Saturday, April 17, 2010

We Are Now Ready To Go and A Question For You.

Well...we have everything packed and could leave tomorrow if we needed to.

So now we just wait for the 3rd to get here.

After we got everything packed we pretty much used all of our room.

There are some things we could probably pack better but we are in pretty good shape as we are.

The other thing we did was arrange in a way to make sure we had the weight distribution as it should be.

So here we sit and exceeded our goal by a week as far as being ready to go.

Today the weekend campers started showing up for the first time this year at the campground we are staying at.

It was kind of funny to see them setting up their RVs and starting their campfires.

Even though we have been here for a while it has never really felt like a campground. But now with the campers showing up -- it does.

Now I have a question...

Can anyone recommend a good barbecue grill?

We are looking for something that is portable of course.

We would love to find one that is a combination grill - can use gas or charcoal.

We had a large combination grill but of course couldn't bring it with us.

If we had to choose between the two we would want charcoal.

I thought I would ask you all since we are sure there is some experience with what has and hasn't worked.

We are getting eager to get up to New York now that we have our stuff done.

We are going to take a short shakedown cruise since we have been sitting stationary for 4 months.

If there is going to be an unforeseen problem I want to know now instead of when we pull out for New York.

Well that is all for today and now the traveling fever is really moving into high gear!

Ken and Nanette

Friday, April 16, 2010

Electrical Management System Installation...

Today I decided to install our new Electrical Management System.

It was an all day job that required me calling the manufacturer to clear up some wiring questions. By the way -- their customer service is exceptional!

This system is made by Progressive Industries of Cary, North Carolina and I like the idea that it is made in the USA.

It is designed to monitor incoming power for a number of things that can cause problems...very expensive problems! 

If it detects an unsafe condition it immediately shuts off the power to the motorhome.

Campground power systems are something to behold. 

If you think about it -- at a house it is a rather static situation regarding power feed to the home as well as power usage. 

In a campground however things are very different.  A lot of times you are hooking up to a pedestal that may also be used by someone next to you.

Also a lot of campgrounds have you in a situation where your RV is part of a power “loop”.  The RVs upstream of your location have a bearing on what you see at your location.

Then there are all of the wiring possibilities like reverse polarity, dropped grounds or neutrals and of course power surges, high and low voltage -- whew!

There is also the question of what the last person did while hooking up or unhooking their power cords.  Ever see a crooked power pedestal and wonder how it may have gotten that way?

So I guess when we hook up our RVs with all their electrical stuff just waiting to get a fresh drink of whatever power we decide to feed them we are taking a chance.

Power supply is a very dynamic thing in campgrounds and even when it starts out good it can change in the middle of your stay.

Without a management system that has monitoring and protection capabilities it is a chance we take every time we plug in.

There are different systems available and different ways to hook up these systems.

There are electronic boxes that can be put at the pedestal and then the RVs power cord is hooked into the boxes.

There are in-coach systems that can show what is happening in real time on display panels. With these systems there are two ways to hook them into your system. 

One is before the Transfer Switch and the other is after the Transfer Switch.

The Transfer Switch is what decides where the power is coming from -- shore power or a generator then directs it to the right place.

The reason you would hook it up after the Transfer Switch would be to provide not only protection for the shore power feed but also the generator feed.

The vast majority are done the first way though -- before the Transfer Switch -- mainly because if you don’t do it this way the Transfer Switch will be exposed to the problem BEFORE the protection device.  So you may be kissing your Transfer Switch goodbye before your protection device even knows there is a problem.

There is a way to monitor and protect your RV from generator problems while still protecting your Transfer Switch but I won’t go into that here. Since all RVs can be different what works for ours may not work for yours in how it is wired. This is what I called the manufacturer about to make sure what I wanted to do would work and it did.

I got it all installed and turned it on and it immediately calibrated itself and began displaying information about what was happening with our power.

I noticed throughout the day two things.

One was the incoming voltage fluctuations.  It was swinging from 109 volts to 126 volts.  The system I installed shuts down power to our RV if the voltage is 104 volts or lower -- or if it exceeds 132 volts.  Once the voltage returns to a safe condition over a period of time it allows the power to flow.

I wondered why the voltage was swinging so wildly -- I had an idea. 

I went outside but where I could still see the display.  I listened to the RV next to us to see if my suspicion was correct.

Sure enough I saw the voltage drop at the exact moment I heard the Air Conditioner on the RV next to us cycle on.

There are 7 RVs upstream from us -- and with all the A/C on I could just imagine what the effect is on the power feeds.

The second thing I watched was the amperage we were drawing.

I watched as it would change with our A/C cycling.  It would go from 10 amps up to 20 amps depending on what the A/C was doing.

It was interesting to see what was being drawn at different times and with this system we can now know exactly what each appliance pulls in terms of amps.

I am sure most may find all of this boring but after all the work I did on it I just had to write about it.  Besides there wouldn’t have been anything else to write about.

Nanette did haul off a bunch of stuff today that we donated. 

We are really to the end of getting rid of things we don’t need.  We have made a lot of space and that feels good to have. 

It is also nice to not be carrying weight we don’t need to.

Well that is all I have for today...

Tomorrow we will start rearranging our stuff with the new space we have. 

Next week we have a bunch of last minute business stuff to do like license and tags renewals -- a doctor visit or two.

Our goal is to have everything done and be ready to roll a week before we actually leave.  I think we can do it based on how things are going right now.

Ken and Nanette

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shrunk Our Clothes and Dressed Up The Tires...

Our neighbors suggested we get some Space Bags for making more room - you know those plastic bags that you put clothes in and then suck out all the air with a vacuum cleaner and they shrink?

So we got some and it was amazing how small things got.

We made a lot of room by doing this. We even got the bag for the hanging clothes and that really made a big difference in the closet.

It seems like we have found a great answer for maximizing our storage space.

We highly recommend these for storage. You should try it to see if it works for you.

We went through more stuff today and are just about done downsizing our stuff.

We will start re-packing what we have kept tomorrow.

I also installed the new Wheel Simulators and Stainless Braid Valve Stem Extensions.

Everything looks great and it was a very simple process.

I also received our Premier Industries Electrical Management System today so I may start the installation tomorrow.

This system is a protection and monitoring system for both shore power and generator power that is provided to our motorhome.

It protects against low voltage, high voltage, surges, reverse polarity, open neutrals or grounds, reverse polarity, frequency excursions, as well as showing current amperage draw for the entire motorhome as well other stuff.

If it detects anything bad happening within the electrical system it shuts down the power instantly or upon initial power up will not allow power to start flowing to the motorhome in order to protect it.

We also like the remote display panel that shows all electrical activity in real time.

There is a bypass option should we decide to think we know more than the computer or if the unit were to malfunction for some reason.

Now this will not be a quick job but one worth every minute.

Well that is all we have for today.

We are counting down now to the date of leaving for New York. We are staying in touch with our soon to be employers on a regular basis.

We expect to pull out on the 3rd of May now -- we don't need to be there until the 8th so this will give us plenty of time to get there without having to travel too far each day.

I am eager to start sharing pictures and updates from on the road!

Ken and Nanette

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Great Day Of Getting Rid Of Stuff and Peace...

Another post being done on the 'ol Blackberry.

But this time I am sitting next to Nanette next to the campfire.

What a life!

Today we made a LOT of progress getting rid of more stuff.

I was surprised at the things that we had kept that I immediately decided to get rid of.

I have tried to figure out why we kept the things that we are now getting rid of so quickly.

I think it was the difference between what we thought we would use and what we have actually used.

The other factor that entered into our decision to keep certain things was the "what if" factor.

You know the "what if" we need this or "what if" we decide to do this or that.

That was our inexperience showing.

Never having done the full timing thing before we had no idea what to expect.

We are still limited by not having gone through a summer yet. So we are probably keeping some things that we will realize we don't need.

We spoke to our Campground neighbors who have been full time for 9 years today as we were purging.

They told us they fight the battle every year of having too much stuff.

Oh great - we will never be done getting rid of stuff it sounds like.

As we sit here the campfire is roaring - the sun is just about down - the moss green river is flowing gently by.

I see the Kentucky River Palisades off in the distance as the sun bathes them at the end of a beautiful day.

It is this time - this exact feeling - that we were looking for all along.

It is the tranquility, the gentle sounds of nature and the feeling of being at peace that was the draw for us to do all that we have done.

This is the journey we wrote about that we will seize and absorb as it is presented to us.

Life is good - the dream is real.

I will end the post today by saying to all of those that tried to tell us there would be times just like this - you were right.

To those working to get out here it is worth it all in our opinion to go through the challenges and the work to get here.

Yes, to live ones life by purpose instead of circumstance is certainly worth it!

We wish you all were here to experience this evening with us.

Well actually in a way you are!

Ken and Nanette

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Posting From My Blackberry and We Are Officially "Tired"!

Well this will be a short post.

One because I am posting from my Blackberry and second we only did basically one thing today.

Today me and my 105 lb. muscle bound helper (Nanette) change out 4 tires that needed replaced.

Now one would think this would be a simple process.

Oh no...we are not parked on level ground and with 10 lug nuts on each wheel and each lug nut torqued at 140 foot lbs. there was nothing easy about it.

So you might ask why would we do this ourselves?

Well because the place we got the deal on the tires has no room to have our motorhome pull in and change them.

And... I wasn't going to pay $250 to have a road service guy come and do it.

Also we really needed the practice!

Anyway we got them done - brand spanking new tires - I am going to just sit here typing on my Blackberry and look at our new tires.

I may even just go pet them and talk to them.

I feel we know these tires like a friend. We certainly spent enough time getting to know them.

I even know their birthday!

I have also bought our new tires new clothes. Well...actually Wheel Simulators (Hub Caps). They will be here day after tomorrow.

Oh then I get to install the new Electrical Management System.

I tell we are on a roll...

...and right about now that is the only way I am going to make it to bed...if Nanette rolls me there!

More tomorrow...

Oh...and please be thinking about good names for our tires...only fitting we think!

Ken and Nanette

Monday, April 12, 2010

Well It Is Done and Thank You!

So the gentleman showed up to look at the boat.

Well actually he didn’t show up to look at it...he showed up to give us the money...as we found out...it was already sold before he ever got here.  At least in his mind.

There was something about this whole event that Nanette and I have been talking about ever since he left.

This whole thing was really interesting the way it worked out.

It got even more interesting after the deal was done and we spoke to him about what we are doing and how we came to put it up for sale.

In addition we told him what our thought process was in regard to what would need to happen for us to know it was the right thing to do.

He had a very similar story from his side.

We all walked away from each other realizing that this was either an amazing coincidence of timing or there was something much more significant going on.

He told me that finding our exact boat for sale when he found it was very surprising to him.  He said that he has been looking for some time and had actually given up looking.

He said to me that for some reason he just felt it was time to look again. 

He did and it happened to be the day after I had posted it.

It was his thought immediately that he should buy it even without looking at it.  As he said there was never any question about it. He said he just felt a peace about it.

I know some will be skeptical but in our experience there are things like this that happen as they do -- when they do -- that are just too perfect to be coincidence.

I thought that when he pulled out with it I would be sad about it but that didn’t happen. 

Nanette and I were just too convinced that this was the right thing at the right time and for the right reason.

At an earlier time I would not have had a second thought about a simple business transaction such as this.

The thing is it isn’t like it used to be -- besides changing our lifestyle we have also stepped out on faith.  We feel that we have been very blessed throughout all of this.

We have also been blessed with all of you!

Your comments and emails have really touched us and given us support as we continue on our adventures.

You can feel somewhat isolated sometimes when the people around you don’t fully understand full timing or why you would do the things that you do.

In our case you all DO understand the unique nature of living life the way we are and most importantly -- why.

How do we thank you all enough for what you have helped us with from the very beginning?

I guess we will have to meet you on the road and do it in person!  Yep, that will work.

Well...I know today’s post is short on words -- but make no mistake -- it is not short on meaning or significance.

Wow -- what an adventure!

Ken and Nanette

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sometimes Things Just Work Out - For A Reason...

Nice day today -- we actually got some nice temperatures today and sunshine -- a good day to WORK!

We didn’t intend to work actually but...

You remember I told you all that we were trying to decide what to do about our boat.

Ranger3751

I put it For Sale on Craigslist at what I felt was a price that would allow me to let go of it and feel satisfied.

I bought the boat new and have taken very good care of it as well as always storing it inside.

Two days ago I started getting emails from interested people. 

There was one in particular that I received where the writer was very motivated to buy it.

Last night I received more emails from the same individual telling me that he had been looking for this exact model for a couple of years -- but what he was really looking for was one that had been owned by a single owner.

He had owned other models of Rangers but really wanted this one since it is made for both fishing and skiing.  This model is no longer made and was very popular at the time it was made.

I called him this morning and he asked me a number of questions and then said that he wanted it. 

Even though he hasn’t seen it in person apparently he was convinced by what I had to say and my knowledge of the boat that he was sold.

Well...he wanted to come immediately to get it. 

The problem was...it had not been cleaned up since last season. 

So Nanette and I spent the entire day washing and polishing it and I told him that we would be ready tomorrow for him to inspect it and pick it up.

I decided to replace the starting battery since it has a few years on it so I made a run to the store to get that and then installed it.

I must tell you that when this boat is cleaned up it gets a lot of looks.  It is an absolutely beautiful boat and I think he is going to be surprised when he sees it.

What he doesn’t know yet is that there are a number of things that he will get along with the boat -- like a new set of water skis, new ski rope, 2 tubes and a bunch of other other stuff that I don’t need without the boat.

Now here is the thing...

We decided that we would put the boat up for sale to see what happened. 

We also decided that it needed to sell for a certain price or we weren’t going to sell it.

Our thought was if it was meant to be sold then this would happen if not then we would keep it.

We think it was meant to happen -- we are getting the price we asked for in cash and we have someone that really appreciates what they are going to get.

Of course all deals can fall through -- in that case we have 4 other people that are standing by should this gentleman change his mind.

So by this time tomorrow it may be gone -- and if it is -- then it was the right thing to do and we will be very happy.

Sometimes things all work out for a reason.

This whole adventure so far has been just like this. 

We would hit a spot where we needed to make a decision and it worked out so well that it made it hard to believe it was pure circumstance or coincidence.

Do you know what I mean?

Oh -- I never made it up in on the roof today to fix the coax.  That will have to wait for a couple of days.

That is it for today -- I wonder what the next blessing will be for us!

Ken and Nanette