After an hour I got tired of waiting so I started digging around. Greg started looking. We finally found a little tag that was turned sideways with directions to un-bypass. Greg turned the valve and we heard water flow. When it stopped I made sure the heater was full, turned it on and finished running antifreeze out of the hot water lines. Finished!

Looking around I notice pink splattered all over both sinks and the bathtub. It wasn’t rinsing off. More to do than I bargained for. I poured fresh water tank sanitizer in, filled it with water and rocked the trailer. As it was draining I decided to clean. 4 hours later it was dusted, vacuumed and scrubbed. Everything was spotless. The fresh water tank still need another fill and drain. While it was draining I decided to stock some essentials – cookware, silverware, coffee pot, tea kettle, towels, bedding. Trip after trip from the house, it now had most of the basics in clean storage containers under the dinette benches. A full 8 hours and it’s ready to go. The new mattress is supposed to arrive today.

Let the adventures begin!

RV Life

No Longer Accidental?

You would think after living in an RV for 2 years we’d never want to see another one. We really don’t and cringed at the thought of it, however ….. The Outback was proving hard to sell. It was huge! At almost 37′ & 10,000 lbs. dry weight, it would be like dragging a tractor trailer box around. Although the truck was fully capable, neither one of us wanted to attempt it. The most we’ve done is 21′ & 7,000 lbs of horse trailer. If we were going to have to make a payment it may as well be on something useful or easier to sell. We traded the beast in for a brand new Keystone Passport. It’s smaller SUV friendly and much easier to deal with. It could live in our driveway instead of Mom’s. I couldn’t force us going to campgrounds and using it. We live in a rural area and are surrounded by 3,000 acres of trails and wilderness.

We took delivery of the Passport, I took pictures and immediately put it up for sale. Then I had a thought. I’ve gotten back into photography since I got a good camera last Christmas. I love to photograph waterfowl, primarily ducks. Although we have plenty here, I’m getting tired of being local.  We could use the Passport for weekend trips for my photography. We could also go some of the places we’ve talked about, but because of airfare and hotel prices being ridiculous, have been cost prohibitive. The thought of spending more time in an RV didn’t make Greg’s day, but he agreed.

I took down the sale ads and loaded her with all the things from the Outback that we’d need. I named her Puddle-jumper since she’ll be used to find puddle ducks and she’s so little compared to what we’re use to. I started decorating in a waterfowl theme with some of the photos I took.

You’ll be able to read about the adventures of Puddle-jumper here and see the photos on our website.

 

RV Life

2 Years And 6 Days

Since I’ve had a real shower in a real house. I was looking for the water shutoff until I remembered I didn’t need to. I could leave the water run and stay in as long as I wanted. I never wanted to get out.

For 2 years and 6 days the six of us lived full time, stationary in about 250 sq ft of space. Our Beagle was just a pup when we moved in. She and the three cats adjusted well to our tiny home. It had its ups and downs, life was easy at times and hard others. We took a leap of faith into an unknown world to keep our family together and it worked out well. I enjoyed spending so much time with my Mom and she appreciated all the help we gave her.

Now it’s time to move on. We moved into our new house on Aug 13th. It has 4 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths and 2 floors. I keep getting turned around. Greg and I constantly loose each other. The animals love it. We put Daisy’s portable pen around the patio so she has a place to be loose outside. Her real fence should be installed in about a month. She’ll have a good sized yard to play in.

Mom was supposed to live with us and at the last minute refused. She’s only 8 minutes away so we can still be there when she needs us. Greg gets double lawn duty every week.

We’re looking forward to our new adventure and getting adjusted to living in a house. I do miss the soft rain on the bedroom slide as I’m going to sleep.

 

RV Life

All The Comfort Foods of Home

For years I’ve wanted to get back into vegetable gardening, but lack of time never permitted it. Then there was the rototiller, fencing and everything else that had to be done before you could start to plant. It was never going to happen with house, horses and a pup.

In late winter I accidentally stumbled upon container gardening. Growing up in a gardening family, veggies were always planted in the ground after fertilizing and tilling. I read quite a few articles on container gardening, joined a Facebook group and jumped right in with both feet in early April.

Cherry tomatoes, green pepper, patio tomatoes, broccoli, leaf lettuce and a few herbs came home. I couldn’t resist a few freesias. I was really looking forward to fresh veggies when they grew. Our “house” it portable so why shouldn’t our garden be.

RV Life

Effects of Nature

Apparently we weren’t supposed to live in a house. Our purchase fell thru when it came to the inspections so our journey continues. I’ve re-learned patients with the little things that annoyed me as we continue with our lives in the 5th wheel.

When you live in an RV full time it’s amazing how closely you pay attention to the weather and how much it can effect our lives. With spring upon us it’s thunderstorm season. I always payed a little closer attention than most because of the horses. We no longer have horses, but I’m more in tune with what’s going on now and what’s in store for the near future.

If the birds and critters disappear, something’s coming. Fill the fresh water tank, make sure you have generator gas, batton down the hatches and see what’s in store. We’ve been getting thunderstorms every few days and everything has been fine …. until last week when it wasn’t.

Last Tuesday evening I was almost finished cooking dinner when the electric went out. It came back and went out again. I reported the outage to the electric company. Estimated time was 2 hours. Fire up the generator and we’re good to go. Mom was alright and didn’t see a need to come over. Our little Champion generator proved to be worth its weight in gold again. Two days later the electric came back on.

RV Life

Our Journey Ends

We’ve come to another crossroad in life and it’s bitter sweet. We found out last night our offer on a house has been accepted. We’ll have 2400 sq. ft. instead of 250. All of our belongings will be with us instead of in storage. No more popping the breaker when we try to use the tea kettle and toaster at the same time (since we’re plugged into 30 amps and use an adapter for the 50 amp trailer). No more having to turn off the water in the shower when we aren’t using it. The house won’t rock when it’s really windy. On the flip side, no more RV. We’ll be saying goodbye to the place we’ve called home for going on 2 years. The corn fields across the street with geese coming and going, the fawns we watched grow up and the noisy cows down the street.

Our journey started as accidental RVers. Thrown into a situation we knew nothing about to prevent us from being homeless. We made the steep learning curve of life in an RV. Sometimes it was easy, sometimes it was a matter of survival and it was a struggle. This past winter was rough and I didn’t think it would ever end. As we come down to our final month I find myself getting annoyed at little things that were just part of daily life in the past. I also find myself starting to miss our beloved portable home and the memories we’ve made here.

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Introducing LR Cameron Photography

My love of ducks, nature and wildlife combined with my new camera have had me hitting the woods and waterways as much as possible. Rugged trails and precarious situations have resulted in beautiful photos. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I’ve enjoyed taking them. Visit our gallery. Specializing in ducks, nature and […]

via Introducing LR Cameron Photography — Life At LPS Ranch

RV Life

Survival

For whatever the reasons, this winter seems more like survival than living. With the fluctuating outside temps it’s not hard to understand why we’re having issues regulating inside. Now that it’s finally gotten cold, we don’t seem to be as warm as we were last winter.

An  “arctic blast” was forecasted for early last week so hubby ran out to get bubble wrap. Last weekend was winter storm/cold prep. We filled the fresh water tank and checked the generator,  cut pieces of bubble wrap for every window and put it up, pulled the day/night shades and closed the curtains tight and checked the skirting and foam board to make sure everything was in place before the cold came. And come it did. Sunday was near 50 and plummeted during the afternoon. Night was in the single digits. Monday brought a high of 15 with winds that made it feel like -20. It took the house heater and the EdenPure running constantly to keep it warm. We survived, but discovered watching TV was out. Our TV is in a living room slide and lowers in the cabinet behind the fireplace. So much cold air came in when it was raised we couldn’t keep warm.

It looks like last week was a trial run for the 4-5 days of the same forecasted for the end of this week.

We survived round 2, although it was a challenge. Teens by day and below 0 at night with 5″ of snow. The door hinges froze and squeaked. It was a chronic balancing act between the trailer heater and EdenPure to maintain a comfortable temperature inside, as well as keeping the underbelly above freezing.  Greg slept on the sofa for 3 nights to make sure the heater was ok. Dripping faucets constantly to keep the water from freezing. I have a huge case of “house-atosis” and can’t wait to see daylight again. The pup that normally loves cold and snow preferred to stay in and pull the blanket off the back of the sofa onto herself. Today is supposed to be the big thaw. Mid 30’s today and from one extreme to another, mid to upper 50’s this week. We can finally open the curtains, remove bubble wrap and see daylight. I started to feel like a bat.

I do realize people in the colder climates live with these conditions every winter, but in PA we’re just not used to it. Our houses are built for it and most people don’t know how to deal with it. After talking to other people, I think we were actually better off in our Rv than most were in houses. I heard stories of pipes freezing and heaters not being able to keep the houses at comfortable temps.

Our winter RV survival kit –

  • RV with an arctic package and heated underbelly
  • 1/2″ foam board covered by marine grade vinyl skirting held in place with stainess snaps
  • heated hose
  • foam pipe insulation on both ends of the hose
  • heat gun (just in case)
  • bubble wrap for every window, thermal curtains and day night shades (kept closed while temps are below freezing
  • roof vent inserts
  • EdenPure heater (we would have frozen without it)
  • dripped water in the bathroom constantly and in the kitchen over night
  • weather station with extra sensors – we have 1 in the bedroom and 1 in the belly to monitor temps
RV Life

Another Winter

Here we are, spending another winter in the 5th wheel.  Setting up for winter seemed to be much easier than last year, yet it just doesn’t seem as comfortable as last year. it was so unseasonably warm for quite awhile and regulating the temperature in here got to be a nightmare. Now that it’s colder it’s much more stable.

We had another wonderful RV Christmas. It looked beautiful again. We got another potted tree and I think we got it in the ground fast enough for it to survive. I really enjoyed having Mom spend the entire day with us. At 90, who knows how many more Christmas’ I’ll get to spend with her. We had plenty of food, music and great company. I think I’ll miss Christmas most when we get a house.

I got a nice camera for Christmas. It’s been a long time since I used a real camera so I had a bit of a learning curve. With 3400 acres of lakes, woods and open fields within a 5 minute drive I’ve been taking pictures of what I love … waterfowl, wildlife, sunsets, nature and of course Daisy. I set up a site to showcase those photos. I hope you’ll enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Daisy has discovered those 3400 acres and is determined to explore every trail. We started hiking the trails on weekends for a treat for her. Regardless of weather, it’s now expected. As much as Daisy hates car rides, weekends roll around and she more than happy to jump in. The horrible trails that you can barely walk are her favorites.

Instead of exploring trails, this weekend has been spent doing winter storm prep. the forecast was 4-8″ of snow followed by freezing rain then rain. After everything stopped we were supposed to get 20-30 mph winds. Tonight it’s supposed to be 5, tomorrow 15. Wind chills will be -20 to -30. Propane and refrigerator are full. We bubble packed with windows and it makes a huge difference. Shades are down, curtains are closed. We’re not going to see the light of day until Wednesday.

 

RV Life

Murphy’s Law Applied To RVs

It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, there’s always something unexpected that can go wrong. It was a week before Thanksgiving and unusually cold for this time of the year. Highs had been in the 30’s, lows in the mid to low 20’s. Although it was a little chilly when we got up the furnace was running. It shut off at 72, which was unusual. I turned the thermostat up a bit, it clicked but the furnace didn’t kick on. I turned it off, then on. Nothing. No click, no heat.

Greg called the RV dealer and made the half hour trek for parts. I had the electric fireplace and EdenPure on to keep warm. By the time he got back it was snowing. He installed the new thermostat and we had heat. It got up to temperature and turned off.  It got colder and colder, but the heat wouldn’t come on. Greg spent a few hours trying to figure out what was going on while I quickly tried to find a mobile RV repair just in case. They were calling for it to be in the 20s that night and 4-6″ of snow. Nothing seemed to work so I made a phone call. He was willing to drive the hour, but not until the next day. He and Greg went over the thermostat wiring to make sure. It was wired correctly and he suspected the circuit board on the furnace. It’s was going to be a very long night.

With both let rid heaters going I didn’t trust them enough for both of us to go to bed. We were supposed to take 2 hour shifts. Since I had to work the following day I got to sleep first. Went to bed at 10:30 with polar fleece pjs, 3 cats & a dog. It was far too cold to leave Daisy in her crate so she got to sleep loose for the first time in her life. She hopped up in the bed and under the covers. Apparently I refused to wake up at 12:30. Next thing I knew it was 6:30 and time to get up for work. I felt so bad that he was on the sofa all night, not really getting any sleep. The RV mechanic arrived around 9:30. He did a few tests and determined it was the circuit board. We had heat! That was probably the longest 24 hours of my life. We got thru it and nobody froze, regardless of what we thought.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving week. The unusually cold weather continued. Two days of work and five days off. Wednesday was spent doing errands to pick up what I needed for our meal.  We had a very nice Thanksgiving with the traditional turkey 🦃 , stuffing, mashed potatoes, veggies, rolls and pumpkin pie 🥧. Once again Mom loved the graham cracker crust on the pie. I hadn’t used the oven since late spring so I wasn’t really happy about having the “scary” oven on for several hours for the first time. Turkey, potatoes and pie were done in the Instant Pot. Mom stayed for awhile and played with Daisy. It was warm and comfortable inside even though it was 29 out with windchills in the teens. Another successful RV Thanksgiving.

We never go anywhere on Black Friday so our only plans were to drive 5 minutes and take Daisy hiking for a few hours. I must have been very tired and slept a bit later than usual. By the time I got up our water was still frozen, the cap that holds the hose for the city water connection was broken and we had no water. Uh oh … we were so tired we must have forgotten to drip the faucets before going to bed. Apparently Greg got the heat gun too close to the connection and plastic ring melted and popped off. I did have a very mad husband. Fortunately we set up coffee and tea the night before. Unfortunately we had a trip to civilization (near several shopping centers) and the RV dealer on Black Friday. The cap wasn’t available by itself, but the dealer did stock the units. Take pictures to make sure we got the right one. I couldn’t think of anything else we needed, but I wanted to go to look around. The $45 part costs quite a bit more than that by the time I was finished “looking around”, but we got several things we needed that we didn’t think of. Off to Home Depot for pipe insulation. We spent the next few hours replacing the water connections and insulating pipes at the house and trailer ends of the heated hose. We also filled the fresh water tank just in case.

I’m starting to seriously think about a house ….