Where has the week gone?

Well it is Friday.  Been a busy week that nothing got done.  Have you ever had one of those?  We did manage to get to Wildwood NJ for a little while.  It has been years since we came down here.  Will make sure we get back there next week.  Yesterday and today have been campground days.  The only traveling was to find a laundromat.  Ended us using the one at the campground as it was the cheapest we found.

Puppies are liking the campground.  They get out for a walk in new territory.   Noses are going a mile a minute and have to stop and sniff then mark every tree.

WIFI and Cell Phone boosters are both up and running.  No free WIFI in the area that I can detect.  So, Millencom is in use this week and next.  Same problem with TV and Satellite.  In the middle of trees so DirecTV is not working and the local stations are limited to basically just NBC (40.1).  There are a couple of others but have to reposition the antenna for them and the programming is limited.  Main entertainment is reading and computer based stuff.  We don’t stream at the moment, until we figure out what our bandwidth is really going to be like.

Tomorrow is the family picnic on the wife’s side.  We will be heading back to PA for the day.  Pictures will be posted sometime Sunday.

 

Arrived at Sea Pines

Well we made it to our second stop in our five year tour of the country.  We are in Outdoor World Sea Pines until July 3rd.

This is a huge campground.  It seems to have over 550 sites, however, about half are seasonal.  Still plenty of sites available.  Looks like 84 sites have sewer, water and electric; about 170 sites with just water and electric. The office did say they have a honey wagon that comes around twice a week and will dump your tanks free of charge.  Thursday starts the official season when the camp store opens every day.  The pool looks really nice.  Hopefully we will get to use it after Saturday.  Been kind of busy this week.

One thing about this campground is that there are a lot of trees.  So no satellite and parking the rigs will be a challenge. Be prepared to drive around before bringing the rig in,  Will make it much easier in the long run.  They do have cable rental and pay Internet access.  If you use Verizon or Millenicom you will have a good signal here.

No pictures yet.  Maybe later in the week.

 

 

Weekend Update

Well, we had a great weekend and I hope everyone else did as well.  Saturday we went to a hot air balloon festival.  It was too windy for them to launch so we didn’t get to see that.  They had live music and sitting in the grass watching the clouds go by while listening to it was extremely relaxing and enjoyable.  Couple of kids were flying kites, some playing ball with their dads.  Daisy entered a contest for a 16 x 20 picture of a hot air balloon.  I told her that we were guaranteed to win as we have no place to put it.  You guessed it, we won!  It is a signed and numbered framed photograph.  Not sure what we will do with it.  Having it shipped to my daughter’s place.  Here are some pictures of the balloon festival.

Spy in the sky

Spy in the Sky

Filling a balloon

Filling a balloon

Balloon Festival

Balloon Festival

Father / Son time

Father / Son Time

Band

The Band

 

Green Dragon

Green Dragon

When we were living and working full time we didn’t get much of a chance to visit Green Dragon.  It is only open on Fridays.  Since this is the last time we will be here for a while and we had a break in the weather (no rain until late afternoon was forecast), we decided to take the trip and pickup some fruits and veggies.

Green Dragon is basically in Ephrata, PA a few miles from the PA Turnpike exit off of Rt 272.  It is a combination of buildings large and small and an outside flea market.  They have a couple of auctions as well.  Kind of like Roots that we visited earlier in our trip.

There are a couple of places at Green Dragon that you have to visit, one is a little stand outside that makes Apple  Fritters and Corn Fritters.  These 2 inch balls of greatness are a must have.  Today they were 3 for $3.50.  The other place is inside one of the building (#6 I think) and they sell Monkey Bread (some people call it Monkey Brains).  It is basically small pieces of Cinnamon Rolls all stuck together.  Both go great with coffee or tea.

Green Dragon 1

Weather kept a lot of the people away.

Green dragon 2

Main outside area.  This is where you get the Apple or Corn Fritters

Green Dragon 3

Inside part of one of the 6 buildings

Green Dragon Donuts

Fresh Hot Donuts.  These are Apple Donuts

Shady Maple

There is one place that we can not seem to skip when we go camping in the Lancaster area and that is Shady Maple.  We have been camping in this area for many years and this naturally was the kick off spot for our 5 year adventure.  So what better way to kick it off than with a trip to Shady Maple!

For those that haven’t been lucky enough to experience this great dinning experience, Shady Maple is a smorgasbord with about 200 ft, yes FEET of food.  But that isn’t all, it has a huge gift shop down stairs that will keep the women happy for a couple of hours.  On the main floor they have added some fantastic 3-d artwork.

For years they have had some 3-d art hanging on the walls and I was always amazed at the scenes.  Lately they have added many more.  They also place a plaque about the artist which was really interesting.  Here are two of the new displays.

Shady Maple Art 1 Shady Maple Art 2

RV Drivers Training

Several folks have asked me about the RV drivers training that Daisy recently completed.  Since she is out visiting with family and I am here all alone, I figured I would do a quick write up on what we recently did with our drivers training course.

When we decided to go on the road, Daisy said she had to have drivers training, if for no other reason than to be able to get us somewhere if anything happened to me.  Some research on the web and I found RV Driving School (http://rvdrivingschool.com).  I sent an email requesting more information and in a day or so received a detailed response.  We were offered two options.  First was for both of use to take the training and the second was for one driver and the spouse could watch.  Since I had already had my trial by fire, we decided that Daisy would get the training and I would watch.

Ray Cassleberry was our trainer.  We chatted by phone prior to the training and got to know each other a little bit.  I explained to him what kind of background we had, what we were going to be doing and a little bit about our rig.  Ray did explain that he did not have experience in a Class A but he was an experienced tractor trailer driver and instructor for CDL.  He also told me about his experience with other companies.  After talking with him, I felt pretty confident that we could learn something from this.

We set up our training date, times and place for June 6, meeting at our campground.  Since we would be using our rig (this is a requirement), I made sure that we would be ready to go when Ray got here on the 6th.  All the hoses, electric, levelers etc where put away and slides in etc.  Ray arrived on time as promised and introductions were made.  Even some of the neighbors were introduced.  We had a safety briefing and went over the lesson plan.

Our first lesson was a walk around.  Ray showed us about the different parts of the rig to inspect prior to getting on the road.  First thing I learned was that our front wheels have an oil reservoir and how to check and fill it.  Ray when over everything from front to back and top to bottom.  Checking tires, pressure, thread, lug nuts, lights, stone guards, antennas etc.  Next we adjusted the mirrors.  Setting both the flat and convex mirrors.  Horn check and we were ready to talk about pulling out of the camping spot.  Ray explained the clearances needed and the fact that the tail end would swing around and that we had to drive both the front and back of the rig.  He stressed this many times over the two days of training.

Ok, part of that stressing was due to the minor problem we had pulling out.  Note, just because the rig sides make it, doesn’t mean the awning will.  Yep, we brushed a light pole while pulling out.  I heard it scrap and yelled to stop.  No damage, but I think Daisy’s nerves where on edge just a little bit more.  She wasn’t looking forward to pulling out to begin with, in fact she was pretty upset that Ray was making her drive from the get go instead of after we got to the ‘training’ ground.  But no damage was done and we managed to get on the road.  Next stop was pulling out of the campground into street traffic.  This was Daisy’s real concern.  Luckily, there was little traffic and we were on our way.

Ray was very good at keeping Daisy focused.  He reminded her to watch the mirrors, monitor, gauges.  Provided a tip on how to stay in the center of the lanes and in general had Daisy relaxing while we drove to York, PA for the training.  Once we arrived in York, Ray had Daisy making numerous turns down side streets, main roads both left and right turns.  She was getting pretty good at it.  Lots of stops and starts and turns and traffic.

Now back to the campground.  Next lesson was backing the rig up into the campsite.  Lots of stuff to watch for, including that light pole.  Believe it or not, she did a great job.  With Ray’s help she backed into the spot without any issues.  Even the neighbors were impressed.  I think they were getting ready for a Robin Williams RV moment.

I have driven the motor home a few times now and each time it has been a mentally draining experience.  I am mentally tired when we get to the campground or back home.  So, I wasn’t too surprised that when we got settled in that Daisy was tired.  So we went out to dinner and Ray went home for the evening.

Saturday morning was the start of Day 2.  Pre-trip inspection and we left the campground.  This trip was a short one only about 10 miles to a shopping center parking lot.  Today’s lesson was backing up.  Ray set up some cones about 1 and a half parking spots wide and taught Daisy how to back in on the driver side and passenger side.  He had me work as the spotter and then we switched places and Daisy was the spotter.  Again I was impressed at how well she did.  It is a 39 ft motor home and she was parking it like it was natural for her.

After the backing up training was done we headed back to the campground.  Here we practiced as a team, backing it into the campsite, pulling out and doing it again.  Once Ray was satisfied, we went over the post trip inspections and set up the site for our 2 week stay.

In my opinion the training was well worth it.  We both learned a lot about the inspections, driving, keeping the rig centered, parking, communications between the driver and spotter and safety.  I am confident that Daisy can take over for me any time.  In fact, I think she will be sharing the driving from now on.  Ray suggested that we split it with a couple hours for each of us every time we move.  I think that might be a good idea.

Kind of a quite weekend

After Daisy finished the drivers training on Saturday, we had kind of a quite weekend.  Misty (our Pekingese) has an ear infection so on Monday she was to the Vet. She is now on medicine for both an eye infection and she scratched herself raw.

Jigger Shop

We did drive around the Lancaster/Lebanon area of PA.  Found a great place for ice cream at Jigger Shop.  All the years we have been coming out to Lancaster area, never knew about this place.  Sits in a great wooded area on Rt 117 near the Pennsylvania Chautauqua Community Building. In 1892, the Pennsylvania Chautauqua was chartered and was devoted to “The advancement of literary and scientific attainment among the people, and the promotion of popular culture in the interest of Christianity.”  Their website is http://www.jiggershop.com

I did discover one modification I need to do to the motor home.  When we finished setting up on Saturday after the drivers training I did not open the grey tank like I usually do.  While doing dishes on Tuesday night, I told Daisy I needed to dump the tanks.  Went into the bathroom and wouldn’t you know it, the shower was full of water, the grey tank was full.  Need to have an alarm on the grey tank to warn you when it is full, rather than simply over flow into the shower. At least the black tank smells once it fills up 🙂  So being a good husband, I went to the laundromat with Daisy to wash cloths that were in the shower.  Actually found a closer laundromat than the one the guard told us about.  We were done in about an hour.

Daisy is at the graduation of one of our grand kids today.  She has a Stress test tomorrow, so I am solo until she get back from Norristown area sometime tomorrow afternoon.  Tomorrow night we are going to Shady Maple Smorgasbord for dinner.  Shady Maple features 200 feet of deliciously authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cooking.  It is a must stop when you are camping in this area.  Their website is http://www.shady-maple.com.

 

 

 

Daisy Completes Drivers Training

One of the requirements my wife set down was that she wanted drivers training prior to getting on the road.  Her thoughts were that if anything happened to me she needed to be able to take over and get us to where ever we were going.

So after some research I found RV Driving School (http://rvschools.com).  Signed up with and was assigned Ray Cassleberry.  Ray has been a commercial trucker and trainer for several companies and really understood how to maneuver our 39 ft motor home around the streets.

Ray Cassleberry was are trainer
Ray Cassleberry was are trainer

We met at the campground on Friday at 9 AM.  After some safety tips and briefing, he took us around the motor home and showed us what to inspect prior to getting on the road.  First thing I learned was that there is OIL in the front hubs of our tires.  He also told us about the PA Non-Commercial Class A Drivers Licenses.  Next we discussed the training for the day and informed Daisy she will be doing ALL of the driving.  She was kind of upset at that, she was hoping to  wait until we got to the area where he was going to have her train.  She was not looking forward to getting out of the campground.

Daisy driving the rig while Ray Cassleberry gives her some pointers
Daisy driving the rig while Ray Cassleberry gives her some pointers

Friday’s training was all road training.  Drove from Manhiem to York, PA.  Then spent a few hours driving around the various city blocks getting use to left and right hand turns. By lunch time Daisy was feeling much better about driving. After getting back to the campground we did our post trip inspections and called it a day.  Daisy now knows what I felt like coming through Washington DC, so we went out to dinner.

Saturday, was spent backing up and parking the rig, both sighted and blind side (left and right).  It was a much easier day for Daisy.  We did learn we need to work on hand signals, just so we both understand what they mean.  I think we did pretty good.

She knew mommy could do it and took a nap.
She knew mommy could do it and took a nap.
Misty was very nervous while Daisy was driving.
Misty was very nervous while Daisy was driving.

Day 4 of Our RV Adventures

PA Dutch Country B-10
PA Dutch Country B-10

Our first campsite.  PA Dutch Country (Outdoor World) in Manheim, PA just off the PA Turnpike.  We are about a mile from the PA Renaissance Faire.

Started the morning at a doughnut and coffee gathering.  Met some really nice folks and learned a little bit as well.  Learning is not hard, just listen to the stories.

Thar be windmills

Just went for a drive today.  Stopped into Circle M campground (part of Thousand Trails).  Looks like a pretty nice place.  Indoor and outdoor pools, indoor water park and a large game room.  The camping lots look pretty nice as well.

 

PA Dutch Country Side

Tomorrow starts Daisy’s driver training.  Ray  Casselberry from RV Driving School will be her trainer.  I think she is kind of nervous.   She is getting 8 hours of training on the motor home Friday and Saturday (four hours each day).