This morning is absolutely beautiful! Low humidity, sunshine, cool breeze – what more could anyone ask? My week didn’t start out that way, though . . .
I packed up and moved from Dunedin last Thursday – fairly uneventful, but I had to fill up my propane and gas tanks for the first time – oh my! The propane cost somewhere around $55, and the tank was still half full! Fortunately, propane lasts a long time. The gas tank worried me, since it holds 55 gallons (at 3.65 a gallon is. . . oh, whatever!). My main concern, though, was finding a gas station I could fit in and get out of with no difficulties (just part of the logistics of this lifestyle). Pulling my car, I ended up taking up both gas tanks at the station, but the fill-up only came to $100. I wasn’t sure whether that was because my card would only allow $100 at a time or I actually was full, but the gas gauge showed full when I pulled away. So far, so good!
A half hour later I got to my destination, and the office was closed for lunch. So I sat in the parking lot, listened to music, and made myself a sandwich while I waited (ah, the benefits of taking your home with you!). Finally, the office was open, so I checked in and then followed the park maintenance guy to my space – very nice, with trees (plenty of shade) and very level. However, one of the maintenance guys said, “you have a tire that’s really low!” I thought he meant really low, so I continued backing in and got parked. Then I took a look at the tire. ‘Really low’ actually meant flat! I had a flat tire!!! In the RV world, tires are everything, so I immediately started thinking, ‘OMG, I’m going to have to buy another tire – that’s $500 down the tubes’ and ‘maybe I’m not meant for this lifestyle’ and other assorted doomsday scenarios. . .
It occurred to me, though, that I had just had tire valve extenders put on before I moved (along with a new toilet, which is another story), and I had heard that they can often leak. So I called my insurance carrier to get someone out to take a look. The girl asked whether I had a spare, which I did, but when I said I thought I might just need air, she said they didn’t cover filling the tire with air – only a tire change was covered. So I had her send someone out to change my tire.
The guy gets here within half an hour with a very big truck (a tire change on an RV is no small matter), takes a look at the tire and says, “your tire valve extender is leaking.” Yay! He takes off the valve extender, which is just dangling, as it turns out, and tells me to leave the outer extenders off so I don’t end up with another flat (apparently, the outer extenders always leak). He fills the tire and leaves without charging me. Sometimes I believe I live a charmed life! My tire has been fine ever since, and I’m no longer thinking I’ll have to give up my nomadic existence. . .
Park Visits – and Another Issue
It rained for the first two days I was here, and I was preparing for a bout with depression when Florida came back and it was gloriously sunny and breezy! My friend and I decided to check out a park she had heard about, called George C. McGough Nature Park. It was a beautiful place, actually just down the street from me, and it was full of turtles and had some owls, too! I had noticed my camera bag was damp when I put it in my friend’s car, but I didn’t think anything of it until I pulled the camera out of the bag and tried to take a picture. . . My lenses were completely clouded over and I couldn’t see anything through either of them! Crap! I thought for sure my camera was ruined, because when I checked my camera bag, there were actually water droplets in it. I racked my brain trying to figure out where the water had come from, and then realized my camera bag had been sitting beside my slide in the RV. Another big thing you had to worry about in RVs are leaks, and I apparently had one!
So my friend and I were sitting on a bench in the park checking our cell phones for a camera store open on Sunday, and every number we tried to call was either out of order or rang without an answer. I started fooling with my lens, as I could see the moisture inside it, and extending it to let the moisture out. Fortunately, the condensation circles became smaller and smaller, until the lens was finally clear. Hooray! No trip to the camera store today! So we continued our walk and I only periodically thought about the leak problem. . . It’s odd how one disaster averted can take your mind off a larger looming disaster. . .
We bought turtle food and walked to the turtle pond and immediately were inundated with turtles, all climbing on top of one another to get to the food first. . . Here are the pictures from the park, including the most adorable owl I’ve ever seen. Well, actually, I had never seen an owl up close before, but I know an adorable owl when I see one! Just click on the pictures to see them larger. . .
My friend and I then decided to get something to eat, and I suggested Buffalo Wild Wings (she had never been there – can you imagine?). We both had forgotten to eat before heading out, so I have no idea what time it was when we stopped, but we had a very enjoyable lunch/dinner of nachos, hot wings and chips and cheese. We then decided to go to Lake Seminole Park, which is another beautiful county park! This one had the ‘Do Not Feed or Molest The Alligators’ sign, which I still find hilarious, but we didn’t come across any of them to even consider feeding or molesting them. Instead, there were many, many shore birds and lots of trees covered with Spanish moss. Here are some pictures from that visit.
I finally checked the slide for leaks the next day. Unfortunately, I have no idea what I’m looking for, short of a gaping hole! So my neighbor came over to check for me, brought her ladder, and got up to see if she could see anything amiss. She did find some cracks where water could get in, and I noticed that my slide seal was deteriorating a bit. My neighbor (a very nice, capable woman) filled the cracks with caulk and checked around a bit, offering me advice about what supplies to have on hand to take care of problems. Hopefully, the caulk will take care of the leak, but I’m hoping that there won’t be any rain to test it out…
Now to the big project. . . In a previous post, I had written about losing one of my fan covers on my way up to Dunedin from Largo. I ordered some new ones (new and improved) from Camping World, and they arrived in huge boxes the day before I left to come here. I loaded the boxes up in my RV to move and decided yesterday to install them. I read over the instructions at least 10 times and finally got up the courage to tackle the installation. So I got my tools together – a drill, screwdriver, ruler, and pencil – and headed up the ladder to the roof. I had already removed the remains of the previous cover, so I read the instructions once more and started working.
The first fan is close to the edge of the RV, so I had to brace myself to keep from falling over the edge. It’s kind of awkward to get to that side of the fan, so I had to contort myself to get the latches in place, pencil in where I needed to drill, and get the drill situated to drill straight into the fan wall. Well, I couldn’t even get the pencil lines drawn at first because my hair kept falling in my face, and my glasses kept falling off my face – sheesh! So back down the ladder I went to get something to put my hair up, and get a pair of glasses that weren’t so loose. I climbed back up the ladder with the necessary changes made and started again. I got as far as getting the pencil lines drawn and the holes drilled when I lost my screwdriver over the edge. Back down the ladder I went to retrieve the screwdriver, when I realized I needed a wrench also. . . So I had a couple sips of coffee and smoked a cigarette and went back up the ladder with the screwdriver and wrench to continue working.
Once I had the latches installed (after much measuring and remeasuring), I noticed that this cover was more elevated than the old one, and my neighbor suggested I needed some caulk to seal the edges against the RV roof. She offered to show me where the nearest Home Depot is, and off we went in the car to get the caulk (rope caulk, which I didn’t even know existed, but useful stuff!). After much searching around, we found the caulk and headed back to the RV park. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, so I ended up botching the caulk application. My neighbor came over to check on my job and redid the application – ah, so that’s how it works!
By this time (3 hours later!) I was starving. I decided to put off the second installation until after I had something to eat – and a nap, since I had not gotten to sleep until 4am and woke up at 7:45. So I ate and, after calling a friend back, laid down to take a nap. I slept for about an hour, but I woke up feeling really bad so it took me a while to get moving again. Finally, I felt like I was okay to get back on the roof, so I climbed up the ladder and – lo and behold – knocked out the second fan cover in 15 minutes with no problems! Didn’t even have to read the instructions again. . .
Here’s the picture of my new fan covers, the cover in front is an old one — nice improvement, huh?
This weekend, we are definitely going to Stump Pass and the Nokomis drum circle – no rain predicted! Have a great week, all!